Our interdisciplinary program offers a variety of courses in areas including classics, law, philosophy and political science. This spring, we offer these classes:
PHIL 417 War and Morality
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. Topics include the Just War tradition, pacifism, humanitarian intervention, moral repair and the establishment of a just peace, conduct of war, warrior codes, warrior transitions, and civil-military relations. We will be examining the ethics of war from the perspectives of both states and individuals. War is a crucible that strips those caught up in its horrors down to their fundamental selves inspiring acts of both inhuman depravity and seemingly superhuman nobility. This course is presented in a seminar format with lively discussions centering on contemporary readings in military ethics from texts and journals.
Offered as PHIL 317, PHIL 417, and LAWS 5135.
PHIL 484 Ethics and Public Policy
Evaluation of ethical arguments in contemporary public policymaking 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”?). Overview of political ideologies that supply U.S. political actors with their ethical or moral arguments when proposing and implementing public policy, followed by an application of these differing perspectives to selected policy areas such as welfare, euthanasia, school choice, drug laws, censorship, or others.
Offered as PHIL 384, PHIL 484, POSC 384 and POSC 484.
POSC 464 Dictatorship and Democracy in Modern Latin America
Examination of political leadership in 20th-century Latin America, exploring the nature, causes, and consequences of dictatorship and democracy in the region, moving from the collapse of oligarchic rule and the emergence of populism in the 1930s and 1940s, to the end of democracy and establishment of military regimes in the 1960s and 1970s, and ultimately to the contemporary processes of democratization and economic liberalization.
Offered as ETHS 364, POSC 364, and POSC 464.
POSC 470D Politics of China
Now more than ever, the Chinese state and society are facing tremendous economic, social, and political challenges. This course presents an overview of current issues facing the People’s Republic, including a changing (or not) political culture, policy processes and outcomes at the national and local levels, reform and economic growth, the resultant societal changes and pressures, and the consequent challenges the Communist Party faces as demand for political reform grows. The class involves a mixture of lectures and discussion and draws on a combination of primary and secondary sources, including current news reports and films.
Offered as POSC 370D and POSC 470D.
POSC 473 Politics of the European Union
Study of the origins, operations, and prospects for the European Union. This can include the historical context for the effort to restrict national rivalries (which fueled two world wars) and create common interests; the diplomatic challenges in finding common ground; the tasks and processes of governance within the EU, including its governing institutions, enforcement of terms for European Monetary Union and the operations of its bureaucracies; the social pressures that create policy challenges (such as agriculture policy and immigration); broad tensions within the enterprise (e.g., “broadening” vs. “deepening”), and the EU’s potential place in international politics, especially the efforts to create a common foreign and security policy and the possible implications of the Euro for international political economy. Offered as POSC 373 and POSC 473.
POSC 479 Introduction to Middle East Politics
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? Offered as POSC 379 and POSC 479.
LAWS 4101 International Law
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 5116 International Human Rights
This course will cover a variety of issues in the area of international human rights. Issues covered will include the law of treaties and treaty interpretation; international organizations’ and non-governmental organizations’ roles in protecting human rights; the rights of women and minorities; critiques of the idea of “universal” human rights; and the Alien Tort Claims Act. In addition to covering the procedure and substance of the international system for protection of human rights, we will also discuss human rights under various domestic legal systems from a comparative perspective.
LAWS 5118 International Law Lab
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.