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Nuclear Croquet

By Anna Mann on January 07, 2013 12:00 AM

Rivalry. Dominance. Betrayal. Recurring themes both in international politics and, of course, croquet.

In POL 240 (Introduction to International Politics), Prof. Alex Montgomery [poli sci] gives students a taste of territorial expansion, temporary alliances of convenience, and operation without a central authority by engaging them in a game of croquet. "Within minutes, a group of generally pacifistic, cooperative Reedies turn into vigorously competing, aggressive countries," he says. "Often they adopt names characteristic of their behavior—North Korea and Iran are very popular. The feedback from this exercise has been overwhelmingly positive; it makes concrete completely abstract theories about the balance of power, hegemonic dominance, and alliance formation."

Here students from POL 240 observe as Sophie Naranjo-Rivera '14 takes a whack at disrupting a shaky alliance between two rival teams. (Professor Montgomery is holding the clipboard.)