PL 365: Food Politics

This course examines food security and insecurity in the global arena. It investigates the role of food in the development of global politics, domestic political hierarchies, class politics, as well as environmental issues. We will investigate our food system, and discuss critical issues about the future of food from comparative, international, and historical perspectives. 

PL 233: Political Islam

What is political Islam? How did Islamist movements become key political forces in Muslim majority states? This course introduces students to the sources of political Islam. It examines domestic sources, such as poverty, inequality, and government repression, as well as international sources, such as the Iranian revolution, the financing of radical madrasas by Saudi Arabia, and the consequences of great power politics during the Cold War. Special attention will be paid to the various strategies that governments of Muslim majority states have adopted toward political Islam. 

PL 239: Middle Eastern Politics

What are the causes of political instability that came to characterize the Middle East over the past century? What is the role of the state in economic development, and how did nationalism evolve across the region? This course is designed to introduce students to the key problems and basic questions of politics in the Middle East. Often characterized as an undifferentiated whole, the Middle East displays significant political, economic, social, and cultural diversity. We will examine the emergence of different political regimes, the causes of uneven economic development patterns, varieties of conflict, and the potential for the emergence of new democracies across the Middle East. We will pay special attention to how the Arab Spring has come to challenge long-standing authoritarian incumbents and the resulting instability across a variety of countries in the region. 

PL 365: Property and Ownership 

This course examines the alternative modalities of what it means to “own.” It critically evaluates the concepts of ownership and property rights from historical and empirical perspectives. In doing so, this course counteracts a fundamental oversight in the studies of long-term economic development: that ownership is an unstable legal, social, and economic concept that has been shaped by historical and political processes. Students will critically examine the static view of property rights that is taken for granted in the fields of institutional economics, development studies, and mainstream political economy. They will then explore alternatives.

PL 365: Power and Capital

Examines the interconnections between the state, class, and the economy in capitalist societies. It focuses primarily on critical approaches to political economy and state theory. Students will discuss both theoretical and empirical studies in comparative politics and historical sociology.

PL 347: Making States, Building Democracies

Critical analysis of the relations between state-making, national integration, and democracy. The course focuses on the emergence and diffusion of the modern state system, technologies of governance, modes of resistance to state authority, policies geared toward building national majorities, and the causes and consequences of democratization. Students will analyze and discuss classic works in comparative politics as well as cutting-edge research in the field.

PL 349: States, Markets, and Politics in Developing Countries

This course examines economic and social development in the Global South. It analyzes the market-building policies of states through a comparative perspective with a special focus on developing countries. Students evaluate concepts, theoretical perspectives, and key issues that constitute the field of political economy of development. The first part of the course explores the shifting role of states and markets in development policy since before the Great Depression. The second part brings together multiple viewpoints to examine the key actors in the Global South, the current phase of globalization, and the growing competitiveness of some developing countries.

SSP 100: Across the Bridge: Turkish Politics in Historical Perspective

Why do we define ourselves as Americans, Germans, or Turks? What does it mean to live in a "nation-state," and why are some regions of the world richer than others? We will explore questions of ethnic, religious, and national identity, economic development, and democracy by focusing on the experience of Turkey. Turkey is a "torn country," where basic questions of religion, identity, development, and democracy lack clear answers. It is a country of deep social, economic, and cultural contrasts. Turkey is Middle Eastern, European, and Asian at the same time; it is poor yet a rising economic power; it is secular yet ruled by an Islamist government. This course will introduce students to the study of Ottoman history, political Islam, ethnic identity, economic development, and non-Western literature through the lens of Turkey and its people.      

PL 103: Introduction to Comparative and International Politics

This course introduces students to the main debates and key theories in Comparative Politics and International Relations. The first section of the course analyzes politics within individual countries through the lens of the “comparative method.” Comparative politics examines domestic political processes by comparing multiple countries, regions, cities, or institutions. The comparative method will be our guiding lens for generating and evaluating alternative explanations for real-world puzzles such as democratization, protest movements, ethnic conflict, genocide, and revolutions.

The second section of the course examines politics between countries, focusing on the external relationships of individual countries. We will examine the theories that have shaped the debate on international relations, and apply these ideas to major issues in contemporary international politics such as military conflict, international organizations, globalization, nuclear proliferation, and the impact of climate change. 

IA 376: Senior Seminar in International Affairs

This course will equip students with the tools for conducting research on issues of global significance. The course has two main goals: to make students better “consumers” of social scientific knowledge, and to train them to become “producers” of knowledge through original research. Students will learn how to generate and address research questions by examining the scholarship on methodologies of social science, as well as through practice. Special attention will be devoted to the practical aspects of preparing for, conducting, and interpreting the findings of international affairs research. 

IA 101: Introduction to International Affairs

An introduction to the field of international affairs, the course explores the relationships among the disciplines within international affairs. Examines key concepts that describe and explain international relationships and issues, explores the diversity of perceptions of international issues across national and cultural boundaries, and engages students in in-class global problem-solving exercises.