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

Spring 2021 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 1545

Topics in Macroeconomics, Development and International Economics

( J.Blaum)

 This class is a senior seminar that covers selected topics at the intersection of macroeconomics, economic development and international trade. The leading theme of the class is the determinants of the observed cross-country differences in income per capita and growth rates. We will consider a wide range of theories to explain such disparities in economic outcomes, with a special focus on theories that stress problems in financial markets. We will also study the role of wealth inequality. We may also cover structural change, the link between volatility, diversification and development, and selected topics in international trade.

ECON 1550

International Finance

(M. Lancastre)

The balance of payments; identification and measurement of surpluses and deficits; international monetary standards; the role of gold and paper money; government policies; free versus fixed exchange rates; international capital movements; war and inflation; the International Monetary Fund.

ECON 1590

The Economy of China since 1949

(L. Putterman)

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 1020

Pathologies of the Rich (Countries): Liberal Capitalism and its Discontents


Advanced capitalist economies face challenges from a number of different sources. Economic inequality is increasing, austerity and welfare reforms have undermined social protections. Globalization and decades of permissive merger policies have resulted in private companies of unprecedented size and in possession of extraordinary market power and political influence. Climate change has called into question economic foundations and social compromises of post-war capitalism, while threatening to unleash destabilizing catastrophes. Populist parties are on the rise across Europe and North America, posing a direct challenge to the liberal order and creating new uncertainty about the future of liberal democracy and global capitalism.

IAPA 1402

Beyond Sun, Sea and Sand: Exploring the Contemporary Caribbean

(P. Lewis)

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 1804Q

French Colonialism in Global Perspective, 19th-20th Centuries

(M. Woker)

In this seminar we examine how French colonial power deployed itself in different parts of the world both through self-legitimizing discourses and the imposition of political and economic systems of domination. We read classic and more recent scholarship on colonial wars and violence, the ideology of the French “civilizing mission”, legal and economic discrimination and how colonialism transformed local ecologies. Colonial power was constantly debated, resisted, and subverted across metropole and colonies. We pay close attention to these voices and trace the emergence of political anti-colonialism in the aftermath of the First World War. We will examine how French colonialism was fought and eventually (partially) dismantled towards the middle of the 20th century. The course will end with an examination of current debates about the legacies of French colonialism in France and in formerly colonized countries.

POLS 1500

The International Law and Politics of Human Rights

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)

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.