POLS/ SIS 426
Instructor: Aseem Prakash
Class Time: Monday and Wednesday, 12:30-2:20 p.m.
Class Location: Smith 211
Office Hours: By Appointment
Office: 39 Gowen
Home Page: http://faculty.washington.edu/aseem/
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.
No text books; I will use articles only. I will either provide their URL in the syllabus or upload them on Canvas.
This is a Device Free Class
Research suggests that the use of electronic devices in class can be distracting for you and for your colleagues. Therefore, to enhance your learning experience, during the class you are not allowed to use phones, tablets, laptops or any Internet connectable devices. Please take notes using a pen and a note book
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:
(1 page of text; references on page 2, single-spaced; Due Date: April XX)
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, 2018 and write your “Reflections.” Specifically,
Section 1: What is the core argument?
Section 2: What alternative explanations were considered (please make sure that you find an article that identifies multiple explanations)?
Section 3: Did you find the evidence persuasive? Why or why not?
All blogs have embedded link to other articles. In writing your reflection piece in the above format, please read any two of the embedded articles and link them to the piece you are reflecting on. For example, you may find one article that helps you identify the core argument (section1 of the paper) and another article that provides evidence for the alternative explanation (section 2 of the paper). When outlining the core argument, please briefly describe how article #1 piece helps you in this task. Similarly, when identifying alterative explanation, please briefly describe how article #2 provides the evidence.
Please bring a printed copy to the class on XXXX; email submissions are not accepted
Grading Criteria for Paper 1:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(4 pages of text; single-spaced; references on the 5th page; Due Date: May 7)
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. They support Trump Administration's reimposition of the sanctions. 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 is 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 versus Trump), 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. Newspaper articles and encyclopedia references do not constitute such sources. Wikipedia is also not an appropriate source for this either.
Please bring a printed copy to the class; email submissions are not accepted.
Grading Criteria for Paper 2:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(4 pages of text, single-spaced; References on the 5th page; Due Date: MayXX)
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. Newspaper articles and encyclopedia references do not constitute such sources. Wikipedia is also not an appropriate source for this either.
Please bring a printed copy to the class; email submissions are not accepted.
Grading Criteria for Paper 3:
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.
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.
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.
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.
This paper lacks a clear central argument and argumentation. It demands attention to writing mechanics.
This paper has a strikingly vague argument. The paper only minimally provides supporting evidence. Writing mechanics are poor.
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 Rafeel’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.
(5 pages of text; single-spaced; references on the 6th page Due Date: XXXX)
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 3-4 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). This should be a journal article, a policy report, or a book chapter (as opposed to a newspaper article or wiki site).
I expect all students, presenters as well as non-presenters, to review these articles. I might test your knowledge of this material in an unannounced quiz.
Your paper and the in-class presentation should have four primary sections along with introductory and concluding sections:
- Section 1: The puzzle (What is the problem? Why/how did it originate?)
- Section2: Your position (What is the position of your government/actor? and/or what is the position of actors similar to you?)
- Section 3: Critiques (What critiques do other actors have on your position?)
- Section 4: Solutions (Given all of the above, what solutions or compromises do you recommend?)
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:
- No need to summarize the issue or provide a background.
- 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 Rafeel 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). 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.
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 Rafeel at least a week prior to your presentation date.
Paper 1 (April XXX) 15 points
Paper 2 (May XX) 30 points
Paper 3 (May XX) 30 points
Group project (May XX) 10 points
Quizzes 15 points
- This course qualifies for the W (writing) credit.
- 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 Rafeel in the class. If you are not well (and have contacted Rafeel 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 in advance. Merely sending an email informing 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.
- 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 XXXX in advance. Merely sending an email informing XXXX 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.
- I will follow UW’s policy on plagiarism: http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm#plagiarism
Monday, March 26
Wednesday, March 28
- 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.
Monday, April 2
- 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.
No class on Wednesday, April 4
Please meet in the class room to discuss group projects and email me a one page summary of your deliberations
Monday, April 9
Refugees and Statelessness
- Escape to Europe, Season 4, Episode, 38, VICE on HBO
- Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016,
Wednesday, April 11
- Fashion Victims, http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/fashion-victims/
- Locke. 2013. Boston Review symposium: Can Global Brands Create Just Supply Chains? https://bostonreview.net/forum/can-global-brands-create-just-supply-chai...
- Lim and Prakash. 2016. Do Economic Problems at Home Undermine Worker Safety Abroad?:A Panel Study, 1980-2009, World Development
Monday, April 16
- Dolsak and Prakash. The Politics of Climate Change Adaptation; draft
- Dolsak and Prakash, 2016. We Feel Your Pain: Environmentalists, Coal Miners, and “Embedded Environmentalism.” Solutions, 7(January-February): 32-37 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286779959_We_feel_your_pain_Env...
- Dolsak and Prakash. 2015. Confronting the “China Excuse”: The Political Logic of Climate Change Adaptation. Solutions, 6(4): 27-29 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281628943_Confronting_the_China...
* From The Ashes, documentary
Session 7 Paper 1 is turned in
Wednesday, April 18
The European Union and Climate Policy
1, 5 and 6 in the book edited by Delbeke & Vis:
Monday, April 23
Russia under Putin
· Interview with Gary Kasparov: https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/author--no-future-in-russia-under-putin-551911491737?playlist=associated
- Henry Hale, Russian Patronal Politics Beyond Putin, Dædalus, Spring 2017
· Russia´s Great Power Strategy under Putin and Medvedev https://www.ui.se/globalassets/ui.se-eng/publications/ui-publications/ru...
· 15 years of Vladimir Putin: 15 ways he has changed Russia and the world https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/06/vladimir-putin-15-ways-he-changed-russia-world
- Why Many Young Russians See a Hero in Putin, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/12/putin-generation-russia-soviet-union/
- Russia Resurgent. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2017/01/how_...
Wednesday, April 25
G3: United States
G5: Saad Hariri
Monday, April 30
G8: Syrian Government
G11: United States
Expansion of the UN Security Council
G13: South Africa
Wednesday, May 2
- Meathooked & End of Water, Season 4, Episode 5, VICE on HBO
- Zerbe (2004). Feeding the famine? American food aid and the GMO debate in Southern Africa. Food Policy, 29(6), 593-608.
- Fuchs & Kalfagianni (2010). The causes and consequences of private food governance. Business and Politics, 12(3).
- Hatanaka, Maki, Carmen Bain, and Lawrence Busch. 2005. Third-party certification in the global agrifood system." Food policy 30.3 (2005): 354-369.
Monday, May 7 Paper 2 is due
- 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).
- Aseem Prakash and Joshua Eastin. Why is India ‘missing’ 63 million women — even though development is roaring? Washington Post/Monkey Cage, February 8, 2018.
- Lori Beaman, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, Petia Topalova 2012. Female Leadership Raises Aspirations and Educational Attainment for Girls: A Policy Experiment in India. Science. Volume 335.
Wednesday, May 9
European Refugee Crisis
Monday, May 14
Islam, Politics and Pakistan
Guest Lecture by Rafeel Wasif
- Paracha, Nadeem F. “Political Islam: An Evolutionary History.” DAWN.COM, October 23, 2014. http://www.dawn.com/news/1139847.
- Nelson, Matthew. “Muslims, Markets, and the Meaning of ‘A Good Education’ in Pakistan.” Asian Survey 46, no. 5 (2006): 699–720.
- Bano, Masooda. “Beyond Politics: The Reality of a Deobandi Madrasa in Pakistan.” Journal of Islamic Studies 18, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 43–68.
Wednesday, May 16
- Salamon. The Rise of the Non-Profit Sector. Foreign Affairs, 73(4).
- Clifford, 2002. Merchants of Morality. Foreign Policy, March/April: 36-45.
- Nives Dolšak, Sirindah Christianna Parrand Aseem Prakash. The Oxfam scandal shows that, yes, nonprofits can behave badly. So why aren’t they overseen like for-profits? Washington Post/Monkey Cage, February 2018
- Kendra Dupuy, James Ronand Aseem Prakash. Across the globe, governments are cracking down on civic organizations. This is why. Washington Post/Monkey Cage July 5, 2017
Monday, May 21
The Future of NATO
Korea (Nuclear Threat)
G25: North Korea
G26: South Korea
G27: United States
Wednesday, May 23 ( Paper 3 is due)
- Afghan Money Pit. Season 2, Episode 11, VICE on HBO
- Easterly and Pfutze. 2008. Where Does the Money Go? Best and Worst Practices in Foreign Aid. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(2).
- Kuziemko, Ilyana, and Eric Werker. 2006. How much is a seat on the Security Council worth? Foreign aid and bribery at the United Nations." Journal of Political Economy 114(5): 905-930.
Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, No class
Session 18 (Group Report is due)
Wednesday, May 30
G32: European Union
China’s Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank