Introduction to International Relations

Photo by Tom Page on Wikimedia Commons

Almost every aspect of our lives is not just touched but radically transformed by political interactions of global scope. This course helps students make sense of those global political interactions through introducing them to the history, core concepts, and major contemporary challenges of international relations. It focuses on key enduring questions that scholars and theorists of international relations have been considering for centuries: why does war occur? Why do some nations prosper economically while others struggle? What forms of international society are most conducive to human flourishing? Through readings, discussion, engaged exercises, and joint reflection the course seeks to equip students to meaningfully join the rich tradition of scholarship that has sought to better understand these questions as a key part of engaged citizenship.

I have taught this course both at the University of Denver (2016 - 2018) and most recently at George Washington University (Fall 2022)

Selected Student Feedback

I loved everything about this course, it was probably my favorite class this semester. It was easily the most engaging and informative course I’ve taken here.

I liked that professor Pinckney was truly intentional with the structure of the course. He had a genuine concern for the well-being of the students and our growth in this class which I both admired and appreciated.

The course was well-structured, stuck to a consistent pattern, and was easy to understand while also presenting new and challenging topics. There was a great balance of discussion and lecture, along with applications of the lecture in activities. Overall, a great course.

Jonathan Pinckney
Jonathan Pinckney
Assistant Professor

My research interests include civil resistance, democratization, and peacebuilding.