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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 form the basis of what you should be learning in the course, so too was this true in the past. This question places you within 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 try and locate syllabi or course guides from classes taught long ago [they generally do not exist], but to identify possible topics that were taught in classes during 1925, 1950, 1975 by searching for books and journal articles.

Research Approach

Begin by thinking about what could be the big issues in international affairs during those years. A good place to start could be to browse the archive of the Daily Trojan newspaper to identify news stories and editorials that reflected what students were concerned about as well as announcements of lectures and debates held on and off campus.

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

To search for journal articles, go to the International Relations Research Guide and click on the tab for Historical Research. There are many sources listed but since you've been asked to search for journal articles, focus on using America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts, and listed alphabetically in the left-hand text box, Public Affairs Information Service [PAIS].

Another strategy would be to search JSTOR, listed alphabetically in the left-hand text box. When you enter the database, click on the advanced search tab below search box. Scroll down and among the list of disciplines, check the boxes for international relations and political science. Then, enter the terms you want to search in the search boxes 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 which strategy you choose to find books or articles, you have to carefully read at least the introduction to identify the theoretical framework being used.