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Seminars in Multiple Subfields

81.01 Advanced Game Theory

81.02 Memory, Nationalism, and War (formerly: The Politics of Memory)

(Comparative Politics or International Relations)

From Israel to the Balkans, from Germany to Japan, the ways that states and groups remember their pasts have important effects on their internal and external politics. At the core of a group or state's identity are the heroes and villains, mistakes and triumphs that it chooses to commemorate. These memories are often incompatible with or antagonistic toward the way others remember similar events. Scholars argue that memory affects domestic political stability and democratization. They also argue that memory is a potentially powerful cause of wars. This course examines the politics of memory in several different countries, including South Africa and the Balkans, as well as post-World War II Japan, Germany, Israel, France, and the United States. Dist: SOC or INT.

81.03 Economic Growth and Reform in Emerging Economies

(Comparative Politics or International Relations)

Financial and trade relations between countries and regions of the world during the last quarter century have become truly globalized. Economic problems in the industrialized and developing worlds affect each other in ways that are both unexpected and unimagined previously: crises in East Asia have ripple effects on Wall Street, while the unification of Europe has important trade ramifications for the Third World and financial implications for the United States.

This seminar investigates these new developments in the world economy, and their impact on the economic and political fate of different countries and regions of the world in the so-called developing world. What strategies can countries adapt in order to develop most efficiently in a global market-oriented economy? What are the challenges and opportunities each faces as they adopt different or converging strategies? How can a country maximize its chances for success while attempting to ensure global equity? And what will the precise role of international financial institutions and their impact on developing and transition countries be in this newly emerging global economy? Prerequisite: Government 5. Recommended: Government 58 and course work in international economics. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW.

81.04 Lawyers and Public Policy (Identical to PBPL 81.2)

(American Government or Theory/Law)

Using historical, sociological, political, and legal sources, this seminar explores the role of lawyers in the creation of public policy in the United States. Lawyers have a professional obligation to zealously advocate the interests of their individual clients, yet also to pursue justice and the public good. How have American lawyers resolved the tension between these two obligations? What strategies have interest group lawyers used to achieve change in public policy and with what consequences? How have legal organizations (e.g., the American Bar Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association) sought to preserve or change American public policies? Readings will include studies of lawyers in the New Deal, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Right to Life lawyers, AFL-CIO lawyers, and others. Enrollment limited to 16. also listed as Public Policy 81. Prerequisite: at least one course on law or public policy. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

81.05 Left and Right : Party Spirit and Ideology in American Politics

(American Government or Theory/Law)

We may be "one nation, indivisible," but our oneness is masked by a politics that contains increasingly important partisan divisions. Partisans today see not one but "two Americas"; they want to live in only one of them. Is party spirit a mark of bad citizenship? What is the connection between partisanship and ideology? Would a just society have partisan or ideological divisions? Should we be post-partisans? Readings from history of political thought and political science. Requirements: weekly short papers and final examination. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.

81.06 Terrorism and Counterterrorism

(Comparative Politics or International Relations)

The purpose of this course is to critically examine the most important empirical and theoretical debates on terrorism, with a view toward formulating maximally effective counterterrorism responses.

81.07 Political MythBusters:  Testing Common Claims about Politics

Declining trust in government is a cause of declining voter turnout in many advanced democracies. The abundance of natural resources inhibits democratic transitions in authoritarian states. It is more difficult to pass legislation under divided government than when the same party controls Congress and the presidency. ... In this course, we will examine many such common claims ("myths") about politics. Specifically, we will review empirical evidence for each claim and discuss whether each myth can be busted, plausible, or confirmed. We will also discuss how to devise our own tests for renewed scrutiny using statistical data and methods. Dist: SOC.

81.08  Political Economy of Development in Middle East & North Africa

81.09 Global Public Opinion

There has been a rise in attention to the role of global public opinion in international relations. News media usage of the phrase "world public opinion" or "global public opinion," as well as scholarly research about it, dramatically increased during the last decade. But has global public opinion actually played an important role in international affairs? What are the attitudes of citizens around the world towards some crucial global issues that require international cooperation? Do their attitudes substantially affect states' ability to cooperate to address such issues? In this course, by examining these questions through a variety of assignments (writing a short literature review, making a "news story" video, working on a data visualization project, etc.), students will learn important theories and empirical findings on global public opinion. The topics covered include international institutions and human rights, the environment and climate change, nuclear energy, happiness, trust and social capital, global economy, war and peace, terrorism, anti-Americanism, U.S. foreign policy and soft power, soft power competition in Asia, the rise of China, immigration, and foreign aid.

81.14 The Political Economy of Development in Asia and Southeast Asia

(Comparative Politics or International Relations)

The growth of the Southeast Asian economies since World War II -- and the more recent emergence of China and India -- raises a number of questions about distinct patterns of development in the so-called Emerging Economies of Asia and Southeast Asia.  Their rapid growth also raises a number of questions about the theories traditionally used to explain development in the region.  In this course we investigate not only the local patterns and processes of development over time, but also focus on the socio-political underpinnings that promoted or restrained development locally and regionally.  This seminar finally investigates how the greater incorporation of the economies in a globalizing economy poses further challenges and opportunities to local political regimes and to existing social contracts that emerged since World War II.  Countries covered in this course include China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, North and South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines).  

81.15 The Rise and Fall of Great Powers

81.20 Changing Narratives of Self-Interest in American Life, Politics and Foreign Policy

(American Politics or International Relations)

This course will examine the evolution away from which Tocqueville called "self-interest well-understood" to "individualism," and its consequences for American life in domains as diverse as driving, sports, business, congressional relations and foreign policy. We will read Tocqueville and contemporary studies of self-interest, and conduct individual research projects that will attempt to track changing narratives of self-interest through qualitative and quantitative analysis of particular discourses and practices. We will try to ascertain the extent to which there are diverse narratives of self-interest, how they are represented and how they have evolved. Like Tocqueville, we will ask if the changes we discover are idiosyncratic to America, or indicative of a wider transformation, in this case, among post-industrial democracies. Dist: SOC; WCult: NA.

81.21Democracy in America: Tocqueville and His Critics

(American Politics or Theory/Law)

Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America has been called both the greatest book about democracy and the greatest book about America. American Presidents, politicians, and pundits regularly invoke his authority: both liberals and conservatives consider him a patron saint. But, like so many classics, Tocqueville is often cited but rarely read. Yet anyone who seeks to understand American democracy must grapple with Tocqueville. Tocqueville predicted America's economic and political dominance in the world but he also warned about the dangers of racial conflict and the gradual loss of civic virtue and political liberty through apathy and complacence. While no one questions Tocqueville's genius and insight, many have challenged aspects of his interpretation of America. In this course, we shall read both Tocqueville and some of his leading critics: was Tocqueville right about America? About democracy? Dist: SOC; WCult: NA and W.

 81.22 Counterfactuals and International Relations

(Comparative Politics or International Relations)

In this seminar, we will explore the meaning and utility of counterfactuals for research in international relations and for policymakers working through problems. Working collaboratively, students will design and conduct surveys or experiments that use counterfactual priming.

 81.24 Federalism in the United States and Abroad: Legal Innovations and Political Power

(American Politics and Comparative Politics)

This seminar will examine federalism as a system of governance, with particular attention to the United States and Canada.  We will study the evolution of the federal systems in both countries since the late 18th Century, focusing on historical, political and legal issues, and on the costs as well as benefits of such divided power.  We will also explore some intergovernmental patterns that lie at the boundary of federalism -- in particular, the relationships between Native American tribes and other US governments; and the patterns that have evolved between First Nations, the provinces, and the central government in Canada. (Among the legal cases to be included: Gonzales v. Raich on medical marijuana; Kelo v. New London on economic development vs. individual rights; Lawrence v. Texas on gay rights; Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez on women’s rights & Native American autonomy; Heller on gun control; and Morgentaler on abortion rights in Canada.)    In the final weeks,, we will take the principles and cautions derived from experience in these two federal nations and explore their relevance to other regions (depending on the interests of seminar members):  for example, the evolving “federalist system” of the European Union, and less stable societies such as Northern Ireland,  Mexico/Chiapas, China/Hong Kong, Afghanistan, and Iraq – where federal systems, carefully designed, might be a route to reducing suspicion & violence and perhaps enhancing liberty. Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: W.

81.25 The UN Treaty on women's Rights and Its Critics


Last Updated: 4/9/14