BGIA 301  Core Seminar on International Affairs

Jonathan Becker


6:30-9:00 pm



Cross-listed:  GIS   The Core Seminar provides an academic framework for students to explore issues of global affairs and to contextualize their internship experiences. The goal is to familiarize students with key issues in world affairs, introduce them to some of the primary actors and how they operate (NGOs, policy wonks, private researchers), and help them bridge the divide between their academic work and their pre-professional experiences. It is structured in two parts: 1) major topics in global affairs; and 2) research and writing related to students’ specific internships. This format serves as a bridge between BGIA’s formal and non-formal educational program, challenging students to develop skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written and oral expression.



BGIA 310  Ethics & International Relations: Realism Reconsidered

Joel Rosenthal


4:00-6:20 pm



Cross-listed:  GIS   Thucydides punctuates his history of the Peloponnesian war with the quote of the Athenian generals, ‘The strong do what they will, the weak do what they must.’ In the twentieth century, this sentiment is echoed by the great realists, Hans Morganthau and Henry Kissinger, who argued that power and interest were the guideposts for foreign policy. What values guide us as we make choices about the use of force, resolving conflict, promoting human rights, encouraging democracy and participating in international organizations. This course will examine competing claims of morality, reason and power in contemporary international relations.



BGIA 326  Trends in Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Tom Parker


7:00-9:20 pm



Cross-listed:  GIS   This course charts the rise of international terrorism and examines State responses to this evolving threat. Seminars will consider case studies drawn from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The course aims to give students a deeper understanding of the circumstances that motivate terrorist groups and the means and methods available to States seeking to contain or defeat them.



BGIA 330  International Affairs Writing

Andrew Nagorski

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4:00-6:20 pm



Cross-listed:  GIS   This course will look at a representative sampling of articles and books by journalists about foreign affairs, and will include discussions with experienced reporters and editors about their work. But this is primarily a writing course, and students will be expected to write an article every week. Their assignments will include news stories, travel pieces, profiles, op-eds and review essays. They will discuss each other’s writing in class, and they will learn about editing and revising their stories. They will also be encouraged to submit a finished article for publication.



BGIA 334 International Human Rights: Sources and Applications

Alan Sussman


4:00-6:20 pm



Cross-listed:  GIS   The language of rights, since the 17th century, has played a pivotal role in political discourse, and since the end of the Second World War has assumed an increasingly important position in international law as well. Rights are normally invoked to assert fundamental claims of human dignity or liberty which impose limits upon social and governmental power and control. But upon what authority do rights exist? This is the principal question to be addressed in this course, which will be approached from political, philosophical and legal perspectives. In charting the transformation of natural law to natural rights and human rights, we will read a number of essential works by Cicero, Grotius, Locke, Constant, and Kant, modern observers including Dworkin, Sen, and Meron, and foundational documents such as the United States Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal. In the latter part of the course we will read and discuss recent decisions issued by international courts concerning matters of torture, rape, and crimes against humanity and consider the complex relationship among individual responsibilities, obligations of the state and the status of rights in international law.



BGIA 342  Power, War, & Terror in International Affairs

Scott Silverstone


4:00-6:20 pm



Cross-listed:  GIS   From the Peloponnesian War among the Greek city-states in the 5th century B.C., to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and America's invasion of Iraq in 2003, power has remained a central feature of world politics, motivating the behavior of states and nonstate actors alike. Yet the character and distribution of power has changed dramatically since the rise of the modern state system in the 17th century. For nearly two decades now, American primacy has defined the global power structure. This fact is an historic anomaly; at no time in history has any one state amassed the degree of military, economic, and political power the United States now enjoys. In fact, contemporary American foreign policy is premised on the assertion that the United States must sustain its primacy against any potential challengers for the indefinite future. This course explores the character of power and war in this era of American hegemony. We will examine the vigorous debates over the objectives of American power, unilateralism versus multilateralism as rival approaches to exercising power, debates over what military power can actually achieve, and the potential for a global backlash against the United States. Among other specific issues this course will address is the rise of China and India and the implications for global security and economic issues; rogue states and nuclear proliferation; the preventive war option to address shifting threats; the political and strategic future of the Middle East; terrorism as an alternative form of the power struggle and as a type of asymmetric warfare waged by nonstate actors; the continuing problem of humanitarian crises, failed states and intervention in the post-9/11 world; and the changing nature of global energy politics as an acute security issue.