International Organizations (IOs)



International Organizations (IOs) (Download as PDF)

Course Syllabus

Spring 2013

Department of International Relations, SAU


Instructor: Murat Yesiltas, PhD


Office: A Blok Number 303

Office hours: after class and by appointment


Content, Structure and Objectives of the Course


This course introduces students to the theoretical frameworks, empirical cases, and the most important debates in the field of international organizations (IOs). The seminar is structured in three parts. First, we will focus on the different theoretical perspectives in International Relations theories for understanding international organizations. Second, the seminar will examine the effects of international organizations on world politics.  Third, we will look at examples of different kinds of international organizations and how they work “in the real world”.  It is definitely NOT a course describing the United Nations system or the bureaucratic structure of other international organizations.


This course will enable students: (a) to understand the existing logics, theories, concepts, and functions of international organizations; (b) to be able to appraise the political and legal dimensions of international organizations and; (c) to think critically and theoretically about the dynamic roles of international organizations in the world politics.


I have designed this course with two sections for each class which composes of lecture and discussion. The first section covers the normal lecture structured under the following course outline. In the discussion section, you will discuss about the topics according to the normal schedule. You will see the articles chosen from different journals, magazine and newspapers on the issue of theory, methodology and the cases regarding IOs. In this section, you have also opportunities to ask questions about the materials and your homework. We will study these two components simultaneously in week-by-week topics structured under the following course outline and reading schedule.



Student Responsibilities, Assignments and Grading


Active participation in the seminar discussions is required. Students are expected to attend every class having done the required chapter and readings in advance, and to participate actively in discussions. Be prepared for class by having done the readings and come ready to ask a question or two. You can bring in relevant newspapers or weekly news magazine articles that discuss applications of the week’s reading.


Each student will write a response paper based on topics that I provide and on a schedule. You will see the suggestion reading list for each week. Response papers should not summarize the reading but instead, it should focus on analyzing the strengths and weakness of the chosen reading(s) and highlight open research agendas that are motivated by the reading. The aim of the paper is to give you the opportunity to scrutinize readings and to connect theories and concepts from readings, lectures, and discussion of current world politics with regard to international institutions. All written assignments should be double-spaced pages with 12 point Times New Roman font and with page numbers. Addressing the following questions will help you write your response paper:

  1. a) What is the research question? Is it interesting or puzzling? How does it link to the broader IO literature?
  2. b) What theory does the author propose to answer the question? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the theoretical argument?




The Mid-term and Final Exams will be writing‐intensive, in‐class exams consisting of short answer, identifications and essay questions.


Participation (15 %)

Short Response Paper (15 %)

Mid-term exam  (20 %)

Final Exam (% 50)


Required Text:


Course Book


Margaret P. Karns and Karen A Mingst, International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance, Lynne Rienner Publisher, 2010


Background Readings


Kell-Kate S. Pease, International Organizations, International Edition, Pearson, 2012.


Ikenberry, G. John. 2001. After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars, Princeton: Princeton University Press.



Contacting the Instructor


All email communications must be professional and courteous. I will not respond to emails which are impolite, inappropriate, rude or unsigned. Be sure to sign your full name to the email and indicate which course you are in. If I do not know who sent me the email (using nick-name such as cruel, princess, prince etc.) I will not respond. I WILL NOT discuss grades through email, nor will I respond to requests concerning grades. NO ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGH EMAIL.


Academic Honesty and Plagiarism


I hold academic integrity in high esteem. All students should be aware of the University rules regarding academic honesty and plagiarism. Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Any student caught cheating on any assignment, regardless of the relative weight in the overall grade, will receive an E in the course, will be reported to the Department Committee. If you are unsure as to what constitutes academic honesty and plagiarism, please read a short information on the following link


Journals and Weekly Magazine on IOs


International Organization is a leading peer-reviewed journal that covers the entire field of international affairs. Subject areas include: foreign policies, international relations, international and comparative political economy, security policies, environmental disputes and resolutions, European integration, alliance patterns and war, bargaining and conflict resolution, economic development and adjustment, and international capital movements. You can access to the journal of International Organization via Sakarya University’s online data base.

The Journal of International Organizations Studies is a new, peer-reviewed journal that seeks to encourage the creation of a distinct field of international organizations studies. It aims to provide a window into the state of the art in international organizations research, and function as a platform for interdisciplinary dialog on international organizations.  The journal link here


The Review of International Organizations publishes original scientific contributions analyzing the operations and policies of agencies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the Group of 7, the World Bank, NATO, the World Health Organization, the European Court of Human Rights, the UN, and similar institutions. Its focus extends to governmental organizations, as well as international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Journal link here


Newsweek was an American weekly news magazine published in New York City from 1933 to 2012. Its print edition was distributed throughout the United States and internationally.


The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in London.


Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) six times annually.


Insight Turkey is an academic journal publishing peer-reviewed articles on Turkish politics since 1999.



Schedule of the Course and Readings


Week 1 Introduction to the course

Lecture: Content, structure and objective of the course.


No discussion class


Week 2 Understanding Global Governance

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 1, pp. 3-35.


  • No discussion class


Week 3 International Organizations: Theoretical Framework

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 2, pp.35-63.


Discussion class


  • Abbott, Kenneth W., and Duncan Snidal. (1998) “Why States Act Through Formal International Organizations.” Journal of Conflict Resolution. 42 (1): 3-32.


Week 4 Foundations of the Pieces of Global Governance

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 3, pp. 63-95.


Discussion class


  • Keohane, Robert O. 1988. International institutions: two approaches. International Studies Quarterly. 32 (4): 379- 396.


  • John Mearsheimer. 1995. The False Promise of International Institutions. International Security 19(3), pp. 5-49.


Week 5 The United Nations

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 4, pp. 95-145.


Discussion class


  • Friedrich Kratochwil and John Gerard Ruggie, International Organization: A State of the Art on an Art of the State, International Organization, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Autumn, 1986), pp. 753-775


  • Michael N. Barnett and Martha Finnemore, The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations, International Organization, Vol 53, Issue 04, 1999.



Week 6 Regional Organizations

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 5, pp. 145-219.


Discussion class


  • Christine Gray, “From Unity to Polarization: International Law and the Use of Force against Iraq”, European Journal of International Law, 13 (1). 2002, pp. 1-19.


  • Thompson, Alexander. (2006) “Coercion Through IOs: The Security Council and the Logic of Information Transmission.” International Organization. 60 (Winter): 1-34


Week 7 Non-state Actors

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 6, pp. 219-255.


Discussion class


  • Jeffry A. Frieden, “One Europe, One Vote? The Political Economy of European Union Representation in International Organizations”, European Union Politics, Vol 5 No 2, June 2004, pp. 261-276


  • Blaydes, Lisa. (2004) “Rewarding Impatience: A Bargaining and Enforcement Model of OPEC.” International Organization. 58 (Spring): 213-237.


Week 8 Exam Week

No class


Week 9 The Role of State in Global Governance

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 7, pp. 255-289.


Discussion class


  • Goldstein, Judith, Doug Rivers, and Michael Tomz. (2007) “Institutions in International Relations: Understanding the Effects of the GATT and the WTO on World Trade.” International Organization. 61: 37-67.


Week 10 Peace and Security

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 8, pp. 289-387.


Discussion class


  • Jana von Stein, “The International Law and Politics of Climate Change Ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol”, Journal of Conflict Resolutions, Vol 52 No 2, April 2008, pp. 243-268.


  • Betsill, Michele M. and Elisabeth Corell. 2001. NGO influence in international environmental negotiations: a framework for analysis. Global Environmental Politics. 1 (4): 65-85


  • Kelley, Judith. 2004. “International Actors on the Domestic Scene: Membership Conditionality and Socialization by International Institutions.” International Organization 58(3), pp. 425-457.



Week 11 Human Development and Economy

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 9, pp. 387-447.


Discussion class


  • Neumayer, Eric. 2005. Do international human rights treaties improve respect for human rights? Journal of Conflict Resolution. 49 (6): 1-29.


  • Gheciu, Alexandra. 2005. “Security Institutions as Agents of Socialization? NATO and the ‘New Europe’.” International Organization 59(4), pp. 973-1012


  • Pevehouse, Jon. 2002. “Democracy from the Outside-In? International Organizations and Democratization.” International Organization, 56: pp. 515-54.


Week 12 Human Rights

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 10, pp. 447-497.


IO Presentations


Week 13 Environment

  • Lecture: “Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 11, pp. 497-537.


IO Presentations


Week 14 The Future of Global Governance

  • Lecture: Karns and Mingst,, International Organizations, Chapter 12, 537-555.


IO Presentations