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School of International Affairs Electives List

Advanced International Affairs Theory (INTAF — 3 Crs)

The course familiarizes students with a wide range of advanced international affairs concepts, approaches, arguments, methods, and debates, especially those that relate to conflict (both international and domestic) and conflict management.  Students will acquire the ability to critique international affairs articles and books, translate arguments into hypotheses, obtain evidence to assess theories, and build on theoretical
arguments.  In particular, students will develop the ability to synthesize and integrate various theoretical arguments through a systematic understanding of international affairs that they can build on in the future. Prerequisites:    Multi-Sector and Quantitative Analysis (INTAF 803) or its equivalent

Center for Immigrants' Rights: Course Component (INTAF — 3 Crs)

The course component of the Center teaches students the skills necessary to be effective immigration advocates and attorneys. Principally through representation of organizations, students will work on innovative advocacy and policy projects relating to U.S. immigration policy and immigrants' rights. Students should expect to put in as much time as is required to complete project work successfully, which will be an average of twenty hours per week. Working primarily in teams, students will build professional relationships with government and non-governmental policy makers, academics, individual clients, and others. Students earn 3 credits and are limited to one semester of enrollment. Visit the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic for more information. Faculty approval required for enrollment.

Conflict and Resolution in Cross Cultural Contexts (INTAF — 3 Crs)

Across the globe there are more laws and provisions in place to protect human beings from discrimination than at any other time in history and yet there are more incidents of conflict, intolerance, bias, and violence than ever. How are we to make sense of these two competing realities? How can we become ethical leaders in the face of such contrasts and complications? This course combines perspectives from communications, psychology, sociology, political science, law and legal studies, human rights, identity-based studies, media studies, and cultural studies to engage questions of how cultural difference and discrimination play a role in conflict and resolution.

Domestic Influences on Foreign Policy (INTAF — 3 Crs)

This course will examine how domestic politics influences the formulation and implementation of foreign policy in the United States and other major powers. The role of lobbyists, ethnic groups, special interests, bureaucratic politics and other factors will be considered.

Dynamics of International Economic Order: Law, Politics, and Power (INTAF — 3 Crs)

In a globalized world, international economic order is defined, to a large extent, by legal frameworks and rules-based regimes governing various aspects of cross-border exchange. These frameworks and regimes are shaped, in their creation and subsequent evolution, by the relative distribution of power among states. At the same time, these frameworks and regimes can affect the distribution of power among states in important ways.

Dynamics of International Economic Order examines the cross-cutting relationship between political power and global economic governance. To this end, the course considers three inter-related sets of issues: first, how nation-states define international economic order through the creation of legal frameworks and rules-based regimes for cross-border trade, investment, and monetary relations; second, how shifts in the international distribution of economic and political power impact these frameworks and regimes; and third, how great powers—in the contemporary context more specifically, the United States (the emblematic established power) and China (the paradigmatic rising power)—approach global economic governance as part of their grand strategies to advance their interests and enhance their international position.

Energy, International Security, and the Global Economy (INTAF 810 — 3 Crs)

This course explores the economic, political, and strategic implications of ongoing trends and structural shifts in global energy markets. It focuses especially on international markets for crude oil and natural gas; attention is also devoted to nuclear energy, the international nuclear industry, and nonproliferation challenges. Students will develop a deep appreciation of the role of energy, and especially hydrocarbon-based energy, in contemporary international affairs. They will learn about the historical development and evolution of hydrocarbon-based energy and the international oil and gas industry; about the various types of contractual arrangements for cross-border investment in upstream oil and gas development and what the differences among these types of agreements reflect regarding the shifting balance of power between resource-owning national governments and foreign investors; and about why and how major energy market players shape their interactions on the basis of political and strategic calculations, along with commercial and economic considerations. They will also learn about the economic and political factors affecting the contribution of nuclear energy to the global energy balance; about the major proliferation risks associated with civil nuclear technology; and about the international regime that has been developed to mitigate these risks and the most pressing challenges to this regime.  

Estimative Analysis in International Strategy (INTAF 811 — 3 Crs)

Estimative analysis techniques are used by governments, businesses, financial institutions and other organizations to aid in long term strategic planning. The techniques are designed to examine potential changes in various areas of interest, for instance in government they might be focused on how future changes might affect national security, economic conditions, international stability, and the health, safety and well being of its population. Other more specific issues might be addressed such as the future of a specific nation or group of nations, a resource, or military capability such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They and businesses might be interested in identifying potential disruptive technologies, emerging markets or potential changes in access to resources. This course provides a background in the art of estimative intelligence; the difference between prediction and statements of judgment; identifying key questions; developing plausible and useful scenarios; and integrating complex quantitative and qualitative information from a variety of sources (physical sciences, engineering, medicine, economics, sociology, anthropology, and many others). Emphasis is placed on integrating and translating this complex information into reports accessible to the educated generalist audience as is found in senior leadership positions in government and industry, who must use this information for strategic decision making. Theoretic and a-theoretic approaches to estimative analysis are considered and the relationship between them is considered. This course examines a variety of existing intelligence estimates and other documents used by decision makers and students get an opportunity to identify successes and failures. It examines techniques used by governments and business in developing estimates and the community that produces them. A central aspect of the course is a student project to prepare an estimate on an important topic of interest to international affairs as related to government and/or business and/or the non-government sector. 

Foreign Policy and the 21st Century Global Media Environment (INTAF — 2 Crs)

National security policy is developed, executed and sustained on a global stage where conflicts are waged live on television and daily events are shaped not just by governments communicating through traditional media but by a range of non-state actors employing Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to influence national, regional or global public opinion.  This course will cover the modern national security policymaking process; the pursuit of national interests consistent with U.S. laws and values; the competing strategic narratives promoted by the U.S., emerging global powers and extremist groups such as al Qaeda; and the vital role of old and new media to the development of representative and responsible governance.  Case studies in government communications and media relations will range from the Cold War and Vietnam right up to the present day, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, WikiLeaks and the on-going transformation of the Middle East.

Globalization and Grand Strategy: The United States, Rising Asia, and the Persian Gulf in the 21st Century (INTAF — 3 Crs)

This course examines three related sets of issues that will substantially influence the structure of international relations in the 21st century.  First, the course explores the implications of globalization for the grand strategies of great powers — in particular, the United States and rising Asian powers (with a focus on China).  Second, the course looks at the Persian Gulf as one of the world's most important emerging “nodes” of economic globalization — in energy, finance, and the distribution of global production across a growing number of sectors.  Third, the course examines the intensifying competition for strategic influence in the Gulf between the United States, the established regional “hegemon”, and rising Asian powers — especially China.

Hazards, Disasters & International Affairs (INTAF 503 — 3 Crs)

This course addresses the scientific and technical background of hazards (natural, technical, cultural) and disasters; considers the risk model, examines the disaster management cycle; and discusses costs and benefits of various actions in the international environment. The implications of disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies to national and international stability are considered using case study and theoretical approaches. The national and international hazard management and disaster response communities are examined (government, inter governmental organizations, non-government organizations, private industry). Disaster management plans are considered. 

International Environmental Negotiations (INTAF 813 — 3 Crs)

Major environmental issues with considerable controversy, uncertainty, or immediacy will be examined in detail (climate change, pandemic flu virus, major natural disaster, etc.). After six weeks of detailed study in the substance of the topics and the decision making process in the international community a simulation game will be conducted based on one of the topics. Teams of students will take on the roles of nations, groups of nations, or extranational organizations (for example USA, China, India, Russia, EU, Group of 77, OPEC, UN, WHO, etc.). They will develop positions based on the most current scientific information and existing policy. The game will progress through a series of moves to which they must respond with new policy positions. These will be the result of real and plausible changes scientific knowledge, economic and environmental conditions, technology, and international power relationships. The game will take approximately five weeks. In addition to content knowledge on the environmental topics; existing laws, treaties, and agreements; and international organizations; students participating in the simulation game will get experience in rapid ingest of data, analysis, negotiations, presentation techniques, preparation of analytical briefs, and leadership under pressure, much like the real world. The results of the game will then be debriefed and deconstructed, and critically analyzed to gain insights into both the issue and how various interested parties or groups will likely be affected and how they might respond.

Introduction to Law and Legal Systems (INTAF — 3 Crs)

The course focus is on American law as system, and through a study of that system, of the context within which national law systems intersect with international law and social norms.  To that end, the student would be exposed to the an understanding of the way "law" is created in the U.S. (common law, statute, administrative regulation), the relationship of these forms of law and the state (constitutional law, hierarchies of law, relationship between domestic and international legal regimes, etc.), an introduction to the ways in which law is interpreted (the role of courts, judicial interpretation of cases and statutes), and an introduction to the context in which law plays a role in policy and international affairs, by placing the US system within the world of comparative law and respective legal families, (this might as well help both the foreign and the US participants orientate themselves a bit better to the connection between law and policy). Short problems and examples would be drawn from the basic first year law curriculum (ie modern common law reasoning through tort or contract, modern statutory law through criminal statutes, administrative law through civil procedure or basic admin law, and domestic "soft law" such as NYSE listing rules and the methodologies for ranking US law schools). The last third of the course would be used to introduce materials from the core substantive legal concepts in tort, contract, procedure and constitutional law. 

Introduction to Research Design (INTAF — 3 Crs)

This course provides an accessible approach to developing the research, empirical and analysis skills necessary for International Affairs careers and research. The approach is hands-on, with a focus on providing practical skills for evaluating real-world arguments and policies. The course has three objectives. First, to provide a background that prepares students for the required Multi-Sector and Quantitative Analysis (INTAF 803) core course by giving them a solid foundation in research design and analysis. Second, to familiarize students with a variety of International Affairs methods (e.g. experiments, social networks, and data sources) not covered in other core-classes. Third, to provide law and other students sufficient knowledge of social science approaches to participate effectively in SIA courses. This course is recommended for all first-year M.I.A. degree candidates.

Law, Politics & the Practice of Diplomacy (INTAF – 3 Crs)

Diplomacy is an important mechanism for the conduct of relations amongst States. This course will define its structure and methods, as it has been practiced historically, and by reference to the politics and law which support it: such as the notion of the sovereignty, rights and duties of States; the obligation to settle disputes by peaceful means; and the pursuit of the interests of States. Attention will be given, particularly, to its working methods: negotiations; the role of Foreign Ministries, Embassies and diplomats; and, international organizations, such as the United Nations and its Agencies. A critical appraisal will be made of: its utility in the modern era, the mythology which surrounds it; and ways in which it might be adjusted to increase its utility and cost effectiveness in the future. Much attention will be given, in the course, to practical examples of diplomatic actions and experiences.

Political Economy of Development & Growth (INTAF 504 — 3 Crs)

This course examines the reasons why different nations realize diverse long run levels of welfare. Possible determinants of the differential outcomes include different rates of accumulation in physical capital, rates of technological innovation, the impact of human and financial capital, and the impact of demographic changes with increasing levels of economic development. Further extensions include a consideration of the impact of the openness of economies, geographical location, and exposure to disease vectors. In addition, the course considers the impact of institutions, including domestic institutions, international institutions, as well as multilateral forms of cooperation between economies. Types of institutions to be considered will include micro-level institutions (those that function most obviously at the individual agent level), as well as institutions that govern societies at more aggregate levels. The course also examines evidence on whether there are interaction effects between the determinants of growth (for instance, whether the impact of openness is different under democratic or autocratic political governance). The course will consider both relevant theory, but will place an emphasis on examining available data sources in order to test alternative explanations. Given the International Affairs context, particularly strong emphasis is placed on drawing from literatures that reflect the strong interdisciplinary nature of International Affairs programs. This includes perspectives from economics, law, political science and sociology.

Politics of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security (INTAF — 3 Crs)

This course will examine the main characteristics of the relationships between States; their motivations and aims; conflicts between them, and how they are typically resolved or adjusted; the legal and political framework within which those relationships take place; the underlying conflict between interests and principles; the question of whether or not States are interested in peace and security, as against winning ; the main threats to peace and security, both military and non-military; and, the role of non-State actors, such as global corporations and terrorist groups.

Science & Technology International Policy (INTAF 502 — 3 Crs)

Cultural differences between the science, technology, and policy making communities; how science and technology have influenced international policy in the past and is likely to do so in the future; domestic and international policies affecting science and technology; science and technology as they relate to diplomacy, national and global security, sustainable development, and international economics; individual scientific disciplines and discoveries and their implications to foreign policy. Ecological goods and services are explored as are methodologies and findings in geology, hydrology, meteorology, biology, ecology, chemistry, physics, medicine, nanotechnology, robotics, information science and technology, space science, and others.  The link between established and emerging science and technology issues and existing and potential policies is demonstrated.

Strategy, Conflict, Peace (INTAF 505 — 3 Crs)

This course provides the analytical tools required to understand strategic interaction between agents, be they individuals, firms, or states. The objective is to understand under what circumstances such interaction leads to cooperative outcomes (peace), when it issues in adversarial interaction (conflict), and what and why might be the optimal forms of strategy under such alternative conditions. The basis of the analysis will be game theory.

The Law of War and Just War Theory (INTAF — 2 Crs)

This course will examine the role of just war theory as it relates to the laws of war (or to the law of armed conflict). The course will examine the history and development of the theory, and explore its application to the legal paradigms relating to the use of force under international law: targeted killings, intervention, responsibility to protect, detention as well as the legal and strategic definitional challenges posed by non-state actors.

The Politics and Law of Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament (INTAF — 3 Crs)
 
The critical background to this course begins with President Kennedy's warning, almost fifty years ago that, unless there was restraint, the world could face at least twenty countries possessing nuclear weapons. His warning caused alarm, and the response given by the international community was the negotiation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of 1968 (NPT).  It provides that the five then recognized nuclear weapon states, ( US, Russia, China, UK, France ) should eliminate their weapons and that those who do not have them should never acquire them. No Treaty has more adherents than NPT.  Today, the original five nuclear weapon states have been joined by four others ( India, Pakistan, Israel, DPRK ), another, Iran, is regarded as attempting to build a weapon, while one state which made nuclear weapons - South Africa - has destroyed them and Sweden, Brazil and Argentina, terminated their nuclear weapons programs. NPT will be at the core of this course. Students will: be asked to consider it in all respects - its negotiating history, the reasons for its terms, its strengths and weaknesses, above all, its effectiveness. We will consider too, extra - treaty arrangements, such as those determined by the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Focus will then move to nuclear arms control in all aspects: the politics of it, the legal issues involved; from the right to self defense to the provisions of international humanitarian law and the laws of war. There will also be a philosophical/analytical element, such as in analyzing the doctrines of deterrence and extended deterrence, and the fundamental notion of arms control/disarmament as a part of the conduct of relationships amongst states. Contemporary challenges such as those posed by Iran and DPRK will be analyzed. Finally, the course will consider the prospects of the achievement of a "secure world without nuclear weapons"; a goal to which President Obama has committed the US, and to which, at the 2010 NPT review conference, all treaty members committed themselves.

The Role of Intelligence in International Relations (INTAF 812 — 3 Crs)

This course will examine how intelligence is gathered and how it is used in the process of formulating foreign policy. It will consider the various types of intelligence that are gathered, what government agencies are involved, how the intelligence is analyzed and what impact this information has on policy makers.

The United States and Iran (INTAF — 3 Crs)

The relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran has become one of the most pressing items on the international policy agenda, with potentially profound implications for international security, the global economy, and the balance of power in one of the world's most critical regions.  Over the last decade, the Islamic Republic has emerged as a key player in the most consequential political and strategic dramas unfolding across the Middle East.  In the process, the Islamic Republic has consolidated a role as de facto leader of regional resistance to what Iranian leaders describe as America's hegemonic and aspirations across the broader Middle East — in the Persian Gulf, the Arab-Israeli arena, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.  Iran's “rise” makes the Islamic Republic's choices regarding its alignment toward key international players an increasingly critical factor in global and regional power balances.  Certainly, for the United States, how it deals with the Islamic Republic in coming years will contribute significantly to determining America's standing as a great power in international affairs during the next quarter century.

Against this backdrop, the course challenges students to think critically about the U.S.-Iranian relationship, focusing on the record of U.S.-Iranian engagement over the past 30 years, current policy and strategy on both the American and Iranian sides, the implications of U.S.-Iranian dynamics for a range of high-profile regional and global issues, and options for the future.  The course will draw on the instructor's experience dealing with Middle East issues in the U.S. government and extensive interactions with current and former Iranian officials.  As part of their participation in the course, students will have take part in a hands-on simulation of U.S. and Iranian foreign policy decision-making and diplomatic interaction.

The United States and the Middle East (INTAF — 3 Crs)

American engagement in the Middle East, one of the world's most important regions, is and will continue to be a powerful factor shaping the character of contemporary international affairs.  To help students deepen their understanding of U.S. foreign policy and the modern Middle East, this course explores two related sets of issues:  1) the strategic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in the Middle East and how policymakers have sought to address these challenges; and 2) Middle Eastern responses to U.S. engagement in the region.  The course will draw on readings, class discussion, and the instructor's extensive government experience to help students develop a sense of the historical evolution of U.S. policy in the Middle East, contexts for understanding the region's shifting strategic environment, and analytic frameworks for evaluating current policy debates.

U.S. National Security (INTAF — 3 Crs)

How will US national security operate after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Rather than chase headlines, we will focus on the underlying processes and patterns of national security. The course will examine: 1) how states fights wars and use force; 2) how the characteristics of nuclear and conventional weapons affect strategic thinking; 3) the manner in which the states match interests with capability and domestic politics, 4) the civil military relations and 5) how wartime assessment influences policy. In each case we will focus first on the analytical patterns and theory and then on their application to US national security. I expect students to develop the knowledge and skills to think and write critically about the politics of US national security and national security more generally. Prerequisites:    Foundations of Diplomacy and International Relations Theory (INTAF 802) or its equivalent

Water and Sustainable Development (INTAF 501 — 3 Crs)

This course addresses the scientific theory and practical considerations necessary to manage water resources and their environment in an international and sustainable development context. Scientific and technical hydrologic issues needed for sustainable development form the course foundation. Water resources in a changing environmental and geopolitical context are examined. Specific topics include problem analysis, scoping, design, environmental impacts, financial management, data analysis, and issues of implementation, capacity building, and multicultural and cross cultural participation. The course includes a combination of lectures, seminar sessions, and problem solving projects and simulations.