Intro to IR: A Playlist

It’s that time of year again.  Students are making their way back to campus and faculty are sprucing up course syllabi and lecture notes.  I’m getting back into the swing of the semester by starting with one of my favorite tasks:  developing my Intro to IR playlist.  I’ve made a habit of playing a song or two before each session of my 200-person introductory international relations class that is (loosely) related to the day’s theme.  I use the songs to wake my students up and give them something on which to focus while they settle into the lecture hall.  I’ve also had more than one chat with a student about the song of the day develop into more course-relevant conversations throughout the semester, so it serves to make me a bit more accessible, as well.  Below is this year’s partial list.  As you can see, the songs on my playlist generally fall into three categories:  songs I listened to in middle school; angsty songs most often heard on repeat at your local coffee shop; and upbeat, current top-40 pop songs to balance things out.  These are not necessarily the songs I would chose in a pop culture and international politics class (although I want to teach that at some point) but instead are pretty easy, “come on in and get settled” songs.  That said, I’m looking to freshen up my selections this semester.   What do you recommend?


 Intro to IR Playlist

Realism:  War, “Why Can’t We Be Friends”;  U2, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”

Liberalism: Florence and the Machines, “Dog Days are Over”; Green Day, “21 Guns”

Constructivism: Beatles, “Imagine”; Adele, “Rumor Has It”

Security (Causes of War):  Decemberists, “Calamity Song”; Cranberries, “Zombie”

Use of Force, CT & COIN: Kanye, “Blood Diamonds”; Toby Keith, “American Soldier”

IPE: DMB, “Seek Up”; Lorde, “Royals”

IOs: Beyonce, “Run the World”; Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the Love”

Human Rights: Gaga, “Born this Way”; Ke$ha, “We R Who We R”

International Environmental Politics and Tech: Joni Mitchell, “Yellow Taxi”; Belle and Sebastian, “I Want the World to Stop”

US Hegemony & Global Challenges: Tom Jobim, “Girl from Ipanema”; Miley Cyrus, “Party in the USA”