Grading IR 101 Through Film: Another Bleg

Dec 17, 2009

Last time I taught “World Politics” as a GenEd class, I had my first-years write their midterm on their choice of Lord of the Rings, Independence Day or Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. I want to use the same concept this year but not the same films two years in a row. The assignment is to use the film as a hook to discuss four schools of thought in IR – realism, liberalism, constructivism, feminism; and make an argument about which one is best reflected in the film and why.

One of my TAs suggested BSG: Razor. I worry that Razor, and BSG in general, is too complex a story for such an assignment. Also, it’s more about civil-military affairs and military ethics than about statecraft or foreign policy per se. What do readers think? Thumbs up or thumbs down on Razor? Other ideas for recent blockbuster films that could be used for this exercise?

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.