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INT'L SERVICE UNDERGRADUATE

SISU-106 First Year Seminar (3)

Course Level: Undergraduate

Topics vary by section, not repeatable for credit. This seminar course introduces first year SIS students to critical issues in world affairs. May be taken A-F only. Prerequisite: first-year SIS students with permission of SIS Undergraduate Advising Office

SISU-106 001
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Social Movements and Society in MENA
This seminar examines social movements and civil society in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The Arab Revolts of 2011 brought to the limelight the potential of popular movements rooted in civil society in MENA. In an effort to map this understudied level of MENA politics, this course first introduces students to the history of MENA, foundational scholarly work on non-violent social movements and civil society, basic rules and practices of scholarly research, and proceeds to engage students in a major research project on MENA civil society. Students study several movements for change in the region, including Lebanon (2005), Iran (2009), Tunisia and Egypt (both 2011).
SISU-106 002
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Globalization 3.0
This course considers the three periods of intense globalization which touched the new and the old worlds. Students examine how and why the first two ended badly for Europe, East Asia, and Latin America, and discuss scenarios for the evolution of the current globalization.
SISU-106 003
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: War, Politics and the Silver Screen
From Hollywood thrillers such as Green Zone to Academy Award winners such as The Hurt Locker, the silver screen continues to offer a rich medium for the study of international relations (IR). This seminar uses the medium of films to understand key theoretical issues in IR and examine how contemporary movies reflect our understanding of the nature of the state, the role of U.S. power, transnational challenges such as war, environmental pressures, criminal networks, the behavior of non-state states actors, as well as exploring how they all impact and shape the international system in the twenty-first century.
SISU-106 004
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Game Changers
Good models, concepts, and theories in the social sciences provide us with new ways of thinking about perplexing, puzzling, or previously unnoticed aspects of social behavior. Ideally, they also make us better thinkers, both in our daily lives and as students and practitioners in international affairs. This course introduces students to "game-changing" theoretical ideas drawn from sociology, political science, and international relations. Each week, students encounter a new idea as well as several ways in which it applies to different topics in international affairs and to social phenomena more broadly. Rather than focus in-depth on a single school of thought or discipline, the theories featured in this course span the breadth of what social science has to offer. Students encounter ideas derived from game theory and computational modeling, as well as traditional sociology, symbolic interactionism, and constructivism. The aim is to offer a broad introduction to a variety of approaches for building knowledge, all of which may provide useful heuristic models for evaluating human behaviors, predicting potential outcomes, or improving policy.
SISU-106 007
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: China From the Inside
This course draws on memoirs, documentaries, guest speakers, and student interviews to provide a worm's-eye view of China from 1911 to today. The course provides students with an understanding of the complex challenges of Chinese identity today, as ordinary people try to satisfy their pent-up aspirations and deal with entrenched problems of environmental degradation and political repression.
SISU-106 009
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: The Struggle for Political Change in the Middle East
This course focuses on the prospects for political change in the Middle East in light of both the stunning protest movements of 2011 and the considerable obstacles to achieving their aspirations for political change which have emerged since. The course begins with an overview of the various aspects of the initial mobilizations including the primary grievances, the role of youth and women, the role of social media, etc. It then considers the gains, success stories, and ongoing promise of the era of protest and change in the Middle East as well as the many subsequent setbacks and formidable challenges including the turn to violence, the role of foreign powers, Islamist-secular divides, and enduring authoritarian structures. Students consider the unique political context of and differing post-uprising paths taken in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iran. Throughout the course, they critically examine each county in order to gain better insight into current predicaments and prospects for long-term political change in each case individually and the region as a whole.
SISU-106 013
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Globalization: Winners and Losers
We live in a globalized world, where goods are produced and then shipped all over the world. Wal-Mart, with its worldwide reach and market power, represents the best and the worst of this global economy. Consumers love its everyday low prices while workers rail against its labor practices and environmentalists fight over whether it is doing enough to reduce its carbon footprint. While Wal-Mart paved the way, Amazon has continued to transform the way consumption, work, community, and the world are thought about. This course examines the global supply chain -- from extraction of natural resources, to manufacturing, distribution, and retail. Students analyze who are the winners and losers in a globalized economy, and think about how business practices, government policies, and consumer demands affect outcomes. Is the only outcome a race to the bottom where workers' rights are sacrificed and developing countries become host to factories that some call sweatshops? Is corporate social responsibility a solution? Is ethical shopping? To make the local-global connection students visit a Wal-Mart store in downtown Washington, D.C. and evaluate its impact on the local community.
SISU-106 015
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Identity Politics in Multiracial Societies: U.S. & Malaysia
This course examines the impact of ethnicity, religion, and identity politics on the political, economic, and social development of multicultural societies, with special focus on Malaysia and America. The theoretical inquiry on different and multi-layered "forms of belonging" focuses on structures and agents, institutions, and processes--political, economic, religious, and cultural--that are fundamental to the shaping and re-shaping of identity and culture at the individual, family, communal, national, and global levels. Key determinants of contemporary Malaysian and American identity formation examined include citizenship and nationhood, family and community, ethnicity and race, religion, class, gender, and migration, as well as the impact of the market and mass consumption in a globalizing and interdependent world. Apart from scholarly texts, films/videos, fiction, novels and graphic novels are used to further illuminate the manner in which political, economic, socio-cultural, and religious changes have impacted on the process of identity formation and inter-ethnic cultural construction at the different levels of analysis used in the investigative framework.
SISU-106 016
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Foreign Policy Simulation
This course gives students the chance to explore how and why American officials make certain foreign policy decisions by examining the process of American foreign policy-making. It also integrates role-playing simulations, which helps students understand the sort of challenges and dilemmas that policy-makers routinely face.
SISU-106 017
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: What Is Suffering?
This course explores questions such as: why is there so much pain in the world, is there a purpose to such affliction, and how do we relate to our own pain and that of others. Using literary, philosophical, and political texts, this seminar probes the place of suffering in the human experience.
SISU-106 018
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Environmental Ethics
This course focuses on how one can live most deeply and responsibly in the face of global environmental dangers, with the aim to understand the meaning of the "good life" at this historical moment of environmental intensification. Students read philosophically oriented and literary texts, and draw on their own experiences of place, memory, writing, and loss to develop ways of knowing and engaging in environmental politics.
SISU-106 014
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: China: Politics and Foreign Policy
This course focuses on contemporary China, examining its society, politics, and foreign policy. The course first familiarizes students with an overview of China's development from historical and theoretical perspectives. It then examines Chinese society and politics, including state-society relations, and economic and political reforms. In studying Chinese foreign policy a variety of issues and policy analyses, such as the domestic foundations of foreign policy, and relations between China and major powers and its Asian neighbors, are covered. As a theoretically-informed empirical study, the course is a combination of lectures, student presentations, and guest speeches from leading scholars and practitioners. A variety of perspectives as analytical tools for research are introduced and significant controversies are analyzed as a way of participating in the field's theoretical and policy debates.
SISU-106 019
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Why Do They Love and Hate Us?
This course examines a number of global issues from a non-Western perspective, including societal values (free speech vs. religious rights, gender equality vs. gender inequality, etc.); environmental degradation; human rights; food security/insecurity; civil liberties vs. internal security; use of force (what concepts of justice govern the use of force and how they vary across cultures); development (is it imperialist of the West to assert that much of the world is not developed?); and human security.
SISU-106 001
Term: FALL 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title:
SISU-106 003
Term: FALL 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title:
SISU-106 009
Term: FALL 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title:
SISU-106 014
Term: FALL 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title:
SISU-106 021
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Woodrow Wilson, Liberalism, and Race
Woodrow Wilson, Liberalism, and Race Alternately celebrated and castigated for pioneering modern American liberalism in foreign and economic policy, Woodrow Wilson's presidency is today a focal point of debate over racism in modern America. This course examines the relation between Wilson's liberalism and his presidential actions in foreign policy, economic policy, and race relations, and whether these actions apply, contradict, or remake the beliefs he brought with him into the White House. As the first and only PhD to become president, Wilson offers a rare opportunity to critically interpret a presidential administration in light of the previous development and articulation of his beliefs across decades of influential scholarship.
SISU-106 020
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: The Postcolonial City
Colonialism was an experiment in physical and ideological domination that left behind strong social, cultural, economic and spatial legacies. This course explores those legacies in cities that are paradigms of the colonial encounter, via: population and resource flows, the ways urbanites construct selves vis-a-vis a geographically and temporally imagined modernity, and according to modern notions of gender, race, and nation, and the shared challenges postcolonial subjects face to access, survive and succeed in the city. A postcolonial lens illuminates many of the most prominent divides that structure contemporary urban space and social life as well as the connections that linger in global trade and migration patterns. This course goes beyond common global North/South distinctions to study how cities like Lagos and London are postcolonial cities. Students gain an understanding of how the colonial experiment reflects or anticipates the distribution of power and opportunity in and across these cities today.
SISU-106 022
Term: SPRING 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Weak and Fragile States
This course focuses on nations that cannot adequately govern themselves or secure their own territory. As havens for terrorism and incubators for regional conflicts, these countries are studied from the perspective of U.S. foreign policy and as opportunities for international development.
SISU-106 005
Term: FALL 2016
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: