A list of courses taught over the past several years is given below, along with short descriptions and syllabi.
Introduction to the Study of Politics
This course introduces students to some of the major controversies in political science. We focus on the five substantive themes that make up the Yale Initiative: Order, Conflict, and Violence; Representation and Popular Rule; Crafting and Operating Institutions; Identities, Affiliations, and Allegiances; and Distributive Politics. We divide our time between discussing readings on these subjects and conversations with different members of the faculty who specialize on them. There is also some attention to methodological controversies within the discipline.
Research and Writing
This is a required course for all second-year students. It meets for the first six weeks of the fall term and the first six weeks of the spring term. The fall meetings are devoted to discussion of research design as well as individual student projects. The spring meetings are devoted to discussion of drafts of student papers.
Secession and Political Boundaries
The political economy of decentralization, secession, and the formation of political boundaries. Exploration of why some countries have stable borders while others face demands, sometimes violent, for redrawing them; conditions under which regions are likely to demand autonomy; decentralization as a way to ameliorate or escalate conflicts.
International Relations Workshop
Security, international political economy, and international institutions. The forum attracts outside speakers, Yale faculty, and graduate students. It provides a venue to develop ideas, polish work-in-progress, or showcase completed projects.
International Relations Field Seminar
This is the first course in the graduate sequence in International Relations. The course surveys the main theoretical traditions in international relations and considers how empirical methods can be used to assess these theories. Students acquire broad familiarity with the diverse literature in IR, learn to identify opportunities for new research, and learn how to evaluate theoretical claims. The course is designed for students who plan to pursue doctoral-level research in international relations and want to pass the Ph.D. qualifying exam in the field.
This course explains ethnic conflict, focusing on its violent forms, especially civil wars. There have been more than 160 civil wars and many more episodes of lower-intensity armed conflict since 1945. Most of these conflicts have been fought along ethnic lines. Antipathies and competition between ethnic groups are a constant feature of human history and experimental evidence across societies has documented a tendency for in-group bias and out-group prejudice in human behavior. Some theorists argue that people are hard-wired to dislike –and even fight against— members of ethnic out-groups. But large-scale ethnic violence is relatively rare. Under what conditions does ethnic conflict become violent and what interventions are effective in ending large-scale ethnic violence? We will address these questions by reviewing the dominant explanations for ethnic conflict in the scholarly literature and putting those explanations in empirical context by analyzing contemporary cases of civil war. The course will provide a broad inter-disciplinary perspective on ethnic conflict drawing on cutting-edge research from political science, economics, social psychology, and anthropology. Is ethnic conflict rooted in economics (poverty; growth decline; commodity price shocks; dependence on mineral wealth) or in politics (exclusion from governance; repression; authoritarianism)? When ethnically fragmented societies break down into civil war, how can they return to stable peace? By the end of the course, students should be able to discuss these questions with reference to countries as diverse as Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.