PSCI 223
International Law Spring 2013
Division II
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International law embodies the rules that govern the society of states. It spells out who can be a state and how to become one, what states can do, what they cannot do, and who can punish transgressions; it also determines the status of other actors, like international organizations, heads of state, refugees, transnational religious institutions and multinational corporations. International law is like domestic law, with one difference: the same group that makes the law enforces it. In other respects it is the same: it protects the status quo, including the distribution of power among its members; it spells out legitimate and illegitimate ways of resolving conflicts of interest; it is biased toward the powerful; it tells its members how to act to coordinate their interests and minimize direct conflict; some of it is laughable and purely aspirational, some of it necessary for survival. And like domestic law, it is enforced only some of the time, and then against the weak more than the strong. Yet law is still where we look first for justice. This course will examine the historical bases of contemporary international law, its development since World War II in the context of the Holocaust and decolonization, and current dilemmas in its practice. Students will study primary materials (treaties, order, memos and cases). This is not a law-school course, but an academic course in liberal arts.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 30
Expected: 30
Class#: 3650
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two midterm exams, one paper, and one final exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: MAST Interdepartmental Electives
POEC International Political Economy Courses
PSCI International Relations Courses

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