Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
The William R. Rhodes Center

Spring 2022 Courses

Given that the Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of these subjects, we recommend any and all courses offered by the Economics Department as the first stop for students. This list of courses is designed to highlight each semester those courses taught that are of particular relevance to students who share our interests.


ECON 1590

The Economy of China since 1949

L. Putterman, TTh 1-2:20p

This course examines the organization, structure, and performance of the economy of China. Emphasis is placed on the changing economic system including the roles of planning and markets and government economic strategy and policies. The pre-reform period (1949-78) receives attention especially as it influences developments in the market-oriented reform period since 1978. Topics include rural and urban development, industrialization and structural change, rural-urban migration, income inequality and growth, the role of international trade and investment. Both analytical and descriptive methods are used.


IAPA 1804L

Africa's Colonization in Comparative Perspective

G. Koehler-Derrick, M 3-5:30p

This course provides an advanced introduction to the social sciences literature on colonialism through an interdisciplinary lens. This course has three goals. The first is to familiarize students with key authors, texts, and concepts that emerged from the study of colonialism from authors in history, historical sociology, development economics, and comparative politics. The second objective is to familiarize students with the theoretical and conceptual mechanisms linking the colonial period and the present. Finally, this course provides an introduction to an interdisciplinary approach to studying a complex topic like colonialism and give students a practical introduction to how academics generally explore complex and controversial issues.


ENVS 1547

Finance and the Environment

TBD, TTh 1-2:20p

This course inspects the power and the pitfalls of finance/capitalism, seeking to provide students with a rudimentary understanding of finance and the flow of capital as well as a deeper understanding of how the global financial system can be adjusted to solve social and environmental problems. The class begins with an overview of the global financial system, including instruments like stocks, bonds, currencies, mutual funds, banks, pension funds, and insurance companies. This financial architecture will then be used to examine what impact investing is and how it can be used to address social and environmental issues. To encourage discussion and participation, to ensure that students are eager to learn about the issues, and to try to accommodate a wealth of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives, the class will be by application only.


IAPA 1804B

Global Megaprojects

A. Schrank, M 3-5:30p

Megaprojects are costly, complicated, risky, and laborious. They include power plants, pipelines, ports, and petrochemical complexes; take years—or even decades—to finish; and owe their successes and failures to social and organizational—and not merely technical—considerations. This class addresses the origins, design, management, and consequences of megaprojects in contemporary and historical perspective. Our goal is to learn not only about specific projects—like the Panama Canal, Tennessee Valley Authority, Trans-Amazon Highway, and Belt and Road Initiative being undertaken by China—but about theories and methods that will help us understand the origins and fates of large-scale organizations more generally.


POLS 1280

Politics, Economy and Society in India

A. Varshney, MWF 10-10:50a

This course will concentrate on three aspects of the "Indian experience": democracy, ethnic and religious diversity, and political economy. With a brief exception, India has continued to be democratic since 1947. No developing country matches India's democratic record. Second, remarkable cultural, ethnic and religious diversity marks India's social landscape, and influences its politics. Third, Indian economy has of late been going through a serious economic transformation, drawing comparisons with China. Is the comparison valid?


IAPA 1402

Beyond Sun, Sea and Sand: Exploring the Contemporary Caribbean

P. Lewis, Th 4-6:30p

For many people, their image of the Caribbean is the tourist brochure and television advertisement representation of sun, sea and sand. This course challenges that through a broad introduction to the real society, economy and politics of the Caribbean region. Using literature, film and traditional texts, it captures the cultural and linguistic complexity of the region through the exploration of a range of central themes such as ethnicity, color, class, politics, as well as more specific, targeted areas including economic inequality, migration, and tourism.


IAPA 1804

Diplomacy, Crisis, War in the Modern Era

T. Jost, TTh 2:30-3:50p

This seminar examines war and peace after 1945 through the context of international relations (IR) theory. It teaches students theoretical perspectives on IR and to critically evaluate the changing ways in which states have interacted with one another since the end of World War II. Was the Cold War inevitable? Did nuclear weapons change the way that states negotiated with one another? How much did individuals make a difference during diplomatic crises? Why did states sometimes fail to reach peaceful settlements with one another? How have social and economic institutions changed international politics in the twenty-first century?


POLS 1500

The International Law and Politics of Human Rights

N. Tannenwald, MWF 11-11:50a

Introduces students to the law and politics of international human rights; examines the construction of an international human rights regime and its influence on international politics. Will survey the actors and organizations involved in the promotion of human rights around the globe, as well as the obstacles. Will review competing conceptions of human rights, whether human rights are universal, problems of enforcement, and the role of human rights in foreign policy. Major topics include civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; genocide, torture, women's rights, humanitarian intervention, and the international criminal court.


POLS 1821I

Geopolitics of Oil and Energy

J. Colgan, M 3-5:30p

Oil is the single most valuable commodity traded on global markets. This course is designed to introduce students to the international political economy and security dimensions of oil and energy. The course explores the industry’s many impacts on politics and economics, including: Dutch disease and the resource curse; the relationship between oil, authoritarianism, and civil wars; the role of the rentier state; the influence of oil on international warfare; global energy governance (e.g., OPEC); political differences within OPEC; US energy policy and energy security. The materials focus primarily on the political economy of oil-exporters, especially those in the Middle East.


ECON 1850

Theory of Economic Growth

O. Galor, TTh 1-2:20p

Analysis of the fundamental elements that determine economic growth. It examines the role of technological progress, population growth, income inequality, and government policy in the determination of (a) the pattern of economic development within a country, and (b) sustainable differences in per capita income and growth rates across countries.


ENVS 0465

Climate Solutions - A multidisciplinary perspective

S. Porder, Th 4-6:30p

This course will explore solutions to the climate crises through the lens of multiple disciplines. Lectures will cover topics in physical science, economics, political science, persuasive communication, social science, and equity. Online lectures by disciplinary experts from around the country, but developed specifically for this class, will be the basis for the in class discussions and activities led by Brown Faculty.


POLS 1825P

Politics of Ocean Governance

J. Stockbruegger, Th 4-6:30

Governing the oceans is one of the most important challenges in the 21st century. 90 percent of world trade is carried by sea, and three billion people rely on the “blue economy” for their livelihoods, the vast majority in developing countries. The oceans are also crucial for global biodiversity and to sustain the world’s ecosystem. Yet marine systems are increasingly threatened by human activities. Ocean health has declined rapidly in recent years due to pollution, overfishing, and climate change, while piracy and great power competition threaten trade and undermine the “Blue Economy”. This course investigates the global ocean governance architecture. The course 1) provides an overview of economic, security, and environmental challenges at sea, 2) maps the actors affected by these problems, and 3) analyzes the institutions that they have created to govern maritime problems.