agsird_classroom_6.jpg

Graduate Course Catalog

Quicklinks

IRD-R-580 : Factors and Theories of Analysis in International Relations and Diplomacy

IRD-R-581 : Research Methodology and Design

IRD-R-682 : Foreign Policy Formulation and Diplomacy

IRD-R-583 : International Public Law

IRD-R-684 : Current Economic Problems and Policies

IRD-E-622 : International Organizations

IRD-E-621 : Current Issues in International Relations and Diplomacy

IRD-E-601 : Theory and Origins of Global Conflict

IRD-E-602 : Strategy and Conflict Resolution

IRD-E-603 : Cultural Development and Awareness

IRD-E-501: Geopolitics

IRD-E-502: Geopolitics of Religion

IRD-E-504 : Global Communications, Media and International Affairs

IRD-E-605 : International Trade, Banking and Finance

IRD-E-507 : Principles of Economics

IRD-E-508 : Beginnings of the Contemporary Political Order

IRD-E-509 : Anthropology and Politics

IRD-E-610 : Post-Modernity and International Relations and Diplomacy

IRD-E-611 : Comparative Politics

IRD-E-514 : International Environmental Politics

IRD-E-616 : Extreme Crisis Situations: Terrorism, Government and Media

IRD-E-617: Gender, Militarization and War

IRD-E-618 : NGOs: An International Perspective

IRD-E-619 : NGOs: Principles and Management

IRD-E-620 : Diplomacy and International Law

IRD-E-699 : Internship

IRD-EA-613 : Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy

IRD-EA-630: A History of the Modern Middle-East

IRD-EA-631: Conflict in the Modern Middle-East

IRD-EA-640 : Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa

IRD-EA-641: The Scramble for African Resources

IRD-EA-650 : Central and South America

IRD-EA-660 : South Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

IRD-EA-661 : East Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

IRD-EA-670 : European Foreign Policies

IRD-EA-671 : The European Union and the World

IRD-EA-672 : Russian Politics

IRD-T-690 : Research and Proposal Tutorial

IRD-T-691 : Thesis and Defense Tutorial

IRD-T-692: Foreign Policy Tutorial


Required Courses

IRD-R-580 : Factors and Theories of Analysis in International Relations and Diplomacy

In an international political environment that is swarming with a plethora of events that we read in the day-to-day news or hear/see in the media, how can we make sense of it all in a systematic and informed manner, in a way that is theoretical, and in a manner that goes beyond the "political talk" by a "rookie?" How can we find trends, patterns and generalizations for events occurring today, with those that occurred in the past and those that we are likely to see in the future?

This course emphasizes the role of "theory" in the study of issues of international relations. Exploring a range of theoretical underpinnings to deepen our understanding of international relations, it helps us to achieve a greater understanding of the world and the diversity of its cultures with the use of theory. Knowledge of theories of international politics prepares students for understanding the world in a systematic manner, a world made smaller by the steady increase of international contact in society, politics, and business and allows students to acquire knowledge and tools that enable them to analyze and understand the complex world in which we live.

IRD-R-581 : Research Methodology and Design

This is an introductory course in research methods and design for students of political science, international relations and diplomacy. Students do not need any previous knowledge of social science methodology, but they should already have some substantive political knowledge, and an interest in conducting original research. The aim of this course is to teach students how to gather quantitative and qualitative evidence through the use of established social science research methods and how to analyze that data logically.

Starting with a brief introduction to the elementary principles of the scientific method, students learn how to generate original "quantitative" data through doing an actual scientific public opinion poll with a probabilistic simple random sample. Then students are trained in some widely used "qualitative" data-gathering techniques, including research using published and archival documentation, as well as field research techniques of observation and interview. This phase includes a mandatory field trip to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Once the data-gathering phase is complete, students learn the basic tools of data analysis: i.e. establishing relationships, testing hypotheses, and developing valid theoretical explanations.

IRD-R-682 : Foreign Policy Formulation and Diplomacy

To understand Foreign Policy Formulation this Practitioner's seminar takes you inside the "black box" of statecraft in order to study the goals, beliefs, and perceptions of decision-makers.

Contemporary diplomacy as a norm-based activity and mindset provides an array of tools for preventive, persuasive and coercive crisis management for enduring stability and globalized security. These operational procedures of thinking and acting diplomatically including pre-crisis diplomatic communication enable us to deal with global and regional disruptive shock events.

In the practice of International Relations there is an interdependancy between diplomacy as the procedural tool-box for the application and execution of policy decisions and International Law as the behavioral guidelines for international policy-making. International Law serves as the language for diplomacy to justify policy decisions.

Course objectives:

  • To develop an understanding of the techniques and tactics of diplomacy and international law

  • To become familiar with the role of foreign ministries and embassies

  • To identify the present trends of modern diplomacy, with emphasis on the role of the United Nations

  • To equip students for careers in international affairs

IRD-R-583 : International Public Law

The knowledge of basic legal concepts is essential for anyone working in or studying the field of international relations and diplomacy. Students learn about the creation of International Public Law through treaties, customs and general principles. A particular emphasis is placed on the formation of these sources, showing how treaties are negotiated and illustrating some of the problems that written agreements can present, as well as the questions of equity and the impact and significance of unilateral acts on IPL.

States are studied on many levels, including defining the term "state", identifying its attributes and determining how its responsibility can be engaged. Other actors are also considered, such as international organizations and individuals as subjects and not only objects of IPL. Finally, methods of resolving international conflict is analyzed from simple informal negotiation to the use of the international court system. The possibility, legality and desirability of non-peaceful methods is also discussed.

IRD-R-684 : Current Economic Problems and Policies

The aim of this course is to equip future policy-makers with the basic analytical tools of macroeconomics, and prepare them to assess some of the economic issues they will encounter in this area. Hence, building on the knowledge already acquired by the students, this course focuses on open-economy macroeconomics, with special emphasis on the recent business cycle, current global imbalances, and the exchange rate of the dollar.

Elective Courses

IRD-E-622 : International Organizations

International organizations have joined the list of the most important actors in global affairs. The course distinguishes between the two types of international organizations: intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and seeks to understand their past and present function in contemporary societies and international relations, focusing on IGOs and the UN in particular. The course also seeks to analyze information to examine plausible scenarios of the future role of IGOs and NGOs. Lectures address issues such as: the importance of IGOs and NGOs as actors in international relations; the administrative and financial structures of IGOs and NGOs; their political and social ramifications; their communication strategies and the role of public opinion in their creation, maintenance and growth; whether IGOs such as the League of Nations or the United Nations have been efficient in accomplishing the goals for which they were founded; what can an IGO or an NGO specifically accomplish in international relations to advance peace, prosperity and to improve the livelihoods of populations; should IGOs and NGOs have so much power and since few of their administrations are elected democratically, is it in the interests of the state and of the public to limit their power.

IRD-E-621 : Current Issues in International Relations and Diplomacy

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the diversity of contemporary issues in international relations, with a particular focus on the relationship between regional and global issues. The course will provide an overview of the dynamics of the international system, looking at the major features of the current world order. Underlying processes will be described, with an emphasis on three vital areas: the changing relationship between national governments and their peoples; global capitalism and global markets; and the conduct of global international relationships. The course will also consider a number of contemporary regional case-studies in order to obtain a more precise vision of the political situation of these areas. This will allow students to have a comprehensive overview of the international situation, with a particular focus on the changes which have taken place over the past twenty years.

IRD-E-601 : Theory and Origins of Global Conflict

The course will explore the role of violence and conflict, both threatened and explicit, in international politics. Notions of the balance of power and war and peace are discussed in both historical and conceptual frameworks, in order to provide greater insight into the nature of international conflicts.

IRD-E-602 : Strategy and Conflict Resolution

How do theorists and decision-makers - or even entire societies - conceive policies for war and peace? How do they plot their course of action? What means are at their disposal and what means can they and will they actually use? What historic, geographic, economic and military situations condition strategic theory and action? Students should not expect to be taught the best way to wage war or the most efficient way of bringing peace to the world or to a region. A main goal of this course is to discover the scientific relevance of analyzing how human societies wage war or make peace. Why is the social scientist's view on the art of the warrior rewarding and necessary? There is no guarantee that students will find answers, as raising such questions will often generate even more questions. However, formulating such questions is the foundation of scientific research at the graduate level. By learning to formulate the relevant questions, students will begin to find clues about the nature, origins and history of war, and consequently discover clues as to how to prevent them.

IRD-E-603 : Cultural Development and Awareness

The course is designed to introduce students to basic concepts of cultural anthropology and ethnology as they may be used in international relations and politics. The course will analyze the concept of "man" as it has been emerging throughout history, the relationship between man and his environment within the framework of modern anthropological theory. It will inquire into the origins of society, language, kinship and religion. Discussion topics include verbal and non-verbal communications, origins of property, justice and legitimacy. The course will address both European and non-European cultural systems. The aim of the course is to provide a conceptual framework for students of international relations.

IRD-E-501: Geopolitics

The aim of this course is to introduce students to geopolitical studies.

Today, even casual followers of International Affairs invariably encounter “geopolitical” explanations. This fact is even more prevalent as it relates to a young woman or man who decides to scientifically devote herself/himself to International Relations scholarship.

Contemporary geopolitical scholars have retained the central feature and purpose found in the original works of geopolitics (so-called “classical geopolitics”): to study all of the objective constraints that limit, influence, and/or steer the decisions of political actors within the different levels of the international context. 

During the classical period of geopolitics, from the end of the 19th century to WWII, the major constraint was geography, which is more than understandable given that the majority of natural obstacles were still impassable.  Today, the dynamics of world politics are clearly very different, if for no other reason than the vast technological advances of the past century. As the world has become more complex and closely linked many new constraints have emerged; therefore, the analysis of International Relations as a whole requires studying all these constraints and relating them to one another.

Presently, the world is witnessing a period of shifting geopolitical power.  Scholars have established a wide-ranging theoretical framework in which it is possible to insert all the different elements that influence the ongoing transformation of the international system: energy, industry, finance, agriculture, demography, military, national and regional politics, supranational politics (international institutions, regional alliances or communities, NGOs, etc.), religion, history and, of course, geography, etc. 

IRD-E-502: Geopolitics of Religion

The aim of this course is to examine and analyze the increasing geopolitical role of the great religions of the world in international relations today. Students will be introduced to the history of these religions, their respective weight and influence in different regions of the world, and their possible effects in a period that is characterized by crucial geopolitical and geo-economic transformations.

The course will place a particular focus on the following points: the religious come-back of the 1970s, which is essentially linked to the profound changes in the global balance of power; the political exploitation of the religious feelings in two historical turning points of international relations: the Iranian revolution and the war in Afghanistan; the ideology of the “West” and that of the “clash of civilizations”; the myth of violence; and the global political project of a “holy alliance” of religions.

IRD-E-504 : Global Communications, Media and International Affairs

The course will explore, compare and confront characteristics of the post 9/11 global media scene and its impact on diplomacy and world affairs : news-gathering methods, professional principles and constraints, Media performances under pressure of time, context, profit-making-structures, politics, ethics and ideologies. Lectures, critical screenings and assignments will examine and propose analytical tools for the comprehension and follow-up of the interaction between global media, collective perceptions and modern diplomacy.

IRD-E-605 : International Trade, Banking and Finance

The objective of the course is to provide the student with the tools to measure the relevance of current economic insight into the questions of poverty, wealth and development in order to understand the role of economic analysis in addressing the impending problems of growth and development. Key concepts of international trade theory will be treated and the methods with which nations are empowered to define their own dynamic comparative advantages and to develop them in a highly competitive world. Students will master the national accounts and balance of payments as tools of analysis. Insight will be sought into the nature and causes of current international economic problems such as the debt-crises and structural adjustment problems.

IRD-E-507 : Principles of Economics

This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic tools to understand, explain, question, and analyze critically economic events. It covers both macroeconomic and microeconomic topics. The main objective will be to relate economics to other social sciences such as politics, sociology or psychology by an overview of the principles of modern economics. Ideas such as globalization have significant economic foundations with important social consequences. Discovering and uncovering these foundations is made easier for graduates with many of the economic concepts and theories that are taught in the course. Economics is often taught at the undergraduate level with a historical, institutional approach whilst at the graduate level more widespread use of mathematical methods is made. Although this is an introductory course it should help students acquire the basic tools needed to understand simple graphical and mathematical representations of economic theories and concepts.

IRD-E-508 : Beginnings of the Contemporary Political Order

The course is designed to provide necessary understanding of modern political institutions and the ideas that govern them, such as modern conceptions of democracy, human rights, the free market economy, rule of law and universal suffrage. Topical considerations are explored in light of current events on the international scene.

IRD-E-509 : Anthropology and Politics

This course analyzes the influence of culture and religion upon Western political institutions. It focuses on various concepts of state, justice and political violence, within the framework of political organizations, polytheism-monotheism-atheism. The course includes Rome, medieval Europe, the United States, Revolutionary France, Nazi Germany, Communist Russia and China, etc.

IRD-E-610 : Post-Modernity and International Relations and Diplomacy

This course is designed to familiarize students with periodization in political history, and particularly with the ideas and concepts related to the notion of post-modernity. The bulk of the course is an interdisciplinary exploration of economic, human, cultural and political dimensions of post-modernity. This interdisciplinary approach is necessitated by the simple fact that post-modernity is a multi-faceted phenomenon that defies a neat, clear-cut definition. The course addresses various socio-political and economic developments in the world since the fall of communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A particular focus is placed on the concept of post-modernism developed by authors such as Kojev, Fukuyama, Baudrillard, Lyotard and the theory's relation to knowledge, politics and communication.

IRD-E-611 : Comparative Politics

This course gives an introduction to the structural model of the political system and the scientific approach to comparative politics. It examines several of the world's major political traditions including East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe with an emphasis on the paradox of the simultaneous existence of a culturally convergent Westernisation process with culturally invariant non-Western systems.

IRD-E-514: International Environmental Politics

This course is designed to introduce the student to the controversies and politics of international environmental law and politics, to explore global environmental issues that the planet faces, critically assess the nature of problems encountered and discuss workable solutions for sustainable development in order to avoid a "tragedy of the commons." This interdisciplinary graduate course sets out to enable students to critically analyze the international arena of environmental law, policy, politics, and problematics with special reference to international environmental agenda-setting and decision-making, coalition-building and mobilization amongst states (and non-state entities) to achieve cooperation. It highlights the intertwined nature of environmental issues with social, political, ethical and economic issues as also the inter-linkages of the ecosystem which make state boundaries superficial. Several environmental issues will be discussed including climate change, ozone depletion, trans-boundary export of hazardous wastes etc. This course is conducted in a seminar format, relying heavily on student participation.

IRD-E-616 : Extreme Crisis Situations: Terrorism, Government and Media

This course offers a survey of structural approaches and test-cases, examining attitudes and interactive processes between governments and mass-media in moments of extreme tension, shock and major crisis: terrorist attacks, wars and warlike situations, periods of extreme international or internal tension, top-level political assassinations, large scale civil resurrections and – to some extent – major natural or industrial catastrophes.

The course offers some perimeters of definitions for “extreme-crisis” situations and the specificity of governmental and media conduct, initiative, reactions and interactions in such instants, and compares these with some theoretical and behavioral schemes which may be valid in ‘conventional’ or ‘routine-type’ reflexes of both political systems and media organizations.

It the implications of these on the evaluating practice and conduct of modern diplomacy: What may the potential impacts of these accelerated “tension dynamics” be on the international scene and what influence may they have on foreign policy making. Within the sample study of crisis-situations, series of test-cases is analyzed and compared, such as: Crucial moments in the context of “the Arab Spring”, “Occupy Wall Street” movement, September 11th 2001, terrorist attacks in Paris, in London, in Madrid, in Bali, in Jerusalem, in Egypt, in Mumbai, the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the 1989 Tiananmen ‘events’, the Rumanian revolution of 1989, the 1993 ‘putsch’ in Moscow, earthquakes in Italy and in Haiti, catastrophic floods in Pakistan and others.

The course seeks to follow and decode the types of interactivity, interdependence and manipulation which may characterize the ‘performance’ of governments, traditional mass-media outlets and ‘New Media’ in such situations. It alters study of political statements to match with media ‘coverage’: written-press clips, radio transcripts, TV excerpts (video screenings), examples of reactivity, originality, manipulative gestures and confusion created by mainstream news-organizations. It examines the accumulated impact of those extreme instances on the overall balance-of-power between political & media institutions in different democratic, non-democratic, semi-democratic and transitional state systems. Finally, the course analyses the international implications and the potential of “Social Networks” and ‘New Media”.

IRD-E-617: Gender, Militarization and War

This course examines the process of war and militarization and how these are sustained and perpetuated by gendered notions of masculinity and femininity. Such notions further lend to the control of diverse women in different challenging roles (i.e. women as direct casualties, women as war refugees, women who suffer wartime sexual and domestic violence, women losing family during wartime, women who lose work, community and social structure, in ways that sustain militarization., women as soldiers, women as depending on the natural environment destroyed by wars, women as pacifists and opposers of war, women working for the defense industry, women as prostitutes in military bases…).Going beyond stereotype, and based on actual examples, the second part of the course the changing nature of contemporary armed conflict and the political implications of gender relations will also be examined, as will the intersection beween race, class, sex.

Course Objectives

• To understand and analyze, theoretically and practically, the gendered nature of war and militarization

• To highlight the question that feminist IR scholars ask, “where are the women?” and how does war impact them and vice-versa.

• To foster a sensitization of the issues involved in doing research in the area of war and gender

IRD-E-618 : NGOs: An International Perspective

Note: IRD-E-618 and IRD-E-619 together form a two-course module yielding a Certificate in NGO Management (more information here)

Non-governmental organizations have become key players on the international scene – active in development, advocacy, lobbying and grassroots action. A study of international relations cannot ignore their growing role and contribution in mobilizing new energies and adopting innovative approaches. Growing out of an understanding of democratic action that is rooted in citizens’ concerns, NGOs aim to express the values, ideas and commitments of civil society.

This course provides an in-depth exploration of NGOs, their nature and their role in international relations. It introduces the range of NGO organizations, defining their place in the institutional landscape of the global community. It critically examines the roots of their creation and action, as well as their modes of action. NGOs are placed in the context of models of international development, emphasising their particular approaches as well as their relations with government, with the communities in which they work and with each other. Analysis of comparative advantages, competitive relations and collaboration provide a basis for debate on the added value of NGOs in today’s world.

Through presentations, individual and group assignments, discussions, invited speakers and panels, the course gives opportunity for setting the student’s own experience and goals in the context of current trends and examples.

 IRD-E-619 : NGOs: Principles and Management

Note: IRD-E-618 and IRD-E-619 together form a two-course module yielding a Certificate in NGO Management (more information here)

This course addresses the principles and practices of developing and managing an NGO. From the first idea of creating an NGO to meet a need of some kind, the course provide students with the framework to grapple with creating NGO structures and governance, managing personnel and programmes, attracting and accounting for financing, as well as examining the crucial aspect of communication with varied constituencies. Through a range of examples provided by NGO leaders and activists, students gain insights into the dimensions and challenges of running an NGO, asking questions about viability and sustainability. Complementing individual assignments during the semester, students have the opportunity to work in groups to develop a practical proposal for creating an NGO, addressing the dimensions necessary to ensure sustained and relevant impact.

IRD-E-620 : Diplomacy and International Law

Contemporary diplomacy as a norm-based activity and mindset provides an array of tools for preventive, persuasive and coercive crisis management for enduring stabiility and globalized security. These operational procedures of thinking and acting diplomatically including pre-crisis diplomatic communication enable us to deal with global and regional disruptive shock events.

In the practice of International Relations there is an interdependency between diplomacy as the procedural tool-box for the application and execution of policy decisions and International Law as the behavioral guidelines for the international policy-making. International Law serves as the language of diplomacy to justify policy decisions.

On the basis of legal deliberations and argumentation in international decision-making this course examines if and how states' strategic and communicative actions are influenced by International Law and what role states' behavior and practice play in the development of International Law. This will determine what actual place the International Community reserves for International Law.

Course objectives:

  • To develop an understanding of the techniques and tactics of diplomacy and international law

  • To become familiar with the role of foreign ministries and embassies

  • To identify the present trends of modern diplomacy, with an emphasis on the role of the United Nations

  • To equip students for careers in international affairs

IRD-699 : Internship

Students are encouraged to take part in internships during their studies. The internship is designed to provide students with real-life experience in the world of international affairs in order to complement theoretical approaches pursued in the classroom. An advisor is assigned to the student to coordinate between AGS, the student and the organization where the internship takes place. To earn three credits, the internship should be at least 15 hours per week for the duration of one AGS semester, or 220 total hours. All students must complete a research paper based on the internship, and an oral presentation of the project must be made after the end of the internship. A student may apply up to two internships towards graduation, with each earning three credits. No more than one internship is allowed per semester. An internship that earns full credit is counted as an elective.  See more information here.

Elective Area Courses

IRD-EA-613 : Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy

This course offers students the opportunity to examine the concepts and theories used by scholars to make sense of past events, interpret and analyze contemporary issues and predict future developments in American foreign policy. The purpose of this course is to provide students with the tools to understand both the how and the why of U.S. foreign policy decision-making, which is a complex process and has tangible and intangible consequences on the lives of Americans and people all over the world.

The course covers: the principles and concepts of US foreign policy; sources of American foreign policy; the process, politics and structure of US foreign policy making; past and present foreign policies and possible directions for the future; and competing interpretations of American foreign policy. Among other related topics, this course discusses the history, context, politics, structures (Presidency, Congress, Legislative, Executive, Judiciary, Military, Intelligence, Media, Public Opinion, Society) and processes that lead to the formulation and implementation of United States foreign policy.

IRD-EA-630: A History of the Modern Middle-East

International politics of the Middle East is a topic that has become a concern for us all. Not a day goes by without a major event in the Middle East, with repercussions on the rest of the world.

The Middle East is an area that has from Ancient times to our days come under the scrutiny of academics. On the one hand, having experienced similar historical events, the region shares many common features and in that way distinguishes itself from other developing parts of the world. On the other hand, each corner, offering ‘a story of its own’, underlines the diversity of the area and presents us with a variety of case studies.

Given the complexity of the Middle East, its study proves to be a major challenge. To facilitate our task we have opted for a thematic approach. The following themes and questions will therefore be addressed in this course of this class. What do we mean by the Middle East? How does the West perceive the Middle East? How valid is the modernist theory approach? What is the nature of the state in the Modern Middle East? The importance of non-State actors: the armed forces, religion, ethnic groups, women. Democracy: how viable is it as a model? Globalization and its effects on the region.

The class will cover the history of the region but also discuss the present day events.

Learning objectives:

  • Explain the underlying causes for continuity and change in the region.

  • Understand the nature of the State in the Middle East.

  • Look at the effects of colonisation, nationalism, the cold war, globalisation on the shaping of the Middle East.

  • Analyze the sources of legitimacy of the various actors in Middle East politics

  • Relate the past to the present in order to critically evaluate the politics of the Middle East today

IRD-EA-631: Conflict in the Modern Middle-East

The conflict between the Jews and the Arabs has been at the centre of world news for many years. This class aims to entangle the specificities of the region, its people and look at the various factors that have shaped the Middle East. It aims to dig into the past and look at how history has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the years with the hope to understand the present day. It will concentrate on the people and the way the two communities have evolved over the years. It will raise the question of identities: to what extent are they shaped by religion? To what extent have they been formed through the more recent conflicts? To what extent have they been shaped by the perceptions that one group has of the other and each group has of itself?

Whist concentrating on the people who populate the region, we will also carry out a study of the political institutions as well as the main movements in the various countries that have formed the backdrop for the way the region has developed politically and socially. Our aim, as much as possible, is to read and discuss the different viewpoints on the subject to get a better understanding of the situation.

Learning objectives:

  • Explain the underlying causes for the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in the Middle East.

  • Observe how each community has evolved over the years.

  • Understand the issues that are at stake in the region.

  • Consider different proposals as a means to resolve the conflict.

  • Analyze the role of the external actors.

  • Open up a discussion over the possibilities that lie ahead.

IRD-EA-640 : Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa

This is an introductory course to contemporary African politics. Students need only a rudimentary background in political science, and no background in African studies. It is recommended that students have some idea of the current economic realities facing African countries, and become familiar with post- colonial ideologies, including dependency and underdevelopment theory. Approached through a comparative examination of the life stories of several of its most important leaders, a political biography approach will allow students to investigate postcolonial African regimes with depth and specificity without requiring of them any previous disciplinary background. After a brief introduction to African political geography – students will learn the map of contemporary Africa – they will systematically sample cases from each of the four broadly defined regions of the subcontinent (West, East, Central and South). But instead of dividing Africa geographically, this course will classify states according to their colonial past (Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone, Hispanophone, Italophone) in order to test, through comparison of empirical case studies, the central hypothesis of this course: Different forms of colonial domination employed by the British, French, Belgian, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Afrikaaner settlers resulted in different post-colonial experiences and regimes.

Learning Objectives:

  • By the end of the semester students should be able to identify all African states on a map. Additionally, they should have:

  • Have an historical understanding of contemporary African states, both their colonial and post-colonial eras

  • Know ‘who rules’ today, the dominant political forces (ethnic, electoral, commercial, etc.) and how political power has been acquired and maintained

  • Be able to conduct biographical research on African leaders,

  • Be familiar with critical theories of dependency and underdevelopment, neo-colonialism, and imperialism.

IRD-EA-641: The Scramble for African Resources

Natural resources – like conflict oil and blood diamonds – have been blamed for many of Africa’s illnesses, including poverty, corruption, dictatorship and war. This course will explore the debate on the ‘resource curse’ in sub-Saharan Africa, examining such political-economic theories as ‘the paradox of plenty,’ the ‘Dutch disease,’ and the ‘rentier state.’ It also will explore how the politics of extractive economies relate to conflict processes, examining ‘environmental scarcity’ theory, ‘greed versus grievance’ theory, and a number of strong empirical correlations between raw materials export dependency and inter-group struggles for resources in the Third World. Students will apply these theories and approaches to several of the most newsworthy African case studies: Gabon, Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, Sierra Leone, São Tomé & Príncipe, Sudan, and Nigeria. The main theme of this course is the ‘oil curse’ in Africa, but other natural resources such as diamonds and timber are also discussed. Its objectives are to describe how primary- resource- dependent development creates dysfunctional politics, economics and government in Africa, and to evaluate initiatives at the international level to change this problem. What makes this course special is its approach, breaking up the vast theoretical literature on the oil curse into separate levels of analysis, moving down from the failure of international governance initiatives to the successes of domestic social forces, to arrive by argumentative structure at the conclusions that real change has come not from above but from below.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the term students should have a fluency in theoretical perspectives on extractive economies, foreign relations, and political violence, as well as current factual knowledge of politics and economics of country case studies. In the spirit of case study method, students should be able to apply the theories to the cases appropriately, and argue plausible rival theoretical perspectives. Finally students should be familiar with several proposed solutions to the problems evoked over the course of the semester, and should be able to argue the relative merits of each.

IRD-EA-650 : Central and South America

While leading to the sub-continent’s political emancipation, the independence wars of the early XIXth century, brought about the need to address the problem of political modernity in Latin America. The development of the « Liberal Oligarchic Model » faced a number of initial challenges and adaptations to the realities of what still remained «traditional societies ». In the early decades of the XXth century – and in varying degrees from one country to another – the traditional structures of the Latin American « Oligarchic State » were gradually challenged within a renewal of social and political movements. The Mexican revolution and the rise of populist parties are two significant examples of such phenomenon. Administrative centralization and the development of State structures may be viewed as two significant consequences.

After World War II and up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Latin America became a playground for the ideological confrontations that divided the post-war world. The populist State was now the standard reference model, but its application varied according to often contradictory ideologies : from right-wing military regimes to the Cuban case. A phase of accelerated economic development (1950s and 1960s), followed by phases of stagnation (1970s), crisis (1980s) and readjustment (1990s) accentuated existing social tensions and has led, in some cases, to question the gradual return of a certain type of democracy in Latin America over the past twenty years. Have the traditional demons of the past been exorcised?

Course Objective

The objective of this course is to study the contemporary evolution of Latin American politics within a historical perspective. Political discourse, political parties, the organization of civil societies will be emphasized in order to reach an understanding of the particular characteristics of Latin America’s political institutions within the overall context of modernity, as well as of economic and social change.

IRD-EA-660 : South Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

Students are expected to get a better understanding of the history of South Asia since the Second World War: assessing the importance of this area in today’s “global village”cannot be divorced from a historical perception of the last six decades. The course should fill a gap specially for students from Western countries whose knowledge and information regarding Asia may need to be deepened.

This series of lectures is meant to give an overview of the developments of the last 60 years in South Asia, with a focus on India, based on the experience of the instructor. Emphasis will therefore be on the general trends, whether political, economic or strategic, that have affected the area. The students should thus be able to perceive the relevance of these historical developments to the world of today.

The participants to the course will have to write a short paper (maximum ten pages) which will be discussed in the lectures, on a topic to be chosen from a list provided by the instructor.

IRD-EA-661 : East Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

China and the whole of East Asia have tremendous and growing importance and yet, too little is known in the West about the region. In this course we will discuss in the main, the development of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Despite having a marvelous and advanced culture, through negligence of certain aspects of technology and internal strife, East Asia fell upon difficulties and was dominated by outside forces. Its potenial was realized by many, as Napoleon was said to have cautioned "Let China sleep, for when she awakes the world will tremble". By tracing the history of the region, and in particular the recent history of East Asia, we will understand better how East Asia is today an emerging and very powerful area. We will investigate the challenges that East Asia faces today and the challenges that it presents to the rest of the world.

IRD-EA-670 : European Foreign Policies

The course on European Foreign Policies will present and discuss historical and contemporary foreign policies of the European countries. It is not a class on the foreign policy of the European Union, or, strictly speaking, of EU member states, since we will also mention countries that are geographically within the European sphere but are not members of the EU. The topics tackled by the course encompass relevant issues in Europe and elsewhere such as global security, migration, development and participation in multilateral institutions. Along the course we will look at how the individual European countries have interacted with the various regions of the world in the modern and contemporary ages. The course seeks to provide students with conceptual tools that allow them to analyze and compare different worldviews, traditions and strategies adopted by European countries to cope with the complexity of today’s international politics.

Students are encouraged and expected to engage in class discussions, as well as to present and to share their views on specific issues proposed in the program. Readings are assigned for each week; students are responsible for reading the course material prior to each class. Other resources such as film presentations, invited speakers and in-class exercises will take place along the semester. Evaluation consists on a term paper, mi-term exam, oral presentation and participation.

Learning objectives:

By the end of the course students are expected to:

  • Become acquainted with the timeline of European History from 1815 to the present

  • Acquire a good knowledge of the geography and geopolitics of the European States

  • Identify foreign policy traditions and orientations of the European States

  • Identify and analyze the main issues, actors and processes that shape European states’ interests and foreign policy strategies

  • Demonstrate a capacity to present oral and written policy briefings on these themes

IRD-EA-671 : The European Union and the World

This course explores critical issues related to the role the EC/EU has played in the international system since the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. As it will be seen along the semester, the EU is above all a peculiar actor with varying degrees of cohesion, legal authority and influence. The program addresses the relations of the EU with powers such as the US and Russia, as well as with other regions (such as the Mediterranean and North African countries) and groups (BRICS and the G20) that have become key world players over the last twenty years. The course also tackles EU “actorness” across several areas such as environmental protection, migration and defense, to name a few.

The course seeks to provide students with conceptual and analytical tools that will allow them to approach EU foreign policy issues  ̈C as well as the relations between the EU and other countries and organizations - from a critical perspective. Students are encouraged and expected to engage in the discussions that take place in class, as well as to present and to share their views on specific issues proposed in the program. Topics are introduced by the professor and followed by of students’ presentations and debate. Readings are assigned for each week; students are responsible for reading the course material prior to each class. Further readings are available for students interested in specific topics of the syllabus. Other resources (films, invited speakers) will be used along the course.

Students are expected to work on a constant basis throughout the course. Evaluation consists on a term paper, mi-term exam, oral presentation and take-home assignments.

Learning objectives:

By the end of the course students are expected to:

  • Have acquired a good knowledge of the timeline of European integration since 1957

  • Understand the institutional framework of the EU, namely the institutions related to EU foreign policy making

  • Know the main issues of the current EU foreign policy agenda

  • Approach critically and from an analytical perspective different foreign policy issues, as well as the relations between the EU and other states

  • Demonstrate the capacity to present oral and written analysis and policy briefings on topics related to EU foreign policy

IRD-EA-672 : Russian Politics

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has emerged as the most important political player in the post-Soviet space. The course will present both historical and contemporary aspects of Russian domestic politics, the evolution of Russian institutions and its socio-cultural identity. After a brief review of the Russian political history since the inception of the Russian state, it will focus the nature of the XX century Russian politics, its economic and cultural underpinnings, as well as competing political ideologies that affected the evolution of Russian civilization. Special attention will be given to the representational forms and political modernization of the past 25 years, from Gorbachev to Medvedev to Putin. The objective of the course is to give students a comprehensive view of 1) historical genesis of current Russian political situation, and 2) offer a general overview of the current political situation in Russia.

Tutorials

IRD-T-690 : Research and Proposal Tutorial

This course is part of the process that AGS has established in order to provide each student with close guidance and support toward the successful completion of his/her Master's thesis. Other procedures in place include individual meetings with the student's advisor and advice on methodology.

At this stage, the professor of this tutorial helps students formulate their thesis hypothesis and give advice on methodology and research. By the end of this course, students should have completed a final research proposal for their thesis.

Note that this tutorial and Thesis and Defense Tutorial are both required courses for students who have chosen the Research thesis track.

IRD-T-691 : Thesis and Defense Tutorial

This second tutorial complements the Research and Proposal Tutorial in order to closely guide students throughout the thesis process.

This tutorial is tailored for students writing their thesis proposals and who wish to defend their thesis the following semester. Typically, students enrolled in this tutorial will be entering their third semester. During the course of this tutorial, students are expected to complete a thesis proposal that is advanced enough to be defended.

Note that this tutorial and the Research and Proposal Tutorial are both required courses for students who have chosen the Research thesis track.

IRD-T-692: Foreign Policy Tutorial

This tutorial is the first of its kind in Europe, as it not only examines topical Foreign Policy issues, but also leads to the suggestion of concrete policy solutions. It is designed to respond to the need for innovative orientation and renewed analytical thinking to meet the thrust for change that the field of international relations has been increasingly showing in the recent years. Old recipes no longer work in what has become a multipolar, or even a-polar world: States are failing, borders are falling, and conflicts turn into religious wars. As Albert Einstein taught us, ‘you cannot solve problems with the same mindset that created them.’ As actors in the international community, whether through government, international organizations, or the corporate or civil society, we absolutely need to adapt our policies to the changing realities – we cannot expect the reverse to happen.

This tutorial will provide in-depth analysis of the root causes of international conflicts, differentiating between incidental disruptions and fundamental movements or expectations; and through the production of policy recommendations, it will promote innovative and sustainable solutions that will not be linked to any particular national or political interest, but rather will rely on the understanding of, and engagement with ‘the Other’ across civilizational diversity of interests and cultures.

Note that this tutorial spreads over four semesters (1.5 hours per week). It is required for all students in the first two semesters, and is required for students who chose the Foreign Policy paper track in the second year (where it can also be taken as an elective by students who chose the Research Thesis track.)

In the second year, an internship in a Paris-based organization is embedded in the tutorial.

 
Bookmark and Share

Contact Us

For any questions,
please email us at info@ags.edu
or use the form below.
We will respond within
the next 2 working days.

Send

Certificate in NGO Management

One-year Part-time Program

Courses co-taught by the Director of Human Rights Watch France.

More information here

Ian Campbell USA
M.A., School of International Relations
Class of 2009

quote leftAGS has not only introduced and allowed me to explore the ideas of the scholars in the field, but also to explore my own ideas in the hopes that they become a part of the larger discipline.quote right

©American Graduate School In Paris 2014 - All Rights Reserved. Etablissement Privé d'Enseignement Supérieur
Web Design by THAT Agency