POLS 360 Fall 2021

What Is International Political Economy?

Most people like to think that economic markets and political actors, specifically governments, are separate, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. “The concept of international political economy encompasses the intersection of politics and economics as goods, services, money, people and ideas move across borders” (Marlin-Bennett and Johnson 2010). This course sits at the crossroads of political science and economics, although prior economics coursework is not required.

Course Overview

This course, taught asynchronously online, is an introduction to the field of international political economy. Topics such as hegemony and power, international trade, regionalism, Brexit, foreign investment, poverty and development will be covered this semester. I take a primary focus on understanding current policy debates within the context of the United States as well as around the world. International political economy is a key part of our understanding of foreign policy. The goal is to familiarize students with critical debates in the subfield as well as allow them to advocate for their own policy preferences.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain and locate the main theories of international political economy in the history of the subfield.
  • Interpret the importance of US economic hegemony in the post-World War II era and investigate whether that hegemony continues today.
  • Discuss the reasons why states trade and how domestic politics affects global trade relations.
  • Critique the various approaches to international development and develop a better understanding of extreme poverty.
  • Evaluate the various regions that have experienced economic reforms that have resulted in a more liberal, open economy.
  • Analyze the reasons behind the US Housing/Banking Crisis and the Euro Crisis, as well as the solutions that were put in place to resolve these issues.

About Dr. Fattore


Weekly Reading Quizzes: A quick check to make sure you are understanding the background information for major debates
Reaction Essays: Instead of a discussion board, you will each be responsible for six short reaction essays through the semester, where you share your critical but logical reaction to a given topic.
Policy Brief Assignment Components: This is the big project for the semester with four main components which act as building blocks. First, an annotated bibliography. Second, an elevator pitch summary. And, finally a comprehensive policy brief. Students will also present their work virtually, via a 5 minute video uploaded to YouTube.

Full assignment descriptions and evaluation criteria are available in the Official Syllabus.

Course Structure

  • 15 weeks, August 19 to December 9
  • Asynchronous, weekly lectures posted on Sunday nights
  • Final policy brief is due December 15
  • Students can expect to spend approximately 4-10 hours per week on work related to POLS 360, including the three hours of class time each week, as well as out of class readings and working on various assignments/assessments

Office Hours

Office hours are set times dedicated to you, the student. This means I will be available in my “online” office (via Zoom) during these times and you are encouraged to come in with whatever questions you might have. In fact, I will be largely waiting for you! This is the best and easiest way to find me outside of class and the best chance for discussing class material and concerns. If nothing else, come talk to me about my obsession with all things 90s (ooh, scrunchies!), pop music (I heart Taylor Swift), and TV shows. Students who make office hours appointments via the Calendly app will be given priority, but drop ins are welcome.

The Syllabus, More Ways

The Official, Traditional Syllabus