International cooperation is puzzling. On one hand, it can seem impossibly hard; on the other, it is amazing that we have as much cooperation and coordination as we do. How should we approach these puzzles? In this course, we start from the premise that all social phenomena—including international relations—are the product of the actions and interactions of individuals.

Along the way, we will develop and utilize an analytical toolkit that emphasizes the ways that individual actors’ rationality, preferences, capabilities, calculations, and strategies lead to particular choices. We’ll explore the way these choices interact with the choices of other actors in a social setting to produce the outcomes we observe.

Spring 2015 Syllabus