Courses

LEAD 120(S)America and the World

This course will help students understand the US role in the world. US wealth and military power force its leaders to make choices that no other leaders in the world confront. Students will learn to evaluate the decisions that US leaders have made on a wide range of difficult foreign policy issues, including: rising Chinese power; Russian moves in Ukraine; nuclear proliferation to Iran; terrorist threats; humanitarian disasters in Syria and Libya; and long-term challenges like climate change. We will not only describe American involvement in various international issues but also seek to understand the reasons why the US perhaps should or should not be involved, and we will see why such careful reasoning only sometimes gains traction in actual US foreign policy debates. Finally, we will assess whether US foreign policy decisions are coherent - that is, whether the US can be said to follow a "grand strategy." By the end of the course, students will develop their ability to think about foreign policy issues, improving their ability to participate in public life as engaged citizens. [ more ]

LEAD 125(F)Visionaries, Pragmatists, and Demagogues: An Introduction to Leadership Studies

This course introduces students to the major issues in the study of leadership, a central concept in the study of politics. The first part of the course will examine key theoretical problems that have occupied political thinkers from Plato and Confucius to Machiavelli and the American framers: What makes a leader successful? What kinds of regimes best serve to encourage good leaders and to constrain bad ones? What is the relationship between leadership and morality-can the ends justify the means? What functions does leadership fill, and what challenges do leaders face, in modern democratic states? The second half of the course will look at leaders in action, charting the efforts of politicians, intellectuals, and grassroots activists to shape the worlds in which they live. Case studies will include antislavery politics and the American Civil War; the global crises of the 1930s and 1940s; and the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to active class participation, students will be expected to write a 5-page proposal for a research paper on a leader of their choice, a 10-page research paper, an in-class midterm exam, and a cumulative, in-class final exam. [ more ]

LEAD 127America First? The Trump Era and the Future of World Politics

Last offered Spring 2020

"America First" was a slogan and a perspective on foreign policy adopted by isolationists like Charles Lindberg in the 1930's. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and the Second World War, a strong bipartisan consensus emerged around the principles of liberal international internationalism and "America First" perspectives were marginalized in American politics. However, with the election of Donald Trump, the American presidency is now in the hands of someone who proudly claims the America first mantle. This course provides a historical and theoretical context for understanding what is unique about President Trump's approach to American foreign policy in the 21st century. Particular attention will be devoted to the contrast between the views of Trump and those of the American foreign policy establishment over issues such as NATO, nuclear proliferation, Russia, immigration, terrorism, free trade, and conflicts in the Middle East. [ more ]

LEAD 150Movers and Shakers in the Middle East

Last offered Fall 2017

This course examines the careers, ideas, and impact of leading politicians, religious leaders, intellectuals, and artists in the Middle East in the twentieth century. Utilizing biographical studies and the general literature on the political and cultural history of the period, this course will analyze how these individuals achieved prominence in Middle Eastern society and how they addressed the pertinent problems of their day, such as war and peace, relations with Western powers, the role of religion in society, and the status of women. A range of significant individuals will be studied, including Gamal Abd al-Nasser, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ayatollah Khomeini, Muhammad Mussadiq, Umm Khulthum, Sayyid Qutb, Anwar Sadat, Naghuib Mahfouz, and Huda Shaarawi. [ more ]

LEAD 205From Tocqueville to Trump: Leadership and the Making of American Democracy

Last offered Spring 2020

America's founders didn't mean to create a democracy. But since the Revolution, leaders have been fighting to make real for all Americans the promise of government of, by, and for the people. In this course, we will look at how leaders have marshaled ideas, social movements, and technological changes to expand the scope of American democracy--and the reasons they have sometimes failed. We will examine how founders such as Benjamin Franklin and James Madison envisioned the relation between the people and the government; how workers, African Americans, and women fought to participate in American politics; and how globalization, polarization, and inequality are straining American democracy and political leadership in the 21st century. We will examine leadership to better understand American democracy--and vice versa. We will ask: What explains why some leaders have succeeded where others have failed? Have some periods of American democratic politics been more amenable to particular kinds of leadership than others? What makes American political leadership distinctive in international comparison? Who, exactly, has been permitted to participate in American politics, and on what terms? How has the relation between the governors and the governed changed over time, and what factors and events have shaped those relations? How has America's democratic experiment compared with (and interacted with) democracy elsewhere in the world? Is America really a democracy at all? [ more ]

LEAD 206 TDangerous Leadership in American Politics

Last offered Fall 2018

"Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders. What do Americans want from their political leaders?". A common assumption is that those who do it well--whether in the presidency, the parties, social movements, organizations, or local communities--are just and legitimate agents of democratic change, and those most celebrated are those who have helped the country make progress toward its ideals. Yet to rest on this is too simple as it is, in part, an artifact of historical construction. Assessing leadership in the moment is complicated because leaders press against the bounds of political convention--as do ideologues, malcontents, and lunatics. Indeed, a central concern of the founders was that democracy would invite demagogues who would bring the nation to ruin. Complicating things further, the nature of democratic competition is such that those vying for power have incentive to portray the opposition's leadership as dangerous. How do we distinguish desirable leadership from dangerous leadership? Can they be the same thing? Many who today are recognized as great leaders were, in their historical moment, branded dangerous. Others, whose ambitions and initiatives arguably undermined progress toward American ideals, were not recognized as dangerous at the time. In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of dangerous leadership in American history, from inside as well as outside of government. What constitutes dangerous leadership, and what makes a leader dangerous? Is it the person or the context? Who decides? How do we distinguish truly dangerous leadership from the perception of dangerous leadership? Does dangerous describe the means or the ends of leadership? Does it matter? Is leadership that privileges desirable ends, such as justice or security, at the expense of democratic means acceptable? Is democratic leadership in service of "dangerous" goals acceptable, and what are these goals? [ more ]

LEAD 207The Modern Middle East

Last offered Fall 2019

This survey course addresses the main economic, religious, political and cultural trends in the modern Middle East. Topics to be covered include the cultural diversity of the Middle East, relations with Great Powers, the impact of imperialism, the challenge of modernity, the creation of nation states and nationalist ideologies, the discovery of oil, radical religious groups, and war and peace. Throughout the course these significant changes will be evaluated in light of their impact on the lives of a variety of individuals in the region and especially how they have grappled differently with increasing Western political and economic domination. [ more ]

LEAD 212(S)Sister Revolutions in France and America

In the late-eighteenth century, two revolutions burst forth--they were the most striking and consequential events in modern history, decisive turning-points that transformed society and politics. The American Revolution led to an enduring and stable democratic republic whereas the French Revolution was followed by a turbulent succession of Empires and restorations of the monarchy. France did not have a sustainable republic until 1870. We will analyze in detail and in depth the ideas and theories of the leaders of both revolutions in order to understand why the American Revolution took a moderate course and why the French Revolution took a more radical course and plunged into violence and terror. We will read the writings of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Rousseau, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Tocqueville, Edmund Burke and others. [ more ]

LEAD 215Race and Inequality in the American City

Last offered Spring 2020

In the past half-century, American cities have gotten both much richer and much poorer. The making of "luxury cities" has gone hand-in-hand with persistent, concentrated poverty, extreme racial segregation, mass incarceration, and failing public services-social problems borne primarily by people of color. This course will examine the political underpinnings of inequality in American cities, with particular attention to the racialization of inequality. Among the topics we will cover are: the structures of urban political power; housing and employment discrimination; the War on Crime and the War on Drugs (and their consequence, mass incarceration); education; and gentrification. We will ask: How have city leaders and social movements engaged with urban problems? How have they tried to make cities more decent, just, and sustainable? Under what circumstances has positive leadership produced beneficial outcomes, and in what circumstances has it produced perverse outcomes? We will engage primarily with political science, but also with scholarship in other disciplines, including sociology, history, geography, and legal studies, all of which share an interest in the questions we will be exploring. Students will leave this course with a deeper understanding of contemporary urban problems, a knowledge of the political structures within which those problems are embedded, and a better sense of the challenges and opportunities leaders face in contemporary urban America. [ more ]

LEAD 216American Constitutionalism I: Structures of Power

Last offered Fall 2018

How has the American Constitution been debated and understood over time? What is the relationship between constitutional and political change? This course examines the historical development of American constitutional law and politics from the Founding to the present. Our focus is on structures of power -- the limits on congressional lawmaking, growth of presidential authority, establishment of judicial review, conflicts among the three branches of the federal government, and boundaries between the federal and state and local governments. The specific disputes under these rubrics range from secession to impeachment, gun control to child labor, waging war to spurring commerce; the historical periods to be covered include the Marshall and Taney Court years, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Warren Court, and the conservative ascendancy of the late twentieth century. Readings are drawn from Supreme Court opinions, presidential addresses, congressional debates and statutes, political party platforms, key tracts of American political thought, and secondary scholarship on constitutional development. Throughout the semester, our goal will be less to remember elaborate doctrinal rules and multi-part constitutional "tests" than to understand the changing nature of, and changing relationship between, constitutional power and constitutional meaning in American history. [ more ]

LEAD 217(S)American Constitutionalism II: Rights and Liberties

How has the American Constitution been debated and understood over time? What is the relationship between constitutional and political change? This course examines the historical development of American constitutional law and politics from the Founding to the present. Our focus is on rights and liberties -- freedom of speech and religion, property, criminal process, autonomy and privacy, and equality. The specific disputes under these rubrics range from abortion to affirmative action, hate speech to capital punishment, school prayer to same-sex marriage; the historical periods to be covered include the early republic, the ante-bellum era, the Civil War and Reconstruction, World Wars I and II, the Warren Court, and contemporary America. Readings are drawn from Supreme Court opinions, presidential addresses, congressional debates and statutes, political party platforms, key tracts of American political thought, and secondary scholarship on constitutional development. Throughout the semester, our goal will be less to remember elaborate doctrinal rules and multi-part constitutional "tests" than to understand the changing nature of, and changing relationship between, constitutional rights and constitutional meaning in American history. [ more ]

LEAD 218(S)The American Presidency

Many argue that the presidency has been fundamentally changed by the tenure of Donald Trump. Is this right? To study the presidency is to study human nature and individual personality, constitution and institution, strategy and contingency. This course will examine the problems and paradoxes that attend the exercise of the most powerful political office in the world's oldest democracy: Can an executive office be constructed with sufficient energy to govern and also be democratically accountable? How much do we attribute the shaping of politics to the agency of the individual in the office and to what extent are politics the result of structural, cultural, and institutional factors? Are the politics of the presidency different in foreign and domestic policy? How are national security concerns balanced with domestic priorities such as the protection of civil liberties? How is the office and purpose of the presidency affected by an economic order predicated on private capital? Exploration of these questions will lead us to examine topics such as presidential selection, the bases of presidential power, character and leadership issues, congressional-executive relations, the media, and emergency powers. Attention will focus largely on the modern presidency, though older historical examples will also be used to help us gain perspective on these problems. [ more ]

LEAD 219 T(F)Women and Girls in (Inter)National Politics

This tutorial focuses on the writings and autobiographies of women who have shaped national politics through social justice movements in the 20th-21st centuries. Women and girls studied include: Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisholm, Safiya Bukhari, Erica Garner, Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Marielle Franco, Winnie Mandela. [ more ]

LEAD 220 T(S)Cold War Intellectuals: Civil Rights, Writers and the CIA

This tutorial focuses on US-based views of the Cold War. It examines how intelligence agencies and intellectuals, as well as government officials, viewed civil rights, human rights, and US hegemony. Readings include: Williams J. Maxwell (F. B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover's Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature); James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time); Ralph Ellison (The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison); Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States (1975, VP Nelson Rockefeller, chair); Hugh Wilford (The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America); Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism; On Violence; "Reflections on Little Rock"); Frances Stonor Saunders (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War). Students alternate weekly between 5-page primary and 2-page secondary papers on assigned readings. [ more ]

LEAD 221 T(F)Examining Inconvenient Truths: Climate Science meets U.S. Senate Politics

Former President Barack Obama once said: "There's one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate." While consensus regarding the causes and impacts of climate change has been growing steadily among scientists and researchers (and to some extent, the general public) over the past two decades, the U.S. has yet to confront this issue in a manner consistent with its urgency. This lack of action in the U.S. is at least partly due to the fact that science provides necessary but insufficient information towards crafting effective climate change legislation and the unfortunate fact that climate change has become a highly partisan issue. The primary objective of this tutorial will be to help students develop a greater understanding of the difficulties associated with crafting climate change legislation, with an emphasis on the role of science and politics within the legislative process. To this end, the tutorial will address how the underlying scientific complexities embedded in most climate policies (e.g., offsets, carbon capture and sequestration, uncertainty and complexity of the climate system, leakage) must be balanced by and blended with the different operational value systems (e.g., economic, social, cultural, religious) that underlie U.S. politics. Over the course of this tutorial, students will develop a nuanced sense of how and when science can support the development of comprehensive national climate change legislation within the current partisan climate. This course will take a practical approach, where students will craft weekly policy oriented documents (e.g., policy memos, action memos, research briefs) targeted to selected members of the current U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the committee that has historically held jurisdiction over a majority of the major climate change bills that have moved through the legislative process. This course is in the Oceans and Climate group for the Geosciences major. [ more ]

LEAD 223(S)Roman History

The study of Roman history involves questions and problematics central to the development of Western institutions, religion, and modes of thought. Roman history also encompasses the most far-reaching experience of diverse cultures, beliefs, and practices known in the Western tradition until perhaps contemporary times. As this course addresses the history of Rome from its mythologized beginnings through the reign of the emperor Constantine, it will place special emphasis on the Roman ability time and again to turn crisis and the unexpected into a rich source of cultural development, as well as the complex tendency later to interpret and present such ad hoc responses as predestined and inevitable. The Romans also provide a vivid portrait of the relationship between power and self-confidence on the one hand, and violence and ultimate disregard for dissent and difference on the other. Readings for this course will include a wide variety of original sources, and there will be a strong emphasis on problems of historical interpretation. [ more ]

LEAD 225International Security

Last offered Fall 2019

This course deals with basic questions about war and peace. What are the major causes of war? Why do leaders choose to use violence in the pursuit of political objectives? How does the threat of war shape international politics and diplomatic outcomes? How are wars fought? What are their consequences? And why do states sometimes seek to cooperate to achieve their objectives and other times settle disputes through force or the threat of force? To address these questions, this course covers a number of specific topics: the causes, conduct, and consequences of the two world wars; the origins, course, and end of the Cold War; the influence of nuclear weapons on international security; regional conflicts and rivalries; regime type and international conflict; alliances and patron-client relationships; diplomacy; crisis decision-making; asymmetric conflicts; and great power politics, grand strategy, and international order. [ more ]

LEAD 227(F, S)International Relations of the Middle East

This is a course about the Middle East in international politics. The structure of the course combines political science concepts with a detailed survey of the region's diplomatic history. Classes will be taught remotely. The basic format of the course will be to combine brief lectures--either posted on the class website beforehand or given at the start of each class--with an in-depth discussion of each class session's topic. The goal of these discussions is to generate debates over the conceptual, historical, and policy significance of the subjects that we cover. Specifically, the first section of the course will cover the emergence of the Persian Gulf as an area of strategic importance in international politics; U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia and Iran after World War II; the origins of the Arab-Israeli dispute; the June 1967 and October 1973 Middle East conflicts; Egyptian-Israeli peace; the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War; the 1991 Persian Gulf War and its consequences; and the rise of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. The second part of the course focuses on the Iraq War and its consequences; the rise of ISIS; the Arab Spring; Turkey's changing foreign relations; and the war in Syria. The last section of the course covers contemporary policy challenges confronting the Middle East. [ more ]

LEAD 239(S)Music in the Global Cold War

Throughout the Cold War (1947-1991), music was deployed as a weapon, as a source of nationalist and ideological inspiration, as a form of political protest and resistance, and as propaganda. Music both reflected and helped shape political views and, therefore, prompted various forms of regulation and censorship (McCarthyism in the U.S.; the Union of Soviet Composers). To counter Soviet claims of American cultural inferiority and racism, the U.S. sponsored numerous musical diplomacy efforts showcasing both jazz (Armstrong; Ellington; Brubeck) and classical musicians and composers (Copland; Bernstein; American orchestras). Cold War politics and the threat of nuclear war influenced musical styles (Soviet Socialist Realism; the popular American folk music revival; serialism; rock behind the Iron Curtain), specific musical events (Tokyo East West Music Encounter; concerts celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall), and individual careers (Shostakovich; Robeson; Van Cliburn). To investigate music's political roles and capacity for expressing communist and democratic capitalist ideologies, we will adopt a case study approach. The Cold War was a global political and, frequently, militaristic struggle. Though our focus will be on music in the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A., we will also consider musical developments impacted by the Cold War throughout Western and Eastern Europe, in Latin America, and in East Asia. [ more ]

LEAD 240(F)Great Astronomers and Their Original Publications

In this course we will study some of the greatest figures in astronomy and consider their leadership in advancing progress in the field. We will consider their lives and works, especially as represented by original copies of their books and other publications. These great astronomers include: 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicus (heliocentric universe); Tycho Brahe (best pre-telescopic observations); 17th century, Galileo (discoveries with his first astronomical telescope, 1610; sunspots, 1613; Dialogo, 1632); Johannes Kepler (laws of planetary motion, 1609, 1619); Johannes Hevelius and Elisabeth Hevelius (atlases of the Moon and of stars, 1647, and 1687); Isaac Newton (laws of universal gravitation and of motion, 1687); 18th century, Edmond Halley (Miscellanea curiosa, eclipse maps, 1715, 1724); John Flamsteed and Margaret Flamsteed (Atlas Coelestis, 1729); and William Herschel and Caroline Herschel (1781, 1798). Also, from more recent times in which original works are often articles rather than books: 20th century, Albert Einstein (special relativity, 1905; general relativity, 1916); Marie Curie (radioactivity); Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (hydrogen dominating stars, 1929), Edwin Hubble (Hubble's law, 1929); Vera Rubin (dark matter, 1970s); Jocelyn Bell Burnell (pulsar discovery, 1968); and 21st century: Wendy Freedman (Universe's expansion rate, 2000s). First editions will be available in Williams's Chapin Library of rare books, and facsimiles or digital copies will be provided for remote learning. We will also consider how such original materials are collected and preserved, and look at examples from the wider world of rarities, such as a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible (c. 1450) and a Shakespeare First Folio (1623, with a discussion of astronomical references in Shakespeare's plays). We evaluate a trove of books and papers about historic transits of Venus. We discuss matters of fraud and authenticity, especially the case of a purported Sidereus Nuncius, shown to be a modern construction. The course will be taught in collaboration between an astronomer and a rare books librarian, with remote lectures by experts from around the world. [ more ]

LEAD 242America and the Vietnam War

Last offered Fall 2011

Every American president from Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy sought to avoid a commitment of ground forces to Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson also feared the consequences of a massive American commitment, but he eventually sent over half a million men to Vietnam. Richard Nixon hoped to conclude a peace with honor when he assumed the presidency, but the war lasted for another four years with many additional casualties. This course examines the complex political processes that led successive American presidents to get involved in a conflict that all of them desperately wanted to avoid. We will examine both the international and domestic context of the war, as well as pay close attention to both South and North Vietnamese perspectives on the war. In addition, we will examine the long-standing arguments among both historians and political scientists over how to explain and interpret the longest and most controversial war in American history. [ more ]

LEAD 254(F)Sovereignty, Resistance, and Resilience: Native American Histories to 1865

This course surveys Native American/Indigenous North American histories from creation through the U.S. Civil War, tracing the complex ways that tribal nations and communities have shaped North America. It also introduces foundational methodologies in Native American and Indigenous Studies and strategies for pursuing decolonizing scholarship and action. Beginning with the diverse Indigenous societies that inhabited the Americas millennia before Columbus's arrival, it discusses the cultural complexity of Native peoples, nations, and worldviews rooted in particular ecosystems and homelands, as well as accounts of beginnings and migrations. It addresses how Native peoples confronted grievous epidemics resulting from the "Columbian Exchange," and contended with Euro-colonial projects of "discovery" and colonization. Indigenous nations' multifaceted efforts to maintain sovereignty and lands through eras of pervasive violence and removal are discussed, as well as the important yet under-recognized ways that Native communities negotiated the tumultuous era and conflicting allegiances of the Civil War. The course centers on Indigenous actors-intellectuals, diplomats, legal strategists, knowledge keepers, spiritual leaders, artists, and others-and consistently connects historical events with present-day debates over land, historical memory, education, and activism. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to engage with original materials pertaining to Native histories in the Williams College Archives/Special Collections and Art Museum. While the scope of the course is continental and transoceanic, it devotes significant attention to the Native Northeast and the particular Indigenous homelands in which Williams College is located. [ more ]

LEAD 255(S)Weaponized Leadership: Demagoguery and Populism in Contemporary Perspective

Since Donald Trump began his rhetorical assault on immigrants, the political establishment, and the free press, all in the name of "the American people," terms like demagoguery and populism have come to dominate American political discourse. Demagogues and populists are often defined as bad leaders who manipulate the emotions of their audiences for the sake of personal ambition-- leaders who turn a good thing (popular government) into something dangerous. At the same time, and as Trump has shown, many of the tactics that populists and demagogues deploy are politically effective. Protest leaders tell their audiences to get angry and to stand up and fight precisely because this kind of rhetoric can move an audience to action when rational persuasion cannot. And, many of the leaders we think of as great today were regarded as demagogues and populists during their own times. Puzzles like these point to our current political moment. How useful are terms like demagoguery and populism for understanding leadership? How have these terms been weaponized to distort politics instead of clarifying it? Should we reserve these terms for leaders who are truly bad, and if so, what counts as a "truly" bad leader (as opposed to one we just happen not to like)? Or can demagogic and populists tactics be deployed in better and worse ways? We will approach these questions through a survey of classic and contemporary writings on popular leadership, from Thucydides and Machiavelli to present-day social science. With these competing theories in view, we will read historical and biographical accounts of some of history's most controversial leaders--including Bolivar, Lenin, FDR, and Hugo Chavez--so as to better understand the popular leaders who dominate much of our politics today. [ more ]

LEAD 258The Media and American Democracy

Last offered NA

The course examines the relationship between the press and government, its watchdog function, how social media and the Internet are changing its role, the emergence of independent investigative bodies such as Pro Publica, and the myriad ways in which the press has helped shape American history, for better or worse. The course goes behind the headlines to examine the delicate interplay between government and press, peels back the familiar classics of American journalism, but also incorporates the current conflicts and tensions between the press and government. In the new age, how does the press define or redefine balance, neutrality, the quest for objectivity, and restraint. Who is a journalist, a once relatively easy question, but one now fraught with complexity? There has been a tectonic shift in the fundamental standards and practices of the press in recent years. What are those changes and how does it augur for the future of the press and democratic institutions? [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

LEAD 261The United States and the World, 1898 to the Present

Last offered Fall 2018

This survey course examines the United States and the World since 1898. Students will be introduced to key diplomatic developments since the Spanish-American War, when the country began its ascendance to hegemonic power from which it is now in retreat. American power reached its apex during the Cold War, but that conflict and its offshoots like the Vietnam War brought about crises over national identity and values that remain unresolved. Readings and discussions will focus on issues of ideology, empire and neo-imperialism, domestic politics and foreign policy, and the relationship between culture and foreign relations. [ more ]

LEAD 262America and the Cold War

Last offered Fall 2016

This course examines the rise and fall of the Cold War, focusing on four central issues. First, why did America and the Soviet Union become bitter rivals shortly after the defeat of Nazi Germany? Second, was one side primarily responsible for the length and intensity of the Cold War in Europe? Third, how did the Cold War in Europe lead to events in other areas of the world, such as Cuba and Vietnam? Finally, could the Cold War have been ended long before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989? Political scientists and historians continue to argue vigorously about the answers to all these questions. We examine both traditional and revisionist explanations of the Cold War, as well as the new findings that have emerged from the partial opening of Soviet and Eastern European archives. The final section of the course examines how scholarly interpretations of the Cold War continue to influence how policymakers approach contemporary issues in American foreign policy. [ more ]

LEAD 267International Relations of the Middle East

Last offered NA

This course provides an overview of the international relations of the Middle East, with a special focus on the period from the late nineteenth century to the present. Students will learn about the region's geopolitical significance from both an historical and political science perspective. The first part of the course focuses primarily on the Middle East's impact on the international system throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while the second part of the course examines contemporary issues. In substantive terms, the class covers the rise of the Zionist movement; the effects of the First World War on the Middle East; the international politics of the Arab-Israeli conflict; the geopolitics of the area's energy resources; the Cold War in the Middle East; the causes and consequences of the Iranian Revolution; the rise of Islamist movements; the Arab Spring; terrorism; the specter of nuclear proliferation in the area; the Syrian conflict; and the role of the United States in the Middle East. By the end of the term, students should have an enhanced understanding of the major dilemmas related to the region's place in the international system. [ more ]

LEAD 269The CIA and American Foreign Policy

Last offered NA

Despite an American aversion to espionage captured by Secretary of State Henry Stimson's oft-cited (yet unsubstantiated) remark, "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail," intelligence history in the United States dates back to the Revolutionary War. Still, it took the shock of Pearl Harbor for the United States to establish a permanent peacetime civilian intelligence service independent of another federal department--the Central Intelligence Agency. Since then, the agency and others which comprise the loose entity called the Intelligence Community (IC) have played a pivotal albeit intensely controversial role in US foreign and national security policies. Yet their roles and missions remain largely misunderstood and divisive, as attested to by recent debates surrounding the multiple investigations of the 9/11 tragedy, the flawed pre-war estimates of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) capabilities, the reporting on Benghazi, the Snowden revelations, and much more. This course seeks to provide greater understanding of the relationship between intelligence and US foreign and national security policy by examining the CIA's and IC's roles and responsibilities, illuminating their history alongside the history of America and the World, assessing their successes and failures, evaluating their reforms, and correlating their behavior and capabilities with US values and institutions. Despite an American aversion to espionage captured by Secretary of State Henry Stimson's oft-cited (yet unsubstantiated) remark, "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail," intelligence history in the United States dates back to the Revolutionary War. Still, it took the shock of Pearl Harbor for the United States to establish a permanent peacetime civilian intelligence service independent of another federal department--the Central Intelligence Agency. Since then, the agency and others which comprise the loose entity called the Intelligence Community (IC) have played a pivotal albeit intensely controversial role in US foreign and national security policies. Yet their roles and missions remain largely misunderstood and divisive, as attested to by recent debates surrounding the multiple investigations of the 9/11 tragedy, the flawed pre-war estimates of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) capabilities, the reporting on Benghazi, the Snowden revelations, and much more. This course seeks to provide greater understanding of the relationship between intelligence and US foreign and national security policy by examining the CIA's and IC's roles and responsibilities, illuminating their history alongside the history of America and the World, assessing their successes and failures, evaluating their reforms, and correlating their behavior and capabilities with US values and institutions. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

LEAD 277(F)Conspiracy Theories in American Politics

The phrase "conspiracy theory" typically evokes images of paranoid cranks--of cars plastered with vituperative bumper-stickers and of people who wear tin-foil hats. To be sure, the claims that conspiracy theorists advance can be astonishing, from Pizzagate--alleging that Democratic Party officials ran a human trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant--to the Flat Earth movement, which holds that the earth is, indeed, flat. At the same time, the persistence and power of conspiracy theories in American politics should provoke us to wonder why such preposterous-sounding notions gain traction in the first place, and who benefits from them. That conspiracy theories tend to advance a partisan or ideological view, often intended to discredit a competing movement or ideology, suggests that conspiracy theories can function as a kind of remote leadership--"leadership" without any clear leaders at the helm. This course will examine notable American conspiracy theories, such as the Kennedy Assassination theory, "9/11 Truth," and "Birther-ism," in light of recent scholarship on conspiracism, demagoguery, and populism. Our goal will be to understand the political and discursive forces that empower conspiracy theories and the functions they serve in American politics. Where and with whom do conspiracy theories originate? Why do some gain traction while others quickly wither? How can we distinguish between a conspiracy theory based on plausible evidence and one that exists simply to create chaos? And why do some conspiracy theories persist even in the face of direct public refutation? [ more ]

LEAD 280(S)Emancipation to BlackLivesMatter

This introductory course surveys the cultural, political, and social history of African Americans from Reconstruction to the present. It offers a balance between a "top-down" and "bottom-up" approach and focuses primarily on African Americans' quest for citizenship, equality, justice, and opportunity. In addition to examining major historical developments and popular figures within the modern black past, we will explore the lesser-known histories of everyday people who helped shaped the black freedom struggle. In so doing, we will interrogate conventional narratives of progressive movements since emancipation. Some of the main topics include: the transition from slavery to freedom; the rise of Jim Crow and the politics of racial uplift; the Great Migration and the emergence of the New Negro; the Great Depression and the New Deal; World War II and the struggle for economic and racial inclusion; the postwar period and the intersecting movements of Civil Rights and Black Power; and the impacts of deindustrialization and mass incarceration on the black community. We will end with a discussion of the Obama years and Black Lives Matter. [ more ]

LEAD 285(F)The Revolutionary Generation: Galaxy of Leaders

The American Revolution produced a galaxy of brilliant and creative statesmen and intellectuals: Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Adams. In this seminar, we will study their astounding accomplishments--a successful war of independence, a Constitution and Bill of Rights, enduring democratic political institutions, and a nascent party system. But mostly we will focus on their ideas, for they were thinking revolutionaries. We will examine in depth and in detail their superb writings, their letters and speeches as well as Madison and Hamilton's Federalist essays. We will also read recent interpretations of the founding generation by Gordon Wood, Joseph Ellis, Bernard Bailyn, and others. [ more ]

LEAD 301(S)Museums: History and Practice

Art museums not only express the political, economic and cultural values of their period of formation, but the evolution of those values that have resulted in the institutions of our time. The seminar will focus on museums past and present internationally as it also considers the future of museums, doing so as it examines governance and management policies and practices, the role of architecture and installation in interpretation and experience, guidelines in the accessioning and deaccessioning works of art, and issues associated with the repatriation and restitution of cultural property. The course will consider current trends in exhibition, public education and other programming in art museums that range in size and type from the "encyclopedic" or "universal" to newly established contemporary arts institutions and alternative spaces. Class discussions will have a special focus on how museums strive to balance their scholarly and artistic roles with their civic and social responsibilities doing so while maintaining financial stability in the increasingly market-driven, metric-conscious, not-for-profit environment of our time. [ more ]

LEAD 309Problems and Progress in American Democracy

Last offered Fall 2015

"I confess," French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the introduction to his Democracy in America, "that in America I saw more than America. I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or hope from its progress." What would Tocqueville see if he returned to America today, almost 200 years later? What types of institutions, dynamics, and processes animate American political life in the twenty-first century? With Tocqueville as a guide to thinking about political ethnography, this course investigates four central elements of political life--religion, education, difference, and crime and punishment--that simultaneously pose problems for and represent sites of progress in American democracy. For each subject, we will ask several key questions. How has that particular aspect of political life changed in the recent past? How might it change in the near future? Does it conform to how American politics is designed to work? To how we want American politics to work? Using a diverse set of readings drawn from empirical political science, contemporary democratic theory, American political thought, historical documents, political punditry (from the left and the right), and current events, our focus, like Tocqueville before us, is on teasing out both the lived experience--the character and challenges--of American democracy and examining any disconnect between that experience and the ideals that undergird it. Among the many specific questions we will consider are whether particular religious traditions might be incompatible with democratic values, the extent to which recent changes in higher education have affected the health of democratic politics, the effects of ideological polarization on democratic discourse, and the place of the jury system in securing democratic justice. Throughout the semester, we will not only approach these questions from the joint perspectives of theory and practice but also seek to enrich our understanding by exploring American democracy as it happens all around us with several exercises in the community at large. [ more ]

LEAD 311(F)Congress

Even before the pandemic, scholars, pundits, and the public thought Congress was in a state of crisis. Riven by polarized partisanship and gridlock, the most powerful assembly in the world seemed incapable of representing citizens and addressing problems. This seminar focuses on how Congress organizes itself to act as a collective body. In an organization comprised of equals, how and why do some senators and representatives acquire more power and authority than others? How does Congress act as an institution and not just a platform for 535 individuals? Why does Congress not act, especially when the U.S. confronts so many pressing problems, and how do legislators justify inaction? In what ways does this institution promote or hinder the legitimacy, responsiveness, and responsibility expected of a democratic governing institution? [ more ]

LEAD 312 T(S)American Political Thought

From democracy to liberty, equality to community, foundational ideas -- about what makes for good government, about what constitutes the good society, about what is necessary to lead a good life -- define the American political tradition and consume the American political imagination. Designed not only to uncover these (sometimes melodious, sometimes cacophonous) values but also to place current ideological debates about them in a broader developmental context, this tutorial will offer a topical tour of American political thinking from the birth of nationalism in the colonial period to the remaking of conservatism and liberalism in the early twenty-first century. Utilizing primary source material ranging from presidential speeches to party platforms, newspaper editorials to novels, we will seek to interrogate -- reconciling where possible, distinguishing where necessary, interpreting in all instances -- the disparate visions and assessments of the American political experience offered by politicians, artists, intellectuals, activists, and ordinary citizens over the course of more than two centuries. Our focus, then, is nothing less than the story of America -- as told by those who lived it. [ more ]

LEAD 314How Change Happens in American Politics

Last offered Spring 2020

Does the rise of Donald Trump signal something new in the U.S.? How unprecedented is the current political moment? What might we expect to come next? From the Founding to the present, the American political order has undergone incredible, cataclysmic and thoroughgoing transformations, yet it has also proven to be remarkably enduring. How can this be? Where do we find continuities and where upheavals? What accounts for the continuities, and what for the changes? What sorts of transformations have been possible, and who or what has made them possible? Finally, what are the costs of change (and of continuity)--and who pays them? The goal of this course is to assess American political change, or lack of, and to gain a sense of the role that individual leaders have played in driving change. We will examine when and how individuals and leadership have mattered vis-à-vis broader historical and contextual factors, including economic developments, demographic change, and constitutional and institutional parameters. After examining general models of change and of leadership, we will consider specific case studies, such as civil rights for African-Americans, gender equality, labor demands, social conservatism, and populism. We will consider some of the complicated legacies of change. Finally, we will look at arguments that America has been "exceptional"--or, unlike other countries--as well as critiques of these arguments, to help us gain an understanding of future prospects for political transformation. [ more ]

LEAD 315(S)Parties in American Politics

Political parties have played a central role in extending democracy and organizing power in the United States, yet their worth is a continuing subject of debate. Parties have been celebrated for linking citizens to their government and providing the coherency and unity needed to govern in a political system of separated powers. Yet they have also been disparaged for inflaming divisions among people and grid-locking the government. Critics of the two-party system have castigated the major parties for failing to offer citizens meaningful choices; the Republican and Democratic parties are likened to a choice between "tweedledee and tweedledum." This course will investigate this debate over parties by examining their nature and role in American political life, both past and present. How and why have the parties changed over time? Throughout the course, we will explore such questions as: What constitutes a party? For whom do they function? Why a two-party system, and what role do third parties play? Is partisanship good or bad for democracy? For governance? How does partisanship become tribalism or hyper-partisanship, and can this be prevented? We will seek answers to these questions both in seminar discussion and through substantial independent research projects. [ more ]

LEAD 319(F)Angela Davis: Political Theory, Activism, and Alliances

This seminar examines the political thought, activism, and iconography of abolitionist Angela Davis. The seminar involves a critical engagement with the philosopher, former political prisoner, and their relationship with other theorists, authors and activists. Readings include: Angela Davis: An Autobiography; Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson; The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis; Women, Race, and Class; If They Come in the Morning. [ more ]

LEAD 320Heroes and Villains: Iconic Leadership and the Politics of Memory

Last offered Fall 2018

Americans have been arguing intensely in recent years about how we should remember the leaders from our nation's past. Does Thomas Jefferson's statue belong on a university campus? Should college dorms be named for John C. Calhoun and Woodrow Wilson? Should Harriet Tubman's portrait replace Andrew Jackson's on the $20 bill? In this course we will look at how people in the United States and elsewhere have used their leaders' images to hash out larger political issues of national identity, purpose, and membership. Why has historical commemoration gotten so contentious--or has it always been contentious? What's really at stake when we depict our leaders? How (if at all) should we reconcile contemporary morality with historical context in assessing the leaders from our past? To address these questions, we will study portrayals of some of the most famous leaders in American history--including Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Our sources will include political speeches, literature, film, and journalism as well as monuments and museum exhibits; though our examples will be drawn mostly from the United States, our conceptual framework will be transnational. As a final assignment, students will write a 10-12 page paper examining the politics of memory for a leader of their choice. [ more ]

LEAD 321(S)History of U.S.-Japan Relations, 1853-Present

An unabating tension between conflict and compromise has been an undercurrent of U.S.-Japan relations since the 1850s, at times erupting into clashes reaching the scale of world war and at times allowing for measured collaboration. We will explore the U.S.-Japan relationship from the perspectives of both countries with a focus on how culture, domestic concerns, economic and political aims, international contexts, and race have helped shape its course and nature. This course will fulfill the Difference, Power, and Equity requirement by examining not just the diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Japan, but also how various types of interactions have influenced the dynamics of power between these two countries and have shaped the ways in which each country has understood and portrayed the other. [ more ]

LEAD 323From Achilles to Alexander: Leadership and Community in Ancient Greece

Last offered Fall 2018

Visionary, opportunist, reformer, tyrant, demagogue, popular champion: concise characterization of influential leaders is often irresistible. But placing leaders in their much less easily encapsulated political, social, and religious contexts reveals them to be far more complicated and challenging subjects. Among the questions that will guide our study of Greek leadership: Was the transformative leader in a Greek city always an unexpected one, arising outside of the prevailing political and/or social systems? To what extent did the prevailing systems determine the nature of transformative as well as of normative leadership? How did various political and social norms contribute to legitimating particular kinds of leader? After studying such leaders as the "tyrants" who prevailed in many Greek cities of both the archaic and classical eras, then Athenian leaders like Solon, Cleisthenes, Cimon, Pericles, Cleon, and Demosthenes, and Spartans like Cleomenes, Leonidas, Brasidas, and Lysander, we will focus on Alexander the Great, whose unique accomplishments transformed every aspect of Greek belief about leadership, national boundaries, effective government, the role of the governed, and the legitimacy of power. Readings will include accounts of leadership and government by ancient Greek authors (e.g. Homer, Solon, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, all in translation) and contemporary historians and political theorists. [ more ]

LEAD 325The Roosevelt Style of Leadership

Last offered Spring 2020

In this seminar, we will study the political and moral leadership of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. The three Roosevelts transformed and expanded the role of government in American society, bringing about fundamental and lasting change. What were their leadership strategies and styles? How did TR and FDR differ in their approaches to leadership? Were TR's "Square Deal" and FDR's "New Deal" similar? How did Dr. New Deal become Dr. Win-the-War? How did they balance political deal-making with bold, principled leadership? What kind of leadership role did Eleanor Roosevelt play? In addition to studying biographies, their writings and speeches, we will do research using the Proquest data base of historical newspapers, to see history as it was being made. [ more ]

LEAD 327Leadership and Strategy

Last offered Spring 2017

This class is about the role of leaders and statecraft in international relations. In particular, this course examines the relationship between political and military objectives. The aim is to identify and analyze the principal structural and situational constraints--both foreign and domestic--that limit leaders' freedom of action, and which they must manage effectively to achieve their diplomatic and military goals. The course integrates theoretical perspectives related to a range of international security issues--including the causes of war, alliance politics, nuclear strategy, deterrence, coercion, reassurance, misperception, and credibility concerns--with illustrative case studies of decision-makers in action. The basic structure of the class is interdisciplinary; the goal of this approach is to utilize key conceptual arguments to gain greater leverage for the examination of major historical decisions in national security policy. Students will be asked to analyze and evaluate the strategic choices we examine, as well as the process by which they were reached. The primary objective of the course is for students to improve dramatically their understanding of the role of leaders and strategic choice in international relations. [ more ]

LEAD 332New York City Politics from the Blackout to Bloomberg

Last offered Fall 2019

This course examines New York City's political history from the 1970s to the present-a period during which the city underwent staggering economic and social changes. In the mid-1970s, New York was a poster child of urban crisis, plagued by arson and housing abandonment, crime, the loss of residents and jobs, and failing public services. By the early 21st century, the city had largely met these challenges and was once again one of the most diverse and economically vital places on earth-but also one marked by profound inequality. This course will examine how New Yorkers have contested core issues of capitalism and democracy-how those contests have played out as the city itself has changed and how they have shaped contemporary New York. Broad themes will include the city's role as a showcase for neoliberalism, neoconservatism, technocratic centrism, and progressivism; the politics of race, immigration, and belonging; the relation of city, state, and national governments; and the sources of contemporary forms of inequality. Specific topics will include policing, school reform, and gentrification. As the primary assignment in the course, students will design, research, and write a 20-page paper on a topic of their choice. [ more ]

LEAD 336Science, Pseudoscience, and the Two Cultures

Last offered Spring 2018

A famous dichotomy between the sciences and the humanities, and public understanding of them, was laid down by C. P. Snow and has been widely discussed, with ignorance of the second law of thermodynamics compared with ignorance of Shakespeare. In this seminar, we will consider several aspects of science and scientific culture, including how scientific thinking challenges the claims of pseudoscience. We will consider C. P. Snow and his critics as well as the ideas about the Copernican Revolution and other paradigms invented by Thomas Kuhn. We will discuss the recent "Science Wars" over the validity of scientific ideas. We will consider the fundamental originators of modern science, including Tycho, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, viewing their original works in the Chapin Library of rare books and comparing their interests in science with what we now call pseudoscience, like alchemy. We will review the history and psychology of astrology and other pseudosciences. Building on the work of Martin Gardner in Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, and using such recent journals as The Skeptical Inquirer and The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, we consider from a scientific point of view what is now called complementary or alternative medicine, including both older versions such as chiropractic and newer nonscientific practices. We will discuss the current global-climate-change deniers and their effects on policy. We discuss vaccination policy. We consider such topics as GM (genetically modified) foods, the safety and regulation of dietary supplements, and the validity of government and other recommendations relevant to the roles of dietary salt, sugar, and fat in health. We consider the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and reports of UFO's and aliens. We consider the possible effects that superstitious beliefs have on the general public's cooperation in vaccination programs and other consequences of superstition. We will discuss conspiracy theories such as those about the Kennedy assassination, in view of the 2017 release of many documents from the time and the recent book by Alexandra Zapruder, the granddaughter of the person whose on-the-spot movie documented the fatal shot. We also consider a range of dramas that are based on scientific themes, such as Tom Stoppard's Arcadia and Michael Frayn's Copenhagen. [ more ]

LEAD 338 TGarveyism

Last offered Fall 2014

This course explores the life, work, political thought, and activism associated with the Jamaican Pan-Africanist Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the transnational movement--Garveyism--that Garvey ushered into the modern world. We will investigate the founding of Garveyism on the island of Jamaica, the evolution of Garveyism during the early twentieth century across the Americas and in Africa, Garveyism in Europe in the mid-twentieth century, and the contemporary branches of the Garvey movement in our own late modern times. The implications of Garvey's conflict with W. E. B. Du Bois and the subsequent cleavages in political thought and allegiances among their respective adherents will be addressed, along with various other core issues including: the relationship between race, nation, and empire; transnationalism; the meaning of power; notions of leadership; the limitations of understanding Garveyism by the phrase "Back-to-Africa"; the moral philosophy of respect, reparation, and redemption; prophetic political theory; Pan-Africanism; the impact of Garveyism on political theological movements such as the Nation of Islam and Rastafari; women in the Garvey movement; and Garveyite strategies for forging models of political solidarity in dark times. [ more ]

LEAD 348 TThe Black Radical Tradition

Last offered Spring 2019

The black radical tradition is a modern tradition of thought and action begun after transatlantic slavery's advent. Contemporary social science and the humanities overwhelmingly portray it as a critique of black politics in the latter's liberal, libertarian, and conservative forms. This tutorial unsettles that framing, first by situating the black radical tradition as a species of black politics, and second through expanding the boundaries of black politics beyond the United States. Central to the black radical tradition's architecture are inquiries into the concepts of freedom, race, equality, rights, and humanism; meaning of "radical"; the national-transnational relationship; notions of leadership; status of global capitalism; the nexus of theory and praxis; and revolutionary politics. We begin with examinations of these central notions and debates, and then move to investigations of the political thought of four key late modern Afro-Caribbean and African-American thinkers within the tradition: Walter Rodney, Sylvia Wynter, Cedric Robinson, and Angela Davis. [ more ]

LEAD 350(S)Leadership in American Political Development

Major change in American politics takes place when an old political order collapses and a new one emerges to replace it, sometimes through violent struggle. Before the Civil War and Reconstruction, for example, states enjoyed autonomy over most areas of politics--including whether or not to maintain slavery. Afterwards, the Federal Government began to assert itself vis-á-vis civil rights and liberties in ways it had never previously done. Relatedly, before the Great Depression, state government basically managed their own economies; but the New Deal gave the federal government power to create and manage a new, national economy. What are the deep sources of these architectonic changes? Who or what is responsible for them? And what is the best way to study them? This course will survey the alternative and competing ways in which leading thinkers and scholars answer these questions. Some argue that dynamic individuals--such as Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt--drive political change, and that change would not happen without such leaders. Others contend that these so-called "leaders" are themselves mere bi-products of impersonal forces, such as party realignments, critical elections, and social, economic, and technological changes. Our goal will be to understand these theories on their own terms, and then to evaluate them with reference to some case studies from American history. To this end, we will study theoretical writings but we will also read selections from histories and biographies that draw a more intimate, nuanced picture of the leaders, groups, and personalities involved in America's most transformative political moments. [ more ]

LEAD 355 TAmerican Realism: Kennan, Kissinger and the American Style of Foreign Policy

Last offered Spring 2017

George Kennan is widely considered to be the author of the containment strategy that ultimately won the Cold War. Henry Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. In addition to their distinguished careers in government, both men have published well regarded and popular scholarship on various aspects of American foreign policy, international relations, and nuclear weapons. This tutorial will first examine the nature of their relationship to both Realist and Wilsonian perspectives on American foreign relations. We will then examine their experiences as strategists and policymakers during the most crucial moments of the Cold War. One of the key questions we will seek to answer is why Kennan and Kissinger disagreed on so many important issues, ranging from the Vietnam War to the role of nuclear weapons, despite their shared intellectual commitment to Realism. Finally, we will also examine some of the more recent biographies of both men, including John Lewis Gaddis's Pulitzer prize-winning George F. Kennan: An American Life and Niall Ferguson's Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist. [ more ]

LEAD 360The Political Thought of Frantz Fanon

Last offered Fall 2019

Martinican psychiatrist, philosopher, and revolutionary Frantz Fanon was among the leading critical theorists and Africana thinkers of the twentieth century. Fanon ushered in the decolonial turn in critical theory, a move calling on those both within and outside of Europe to challenge the coloniality of the age and to forge a new vision of politics in the postcolonial period. This course is an advanced seminar devoted to a comprehensive examination of Fanon's political thought. We will begin with an analysis of primary texts by Fanon and end by considering how Fanon has been interpreted by his contemporaries as well as activists and critical theorists writing today. [ more ]

LEAD 362 T(S)The Wilsonian Tradition in American Foreign Policy

During and after the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson developed an approach to international relations that challenged the dominant assumptions of Realism. Instead of a world order marked by alliances, arms races, and wars, Wilson offered a vision of a peaceful world and the rule of international law. While America ultimately rejected the League of Nations, the Wilsonian tradition has continued to exert a powerful influence on scholars and policymakers. This tutorial will intensively examine Wilson's efforts to recast the nature of the international system, the American rejection of his vision after the First World War, and the reshaping of Wilsonianism after the Second World War. We will spend equal time in the tutorial on both the theoretical and historical dimensions of Wilsonianism. [ more ]

LEAD 365U.S. Grand Strategy

Last offered Spring 2015

This course examines how U.S. leaders have conceived of their nation's place in the world and sought to use power to achieve national objectives. We will consider military affairs, economics, and diplomacy, but the class is mostly concerned with ideas. How have leaders from James Madison to George W. Bush thought about U.S. vulnerabilities, resources, and goals, and how have those ideas influenced foreign policy decisions? How did key leaders balance competing objectives and navigate difficult international circumstances? Which leaders were successful in managing U.S. statecraft, and which were not? Which leaders developed coherent grand strategies? What lessons might we derive for our own times from studying this history? The course will sweep across American history but will not attempt to be exhaustive in any way. Rather, it will focus on certain moments that highlight changing grand strategic thought. We will carefully consider, for example, the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, continental expansion in the Manifest Destiny period, the Civil War, overseas expansion in the late nineteenth century, the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, the Second World War, the Cold War, and the "War on Terror." Possible texts include Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers; Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History; George Kennan, American Diplomacy; Richard Immerman, Empire for Liberty; Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy; James McPherson, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief; and a collection of primary sources. [ more ]

LEAD 369The Crisis of Leadership

Last offered Spring 2018

It is now a commonplace that the liberal democracies of Europe and North America (and beyond) are facing a "crisis of leadership." In country after country, champions of cosmopolitan values and moderate reform are struggling to build sufficient popular support for their programs. These failures have created space for a politics of populism, ethno-nationalism, and resentment--an "anti-leadership insurgency" which, paradoxically, has catapulted charismatic (their critics would say demagogic) leaders to the highest offices of some of the largest nations on earth. In this course, we will seek to understand the challenges liberal, cosmopolitan leadership has encountered in the 21st century and the reasons why populist, nationalist leadership has proven resurgent. We will begin by examining institutional constraints facing political leaders: globalization, sclerotic institutions, polarization, endemic racism, and a changing media environment. Then we will look at some important factors which shape how followers approach would-be leaders: inequality and economic precarity; identity and group consciousness; notions of membership, community, and hierarchy; and declining local institutions. Our primary questions will be these: Why is transformative leadership so difficult today? How does political leadership in the 21st century differ from leadership in earlier eras? What conditions are necessary to sustain effective leadership in the contemporary world? [ more ]

LEAD 389(S)The Vietnam Wars

This course explores Vietnam's twentieth century wars, including an anti-colonial war against France (1946-1954), a massive Cold War conflict involving the United States (1965-1973), and postcolonial confrontations with China and Cambodia in the late-1970s. Course materials will focus primarily on Vietnam's domestic politics and its relations with other countries. Lectures, readings, films, and discussions will explore the process by which Vietnam's anti-colonial struggle became one of the central conflicts of the Cold War, and examine the ramifications of that fact for all parties involved. The impact of these wars can hardly be overstated, as they affected the trajectory of French decolonization, altered America's domestic politics and foreign policy, invigorated anti-colonial movements across the Third World, and left Vietnam isolated in the international community. Students will read a number of scholarly texts, primary sources, memoirs, and novels to explore everything from high-level international diplomacy to personal experiences of conflict and dramatic social change wrought by decolonization and decades of warfare. [ more ]

LEAD 397(F)Independent Study: Leadership Studies

Leadership Studies independent study. Permission of the chair of Leadership Studies required. [ more ]

LEAD 398(S)Independent Study: Leadership Studies

Leadership Studies independent study. Permission of the chair of Leadership Studies required. [ more ]

LEAD 402(S)The Art of Presidential Leadership

In this seminar, we will focus on the leadership skills, strategies, successes and failures of some of the greatest American presidents--Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan--as well as some of the most controversial--Lyndon Johnson and Nixon. We will investigate how these presidents developed as leaders before as well as after their election to the presidency. How did they determine their goals and assemble their leadership teams? How did they mobilize followers and connect with them? What challenges did they face and what principles guided them? What failures did they meet and why? Readings will include correspondence, speeches, and biographies. Students will make extensive use the Proquest data base of historical newspapers to study history as it was being made. [ more ]

LEAD 412 T(F)Gandhi: History, Ideas and Legacy

This course studies the life, work, and ideas of M.K. Gandhi (1869-1948), one of the most influential thinkers of the non-western world. Gandhi is well known today for his philosophy of non-violent resistance and its application in India's freedom struggle as well as his influence on the work of leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Hailed as the 'father of the Indian nation', however, Gandhi is not only known for his political ideas but also for his deep engagement with aspect of everyday human behavior and morality: truth, vegetarianism, sex and celibacy, to name just a few of his obsessions which contributed to making his broader philosophy. It is this commitment to a morally pure life that earned him the title of 'Mahatma' or Great Soul in India. This tutorial will focus on three key aspects of Gandhi: his ideas of peaceful protest as means of social and political change, his contemplations on moral philosophy, and on his legacy in modern India and the world. Students will read a combination of Gandhi's own writings as well as journal articles, monographs and films. The course will probe questions such as: What was the context and nature of Gandhian nationalism? Did it help to integrate the Indian nation? Was Gandhi truly a Great Soul, a saint or a shrewd politician? In what ways is Gandhi received and remembered by the Indian nation today? How does understanding a figure like Gandhi facilitate our understanding of modern nationalism, citizenship and political action? [ more ]

LEAD 420(F)Senior Seminar: The Nuclear Revolution

This is a course about international politics in the nuclear age. In broad terms, it focuses on a very basic question: Does international politics still work essentially the same way as it did in the prenuclear era, or has it undergone a "revolution," in the most fundamental sense of the word? The structure of the course combines political science concepts and historical case studies, with the goal of generating in-depth classroom debates over key conceptual, historical, and policy questions. Classes will be taught remotely. The basic format of the course will be to combine very brief lectures with detailed class discussions of each session's topic. The course will begin--by focusing on the Manhattan Project--with a brief technical overview of nuclear physics, nuclear technologies, and the design and effects of nuclear weapons. The course will then examine the following subjects: the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan; theories of the nuclear revolution; the early Cold War period; the development and implications of thermonuclear weapons; the Berlin and Cuban missile crises; nuclear accidents; nuclear terrorism and illicit nuclear networks; the future of nuclear energy; regional nuclear programs; preventive strikes on nuclear facilities; nuclear proliferation; and contemporary policy debates. [ more ]

LEAD 464The United States and the Vietnam War

Last offered Spring 2016

U.S. involvement in Vietnam affected nearly every aspect of American life, including the country's overall foreign policy, its military strategy, the relationship between various branches of government, the nation's political trajectory, the role of media in society, youth culture, race relations, and more. This seminar explores America's war in Vietnam and its dramatic ramifications at home and abroad. We will evaluate the Vietnam War era as a turning point in U.S. history--and in the role of the U.S. in the world--by reading and discussing a number of scholarly works on domestic and international aspects of the conflict. Students will develop an original research topic and research and write a 20- to 25- page paper, based in primary sources, on one aspect of America's Vietnam War. [ more ]