Military Ethics

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Fall 2017 Course Offerings

Our interdisciplinary program offers a variety of courses in areas including classics, law, philosophy and political science. This fall, we offer these classes:

CLSC 416 Greek Tragedy in English Translation
TR 2:30-3:45pm
This course provides students the opportunity to read a significant number of ancient Greek tragedies in modern English translations. We shall read, study, and discuss selected works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and attempt to understand the plays as literature composed for performance. We shall study literary elements within the plays and theatrical possibilities inherent in the texts. As we read the plays, we shall pay close attention to the historical context and look for what each play can tell us about myth, religion, and society in ancient Athens. Finally, we shall give occasional attention to the way these tragic dramas and the theater in which they were performed have continued to inspire literature and theater for thousands of years. Lectures will provide historical background on the playwrights, the plays, the mythic and historical background, and possible interpretation of the texts as literature and as performance pieces. Students will discuss in class the plays that they read. The course has three examinations and a final project that includes a short essay and a group presentation.

LAWS 4101 International Law
M 2:50-4:50pm
An introduction to basic comparative, transnational, and international law disciplines. Using areas of substantive and procedural law familiar to first-year students, the course examines issues arising from cross-national activity. Students are exposed to choice of law, comparative law, international law, and international institutions.

LAWS 5110: Contemporary Issues in International and Comparative Law: IP/Human Rights
TWR 9:00am-2:15pm 08/22/2017-08/24/2017
The objectives of the course will revolve around initiating students to the basic concepts and principles of comparative law reasoning and helping students make sense of the increasing dialogue between jurisdictions practicing constitutionalism in a global context with a focus on human rights issues. The coverage of the proposed course will select from the following themes depending on student interest and availability of materials: (a) Freedom of religion, secularism and culture; (b) Freedom of expression and hate propaganda; (c) Freedom of expression and sexual representation; (d) Equality and same sex unions; (e) Assisted suicide; (f) Death penalty; (g) Implementation of human rights in federal or quasi-federal politics; (h) Socio-economic rights; and/or (i) Cultural rights.

LAWS 5118: War Crimes Research Lab
R 2:15-3:45pm
Students in this unusual course undertake legal research projects designed at the request of various international law enforcement organizations. Recent clients include the International Criminal Court, the UN-affiliated tribunals in Cambodia and Sierra Leone, Interpol, U.S. Military Commissions, and the U.S.Coast Guard, among others. Course sessions explore the development and practice of international criminal law as well as developing jurisprudence relevant to the current students’ projects. Substantial time is devoted to in-class discussion of target issues, writing workshops, and individual presentation of findings. Completed projects are forwarded to the requesting clients and posted in the school’s international war crimes portal. Grades are based on the quality of students’ participation and the final written product.

PHIL 417 War and Morality
MW 12:45-2pm
The aim of this course is to explore a wide range of ethical issues relating to the decision to take a nation to war, how wars are conducted, and efforts to establish order in the wake of a conflict. This course is presented in a seminar format with lively discussions centering on contemporary readings in military ethics from texts and journals.

PHIL 422 The Science of Happiness
TR 1-2:15pm
Open to all students (no prerequisites) interested in happiness, this course provides an intellectually rigorous introduction to the philosophy and science of happiness. Philosophy is often considered a dry academic subject; however the best philosophy is personal and transforms our view of the world. In recent years, science has made huge strides in understanding the psychology and neuroscience of human happiness. This course blends these two sources of insight to address such critical questions as: What is happiness? To what extent is it determined by our genes? To what extent can we control our own happiness? What factors contribute to an individual’s happiness? Should we be concerned just with our own happiness, or also with the happiness of others? If happiness is a state of mind, can we change our thinking to make ourselves happier? Every self-proclaimed sage, and countless authors of self-help books, claims to know the secret to happiness. This course provides a more intellectually rigorous approach, based on the writings of great philosophers and cutting edge science.

PHIL 484 Ethics and Public Policy
MW 3:20-4:35pm
This course focuses on evaluation of ethical arguments in contemporary public policy-making discourse. That is, approaches to evaluating not only the efficiency of policy (Will this policy achieve its end for the least cost?) but also the ethics of policy (Are a policy’s intended ends ethically justified or “good,” and are our means to achieve those ends moral or “just”?).

POSC 470H China’s Foreign Policy
MW 12:45-2pm
The rise of China is evident in the country’s more forward and robust foreign policy that began in 1979. At every turn, nations throughout the world must now consider China wherever their interests are at stake, be it Korea and Northeast Asia, Indochina and Southeast Asia, India/Pakistan and South Asia, or Afghanistan and Iran in the Middle East, not to mention the many African states that welcome Chinese investment but chafe at China’s presence. Further, China is increasingly aggressive in international trade, a major determinant of its foreign policy. This course describes the key factors that make up Chinese foreign policy, including its cultural tradition, policy-making institutions, the role of the military, and domestic determinants of foreign policy. The course also examines China’s ever-changing foreign policy strategies, from an aggressive posture to charming its neighbors only to become more strident once again. The course will also examine China’s role involving possible mercantilism, currency manipulation, and the hunt for traditional and alternative energy sources. Throughout the course, we will pay attention to how China’s foreign policy relates to international relations theories and what strategies might be used to manage China’s growing role in international affairs.

POSC 476 United States Foreign Policy
TR 11:30am-12:45pm
Focus on U.S. foreign policy making with a dynamic network of executive and congressional actors and organizations; analysis of traditional and contemporary U.S. foreign policies from nuclear defense to current economic resource issues; future role of the United States in world affairs.

POSC 479 Introduction to Middle East Politics
TR 10-11:15am
This is an introductory course about Middle East Politics, in regional as well as international aspects. In this course we will explore broad social, economic, and political themes that have defined the region since the end of World War Two. Since this is an introductory course, a major goal will be to gain comparative knowledge about the region’s states and peoples. The countries that comprise the modern Middle East are quite diverse; therefore, we will only be able to focus on a few cases in depth. A second goal is to use the tools and theories social scientists employ to answer broad questions related to the region, such as: How have colonial legacies shaped political and economic development in the Middle East? How do oil, religion, and identity interact with politics? How have external powers affected the region’s political development? What do the uprisings of 2011 hold for the region’s future?

Page last modified: May 9, 2017