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Course Descriptions

Core Courses

Politics and Policy: Theory, Research and Practice - GOVT 4998 / AMST 4998 / PAM 4060


Research Seminar in American Studies - AMST 4997 / HIST 4998

For GPHS majors only:

Experiential Learning in Global and Public Health in Washington, DC -NS4997


Global and Public Health Policy and Politics -NS 4998

Elective Courses

Fall 2017

American Shakespeare  - PMA 4190 / ENGL 4291 / AMST 4194

Economic Analysis of the University  - ILRLE 6480 / ECON 3420

Growth and Development: Theory and Practice - CRP 3854 / GOVT 3494

International Trade Theory and Policy  - ECON 4510

Leadership in Public Affairs

Nineteenth Century Art and Culture  - ARTHST 4171

Seminar on American Relations with China - HIST 3391 / CAPS 3000 / ASIAN STUDIES 3305


American Shakespeare  - PMA 4190 / ENGL 4291 / AMST 4194

Global Health Security and Diplomacy - STS 3231 / BSOC 3231

International Trade Theory and Policy  - ECON 4510

Making Science Policy: The Real World - STS 4451

Nineteenth Century Art and Culture  - ARTHST 4171

Strategic Thinking - AEM 4195




AEM 4195
Strategic Thinking

A. Hugill
The art of thinking strategically puts outdoing one's adversary at the core of the decision-making process, while anticipating that the adversary is doing exactly the same thing. Businesses make investment decisions and innovate products in anticipation of the reaction of their rivals; managers make pay contingent on peer performance, taking into account the reaction of their subordinates and superiors; national trade policies are formulated based on whether trading partners are committed to make credible concessions. This course introduces and explores the use of game theory to understand these interactions; students are expected to work with a balanced dose of both theory and relevant case studies. The objective of the course is to facilitate students' ability to think strategically on firm level issues (e.g., pricing, advertising wars, product differentiation, and entry deterrence) and strategic policy interaction in international economic relations (e.g., trade wars and the arms race).

AMST 4997 / HIST 4998
Research Seminar in American Studies

D. Silbey
Required of all Cornell in Washington students pursuing the American experience option.  The course attempts to understand the American experience by looking at the history and culture of the United States, using a wide range of historical works, memoirs, and literature.  Each semester focuses on a particular aspect of the American experience.  There are weekly discussions that investigate the American experience, and explore the methodologies of the disciplines associated, such as American studies and history.  Students pursue an individual research project based on the resources available in Washington.

Nineteenth Century Art and Culture
E. Denker
This course is an examination and analysis of the major trends in art from Neoclassicism and Romanticism through Post Impressionism and the dawn of the twentieth century.  Lectures and readings will concentrate on the historical context of great masterpieces by seminal artists.  The class will investigate the imagery and theoretical foundation of nineteenth-century European and American art using a selection of appropriate methodological approaches. Major figures to be discussed include David, Copley, Goya, Delacroix, Courbet, Cole, Manet, Morisot, Monet, Degas, Cassatt, Sargent, Eakins, Homer, Rodin, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, and Toulouse-Lautrec.  Part of each class will be devoted to discussions of the readings.  Two classes will be held in the National Gallery of Art at times and dates to be determined.  Exams, two short papers, and class participation will be used for evaluative purposes.

Eric Denker is the Senior Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, where he has been since 1978. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Cornell University’s CIW Program, Dr. Denker frequently lectures in Italy for the Smithsonian Institution and for the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice. Read more...

Seminar on American Relations with China

C. Watson
A historical review of the fragile and volatile US - China relationship  from the opening by Richard Nixon in the early 1970’s until the present.  Several individual sessions will be led by current or former executive branch or congressional officials, business people, journalists, representatives of non-governmental organizations and others who have worked in China or have participated in the making of US policy toward China.

CRP 3854 / GOVT 3494
Growth and Development: Theory and Practice

D. Fridl
This course approaches the major theories of growth and development and tracks their effect on countries and regions from around the world. We will look at three distinct stages of development that countries/regions went through, or find themselves in: 1) undeveloped (often accompanied by erratic and small growth); 2) developing (often accompanied by sustained but somewhat erratic growth); 3) developed (usually accompanied by small but steady, and more predictable growth). Policy makers in undeveloped and developing countries/regions will look to make the transition to development, while policy makers in developed countries/regions will look for ways to sustain long-term growth. Over time, most countries have managed some measure of growth, but only relatively few have managed the transition to the developed stage. Furthermore, the distance between the richest and poorest countries has increased continuously. We will look at some of the reasons why these discrepancies persist. As we examine these and other broad trends, we will pay particular attention to the social consequences of these trends.  In addition, throughout the course, we will be considering the policies and actions of both national and international development institutions as they reflect, or not, the major theories in the field.

Daniella Fridl is an experienced researcher, professor and practitioner in the field of international development, conflict management and international security/terrorism studies. Dr. Fridl’s background includes working at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and the Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Fridl has experience working in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors and academia, as well as international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Read more...

ECON 4510
International Trade Theory and Policy

Surveys the sources of comparative advantage.  Studies commercial policy and analyzes the welfare economics of trade between countries.  Some attention is paid the to the institutional aspects of the world trading system.  Prerequisites:  Economics 1110-1120 and 3130 or permission of the instructor.

ECON 4520
International Monetary Theory and Policy

S. Suranovic
Surveys the determination of exchange rates and theories of balance of payments adjustments. Also explores open economy macroeconomics and analyzes some of the institutional details of foreign exchange markets, balance of payments accounting, and the international monetary system.  Prerequisites:  Economics 1110-1120 and 3140 or permission of the instructor.

GOVT 4998 / CAPS 4998
Politics and Policy: Theory, Research and Practice
D. Silbey
This required course forms the core of the Cornell in Washington program for students in the public policy option.  The central course objective is to provide students with the instruction and guidance necessary to analyze and evaluate their own chosen issue in public policy.  Toward that end, the course has three components:  (1) weekly lectures providing background on the structures and processes of national politics and policy (with a particular focus each semester) as well as training in research methodology; (2) student internships; and (3) individual research papers or projects.  All three components interrelate so as to provide students with a strategy and framework for integrating classroom based learning, field experience and individual research.

ILRLE 6480 / ECON 6400
Economic Analysis of the University

R. Enrenberg
Seeks to illustrate the complexity of decision making in a nonprofit organization and to show how microeconomic analysis in general, and labor market analysis in particular, can be usefully applied to analyze resource allocation decisions at universities. Among the topics covered are financial aid, tuition, admissions policies, endowment policies, faculty salary determination, the tenure system, mandatory retirement policies, merit pay, affirmative action, comparable worth, collective bargaining, resource allocation across and within departments, undergraduate versus graduate education, research costs, libraries, athletics, and "socially responsible" policies. Lectures and discussions of the extensive readings are supplemented by presentations by Cornell administrators and outside speakers who have been engaged in university resource allocation decisions or have done research on the subject.  This course will be taught via video conferencing.

Implementation and Impact in Global and Public Health
D. Pelletier
Improvements in global and public health do not appear commensurate with the billions of dollars invested each year.  This course examines the factors that compromise the impact of finances, policies, programs and interventions in health, nutrition and other sectors, the strategies to address these and the ways in which implementation research can assist.  The course employs a diversity of case studies,  analytical frameworks and classroom discussions to provide a deep understanding of “the implementation problem” and develop analytical skills applicable to a wide range of problems and settings.

Experiential Learning in Global and Public Health in Washington, DC

D. Silbey
This course centers on the student's global and public health internship in Washington DC to engage in an applied and holistic way with the global and public health policy world.  Students will contribute to some work of their host organization and identify a particular global and public health policy issue they have encountered in their internship.  They will analyze this issue in NS 4997 using guidance provided in their ePortfolios and they will do further analysis on it using complementary frameworks and perspectives gained from the policy and politics course (NS 4998).

Global and Public Health Policy and Politics

D. Silbey
This course analyzes the major theoretical ways in which domestic and foreign policy in the United States is understood and evaluated and the politics that influence such policymaking.  Students undertake a major empirical research project on a global and public health issue of their own choosing (which will be the same issue that identify in the internship course, NS 4997), using an appropriate social science methodology supplemented by statistical or qualitative analysis.  The course is designed to 1) give students the larger theoretical context surrounding policy formulation and evaluation, and 2) give them a chance to engage empirically with a specific global and public health issue.

PMA 4190 / ENG 4291 / AMST 4194
American Shakespeare
J. O'Connor
Based upon the beliefs that Shakespeare's plays are for performing, rather than merely reading, and that they have lasted because they are capable of yielding up new and unpredictable meanings to changing ages and divergent cultures, this course considers questions such as: What do we learn about a Shakespeare play when we see it acted? How can two productions of the same play have completely different meanings? In what exciting and revolutionary ways is Shakespeare currently being performed in America and the wider world? Why are Shakespeare 'spin-offs' so popular?

This seminar-based course, in which we watch and share opinions on numerous clips from Shakespeare movies old and new, while also learning something about the history of Shakespeare in America, is for students who have no background in Shakespeare as well as those who are more familiar with his plays.

DC is a vibrant center for Shakespeare, and students will have the opportunity to see live performances at several theaters, including the Shakespeare Theatre's two downtown venues, and the unique Folger Shakespeare Theatre.

STS 3231 / BSOC 3231
Global Health Security and Diplomacy
J. Rao
This course analyzes the development of foreign policy at the nexus of global health and national security in an attempt to better define and understand the evolving concept of “Global Health Security and Diplomacy”. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course covers a broad set of themes and their intersection, including science and technology policy, biodefense and counter terrorism, gender disparity and development, nonproliferation, food security, global health, and U.S. diplomacy. Emphasis is placed on the current U.S. administration's efforts to advance a national security and foreign policy agenda inclusive of global grand challenges. We will also pay particular attention to developing balanced and effective policies on the future of global health security. Course projects will focus on understanding a diversity of world views and perspectives, and develop practical skills in policy, advocacy and effective communication.

STS 4451
Making Science Policy: The Real World

C. Leuenberger
This course focuses on what happens when science meet policy-making. We will specifically focus on: the rise of science diplomacy, the use of science in order to further development goals, and efforts to produce evidence-based foreign policy. We will further focus on currently hotly debated political issues in government affairs, including the politization and militarization of space, the rise of big data, the politics of climate change, and the construction of border walls. As part of this course we will hear from experts in the federal government on how they attempt to integrate science into the everyday workings of governance.

Leadership in Public Affairs
S. Harris
This course for Washington-based CIPA students and undergraduates in the Cornell-in-Washington program addresses the role of leaders and leadership in public and non-profit institutions’ organizational change.  How do people drive change in the government and non-profits?  Our first objective will be to define “leadership” and consider specific leadership approaches (e.g., trait, behavioral, situational, contingency, transformational, visionary, charismatic, service, and cultural).  Our second objective will be place these leadership models in the context of public or public-related organizations in order to examine the models’ and theories’ relevance to those institutions.  Among other writing assignments, students will develop and analyze case studies of leaders in relevant international, federal, state, and local organizations.  Students will be asked to critique their own leadership acuity to determine the model they might follow when given the opportunity to lead in public affairs.  Also, students will be asked to apply leadership theories and concepts to a current issue with which they hope to engage during their Cornell careers or after.  The course will be especially valuable for students considering careers in government agencies, regional, national and international non-governmental organizations, and other non-profit organizations, as well as with private firms that interact with the public and non-profit sectors as a necessary element of their business models. The course will feature lectures, discussions in class and on Blackboard, case studies and short research papers, and a small number of guest speakers.  All students are expected to read all materials thoroughly prior to class and to be well-prepared to discuss readings and other assigned materials with classmates.  Graduate students should expect more challenging assignments as compared to undergraduate students.

Seth Harris served for four and one-half years as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor and six months as Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet.  Harris also worked in the Labor Department during the Clinton Administration as a policy, strategic, management, and legal advisor to both Secretary Alexis Herman and Secretary Robert Reich. Read more...