At Wesleyan, I teach undergraduate-level courses on International Politics, International Political Economy, and Experiments in International Development, and advise students on their theses.
What explains conflict and cooperation in international security and political economy? How do states and non-state actors interact in the international system? Why do they sometimes resort to violence? What international institutions structure their interactions? To equip students to answer these questions, this course introduces students to the major questions, theories, and issues in international relations. Students will leave the class with theoretical frameworks that can be used to understand current geopolitical issues as well as a historical appreciation for the study of international relations and the major events that have shaped our world. Throughout the course, we will relate our theories and historical knowledge to current issues of policy relevance, including: the recent trade war, the North Korean and Iranian nuclear threats, terrorism, the rise of China, Brexit, NAFTA/USMCA, and debates over immigration.
International Political Economy
How do domestic and international politics influence the economic relations between states, and vice-versa? This course considers the role that governments and institutions play in the movement of goods, money, and people across borders. Sometimes political actors can intervene to improve the efficiency or equity of international markets, but sometimes self-interest can give rise to worse outcomes. This course explores topics such as globalization, trade, monetary relations, international institutions, debt, foreign direct investment, development, international migration, and the environment. Emphasis will be on understanding current events, including the recent trade war and Brexit.
Experiments in International Development
Do efforts to help the world’s poor actually work? What motivates wealthy countries and organizations to promote development? Are there unintended consequences of these activities? This seminar teaches the experimental method of social science research and applies it to these and related questions. Students will read examples of how social scientists have used experiments to study international development --- broadly defined --- including topics such as foreign aid, conflict and violence, international investment, elections, global governance, and migration. The course will prepare students to design and analyze their own experimental research project. It is especially appropriate for sophomores or juniors who are considering summer research or writing a thesis in government.