POL S 426 A: World Politics

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Location: 
BAG 154
SLN: 
18664
Joint Sections: 
JSIS B 426 A
Instructor:
Prof. Aseem Prakash
Aseem Prakash

Syllabus Description:

 

March 27, 2017

 

World Politics

POLS/ JSIS 426

Spring 2017

 

 Instructor:                  Aseem Prakash

Class Time:                 Monday and Wednesday, 1:30-3:20 p.m.

Class Location:          Bagley 154

Office Hours:              By Appointment

Office:                         39 Gowen

E-mail:             aseem@uw.edu

Home Page:                http://faculty.washington.edu/aseem/

Teaching Assistants: Waleed Salem (wsalem@uw.edu)

                                    Stephen Winkler (winklers@uw.edu)

 

Objective

Harold Lasswell, one of the most famous political scientists, described politics as who gets what, when and how. World Politics is no different.  We see conflict and cooperation in virtually every sphere. We signal our politics in elections and in conversations. The choices we make as consumers are also political choices. Thus, we need to think of a more expansive notion of politics. You will, therefore, read and explore topics such as power transitions, democratization, gender issues, trade politics, public health and development, NGOs, foreign aid, and energy politics. I adopt a non-traditional teaching style that includes (along with the traditional lectures) class discussions and group projects. By the end of the course, I hope all of you will develop a more nuanced understanding of world politics and feel empowered to contribute to policy debates. Remember, participation by informed citizens in policy deliberation is essential for sustaining our democracy. Further, I hope this course and the broader UW experience will motivate you to think of politics and public service as your career.

 

Readings

No text books; I will use articles only. I will either provide their URL in the syllabus or upload them on Canvas.

 

Course Expectations

I will adopt multiple pedagogical tools. To maximize your learning from this course, it is imperative that you read the required texts in advance and actively participate in class discussions. You will be graded on the following:

 

 

 

 

 

Paper 1 (1 page, single-spaced)

As informed individuals, we must develop skills to convey our ideas to multiple audiences. This skill is sometimes lacking even (or particularly) among the educated. A good platform for excellent public scholarship is The Conversation (theconversation.com).  Please subscribe to this daily “blog” as a part of your course work. Please pick any article published on this platform since January 1, 2017 and write your “Reflections.” Specifically,

 

(1) What is the core argument?

(2) Did the piece consider alternative explanations?

(3) Did you find the evidence persuasive?  

 

All Conversation articles have embedded link to other articles. In writing your reflection piece, please read any two of the embedded articles and link them to the piece you are reflecting on.

 

The paper is due April 19. Please bring a printed copy to the class; email submissions are not accepted

 

Grading Criteria for Paper 1:

 

A (3.9-4.0)

This paper clearly identifies and succinctly describes the core argument and any alternative arguments. The author asserts a position either in support or against the evidence described in the article, and supports their position with reason. The paper includes links to two additional articles. This paper exemplifies strong and able writing, with appropriate language, clarity, organization, grammar and flow. This paper is easy to read yet challenges the reader to think.

 

A-(3.8-3.5)

This paper is similar to an ‘A’ paper, but it is missing at least one of the elements found in an ‘A’ paper. The author asserts a position either in support or against the evidence described in the article, and supports their position with reason. This paper, however, is weakened by either mechanics and/or clarity.

 

B+ (3.4-3.2)

This paper includes all required elements and asserts a position in response to the article, but the reasoning in support of the position is at times unclear. For example, ideas are slightly muddled, but in general there is a satisfactory level of understanding. This paper is strong in writing.

 

B (3.1-2.9)

This paper is similar to a B+ paper. It illustrates a similar comprehension of the article and takes a position in response to the article. This paper, however, differs from a B+ paper because the reasoning is weaker or because it is missing another required element. This paper also needs some improvement in writing.

 

B- (2.8-2.5)

This paper lacks a clear position in response to the article. While it attempts to identify the core argument of the article, it is overly simplistic in its explanation. This paper demands attention to writing mechanics.

 

C (2.4-1.9)

This paper is vague. This paper is not able to identify the core argument or take a position in response to the article. Writing mechanics are poor.

 

Below

This paper does not respond to the prompt. It does not identify the core argument or take a position in response to the article. The paper is also missing additional required elements. Writing mechanics are poor.

 

 

Paper #2 (3-4 pages, single-spaced)

Notwithstanding the lifting of sanctions on Iran, the global community continues to debate on how to respond to Iran’s alleged interest in developing and potentially acquiring nuclear weapons. Many, especially in Israel and Saudi Arabia, believe a “strong” response is required to prevent this development, and lifting of the sanctions was a big mistake. Others, especially in Europe and in Russia, are less favorable towards the idea of a strong response to dissuade Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions and have therefore supported the lifting of sanctions. Complicating the issue was the division within the Legislative and Executive branches of the US government under Obama regarding the appropriate strategy, and the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq that have turned this issue into a wider subject of Middle Eastern politics.  

 

Why do actors advocate different policy choices on how to respond to Iran’s nuclear program? Identify the specific policy options advocated by Iran, the US (Executive Branch under Obama), and Israel. What objectives do these actors wish to achieve? How might these actors think of the benefits and costs of their preferred option as well as the options offered by the other two actors? Make sure that you relate how domestic, regional or international considerations influence the perceptions of benefits and costs of various options.

 

Your paper should be directed towards an academic audience. You are expected to undertake research on this subject (say, carefully read and reference 7-10 additional articles). The paper is due May 1. Please bring a printed copy to the class; email submissions are not accepted.  

 

Grading Criteria for Paper 2:

 

A (3.9-4.0)

This paper asserts a very clear thesis and supports the central argument with evidence. The paper illustrates a thorough understanding of this policy issue. It is able to identify the specific policy options advocated by the three actors and the objectives these actors wish to achieve. This paper offers an insightful analysis of the benefits and costs of each policy option from the perspectives of the three actors.  All points are relevant and sufficiently developed. This paper exemplifies strong and able writing, with appropriate language, clarity, organization, grammar and flow. This paper is easy to read yet challenges the reader to think.

 

A-(3.8-3.5)

On the whole, this paper presents a clear argument and is able to support it with evidence. This paper is similar to an ‘A’ paper, but it is missing at least one of the elements found in an ‘A’ paper. In content, this paper illustrates policy options from the perspectives of three actors, and offers a good analysis of these actors’ positions on these policies. This paper, however, is weakened by either mechanics and/or clarity.

 

B+ (3.4-3.2)

This paper has a central argument that is presented and engages class material, but at times it is weak in argumentation and/or using supporting evidence. This paper does engage sufficiently with the policy options proposed by these actors. It is sometimes unclear or vague on the position of the three actors’ on different policy options.  Ideas are slightly muddled, but in general there is a satisfactory level of understanding. This paper is strong in writing.

 

B (3.1-2.9)

This paper is similar to a B+ paper. It illustrates a similar level of accuracy and understanding of the literature. This paper, however, differs from a B+ paper because it illustrates a weaker display of effective argumentation. Ideas are at times muddled, and argumentation may not always be effective and/or well supported, and the central argument is either unclear or argued inconsistently. This paper also needs some improvement in writing.

 

B- (2.8-2.5)

This paper lacks a clear central argument. While it attempts to identify policy options and the actors’ positions on them, it is overly simplistic in its explanation. This paper demands attention to writing mechanics.

 

C (2.4-1.9)

This paper has a strikingly vague argument. This paper is not able to identify policy options or the actors’ positions on them. The paper minimally engages with the relevant literature. Writing mechanics are poor.

 

Below

This paper does not respond to the question. It lacks a central argument. Ideas are strikingly muddled and vague. It does not engage with the literature. Writing mechanics are poor.

 

 

 

Paper #3 (3-4 pages, single-spaced)

Many commentators have employed the Vietnam analogy to describe America’s predicament in Afghanistan. Is Afghanistan turning out to be America’s Vietnam? Examine the validity of the Vietnam analogy to Afghanistan in terms of three dimensions:  entry, commitment, and exit. Given the above assessments, what insights from the Vietnam War can be applied to the Afghanistan situation? How have America’s domestic politics and   international commitments influenced America’s policy choices in both wars? Your paper should be directed towards an academic audience. You are expected to conduct research on this subject (carefully read and reference five articles each on both wars). The paper is due May 22. Please bring a printed copy to the class; email submissions are not accepted.

 

Grading Criteria for Paper 3:

A (3.9-4.0)

This paper answers the question by asserting a very clear thesis and supports the central argument with evidence.  This paper considers how others might respond to this assessment. All points are relevant and sufficiently developed. This paper exemplifies strong and able writing, with appropriate language, clarity, organization, grammar and flow. This paper is easy to read yet challenges the reader to think.

 

A- (3.8-3.5)

On the whole, this paper presents a clear argument and is able to support it with evidence.  This paper is similar to an A paper, but it is missing at least one of the elements found in an A paper.  This paper, however, is weakened by either mechanics and/or clarity.  

 

B+ (3.4-3.2)

This paper has a central argument that is presented and presents the evidence, but at times it is weak in argumentation and/or using supporting evidence.  Ideas are slightly muddled, but in general there is a satisfactory level of understanding. This paper is strong in writing mechanics. 

 

B (3.1-2.9)

This paper is similar to a B+ paper. It illustrates a similar level of accuracy and the use of evidence. This paper, however, differs from a B+ because it illustrates a weaker display of effective argumentation and/or use of supporting evidence. Ideas are at times muddled, and evidence may not always be effective and/or well supported, and the central argument either lacks clarity or is argued inconsistently. This paper also needs some improvement in writing mechanics.

 

B- (2.8-2.5) 

This paper lacks a clear central argument and argumentation. It demands attention to writing mechanics.

 

C (2.4-1.9)

This paper has a strikingly vague argument.  The paper only minimally provides supporting evidence. Writing mechanics are poor.

 

Below

This paper does not respond to the question.  It lacks a central argument.  Ideas are strikingly muddled and vague.  It does not provide evidence to support the argument. Writing mechanics are poor. 

 

Class discussions and Unannounced Quizzes

I want students to actively participate in class discussions, including discussions following the guest lectures, student presentations, and the documentaries. To create incentives for your active participation, we will have unannounced quizzes.  Please ensure that you attend every session because you will not be allowed to write make-up quizzes. If for some reason you are unable to attend the class, please take Waleed/Stephen’s permission prior to the class. For example, if you are ill, please email us prior to the class. We will make reasonable accommodations such as allowing you to turn in your paper at a later date or not penalizing you for missed quizzes. 

 

Group project

You will participate in a group project (2-3 students per group) that will examine a policy challenge at the global, regional, or domestic level. In every policy context there are multiple actors, each with its own perspective. Our objective is to understand a policy issue from the perspective of these actors.

 

For a given policy issue, we have identified 3-5 key actors. A team of three students will be assigned the role of a given actor. Each team will present their actors’ perspective in the class and also turn in a written report. We expect each team to survey the relevant literature on the subject. Based on this literature survey, each team will select one article and email it to their class colleagues to review prior to the class (if there are six teams scheduled to present on a given day, the class will read six articles). We expect all students, presenters as well as non-presenters, to review these articles. We might test your knowledge of this material in an unannounced quiz.

 

Your in-class presentation and the report should address the following questions from the perspective of your actor:

 

  1. Why does this issue concern you? What stakes do you have? What is your main goal and how are your present and future interests related to this goal?

 

  1. What are your strategies to accomplish this goal?

 

Your group will present to the class for 7-8 minutes followed by a brief Q&A.  To save on time, your team should probably assign one member the responsibility for making the presentation. However, all group members should be present to respond to questions from the audience.

 

 

 

Making an effective power point presentation is an important skill. You can say a lot in 7-8 minutes if you are well prepared. Here are some ideas:

 

  • Be clear and focused. Highlight your key points. Don’t ramble on. Stay on message.
  • Make eye contact with the audience; do not read your presentation. Ideally, you should be able to take a quick look at the slide and then elaborate. Cards are also fine as along you do not spend most of your time reading them.
  • Don’t talk fast. Make sure your audience is able to follow you.
  • Enliven your presentation with visuals and even short video clips.
  • Ensure that you have a maximum of 5 slides, and not more than 5 bullet points per slide. Note, the slides should focus the audience’s attention to key issues. If there is too much text, your audience will spend time reading the slide, instead of hearing what you have to say.
  • Practice the presentation prior to the class. If you can’t persuade anybody to attend your practice talk, just do it by yourself.

 

Each group should email its power point presentation to Waleed/Stephen prior to the class; this will be made available on the class Canvas page as well (recall, the group is also selecting one article to be shared with the class). The group report (5 pages, single-spaced) is due May 31.  Please bring a printed copy to the class; email submissions are not accepted.

 

For those in the audience, please review the readings prior to the class and take extensive notes during the presentations. It is likely that we will have a quiz that requires you to reflect on these presentations.

 

Logistics

Make sure that you are checking your uw email; typically students use @uw email address to coordinate activities with their group members.  In previous classes, some group members have also shared phone numbers to facilitating texting  – but given the privacy issue, this is something you need to decide for yourself.  

 

If you are having “issues” with your group members, please contact Waleed/Stephen at least a week prior to your presentation date.

 
Evaluation

Paper 1 (April 19)                             10 points

Paper 2 (May 1)                                30 points

Paper 3 (May 22)                              30 points

Group project            (May 31)                   15 points

Quizzes                                               15 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Note:

  • I reserve the right to change or modify the syllabus without prior notice.

 

  • Papers should be turned in on the due date. Please hand them over to me or to Waleed/Stephen in the class. If you are not well (and have contacted Waleed/Stephen prior to the due date), we will accept late submissions or submission via email.

 

  • If you cannot turn your paper in on the due date for some other reason (e.g. you will be out of town), please contact Waleed/Stephen in advance. Merely sending an email informing Waleed/Stephen that the paper will be turned in late will not suffice. While we will accommodate reasonable requests regarding late submission, we may deny your request as well.

 

 

 

Class Schedule

 

Session1

Monday, March 27

Introduction

 

Session 2

Wednesday, March 29

World Politics

  • 1998. International Relations: One World, Many Theories. Foreign Policy, Spring, 29-44.
  • Layne, 2009. The Waning of U.S. Hegemony – Myth or Reality. International Security, 34(1): 147-172
  • 2015. Facing Up to the Democratic Recession. Journal of Democracy 26 (1): 141-155.  

 

Session 3      

Monday, April 3

State Building

·         Afghanistan After Us, Season 3, Episode, 13, VICE on HBO.

  • Fukuyama, 2004. The Imperatives of State Building. Journal of Democracy. 5(2).
  • Englebert and Tull. 2008. Postconflict Reconstruction in Africa: Flawed Ideas about Failed States. International Security, 32(4): 106-139.
  • 2014. The Security Bazaar. International Security. 39, 3, 89-4.

 

 

 

Session 4

Wednesday, April 5

Refugees and Statelessness

 

Session 5

Monday, April 10

Trade Politics

Session 6      

Wednesday, April 12

Climate Change

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281628943_Confronting_the_China...

 

Session 7 (G1-G8: make sure to email your reading by April 15)        

Monday, April 17

Energy Politics

  • Gasland, DVD NVG 197
  • Blackwill and O'Sullivan. 2014. America's Energy Edge: The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution. Foreign Affairs, March/April 2014.
  • Francis McGowan. 2014. Regulating innovation: European Responses to Shale Gas Development. Environmental Politics. 23(1).

 

 

 

 

Paper 1 is due April 19

 

Session 8      

Wednesday, April 19

Congo/DRC

G1:      Government of DRC/Kabila

G2:      Rwanda

G3:      Uganda

G4:      United Nations

 

Yemen

G5:      Houthi Rebels

G6:      Saudi Arabia

G7:      Pakistan

G8:      United States

 

Session 9

Monday, April 24 (G9-G16: make sure to email your reading by April 22)

Iraq-Kurdistan

G9:      Iraqi Government

G10:    Massoud Barzani, Kurdish leader

G11:    Turkey

G12:    United States

 

Expansion of the UN Security Council

G13:    US

G14:    China

G15:    South Africa

G16:    Pakistan

 

Session 10   

Wednesday, April 26

Cities and Climate Change

Guest Lecture: Taedong Lee, Yonsie University

  • Taewha Lee, Taedong Lee and Yujin Lee. 2014. “An Experiment for Urban Energy Autonomy in Seoul: One Less Nuclear Power Plant Policy.” Energy Policy 74: 311-318.
  • Lee, Taedong. 2013. “Global Cities and Transnational Climate Change Networks.” Global Environmental Politics. 13(1): 109-128.
  • Lee, Taedong and van de Meene, Susan. 2012. “Who Teaches and Who Learns? Policy Learning through C40 Cities Climate Network.” Policy Sciences 45(3): 199-220.

 

 

 

Paper 2 is due May 1

 

Session 11     

Monday, May 1

Food Politics

 

 

(G17-G24: make sure to email your reading by May 2)

Session 12   

Wednesday, May 4

International Criminal Court

G17:    Kenya

G18:    Mozambique

G19:    United Kingdom

G20:    China

 

European Refugee Crisis

G21:    Italy

G22:    Greece

G23:    Germany

G24:    Turkey

 

Session 13   

Monday, May 8

Arab Spring

Guest Lecture by Waleed Salem

  • Bellin, Eva. “The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective.” Comparative Politics 36, no. 2 (January 2004): 139. 
  • Kamrava, Mehran. “The Arab Spring and the Saudi-Led Counterrevolution.” Orbis 56, no. 1 (2012): 96–104.
  • Merone, Fabio. “Enduring Class Struggle in Tunisia: The Fight for Identity beyond Political Islam.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 42, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 74–87. 
  • OPTIONAL: Hessler, Peter. "Egypt's Failed Revolution." The New Yorker. Jan 2, 2017 issue. 

Session 14

Wednesday, May 10

NGO Politics

  • Salamon. The Rise of the Non-Profit Sector. Foreign Affairs, 73(4).
  • Clifford, 2002. Merchants of Morality. Foreign Policy, March/April: 36-45.
  • Wolff & Poppe. 2015. From Closing Space to Contested Spaces Re-assessing Current Conflicts over International Civil Society Support. PRIF Report # 137.

 

Session 15

Monday, May 15 (G25-G32: make sure to email your reading by May 13)

The Future of NATO

G25: US

G26: Germany

G27: Poland

G28: Russia

 

  1. Korea (Nuclear Threat)

G29:    North Korea

G30:    South Korea

G31:    United States

G32:    China

 

Session 16

Wednesday, May 17

Foreign Aid

 

Paper 3 is due May 22

 

Session 17

Monday, May 22

Women and Leadership

Guest Lecture by Megan McCloskey

  • Chattopadhyay and Duflo, 2001. Women and Policy Makers: Evidence from a India-Wide Randomized Policy Experiment. NBER Working Paper 8615, http://www.nber.org/papers/w8615
  • United Nations Development Programme. 2012. Women’s Representation in Leadership in Vietnam.

 


 

Session 18

Wednesday, May 24

Gender Politics

  • Saving Face, a Documentary; DVD WMM 059
  • Abdulmumini A. Oba. 2008. Female Circumcision as Female Genital Mutilation:  Human Rights or Cultural Imperialism? Global Jurist, 8(3).
  • Aditi Mitra. 2011. To Be or Not to Be a Feminist in India. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 26(2): 182-200.
  • Amina Jamal. 2006. Gender, Citizenship, and the Nation‐State in Pakistan: Willful Daughters or Free Citizens? Signs, 31(2): 283-304.

 

Session 19 Memorial Day, NO CLASS

Monday, May 29

 

Group Report is due May 31

 

Session 20

Wednesday, May 31 (G33-G40: make sure to email a reading each by May 29)

Uyghurs

G33:    China

G34:    Turkey

G35:    Uygurs

G36:    European Union

 

China’s Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank

G37: China

G38: US

G39: UK

G40: Japan

Additional Details:

Harold Lasswell, one of the most famous political scientists, described politics as who gets what, how and when. World Politics is no different. We see conflict and cooperation in virtually every sphere. We signal our politics in elections and in conversations. The choices we make as consumer are also political choices. Thus, we need to think of a more expansive notion of politics. You will, therefore, read and explore topics such as power transitions, democratization, gender issues, trade politics, public health and development, NGOs, foreign aid, and energy politics. I adopt a non-traditional teaching style that includes (along with the traditional lectures) class discussions and group projects. I am trying to arrange lectures by eminent professionals in the field. By the end of the course, I hope all of you will develop a more nuanced understanding of world politics and feel empowered to contribute to policy debates. Remember, participation by informed citizens in policy deliberation is essential for sustaining our democracy. Further, I hope this course and the broader UW experience will motivate you to think of politics and public service as your career.

Catalog Description: 
The nation-state system and its alternatives, world distributions of preferences and power, structure of international authority, historical world societies and their politics. Offered: jointly with JSIS B 426.
Department Requirements: 
International Relations Field
International Security Option
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:32pm