International Organizations and World Order
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
Department: Milano General Curriculum
Course Number: NINT 5416
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
This course analyzes the role of international organizations in constituting and reconstituting world order. Although international politics is traditionally characterized as a state of anarchy, and sovereignty is considered paramount, no matter how powerful a state is, it cannot achieve all of its goals through unilateral action or in isolation. Therefore, in order to establish formal means of governance and stability, virtually every state participates in the organization and activities of international institutions. After outlining social scientific parameters of study and the major theoretical approaches, the class surveys the historical and political contexts that shaped the birth, behavior, and performance of international organizations—the early inter-state system, the 19th century, the wars and inter-war epoch of the early 20th century, the Cold War, the post-Cold War era, and the post-September 11, 2001 period. Types of international organizations explored include both those spatially defined (global, regional, and sub-regional), and those operating without mandates from states (non-governmental organizations and epistemic communities). A large component of the class will concentrate on the United Nations as it has become the centerpiece of world order, playing a pre-eminent role in issues of international peace and security, economic development, and human rights and humanitarian affairs. Themes to be examined encompass sovereignty, collective global goods, aggression, mass atrocities, poverty and the North-South divide, pollution and climate change, organizational reform, and power in world order. Over the course of the semester students will probe the nuts-and-bolts of the international organizations, develop their abilities to interpret their policies and practices, and connect the evolution of international organizations to patterns of change and continuity in world order.