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Course Descriptions

Foundational Courses


Inquiry in Politics and Policy - GOVT 4998 / ALS 4998 / AMST 4998 / CAPS 4998 / PAM 4060 / NS 4998



Experiential Learning in Global and Public Health in Washington, DC -NS 4997


Elective Courses

Fall 2020

US and the Middle East - NES 3687 / JWST 3687 / HIST 3687 / GOVT 3687 / AMST 3687

Enduring Global and American Issues - GOVT 3071

Global Health Security and Diplomacy - STS 3231 / BSOC 3231 

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

International Trade Theory and Policy  - ECON 4510 

Leadership in Public Affairs - PADM 5118 

Islamophobia - NES 3523 / RELST 3523

Nineteenth Century Art and Culture  - ARTHST 4171 

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



Spring 2020

Nineteenth Century Art and Culture  - ARTHST 4171

International Trade Theory and Policy  - ECON 4510

American Shakespeare - PMA 2683 / ENG 2983 / AMST 2983

Enduring Global and American Issues - GOVT 3071

History of the US Senate - HIST 4030 / AMST 4218 / GOVT 4218

Implementation and Impact in Global and Public Health - NS 4800

Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Case Studies from Sub-Saharan Africa to Israel and the Palestinian Territories - STS  / JWST / NES / ASRC 4721 /GOVT 4723 / DSOC 4721 / IARD 4721

Making Science Policy: The Real World - STS / GOVT 4451



Nineteenth Century Art and Culture
4 credits
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.


CAPS3000 / HIST3391 / ASIAN STUDIES 3305
Seminar on American Relations with China

4 credits
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. Enrollment limited to CAPS participants.


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

4 credits
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.


ECON 4510
International Trade Theory and Policy
4 credits
S. Suranovic
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 3030 or permission of the instructor.


NES 3687 / JWST 3687 / GOVT 3687 / AMST 3687 / HIST 3687
US and the Middle East 
4 credits
R. Brann
This seminar examines the history of the United States' involvement with Middle East beginning with evangelical efforts in the 19th century and President Wilson's engagement with the colonial powers in the early 20th century during and after WWI. The discovery of vast Middle Eastern oil reserves and the retreat of the colonial powers from the region following WWII drew successive US administrations ever deeper into Middle Eastern politics. In due course the US became entrenched in the post-colonial political imagination as heir to the British and the French especially as it challenged the Soviet Union for influence in the region during the Cold War. And that only takes the story to the mid-1950s and the Eisenhower administration.

Our discussions will be based on secondary readings and primary sources as we interrogate the tension between realist and idealist policies toward the Middle East and trace how these tensions play out in subsequent developments including the origins and trajectory of the US strategic alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey and conflict with Iran adter the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the two Gulf Wars. 


GOVT 4998 / ALS 4998 / AMST 4998 / CAPS 4998 / PAM 4060 / NS 4998
Inquiry in Policy and Politics
4 credits
D. Silbey
This required course forms the core of the Cornell in Washington academic program. The foundational skill of both politics and policy is taking knowledge, analyzing it, figuring out how to convert it into action. This course aims to give students the experience and understanding of how this process of knowledge into action works. Students will undertake a substantial research project in a topic related to or affected by politics and/or policy (broadly defined), and examine it through a variety of approaches and disciplines. The main goal is to understand the issue, analyze what is going on, and evaluate what options are available to respond.  The idea is to not only define and examine the issue, but also think how to create and implement a solution. To do this, students will examine their issue using multiple  forms of inquiry (normative, empirical, and policy analysis) to see what each of these reveal and to see how their chosen form of inquiry shapes their results. CAPS students must do a topic that is related to Asia. GPHS students must do a topic that is related to global and public health.

GOVT 3071
Enduring Global and American Issues
4 credits
D. Silbey
The US and the global community face a number of complex, interconnected and enduring issues that pose challenges for our political and policy governance institutions and society at large.  These include sustainability, social justice, technology, public health, security and conflict, and globalization, among others. Students will investigate these issues, and the challenges they pose, through weekly case studies, class discussions, lectures and guest speakers, guided by a number of robust and generalizable analytical frameworks. The Fall 2020 Issues course will pay particular attention to the presidential election and its effect on the larger issues we study.


HIST 4030
History of the US Senate
4 credits
K. Scott
Would you like to know more about the U.S. Senate? Why, for example, does it have the sole power to try all impeachments? In this history course we will explore the Senate’s evolution, from its constitutional origins to the modern era. Assigned readings will examine the Senate’s powers and responsibilities, including its advice and consent role in nominations, its oversight responsibilities, and its role in impeachment trials. We will discuss themes of continuity and change, consider the role of individual senators as change agents, discuss the nature of leadership, and debate the filibuster.  In addition to general class reading, discussions, and exams, each student will write a short paper, and participate in an oral presentation.


NES 3523 / RELST 3523
4 credits
R. Brann

Islamophobia is an idea and like all ideas it has a history of its own. Although today many might think of Islamophobia as unchangeable - fear of and hatred for Islam and Muslims - the ideas and the social and polictical practices informed by it has varied greatly over time and place. It even intersected with Judeophobia during the Middle Age and in Ottoman times when "The Jew" was frequently represented as allied with "The Muslim". The first part of this courses traces the history, trajectory, and polictical agency of Islamophobia in texts and other forms of culture from the seventh century to modern times. The second part of the courses is devoted to modernity and the present especially in Europe and the United States focusing on representational practices - how Muslims/Islam are portrayed in various discourses including the media, film and on the internet. We will investigate how these figures (the Muslim) seve as a prism through which we can understand various social, polictical and cultural processes and the interests of those who produce and consume them. 


Implementation and Impact in Global and Public Health
4 credits
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

4 credits
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).


PMA 2683 / ENG 2983 / AMST 2983
American Shakespeare
4 credits
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
4 credits
J. Rao
This course analyzes the development of U.S. 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, including advocacy, science and technology policy, national security, U.S. diplomacy and sustainable development.  Topics covered include food security, gender disparity, violent extremism, and sustainable development . Emphasis is placed on the current U.S. administration's national security and foreign policy agenda and the contrast with past administrations. The course will give each student an insiders look on current policy making in Washington, as well as hone practical skills for life beyond college.


STS 4451
Making Science Policy: The Real World

4 credits
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.


STS  / JWST / NES / ASRC 4721 / GOVT 4723
Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Case Studies from Sub-Saharan Africa to Israel and the Palestinian Territories

4 credits
C. Leuenberger
This course brings together information produced by academics and policy-makers that pertains to issues of conflict, peace and reconciliation with a particular focus on Israel and the Palestinian Territories as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. Both of these regions exemplify how various issues ranging from resource management to socio-psychological dynamics can exacerbate conflicts, and they also exemplify how transborder collaboration,  civilian peace building efforts, and science diplomacy (amongst others) can become crucial tools for peace building and development. In this course we will engage and work with with policy-makers and local stakeholders involved in initiatives for peace, reconciliation and development in the Washington D.C area as well as internationally. During the Spring 2020 semester, Professor Leuenberger will be offering a field trip to East Africa. To learn more, please click here


PADM 5118
Leadership in Public Affairs

3 credits
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.