Watson Institute at Brown University
International Relations


The multidisciplinary core is designed to provide students with a solid grounding in five different disciplinary perspectives on global affairs. As foundational courses, they introduce students to concepts, theories, and methods from the most relevant social science disciplines, as well as history, that will serve them well in their chosen track of study. Core courses should be taken freshman and sophomore years.

ANTH 110: Anthropology and Global Social Problems

The course introduces anthropological approaches to some of the central problems humans face around the world, including environmental degradation and cultures of consumption, hunger and affluence, war, racial division and other forms of inequality.

POLS 400: Introduction to International Relations

This course provides a basic introduction to the central theoretical perspectives and debates in international relations, focusing on conflict and cooperation among states and other actors. The second part of the course applies these models to current problems in international relations, including issues of war and peace, intervention, terrorism, trade and the global economy, governance, and the global environment.

POLS 200: Comparative Politics

This course introduces students to the sub-field of comparative politics or politics within states. Topics include types of regimes (i.e., democratic, authoritarian, totalitarian); transitions to democracy and the collapse of democratic regimes; revolutionary and ethnic challenges to the state; and globalization. The course also pays attention to modes of analysis in comparative politics. Cases are drawn from various regions, including Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

ECON 110: Principles of Economics

Offering an extensive coverage of economic issues, institutions, and vocabulary, the course is also an introduction to economic analysis and its application to current social problems. Prerequisite for ECON 1110, 1130, 1210 and 1620. It serves as a general course for students who will take no other economics courses and want a broad introduction to the discipline. Weekly one-hour conference required (conferences are not held during the summer session).

HIST 1900/1554: American Empire Since 1890 or

HIST course from pre-approved list. No substitutions permitted. See courses page.
This survey of twentieth-century US foreign relations focuses on the interplay between the rise of the United States as a superpower and American culture and society. Topics include ideology and U.S. foreign policy, imperialism and American political culture, U.S. social movements and international affairs, and the relationship between U.S. power abroad and domestic race, gender and class arrangements.

SOC1620: Globalization and Social Conflict

Examines the effect globalization is having on the economies and societies of the developed and developing world. Focuses in particular on how new forms of global production and networking are transforming the traditional role of the nation-state, creating new dynamics of wealth distribution, and generating new sources of social conflict and political contestation, including transnational social movements.