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Course Descriptions

Foundational Courses


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



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

Global and Public Health Policy and Politics -NS 4998


Elective Courses

Fall 2019

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 4190

Migration and the Peopling of America -HIST 4252/AMST 4252

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 4190 / ENG 4291 / AMST 4194 

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.


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.


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 3130 or permission of the instructor.


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.


GOVT 4998 / ALS 4998 / AMST 4998 / CAPS 4998 / PAM 4060
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.


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.


HIST 4252 / AMST 4252
Migration and the Peopling of America
4 credits
K. Benton-Cohen

This seminar offers a hands-on approach to US immigration history from the colonial era to the present. In addition to learning the contours of the surprising history of immigration to the United States from all corners of the world, including the impact of questions of legal status, gender, and race, students will strive to develop a sophisticated sense of the historical context of today’s immigration debates and issues, with the opportunity to learn about these issues in Washington DC. In the late 19th century, for example, the native born often saw Southern Italian, Eastern European Jewish, and Chinese immigrants as threats to their jobs, their health, and their cultural values. Restrictionists in Congress sought to close the door through legislation or administrative regulation. Others, such as settlement house workers, sought to "Americanize" newcomers and assimilate them into the American population. Immigrants were often aware of the double message and sought to negotiate a place in American society that allowed them to succeed economically while retaining their identities. The debate continues today as millions of migrants from Latin America and Asia, documented and undocumented, arrive. After a discussion of indentured servitude and slavery (involuntary migration) this course seeks to examine the perennial debate over voluntary immigration through the eyes of both native-born Americans and through immigrants eyes to the present.


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).


Global and Public Health Policy and Politics

4 credits
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
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