Graduate Course Catalog
AGS-R01 : 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, this course in theories and factors of IR and diplomacy 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.
AGS-R02 : 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, you will learn how to generate original "quantitative" data through doing an actual scientific public opinion poll with a probabilistic simple random sample. Then you will be 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 will include a mandatory field trip to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Once the data-gathering phase is complete, you will learn the basic tools of data analysis: i.e. establishing relationships, testing hypotheses, and developing valid theoretical explanations.
AGS-R03 : 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.
AGS-R04 : International Public Law
The knowledge of basic legal concepts is essential for anyone working in or studying the field of international relations and diplomacy. The student will learn about the creation of International Public Law through treaties, customs and general principles. Particular importance will be given to 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 will be studied on many levels, including defining the term "state", identifying its attributes and determining how its responsibility can be engaged. Other actors such as international organizations will also be considered, and individuals as subjects and not only objects of IPL. Finally, methods of resolving international conflict will be analyzed from simple informal negotiations to the use of the international court system. The possibility, legality and desirability of non-peaceful methods will also be discussed.
AGS-R05 : 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 will focus on open-economy macroeconomics, with special emphasis on the recent business cycle, current global imbalances, and the exchange rate of the dollar.
AGS-R06 : International Organizations
International organizations have joined the list of the most important actors in global affairs. The course distinguishes 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.
AGS-R07 : Current Issues in International Relations
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.
AGS-E01 : Historical and Contemporary Geopolitics
Subjects to be addressed include: the epistemology of geopolitics; the geopolitics of geographic scholarship; the political dimensions of representation and perception; geopolitical representations, strategies and ideologies concerning the natural environment; the geopolitics of natural resources; regional studies; and assessing geopolitical power.
AGS-E02 : 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.
AGS-E03 : 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.
AGS-E04 : 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.
AGS-E05 : 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.
AGS-E06 : 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.
AGS-E07 : Principles of Economics
This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic tools to understand, explain, question, and analyze critically economic events. It will cover 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. The course is an introductory course that is designed to help students prepare for other courses at AGSIRD, including non-economic disciplines. Ideas such as globalization have significant economic foundations with important social consequences. Discovering and uncovering these foundations will be made easier for graduates with many of the economic concepts and theories that will be 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.
AGS-E08 : 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 will be explored in light of current events on the international scene.
AGS-E09 : Anthropology and Politics
This course will analyze the influence of culture and religion upon western political institutions. The course will center on various concepts of state, justice and political violence, within the framework of political organizations, polytheism-monotheism-atheism. The course will include Rome, medieval Europe, the United States, Revolutionary France, Nazi Germany, Communist Russia and China, etc.
AGS-E10 : Post-Modernity and International Relations and Diplomacy
This seminar 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 seminar 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 seminar will center on various socio-political and economic developments in the world since the fall of communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Particular attention will be paid to the concept of post-modernism developed by authors such as Kojev, Fukuyama, Baudrillard, Lyotard and the theory's relation to knowledge, politics and communication.
AGS-E11 : Comparative Politics
Introduction to the structural model of the political system and the scientific approach to comparative politics. Examination of several of the world's major political traditions including East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe with emphasis on the paradox of the simultaneous existence of a culturally convergent Westernisation process with culturally invariant non-Western systems.
AGS-E13 : Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy
This course offers the student the opportunity to examine the concepts and theories used by scholars to make sense of past events, interpret and analyse 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. 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. The making of US foreign policy is a complex process, and the decisions made have tangible and intangible consequences on the lives of Americans and people all over the world. 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.
AGS-E14 : 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 facing the planet, 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. This course seeks to highlight 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 will be conducted in a seminar format, relying heavily on student participation.
AGS-E18 : NGOs: An International Perspective
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.
AGS-E19 : NGOs: Principles and Management
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 will 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 will gain insights into the dimensions and challenges of running an NGO, asking questions about viability and sustainability. Complementing individual assignments during the semester, students will 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.
AGS-E99 : 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 compliment theoretical approaches pursued in the classroom. An advisor is assigned to the student to coordinate between AGSIRD, the student and the organization where the internship takes place. To earn three credits, the internship should be least 15 hours per week for the duration of one AGSIRD 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. For more information on internships, please see the Student Handbook.
AGS-EA10 : Central and South America
AGS-EA20 : Eastern and Western Europe
AGS-EA30 : The Middle East and North Africa
AGS-EA40 : Sub-Saharan Africa
AGS-EA50 : South and Central Asia
AGS-EA60 : East and Southeast Asia
AGS-T01 : Directed Reading Seminar
In the 3rd semester of study at AGSIRD students work with their thesis advisor on the research and writing of their thesis. An M.A. degree candidate should prepare his/her thesis proposal under the guidance of his/her advisor. The advisor will help the student formulate his/her thesis hypothesis and give advice on methodology of research. The form 'Research Proposal Guidelines' is available in the AGSIRD office.
AGS-T02 : Thesis Seminar
In the 4th semester of study at AGSIRD students finish writing their thesis and present their findings during this thesis seminar.
Note: Of the five elective courses chosen by the student, at least two must be area courses. This applies to both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs.
AGS 2013 Conference
April 18-19, 2013 in ParisTheme: "Identity and Gender Politics within International Relations"
Ruchi Anand India
The 'AGS experience' is about travelling through various places, spaces, contexts, perspectives, theories, approaches and ideas, colored in different nationalities, accents, cultures and identities, all at one place. The AGS corridors may be short but they are wide if you let your minds roam free.