Introduction to International Relations (Undergraduate) The goal of this class is to discover how international politics affects our everyday lives. We investigate international relations through the framework of interests, interactions, and institutions. We learn that global actors have varying interests, unique interactions, and they work under different rules and institutions. But we also uncover broad patterns of international behavior that allow us to explain and make predictions about world events.Throughout the semester, we identify different actors in international politics, and investigate why those actors sometimes conflict and sometimes cooperate. Our focus then turns to international political economy, where we discuss theories of global trade, finance, monetary policy, and development. Finally, we investigate unique challenges to the international community, including environmental problems, human rights abuses, and transnational terrorism. By the semester's end, students understand a variety of political problems facing the world today.
International Law (Undergraduate) Does international law change how countries behave? If so, how? People have strong opinions about the effectiveness of international law. Some say that international law changes how countries act, and that countries will even do what's not in their interest so that they can honor international law. Others say that countries only act in their own interest, and that international law has little ability to meaningfully change how countries behave. Who's right? It is important to study the power of international law, because it provides us with insight into human nature. Can human beings sometimes forgo their own interests to follow rules, norms, and principles for the good of the world? Can we adhere to laws that provide and protect common global resources without a government forcing us to do so? Or, are we so self-interested that international cooperation is impossible?
International Organization (Undergraduate) In 1994, the country of Rwanda exploded in civil violence. Nearly one million men, women, and children were killed in a very short time period by their own countrymen. During that time, the international community debated what to do. While everyone agreed that the Rwandan genocide was horrible, countries were unable to cooperate in a meaningful way to stop the killing. Most countries did not want to suffer the costs of intervening in a humanitarian crisis. Rwanda raises a number of questions. Can we as human beings cooperate, when our self-interests are so strong? Can we work together to protect and provide common resources, without a government forcing us to do so? Or, are we so self-interested that cooperation is impossible? We address questions like these by exploring if and how countries cooperate in a world with no government. We study cooperation over a number of international issues, including peace and security, trade and development, and climate change. We conduct a simulation of international climate change negotiations to gain practical insight into the challenge of global cooperation. Finally, we assess and evaluate a number of global problems, including justice for war crimes victims, human rights promotion, and international economic development.
Advanced Seminar in Research Design (Undergraduate) This class introduces advanced undergraduates to the study of social science. As social scientists, we identify puzzling events in politics. We construct logical stories that answer those puzzles. We develop ways to see how valid our stories are, and look for evidence that can help confirm or reject the stories. We identify the holes in the proposed stories and address alternative explanations. Finally, we draw conclusions about how right or wrong our stories are. The objective of the class is for students to start and finish an original research project.
Introduction to International Relations (Graduate) This class introduces the systematic study of international politics. While sometimes the media portrays global events such as terrorist attacks as entirely random events, the fact is that patterns of behavior exist at the international level. Our job is to figure out how we can identify patterns in international relations, propose explanations for those patterns, and discover new patterns of our own. We explore political phenomena such as interstate and civil conflict, the formation and growth of supranational institutions, and conflict management. The class views international politics through the lens of strategic choice. Strategic choice means that international actors are purposive, and their actions are pursued in anticipation of how other actors will behave. Actors have unique interests they want to achieve in international relations, but cannot always achieve their interests because of other actors' preferences and behavior. Moreover, they are constrained by an institutional framework of norms, rules, and international law. It is the combination of interests, interactions, and institutions that produces global politics as we observe it. Strategic choice may seem like a simple and obvious concept, but it is a powerful framework that helps us move away from perceiving international politics as entirely random, and start looking for patterns in behavior.
International Organization (Graduate) Can countries find order in an anarchic world? If so, how? Addressing these questions not only tells us a great deal about global politics, it provides insight into human nature. We ask if human beings can work together to provide collective goods, or if our self-interests are too strong to foster sustained cooperation. This course explores a particular type of cooperation: the constitution of global order and the international organization of states. We investigate various sources of international order, including regimes, institutions, law, and norms. We also explore how states cooperate in a number of issue arenas, such as peace and security, human rights, and environmental issues. By the end of the semester, students are able to explain when and why countries cooperate, and how order emerges in an anarchic world.
Advanced Quantitative Methods (Graduate) Regression analysis is a powerful tool for understanding the world around us. This class introduces the theory, methods, and practical application of linear regression. By the end of the semester, students understand and evaluate social science research that uses regression analysis. They can use regression to address a research question of interest. Finally, students learn and apply additional techniques of statistical analysis, including logit and probit. Any regression course requires some knowledge of basic statistical concepts and techniques. We begin with a brief review of descriptive statistics, sampling distributions, statistical inference, and hypothesis testing before moving on to applied techniques. The focus is on the nature of the basic linear regression model. Regression makes several key assumptions. We examine these assumptions in depth and explore the consequences of violating them.