Charles Lipson
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Charles Lipson

Professor of Political Science

University of Chicago

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Reading List, IR Graduate Exam
University of Chicago, Department of Political Science

The Exam Reading List (updated in July 2004) is composed by University of Chicago political science faculty specializing in international relations. I am administering the exam during 2004-5 and have coordinated the revised reading list, based on faculty recommendations.


The reading list has three components.

  • First, the main journals in the field. Students should familiarize themselves with important articles and debates, as they appear in the most prominent IR journals over the past four or five years.
  • Second, a selected list of each IR faculty member's own works. I have also included Alex Wendt's work on this faculty list since many current students have studied with him.
  • Finally, a general list of books and articles to read in three main areas: IR theory, security, and international political economy (excluding works by UC faculty and recent journal articles, since those are already covered in items I and II). These three sections parallel the three sections of the exam, on theory, security, and IPE.
Preparing for the Exam: What Should Your Read?
You are NOT expected to read all these books and journals. Quite the contrary. You should pick and choose among the important works, theories, and arguments.

While you should aim for broad coverage, it is even more important to give yourself time to reflect, to develop your own views and critique. The scholarly value of preparing for the exam is that you have a chance to think seriously about a range of key issues. Remember that the exam will not focus on minor issues or secondary articles. It will cover big theoretical arguments and big policy questions (and may cover any such issue in the field). If policy issues come up, it is crucial to understand their connection to theoretical issues.

These readings are intended as a useful guide, not a definitive list of the literature you should read. In fact, one of the most important aspects of preparing for the exam is to determine which issues galvanize the field and which debates are the most significant. YOU need to make that determination. That is an integral part of preparation for the exam. Your goal should be to select readings that probe these issues and then develop your own reasoned perspectives.

I. Prominent Journals in International Relations
Students should review leading journals over the past few years, focusing on important articles and debates
Main Journals
Additional Journals
Policy Journals
American Political Science Review European J. of Int. Relations Foreign Affairs
International Organization Journal of Conflict Resolution Foreign Policy
International Security Millennium International Affairs
International Studies Quarterly Review of International Studies National Interest
World Politics Security Studies Survival
II. Selected Works by UC Faculty in IR
Each faculty member has listed a few important pieces for students to read
Daniel Drezner
  • The Sanctions Paradox: Economic Statecraft and International Relations (Cambridge, 1999).
  • "Bargaining, Enforcement, and Multilateral Economic Sanctions: When is Cooperation Counterproductive?" International Organization 54 (Winter 2000), 73-102.
  • "Globalization and Policy Convergence." International Studies Review 3 (Spring 2001), 53-78.
Charles Lipson
  • Reliable Partners: How Democracies Have Made a Separate Peace (Princeton 2003).
  • "Why Are Some International Agreements Informal?" International Organization 45 (Autumn 1991), 495-538.
  • "International Cooperation in Economic and Security Affairs," World Politics, 37 (October 1984), 1-23.
John Mearsheimer
  • Tragedy of Great Power Politics (W.W. Norton, 2001).
  • "Back to the Future: Instability in Europe After the Cold War," International Security 15 (Summer 1990), 5-56.
  • "The False Promise of International Institutions," International Security 19 (Winter 1994/1995), 5-49.
Robert Pape
  • Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Cornell, 1996).
  • "The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism," APSR 73 (August 2003), 343-61.
  • "Costly International Moral Action: Britain's Sixty-Year Campaign against the Atlantic Slave Trade," co-authored with Chaim Kaufmann, International Organization 53 (Autumn 1999), 631-68.
  • "Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work, International Security 22 (Fall 1997), 90-136.
Duncan Snidal
  • "Rational Choice and International Relations," in Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse and Beth Simmons (eds.). Handbook of International Relations (Sage, 2002), 73-94.
  • "Hard and Soft Law in International Governance," co-authored with Kenneth Abbott, International Organization, 53 (Summer, 2000), 421-56.
  • "Why States Act through Formal International Organizations," co-authored with Kenneth Abbott, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 42 ( February 1998), 3-32.
  • Rational Design of International Institutions, ed. by Barbara Koremenos, Charles Lipson, and Duncan Snidal (Cambridge, 2004).
Alexander Wendt
  • Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge, 1999).
  • "Rationalism and Constructivism in International Relations Theory," co-authored with James Fearon, in Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse, and Beth Simmons, eds., Handbook of International Relations Theory (Sage, 2002).
  • "Why a World State is Inevitable," European Journal of International Relations 9 (2003), 491-542.
  • "On Constitution and Causation in International Relations," Review of International Studies 24 special issue (1998), 101-118.
  • "Anarchy Is What States Make of It", International Organization 46 (1992), 391-425.

III. IR Reading List in Three Parts

International Relations Theory
  • Robert Axelrod, Evolution of Cooperation (Basic, 1984).
  • David Baldwin, ed., Neorealism and Neoliberalism (Columbia, 1993).
  • Geoffrey Blainey, The Causes of War, 3rd ed. (Free Press, 1988).
  • Michael Brown et al., eds., Debating the Democratic Peace (MIT, 1996).
  • Hedley Bull, Anarchical Society (Columbia, 1995), either edition is fine.
  • Tom Christensen and Jack Snyder, "Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks," International Organization 44 (1990), 137-68.
  • Dale Copeland, The Origins of Major War (Cornell, 2001).
  • James Fearon, "Bargaining, Enforcement, and International Cooperation." International Organization 52 (Spring 1998), 269-306.
  • James Fearon, "Rationalist Explanations for War," International Organization 49 (Summer 1995), 379-414.
  • Martha Finnemore, National Interests in International Society (Cornell, 1996).
  • Robert Gilpin, Challenge of Global Capitalism (Princeton, 2000).
  • Robert Gilpin, US Power and the Multinational Corporation (Basic, 1975).
  • Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge, 1981).
  • Charles Glaser and Chaim Kaufmann, "What is the Offense-Defense Balance? International Security 22 (Spring 1998), 44-82.
  • Charles Glaser, "Realists as Optimists: Cooperation as Self-Help," International Security 19 (Winter 1994-95), 50-90.
  • Lloyd Gruber, Ruling the World (Princeton, 2000).
  • Stephen Haggard and Beth Simmons, "Theories of International Regimes," International Organization 41 (Summer 1987), 491-518.
  • Samuel Huntington, Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon & Schuster, 1996).
  • Alastair Iain Johnston, Cultural Realism (Princeton, 1998).
  • John Ikenberry, After Victory (Princeton, 2001).
  • John Ikenberry, ed., America Unrivalled (Cornell, 2002).
  • Robert Jervis, "Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma," World Politics 30 (1978), 167-214.
  • Peter Katzenstein, Culture of National Security (Columbia, 1996).
  • Margaret Keck and Katherine Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Cornell, 1998).
  • Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, Power and Interdependence, multiple editions.
  • Robert Keohane, After Hegemony (Princeton, 1984)
  • Robert Keohane, "The Demand for International Regimes" in Krasner, ed., International Regimes (Cornell, 1983).
  • Robert Keohane, ed., Neorealism and Its Critics (Columbia, 1986).
  • Friedrich Kratochwil and Rey Koslowski, "Understanding Change in International Politics: The Soviet Empire's Demise and the International System" International Organization 48 (Spring, 1994), 215-248.
  • Stephen D. Krasner, ed. International Regimes (Cornell, 1983).
  • Stephen D. Krasner, “Global Communications and National Power: Life on the Pareto Frontier,” World Politics 43 (April 1991), 336-56
  • Stephen D. Krasner, Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton, 1999).
  • David Lake and Robert Powell, Strategic Choice and International Relations (Princeton, 1999).
  • Jeffrey W. Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, "Is Anybody Still a Realist?" International Security 24 (Fall 1999), 5-55.
  • Helen Milner, Interests, Institutions, Information (Princeton, 1997).
  • Andrew Moravcsik, "Taking Preferences Seriously," International Organization 51 (Autumn 1997), 513-53.
  • Andrew Moravcsik, The Choice for Europe (Cornell, 1998)
  • Hans Morgenthau, Politics among Nations, multiple editions (earlier ones have a clearer overall argument).
  • James D. Morrow, ""Modelling the Forms of International Cooperation: Distribution Versus Information," International Organization 48 (1994), 387-423.
  • Kenneth Oye, ed., Cooperation Under Anarchy (Princeton, 1985)
  • Robert Powell, In the Shadow of Power (Princeton, 1999).
  • Richard Rosecrance, Rise of the Trading State (Perseus, 1986).
  • John Ruggie, Constructing the World Polity (Routledge, 1998).
  • Bruce Russett, Controlling the Sword (Harvard, 1990).
  • Bruce Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace (Princeton, 1993).
  • Paul Schroeder, "Historical Reality versus Neorealist Theory," International Security 19 (Summer 1994), 108-48.
  • Randall Schweller, "Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In,” International Security 19 (1994), 72-107.
  • Randall Schweller, "Neorealism's Status Quo Bias: What Security Dilemma?" Security Studies 5 (Spring 1996), 90-121.
  • Hendrik Spruyt, The Sovereign State and Its Competitors (Princeton, 1994).
  • Nina Tannenwald, "Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Normative Basis of Nuclear Non-Use," International Organization 53 (Summer 1999), 433-68.
  • Stephen Van Evera, Causes of War (Cornell, 1999).
  • Stephen Walt, Origins of Alliances (Cornell, 1990).
  • Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (McGraw-Hill, 1979).
  • Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State, and War (Columbia, 1965).
  • William Wohlforth, "The Stability of a Unipolar World," International Security 24 (Summer 1999), 5-41

Main IR Journals UC Faculty Readings IR Theory Readings Security Readings IPE Readings

  • Richard Betts, Nuclear Blackmail and Nuclear Balance (Brookings, 1987).
  • Michael Brown and Sean Lynn-Jones, eds, East Asian Security (MIT, 1996).
  • Michael Brown, et. al., eds, America's Strategic Choices (MIT, 1997).
  • Michael Brown and Sean Lynn-Jones, eds., Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict (MIT, 1997).
  • Elliot Cohen, Supreme Command (Free Press, 2002).
  • Richard A. Falkenrath, et. al., America's Achilles' Heel (MIT, 1998).
  • James Fearon and David Laitin,"Explaining Interethnic Cooperation," APSR 90 (December 1996), 715-35.
  • Samuel Huntington, Soldier and the State (Vintage, 1957).
  • Robert Jervis, The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution (Cornell, 1989).
  • Chaim Kaufmann, "Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil War," International Security 20 (Spring 1996), 136-75.
  • Barry Posen, Sources of Military Doctrine (Cornell, 1984).
  • Daryl Press, "The Myth of Air Power in the Persian Gulf War," International Security 26 (Fall 2001), 5-44.
  • Walter Reich, ed., Origins of Terrorism (Cambridge, 1990).
  • Scott Sagan and Kenneth Waltz, Spread of Nuclear Weapons 2nd ed. (Norton, 2003).
  • Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence (Yale, 1966).
  • Jack Snyder, Myths of Empire (Cornell, 1991).
  • Stephen Van Evera, Causes of War (Cornell, 1999).
  • John Warden, "Employing Air Power in the Twenty-first Century," in Richard Schultz and Robert Pfaltzgraff, eds., The Future of Air Power in the Aftermath of the Gulf War (Air University Press, 1992) at Regenstein: UG633.F860 1992.


    UC Students taking the exam have also compiled two unofficial lists as supplements (summer 2004).

Unofficial List, Security studies: highly recommended (UC student list 2004)

  • Baldwin, David. 1997. "The Concept of Security." Review of International Studies 23:5- 26.
  • Brodie, Bernard. 1959. "The Wish for Total solutions: Preventive War, Pre-emptive Attack, and Massive Retaliation." In Strategy in the Missile Age.
  • Buzan, Barry, Ole Wæver, and Jaap de Wilde. 1998. Security: A New Framework for Analysis. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  • Campbell, David. 1998. Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity. Rev. Ed. ed. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Copeland, Dale C. 1996. "Neorealism and the Myth of Bipolar Stability: Toward a New Dynamic Realist Theory of Major War." Security Studies 5 (3):29-89.
  • Knudsen, Olaf F. 2001. "Post-Copenhagen Security Studies." Security Dialogue 32 (3):355-368.
  • Levy, Jack. 1985. "Theories of General War." World Politics 37 (3):344-374.
  • Ruggie, John G. 1997. "Past as Prologue? Interests, Identity, and American Foreign Policy." International Security 21 (4):89-125.
  • Sagan, Scott D. 1996/97. "Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons? Three Models in Search of a Bomb." International Security 21 (3):54-86.
  • Sagan, Scott D. 1994. "The Perils of Proliferation: Organization Theory, Deterrence Theory, and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons." International Security 18 (4):66- 107.
  • Van Evera, Steven. 1998. "Offense, Defense, and the Causes of War." International Security 22 (4):5-43.
  • Waltz, Kenneth N. 1990. "Nuclear Myths and Political Realities." American Political Science Review 84 (3):731-745.

Unofficial List, Security studies: recommended (UC student list 2004)

  • Brooks, Stephen G. 1999. "The Globalization of Production and the Benefits of Conquest." Journal of Conflict Resolution 43 (5):646-670.
  • Cha, Victor. 2002. "North Korea's Weapons of Mass Destruction: Badges, Shields of Swords?" Political Science Quarterly 117 (2):209-30.
  • Christensen, Thomas J. 2001. "Posing Problems Without Catching Up: China's Rise and Challenges for U.S. Security Policy." International Security 25 (4):5-40.
  • Glaser, Charles, and Steve Fetter. 2001. "National Missile Defense and the Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy." International Security 26 (1):40-92.
  • Jervis, Robert. 1979/80. "Why Nuclear Superiority Doesn't Matter." Political Science Quarterly 94 (4):617-633.
  • Jervis, Robert. 2002. "Theories of War in an Era of Leading-Power Peace: Presidential Address, American Political Science Association, 2001." American Political Science Review 96 (1):1-14.
  • Kang, David. 1994/95. "Preventive War and North Korea." Security Studies 4 (2):330-364.
  • Layne, Christopher. 1997. "From Preponderance to Offshore Balancing." International Security 22 (1):86-124.
  • Levy, Jack. 1987. "Declining Power and the Preventive Motivation for War." World Politics 40:82-107.
  • Mastanduno, Michael. 1997. "Preserving the Unipolar Moment: Realist Theories and U.S. Grand Strategy after the Cold War." International Security 21 (4):49-88.
  • McSweeney, Bill. 1996. "Identity and Security: Buzan and the Copenhagen School." Review of International Studies 22 (1):81-93.
  • Posen, Barry R. 1997. "US Nuclear Policy in a Nuclear-Armed World: What if Iraq Had Had Nuclear Weapons." Security Studies 6 (3):1-31.
  • Posen, Barry R., and Andrew L. Ross. 1996/97. "Competing Visions for U.S. Grand Strategy." International Security 21 (3):5-53.
  • Roy, Denny. 1994. "Hegemon on the Horizon? China's Threat to East Asian Security." International Security 19 (1):149-168.
  • Shambaugh, David. 1996. "Containment or Engagement of China? Calculating Beijing's Responses." International Security 21 (2):180-209.
  • Walt, Stephen M. 1991. "The Renaissance of Security Studies." International Studies Quarterly 35 (2):211-239.

Main IR Journals UC Faculty Readings IR Theory Readings Security Readings IPE Readings


International Political Economy
  • Jeffry Frieden, "Sectoral Conflict and U.S. Foreign Economic Policy, 1914-1940," International Organization 42 (Winter 1988), 59-90.
  • Robert Gilpin, Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order (Princeton, 2001).
  • Judith Goldstein and Robert Keohane, eds., Ideas and Foreign Policy (Cornell, 1993).
  • John Goodman and Louis Pauly, "The Obsolescence of Capital Controls?" World Politics 46 (October 1993), 50-82.
  • Peter Haas, ed., Knowledge, Power, and International Policy Coordination (University of South Carolina Press, 1997).
  • Michael J. Hiscox, International Trade and Political Conflict: Commerce, Coalitions, and Mobility (Princeton, 2002).
  • Miles Kahler and David Lake, eds., Governance in a Global Economy (Princeton, 2003).
  • Peter Katzenstein, Robert Keohane, and Stephen Krasner, eds., Exploration and Contestation in the Study of World Politics (MIT, 1999).
  • Stephen D. Krasner, "Global Communications and National Power: Life on the Pareto Frontier," World Politics 43 (April 1991), 336-366.
  • Stephen D. Krasner, "State Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade," World Politics 28 (April 1976), 317-347.
  • Andrew Moravcsik, The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht (Cornell, 1998).
  • John Gerard Ruggie, "International Regimes, Transactions, and Change: Embedded Liberalism in the Postwar Economic Order," International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), 379-415.
  • Beth Simmons, Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years (Princeton, 1995)
  • Arthur Stein, "The Hegemon's Dilemma: Great Britain, the United States, and the International Economic Order," International Organization 38 (Spring 1984), 355-386.
  • Jacob Viner, "Power Versus Plenty as Objectives of Foreign Policy in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," World Politics 1 (October 1948), 1-29.

Main IR Journals UC Faculty Readings IR Theory Readings Security Readings IPE Readings
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