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IR 210, International Relations: Introductory Analysis: Question 7

This course guide provides guidance on how to complete Analytical Exercise #1 in Dr. Lamy's IR 210 class.

Question 7:

USC is the third oldest school of IR in the world. Using books and academic journals, answer the following questions: What were USC students studying in their introductory international relations courses in 1925? 1950? and 1975?  Identify at least three topics and provide some evidence that this is true. What theoretical approach dominated their class discussions? How do you know this to be true?

Intended Learning Outcomes

In the field of international relations, no ideas, events, issues, or arguments rest in isolation from the past. It is, therefore, critical to understand the historical context of what has been considered important to scholars in relation to the big global issues of their time, and by extension, what was taught to potential future scholars. Just as your readings in the IR210 syllabus reflect current scholarship and forms the foundational basis of what you should be learning in the course, so too was this true in the past. This question places you in moments in history to gain an understanding about the relationship between past events and learning about those events.

The purpose of this exercise is not to read syllabi or course guides from classes taught long ago, but to identify possible topics that were taught in classes during 1925, 1950, 1975 by searching books and journal articles.

Research Approach

Begin by thinking about what could be the big issues of the day [e.g., what were the page one headlines in newspapers] that related to international affairs during those years.

To search for books, go to the HOMER catalog [described in question 6] and search for items about the big global issues that were prominent during those periods of time.

To search for journal articles, go to the IR research guide and click on the tab for historical research. There are many sources listed but since you have been asked to search for journal articles, focus on using America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts, and Public Affairs Information Service [PAIS] [Left side text box]

Another strategy would be to search JSTOR, which is an archive of scholarly [i.e., academic] journals. When you enter the database, click on the advanced search tab below search. Under narrow by discipline or journal, check the boxes for international relations and political science, then enter the terms you want to search in the main search box above. Also, choose only articles to search under item type. Note that you can re-arrange the results by oldest listed first to find articles published during the time periods you are looking for.

Note that no matter the strategy you choose to find books or articles, you have to read at least the introduction to find the theoretical framework being used.


NOTE: America: History and Life [covering U.S. and Canadian history] and Historical Abstracts [covering world history] give you a looking back perspective of historical analysis; Public Affairs Information Service covers materials published from 1915 to the present so you can view articles published during those years as well as current materials that give an historical perspective.