Courses taught at the University of Minnesota


PA 5801:  Global          Public Policy

COurse description

This course surveys major issues in international affairs.  The first section of the course provides an overview of the main theoretical approaches to understanding international politics.  The second section of the course addresses issues in international security, looking at the causes of interstate war, civil war, and terrorism; the role that the United Nations plays in responding to conflict and violence in the international system; and the prospects for resolving ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria.  The third section of the course considers issues in international political economy, including international trade; economic growth and development; and the role of international institutions such as the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF.  In the fourth part of the course, focusing on contemporary issues in international relations, topics will include the role of international law in international relations; human rights; prospects for international cooperation to resolve environmental problems; and nuclear proliferation.


PA 5890: Political Violence, Conflict,        and War

Course Description

This course examines the causes, dynamics, and resolution of interstate and civil wars. The first section of the course will examine competing arguments regarding the causes of political violence and war, looking at how economic and political grievances may motivate violence; why political leaders may sometimes encourage violence; and what role ethnicity, national identity, and a sense of insecurity play in the initiation of conflict. The second section of the course will look at how wars are fought, with discussions of guerrilla warfare, counterinsurgency strategies, and terrorism. In the third part of the course, focusing on the resolution of conflicts, topics will include international intervention and peacekeeping; negotiated political settlements such as power-sharing and partition; and post-conflict justice strategies such as domestic and international trials and truth commissions. Throughout the course, we will consider a number of different cases of conflict – for example, wars in Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Rwanda, Sudan, Syria, and Uganda.


PA 8005: Doctoral Research Seminar in Public Affairs


Course Description

This course is a seminar intended to aid Ph.D. students in developing a prospectus for a major research project. Depending on the student’s chosen sub-field and progress within the Ph.D. program, the research prospectus may be: a) a dissertation prospectus; b) a research prospectus providing an overview of a three-paper dissertation; c) a research prospectus for one of the three papers in a three-paper dissertation; or d) a research prospectus for a major research project that is not part of the dissertation.  The course will provide tools and a framework for developing a research prospectus, including inclass workshops to provide feedback on drafts of your prospectus. The course addresses topics such as identifying a viable and compelling research question, situating and framing a research project within the existing literature, selecting a methodological approach (or approaches), and developing a strategy for moving forward with the research project.