SIA Electives

Agriculture and Food Policy

INTAF 597 Credits: 3

Famines around the world have long made news headlines, and in recent years the news includes a discussion of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that come about, in part, due to an overabundance of food (i.e., Type II diabetes, heart disease).  While the natural environment affects regions of food security and insecurity, the policy environment plays an equally strong role in constructing our global food systems. For example, how have changing agricultural policies shaped our food safety problems, such as E. coli contaminated meat or spinach?  How have government policies related to labeling of organics shaped the growth of consumer demand for organic agriculture and food products? This class analyzes the socio-economic, political, and cultural construction of our food systems and the ways in which institutions and individuals involved with these systems have experienced dramatic changes in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In addition, we will learn about the global, regional, and national institutions and policies that impact the flow of food around the world (e.g., the World Trade Organization, transnational corporations, NAFTA, the European Union, and national governments). By the end of this course, students will be able to describe the institutions and organizations that are involved in the provision of food at national and international levels, identify problems with the dominant agriculture and food system, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of many of the proposed solutions for creating a more sustainable and equitable food system.

Climate and Security Policy

INTAF Credits: 3

The course will cover the basics of climate science, will show why the scientific community has such confidence in their projections, and will discuss which security-relevant climate topics still have high scientific uncertainty.  The course will demonstrate how changes in climate impact both US and international security posture.  Topics covered will include the opening of the Arctic from a security perspective, other changes in operating environments, threats to military and security infrastructure both in the US and globally, and how climate change-related impacts can exacerbate already unstable conditions - sometimes catastrophically so.  The course will cover U.S. and other governments’ responses on this issue, and how a risk-managemnt perspective is useful.  The course will include a number of seminars led by external speakers who held senior positions in the last administration and can give insight to how US policy was developed on these issues.  The course will cover some of the politics of climate change and how security concerns influence that debate.  Finally, the course will cover the ways in which this issue of climate & security might evolve in the next few years and throughout the students’ professional lifetimes - and how best to shape that future.

Corporate Social Responsibility

INTAF Credits: 3

This course provides an introduction to the law and policy issues that touch on the responsibility of enterprises for their activities.  It provides an overview of corporate social responsibility (CSR), as a subject of legal regulation within states, as a matter of international law and compliance beyond the state, and as a tool and methodology of corporate governance and finance with governance effect through contract. The emphasis is on the study of the legal and regulatory frameworks, both existing and emerging within states, in international institutions, and within production chains and the apex corporations that manage them. The course begins with definitional issues and variations in approaches between major jurisdictions.  It then turns to the existing law of CSR, focusing specifically on charitable giving and disclosure regimes. It then considers the rise of CSR regulatory regimes as privatizing law making using the mechanisms of contract to regulate CSR related conduct throughout a production chain.  It then considers the emergence of international standards as they inform regulatory efforts in states and enterprises and as normative standards in their own right.

Cross Cultural Conflict Resolution

INTAF510 Credits: 3

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.

Dealing with Dictators

INTAF Credits: 3

This course explores the dilemmas imposed on democratic states in dealings with authoritarian regimes. 

Diplomacy and Statecraft

INTAF Credits: 3

This course explores the role of diplomats in executing national security strategy including the relationship between diplomats and the military, economic and intelligence components of national security.

Domestic Influences on Foreign Policy

INTAF 508 Credits: 3

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 815 Credits: 3

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.

Economic Challenges of Africa

INTAF Credits: 3

This course offers a retrospective and prospective view of economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It examines a range of economic issues facing African countries today while emphasizing the role and importance of history and political economy shaping current economic outcomes.

Since the turn of the century the African continent has experienced a historical turnaround marked with growth resurgence and improvement in overall macroeconomic stability. Africa has been one of the fastest growing regions, and its growth prospects for the near future remain strong; a far cry from its label by ‘The Economist’ magazine in 2000 as ‘the hopeless continent’. Yet African countries continue to face daunting challenges, including widespread poverty, on-going conflict in some regions, and the stresses of providing infrastructure for fast growing populations.

The topics covered in the course may include: an introduction to political economy in Africa, focusing on institutional development, state formation, the role of the state and government policies; a review of economic development strategies (the role of agricultural and industrialisation strategies; commodities boom and the role of natural resources); an examination of the new development agenda (the Sustainable development Goals and the poverty reduction agenda in Africa); the challenge of domestic financing of development; the importance of illicit financial flows (cause and potential remedies); the impact of changing demographics; and the costs of conflict.

The focus of the course is applied and policy-oriented with extensive use made of illustrative country case studies. The course is aimed at graduate students who wish to develop a background on SSA economies.

Energy, International Security, and the Global Economy

INTAF 810 Credits: 3

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.

Foreign Policy and the 21st Century Global Media Environment

INTAF Credits: 2

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.

Gender and the Food System

INTAF Credits: 3

This course will analyze the relevance of gender in our food system from farm to plate. Gender, as a social relationship, is embedded throughout our food system and shapes not only what we eat, but how we eat. Gendered labor practices and consumption patterns have implications for thinking about the future sustainability of our food system. We will explore the contradictory relationships embedded in our food system as it relates to gender, as food and agriculture can be part of an individual’s identity, as well as sources of oppression. We will also examine the structured inequalities that have historically existed in the food system. Therefore, while the dominant theme and focus of this course is gender, we will also analyze the ways in which gender intersects with race, class, and nation-states in shaping our food systems.  Towards the conclusion of the course, we will turn our attention to considering alternative food movements that seek to create more just and equitable food systems and the ways in which these alternative food systems recognize and engage with gender inequalities. At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to identify the relevance of gender throughout the food system, recognize the diversity of gendered relationships in food systems globally, and analyze the degree to which proposed sustainable food systems engage with gendered relationships.

Grand Strategies of Established and Rising Powers

INTAF Credits: 3

This course is about the grand strategies of the world's major powers -- states that independently exercise significant influence over their external environments in ways that help shape the overall character and trajectory of global politics. Depending on its foreign policy orientation and perceived standing in the international system, such a state may also be described as either an established or rising power. The course develops a framework for understanding and explaining a nation's foreign policy and applies it to analyzing the grand strategies of the most important established and rising powers in contemporary world politics, including the United States, Russia, Japan, China, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and India.

Hazards, Disasters, and International Affairs

INTAF 503 Credits: 3

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 Development and the Ethics of Development Assistance

INTAF Credits: 3

This course will introduce you to the study of international development as a field and as an idea. International development has changed considerably since post WWII, with some of the same organizations still participating in international development, but also with many new actors and organizations. Alongside organizations and actors, have been many academic fields that study and influence aspects of international development, including: anthropology, economics, history, political science, sociology, demography, and public health. We will explore major approaches to international development historically, and in the present, as well as consider the effectiveness of international development and the ethics of development assistance. The overriding goals of this course are for you to: cultivate a base of knowledge about international development, gain familiarity with topics that people in a variety of disciplines study and shape as it relates to international development, and develop an informed and critical perspective as it relates to the practice and ethics of international development.

Introduction to Law and Legal Systems

INTAF Credits: 3

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.

Political Economy of Development and Growth

INTAF 504 Credits: 3

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.

Property, Poverty and Development

INTAF Credits: 3

This seminar is for those who are interested in property ownership and the role that it plays in economic development. Case studies will be taken from across the developing world, with a particular focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Since the time of the philosopher and social reformer, Jeremy Bentham, we have understood that the poor, like others, are more likely to invest in property if they own it. Hernando De Soto has famously argued that non-transparent legal systems, and titling systems in particular, pose severe impediments to the participation of the poor in capitalist economies. Without title, the poor are less likely to invest in their properties and are often unable to access credit. De Soto estimates that for the developing world, the total value of real estate held by the poor (but not formally titled) is more than 20 times foreign direct investment and more than 90 times all foreign aid for the last 3 decades.

The extent of De Soto’s influence can hardly be overstated. In the policy world, his work has inspired decades of World Bank-funded titling programs across several continents. In the academic world, his work has inspired soul-searching among economists and development scholars across the methodological spectrum. Some have argued for communal systems of collective land tenure. Others dispute his estimates of property currently owned by the poor and argue that granting legal title has not improved credit access. Some have also argued that titling systems simply replicate current inequalities. Moreover, in societies where women work the land but do not have equal status in society or in law, their land claims are unlikely to be recognized.

Yet others have criticized De Soto’s emphasis on titling arguing that land titling by itself is unlikely to make a significant impact on poverty reduction without parallel reforms such as improving access to the formal banking system, financial literacy and streamlining business regulations. Finally, others question whether extensive investments in titling systems represent a prudent investment in the conditions of extreme economic scarcity that characterize many developing countries, suggesting that in such circumstances, a more “modest” approach to legal reforms may be more prudent.

In summary, this seminar will focus on De Soto’s ideas on the importance of property reform in combatting poverty and the critiques, particularly in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Research Design (former title: Empirical Methods)

INTAF 500 Credits: 3

The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the importance and methods of empirical evaluations in international affairs and the ability to produce a properly organized and systematically explored, analyzed and argued international affairs research paper. Specifically, after successfully completing this course, a student will be able to demonstrate: 1) an understanding of the importance of empirical evaluation of theoretical propositions and policy effectiveness, 2) knowledge of experimental design, survey design, and methods to collect observational data, 3) how to manipulate and assess descriptive data, 4) the ability to specify, conduct and interpret a multivariate analysis, 5) a basic understanding of social network analysis, Bayes law, and selection effects, 6) capacity to employ Excel to input, manipulate, and graph data.

Science, Technology, and International Policy

INTAF 502 Credits: 3

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.

Seminar on State-Making

INTAF Credits: 3

State making is the study of how states emerge, develop, and persist.  These topics are relevant to a number of the social sciences, and students will get a good idea of that this semester because the assigned readings are from not only American, Comparative and IR sub-fields of Political Science, but also from economics, history, sociology, geography, and various humanities disciplines as well.  Comparativists seem to care considerably more about state making than do IR scholars, since it so centrally involves questions of national development.  The tendency of IR scholars to take state making for granted, or to ignore it, is particularly puzzling since IR scholars mostly study what states do.  Since states not infrequently make other states, the phenomenon clearly has an international component.  We’ll spend the semester investigating how questions of state emergence, development, and survival inter-relate, and how they influence other aspects of state behavior.  Student performance will be evaluated based on seminar attendance and participation, and two take-home essay exams.

Strategy, Conflict, Peace

INTAF 505 Credits: 3

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.


INTAF 567/PLSC 567 Credits: 3

This seminar provides a general and cumulative investigation into the phenomenon of terrorism from a Political Science perspective. It is a study of terrorism with an attention to what it is - theoretically, conceptually, empirically -  how and why it is used by nonstate actors; its political, economic, and social root causes; its consequences to political, economic, and social institutions and outcomes; and the implications of current research on terrorism and counterterrorism. Although the study of terrorism has a long pedigree in the social sciences, research by political scientists became more extensive following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. This course critically evaluates this new literature, noting its contributions, limitations, gaps, and opportunities for future discovery. Much of the contemporary scholarly literature on terrorism makes use of state-of-the-art political science research methods and quantitative analysis.

The Role of Intelligence in International Relations

INTAF 812 Credits: 3

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.

U.S. National Security

INTAF Credits: 3

What will U.S. national security look like as the war in Afghanistan ends? This course examines: 1) how states fight 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) civil military relations and 5) how wartime assessment influences policy, and 6) how to present and write professional briefings. The course will focus on both the general pattern among all states and the application of these concepts to U.S. national security. Students will be expected to develop the knowledge and skills to think, speak and write knowledgeably about the dynamics of U.S. national security specifically and international security more generally.

U.S. Policy in the Middle East

INTAF 814 Credits: 3

This course focuses on the strategic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in one of the world's economically, politically, and strategically most important regions.  It draws on readings and class discussion to help students develop both a sense of the historical evolution of U.S. policy in the Middle East and an analytic framework for understanding current policy debates.  The course is divided into four parts:  1) Understanding American Grand Strategy in the Middle East:  Interests, Foundational Relationships, and Alternative Perspectives, 2) Indigenous Challenges to American Hegemony in the Middle East, 3) America and a Middle East in Transition, 4) External Challenges to American Hegemony in the Middle East.  [Note: For purposes of the course, "Middle East" encompasses the countries of North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia), the Levant (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria), and the Persian Gulf (Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf Arab monarchies, and Yemen).

War and Peace

INTAF 816 Credits: 3

The course will examine how wars begin, how the international community reacts to them and what tools it employs to end them and repair the damage once peace is restored.

Water and Sustainable Development

INTAF 501 Credits: 3

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.

Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security

INTAF Credits: 3

This course examines how weapons of mass destruction  particularly nuclear weapons  affect international decision making and international peace.