When states or other human groupings abandon less primitive means of resolving their conflicts, they resort to war. Although many wars have been terribly bloody and destructive, history provides relatively few examples of wars of total annihilation. Rather, for reasons involving both self-interest and ethical conviction, political leaders and warriors have often observed limits in their resort to war and the conduct of battle. This course examines the historical, moral, and legal foundations of these limits, and their enduring relevance despite ongoing changes in world politics and the transformation of modern warfare.
Although we consider alternative perspectives, the course focuses primarily on the just war tradition, major elements of which are reflected in international law governing the legitimate resort to force and proper conduct during wartime. Topics include aggression and self-defense, genocide, humanitarian intervention, nuclear deterrence, noncombatant immunity, terrorism, treatment of prisoners, torture, and prosecution of war crimes. Discussion of these topics is informed by contemporary just war thinking as well as classical political and moral philosophy.
Assigned readings come from two books:
In addition to the assigned readings, students should be reading, on a regular basis, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or some other newspaper with thorough international coverage. Performance in the course will reflect familiarity with current international issues, and not just an understanding of lecture material and course readings.
Course grades will reflect the degree to which students have met the learning objectives of the course, and are based on a midterm (40%) and final exam (60%). The exams will consist of questions requiring both short answers and longer essays. Attendance is expected; course grades will be adversely affected by excessive absence from class.
Students are responsible for being familiar with the PSU Student Code of Conduct, especially the section concerning academic misconduct -- that is, plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If you are unsure of the definition or consequences of academic misconduct, consult your instructor.
Because they are distracting to others, cell phones (voice or text) and MP3 players may not be used during lecture and should be turned off at the start of class. Laptops and tablets may be used to take notes, but not for email, web browsing, or social media. Electronic devices may not be used to photograph, video, or stream course lectures or discussion, but lectures may be audio recorded with permission of the instructor.
COURSE CALENDAR AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
|Historical and Philosophical Approaches to War and Morality|
|1-5 Apr||Realism and Pacifism (chaps. 1-3), slides|
|8-12 Apr||Just War Theory (chap. 4)|
|Resort to War (Jus ad Bellum)|
|15-19 Apr||Aggression, Self-Defense, and Preemption (chaps. 5-6), slides|
|22-26 Apr||Terrorism (chap. 7)|
|29 Apr, 1 May||Intervention (chap. 8), slides|
|Conduct of War (Jus in Bello)|
|6-10 May||Combatant Rights (chap. 9), slides|
|13-17 May||Noncombatant Rights (chap. 10), slides|
|20-24 May||Blockades, Sanctions, and High-Tech War (chaps. 11-12), McCall lecture, slides|
|War Crimes and Judgment (Jus post Bellum)|
|29-31 May||War and Crime (chap. 13), slides|
|3-7 Jun||Jurisdiction and Enforcement (chap. 14), slides|
Final Exam, 10:15-12:05