This list is meant as a guide only. Students may take any core course as an IR elective course if they have satisfied all other required courses. Available courses vary by semester.
Core/Elective Core Courses
Quantitative Analysis I (INTRL-GA 1120)
Qualitative Analysis I (INTRL-GA 1220)
Regional & Comparative Politics (INTRL-GA 1450)
Global & International History (INTRL-GA 1600)
International Relations (INTRL-GA 1700)
The World Economy (INTRL-GA 1900)
Writing for International Affairs (INTRL-GA 3992)
Master's Thesis Seminar (INTRL-GA 4000, 2 points)
IR Elective Courses
Populism in Latin America (INTRL-GA 1701)
The Ukraine Conflicts - Imperialism, Regionalism, and International Politics (INTRL-GA 1706)
East Asian Political Economy (INTRL-GA 1707)
Democracy and its Discontents - Southeast Asia and the World (INTRL-GA 1708)
Global Environmental Governance (INTRL-GA 1710)
Political Economy of Global Capitalism (INTRL-GA 1731)
International Relations Research Methods (INTRL-GA 1732)
International Relations Research Methods for Fieldwork (INTRL-GA 1732)
International Governance (INTRL-GA 1736)
International Law (INTRL-GA 1737)
Humanitarian Intervention (INTRL-GA 1740)
International Political Development (INTRL-GA 1741)
Arab-Israeli Conflict (INTRL-GA 1742)
National Security Strategies of Countries in the Middle East (INTRL-GA 1743)
Global Finance (INTRL-GA 1744)
Political Opinion Writing (INTRL-GA 1732)
US Foreign Policy (INTRL-GA 1748)
Political Economy of Institutions (INTRL-GA 1749)
Natural Resource Conflict (INTRL-GA 1750)
The US in the World (INTRL-GA 1751)
Terrorism & Counterterrorism (INTRL-GA 1752)
Diplomacy in Theory and Action (INTRL-GA 1753)
UN and Global Governance: From Keeping to Building Peace (INTRL-GA 1754)
International Security (INTRL-GA 1755)
Middle East Politics (INTRL-GA 1756)
Asia-Pacific International Relations (INTRL-GA 1759)
Political Economy of International Trade (INTRL-GA 1761)
Transitional Justice (INTRL-GA 1762)
Foundations for Diplomacy (INTRL-GA 1763)
Strategic Planning - A Hands-On Workshop (INTRL-GA 1768)
Country Risk Analysis (INTRL-GA 1773)
Inequality and Conflict (INTRL-GA 1774)
Immigration & Transnationalism (INTRL-GA 1778)
Nation Building (INTRL-GA 1779)
State Failure & State Building in Comparative Perspective (INTRL-GA 1780)
Topics (INTRL-GA 1782)
Multinational Corporations (INTRL-GA 1784)
Human Rights, Arts & Memory (INTRL-GA 1786)
Norms & Law in Modern War (INTRL-GA 1787)
Conflict, Justice & Human Rights (INTRL-GA 1788)
U.S. Policy in the Asia Pacific (INTRL-GA 1792)
Nationalism and Ethnicity (INTRL-GA 1794)
The European Union: Order & Tension (INTRL-GA 1796)
South Asian Politics & War (INTRL-GA 1797)
Political Risk & Prediction (INTRL-GA 1798)
Women's Human Rights (INTRL-GA 1799)
International Development (INTRL-GA 1800)
International Organizations: Law & Diplomacy (INTRL-GA 2001)
Reading & Research (INTRL-GA 3991)
Topics in IR Courses
G-20: Problems and Issues in Global Governance (INTRL-GA 1731)
Intellectual Origins of IR Theories (INTRL-GA 1731)
New World Orders (INTRL-GA 1731)
Planning for Chaos in the Middle East (INTRL-GA 1731)
Rethinking Security in the 21st Century (INTRL-GA 1731)
Risk and Resilience in the Global Economy (INTRL-GA 1731)
Russian Politics since 1991 (INTRL-GA 1731)
Transitions to Democracy in Europe (INTRL-GA 1731)
US Persian Gulf Policy (INTRL-GA 1731)
Gender, Race, and International Relations (INTRL-GA 1731)
U.S.-Latin American Relations - WWII to the Present (INTRL-GA 1731)
Citizenship in a Digital Age (INTRL-GA 1731)
Refugees, Forced Migration, and Displacement (INTRL-GA 1731)
Geopolitics of Global Energy (INTRL-GA 1731)
Critique of Post-Mao Chinese Culture, 1978-2018 (INTRL-GA 1731)
Crisis of Europe (INTRL-GA 1731)
Great Powers: Conflict and Cooperations (INTRL-GA 1731)
Nuclear Politics: Understanding the Bomb (INTRL-GA 1731)
International Human Rights Law (INTRL-GA 1731)
Decolonizing the Digital (INTRL-GA 1731.006 Crosslisted with CEH-GA 1018.004)
Deglobalization and the Problem of World Order (INTRL-GA 1731.007)
Sociology of the Middle East (INTRL-GA 1731.009)
Analyzing Intelligence: Foundational Skills (INTRL-GA 1732)
U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America (INTRL-GA 1731.003)
The Crisis of Political Representation (INTRL-GA 1731.008)
From Propaganda to Reconciliation: Global Perspectives on Media and Conflict (INTRL-GA 1731.011, crosslisted with CEH-GA 1018.005)
Environmental Justice and climate Change (INTRL-GA 1731.002)
Core/Elective Core Courses
Quantitative Analysis I - Elective Core
INTRL-GA 1120. 4 points.
This course introduces students to basic data analysis, using cross-sectional data sets that are of particular interest in international studies. Emphasis is placed on multivariate regression techniques and the learning of such techniques through direct experience.
Qualitative Analysis I - Elective Core
INTRL-GA 1220. 4 points.
This course is designed to introduce graduate students in International Relations and Politics to a wide array of methodological approaches and available tools for qualitative research. The course starts with an overview of broader debates around the philosophy of science and the possible demarcation between history and social science. It then moves on to discuss the epistemological foundations underlying the qualitative/quantitative divide in social sciences and whether methodological eclecticism is possible and desirable. After assessing the role of theory and concept formation in qualitative research, the focus then shifts to more specific questions around research design and methods. We discuss the merits and problems of single case studies and small-N comparative research designs, as well as historical, interpretive and critical approaches. In the last third of the course, we explore some of the specific tools of collecting and analyzing qualitative evidence. Though not an exhaustive list, we cover interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, discourse and content analysis, and program evaluation. The course runs as a seminar with active student participation and assignments to encourage hands-on learning and ends with student presentations on their respective research proposals.
Regional & Comparative Politics - Elective Core
INTRL-GA 1450. 4 points.
This is an introductory level graduate course at the crossroads of international relations, comparative politics and area studies. Its aim is to introduce students of international relations to the tools and concepts commonly used in the latter two fields and to promote interdisciplinary cross-pollination.
Global & International History - Core
INTRL-GA 1600. 4 points.
This course will introduce students to the historical analysis of global interactions during the early modern, modern, and contemporary periods. Understanding of today’s international arena requires a well-grounded, conceptually rich understanding of history. The course seeks, in part, to provide historical perspectives on ‘globalization’ and other contemporary global, international and transnational developments. It will focus especially on the history of international order and structures of global power. Topics examined include war and other forms of political violence; the formation and interaction of empires; imperial expansion and decline; the evolution of the modern state and states systems (including the European states system and its global spread); the proliferation of “nation-states” during the 20th century; the development of international law; and the emergence of international organizations, transnational civil society organizations (aka “NGOs”), and multinational corporations. World historical patterns of long-distance trade, economic change, human migrations, and cross-cultural exchange will also be examined. The course does not aim to present a comprehensive world history but introduces themes and analytical approaches that are foundational to a more advanced study of international interactions.
International Relations - Core
INTRL-GA 1700. 4 points.
This course offers a graduate-level introduction to theories of international politics and to some of the important aspects of international politics. The class explores a variety of debates and findings in the subfield of international relations. Coverage does not include every issue and approach, but it addresses the core problems and perspectives of animating mainstream IR in the United States today. Students can expect to develop a sufficient understanding of the subfield to prepare for further study and specialization while advancing their knowledge of the substantive issues under consideration.
The World Economy - Elective Core
INTRL-GA 1900. 4 points.
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the core concepts, issues, and theories of the world economy. The focus will be on how changes in the world economy affect politics within and among states. Throughout the course, we will be taking a political economy view: that economic policy is the outcome of bargaining between interest groups in the political arena. As such politics and economics are never far apart—the economics identifies the potential gainers and losers; the politics determine who wins the contest. Our objective is to gain a thorough understanding of the politics of international trade, international monetary relations, international finance, and globalization.
IR Required Courses
Writing for International Affairs
INTRL-GA 3992. 2 points.
This course is designed to help students write at an expert level in the field of International Relations and is required for all MA in IR students. This course enhances and refines students’ critical writing and reading skills for the study, and practice, of International Relations. Students will extend their abilities to write clearly, coherently, and fluently by incorporating analysis into their writing. Vocabulary, outlining, summary/synthesis, and critiquing skills will be reinforced. Students will apply college standards of proper rhetoric by choosing subjects and modes appropriate for the intended audience and purpose. Each student will choose a topic for a major research paper that will require careful analysis of readings and implementation of documentation techniques. Students will demonstrate basic principles of unity, coherence, and support in essay writing with applied principles of revision through prewriting, outlining, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.
Master's Thesis Seminar
INTRL-GA 4000. 2 points
Prerequisites: Completion of all course work, or on track to complete all course work, during the semester in which enrolled in course; approved master’s thesis proposal. Permission code required to enroll in the course. Please email the instructor of the course with your thesis topic, description, and proposed thesis supervisor.
IR Elective Courses
International Relations Research Methods
INTRL-GA 1732. 2 points. Asli Peker.
This 2-credit course prepares students to engage in international relations research. The course aims to give students a common, basic foundation in the main research methods and approaches relevant to international relations, with additional attention paid to research design and selected primary source material. The knowledge and skills developed in this course will help prepare students for the M.A. thesis research and will also be useful to those wishing to engage in further graduate study or research-oriented jobs. The course introduces students to multiple tools and approaches, but students will be able to tailor their work in the course to the needs of their intended thesis research. Students will draft a literature review and MA thesis proposal in support of their planned thesis research.
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International Relations Research Methods for Fieldwork
INTRL-GA 1732. 2 points. Lara Nettelfield.
This 2-credit course prepares students to engage in international relations research. The course aims to give students a common, basic foundation in the main research methods and approaches relevant to international relations, with additional attention paid to research design and selected primary source material. The knowledge and skills developed in this course will help prepare students for the M.A. thesis research and will also be useful to those wishing to engage in further graduate study or research-oriented jobs. The course introduces students to multiple tools and approaches, but students will be able to tailor their work in the course to the needs of their intended thesis research. Students will draft a literature review and MA thesis proposal in support of their planned thesis research. They will also complete a protocol for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in support of human subjects research. By application only. Please send an email to Prof. Nettelfield : firstname.lastname@example.org.
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INTRL-GA 1736. 4 points. James Hsiung
Cross-listed with POL-GA 2736.001.
International governance is a phenomenon made distinct by the “anarchic” nature (i.e., the absence of a world government) of our Westphalian system; and international regimes and institutions are related to, and indispensable for, international governance. This course approaches international governance both as (a) an emergent focus of research in the international relations (IR) field, and (b) an explication of the utility of international regimes and institutions in achieving public goods – e.g., the orderly exchange of values, and maintenance of peace & stability -- through collective action in lieu of unilateral self-help. For more information, please contact Professor James Hsiung (email@example.com).
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INTRL-GA 1737. 4 points. James Hsiung
Cross-listed with POL-GA 2900
This course explores the interplay of law and politics in international relations. Too often the role of international law in the relations of nations is neglected, under-appreciated, or even vilified. If discussed at all, international law is often treated as a static set of “rules” governing (or being broken by) states in the course of their mutual relations. Our approach, following the tradition of Myres McDougal (of the “New Haven School”), postulates that international law is a decision-making process characterized by “functional duality” and “competing claims and mutual tolerances.” As such, it is both an input in foreign-policy making and, in turn, is influenced and [re]shaped by state practice (i.e., foreign-policy behavior). For more information, please contact Professor James Hsiung (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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INTRL-GA 1740. 4 points. Anna Di Lellio
Whether the starvation of Yemen is intentional or not, the civil war in the Arabic Peninsula is yet another reminder of how conflict criminally targets civilians, as it did in the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, while the carnage in Syria continues to shock the world. However, states and non-state actors that are perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing, are not held responsible for their actions. What does this mean for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as an organizing principle for dealing with mass atrocities? Is the international consensus that R2P gathered at the 2005 United Nations Summit of world leaders, and the General Assembly with Resolution 63/308, only a memory of the past? Is the intervention in Libya a precedent or an outlier? In this course, we will look at R2P not just as a static norm, but as the process by which the norm emerged and evolved. Understanding its acceptance and when, how, and where it is accepted, matters to understanding its future as well as providing a roadmap for its application.
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International Political Development
INTRL-GA 1741. 4 points. Asli Peker
For a long time, the questions that drove the debates and practices of development have focused on the economy, and more specifically on economic growth: Why are some nations rich and others poor? What could be done to put the poor nations on a path toward economic development? How could aid be utilized to stimulate growth? However, in the last couple of decades, there emerged an increasing recognition that development needs to be understood as more than economic growth, and a subsequent shift of focus to its social and political dimensions. Taking its cue from this shift, two related themes run through the material to be covered in this course: the relationship between politics and economic development and the dynamics of political development. After a critical assessment of the discourse and history of development, we will discuss topics such as the role of the state in the economy, strong versus weak and failed states and state-building efforts, the effect of political institutions and legal frameworks in determining policy choices and driving economic growth, the relationship between democracy and development, dynamics of democratic transitions and democracy promotion, the civil society, political accountability, transparency, and the anti-corruption agenda, and the debates around good governance.
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INTRL-GA 1742. 4 points. Charles Freilich
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been at the center of regional and international attention for some eight decades, defying repeated attempts at resolution, both military and diplomatic. The course provides an in-depth survey of the historical evolution of the conflict and substance of the various peace negotiations to date, including the reasons for their failure, as a basis for understanding the parties' positions and the central issues dividing them today. This survey then serves as the basis for the primary focus of the course, the potential means of resolving the conflict. Most of the course will be devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, part to Israel and Syria and Lebanon. The issues will be presented in the national security and domestic political contexts of each of the different players.
As a contemporary policy-oriented course, students will assume the role of senior decision-makers from the different parties and draft “policy papers” to their heads of state, elucidating the various issues and recommending means of resolving them. In addition to learning the complexities of the issues, students will also deal with the challenging process of drafting real-world policy papers and recommendations. The course is designed for those with a general interest in the Middle East, especially those interested in national security issues, strategy and decision making, students of comparative politics, and future practitioners.
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National Security Strategies of Countries in the Middle East
INTRL-GA 1743. 4 points. Charles Freilich
At the crossroads of three continents, the Middle East is home to many diverse peoples, with ancient and proud cultures, in varying stages of political and socio-economic development, oftentimes in conflict. Now in a state of historic flux, the Arab Spring and subsequent upheaval, have transformed the Middle Eastern landscape, with great consequence for the national security strategies of the countries of the region and the international community. The course surveys the national security challenges facing the region's primary players today (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinians, and Turkey) and how the convolutions of recent years have affected them. Unlike many Middle East courses, which focus on US policy in the region, the course concentrates on the regional players' perceptions of the threats and opportunities they face and on the strategies they have adopted to deal with them.
As a contemporary policy-oriented course, students will assume the role of senior decision-makers from the different countries and draft “policy papers” to their heads of state, elucidating the various issues and recommending means of resolving them. In addition to learning the complexities of the issues, students will also deal with the challenging process of drafting real-world policy papers and recommendations. The course is designed for those with a general interest in the Middle East, especially those interested in national security issues, students of comparative politics, and future practitioners.
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Global Finance: Political, Economic, & Managerial Perspectives
INTRL-GA 1744. 4 points. Giuseppe Ammendola
This course looks at international finance and its crucial connections with international business practices and with the policy challenges of economic globalization and interdependence.
The course examines the roles that governments and international institutions play in the global financial integration process both in terms of regulation and supervision. We shall also look at the impact on global financial markets by a plurality of participants---central banks and treasuries; financial intermediaries and foreign exchange dealers, both bank and non-bank; individuals and firms engaged in commercial and investment activities; and speculators and arbitrageurs. The emphasis will be on the identification of key ideas, theories, techniques, and strategies underlying the behavior of all players.
Through lectures, in-class training, discussions, and the examination of case studies, students will deepen their understanding of some of the most powerful actors and forces in the world economy and the current debates concerning them. More broadly, the course draws lessons from political science, economics, business, law, history, sociology, and psychology in order to understand the multiple challenges faced by decision-makers not just in the private but also in the public and nonprofit sectors. Overall the teaching is informed by the sharing with the students of insights derived from multiple disciplines, cultures, and languages to help them gain valuable real-world skills.
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Political Opinion Writing
INTRL-GA 1732.003. 2 points. Maha Hosain Aziz
You are graduate students in international relations or political science. But do you have political opinions that are more enlightened than the average person talking current affairs? This course will make sure you do, with instruction and close guidance from Prof Aziz, a former Businessweek columnist, CNN and Observer contributor and Huffington Post WorldPost blogger who now contributes to Newsweek and Time. More importantly, this course will help you position yourself as a budding public intellectual on major issues in global affairs, at a sensitive time when we are in need of guidance to understand the world better. Initially, you will study political opinion writing in different media, taking a critical view of the content and writing style of published writers (including Prof Aziz’s work). You will also read academic literature about writing techniques and the ability of the media to produce unbiased opinion and even influence policy. But the bulk of the course will give you the chance to create well-researched, structured and nuanced opinion pieces on timely political issues that go beyond the obvious and reflect your advanced research degrees, including academic theory. These pieces may be explanatory, predictive or offer a strategy. A class project will include an opinion piece with Prof Aziz on a timely topic with the goal of getting published.
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US Foreign Policy
INTRL-GA 1748. 4 points. Various.
U.S. Foreign Policy is how the United States interacts with other nation states, multilateral institutions and non-state actors to advance its security and economic interests. The U.S. government has developed a complex national security structure since 1945 to formulate, agree upon, and execute policies to advance its perceived interests. It has created tools to implement and advance its policies and achieve its goals. Those tools include military, intelligence, assistance and public diplomacy. This class focuses on U.S. foreign relations since 1945 and examines how the Washington national security structures function, the role of the president and congress, and will consider the weaknesses and strengths of that interagency process in policy implementation. This course will take a variety of approaches to analyzing each case while being guided overall by empirical analysis of what happened, why it happened, and how it shaped later policy. Given the vast scope of U.S. foreign policy, we can only look in depth at some foreign policy issues, how they were addressed, what tools were used to deal with them, and how successful they were in advancing U.S. interests. The class will conclude by examining current U.S. foreign policy challenges. The class is organized both thematically and regionally – and is sometimes not strictly chronological.
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Political Economy of Institutions
INTRL-GA 1749. 4 points. Muserref Yetim
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the newly emerging field of the political economy of institutions. The focus will be on institutions, their origins, evolution, purpose, and tendencies to change or stabilize. Institutions are fundamentally important for determining how both exogenous and endogenous challenges affect policy changes at both the domestic and international levels. They thus hold the key to our understanding of the conditions shaping the choices of individuals, groups, and societies and the variations in their political capacities and interests. Institutions can be formal or informal, implicit, or explicit in all economic and political models. The scope of our study will go beyond the effect of institutions and the implications of different forms of institutions to explain why and how institutions are structured in certain ways and why some institutions survive and others don’t.
The course is divided into four parts. Part I provides an overview of definitional, conceptual, theoretical issues, and an introduction to the origin and role of institutions in society. Part II will focus on the role of economic and political institutions in long-term economic growth. Part III moves the debate to the role of institutions in the exploitation of natural resources and introduces various property regimes. In Part IV, the role institutions in providing order and stability and alleviating coordination, commitment, and principle-agent problems will be the main focus of inquiry. In this part, we will also explore the issues of corruption, moral hazard, and self-enforcing constitutions/democracies.
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Natural Resource Conflict
INTRL-GA 1750. 4 points. Muserref Yetim
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the core concepts, processes, theories, and issues of natural resource conflicts. The focus throughout this course will be on divergent theoretical approaches to natural resource conflicts at three levels of analysis: domestic, international, and global. Our objective is to gain an understanding of the nature of resource-based conflicts and to acquire the necessary tools and knowledge to tackle the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The course is organized around the division of natural resources into three different categories: 1) non-renewable resources (such as oil, strategic minerals, and gems); 2) renewable (such as water, forest, and fisheries); 3) and global common-pool resources (the air, the oceans, forests, and fisheries). We will consider the various ways each category presents its own challenges and engenders different types of conflicts at the state, international, and global levels.
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The US in the World: Historical Perspectives on Power, Institutions, and Global Change
INTRL-GA 1751. 4 points. John Fousek
This course examines the history of US foreign relations in a global context, primarily from the 1890s to the present. It aims to provide a historical understanding of the US position in today’s global arena, including debates around the nature of and challenges to US international ‘leadership’ or ‘hegemony.’ Themes include the long-term ascendancy of the US as a global power; domestic sources of US power; the development of state apparatus and other institutions concerned with foreign policy and national security; the role of individual leaders; the uses of American power, including the role of military force, cultural influence and the shaping of international institutions; interventionism, war, and peacemaking; and the political and economic consequences of US foreign policy for the United States and other regions. The Cold War and its legacy receive substantial attention. The “global war on terror,” from 2001 to the present, will be discussed in a broader historical perspective.
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Terrorism & Counterterrorism
INTRL-GA 1752. 4 points. Stuart Gottlieb
This course examines the origins and evolution of modern terrorism, challenges posed by terrorist groups to states and to the international system, and strategies employed to confront and combat terrorism. We assess a wide variety of terrorist organizations and explore the psychological, socioeconomic, political, and religious causes of terrorist violence past and present. We also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of various counterterrorism strategies, from the point of view of efficacy as well as ethics, and look into ways in which the new threat of global terrorism might impact the healthy functioning of democratic states. The course is divided into two parts. Part I focuses on the terrorist threat, including the nature, roots, objectives, tactics, and organization of terrorism and terrorist groups. Part II addresses the issue of counterterrorism, including recent American efforts to combat terrorism, the strengths and weaknesses of counterterrorism tools and instruments, the issue of civil liberties and democratic values in confronting terrorism, and international strategies and tactics.
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Diplomacy in Theory & Action
INTRL-GA 1753. 4 points. Robert Dry
Diplomacy has been called 'the engine of international relations'. Foreign policy can succeed or fail depending on the quality of a country's diplomacy. Yet, non-diplomats often misunderstand the role and power of diplomacy. That is unfortunate because diplomacy is a primary instrument of national power and in many contexts can be much more effective than the application of coercion. This course provides students with an understanding of the institution of diplomacy - where it comes from; how it functions; and how it is evolving. Some scholars equate negotiation with diplomacy and while it is the case that diplomats continually engage in negotiations of one form or another, this course is not intended to serve as a stand-alone course on negotiation. Nor is it a course on diplomatic history. Students who work hard on the required readings, short papers, and presentations will not only learn what diplomats do, but students should also be prepared to undertake service as a national diplomat or an international civil servant. As a matter of fact, the skills emphasized in this seminar will further students' understanding of international relations and advance skills needed in almost any international career.
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UN and Global Governance: From Keeping to Building Peace
INTRL-GA 1754. 4 points. Patty Chang
This course examines how the United Nations builds peace during and in the aftermath of violent armed conflict. International interventions have increased exponentially since the end of the Cold War, and this course begins with an introduction to fundamentals: theories on the nature of conflict, the types of peace interventions, and the obstacles in establishing durable peace. The course then explores a survey of the major contemporary UN peace operations, stabilization, and peacebuilding missions, focusing on critical intersecting themes as they relate to the broader goal of supporting sustainable peace and rebuilding war-affected states. This course pays special attention to the politics of building peace, the relationship between peace operations, stabilization, and peacebuilding activities, normative debates and controversies on the promotion of democracy and market economics as a basis for peace, the challenges of evaluating outcomes, and the non-linear path in transitioning from fragile to resilient post-conflict states. Overall, the course is designed to help students think systematically about the evolution and reform of peace interventions, develop a strong foundation of enduring analytical frameworks, cultivate an in-depth understanding of how the UN operates in practice, and introduce students to recent developments in field-based knowledge.
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INTRL-GA 1755. 4 points.
This class introduces M.A. students to key concepts and approaches in the security studies subfield. The course has three main purposes: (1) to familiarize students with key debates in the security studies subfield; (2) to help students evaluate dilemmas of current security environment; and (3) to help students understand and critically analyze the complexity and factors for today’s policy challenges for formulation and implementation. The class will both explore theories of security, as well as how security services and ministries of defense around the world conceptualize and respond to security challenges. The class is designed to answer the following questions: What are the security challenges of today and what might be future challenges? What are the root causes of war? What are the alternatives to war? How can wars be prevented or at least limited? What can third parties do to help manage or limit wars? Why do states intervene in the domestic conflicts of other states? In answering these questions, the class will examine a number of important issues including complex military and diplomatic interventions and issues relating to regional conflict, insurgency, counterinsurgency, terrorism, piracy, and other militant challenges. The class will be run as a seminar. Doing the reading is not enough; students must be prepared to discuss it. There will usually be discussion questions distributed in class; if not, students should at minimum be prepared to summarize the key points of the readings.
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Middle East Politics
INTRL-GA 1756. 4 points. Asli Peker
This course is a graduate-level introduction to politics in the contemporary Middle East. It does not require a substantial background in Middle Eastern studies, but basic familiarity with contemporary history and politics of the region is assumed. The course’s primary concern is to contextualize the study of the Middle East in a historical and comparative framework. The course starts with a brief overview of the modern history of the region and a discussion of what the political construct “Middle East” entails, how it came about, and why we should be studying it. From there on, we move to weekly topical readings and discussions. Among the topics examined are Great Powers' interests and encroachments into the region, the modernizing reforms and the processes of state formation; post-independence developments including coups, revolutions, and wars; the evolution of political Islam and nationalism as rival ideologies; the peculiarities of the Islamic state; the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other hot conflicts in the region; politics of gender, oil and the rentier state; civil society and contentious politics; dynamics of authoritarianism and democratization; the political potential and impact of new media; and more recent developments in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Readings and examples are drawn from a selected subset of Middle Eastern countries, no one country is studied individually in-depth but rather used in a comparative framework to underline historical patterns, similarities, and differences. The course is designed as a seminar. Students are expected to do a number of presentations and participate substantially in the class discussions.
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Asia-Pacific International Relations
INTRL-GA 1759. 4 points. David Adelman
The history of the 21st Century will be written in Asia. This graduate-level overview will examine the relations between China, Japan, Korea, and the South East Asian countries, as well as between those countries and the United States, Russia, Australia, and India. Our discussions will follow economic and political developments from the Cold War competition between superpowers through the post-Cold War economic expansion. We will consider the challenges across the Taiwan Straits and on the Korean Peninsula as well as America's involvement in the conflict in Vietnam, the independence of Singapore, and the development of the Association of South East Asia Nations. A central topic will be whether escalating U.S.-China tensions are inevitable and the effectiveness of smart power and traditional diplomacy in the region. We will consider existing security alliances and the underlying causes and potential resolution of the maritime territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Our studies will place heavy emphasis on current events bringing students up to date with a close look at issues arising from Xi's management of the rise of China, Obama's pivot to Asia, and Trump's evolving policies in the region. The course has been revised to include only a single medium-length written paper and two essay format in-class examinations.
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Political Economy of International Trade
INTRL-GA 1761. 4 points. Akram Esanov
The main objective of this course is to examine the impact of political and economic factors on international trade policy. This course addresses leading theories and major policy debates in the political economy of international trade. In particular, this course examines key models in the economics of international trade, the rationale behind trade liberalization and protection, the distributional consequences of trade, the role of interest groups, domestic and international institutions in trade policymaking. In addition, the course aims to equip graduate students with analytical tools to pursue empirical research on a pertinent issue. The course is divided into several sections. Students will begin by surveying the main theoretical frameworks in international trade, including the new trade theory. Next, students will scrutinize the political economy theories to explain trade protection and trade liberalization. We then proceed with the analysis of international trade regimes and their effect on trade policy reforms in both developing and developed countries. Students will also analyze the relationship between international trade, democratic transition, and economic development. The course will conclude with the discussion of contemporary debates in the political economy of international trade.
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INTRL-GA 1762. 4 points. Arnaud Kurze & Ruti Teitel
The objective of this graduate-level course is to introduce students to the critical study of transitional justice and post-conflict accountability. Transitional justice is a relatively new concept in international studies that was coined in the wake of transitions from authoritarian rule in the Southern Cone of Latin America; the demise of the Soviet bloc in Central Europe; and atrocious civil wars and ethnic conflicts across the African and Asian continent to capture the efforts of newly democratizing countries, to grapple with the legacy of grave human rights violations committed during previous authoritarian rule and, in the context of internal armed conflicts.
The transitional justice mechanisms countries adopted in the wake of mass atrocity have included truth commissions to investigate past atrocities; criminal trials against those responsible for grave human rights abuses; vetting and purges of state officials connected to authoritarian rule and/or rights violations; and reparations programs. The concept of transitional justice quickly gained relevance beyond the described regions and has since developed into a rich and multifaceted field of interdisciplinary research and praxis, although it is not without detractors.
The course will introduce students to the theoretical debates within the field of transitional justice, examine several case studies, and critically analyze the actors engaged in the field.
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Foundations for Diplomacy
INTRL-GA 1763. 4 points. Robert Dry
This seminar explores the history of diplomacy, the accretion of diplomatic law, and diplomatic measures short of war. Sessions address thinkers and theories of diplomacy, as well as the academic discipline of diplomatic studies. It examines traditional (bilateral political, consular, and headquarters) diplomacy, as well as new forms of (multilateral, public, S&T, and summit) diplomacy. A segment on diplomatic negotiation and mediation considers the role of culture in international negotiations. Students prepare short, real-world policy papers as if they were practicing diplomats and are graded on both substance and writing. The course concludes by examining professional ethics, including dissent, and career diplomacy.
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Strategic Planning - A Hands-On Workshop
INTRL-GA 1768. 4 points. Charles Freilich
In today’s world of rapid and constant socioeconomic, political and military change, the danger of unwanted developments and outright policy failures is acute. It is, however, precisely in conditions of change that strategic planning becomes most critical. We can plan for chaos. Strategic planning is based on analytical processes and methodologies that are fundamentally different from those taught in academic programs and graduates lack the practical skills sought by employers. The course teaches the methodologies and skills required for real-world policy planning and is designed to increase students’ prospects of employment. The course consists of a series of simulations and is student-driven, on the basis of ongoing presentations, discussion and policy debate between students. In the role of senior decision-makers from countries of their choice, students draft policy papers and formulate recommendations to the actual leaders in power. They engage in directed critique of each other’s draft policy papers, much as is done in senior planning forums, as part of a collaborative effort to improve the final version. It should be fun, engaging and challenging, as students grapple with major real-world policy issues.
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Country Risk Analysis
INTRL-GA 1773. 4 points. Akram Esanov
Over the past decades, the level of foreign direct investment, international lending, and cross-border trade has dramatically grown. Global investors and lenders realized that economics and politics are deeply intertwined in emerging markets and developing countries and began to develop more sophisticated tools for an assessment of political, economic, and financial risks. Country risk analysis is now used as a screening device to avoid conducting business in countries with excessive risk and as a tool for making long-term investment or financial decisions. This course provides a broad overview of multiple approaches to country risk assessment and fosters students’ analytical skills so that they can complete an assessment of political, economic, and financial risks in a host country. Through a combination of lectures, classroom discussions, and case studies, students will be able to identify drivers of political, economic and financial risks, understand their effects on business decisions, and apply a number of analytical tools to specific real-life cases from the public and private sector in managing these risks. This course makes extensive use of economic modeling.
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Inequality and Conflict
INTRL-GA 1774. 4 points. Muserref Yetim
The world currently faces severe social, environmental, health crises, and growing inequality, which have become major concerns for developing and developed countries alike. Global climate change is also looming large with expectations of widespread droughts, flooding, and famines striking the poorest and most vulnerable areas along an arc of instability stretching from Africa through Asia likely leading to massive emigration from such areas to the developed world following state failures.
This seminar aims to introduce students to some of the central topics, concepts, and questions in the contemporary debate on inequality and conflict. In this course, we will explore cutting edge thinking produced by historians, philosophers, political scientists, economists, and sociologists on the domestic and international sources and consequences of inequality and conflict. The goal is to present a broad overview of diverse methodological approaches and critical analyses of suggested solutions for tackling one of the most challenging questions facing us in the 21st century. Students will be encouraged to identify areas where there is a potential for more productive work to be done on these problems.
In addition, several guest authors and specialists, including Professor James Vreeland of Princeton University and co-author of The Political Economy of the United Nations Security Council Money and Influence, and Professor Lars-Erik Cederman of ETH Zurich, will join us. The course will be taught remotely and will adopt a more personalized interactive learning system, making use of engaging audio-visual content and low-stakes in-class assignments. In addition, several guest authors and specialists will join us.
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Immigration and Transnationalism
INTRL-GA 1778. 4 points. Orsolya Lehotai
This course explores some of the many historical and contemporary challenges, changes and possibilities associated with the movement of people across borders. We will explore questions about why and how people migrate, how states manage migration and mobility, why anti-immigrant backlash and securitization of migration are on the rise globally, how immigration policies emerge and how they affect vulnerable bodies at the inersection of gender, race, sexuality and class. We will also think about borders as sites of political struggle and resistance, and we will analyze these sites of struggle through a transnational analytical lens. The course focuses largely on migration from Latin America to the United States, migration from Africa and the Middle East to Europe, and migration from Eastern Europe to Western Europe. Students enrolled in Immigration and Transnationalism will also meet with activists and practitioners from the field to more deeply engage in multi-layered conversations about migration issues, border politics, and practical questions around transnationalism.
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INTRL-GA 1779. 4 points. Shinasi Rama
Nation-building is the process through which different groups, routinely under intense exogenous pressures, seek to forge a new common identity centered on the pre-existing territorial state. For this reason, particularly in the United States, nation-building is considered dependent and conceptually interchangeable with the state-building, i.e. the construction of a sustainable, viable, and effective set of legitimate institutions that make binding authoritative decisions within the state. In this course, while we recognize the distinctiveness of the nation and the state, we also begin by considering them as the two inseparable sides of the modern nation-state. The core objective of this course exposes students to theories and practices of nation-building and state-building from a broad comparative political and historical perspective. We will briefly examine the trajectories of nation-building and state-building in Western Europe and then focus on nation-building and state-building in the contemporary post-conflict states. The course is designed to achieve the following objectives. First, it aims at providing an understanding of the most important frameworks to understand the nation and the state. Second, it seeks to familiarize students with contemporary literature on nation-building and state-building. Third, we seek to attain a better understanding of the nation-building and state-building efforts in a selected number of cases such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, but also other lesser-known cases in Asia and Africa. Fourth, we seek to assess the role the international organizations and other state play in the nation and state-building efforts. This becomes exceedingly important as the model that is advocated, supported and imposed is centered on the establishment of a democratic regime and the formation of a majority that will have, at best, a fluid identity based on material interests and not on the ethnic, religious, racial, or linguistic identity.
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State Failure & State Building in Comparative Perspective
INTRL-GA 1780. 4 points. Asli Peker
How do we define the modern state? How did modern states evolve in the Western world? Is the path to statehood different in the non-Western context? How do we measure state capacity? Why are some states stronger and others weaker? And what brings about state failure? Can states be built by institutional engineering? What are the institutional and structural requisites for the formation of effective, viable, strong states? This course will explore these and other important questions pertaining to state failure and state-building. After a discussion of the existing literature on states, we will focus on the peculiarities of non-Western states and study comparative cases of state failure and state-building.
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INTRL-GA 1784. 4 points. Giuseppe Ammendola
There are over 80,000 Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in the world today. Their role in the complex set of global cross-‐border flows of goods, services, capital, people, and knowledge is immense. We shall examine the impact that MNCs have on the countries and regions of the world and on the globalization process as suppliers, customers, competitors, employers, shareholders, innovators, recipients, and influencers of regulation and in general as political, business, legal and social entities. Through lectures, in-‐class training, discussions, and the examination of case studies, students will deepen their understanding of some of the most powerful actors and forces in the world economy and the current debates concerning them. More broadly, the course draws lessons from political science, economics, business, law, history, sociology, and psychology in order to understand the multiple challenges faced by decision-makers not just in the private but also in the public and nonprofit sectors. Overall the teaching is informed by the sharing with students the insights derived from multiple disciplines, cultures, and languages to help them gain valuable real-‐world skills.
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Human Rights, Arts & Memory
INTRL-GA 1786. 4 points. Arnaud Kurze
The aim of this course is to map the politics of systematic human rights abuses in conflict or during authoritarian rule against the backdrop of art as a vector for change. The seminar focuses on a cross-regional analysis to explore how different social actors address political violence in the aftermath of atrocities relying on art and how their actions impact society. Some of the questions posed include: 1) How do societies account for wrongdoings and create a collective memory? 2) Why are transition governments and other actors keen on creating their own -- often conflicting -- narratives about the past? 3) What role do international actors, such as non-profit organizations or states, play in this context? In recent years, the use of art -- including visual and performance art but in particular street art and performance activism -- has become a major catalyst for dealing with the past. Yet, the reliance on artistic forms of expression to cope with mass atrocities and human rights violations is far from being a cathartic element. Instead, it can also fuel tensions leading to the creation of contentious spaces in transitioning societies. The first part of this course consists of the sociology of politics of human rights; a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the role of art in transition processes; as well as an examination of collective memory against the background of dealing with the past. Part two and three of the course provide a large array of case studies ranging from South America to Southeast Asia, including a selection of countries that were affected by the Arab Spring. They serve as food for thought to discuss the theoretical underpinnings introduced at the beginning of the course.
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Norms & Law of Modern War
INTRL-GA 1787. 4 points. Anna Di Lellio
Is cyberspace a battlefield? If so, how do norms and laws that govern war provide guidance for defense or retaliation in cyber-conflict? These are urgent questions arising from changes in both patterns of organized violence and the reaction to them, in the context of contemporary wars. Not all changes are necessarily “new," but they have the potential to evolve into new norms, providing ample opportunities for challenging the widely accepted foundations of ethics in war, on which customary international law is based. For example, within the paradigm of asymmetric warfare, of which “the global war on terror" is one case, exceptional responses to existential threats have argued for violating the prohibition to torture; have questioned traditional understandings of noncombatant immunity, and of human shields; have challenged the taboo of assassination, by stressing the precision afforded by targeted killings; and have used new technologies intended to protect lives, such as drones, to redefine standards of proportionality. On another note, the emerging practice of humanitarian interventions has been struggling to become a norm, challenging definitions of legality and/or legitimacy of aggression.
This course aims to provide an understanding of the dynamic relationship between laws, norms, and practices in contemporary warfare, beyond the classic argument of realism - i.e. interest and power always trump ethics – and beyond a static understanding of the rules of conduct in wars. It addresses the role of norms as well as interests, and norm entrepreneurs such as states and non–state actors, through a mix of theoretical discussions and case studies.
For example, the global “war on terror" argues for exceptional responses to existential threats, reevaluating the normally accepted notion of the equality of combatants; new technologies intended to protect lives, such as drones, redefine standards of proportionality; asymmetric wars, often intra-state, question traditional understandings of noncombatant immunity; and humanitarian interventions challenge definitions of legality and/or legitimacy of aggression.
The focus of this course is to provide an understanding of the gap between laws, norms, and practices of war, beyond the classic argument of realism - - i.e. interest and power always trump ethics – and beyond a static understanding of the rules of conduct in wars. It addresses the dynamic role of norms as interests, and norm entrepreneurs such as states and non–state actors, through a mix of theoretical discussions and case studies.
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Conflict, Justice & Human Rights
INTRL-GA 1788. 4 points. Arnaud Kurze
The persistence of low-intensity conflict and the rise of authoritarian regimes in recent years has put the question of transitional justice in ongoing conflicts as well as post-conflict and post-authoritarian contexts center stage. The objective of this colloquium is to critically examine questions of accountability, human rights, and memory politics in a variety of cross-regional case studies. The first part of the course exposes students to fundamental concepts of the field drawing from a range of empirical examples. The second part of the course focuses on the challenges between civil society and state actors when dealing with the past. Several historical and contemporary case studies help contextualize the intricate issues societies face when addressing past wrongdoings. In addition, the seminar-style course introduces alternative teaching methods--including simulations, films and select guest speakers, such as subject matter experts and practitioners--to provide students with a rich and stimulating learning environment to understand the politics of justice, policy strategies, and norm-building in post-conflict and post-authoritarian societies.
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U.S. Policy in Asia-Pacific
INTRL-GA 1792. 4 points. James Nolt
Since the pivot to Asia during the Obama administration, East Asia has loomed larger in U.S. foreign policy. President Trump made even greater changes in U.S.-East Asia relations, among the most extensive since World War II. Do these represent permanent changes or an idiosyncratic interruption of mainstream foreign policy? What revisions will the Biden administration undertake? This class analyzes U.S. foreign relations focusing on China, Japan, and Korea issues, including Taiwan and the South China Sea. Both security and political economy issues are covered. We will also consider the impact of policy collapse, comparing the end of the long wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam. International relations in this course includes not just what governments do, but also the profound influence of private power and strategy, primarily involving business. Internet-telecom issues are especially relevant today. Political, business, and military strategy will all be explained and examined. Class exercises emphasize active learning using formal debates to become acquainted with contending perspectives and more practiced at formulating argumentative theses before tackling a research paper of each student’s choice.
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Nationalism and Ethnicity
INTRL-GA 1794. 4 points. Shinasi Rama
Nationalism and ethnicity remain a common cause of conflict in international politics of the past two centuries. Yet, the intensification and the vengeful resurgence of nationalist and ethnic conflicts in the post-Cold War era have been most unexpected and surprising for policy-makers and scholars alike. The increasing frequency and deadliness of nationalist conflict at the international and the intra-state level, from mass expulsions to state-sponsored genocide, has prompted international and humanitarian interventions that have challenged time-honored norms of state behavior and its integrity. However, despite widespread recognition amongst intellectuals and policymakers of the virulent resurgence of nationalism, there is a widespread lack of consensus on the meaning and origins of, as well as the management strategies for dealing with, nationalist and ethnic conflict. To many, nationalism appears just an amorphous and protean form of organization that is difficult to be defined, described, and controlled.
Most of the literature for this course will be drawn from the contemporary debates on the nation, ethnicity, and international relations theory and practice, intentionally fusing together theory and case studies. However, while emphasis will be placed on achieving a better understanding of theoretical interpretations and frameworks for action, we will take good care to examine a number of case studies in a variety of contexts. This will familiarize us with the repertoire of strategies, justifications, and practices used by all actors. We will do so through assigned readings, but also by following events and conflict that unfold during this semester.
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The European Union: Order & Tension
INTRL-GA 1796. 4 points. Nick Banner
The course considers the European Union as an experiment in how to manage politics between states. We will consider both how and why the institutions of the EU function (or not) as they do – the specific histories, intentions, and compromises that led to the EU’s current makeup; and the tension between its legal and bureaucratic structure, and the sometimes messy realities of national and international events. We will explore how and why the EU remains subject to national politics and economic priorities – examining, amongst other issues, the challenges that the financial crisis and its aftermath, Europe’s relationships with its near-neighbors, and the resurgence of political populism (including Brexit) present to the EU’s future. This course will develop policy-making and analytical skills, and also deepen participants’ understanding of political risk in ways that are applicable to corporate and financial decision-making.
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South Asian Politics & War
INTRL-GA 1797. 4 points. Maha Aziz
This course is for students who want to become experts in South Asia, develop an additional regional specialty, or want some exposure to political risk, prediction, and strategy. You will learn about the individual politics of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Nepal as well as the regional politics of South Asia. Through an intellectual investigation of a range of qualitative data and a simple risk framework, you will then understand current conflicts and where we can expect conflict domestically and regionally. Where will South Asia face war today & in the next decade? How can state (eg local government, superpowers) and non-state actors (eg civil society, tech companies, activist billionaires) prevent conflict? You will cultivate your research, strategic thinking, and communication skills while developing country/region-specific expertise through your coursework. This will prepare you well for a career as an analyst at a policy think tank (e.g. CFR, RAND), political analysis firm (e.g. Stratfor, Oxford Analytica), a research division at a bank (e.g. Citigroup) or government agency (e.g. US State Dept). Past guest speakers included a former prime minister, a consultant, think tank expert, and the head of a nonproliferation foundation.
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Political Risk & Prediction
INTRL-GA 1798. 4 points. Maha Aziz
Would you like to have a more holistic understanding of current affairs, predict the next major flashpoint in global politics, or identify a growing threat in your country, in a post-pandemic era shaped by war, climate and technology? This qualitative course will help you develop the research skills to do exactly that through a global risk lens. You’ll also have the opportunity to work on our 9th annual analytical project for the world’s 1st crowdsourced consultancy, Wikistrat, predicting the challenges for the next year. Last year's project led to an oped inTime magazine on shock events and in Newsweek on global risks; we also worked on AI risk research for the World Economic Forum, where Prof Aziz is on the Global Future Council on Complex Risks, as well as climate shocks for COP28 discussions and tech-related risks with the world's largest political risk advisory for social impact, London Politica. By the end of the semester, you will have honed your risk analysis skills and be able to better predict future trends and shock events globally and for individual countries. This will serve you well in your career as an analyst at a policy think tank (e.g. RAND), political analysis firm (e.g. Eurasia Group), research division at a bank (e.g. Goldman Sachs), tech firm or government agency. You will have a more enlightened understanding of global politics. Past guest speakers have included former extremist Mubin Shaikh, Gray Rhino Author Michele Wucker, British Petroleum’s Group Political Adviser Dr. Tom Wales, and Epistema Data Analytics CEO Joab Rosenberg.
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Women’s Human Rights
INTRL-GA 1799. 4 points. Sheila Dauer
The course will examine the struggle of women to become full and legitimate bearers of human rights through grassroots activism and the integration of the concept of women’s human rights into the international human rights system. The course will consider kinds of feminism and both their critiques of and influences on human rights. It will consider the concepts of gender, gender identity and expression and sexual orientation in relation to human rights. The class will consider the obstacles, critiques and successes of applications of human rights to cases of inequality and violence against women in areas such as domestic violence, health, political participation, selected economic rights, reproductive rights, sex and labor trafficking and women in conflicts and post conflict reconstruction. Throughout, we will focus on intersectionality (race, class, ethnicity, sex, gender, etc.) Readings will include relevant UN treaties, declarations and reports, books/articles from international affairs, antropology, sociology, women's studies, law, NGO reports and news articles.
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INTRL-GA 1800. 4 points. Muserref Yetim
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the core concepts, processes, theories, and issues in international development. The focus will be on divergent theoretical approaches to international development and their empirical applications while studying different regions’ experiences of development. The field is characterized by contentious debates and we will explore these debates from multiple perspectives. Our objective is to gain an understanding of the problems of development and explore why some nations fail and others succeed, why some nations experience sustained economic growth while others grow and then stagnate by applying recently developed frameworks, i.e., Acemoglu and Robinson, North, Wallis, and Weingast, or Bates, to case studies from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.
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International Organizations: Law & Diplomacy
INTRL-GA 2001. 3 points. Jose Enrique Alvarez
This course deals with global International Organizations (IOs), institutions created by treaty and generally having states as members that aspire to be global in scope and membership. It examines the legal impact of a few UN system organizations, namely the UN’s Security Council and General Assembly, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). It will also introduce the law-making impact of international courts that interact with UN system organizations.
The premise of the course is that IOs (including international courts) are political and legal tools but that understanding their legal impact requires how diplomats, as well as lawyers, engage with them. While the course examines, in passing, the substantive legal regimes in which these institutions are embedded, such as the international aviation law and international labor law, the focus is on the impact institutionalization has on these legal regimes. Throughout we will be examining how international organizations make an attempt to “enforce” law and how these organizational processes have affected (and change) the sources of international law as defined by legal positivism, namely treaties, custom, and general principles.
In the absence of an international police force, a world legislature, or a world court with truly universal jurisdiction, international organizations necessarily have been innovative in devising ways to create, enforce, and interpret the law. This course provides a different perspective on what law-making is and even what “law” is.
This course addresses select forms of institutionalized treaty-making and regulation, as well as enforcement and dispute settlement. After some initial classes introducing the basic theme for the course, the later parts of the course examine distinct IOs in their legal/diplomatic settings.
This is a Law School sponsored course that follows the Law School academic calendar. Open to MA in IR students only. MAIR students with Law Concentration have priority. Email email@example.com to request permission.
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Reading and Research
INTRL-GA 3991. 1-4 points.
Prerequisite: written petition stating the need for the course and including a preliminary bibliography, approved by the professor supervising the course and by the Program Director. No more than 8 points may be taken during work on the master’s degree.
Tutorial for students whose individual needs are not met by formal courses. A substantial research paper or final examination is required. Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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East Asian Political Economy
The U.S. has now engaged in a trade conflict with China broader but somewhat parallel to a similar conflict with Japan decades ago. Both conflicts have been predicated on these economies being of a different species than the “free market” economies that predominate in Western economic globalization since World War II. Japan during the later 20th century and China today were both claimed to compete unfairly by breaking the ostensible rules of the free market and the liberal world economic order. Postwar institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization are designed to prescribe rules by which free-market competition can flourish globally while progressively lowering government barriers to trade. Japan, South Korea, and China have all been accused of violating the competitive rules so systemically that anti-liberal protectionist policies must restrain them. We examine whether East Asian economies are really so alien to the world order. We critically challenge the benchmark concepts of “market economy,” “free competition,” and “market prices” that underlie the rules of the global order, such as the rules for compensatory tariffs in cases of dumping. Are Japan and China unfair competitors or just successful ones? What is fair if there is no free market benchmark? Whereas most rules of the global institutions assume that the government's obstacles are the problem and freer markets are the solution, the increasing prevalence of private business power belies this conceit.
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G-20: Problems and Issues in Global Governance
This seminar aims to guide students through some of the most challenging issues facing the G-20 in the field of international economic cooperation. In this course, we will explore and devise strategies for the G-20 countries to tackle current global governance problems that have intensified as a result of the continuous deepening of economic and financial integrations of the world economy and the heightened risks associated with climate change and global health threats. The speed and the extent of these developments have often made formal international institutions inadequate for dealing with serious global governance challenges. Thus the way is paved for the emergence of informal structures of global governance such as the G-7 and the G-20 to coordinate actions of the member states with the goal of achieving stable and sustainable world economic growth that benefits all.
In this course, we will study the most challenging G-20 issues under the four broad categories. The first category deals with trade and trade-related issues including WTO reform, TRIPs, and development. The second issue area covers finance and finance-related challenges including international monetary policy coordination, international financial crises, rising debt levels, and the prevention of tax avoidance. The third issue area covers global health threats, political instability and conflicts, and migration, and refugees. Finally, the fourth issue area focuses on climate change, energy and environment policy, and disaster risk.
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Global Environmental Governance: Approaches, Structures, and Diplomacy
Fifty years ago, nations ambitiously undertook to address grave global environmental challenges at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. It set the stage for subsequent ‘earth summits’ (Rio, Johannesburg, etc.) and negotiations for multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), now numbering in their hundreds, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. International institutions, including many within the UN system and non-state actors, formed to govern the earth summits and legacies thereof. Students analyze the nature and effectiveness of conferences, MEAs, institutions, and international law cases in policy papers. The seminar tracks developments in contemporary environmental diplomacy, including UNFCCC COP 26 in Glasgow.
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Populism in Latin America
Populists are on the rise globally. Yet populism is a notoriously elusive notion. What do Hugo Chávez and Donald Trump have in common? This course is an examination of populism in theory and practice for a better understanding of today's politics. Scholars have identified populists of the Right and of the Left; socialists and neoliberals; revolutionaries and dictators; progressives and reactionaries; nationalists and xenophobes; agrarian reformists and paladins of industrialization. This course aims at an historically grounded understanding of populism, beginning with populism in the United States and Russia in the late 1800s and ending with the most recent rise of populisms globally. Our exploration will be both empirical and conceptual, covering the evolution of particular instances of populism in detail as well as various theoretical approximations to populism. We will assess the social conditions that have allowed for the emergence of populists, focusing on the challenge to political institutions (including liberal-democratic institutions) in times of crisis and the promise to redress long-standing inequalities and/or perceived threats to the body politic. We will study diverse "populist" approaches to economic development, from state interventionism to neoliberalism and from redistributive policies to market-oriented reform. We will pay close attention to labor mobilization, indigenous movements, and radical nationalism as bases for the rise of ostensibly anti-establishment populist leaders. As we advance in our historical analysis, we will be addressing key conceptual questions. Is populism a top-down or a bottom-up political phenomenon? What is the relationship of populism to democracy and authoritarianism? Can populism be revolutionary or counterrevolutionary? The course will be global in scope but the focus will mostly be on the Americas (especially Latin America) and Europe, as it is in these regions that populism has been most prevalent. However, we will also survey a few cases beyond these geographical areas. Every case study will be placed in a transnational perspective; we will examine the way that each country's national - and nationalist - politics has been influenced by its foreign relations, including perceived external threats.
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Intellectual Origins of IR Theories
What are the grounds for the academic claims that we live in an essentially anarchic world in which the primary actors are rational agents, and that these agents are ultimately motivated by self-preservation and/or self-interest? Why do some intellectuals more optimistically believe in the possibility of mutual recognition, cooperation, and benefit? Why do others insist that both domestic and international relations are hierarchical, exploitative, and imperialistic? In short, how do various intellectual traditions explain the motivations that guide individuals and organized communities to participate in political and economic activities? Relatedly, how do they understand political power, and its relationship to the economy?
Intellectuals of all stripes have been pondering these and other similar questions for centuries. In our times, their insights have crystallized into various theories of international relations, such as realism(s), liberalism(s), and Marxism(s). If so, the contemporary IR theories owe much intellectual debt to their predecessors. Proceeding from this premise, “Intellectual Origins of IR Theories" simultaneously examines the profound insights of the earlier intellectuals, and links these insights to their contemporary variants. The main purpose of this critical examination is to help students gain a more profound appreciation of these theories. Such an appreciation is also a promising step toward an improved understanding of the real world in which we live. In order to successfully attain its aims, this course encourages attentive reading, informed and spirited discussion, and engaged written-responses.
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New World Orders
This course examines the post-Cold War global order(s) from both historical and theoretical perspectives, focusing on some of the major systemic transformations and the ways they have been framed. During its first few weeks, we will study several important perspectives on the nature of the new world order. How did it come into existence? How have some prominent IR scholars conceptualized it? Does the new order reflect the final triumph of free-market economy and liberal democracy or the “clash of civilizations”? Or is it more meaningful to understand it as a global capitalist system, created and orchestrated by the United States? We will then consider the related issues of whether American “hegemony” is receding and, if so, what the structure of the new order might look like in the near future. Will the liberal/capitalist world order remain intact, even if (or when) the United States loses its preponderance? Will the new century have many poles or “belong” to China? During the third phase of the course, we will consider several contradictions of the global liberal-capitalist order and ask whether such contradictions herald its undoing. For instance, is hyper-globalization undermining democratic regimes and the sovereignty of states? Is globalization on the retreat, giving way to new forms of nationalism and populism?
The more general, academic aims of the course include helping students: become sufficiently familiar with a variety of important perspectives on these related issues; develop their own perspectives on the same; and, enhance their reading, writing, and oral presentation skills.
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Planning for Chaos in the Middle East
The Mideast is one of the world’s most volatile and unpredictable regions, a source of rapid and seemingly endless socioeconomic, political and military change. In these circumstances, policy planning appears futile and decision-makers tend to resigned despair. It is, however, precisely in conditions of chaos that planning becomes most critical to reduce the incidence of policy failures. We can learn to plan for chaos. Students will assume the role of actual decision-makers and gain real-world experience, of use for future employment, in conducting strategic policy formulation processes, as done in leading national security institutions around the world. Issues studied (and practiced) include some of the primary challenges facing Middle Eastern countries today, such as regime stability and political reform in the post Arab Spring Mideast; preventing nuclear proliferation in the Mideast; conflict and war between Iran and the US/Israel and Hezbollah-Israel; Israeli-Palestinian peace process; rebuilding Arab states - Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen; counter-terrorism in the Mideast; energy, politics and socioeconomic reform in the Mideast; insurgency and counter-insurgency in the Mideast; clashing hegemonic aspirations and the balance of power in the Mideast.
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Political Economy of Global Capitalism
This course focuses on a number of seminal issues, organized under five modules; each module utilizes both historical and theoretical perspectives. Module I introduces students to: a) the main schools of thought in IPE, b) (brief) history of globalization, and c) historical analysis of various meanings of capitalism. Module II introduces students to a set of key concepts, focusing specifically on trade- and monetary-systems related issues. Module III examines IPE in relation to hegemonic power from two vantage points: a) contemporary global capitalism as a hegemonic system, historically shaped and led by the United States; b) China’s BRI as a potential alternative to the US-led system of capital accumulation. Module III treats MNCs as the main actors in the making and management of global capitalism, and examines their structures, functions, and pathways of influence from a variety of practical and theoretical vantage points. Module IV examines four chronic problems associated with capitalism: a) financial crisis, b) inequality among classes and countries, c) exploitation of the environment, and d) war/geopolitical crisis.
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Rethinking Security in the 21st Century
Grounded in critical security studies, securitization and human security literatures, this course critically examines the concept of security as conventionally construed , considers alternative conceptualizations, and explores a range of existing or potential security challenges we face in the 21st century: from global warming, climate change and mass extinction to conspiracy theories, disinformation and deep fakes; from emerging infectious diseases, pandemics and superbugs to 5G, artificial intelligence and gene editing to rising extremism and democratic decline.
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Risk and Resilience in the Global Economy
As the nature of globalization and the structure of the global economy have been undergoing unprecedented changes, the world’s economic and political order is expected to enter into a new era. Political movements that call for fundamental change in the status quo on international trade and immigration are gaining momentum in Europe and the United States, while the rise of China is reshaping economic and political relationships in Asia and globally. This globalization backlash and re-emergence of national politics will produce changes in the global institutional architecture and global governance. The objective of this course is to explore the main opportunities and trade-offs faced by governments, international organizations, businesses and citizens as the global economy enters a new phase. In addition, the course will discuss a wide range of factors that explain country-level differences in policy responses and resilience to global shocks. Through a combination of lectures, classroom discussions and case studies, the course presents the necessary conceptual and empirical foundations to understand today’s global challenges.
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Russian Politics since 1991
Are we doomed? Is the future – tyranny, corruption, and war? Is the nature of great power competition fatal for democracy, the rule of law, and liberalism? And why Vladimir Putin, a mediocre mid-level secret police agent from the backwaters of the Cold War, came to symbolize the urgency of these questions in the early 2020s?
These are just some of the questions we will cover in the Russian Politics class. Our discussion will be organized around a select few turning points that determined the trajectory of the Russian journey and its global consequences, with an eye also on how social science informed – and learnt from – these developments. In the process, we will learn a lot about Russia, even more about how democracies and autocracies work and fail, and, simultaneously, will unlearn many myths that continue to surround all these subjects, starting with the claim that Putin was inevitable and is irreplaceable.
Come to learn which lessons Putin took from oligarchs who engineered his rise to power, which from Stalin, and which from his former comrades-in-arms at the KGB foreign intelligence directorate. Stay to discover how Russians live aside from Putin and what are the prospects of bottom-up democratization.
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Transitions to Democracy in Europe
This seminar discusses key developments in the evolution and advancement of democracy across European nation states. We will go back to its early beginnings in British and French politics, and trace developments in executive accountability, voting rights, proportional representation, and civil rights regimes across Europe. In this, we picture democracy as a system of government that is in a constant state of flux. This involves transitions to democratic governance, transitions between different modes of democracy, but also transitions from democracy. Our aim is to unveil the social, political, and economic sources of democracy to understand where it came from and where it is going.
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U.S. Persian Gulf Policy
This seminar takes a deep dive into the international relations of the Persian Gulf. It examines the history of U.S. foreign policy, as well as current U.S. interests, on both sides of the Persian Gulf. Students build a formal briefing book for a senior official visiting the region for the first time.
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Gender, Race, and International Relations
How can we think about and analyze international relations at the intersection of gender, race, and sexuality? What insights can we gain from critical engagements with this field to understand international relations as a field of study and a set of practices today? Many IR scholars have explored the relevance of racialized hierarchies and gendered relations of power in shaping global politics and foreign policy. They have also theorized the relationship between gendered and racialized hierarchies in the international arena. By bringing together some of the core concepts of international relations with a diverse set of critical theories of race, gender, and sexuality, this course aims to provide various points of entry and perspectives for approaching different instances of state-making, nationalism, imperialism, interstate conflict, war, and political violence.
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The Ukraine Conflicts - Imperialism, Regionalism, and Internationalism
Nicholas R. Banner
The course will examine the origins, course, and implications of the Russian invasions of Ukraine in 2014 and 2022. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s future has been debated, contested, and seen through their own strategic lens by outside powers, culminating in the Russian invasion of February 2022. Throughout this thirty-year period, Ukrainian governments have sought a durable equilibrium between the two great powers on their doorstep – Russia and the European Union. The Ukrainian people have repeatedly shown their preference for an independent and democratic Ukraine, yet the economic and strategic position of Ukraine has become more precarious. We will explore the relationship between those factors, tracing the course of European, Russian, and wider (notably US) attitudes to Ukraine since its independence, the Ukrainian response, and the events that culminated in Russian decisions to invade. To do so, we will consider in turn long-term Russian, European, US, and NATO strategic priorities; the history and politics of post-1991 Ukraine; and the many ways in which the course of the invasion and all of these actors’ responses to it – political, military, and economic – illuminate the current structure and practice of international relations. This course will be of interest to all IR students – and in particular those with a concentration in Russian & Slavic Studies, European & Mediterranean Studies, US Foreign Policy, or International Politics & Business.
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Democracy and its Discontents - Southeast Asia and the World
Sidney Jones & Margaret Scott
This seminar focuses on how democracies emerge from dictatorships, how they consolidate or decline, and how these processes are shaped by key actors, including elected leaders, civil society, security forces and external players. It will examine under what conditions democracies give rise to populism, majoritarianism, and extremism, and the conditions that lead majorities in multi-ethnic societies to claim they are under siege by minorities and outsiders. It will also look at violent extremist movements and their relationship to the state: most treat democratic governments as the enemy, some see majoritarian leaders as partners. It will also look at how the processes of democratic growth and decline affect women and the role of social media. The seminar also aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the intricate interplay between domestic politics and superpower rivalry in Southeast Asia. Students will examine how trends such as democratization and autocratization, growing religious conservatism and various forms of internal conflict affect a country’s stance toward US-China competition. What factors lead the countries of Southeast Asia to align with one superpower or opt for a “hedging strategy?" The instructors will draw on examples from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Philippines, and Myanmar, but will encourage students to compare developments with their own experience. Readings will draw on Western and non-Western sources, and assignments will include short policy briefs, participating in debates, and a research paper. This course will be of interest to all IR students – and in particular those with a concentration in Asian Studies.
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U.S.-Latin American Relations - WWII to the Present
This course seeks to analyze the dynamics and issues that describe the relations between the United States and Latin America since the end of World War II. A complete picture of the current state of affairs in the hemisphere and the reasons that led to it require an analysis in three different – but related – dimensions. To cover the first one, the course analyzes historical benchmarks that contextualize particular overt American interventions in the region, dissecting its causes, operation and consequences. In a second dimension, the course looks at topics that have permeated the relationship between the United States and Latin America over this period. Because of their typically cross-national nature, they illustrate a different set of dynamics and concerns that have fueled tensions in the relationship. A third and final dimension concerns recent developments in Latin America that affect and have been affected by U.S. foreign policy. Their novelty suggests that these issues will remain relevant at least in the immediate future.
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Citizenship in a Digital Age
Data-driven campaigns, inaccurate polling, hacked email systems, social media disinformation, hyper-polarized media coverage, debates over electoral tabulation, the evidence is all around us that the digital technologies of the 21st century have become central features of global political discourse and processes. This course considers how these new technologies have altered our approach to acquiring and critiquing data and information, mediated our modes of social communication, and in turn fundamentally changed the experience of being a citizen. The course starts with foundational readings on theories of citizenship and the development and transition into a digital networked society. From there we continue on to the development of large-scale networked information systems, transitions from old to new media, and a critique of expanded social connectivity through platforms such as social media. Additional topics include methods of communication between government representatives and citizens, the role of digital tools and algorithms in shaping polling methodology, demographic segmentation through digitally-enhanced mapmaking (see gerrymandering), representations of race, gender, and ethnicity in the digital public sphere, and online protest and activism. Readings will include work by Aristotle, Balibar, Castells, Habermas, Hardt and Negri, Galloway, and Tufecki amongst others.
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Refugees, Forced Migration, and Displacement
Today there are over 89 million refugees, displaced persons, and stateless persons. Global forced displacement has hit historical highs in recent years. While numbers are increasing, solutions are still elusive. The modern refugee regime, the collection of laws and institutions designed to address the problems faced by refugees, has developed slowly over the last 100 years, first in response to specific crises. A changing geopolitical landscape has shaped that regime. At the end of the Cold War, institutions in the field expanded their mandates, and preferred solutions to the "problem" of refugees changed. Many scholars argue the regime is no longer fit for purpose. They point to the European refugee 'crisis' as the latest case in point. This course will cover the history of the regime, key historical case studies, and current crises, in addition to thematic issues such as the asylum process and the challenges faced by women fleeing war. It will focus primarily on forced migration and displacement related to conflict and address scholarly and policy debates from an interdisciplinary perspective.
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Geopolitics of Global Energy
In recent years, energy security issues have become more challenging in international relations as a result of a steep increase in demand for energy resources, supply chain disruptions, a more thorough understanding of existing limits to energy sources, and the negative impact of fossil fuel-based energy consumption on climate change. The world is currently undergoing one of the worst global energy crises since the 1970s oil shocks. This crisis, combined with the geopolitical turmoil arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has the great potential to turn the global energy market into a fragmented one that is vulnerable to further disruptions and unhealthy rivalries among great power.
Against this background, this innovative interdisciplinary course explores the geopolitics of the global energy industry and markets with an emphasis on the major countries, institutions, and political and economic forces in today's global energy arena. The course aims to understand how global competition, conflicts, technological advances, and, occasionally, cooperation for access and distribution of energy resources among nations determine supply and demand conditions in the global energy markets, and alter the relative balance of power between energy exporters and importers.
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Critique of Post-Mao Chinese Culture, 1978-2018
The seminar is organized around critical readings of the cultural, artistic, legal and political texts, and discourses which laid the social and ideological foundation of the Opening and Reform years, or the New Era. The paradigm-setting interventions and heightened creativities with epochal implications to be scrutinized include (but not limited to) the “Kantian intervention” articulated by Li Zehou’s A Critique of Critical Philosophy published in 1979; the CCP’s “Resolution” on historical problems with its centrality in a mixed evaluation of Mao and total repudiation of the Cultural Revolution; the “Constitutional Moment” that followed, culminating in the issuing of the 1982 Constitution as an expression of the new social-political consensus on economic development and social stability. The initial breaking with the past and embracing the new were accompanied by unprecedented vitality in literary and artistic productivity. The three or four decades that followed will be examined, critiqued and periodized in national as well as global contexts, and with a historical hindsight possible only with an “end” or endpoint in 2018 or 2022.
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Crisis of Europe
In the past decade the countries of Europe, and the European Union as an organization, have been facing multiple challenges. The 2008 financial crisis hit multiple countries and generated a crisis in the shared Eurozone; Euroscepticism has given rise to populist movements throughout the continent; waves of migration were met with struggle and backlash; Western European countries have been threatened by terror; Russia is increasingly aggressive; and recently the US is increasingly indifferent and even hostile toward its European allies. In this course we will attempt to evaluate the following questions: Do these challenges amount to a crisis? Is the integrity of the EU in danger? What can be done to face these multiple challenges? The course explores the dimensions of the European crisis: sovereignty, democracy, economy, security, culture, and environment. We will explore these questions in the EU, in its relationships, and in key individual cases such as Britain, Germany, and Greece.
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Great Powers: Conflict and Cooperation
Much debate and policy planning in international affairs revolves around the notion of great power competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, not to mention the rivalry between Russia, the United States, and the EU. Great powers have been and remain privileged actors in the international system, as well as privileged objects and subjects of strategic planning and scholarly inquiry. This course offers graduate students an opportunity to integrate the study of great powers with the study of some key debates in the discipline of International Relations. It introduces the historical evolution of the state system and the modern nation-state in Europe and engages with how that system destroyed other forms of state order and power relations. As such the course explores the relationship between these historical developments and the development of contemporary approaches to the study of international relations. Students then turn to the core debates about the role of great powers in making war and peace in the international system, and in creating hierarchical systems. The course pays specific attention to the status, interactions and debates surrounding great powers in international relations.
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Nuclear Politics: Understanding the Bomb
This course is an overview of the international relations research on nuclear weapons and their effect on global politics. This course will cover: 1) The history of the nuclear bomb, from its inception during World War II to contemporary history; 2) the academic debate regarding the pros and cons of the bomb; 3) the academic literature on nuclear proliferation, including the causes of (non)proliferation; 4) how nuclear weapons affect international politics, then and now; and 5) current trends in the research of nuclear weapons. By the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of the academic literature on nuclear weapons, how and why the bomb matters for international politics today, and understand contemporary debates in the realm of nuclear politics.
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International Human Rights Law
This subject will examine the origins, evolution, structure, and effectiveness of international human rights law. We begin by exploring the legal framework of the United Nations and regional systems as well as other alternative non-Western visions of international human rights. The topics to be covered during the semester will include women’s and children’s rights, the rights of migrants and refugees, the rights of minorities and Indigenous peoples and the emerging field of environmental human rights. The class will also consider the issues that arise in making claims for human rights abuses carried out by Non-State Actors (NSA) such as multinational corporations and the efficacy of international human rights law in providing reparations for persons who had suffered these abuses.
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Deglobalization and the Problem of World Order
INTRL-GA 1731.007. Kian Tajbakhsh
This course will examine key challenges in the current transformation of the international system - including global governance and competing forms of world order - which is arguably unprecedented in the last seventy years. Two key questions frame these transformations. First, to what extent are we witnessing a reversal or slowdown of globalization as countries move to constrain global supply chains to national security concerns (reflected in terms such as de-linking, de-risking, friendshoring, de-globalization)? What impact could this have on development and achieving human prosperity especially for the world's poor? Second, are we experiencing the decline of the US-led Liberal International Order, the dominant model of international relations in the post-1945 era? In the face of a return to great power politics (notably the Ukraine war) and the emergence of an anti-Western authoritarian axis (China-Russia-Iran) asserting competing models of world order, what is the future for a rules-based international order? Under what principles could it be preserved or strengthened? The course will examine these questions from an interdisciplinary, cultural, geographic and regional perspective, covering Africa, the Non-Aligned Movement, Europe, the US, Islamic World, China, and Eurasian and Russia.
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Sociology of the Middle East
INTRL-GA 1731.009. Tyson Patros
In this course, students will develop their knowhow of social science research methods through an exploration of major lines of inquiry in sociology, politics, anthropology, and history. Alongside developing their analytical thinking and knowledge of the contemporary Middle East and beyond, the course’s primary goal is for students to complete a series of methods exercises and workshops where they develop their own thesis projects. For this purpose, we will read landmark studies that use different methods for the study of societies. In our course, this will include investigating the formation of social groups and inequalities, social movement organizations and civil society, education and political economy, and technology and societal change. Students will analyze these works to see the various ways researchers go about investigating the contemporary region. These materials will demonstrate qualitative and quantitative methods, for both interpretive and causal research, and we will treat them as a springboard to further dive into various tools of data collection and analysis, such as qualitative field work, formal comparative and historical research, and the use of big datasets, descriptive statistics, and GIS mapping. Students should expect to complete a detailed research proposal in this course, which involves them formulating a research question and selecting methods to collect data and analyze it, and which they can take forward over the summer for writing their MA theses.
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Decolonizing the Digital
INTRL-GA 1731.006. Toussaint Nothias
The ubiquity of digital technologies comes at a cost. Content moderation of social media platforms relies on the underpaid labor of workers. Facial recognition technologies reproduce racist biases while empowering autocratic regimes with surveillance capabilities. Predictive algorithms reinforce long-entrenched social inequalities in sectors as diverse as education, banking, and criminal justice. In response, a growing community of scholars, activists, artists, and technologists have developed alternative frameworks and practices to challenge digital colonialism and data colonialism. In this class, we will interrogate the links between digital technologies and colonialism. In what ways do today’s digital technologies reproduce colonial power relations? Are these technologies merely replicating old forms of colonialism, or are they spearheading a distinctively new type of colonialism? Most importantly, what does it take to decolonize these technologies?
We will read foundational texts in postcolonial and decolonial theory while engaging with the latest debates and research in critical data studies. These include work by Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Achille Mbembe, Eve Tuck, Lily Irani, Safiya Noble, Nanjala Nyabola, Walter Mignolo, Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, and Sareeta Amrute, among others. We will also engage with community-led efforts and creative practices to decolonize the digital, including artworks by Tabita Rezaire and Morehshin Allahyari and advocacy campaigns by Indian and Kenyan digital rights activists. Throughout, we will emphasize breaking down binaries of scholarly vs. non-scholarly knowledge production. Students will be asked to keep a data diary, write a short paper, attend an NYC Open Data Week event, and work toward a final project to decolonize a specific digital technology. For this last assignment, students can choose between writing a research paper and developing a creative project.
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Analyzing Intelligence: Foundational Skills
INTRL-GA 1732. 2 points. Angie Gad
This course examines the foundations of intelligence, analytical writing, and briefing. This course offers a practical approach, focusing on equipping students with the fundamental skills of a successful intelligence analyst: developing sound analysis through the use of Structured Analytic Techniques and communicating analytical judgements effectively in both written products and oral presentations. This course will also examine how intelligence analysis compares and contrasts between the Intelligence Community, domestic law enforcement/homeland security agencies, and the private sector.
This course should be of interest to students seeking to improve their understanding of intelligence and sharpen their critical thinking skills, analytical writing, and briefing skills. This course is suitable for students that are eager to learn how to research, develop, draft, refine, and present analytic products consistent with the tradecraft currently used by Intelligence Community professionals.
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U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America
INTRL-GA 1731.003. 4 points. Federico Sor
This course is a survey of US foreign policy toward Latin America, its primordial sphere of influence, from the wars of independence to the present. The course will survey political, military, and economic interventions, touching upon cultural and other forms of influence. To understand these interventions, we will explore the role that territorial and commercial expansion (and expansionism) has played in the governing ideologies of the United States since its inception. After an overview of US continental expansion, continuing with its overseas ventures, this course will place special emphasis on the twentieth century, in particular the Cold War and its aftermath, and will finish with a reflection on the role of the United States in today's international arena. We will examine key turning points in US foreign policy toward Latin America: from the expansionist thrust of the Monroe Doctrine, "manifest destiny," and the Roosevelt Corollary to the temporary retraction during the Good Neighbor Policy; and from the Cold War anticommunist crusades to the "war on drugs" and beyond. We will also focus on the economic drivers of foreign policy, from industrialization to the Washington Consensus. The course will incorporate, at every point, Latin American responses to US interventionism, including various forms of anti-imperialism and nationalism as well as proposals for international legislation over economic, political, and military disputes. Finally, we will examine different forms of Latin American elites' cooperation with and benefit from US interventionism.
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The Crisis of Political Representation
INTRL-GA 1731.008. 4 points. Thomas Zittel
Political representation is at the core of modern democracy. In representative democracies, citizens delegate decision-making powers to accountable and responsive representatives. Recent debates envision a crisis of this system across Europe in view of decreasing trust in parties and politicians, the rise of anti-system movements, but also looming visions about “more perfect” participatory forms of democracy. This class will take an in depth look at the debate about the crisis of political representation in Europe. Specifically, it will explore its theoretical and empirical underpinnings. In this vein, we will ask about the main institutional features of representative government, the available evidence of crises, and possible theoretical explanations and practical solutions. The main geographic foci of this class are the established (old) democracies in Europe. But we will also ask about the state of representative democracy in the European Union and in the newer democracies in Middle and Eastern Europe.
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From Propaganda to Reconciliation: Global Perspectives on Media and Conflict
INTRL-GA 1731.011. 4 points. Toussaint Nothias
“Tell the truth and shame the devil’. This is what Walter Lippman called the higher law of journalism. But the simplicity of this injunction unravels quickly in conflict situations. Whose truth? And what if there are multiple devils - or none? This course explores the various roles played by local and international media in covering conflict situations. We will analyze how the media in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America have become both tools for propaganda and encouraging violence, and also means for fostering dialogue, solidarity, and reconciliation among communities. Each weekly session is divided in two parts. In the first, we will discuss key concepts and theoretical debates about the role of the media in conflicts situations, such as objectivity, hate speech, peace journalism, citizen journalism, content moderation or cosmopolitanism. In the second, we will use the theoretical discussion to analyze the role of the media in specific case studies; for instance, how the media promoted ethnic reconciliation in post-civil war Burundi, accelerated the 2011 Egyptian revolution, or encouraged violence during the January 6th Capitol attack. When and why do the media become active participants in such conflicts rather than neutral witnesses? And what are the social, economic, and political institutions that inform how media covers conflict? These issues are particularly relevant to today’s world, where conflicts fueled by identity-driven populism and democratic aspirations have unfolded along with the tremendous growth of social media platforms.
Students will develop methodological skills to evaluate language and images used within news articles and will learn how to use software to support qualitative textual analysis. We will read reflexive writing by journalists such as Maria Ressa on how independent journalists should confront online misinformation; Anjan Sundaram on being a low-paid freelance journalist in a conflict zone; and Howard French on the whiteness of American media. We will read work drawn from journalism studies (such as Michael Schudson’s review of scholarly understandings of journalism), anthropology (such as Francis Nyamnjoh on partisanship in Cameroon media), sociology (such as Zeynep Tufekci on social media and the decision to participate in political protest) and by novelists such as Susan Sontag on the power and peril of war photography, and Binyavanga Wainaina on Western media and stereotypes. We will also watch and discuss films that will help students contextualize the case studies, including the Square (2013) by Jehane Noujaim and Sometimes in April (2005) by Raoul Peck. Students will be asked to submit a response paper, conduct a replication study (where students attempt to validate the findings of a prior piece of research), and produce a final research project analyzing the role of the media in a specific conflict area.
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Environmental Justice and Climate Change
INTRL-GA 1731.002. 4 points. Mark Harris
Notwithstanding some entrenched climate change deniers, it is now indisputable that the world is facing a climate crisis that sees increased extreme weather conditions displacing many vulnerable populations. This class will examine the links between environmental (climate) justice and climate change, with a focus upon the international organisations and mechanisms that seek to limit the rise in global temperatures. This will include consideration of the role of the annual COP meetings which seek to broker international agreement on the measures that are needed. We will also reflect upon the ways in which individuals, communities and nations are responding to the climate crisis and the effectiveness of the measures that have been adopted – including climate change litigation and direct action by organisations such as Extinction Rebellion.
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