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Regional Focus

Map of East Asia with pins and string connecting countries

The regional focus is a key part of the BA in International Studies. It consists of three courses in the region of your choosing. The regions are as follows: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, and South Asia. At least one of these courses must be taken at the 300 level. Students often prefer to take these classes abroad.

SISU-360-004 African Political Thought 
Tuesday, Friday 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM 
Prof. Kwaku Nuamah

This course is a broad survey of comparative themes in African political thought. It reviews how Africans perceive political developments-past as well as current-on their continent. Our aim is to highlight (through a review of selected indigenous works of literature, political biographies, and social commentary), seminal thoughts on some of the issues and challenges that have shaped African state building pathways and journeys from pre-colonial times to the present. Specific topics covered in the course include: ideas of citizenship and political rights in traditional African society; conceptualizations of the trauma of slavery and its socioeconomic aftermath; assessments of the colonial legacy; thoughts on resistance to colonialism, proto-nationalism, and the struggle for independence; neocolonialism and the challenges of the post-colonial state; the concepts of the African personality, pan-Africanism, and Nkrumah's dreams of continental unity; African socialism, Ujamaa economics, and the rise and fall of the redistributive state; authoritarianism, single party systems, and democratic reversals; thoughts on mass protests, coups and sociopolitical revolts; conceptualizations of neopatrimonialism, ethnicity and corruption in studies of African political culture; explanations of the trauma of apartheid, antiapartheid activism, and solidarity politics in Africa; Sankofa, Ubuntu, and the concept of African renaissance.

SISU-212-001 China, Japan, and the U.S. 
Monday, Thursday 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM 
Prof. Pek Koon Heng-Blackburn

A multidisciplinary introduction to China and Japan that explores the history, culture, social structure, literature, art, politics, economics, and foreign relations of these important countries. Particular attention is paid to the context of East Asian international relations.

SISU-212-002 China, Japan and the U.S. 
Monday, Thursday 12:55 PM - 2:10 PM 
Prof. Ji-Young Lee

A multidisciplinary introduction to China and Japan that explores the history, culture, social structure, literature, art, politics, economics, and foreign relations of these important countries. Particular attention is paid to the context of East Asian international relations.

SISU-372-001 Human Rights in East Asia 
Monday, Thursday 12:55 PM - 2:10 PM 
Prof. Pek Koon Heng-Blackburn

Course considers issues of human rights and culture in East Asia.

SISU-213-001 Contemporary Europe 
Tuesday, Friday 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM 
Prof. Garret Martin

This course examines the major political, economic, and social issues shaping contemporary Europe. The first portion of the course covers the concepts and theoretical approaches that make up the analytical toolkit for understanding and analyzing European politics. The second part covers the overarching themes of European politics, including state formation, governments and institutions, political parties and elections, welfare state development and reform, and European integration. The final segment consists of country and issue case studies as opportunities to apply the theoretical, methodological, and analytical tools, and looks at lessons that can be learned from the diverse ways European societies have answered the basic questions of economic, social, and political organization confronting all societies.

SISU-379-001 Nazi Germany and the Making of the Holocaust 
Tuesday, Friday 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM 
Prof. Mirjana Morosini-Dominick

The rise of Nazism in Germany remains one of the most studied phenomena in modern history. This course explores the circumstances and the ideas that led to the creation of the Third Reich and its implementation of the Holocaust. Special attention will be paid to the role that science - especially biomedical science - has played in constructing Nazi racial policy, the ideology of Nazism, and the subsequent execution of the Final Solution to the Jewish question.

SISU-214-001 Contemporary Latin America 
Monday, Thursday 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM 
Prof. Agustina Giraudy

Major political, social, and economic change in Latin America, its foundations, factors accelerating and impeding it, and prospects and trends.

SISU-310-004 Culture and International Security 
Monday 8:10 AM - 11:00 AM 
Prof. Shalini Venturelli

This course addresses the challenge of international instability as seen in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq through the lens of the sociocultural environment of conflict. It examines the struggle for the hearts and minds of the population, the cultural evolution of insurgent networks, the capabilities of security organizations including police and military organizations in fighting the insurgency, civilian governance and leadership in conflict zones, the role of international intervention and international organizations, the information, communication and media environment, the battle of narratives and narrative strategies, the challenge of strengthening host national security and governance capabilities through training and advising, and lessons for future conflicts from Iraq and Afghanistan.

SISU-330-002 Al-Qaeda, ISIS, & War on Terror 
Monday, Thursday 12:55 PM - 2:10 PM 
Prof. Daniel Schneider

On September 11, 2001, American suddenly became aware of a terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda. More recently, news of terrorist attacks and other atrocities taking place in the Middle East and Europe has made Americans, and people throughout the world, aware of the organization known as ISIS (or ISIL), an Islamist terrorist group that some experts believe presents a greater danger to the United States than does al-Qaeda. This course will address the histories, ideologies, leadership, goals and tactics of these two groups. It will also look at the efforts made by western and Middle eastern government to develop a strategy to defeat them, the policy disputes that have arisen in trying to develop a strategy, and the effectiveness of these strategies. The course will also place the formation and objectives of al-Qaeda and ISIS in a broader context by exploring the recent history and demographic, political and social changes in the Middle East.

SISU-330-003 U.S.-Israel Relations 
Tuesday, Friday 12:55 PM - 2:10 PM 
Prof. Guy Ziv

This course explores the evolution of U.S. relations with Israel, from the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 to the present day. Along the way, it examines key milestones in U.S.-Israel relations, beginning with President Truman's controversial decision to buck the U.S. foreign policy establishment and formally recognize the state of Israel; the wartime American airlift in 1973; the U.S. role in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy to the two Camp David summits and beyond; and the U.S. role in providing military, economic, and diplomatic aid to the Jewish state. The course analyzes how a combination of sentimental, political, and strategic factors have led to the formation of a wholly unique bilateral relationship characterized at once by both tight bonds and inherent tensions.

SISU-365-001 The World of Islam 
Tuesday, Friday 4:05 PM - 5:20 PM 
Prof. Akbar Ahmed

The inner dynamic of Islamic culture and an inside look at the workings of Islamic society, a society seen as a whole with its own characteristic inner force and propellant. Original readings illustrating the Islamic paradigm and discussion of the complex relationship among reform, renewal, and fundamentalism stemming from this paradigm.

There are no courses currently planned for this region in Fall 2017.