Classes and Syllabi

Graduate Courses

Cultures of Globalization (190.650)
This course is a limited survey of globalization characterized, first, by the interpenetration across the globe of public and private lives, systems of production and distribution, and modes of governance and, second, by the concurrent (re)organization of power, knowledge, and identities.  The course is based on the  basic assumption that, although contingent, globalization is the result of many human events that can be likened to ‘cultures.’ These ‘cultures’ are complex social phenomena dependent upon practices, habits, rituals, and ideologies that originate from specific loci but nonetheless influence, inspire, and/or engage other entities across the globe.

The Institutes and Conventions of Human Rights (190.635)
This course is a graduate introduction to the origins and evolution of human rights discourses, particularly the need to protect human faculties as means to endowing subjects with the capacities to lead productive and dignified life.  While the course upholds the veracity of the idea that human collectives everywhere have sought historically to necessarily protect certain human faculties through moral institutes, it does not share the view that any particular conventions of human rights capture the full spectrum of moral institutes associated with moral and political subjectivity and the ennobling of human existence across time and space.  The course therefore subscribes to the idea that there exist globally shared moral institutes purporting to protect human faculties in order to ennoble human existence.  It also maintain that these institutes may be loosely translated or likened to human rights for the purpose of political discourses. Still, the course rejects the sufficiency and universality of modern conventions of human rights, which are all (without exceptions) parochial and ideologically-laden.  Such conventions are intricately linked historical conceptions of moral and political subjectivity, desiring the protection of particular faculties as means to development the capacities required for its existence.

Sovereignty (190.649)
This course is a section of a four-part seminar spanning the period around 1492 to the present.  It has three basic aims. The first is to present a genealogical view of global politics and its central concepts: sovereignty, state, empire and imperialism, international society and institutions, and globalization. The second aim of the course is to discuss disciplinary modes of inquiry of these entities through scientific, philosophical, literary, historical approaches and their claims to truth and value; rationalism and objectivity; passion and subjectivism.  The final objective is to examine the political and ideological dimensions of disciplinary representations of the imperatives of international relations: security dilemmas, interdependence, collective good and the like.

Nations, Imperialism and Decolonization (190.667)
Structured around the historical advent of imperialism and decolonization, this course places special emphasis on the emergence of ethnically-based national identities within heterogenous territories, including empires and colonial domains. The course necessarily stresses the modernity of the concept of nations (and its attendant conceptions of sovereignty, territorial boundaries, and justice) while exploring alternative articulations of communal identity prior to and/or concurrent with modern manifestations of nation and nationalism. We will examine different imaginaries and teleologies of “collective memory”, “religion”, and “geography” which define the ethical dimensions and temporal horizons of “citizenship”, and, therefore, inclusion and exclusion, toleration, antagonisms, and conflicts in international politics today. We will also explore the political alienation of colonial peoples from European political forms as well as the limits of decolonization as liberating events. Theoretical perspectives include liberal/modernist, postmodernist, and postcolonial theories.

State, Empire and Society (190.660)
This course is the second of a four-part seminar, entitled Ordering the Universe, that spans the period around 1492 to the present. The general seminar has three basic aims. The first is to present a genealogical view of global politics and its central concepts: sovereignty, state, empire and imperialism, international society and institutions, and globalization.  The second aim of the course is to discuss disciplinary modes of inquiry of these entities through scientific, philosophical, literary, historical approaches and their claims to truth and value; rationalism and objectivity; passion and subjectivism.  The final objective is to examine the political and ideological dimensions of disciplinary representations of the imperatives of international relations: security dilemmas, interdependence, collective good and the like.

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