SIA Electives

Conflict and Resolution in Cross Cultural Contexts

INTAF 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 in a Changing World

INTAF Credits: 3

From the emergence of the Westphalian system in 1648 until the late 20th Century, diplomacy has been conducted in a carefully defined paradigm.  Diplomats had a role in the conduct of business between international powers to which almost all international bodies and governments subscribed at least by the beginning of the 20th Century.  That paradigm has been broken by a series of political, social and technological changes.  Today a diplomat is as likely to be found wearing body armor and combat gear as formal attire.  He/she is almost never operating alone.  He/she may be teamed with partners as diverse as military commandos, tribal chiefs or post-modern internet peace activists.  This course aims at familiarizing students with the traditional process of diplomacy and statecraft and challenging them to understand and define how a 5,000-year-old international profession should adapt to a revolutionary and ever-changing world. 

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.

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.

Estimative Analysis in International Strategy

INTAF 811 Credits: 3

Estimative analysis techniques are used by governments, businesses, financial institutions and other organizations to aid in long term strategic planning. The techniques are designed to examine potential changes in various areas of interest, for instance in government they might be focused on how future changes might affect national security, economic conditions, international stability, and the health, safety and well being of its population. Other more specific issues might be addressed such as the future of a specific nation or group of nations, a resource, or military capability such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They and businesses might be interested in identifying potential disruptive technologies, emerging markets or potential changes in access to resources. This course provides a background in the art of estimative intelligence; the difference between prediction and statements of judgment; identifying key questions; developing plausible and useful scenarios; and integrating complex quantitative and qualitative information from a variety of sources (physical sciences, engineering, medicine, economics, sociology, anthropology, and many others). Emphasis is placed on integrating and translating this complex information into reports accessible to the educated generalist audience as is found in senior leadership positions in government and industry, who must use this information for strategic decision making. Theoretic and a-theoretic approaches to estimative analysis are considered and the relationship between them is considered. This course examines a variety of existing intelligence estimates and other documents used by decision makers and students get an opportunity to identify successes and failures. It examines techniques used by governments and business in developing estimates and the community that produces them. A central aspect of the course is a student project to prepare an estimate on an important topic of interest to international affairs as related to government and/or business and/or the non-government sector.

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.

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 Environmental Negotiations

INTAF 813 Credits: 3

Major environmental issues with considerable controversy, uncertainty, or immediacy will be examined in detail (climate change, pandemic flu virus, major natural disaster, etc.). After six weeks of detailed study in the substance of the topics and the decision making process in the international community a simulation game will be conducted based on one of the topics. Teams of students will take on the roles of nations, groups of nations, or extranational organizations (for example USA, China, India, Russia, EU, Group of 77, OPEC, UN, WHO, etc.). They will develop positions based on the most current scientific information and existing policy. The game will progress through a series of moves to which they must respond with new policy positions. These will be the result of real and plausible changes scientific knowledge, economic and environmental conditions, technology, and international power relationships. The game will take approximately five weeks. In addition to content knowledge on the environmental topics; existing laws, treaties, and agreements; and international organizations; students participating in the simulation game will get experience in rapid ingest of data, analysis, negotiations, presentation techniques, preparation of analytical briefs, and leadership under pressure, much like the real world. The results of the game will then be debriefed and deconstructed, and critically analyzed to gain insights into both the issue and how various interested parties or groups will likely be affected and how they might respond.

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.

Research Design

INTAF Credits: 3

This class provides a general introduction to empirical research methods appropriate for international affairs specialists. The teaching approach is multi-disciplinary, with the goal of helping students to read, understand and contribute to international affairs research generated through a variety of disciplinary mechanisms. The learning approach is hands-on, with a focus on learning practical skills for evaluating real-world events. Course objectives include providing students with: 1) an understanding of the importance of empirical evaluations, 2) familiarity with the key concepts and terms of empirical analysis, 3) basic Excel skills, 3) the ability to form, and evaluate empirically, a hypothesis, 4) practice in publicly presenting empirical analyses, 5) the ability to produce a properly organized and argued empirical research paper, 6) an introduction to simple data visualization. 

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.

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. 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.