Summer 2022 (University of Freiburg)
How should theory and method pluralism be dealt with? How can causal or constitutive explanatory variables be operationalized and empirically tested? The primary goal of the seminar is to guide students to make independent theoretical and methodological decisions and to develop research designs. This will include the development of research questions as well as the problem of hypothesis formation, the selection and application of methods (from process analysis to content analysis to discourse and metaphor analysis), and how to avoid indeterminate research designs (selection errors, multiplicity of independent variables with limited observations). In addition to teaching the basics of scientific theory, the seminar will focus on qualitative research methods, especially on the method of comparative case studies. What types of case studies are there, what should and can case studies do, and how does one select cases? But other aspects of social science - such as the function and importance of counterfactual considerations or experiments in the political and social sciences - will also be discussed.
The seminar is designed in such a way that theoretical approaches and qualitative research methods are not only presented in the abstract, but the course also trains practical skills by discussing and illustrating what has been learned with concrete examples of national as well as international politics. In addition, there will be the opportunity to present one's own research designs for discussion. Last but not least, the seminar aims to enable participants to develop independent theses.
FOREIGN POLICY ANALYSIS
Spring 2022 (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)
Introduction to the study of how states make and carry out policy pertaining to the "external" world. Theories of decision-making and its antecedents, of agenda structuring, and of interactions among policy makers. Students will explore institutions and individuals responsible for foreign policy decision making while considering different levels of analysis, i.e. the international system, domestic politics, as well as organizational and bureaucratic explanations. Approaches include rational choice analysis; cognitive, developmental, and social psychology; and organizational behavior. This course is both a survey of the FPA subfield and an introduction to how to reason, in written form, about FPA-related questions specifically and political science questions more generally.
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY IN A POLARIZED AGE
Winter 2020 (University of Heidelberg)
Polarization has become a prevalent phenomenon in contemporary American politics. Partisan division, both among the public and political elites, has consumed American democracy, transforming a political system dependent on compromise into one suffused by political hostility, gridlock, and dysfunctional democratic governance. These trends have only become more pronounced with the rise of populism and personal attacks on opposition party members under the Trump presidency.
This course examines the trend lines and consequences of domestic polarization for U.S. foreign policy and global power. Students will explore institutions and individuals responsible for foreign policy decision making while considering factors such as the decline of the ideological center and the distribution of foreign policy preferences; the role of affective polarization and the transformation of the political parties as carriers of foreign policy ideas; as well as changes to the institutions involved in U.S. foreign policymaking, namely Congress and the president. The goal is to obtain a fundamental understanding about the more general forces shaping U.S. foreign policy and apply this knowledge to the contemporary era of polarization.
The course will use readings from both the foreign policy analysis and polarization literatures in order to acquire theoretical and analytical knowledge about how to define, assess, measure, and observe the forces of polarization in U.S. foreign policy execution. Students will engage with a broad variety of polarization data, methods of Foreign Policy Analysis, and empirical cases to identify how U.S. foreign policy has been shaped by polarization.
US GLOBAL HEGEMONY
Summer 2020 (University of Heidelberg)
This course examines the rise and potential decline of the United States as a global hegemon. Students will engage with a wide variety of theoretical approaches to the concept of hegemony in world politics with a particular focus on the academic debate surrounding the current state of US global affairs. The goal is to provide students with advanced theoretical knowledge that allow them to think critically about the stability, transition, and construction of hegemony in the discipline and practice of international relations.
Students will engage with a broad variety of empirical cases. These include, but are not limited to, US military interventions, the U.S. role in global governance regimes, international sanctions practice, as well as the domestic politics of US global hegemony. In addition, cases will explore some of the challenges to U.S. hegemony posed by rising powers and non-state actors. The cases will illuminate general patterns and processes, but also specific strategies and trade-offs of US global hegemony, covering a range of policy areas.
Students are required to regularly present critical summaries of the course’s reading material in class as well as write a longer term paper either during the semester or afterwards (all in English). The course is designed for MA students with basic or advanced knowledge of IR.
REGIONAL GOVERNANCE IN ASIA
Summer 2022 (University of Freiburg)
The goal of this course is to provide students with a theory-based overview of regional governance in the Asia-Pacific since the end of World War II. Participants will learn about the actors and institutions involved in the processes and explore different patterns of conflict and cooperation in Asia-Pacific against the background of different levels of analysis, such as the international system, domestic political structures, and non-state actors.
In addition to acquiring theoretical and analytical knowledge, participants will engage intensively with a wide range of empirical case studies in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the rise of China, the conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan issue, the U.S. pivot to Asia, tensions in the South China Sea, and regional governance structures for regulating and resolving regional conflicts. Both bilateral relations and multilateral institutions are examined and addressed through a variety of policy areas.
THE EUROPEAN UNION AS A GLOBAL ACTOR
Winter 2021 (University of Freiburg)
The seminar offers an overview of the most important theories, debates and topics in International Relations. Various central schools of thought will be presented that have been empirically tested in the field of EU external relations. Students will gain basic analytical knowledge of the sub-discipline of International Relations, preparing them for a critical examination of both theoretical issues and empirical problems. The aim of the seminar is to analyze the EU's external relations in selected policy areas (CFSP/CSDP, trade and development policy, neighborhood policy, human rights and sanctions policy, environmental and migration policy, European External Action Service, etc.). In addition to bi-lateral EU external relations (such as with the BRICS countries), Brussels' inter-regional relations and strategic partnerships with emerging developing regions (ASEAN, Mercosur, African Union, ACP Group of States, etc.) will be examined. Current developments such as the EU's external relations with Belarus or the escalation of the dispute over natural gas fields on the EU's external border between Greece and Turkey will also be discussed.
The following forms of work will be used in the seminar: Overview lectures by the lecturer, papers and short presentations, as well as discussion of the contents of the papers and short presentations in plenary or in small groups. The key skills taught include group work, presentation techniques, rhetoric and expression, argumentation and scientific working techniques.
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY ANALYSIS
Summer 2021 (University of Heidelberg)
This course examines traditional themes and patterns of U.S. foreign policy in the light of the recent presidential election and the new Biden administration. Students will explore institutions and individuals responsible for foreign policy decision making while considering different levels of analysis, i.e. the international system, domestic politics, as well as organizational and bureaucratic explanations. The goal is to obtain a fundamental understanding about the more general forces shaping U.S. foreign policy and apply this knowledge to the Biden presidency.
Besides acquiring theoretical and analytical knowledge, students will engage with a broad variety of empirical cases on how U.S. foreign policy (and international order) has been shaped by the Biden as well as previous administrations, across various policy areas. This includes but is not limited to cases of policy towards pivotal areas such as Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.
The course will use readings, discussions, case studies, and practical examinations to illuminate general patterns and processes, but also specific choices and trade-offs of U.S. foreign policy.
CONFLICT & COOPERATION IN THE ASIA PACIFIC
Summer 2019 (University of Heidelberg)
The goal of this course is to provide students with a theory-based overview of interstate conflict and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region since the end of World War II. Participants will learn about the actors and institutions involved in the processes and explore different patterns of conflict and cooperation in Asia-Pacific against the background of different levels of analysis, such as the international system, domestic political structures, and non-state actors. In addition to acquiring theoretical and analytical knowledge, participants will engage intensively with a wide range of empirical case studies in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the rise of China, the conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan issue, the U.S. pivot to Asia, tensions in the South China Sea, and regional governance structures for regulating and resolving regional conflicts. Both bilateral relations and multilateral institutions are examined and addressed through a variety of policy areas.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 101: US HEGEMONY & GLOBAL ORDER
Winter 2017 (University of Heidelberg)
This course examines themes and patterns of U.S. global power since the end of World War II by drawing on a variety of International Relations theories and concepts. The aim is to familiarize students with the central schools of thought in international politics and to apply and test their assumptions in selected policy areas of U.S. hegemony. How has U.S. hegemony interacted with international order over time and how can we explain change and continuity in U.S. foreign policy? In the first part, students will learn about four grand theories of International Relations, including key terms, propositions, as well as assumptions about international order. In the second part, students will engage with a broad variety of empirical cases of U.S. hegemony and its effect on international order, including international regimes and organizations, military interventions and alliances, global trade, diplomacy and international crises, and human rights. In addition, the course covers U.S. policy towards pivotal areas such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Besides acquiring theoretical and empirical knowledge, students should also develop the skills to critically evaluate and understand the processes behind shifts of U.S. power under the current Trump administration.