Spring 2025

International Relations vs the World: Myths and Evidence

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-113


Eleonora Mattiacci (Section 01)


The recent COVID-19 pandemic has ignited fierce debates on the state of international relations. Pundits and occasional observers often debate the state of international relations---how freely people and goods can or should move across borders, what organizations such as WHO can really achieve, which countries are truly powerful, the real reasons why countries can or cannot cooperate on global challenges such as COVID-19 or climate change, and so on. In each of these debates, evidence, either qualitative or quantitative, counts. But what, exactly, counts as evidence? Diving into recent debates in international relations emerging from COVID-19, the class will evaluate the evidence used to support such claims. We will focus in particular on the political origins of most of the evidence used in these debates, explaining why such origins matter and how they can shape debates. The goal of the class is for students to become literate about the ways in which data are used and to begin leveraging evidence to engage in their own story-telling. This class will leverage interdisciplinary partnerships with other classes. This class fulfills requirements 1 and 2 of the 5 College IR Certificate.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Associate Professor Mattiacci

How to handle overenrollment: Preference will be given to First-years and Sophomores.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on written work; emphasis on reading; independent research; oral presentations; group work; quantitative work.

Course Materials


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2025