POL 309-800, International Law
SUNY Oswego | Fall 2020
Dr. Craig Warkentin

"International law" refers to the rules and principles that collectively bind international actors in their relations with one another. POL 309 surveys the nature and purposes of international law; explores some of its central problems and political consequences; and covers a range of topics including treaties, international courts, jurisdiction, immunities, the law of the sea, human rights, the environment, and the use of force.


When you finish this course, I hope you'll be able to:

I'll do my best to help you achieve these goals, as well as others you might have for this class. Toward that end, I hope you'll help me create a class environment that's conducive to learning and consistent with SUNY Oswego's non-discrimination policy.


I expect you to attend class, participate actively, and make needed arrangements if you're absent. Participation is a graded assignment in POL 309 and, of course, you can't participate if you don't attend class. You'll also be held accountable for whatever happens in class, whether or not you attend.

Our class meetings will be conducted via Zoom and structured around group discussion. So in addition to simply attending, you'll need to turn on your video and responsibly manage your audio during class. (We need to see and hear each other to have productive discussions.) Please also keep in mind your (Oswego Forward) pledge to "show kindness, empathy and respect toward [yourself] and all members of the community."


We'll be using two textbooks for this class:

The first book is our main text, which we'll read cover to cover. The second is a reference tool for your written assignments.


Graded assignments for this class are:

Requirements and expectations for each assignment are posted on the assignments page.

Unless otherwise stated, written assignments must be typed and double-spaced; use a single standard font with 1-1.25" margins; and include citations formatted in the author-date style detailed in Chs. 18-19 of Turabian's Manual for Writers.

I'll be glad to discuss your work and provide feedback on any assignment at any time. Before you submit an assignment for grading, I can answer questions, discuss ideas, comment on a draft, etc. After you get an assignment returned, I can clarify why you received a particular grade, explore strategies for improvement, etc. But I'll only provide such feedback in a Slack or Zoom meeting (so we can discuss your work in real time).


The grading scale for all assignments is:

94-100% = A
90-93% = A-
87-89% = B+
84-86% = B
80-83% = B-
77-79% = C+
74-76% = C
70-73% = C-
67-69% = D+
64-66% = D
60-63% = D-
0-59% = E

Generally speaking, "outstanding" ("A" quality) work is more well informed, thoughtfully considered, analytically sophisticated, and clearly presented than "above average" ("B" quality) or "average" ("C" quality) work. Outstanding written assignments also should contain only a handful of honest writing mistakes and meet relevant structural requirements (including fully proper citation formatting).


SUNY Oswego is committed to Intellectual Integrity. Any form of intellectual dishonesty is a serious concern and therefore prohibited. As a student here, you're expected to fully adhere to the College Policy on Intellectual Integrity, according to which you're personally responsible "to assist in protecting the integrity of the degrees which this College grants by (1) not participating, either directly or indirectly, in intellectual dishonesty in any form, (2) actively discouraging intellectual dishonesty by others, and (3) reporting to the course instructor in a timely manner any known incidents of intellectual dishonesty."

Note: By submitting your first course assignment for grading, you formally acknowledge that you fully understand the college policy including relevant definitions, consequences, and procedures. If you cheat, plagiarize, or otherwise engage in proscribed behavior, I reserve the right to take any punitive action allowed by the university. I'll address incidents on a case-by-case basis, but you should expect to receive a failing grade in POL 309 for any infraction.


SUNY Oswego is committed to enhancing the safety and security of the campus for all its members. In support of this, faculty may be required to report their knowledge of certain crimes or harassment. Reportable incidents include harassment on the basis of sex or gender prohibited by Title IX and crimes covered by the Clery Act. For more information about Title IX protections, go to or contact the Title IX Coordinator, 405 Culkin Hall, 315.312.5604, For more information about the Clery Act and campus reporting, go to the University Police annual report:


I'll assume you're doing as well as you'd like to in this class unless you tell me otherwise. If you need some extra help, just let me know and I'll do my best to assist you; I'm glad to address any course-related questions or concerns you might have.

I won't be holding any on-campus office hours this semester, but I'll be available for online meetings and conversations. Feel free to email me, DM me on Slack, or schedule a Slack/Zoom meeting if needed.

My (online) office hours are 2:30-4:00 on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. But I'm often online for much of the day on weekdays, during which time you can catch me on Slack. I'm less available on Saturdays and Sundays, so don't expect a quick response to any weekend inquiries.

If you have a disabling condition that could interfere with your ability to successfully complete this class, please contact the Office of Accessibility Resources (155 Marano Campus Center, 315.312.3358,


Complete any assigned reading before coming to class on the indicated date. Keep a copy of the day's reading at hand during each class meeting.

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