Why did intervention occur in Libya but not Syria? How has the global financial crisis affected the world’s poorest? Why haven’t governments signed a global climate change treaty? Are drones violating the international laws of war or are they justified as a response to the war on terror? This course explores these questions and others through examination of the core concepts, approaches, and theories of international relations. Part I of the course will investigate many of the foundational questions of international relations such as: Why do states cooperate? Is the world economy rigged? What influence do non-state actors have in international affairs? These questions will provide a framework for comparing, contrasting, and synthesizing various IR concepts, approaches, and theories. Part II of the course will analyze several pressing global issues—including global poverty, terrorism, climate change, migration, and corporate governance—and conclude with a project that develops specific policy recommendations.
International Human Rights (Politics 70)
This course will explore the history, structure, and politics of the international human rights regime. The first part of the course will examine the origins of human rights as well as the political processes and contestations of constructing rights (which rights for whom). The second part of the course will investigate the seeming paradox of protection of individual human rights through and within a state-based system predicated on sovereignty. The last part of the course will examine U.S. human rights policy including the historical relationship between the civil rights and human rights movements, the reasons for American exceptionalism, and the often-evoked dichotomy of national security versus human rights. The final paper represents an opportunity to further research and analyze one of the following pressing human rights issues: U.S. counterterrorism policies and the use of torture, the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), economic and social rights for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, and the global refugee crisis.
International Relations 100: Global Governance (IR 100)
This course will examine the concept of global governance, or the complex interactions between various governmental and non-state actors that produce international and regional rules and order in the absence of global government. The first part of the course will investigate what is global governance and whether it is a new phenomenon that resulted from globalization or an enduring aspect of world affairs. The second part of the course consists of in-depth case studies of global governance: the Olympics and the World Cup, regionalism and the rise of the global city, U.N. peacekeeping, the International Criminal Court, and global development. The final section of the course will consider the possible future directions of global governance, including the fragmentation of governance or the rise of large, pathogenic bureaucracies.
NGOs and Transnational Politics (Politics 71)
This course will examine the histories, organizational dynamics, political tactics, and influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in world affairs, with a particular emphasis on human rights and humanitarian organizations. The first part of the course will investigate what NGOs are by examining their values, organizational structures, relationship to civil society, and historical ascendance. The second part of the course will take an in-depth look at advocacy NGOs through analyzing their tactics, methods of issue selection, and successful and less successful campaigns, including prisoners of conscience and Invisible Children’s Kony 2012. The third part of the course will explore humanitarian NGOs through case studies of service provision in Haiti and Afghanistan as well as issues of neutrality, funding, backlash, and dependency. The final section of the course will consider the question of NGOs as potential agents of political change by discussing accountability, legitimacy, and alternative forms of social organization.