Stephen Walt Photo

Stephen Walt

Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs

This course is an in-depth examination of the realist perspective on international politics and foreign policy.  The central objective is to provide students with a clearer understanding of this important approach to politics and to show why “thinking like a realist” will improve their understanding of important features of international politics and lead to better foreign policy results. To do this, the class examines the intellectual origins and evolution of realist thought over the past 2000+ years, the main innovations in realist theory since 1945, and its implications for global affairs today.  We will also consider some important critiques of realism, so that its limitations are fully understood as well.  There are no formal lectures in this seminar; each session consists of intensive in-class discussion, guided by the instructor.