Global Issues: An Introduction to International Relations
This course is designed to introduce you to the basic principles, problems, and theories of international politics; the evolution of the Westphalian nation-state; concepts of sovereignty, power, and national interest; patterns of conflict and cooperation; and the impact of international organizations and transnational advocacy networks. By the end of the semester, it is expected that students should have developed sufficient knowledge of global interaction that they can explain and analyze events and trends in the contemporary world at multiple levels of analysis including the individual, state, and system. As this is an introductory course, no prior political science classes are required in order to succeed.
Introduction to American Government
This course will introduce students to the principles, institutions and processes of the American political system. This knowledge will provide a foundation enabling students to better understand and critically evaluate our form of government. Specifically, this course is designed to familiarize students with political behavior and its relationship to the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of government. Students also will be introduced to the bureaucracy responsible for administering domestic, and foreign policies.
Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course is designed to provide students with the tools necessary for examining political systems across the globe. In particular, it will provide a foundation for understanding the concepts on which political systems operate, the forces that account for change and continuity, as well as the basis for comparing political performance. It is expected that by the end of the semester students will have developed the analytical skills required for explaining the differences and similarities across varying forms of governments. This course is a general education component designed to improve broad knowledge, stimulate life-long learning and develop critical understanding of political structures.
Political Philosophy and International Relations
This course provides a detailed introduction to the dominant theoretical perspectives found in international relations. The class will provide an introduction to political philosophers who serve as the basis for modern theory, analyze philosophical explanations for interstate conflict, and then transition into a description and analysis of contemporary theory.
Inter-Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations
The course is designed to examine the origins, development, functions and problems of Inter-Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations. We will inquire into the politics involved in the life of these entities, with special emphasis on the United Nations. This course will also examine a wide array of global, regional, and issue specific institutions. At the end of the semester it is expected that the student should be able to identify, understand, analyze and assess the increasingly important role played by IGOs and NGOs in the contemporary world.
International Politics of the Middle East:
Conflicts & Instability from WW1 through the 21st Century
The class begins with a discussion of the varying perspectives and challenges associated with studying the Middle East through the lens of international relations. This will be followed by a discussion of the Ottoman Empire and its collapse in the early 20th century. Thereafter, the presentations and discussions will focus on the key issues and actors which shape contemporary international, regional and national politics in the Middle East. Specific areas of emphasis will include identity and Islam, regional and international cooperation, the Arab-Israeli conflicts, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Comparative Politics of the Middle East
This course is an introduction to the comparative politics of the Middle East. As such, students will be introduced to the major questions and theoretical approaches involved in the study of Middle Eastern politics. Some of the substantive topics we will cover include: the dynamics and persistence of authoritarianism in the region; political liberalization, civil society and democratization; nationalism and identity; oil and the theory of the rentier state; political economy approaches to Middle East politics; Islamist politics; and the state in the Middle East. While it is impossible to be comprehensive in one semester, this course is designed to provide a foundation in Middle East politics, complete with social science theories, debates and concepts) that can be useful to you in the future as you pursue more detailed studies of this or other regions.
In the absence of a global government and/or near utopian cooperation, the international system is often characterized as anarchic. Yet states have created international organizations which contribute to solving issues that are too large to be addressed by any lone state. In doing so these organizations have created structures to create rules to manage interstate relations, and serve as venues in which dynamic learning and bargaining processes can occur. While some see international organizations as just another venue in which states pursue their national interests, others argue that the enormous rise in the number and reach of international organizations is proof that globalization and changing global power dynamics increasingly require cooperation and coordination that can only be achieved by through international law crafted via international organizations. This class will provide a grounding in contemporary theories of international law as well as a thorough understanding of the role that IGOs and NGOs play in moderating interstate relations and creating rules for the international community.
Terrorism and Political Violence
This course is an examination fo the causes, impact, and efforts to reduce domestic and international terrorism. Specific areas of influence include when terrorism is a rational tactic for a group to adopt, the interactive relationship between terrorist organizations and media outlets, and an examination of Salafist, nationalist, Marxist, and domestic (left and right wing) organizations.
Political Violence: Terrorism & Insurgency
Often terrorism and insurgency are portrayed as recent phenomena unique to our international system. While the current surge in both forms of violence may have distinct motivations, both have occurred across a broad swath of history. This course provides a broad understanding of both the historic roots of political terrorism and insurgencies, as well as the challenges they pose to the modern international system. As such this course will focus on the roots that lead to the adoption of both strategies. The course will then move on to more contemporary literature addressing the causes, consequences, and strategies to reduce the frequency of political insurgencies and terrorism.
Special Topics: Security Threats - Piracy, Terrorism, and Resources
The objective of this course is to analyze the generalizable patterns that encourage the emergence and demise of terrorism, maritime crime, and resource driven conflict. To be clear, these security issues pose a potential threat to international security and the community of nations writ large. However, these security threats are associated more strongly with the Islamic Middle East in media and general discussion. By the end of the course it is expected that students will have gained an in-depth knowledge as to when these security issues are likely to manifest, as well as their impact on economic and political systems. This information will also provide a basis for an informed policy discussion on how these security threats can be reduced in the future.
Authoritarianism and Competitive Authoritarianism
This is a graduate level course focusing on 20th and 21st Century non-democratic governance. A particular focus will be paid to competitive authoritarianism and how institutions are utilized to maintain various non-democratic systems. With one exception it focuses on recent scholarship on the subject matter rather than on classic texts.
Contemporary Secessionist Movements
This is a graduate level course focusing modern secessionist movements. An emphasis will be placed on the role of identity, interest, international organizations, and economic rationality in encouraging the emergence of modern secessionism. These factors play a role in the success, or failure, of several of the cases analyzed in the course as well as several plausible political events in the near future.