IGA-105: The Politics of International Law

Semester: Fall

Credit: 1.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Kathryn Sikkink


Day Time Location
First Day 9/2
Meet Day M/W 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM BL-1


This course starts from the assumption that increasingly policymakers need to know more about international law in order to understand and act in world politics. International politics is now so interpenetrated with international law concepts and practices that one can no longer be an effective policy maker working on international topics without a basic familiarity with international law. The central goal of the course is to familiarize students with international law and with a broad range of analytical and policy tools to enable them to think and act critically when drafting and implementing policies related to international law. The course provides an introduction to some aspects of the method and substance of international law, learning some key legal concepts like sovereign immunity, jus cogens, general principles of international law, principles of jurisdiction etc. But this is not a law course. We cover legal subjects to understand how politics and law interact in shaping international relations today. We will explore the following issues: How do we explain where particular laws and norms come from? Why do states commit to international treaties and to soft law? How do these affect the shape of global politics and the outcomes of particular events? How often do states obey or comply with international law, and why? We will also examine substantive areas of international law such as the use of force and the laws of war, human rights, environmental law, and international criminal law.






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