You are here: Course Descriptions

INT'L SERVICE UNDERGRADUATE

SISU-419 Senior Capstone: Int'l Studies Course Level: Undergraduate

Senior Capstone: International Studies (3) Topics vary by section. Rotating senior capstone topics focusing on international studies. Grading: A-F only. Prerequisite: SISU-306. Restriction: International Studies (BA) and at least 75 credit hours.

SISU-419-001
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Peace and Social Justice
Peace and Social Justice (3) This course offers a study of the methods, history, and practitioners of nonviolence and the efforts to create a justice-based society. The course familiarizes students with both the philosophy of pacifism and alternatives to violence, whether among nations or among individuals faced with violence in their daily lives. This course is discussion-based, with dissent welcomed.
SISU-419-002
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Ending Terrorism
Ending Terrorism (3) Terrorism as a phenomenon is ancient, dating at least to the first century BCE. But individual terrorist campaigns always end. This capstone seminar focuses on understanding the endings of terrorist campaigns so as to gain insight into how best to reduce the threat of terrorism. Digging into the long-standing international experience with terrorist groups, the class discusses questions such as whether drone strikes end terrorism; should we negotiate with terrorists; does using overwhelming military force end terrorist campaigns; how do terrorists innovate; does terrorism succeed in achieving its aims; and most important, how terrorist campaigns end.
SISU-419-003
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Evolutn of European Int'l Soc
The Evolution of European International Society (3) The modern worldwide system of sovereign states began as a European international society that spread across the world and eventually supplanted all alternatives. In this course students study the evolution and expansion of this system and the consequences it has had for world history and contemporary politics. The class studies what European politics looked like before sovereign states dominated, how sovereignty came into being, how European international society differed from and interacted with the international societies of other regions, and how it is evolving today.
SISU-419-004
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Inclusive Sustainable Dev:2030
Inclusive Sustainable Development: 2030 (3) This capstone seminar explores the background, strategies, and mechanisms for achieving the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. It reviews the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, as well as evaluating the successes and failures of its predecessor Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Students investigate a range of key issues related to the Agenda for Sustainable Development.
SISU-419-008
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: U.S.Foreign Pol toward E.Asia
U.S. Foreign Policy toward East Asia (3) By examining U.S. foreign policy toward East Asia, this seminar focuses on great power relations in the Asia-Pacific, namely the United States, China, and Japan. It familiarizes students with the basic settings and historical trends in the Asia-Pacific region, and then moves to other perspectives, such as economic strategy, social dynamics, international security, political culture, democratization, and foreign policy analyses, in a comparative fashion. The class then analyzes U.S.-China-Japan dynamics in the context of Asian-Pacific international relations, while also considering other factors, such as the Korean Peninsula, Russia, and Southeast Asia, as well as the issue of Taiwan. In addition to introducing a variety of perspectives, such as power transition theory as analytical tools, the course also analyzes significant controversies as a way of participating in the field's theoretical and policy debates Students create a research design, execute their chosen project in a research paper, and present their results and findings.
SISU-419-009
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide
Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide in Comparative Perspective (3) Designed as a comparative and interdisciplinary inquiry, this course looks at the ways historical context, political realities, and cultural components enable ethnic cleansing and genocide to happen. Cases studied include the Herero genocide, the Armenian genocide, the Rape of Nanking Massacre, the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, the Rwandan genocide, ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Sudan genocide.
SISU-419-011
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Detente: An Int'l History
Detente: An International History (3) Detente was a significant period within the Cold War, marked by a prolonged absence of outright hostility or military tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. After two decades of brinksmanship ending with the Cuban Missile Crisis, detente appeared to be a period of apparent peace. Successive summits, arms control agreements, and cultural exchanges created the impression that tension between the two superpowers had finally dissipated. Examining the meaning of detente in a more international context, however, reveals a pattern of continued competition. In this course students study the origins of detente and its evolution over time and in different international contexts and analyze the complex international relations of the detente period. The course defines detente and evaluates its policy implications, beginning by examining early efforts in the late 1960s, continuing through the successes of the Nixon administration and the challenges faced by Presidents Ford and Carter, and finishing with the advent of the "new Cold War" in the first years of Reagan's presidency. The course compares key events in the Cold War, exploring different manifestations of detente across geographic boundaries. The course promotes critical, analytical thinking about a significant period in Cold War history and encourages students to think in an international context to develop their own interpretation of the evolution and significance of detente.
SISU-419-012
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Jihadists and the State
Jihadists and the State (3) The Authorization to Use Military Force passed after 9/11 was the first ever directed at organizations and persons rather than nation-states. Since then, much of the literature about jihadists groups has focused on their non-state nature. Yet most aspects of U.S. efforts to degrade and defeat jihadist groups require working with partner nations. Moreover, comprehending and countering jihadist groups necessitates understanding their relationships with the countries from which they emanate and in which they dwell. The actions of a local state and a jihadist organization's relationship with it significantly influence that organization's evolution. Institutional arrangements coupled with political, cultural, social, and economic factors in a jihadist group's environment create opportunities and constraints. In turn, these local factors influence a jihadist organization's ideology, objectives, strategic approach, organizational structure, capabilities, decision-making and behavior. This course explores jihadist-state dynamics, specifically the effect on jihadist ideology, alliance formation, strategic planning, organization, and nascent attempts at state building. Students also assess how these dynamics specifically and local partners in general affect U.S. efforts to defeat, degrade, or contain jihadist groups throughout the world.
SISU-419-013
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Colonialism/Ident & Liberation
Colonialism, Identity and Liberation (3) This course looks at a wide variety of colonial experiences and the trajectory of anti-colonial resistance movements, examining the internal politics of anti-colonial movements, why some movements led to the founding of independent democracies, some created dictatorships, and others fought for equal rights within the imperial state. The course also looks at how anti-colonial resistance efforts shaped home politics in the imperial power. Students develop a research project on a particular colonial experience/movement of their choice.
SISU-419-014
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Transnational Organized Crime
Transnational Organized Crime (3) The challenges that organized crime pose to a state and its citizens are hardly new, nor are the concerted efforts to eradicate or ameliorate them. What has changed, at least since the early 1990s, is the perception that organized crime poses a globalized threat to national and international security. The failure of global governance to keep pace with globalization and its economic growth and development since the end of the Cold War has provided new opportunities for criminals to prosper. Specifically, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) stated that organized crime "has diversified, gone global and reached macro-economic proportions." Transnational organized crime crosses borders, challenges states, exploits individuals, pursues profit, wrecks economies, destroys civil society, and ultimately weakens global democracy. This course traces the increasingly global nature of transnational organized crime, its growing portfolio of illicit activities in the world's economy, and its impact on security.
SISU-419-001
Term: Summer 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Strategies of Rebellion
Strategies of Rebellion: From Mao to the Islamic State (3) How do rebels contest sovereignty? This course explores both the non-violent and violent strategies insurgencies deploy during the course of civil wars, to bring academic theories into dialogue with empirical realities, to develop a broader understanding of the behaviors of insurgencies, and to apply these theories to contemporary political phenomena. The course provides an overview of what civil wars are, what causes them, and who the primary actors are in domestic conflict; reviews how rebel groups are structured and how they recruit members; examines what drives insurgencies to adopt different violent strategies and tactics and which are successful; and concludes by discussing rebel non-violent strategies of rebellion and the effectiveness thereof. The course has a strong empirical component and covers several cases in (primarily) the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Students follow one insurgency intensively throughout the course, applying the works discussed in class to their case.
SISU-419-001
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Peace and Social Justice
Peace and Social Justice (3) This course offers a study of the methods, history, and practitioners of nonviolence and the efforts to create a justice-based society. The course familiarizes students with both the philosophy of pacifism and alternatives to violence, whether among nations or among individuals faced with violence in their daily lives. This course is discussion-based, with dissent welcomed.
SISU-419-002
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Strategies of Rebellion
Strategies of Rebellion: From Mao to the Islamic State (3) How do rebels contest sovereignty? This course explores both the non-violent and violent strategies insurgencies deploy during the course of civil wars, to bring academic theories into dialogue with empirical realities, to develop a broader understanding of the behaviors of insurgencies, and to apply these theories to contemporary political phenomena. The course provides an overview of what civil wars are, what causes them, and who the primary actors are in domestic conflict; reviews how rebel groups are structured and how they recruit members; examines what drives insurgencies to adopt different violent strategies and tactics and which are successful; and concludes by discussing rebel non-violent strategies of rebellion and the effectiveness thereof. The course has a strong empirical component and covers several cases in (primarily) the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Students follow one insurgency intensively throughout the course, applying the works discussed in class to their case.
SISU-419-003
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Tackling Climate Change
Tackling Climate Change: Environment, Development, and Global Governance (3) Climate change is the most profound challenge facing humanity. Tackling climate change will test the limits of our collective ingenuity and grit. This course uses insights from environmental studies, international development, and the study and practice of global governance to determine avenues for response. The class works together across fields and disciplines to comprehend the nature of climate change and uncover effective entry-points for action.
SISU-419-004
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Theory and Practice of the G20
Theory and Practice of the G20 (3) Since 2008, the G20 has become the premiere forum for international economic cooperation, gathering leading advanced and emerging economies alike. This course addresses the discussions, contributions and challenges of the G20 on key issues of the international economic agenda, including global growth, trade negotiations, tax and financial reform, climate change, and labor and employment.
SISU-419-005
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Neg Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Negotiating Israeli-Palestinian Peace (3) This course provides students with a deeper understanding of the problems that have confounded the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in particular the "final status" issues: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and security. Students focus on the contested narratives; the relevant political actors; and the key international, regional, and internal events that have shaped the dispute. Previous rounds of negotiations are also reviewed in order to analyze what went wrong. Students then partake in a simulation in which they attempt to constructively address the final status issues as well as other sticking points, such as settlements and terrorism, in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
SISU-419-006
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Conflict Cuisine
Conflict Cuisine (3) This course explores the history and diplomacy of recent conflicts through the ultimate form of soft power: food. Gastro-diplomacy, conflict prevention, and history converge in this unique course that whets students' intellectual appetites. Classroom readings and discussions plus visits to local eateries in Washington, DC explore how the wars in Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and El Salvador became local through their cuisines and the Diaspora that produces them.
SISU-419-007
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Seeing Africa
Seeing Africa (3) The image holds a special place in the social imaginary and has a long and polemical history of illuminating the Dark Continent to the external gaze. This course examines theoretical and methodological approaches to visual analysis and its application in Africa. The course emphasizes how the visual makes sense of the social world, and its use in domination and self-expression. While examining the politics of representation as a general framing device, the course focuses on representations of Africa/(ns) and by Africans. This includes colonial and missionary imagery, advertising aimed at Africans and which has used African imagery to sell its products, Hollywood depictions, Black nationalist propaganda, Rastafari and pan-African imagery, famine porn, various expressions of African self-portraiture in pre-colonial through neoliberal times, and the visual in the ethnographic imagination, in photography and ethnographic film.
SISU-419-008
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Art and Post-War Healing
Art and Post-War Healing (3) The humanities are a rich, if an inexplicably muted color in the peacebuilding palette. Revealing a traumatic experience induces feelings of shame as well as a threat to self-survival. This course examines forms of self-expression that can help to restore self-stability and proceeds on the assumption that individual healing is one good path to community recovery and resilience. Students are exposed to various arts-based healing techniques and learn about the current practices in the use of the arts for post-conflict healing, as well as the effects of traumatic events on the body and mind and strategies for practitioner self-care.
SISU-419-011
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Violent Spaces
Violent Spaces: Geographies of Terror and Insecurity (3) One of the distinguishing features of modern human existence is a deep and abiding sense of uncertainty. "Living precariously" has become a byword for everyday life around the globe. This course explores different historical and contemporary processes, spaces, and identities in which violence, fear, and severe uncertainty play a particularly potent role in the exercise of power. Students investigate how prisons, borders, and violent urban slums, for example, distill the consequences of rampant inequality and globally circulating brutality. The course also explores global politics driving threats of economic meltdown, violent dispossession, and environmental devastation. Within the broad course themes, each student produces a final research project of their choosing, such as a final paper, a documentary, or a service project.