I have had the privilege of teaching the courses listed below at Bowdoin College, The University of Chicago, and UMass Amherst. The syllabi included are the most recent versions.
Introduction to International Relations
This course provides a broad introduction to the study of international relations (IR); it is designed to strike a balance between empirical and historical knowledge and the theoretical approaches and paradigms in IR. The course material predominantly focuses on trends, actors, institutions, and debates in global politics since the end of the Cold War, and topics include: an introduction to concepts and historical events, IR theories, global governance, international security, human rights, and the global economy. As an introductory course, it will familiarize students with no prior background in the subject, and is recommended for first- and second-year students intending to take upper-level international relations courses.
This course will introduce students to the theories and empirical realities of state failure from both comparative politics and international relations perspectives. The defining characteristics of statehood and measures of state-society relations that contribute to collapse will comprise the first topics, providing the theoretical framework from which we can understand the subsequent security and development implications. The second topic will address the causes and implications of civil wars in failed states with a case study focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo. The third section is on whether failed states produce transnational threats, specifically terrorism, with a case study focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. A fourth, brief, section will focus on Somalia as a potential “archetype of anarchy”, given the connections between internal disorder and transnational threats. The final topic will cover various options available to the international community to respond to weak and failed states, to both prevent threats with intervention and strengthen state-society relations with state-building.
Global Governance of Crises: Inequality and Insecurity
This course addresses various global crises in terms of their causes, how the international community responds to them, and their impact on international politics and human life. The types of crises include those broadly related to international inequality and insecurity, specifically case study topics of poverty, famine, threats from weak and failed states, human security, and “culture clashes.” Following an introduction to agency and advocacy in global governance, analysis of each crisis will entail a review of scholarly analysis and policy debates. This course is geared to students whose interests are in international development, international security, and human rights.
The Politics of International Justice
This course addresses the major theoretical debates and empirical trends in accountability for atrocities and human rights violations and the political dynamics of international and local justice processes. The material will address conceptual questions about justice and reconciliation, paradigmatic debates that compare different justice processes, and the historical and contemporary context of violence and justice in multiple case studies. The course addresses major concepts of justice and reconciliation, institutional responses of tribunals, truth commissions, and grassroots justice, and the debates over the role of justice in conflict resolution and resolving “impunity gaps.” By bridging the field of international relations with international law and comparative politics, students in this course will gain an understanding of the globalization of accountability and post-conflict societal transitions from violence to peace.