Methods Seminars are in-depth, interdisciplinary investigations of a particular problem or theme. These seminars focus on ways of knowing the world characteristic of the disciplines represented in the seminar, such that the forms or methods of investigation are as important as the subject matter itself.
Despite dominant trends supporting globalization theory, the number of sovereign political states in the world today has continued to increase. This means the continued effect of power relations among such states as a key feature of modern reality. Among those states one state continues to be called a "superpower" for its military and geopolitical supremacy; in 2002 it was even called a "hyperpower" for its expansionist foreign and military policies during that period. This course studies international relations reality and theory from the perspective of the one superpower, the United States of America. It considers the variety of factors which make up an international states system, the concept of state sovereignty and independence, the role of power as well as of culture in the workings of the system, the varied types of systems from classical balance of power to bipolar and unipolar, and it looks to other non-state factors as important elements in a final understanding: multinational corporations, international organizations, international law, as well as ethical forces, including transnational environmentalism, at play. The course surveys the major actors on the international stage and evaluates a variety of conflicts in the world today. Finally, the course looks to the continued use and meaning of diplomacy over historical time as an essential ingredient in the workings of the international arena.