Spring 2023 - POL 141 D100

International Relations (3)

Class Number: 5109

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Thu, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 13, 2023
    Thu, 8:30–11:30 a.m.



Explores causes and consequences of international political conflict, including war, terrorism, protectionism, nationalism, economic disparity, migration, and humanitarian crises. Evaluates how states and non-state actors navigate and influence these conflicts and the role of international law, diplomacy, and organizational cooperation. Analyzes worldviews on war, peace, human rights, and world order. Students who have taken POL 241 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


To say the world is complex is a bit of an understatement these days. Though it may not always seem like it, the prevalence of war has been in decline for more than 30 years. Nevertheless, war and violence are still very much a part of the international system as illustrated by events such as the 9/11 attacks against the United States; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan; civil wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen; Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine; the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria (and elsewhere); the sabre rattling on the Korean Peninsula, and the increased hostility of the People’s Republic of China. International politics is about far more than violence, however. In recent years, the world has experienced a massive global recession with far-reaching consequences, non-state actors continue to gain greater attention, and issues such as climate change and the spread of certain global diseases frequently require international cooperation. And this is only the beginning.

This introductory course provides a broad exploration of the field of international relations (IR). It seeks to provide students with the factual knowledge about the study of international relations (terminology, classifications, methods, trends), introduce fundamental principles, generalizations and theories of international relations in order to better understand the contemporary international system. The course is organized around two parts, Concepts and Theories of International Relations, and Contemporary Issues in International Relations, and divided into three modules. In Module 1, we examine the international security. In Module 2, we look at the economic interactions of states and in Module 3 we assess the human factors that affect the quality of life of individuals from the environment to human rights. Most weeks in the course, we will explore one big topic. Each topic will include a lecture and a tutorial that involves discussions, educational activities, and IR simulation.


  • Tutorials 25%
  • Exams (2) 50%
  • Statecraft Simulation 25%



IR: Seeking Security, Prosperity, and Quality of Life in a Changing World. 4th Edition by James M. Scott, Ralph G. Carter and A. Cooper Drury. SFU Bookstore and online including a digital copy.

Statecraft Simulation (www.statecraftsim.com) $35.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html