Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Spring IR Seminars: Examining Global Politics through Media, Psychology, Religion, and More

January 13, 2010

International relations students can study gobal politics through various lenses this spring – with seminars including "Global Media: History/Theory/Production," "Political Psychology of International Relations," "Nationalism, Colonialism, Religion, and International Law," and others. There also is one IR lecture class for spring: "The Contemporary Transformation of the Modern State’s Security Apparatus. Critical Perspectives," by Philippe Bonditti. In Development Studies, Cornel Ban will again lead this semester's undergraduate seminar on "Methods in Development Research," and Richard Snyder will lead the graduate-level "Theory and Research in Development II."

The list of IR seminars follows:

INTL 1800D The Chinese Democracy Movement in the 20th Century
W. Xu, N hour
Surveys the Chinese democracy movement in the 20th century and up to the present. Examines key leaders, events and development, including the Chinese Democracy Wall movement and the Chinese democratic party. Taught in Chinese. Readings in English and Chinese. Advanced Chinese necessary.

INTL 1800J Identity, Rights and Conflict
V. Nesiah, P hour
The seminar will engage with debates over identity and rights.  The course studies the international human rights field’s engagement with questions of identity and justice in relation to contemporary debates on culture and nation.  Course material will include theoretical material on the normative, legal and policy challenges that inhere in grappling with collective claims for recognition and redistribution, along side case studies from around the world, from Rwanda to India to the US.  The case studies will provide a window into a range of issues that include minority rights and multiculturalism, the self-determination claims of indigenous peoples and minority nationalisms, transitional justice and legacies of racial violence and genocide.

INTL 1800N Global Media: History/Theory/Production
J. Der Derian, N hour
Explores the historical and contemporary roles of media in international affairs, both as a source of information and, increasingly, as an important medium of war and diplomacy. Composed of three tracks. The first is historical, focusing on the dual development of colonial and media empires from early days of print media to the Internet. The second is theoretical, using classical IR and critical theory to examine media as product and instrument of cultural, economic and political struggles. The third is practical, using biweekly 'Global Media Labs' in which guest media practitioners teamed with media theorists will present master classes in a variety of media, including print, photography, radio, cinema, television, and online convergences.

INTL 1800V The United States in World Politics
L. Miller, P hour
Examines major aspects of American foreign policy after the Cold War and 9/11 in terms of domestic and international challenges. Discussion of the United States as "empire" and "republic" with independent research and a foreign policy game. Emphasis is on the connections between the processes of policy making and the substance of policies pursued. POLS 400 required; POLS1560 highly recommended.

INTL1801G Nationalism, Colonialism, Religion, and International Law
N. Berman, Q hour

Explores the internationalism of the past century in terms of its relationship to separatist nationalism, anti-colonialism, and religious radicalism.  It takes as its point of departure the dramatic political, cultural, and intellectual transformations that followed in the wake of World War I.  A guiding hypothesis of the seminar is that internationalism cannot be understood apart from its complex relationship to “identity” broadly conceived – the identity of local or transnational groups as well as the identity of internationalists themselves.  Readings will be drawn from law, cultural studies, politics, and postcolonial theory.

POLS 1820N International Relations in Europe
U. Krotz, M hour
Reviews central issues in European international affairs from a variety of theoretical and analytic perspectives. Substantive issues considered include peace and war, Europe as part of the North Atlantic world, European integration, and Europeanization. Time also allocated for discussions of course participants' research. Designed mainly for advanced undergraduates, but graduate students and less advanced undergraduates with relevant background most welcome.

POLS 1821L International Relations of Russia and the States of Eurasia
L. Cook, N hour
Focuses on Russia’s international relations with the European Union, China, the United States, Asia, and the Former Soviet States of Central Asia and the Caucasus.  Topics include:  expansion of Russia’s power since 2000; conflicts with Georgia and Ukraine; resistance to expanded US influence in Eastern Europe; military and demographic security, immigration; alliance-building; energy exports and foreign policy.

POLS 1821O Politics of Economic Development in Asia
A. Varshney, M hour
It is widely accepted that development is not simply an economic phenomenon. Political processes are intimately tied up with economic development. Does the nature of the political system affect development? Does democracy slow down economic growth? What is the relationship between democracy and economic liberalism? As more countries embrace political freedoms and market-oriented economic reforms, should one expect both to succeed equally? Since the Second World War, an enormous amount of intellectual effort has gone into understanding these issues. Asia has been at the heart of much of this literature. The heaviest emphasis will be on China, India and South Korea.

POLS 1821 P Political Psychology of International Relations
R. McDermott, Q hour

This course covers basic methods and theories in the use of political psychology to study topics in international relations. The second part of the course applies these models to particular topics, including leadership, group dynamics, and the role of emotion in decision making.

POLS 1821X The Politics of Social Welfare in the Middle East
M. Cammett, Q hour
Explores the relationship between citizenship and social welfare,  focusing on the Middle East. The first section of the course examines the concept of citizenship and the relationship between state institutions and the relationship between state institutions and civil society organizations in social service provision. The second part explores these themes in selected Middle Eastern countries, where Islamist and other politico-religious movements are key providers of social services.