The project, started by Dan Nexon, aims to create a database of interviews with IR scholars and practitioners, on a wide variety of topics, that faculty anywhere can use to supplement their teaching, online or offline. We have been conducting these interviews since the summer of 2020 and are in the process of adding them to the YouTube channel.
Syllabi available upon request
Global Nuclear Politics (Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020 Carnegie Mellon University 84-370)
The taming of the atom is one of the defining features of the modern era. The awesome creative and destructive potential of nuclear energy has had enormous impact on great power politics, the environment, economic development, and international institutions. Limiting the risk of nuclear Armageddon is one of the dominant challenges in US foreign policy and global governance alike. In this course, we will study 1) why and how countries pursue nuclear weapons and what happens when they acquire them; 2) the national policies and international regimes that have been devised to curb their spread and use, while allowing for the diffusion of energy technology, 3) the national and transnational civil society movements that have fought to roll back the nuclear age or limit its harmful effects, and 4) the role of private actors such as scientists and corporations.
Contemporary American Foreign Policy (Spring 2019 and 2021 , Carnegie Mellon University 84-325 / 84-625)
This course provides a survey of American foreign policy since World War I. We will cover topics such as America’s entry into the Great War, the League of Nations and America’s role in global self-determination movements, the perennial battles between isolationism and internationalism, the creation of a US-led world order after 1945, Cold War nuclear strategy and nuclear nonproliferation, the modern domestic politics of foreign policy, the international dimensions of the civil rights movement, US covert action, the challenges of managing unipolarity, and contemporary issues of climate change, humanitarian intervention, terrorism, and international economic policy. This is an interdisciplinary course that marries American, Diplomatic and Military History with International Relations and Political Science. We will make ample use of primary sources and some data analysis. A good grasp of 20th century American and world history, and some familiarity with IR theory are not requirements but will prove helpful. By the end of the semester, students should have acquired a broad understanding of the most important foreign policy events of the last century and have the tools to analyze foreign policy decision-making.
Global Perspectives on International Affairs (Spring 2020, Carnegie Mellon University; Fall 2014, Georgetown University, GOV-303)
International Relations as a field of study is, ironically enough, not very international. Having originated in the United Kingdom and United States in the early 20th century, it still draws mostly from American and European experiences and philosophies, and focuses disproportionally on those countries and their concerns. This shapes the questions we ask and how we answer them. The result are blind spots and limitations that become ever more apparent as we try to make sense of an increasingly globalized world in which non-Western societies play a more salient role. In this course, students will rethink international politics from the vantage points of Global-South countries, and learn about how their historical experiences and philosophical traditions inform perspectives on contemporary international relations, shaping both national strategies and regional (and global) politics. We will discuss the role of culture, identity, and ideology in foreign policy, and explore dynamics of inequality, status, hierarchy, and authority in international politics. Students will read and discuss materials from scholars and policy-makers hailing from Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
Sitting at the crossroads of political science, national security, and technology, Nuclear Non- Proliferation often involves using physical science to solve some of the globe’s most crucial and complex issues, including WMD proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In this micro- course and simulation, the students will learn about the cutting-edge fields of nonproliferation and international safeguards from Brookhaven National Laboratory experts, and get to experience the technical and political challenges of enforcing non-proliferation rules. The virtual, five-week, once-a-week course will include modules on the nuclear fuel cycle; causes of nuclear proliferation; the nuclear non-proliferation regime; technical, legal, and political aspects of nuclear safeguards; and a simulation in which students will play the role of IAEA inspectors.
This course will equip students with critical skills to effectively write academic research papers and a senior thesis in political science, as well as professional documents such as policy memos, op-eds, and briefs. We will cover general principles of style, rhetoric and argumentation. We will also cover more practical skills such as citation practices and citation management software, and how to present quantitative evidence and analysis. This is a writing-intensive course in which students practice writing, editing, and critical reading. A final project entails writing a short report.
Introduction to Global Security (Fall 2022, Munk School of Global Affairs)
A general introduction to the subfield of international security, in which students will learn basic concepts and theories, and survey a selection of key topics and debates in the field. Students should finish the course with the toolkit necessary to deepen their knowledge of specific issues through independent study, and the necessary background to follow current debates in the top scholarly journals and presses. Students should think of this as a first step to participating in scholarly and policy debates on global security.
Race and International Politics
What is “race”? Does it play a role in contemporary international politics? If so, how? This course is a cross-disciplinary exploration of the topic of race in international politics, drawing on literature in IR, comparative politics, American politics, and sociology. We will review the evolution and uses of the concept--from the early days of “scientific racism” to modern racial politics--and the roles race identities and racialized thinking have played in structuring international politics and informing US foreign policy since the 19th century.
New Research Agendas in International Security
A survey of recent and emerging research agendas in International Security. It focuses on new (or rediscovered) conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and empirical developments in International Security scholarship. The course will cover topics ranging from the very small, including neuroscience and the emerging focus on micro-foundations of international conflict, to the very large, including new structural approaches and the rise of Big Data. It will look to the distant past, as we talk about the resurgent interest in ancient international systems, and the near future, as we talk about forecasting conflict and crises. A central goal of the course is to help students design their own cutting-edge research projects.
Multi-Method Research in International Relations
Multi-method (or mixed-methods) research has become the norm in International Relations scholarship. This course will offer students a primer on multi-methods research designs. It will cover contemporary methodological debates about the logics of inquiry in quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and explore how different methods can be made to complement each other. It assumes basic familiarity with statistics and historical methods, but will present a broad survey of the predominant methods and some of their combined applications.