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AGS Course Catalog

FALL 2024

Listed in numerical order.


Introduction to International Relations: Security, Peace, and Conflict (POLSCI 160) | Professor Kyle Beardsley
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:45 - 9:35 AM

This course provides students with an introduction to international relations.  It is designed to be of value both to students who will take only one class in international relations, and who wish to immerse themselves in the basic problems in the field in the shortest time possible, and to students who intend to take subsequent classes in the field, and who wish to establish a strong foundation for that additional class work.


Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding (ENVIRON 216C) | Professor Erika Weinthal
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 - 1:15 PM

Environmental and natural resources as a source of conflict and/or peacebuilding between and within nations and states. Analysis of the role of the environment in the conflict cycle and international security. Topics include refugees, climate change, water, and infectious disease. Particular focus on post-conflict and rebuilding in war-torn societies. Examination of the role of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and emerging standards for environmental management. Examples drawn from conflicts such as Rwanda, Israel/Palestine, Nepal, Sierra Leone and others. Instructor consent required.


National Security Simulation: White Nationalism, Propoganda, and Domestic Terrorism (PUBPOL 290-2; PUBPOL 590-1) | Professor David Schanzer and Professor Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
Tuesdays, 7:30 - 10:00 PM

Students will participate in a seven-week national security simulation in which they will have an assigned role as a state or non-state actor and work with teams to develop policy responses to a security crisis that changes and develops over time.  This simulation this year will involve white nationalist terrorism, migration, and great power competition. Participants will need to gain an understanding of the facts through a complex information environment that is polluted with misinformation and allows actors to engage in manipulation and deception. No prior experience in national security is required. Students that have not declared a major should enroll in the 290 version of the course.


U.S. Policy in the Middle East (POLSCI 352S) | Professor Abdeslam Maghraoui
Tuesdays, 10:20 AM - 12:50 PM

The Middle East is one of the most strategic and challenging areas in the world for U.S. foreign policy makers. The region’s vast energy resources, volatile regional system, enduring authoritarianism, and political instability impose complex trade-offs and difficult options. While the U.S. remains the main external military power in the Middle East, American influence seems to be declining as multiple regional and foreign powers are vying to replace it.  This course explores this transformation and the complexity and interconnectedness of key challenges facing the U.S. in the region.  Among other hot topics, we will explore Iran’s regional ambitions and nuclear program, the meandering Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the problem of failed states in Syria and Yemen to illustrate the challenges the US faces in the region.  We will approach these challenges critically, grounding them in the region’s modern state system, international relations theory, and U.S. interests and political constraints.


Foreign Policy and the 2024 Presidential Campaign (POLSCI 497S) | Professor Peter Feaver
Wednesdays, 3:05 - 5:35 PM

Note: Prerequisite: PS365/PPS376.  If you do not have the prerequisite contact the professor for permission to take the class.

We will examine the role of foreign policy in the 2024 presidential campaign and how the incoming administration will handle foreign policy challenges.  The first half of the course will be devoted to a review of how foreign policy debates affect presidential campaigns and an analysis of the foreign policy platforms of the two principal presidential candidates nominated by the Republican and Democratic Parties.  The class will divide into two teams, each team assigned to one of the contenders, and prepare for a debate scheduled for 9 October.  The second half of the course will examine the shift from the politics of campaigns to the policy of actually governing in the foreign policy arena. We will review the presidential transition process and the pitfalls associated with it.  The students will function as transition advisors, preparing a transition memo that advises the incoming President on what she or he should (or should not) do on a specific foreign policy issue.  The course is designed to be flexible enough to respond to shifts in the actual campaign.  It is also designed to place a premium on student initiative. Your intellectual rewards from this class will be directly proportional to the effort, creativity, and ingenuity with which you engage the material.  Unlike other capstone courses, this course is not intended to cover the scholarly canon on a particular issue.  It is, rather, intended to provide students with a vehicle to imagine what it would be like to be a bona fide foreign policy advisor to a would-be President.


National Security Decisionmaking (PUBPOL 505) | Professor Timothy Nichols
Wednesdays, 12:00 - 2:30 PM

The US national security policy environment is characterized by competing interests, politics, ethics, information, analysis, power, and, most importantly, decision-making.  To affect successful national security decision-making, our leaders must understand, integrate, and apply all the tools of national power with a keen eye towards the intended impact (and secondary effects) in a constantly changing, complex, global arena.  This course explores this delicate art in three main components: first, we will strive to develop a deeper understanding of the US national security apparatus (i.e. responsibilities of the different areas of government and organizational design); secondly, we will analyze the elements of national power and examine historical examples of their application; finally, we will apply our analysis to assess the merits of various approaches to national security decision-making.  This course involves academic rigor and frequent exposure to a variety of National Security issues and vignettes.

Throughout this course, we will build a greater understanding of the intricacies and complexities facing our national leadership.  We will experience first-hand examples from guest speakers; we will experience the innate difficulty through in-class simulations; and we will conduct independent discovery through individual research and writing.


American Grand Strategy Seminar (POLSCI 562/PUBPOL 501/HISTORY 567) | Professor Peter Feaver and Professor Susan Colbourn
Tuesdays, 10:05 AM - 12:35 PM

Note: Prerequisites: PS 160/166, PS365/PPS376, and PPS320/PS328/HST322.  If you do not have the prerequisites contact the professor for permission to take the class.

This course examines the global challenges and opportunities confronting the United States and the efforts of U.S. policymakers to craft a grand strategy that adequately addresses them. The course covers key historical junctures in the development of American Grand Strategy, ranging from pre-World War II to the present. The class will examine both the theory and the practice of grand strategy and will consider both defenses and critiques of the choices US leaders have made. The class is capped as a seminar and so there will only be a very few seats available for each category of student, undergraduate and graduate. Admission to the class will be by permission only, based on an application. The course is only offered in the Fall semesters.  If you would like to take the course, please email both Profs. Feaver and Colbourn and in your email include the following information: (a) any preparatory course work have you taken; (b) any involvement in the AGS program thus far; (c) your interest/reason for taking the course; (d) whether you want to take the PS or PPS or HST variant (same course, different permission numbers); (e) your year/major/degree program (e.g. “Junior majoring in Political Science” or “2nd year MPP” or “PhD candidate in History"). Profs. Feaver and Colbourn will assign permission numbers and let you know whether you are admitted to the course.


Science, Technology, Ethics and Leadership (BIOETHIC 676) | Professor Thomas Sowers
Wednesdays, 4:15 - 6:45 PM

This course is built both for technologists who want to understand science and technology’s impact on law, society, organizations, and ethics, and for students from business, policy, economics, law, and liberal arts backgrounds who want to deeply understand how we can shape emerging science and technology to reflect our values. Students will engage in real world projects for external problem sponsors, gaining invaluable experience and making a tangible impact on the future of technology, science and society. By collaborating across disciplines, you’ll learn to navigate the intersection of technology, science and ethics, crafting solutions that are not only innovative but also aligned with societal values.

The approach dives into the complexities of ethical decision-making, how to innovate responsibly, and learn and test the practical skills needed to lead in the ever-evolving tech landscape. This course takes inspiration from a 2024 talk on AI where the CEO of JP Morgan Asset and Wealth Management said, “If you are a CEO and you didn’t have someone who represented AI on your management team, sitting right next to you every day, preferably at the age of 27 or 28 who’s going to think about disrupting everything, you weren’t going to be able to make it.” This course seeks to build the leaders of the next decade and beyond.

Course is by permission only. Applicants can apply here for the remaining slots.


Foundational Scholarship in International Relations (POLSCI 763) | Professor Kyle Beardsley
Thursdays, 1:40 - 4:10 PM

This class is about understanding foundational texts in the field of international relations. We will learn about the key debates that have animated IR both as a subfield within political science and beyond political science as a broader, interdisciplinary field. This class will be theory-heavy, focusing on concepts and ideas that IR scholars use to explore patterns of conflict and cooperation in international politics.