Undergraduate Courses

Israel: Dynamic Society and Global Flashpoint (SIS 150)Syllabus
Ever in the news, Israel is a focal point for key global processes that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries. This course will introduce students to Israel—its people, institutions, social forces, and culture—in the comparative and international context of larger global forces.

The Making of the 21st Century (SIS 201)Syllabus
This course provides a historical understanding of the twentieth century and how the institutions and processes of that century have helped shape the world today. The course is interdisciplinary and helps students develop an overview of how the world came to be what it is. There is a strong emphasis on developing analytical and writing skills to engage complex questions of social, economic, and political change on a global level.

State-Society Relations in Third World Countries (SIS 456/POL S 450)Syllabus
This class will explore how states have come to establish dominant political authority in some cases and, in others, have barely functioned as anything more than a theatrical stage on which national elites portray (rather than project or deploy) power. The course will argue that states are as much shaped by their societies as societies are shaped by their states and that both are deeply affected by the larger global environment. The results for state-society relations are often unexpected outcomes in terms of the distribution of power, the effects of public policies, and the structuring of state and society.

Israel: Politics and Society (SISME 458)Syllabus
Israel is a state within whose borders exists a complex mosaic of ethnic groups and religions. One interesting element about Israeli society, however, is that for years very few Israelis thought of their society as a mosaic. They conceived of it, much like Americans did about their own society several decades ago, as a melting pot that created a fairly homogeneous social core. Arabs were considered permanently outside this core, and immigrant Jews were expected to assimilate into the core. In recent years, the primacy of that core and the image of the archetypical Israeli have been challenged. This course examines how the parts of the mosaic have interacted over time to create today’s Israeli society and how Israelis have thought about and handled the realization that social diversity, not singular acculturation and homogeneity, dominates.

Nations and States in the Modern World (SIS/HIST 467)Syllabus
This class explores the concepts of state and nation historically and in the contemporary era. In particular, it will analyze the myth of the nation-state and how state formation and nation formation have been linked conceptually and historically. Further, this class will explore how states have related to their societies, how the concept of the nation has taken hold, and how political elites have stumbled in gaining national unity.

Task Force on Nation-Building, 2005 (SIS 495)Syllabus
The policy question for this task force is: Where and to what extent should the United States be engaged in nation building abroad? The task force is encouraged to take a broader and more long-term view of the question, suggesting more general criteria for committing future U.S. resources for nation-building efforts. The task force is encouraged to address the extent to which the government should act on its own and to which it should involve partners (thus inevitably relinquishing some control), including international organizations, other countries, U.S. businesses, and NGOs.

Creating the Public in Democracies – Readings in International Studies (SIS 498)Syllabus
In efforts to transcend their sense of individual impotence, people create extended social ties, communities, societies, nations, and common ways of behaving, all of which are infused with deep personal meaning and, at the same time, have huge significance in terms of the world’s security, culture, politics, and economics. Scholars interested in public space, civil society, and personal interaction are interested in how we can understand some of the big issues in International Studies—states, democracies, governance, law, and more—from the bottom-up. They are interested how societies of strangers form bonds and rules for themselves, which go beyond the bonds of citizenship and the social control imposed by the state through law.

Graduate Courses

Comparative International Studies (SIS 501)Syllabus
This course explores a variety of different kinds of analytical approaches to international studies, including works by economists, political scientists, geographers, and sociologists, as well as by a popular culture expert, a specialist in religion, and a literary critic.

Reading Seminar on Middle East Studies (SISME 531) Syllabus
The readings are drawn from suggestions of NMES faculty members, who responded to the exclamation: “What!? You have a graduate degree in Middle East studies and you have not read…!” In other words, the readings are mostly canonical texts in the field but that somehow have been dropped from course syllabi in recent years. A bibliography is appended that consists of other suggestions made by faculty members, which did not make the final cut.

State and Society (SIS/POL S 542)Syllabus
This seminar centers around Migdal’s state-in-society approach, while introducing a variety of 20th and 21st century writers on state-society relations. In recent years, a number of different sub-fields of international studies and political science have paid increasing attention to state-society relations. International political economy, comparative development, comparative political economy, comparative revolutions, ethnicity, nationalism, and other sub-fields have turned increasingly towards state-society approaches in order to explore change and lack of change in politics and social institutions. These approaches reject perspectives that understand patterns of domination and change as fueled preeminently by state policies and structure and, conversely, those that see such patterns as dictated by certain social formations (such as class or plural social groups) without much regard for the independent effect of the state. State-society approaches all understand patterns of domination and social change as deriving from the interactive effects of state and social structures.

Teaching International Studies (SIS 580)Syllabus
The purpose of this course is to help college teachers sharpen their goals and practices in the classroom. In the first half of the quarter, the emphasis will be on discussion of the teacher’s role and methods in classroom instruction (especially sections) and in teaching writing. The emphasis changes in the second half of the quarter to the videotaping of each class member teaching an actual section.