Watson Institute at Brown University
International and Public Affairs


Gateway courses focus substantively on societal challenges that cut across global regions, and cut across the areas of development, security, and governance. All International and Public Affairs concentrators take at least one of these courses, preferably as First Years or Sophomores. Gateway courses introduce students to the type of multidisciplinary analysis that is employed throughout the concentration. These courses introduce students to the basic fundamentals of evidence-based argumentation, and the various styles of analysis that will be encountered throughout the students’ path through the concentration. These courses also emphasize the interaction between theory and practice in the analysis and resolution of societal challenges.

The following gateway courses will be offered during the 2019-2020 academic year:

INTL 0700 Global Health, Humanitarianism, and Inequality (Fall, 2019)

The term “global health” refers to both an aspiration and a set of problems. An aspiration to global health has the potential to unite biosecurity, humanitarian, and philanthropic efforts to rid the world of infectious disease, improve sanitation, and address malnutrition. Seen as a set of problems, global health is less unifying than it is unruly. Deciding when a local epidemic becomes a global emergency or calculating the economic value of healthy childbirth are anything but straightforward processes. This course takes a multidisciplinary, critical approach to global health. Most of its focus will be on “bottom-up” perspectives—how projects and policies play out in the lives of individuals and communities. Key questions for the course include: What is the relationship of global health to colonialism and empire? How have health and development outcomes been linked over time? How do science, markets, and politics shape health interventions? Finally, in what ways might critical theories about race, gender, power, and knowledge shape future global health policies?

POLS 1020 Politics of the Illicit Global Economy (Fall, 2019)

This course is about the "underside" of globalization. It introduces key sectors of the illicit global economy, including the clandestine flow of drugs, arms, people, body parts, arts and antiquities, endangered species, and toxic waste. The course compares these illicit sectors across time and place, and evaluates the practice and politics of state regulatory efforts. Particular attention is given to the role of the U.S. in the illicit global economy.

How We Compete (Spring, 2020)

What makes particular nations or geographic regions economically competitive? What drives innovation in societies, and how historically has innovation been connected to economic power? How has technological change been associated with the rise and fall of great national economics and globally competitive nations? Why have some historically poor nations been able to rise up and achieve global economic competitiveness, while others have not? What does free trade or protectionism have to do with a global competitiveness? This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how nations and societies have gained, and sometimes lost, economic power and global competitiveness. While beginning with cases dating from the first industrial revolution in the late 18th century, the course will examine contemporary challenges with respect to emergent technologies (i.e., artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, Internet of Things, etc.) and newly emergent national powers.