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North American Courses

Mexican Politics in the Age of NAFTA

GOVT 396, Spring 2009
Todd A. Eisenstadt
The course is both an introduction to the comparative study of national polities in Mexico and a consideration of national-level policy changes related to the increasing integration of North America, especially since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. The main focus of the course is to give students a comparative understanding of Mexican politics, and how they fit into processes of integration with Canada and the United States. The objective of the course is to give students the background necessary in Mexican politics to contextualize events in one of the United States' most important political, economic, and strategic allies, and to consider the viability of further integration of these three nations' economic, social, and foreign policies in other later courses in the North American Certificate sequence. However, since this course is also a stand alone component of the Department of Government curriculum, and in the comparative politics subfield, most of the course will focus on Mexico's actors and institutions in a comparative framework. The final few weeks of the course will also address the effects of regional integration of Mexico on the three polities, and Mexico's foreign relations more broadly, and raise questions about the effects of integration to date, and possible further integration, on Mexico.
Syllabus (PDF)

North America: A Union, Community, or Just Three Nations?

SIS 618.001/SIS-318 001/HNRS-302 011H, Fall 2006
Robert A. Pastor
This course explores the emergence of North America as the world's largest free trade area in gross product and population. Economic and social integration has accelerated since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, but the income gap between Mexico and its northern neighbors has widened. The course examines the different institutions and policies and the common values of the three countries; compares the North American experiment with Europe's; and analyzes new ways to reconfigure the continent and imagine a continental future. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Syllabus (PDF)

The U.S. and North American Relations

Stephen James Randall FRSC, Fulbright Visiting Chair in North American Studies, Fall 2007

This course will examine the economic, political, strategic and social aspects of United States relations with Canada and Mexico in the post-1945 years, with a particular focus on the transition from Cold War to post-Cold War American policy priorities, the liberalization of trade and investment policies in both Canada and Mexico, culminating in the conclusion of the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. The course also examines the impact on the North American relationship in the aftermath of 9/11, 2001. The course has a strong policy focus, with emphasis on empirical factors rather than international relations theory. Although the concentration is on the evolution and nature of U.S. policy toward its neighbors, considerable attention is devoted to the factors that have determined Canadian and Mexican policies toward the United States.

Economics of North America

ECON 350.002/358.002/658.002/SIS 396.012, Spring 2007
Robert Blecker
This course focuses on the process of economic integration between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including the effects of the North American Free Trade agreement (NAFTA). The course examines the international trade, financial, migration, and environmental relations among the three countries, as well as the impact of the integration process on their domestic structure and performance. Differences in national economic policies and how they impinge on the integration process is also considered, along with the future prospects for greater integration of the North American economies with each other and in the larger global economy. Meets with ECON-358 002 ECON-658.
Syllabus (PDF)

North American Security Issues

SIS 618.002/SIS 496.003, Fall 2006
Raúl Benítez
This course places U.S. homeland in the context of security issues which face all the countries of North America individually and collectively.  A regional approach to security includes an analysis of: issues which arise between the countries, such as drugs; issues such as terrorism which involve border security; issues which arise within one country and affect the others, such as immigration; problems of coordination among local, national and regional security forces.
Syllabus (PDF)

North American Politics

GOVT-338-001, Spring 2007
Dr. Christopher Sands, CNAS Senior Fellow; Senior Associate, Center for Strategic & International Studies; Adjunct Professor, SIS
This course offers an introduction to the comparative study of national politics in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, with consideration of national-level policy changes in each country related to the increasing integration of North America, especially since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. The course considers integration of a unified North American political, economic, and social identity. While focusing on comparing domestic political processes and institutions, it concludes with implications for regional integration.

Immigration Policies of North America

SIS-618-001, Spring 2007
Mr. Daniel Hernández, CNAS Senior Fellow; Mexican Diplomat-in-Residence, SIS
This course explores the immigration policies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It emphasizes the implications of these policies for domestic politics and international relations in each country, the effect on relations among them, and prospects for immigration in North America as a region.

Homeland Security in an Age of North American Terrorism

HIST-680-001, Spring 2007
Dr. Donald Avery, Fulbright Chair in North American Studies, CAS; Professor of History, University of Western Ontario
Focusing on the United States and Canada, this course explores the role of borderlands with a North American and Global context and how Canada and the United States have responded to issues such as immigration, terrorism, the threat of biological weapons, and natural pandemics.
Syllabus (PDF)

Mexico in the Age of NAFTA

GOVT 396.001/ GOVT 696.001, Fall 2006
Todd Eisenstadt 
This course assesses the achievements and challenges of Mexico's democratic transition and consolidation, considering implications for the country's domestic political institutions and for the increasing integration of North America in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) era.

Spanish Topics: Mexican-U.S. Border

SPAN 656. 003/ SPAN-356 003, Fall 2006
Amy Oliver  
The Mexican-U.S. border, "la frontera," "el bordo," has been described as a line on a map, a 200-mile wide and 1933-mile long "third country," the "MexAmerica," of the future, a war zone, 2000 miles of hell, and a giant "hazmat" area. Dissimilar in many ways from both Mexico and the United States, the border is examined from a variety of theoretical frameworks. The course utilizes cultural, social, political, economic, legal, and historical perspectives.

Computer Applications in International Relations Research: The Case of North America

SIS 513. 001, Fall 2006, Thursday 5:30-8:00 pm
James Lee
An introduction to using the Web for research and publishing materials on the Web. Includes Web-programming techniques and case studies related to vital international relations issues such as trade, the environment, and preventive diplomacy. Student papers are posted on the Web as part of a virtual conference at the end of the semester.

NAFTA and the North American Business Environment Summer Program for MBA Students

IBUS 685.N01, Summer 2006
Robert A. Pastor and Frank DuBois
The course covers seven topics useful for understanding firms working in North America and taking advantage of regional integration in the Americas and elsewhere. Topics include: how firms view North America; firms' views of how the border affects their business decisions; compilation of firm-level data on transaction costs; impact of regulatory divergence among Canada, Mexico and the United States on firms' strategic planning and operations; impact of other factors contributing to firms' transaction costs; firms' strategies for overcoming border-related and other transaction costs; and implications for the future.
Syllabus (PDF)

Summer Institute

SIS-503, Summer
Robert A. Pastor
Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. The Discovering North America institute, offered by the Center for North American Studies (CNAS), is dedicated to understanding the ties that connect and the differences that divide North America's three countries: Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Students participate in seminars and may be placed in internships with agencies and organizations working on North American issues in Washington, D.C. Usually offered every summer.

Politics of Regional Integration

SIS-400, Spring 2007
Mireya Solis, School of International Service
This seminar explores why nation-states are willing to enter into preferential trading agreements with selected partners, and the impact of these regional groupings on flows of international trade and investment. It discusses main theories of regional integration and explores differences in the timing, scope, and institutional design of regional integration projects in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Culture Area Analysis: North American Indians

ANTH-339-002, Spring 2007
Dr. Richard Dent, Professor of Anthropology, CAS
This seminar examines the history and life-ways of North American Indians from a variety of perspectives. From the archaeological perspective, it examines the subject of origins while the ethno-historical perspective examines native groups in the more recent past. Native voices are used to reach a broader understanding of how contemporary Indians view the world, both past and present. The course also looks at recent points of disagreement between Native Americans and non-native scholars.

Related Courses

Spanish Topics: United States-Latin American Relations

SPAN 356. 002 / SPAN 656 002, Fall 2006
Emilio Pascal
Students acquire conversational proficiency with international relations terminology in Spanish and more in-depth knowledge of the special relations between the United States and Latin America. Examines political, diplomatic, economic, military, and other forces that have shaped United States-Latin American relations. Taught entirely in Spanish.

Spanish Topics: Commercial Relations

SPAN 656.004/ SPAN-356 004 , Fall 2006, Friday 2:10-4:50pm
Emilio Pascal
Focuses on the economic, cultural, and political realities that impact business in Latin America and Spain. Uses case studies to consider such areas as trade, trade pacts (NAFTA, EU, MERCOSUR, FTAA), economics, commerce, management, finance, marketing, banking, cross-cultural issues, and business terminology. Taught entirely in Spanish.

Selected Topics: Breakfast in the Americas 

SIS 296.001, Fall 2006, Monday and Thursday 12:45-2:00 pm
Elizabeth Cohn
This course applies an interdisciplinary approach to examine the political, economic, cultural, environmental, and social historical issues surrounding the commodities we commonly put on our breakfast table: coffee, sugar, bananas. By looking at the lives of people who produce the commodities, own the companies, and consume the products, the course considers how consumer practices affect the lives of those who produce these commodities, and the environment in which they are produced.

Selected Topics in Cross-National Study: The Americas in Comparative Perspective 

SIS 676.002, Fall 2006, Thursday 8:10-10:40 pm
Hector Schamis
Examines recent Latin American developments including: the fall of military governments, the end of civil wars, the replacement of traditional economic models by neoliberal export-led growth, the rise of the drug wars, the blurring of the distinction between Latin Americans and Latinos, the rise of indigenous movements in place of the Marxist left, and the growing importance of global issues such as poverty and inequality.

International Relations in the Americas

SIS-577, Spring 2007
Dr. Raúl Benítez, CNAS Senior Fellow; Visiting Professor, SIS; Professor, CISAN, National University of Mexico
This course explores recent and contemporary interstate relations in Latin America and the place of Latin America in world affairs. It includes topics relation to regional security, politics, and society.
Syllabus (PDF)

United States Economic History

ECON-319.001, Fall 2006 Tuesday and Friday 12:45-2:00 pm
Larry Sawers  
The nature and sources of economic growth, the institutional transformation associated with economic development, and the social and economic consequences of economic change in the United States from the colonial times to the present.

Constitutional Design 

GOVT 396.004/ GOVT 696.004, Fall 2006, Wednesday 2:10-4:50pm
Louis Massicotte  
With some emphasis on the three North American countries, this course examines political institutions, approached through a perspective combining law, history, social sciences and political ideologies. The basics of democratic theory, as opposed to totalitarian or authoritarian regimes. The nuts and bolts of democratic regimes: constitutions, elections, federalism, parliamentary and presidential systems, executives, legislatures and courts.