European Integration and World Politics.

Course Description

European Integration and World Politics

Over the last half century, European governments have ceded an unprecedented range of powers to the European Union (EU), which is now widely recognized as the world most advanced experiment in governance beyond the level of the traditional nation-state.   This seminar seeks to uncover the political and economic dynamics of the integration process as it leads toward new forms of political order.  The motivating questions for the course include:

  • How can we explain the timing and contours of integration?
  • How is power distributed within the European Union (EU)?
  • How do these internal dynamics shape the EU’s role in as an external actor in world politics?

In surveying the empirical evidence, we also consider a range of theoretical perspectives that help us illuminate how the links  between social change and political authority are evolving as Europe devises new forms of governance.  After building a multilevel framework for analyzing these questions, the seminar examines specific examples of policy change and contestation including:  currency policy, financial reregulation, social policy, trade coordination and negotiation, and environmental protection.

The course is intended for students with some prior background either in international relations theory or in European politics.   Others may be admitted with the instructors’ approval.   Readings are focused on Europe, but interested students are welcome and are encouraged to apply frameworks from the course to other examples of regional integration.

Course requirements include active class participation, short memos on four sets of weekly readings, and a longer paper which may take the form of an empirical investigation, a research prospectus, or a review essay.