International Relations

GOVT 50.02

Civil War, Insurgency, and the International Response

This course examines why civil wars begin, how they are fought, how they end, and what the international community can do to mitigate their cost. We use these ideas to understand trends in civil conflict throughout the world and to inform in-depth analyses of U.S. counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each student writes a policy memo and a research paper examining a civil war of their choice. The course is designed to build students' skills using conceptual frameworks and empirical analyses to inform high-stakes policy debates.

GOVT 50.21

Conflict Resolution and International Negotiation

Why does the UN intervene in some places, but not others? What are the conflict resolution tools available to the international community? How can we make peacekeeping more effective? In this course, we will explore these questions as we delve into the international politics of resolving crises. The focus is on the crises that have emerged since the end of the Cold War--particularly in the areas of civil war and state failure. We begin by introducing a framework whereby students can analyze competing theories of why states intervene in international crises and evaluate the conditions for success in different types of intervention, such as peacekeeping. Then, we will consider current issues facing the UN and how they may be addressed via a simulation of the UN Security Council. By the end of the course, students will be able to intelligently evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various peacebuilding strategies in light of evidence from social science and apply their insights in a foreign policy paper. 


International Political Economy

Course Description

(The prerequisite for this course is only GOVT 5. Please disregard the section in the course description listing ECON 29)