syllabi are available upon request to sjoberg at ufl dot edu
POS 6716: The Scope and Epistemologies of Political Science (Fall 2017)
This is a course on political epistemology, that is, debates about the logic by which claims to knowledge in political science are made. The scholarly debate over these issues has a number of nodes, from the possibility of knowing at all to differences over explanation, understanding, and/or normativity as ways of knowing. This course introduces primary contemporary approaches to those ways of knowing, and explores paradoxes in claims to know while charting potential paths to making those claims. The syllabus will be available soon.
LAW 6935: Gender, Armed Conflict and the Law (Spring 2017)
This is a seminar that looks to explore the substantive and procedural aspects of gender, armed conflict and the law. With a focus on international law but some attention to the United States, it asks where and how gender appears both in jurisprudence and in legal analysis, and where it remains problematic or unrecognizable. Always starting from the question of what the law sees and how it sees it, the course discusses many of the complications of the law of gender and armed conflict. As it does, it looks to suggest that ‘gender’ is not a euphemism for ‘women,’ and that women can be found many places in armed conflict other than on its sidelines or as its civilian victims. There is, of course, a significant amount of material that cannot be reached in a short seminar – here, notably, women’s peace movements to outlaw war, and the jurisprudence linking domestic violence and terrorism are omitted. These, and other issues, will be discussed and related to the readings that are done in the course. The idea of this course is both to get a wide-frame idea of the legal issues and the substantive dilemmas that they represent, while allowing students to research in-depth an area of particular interest or concern.
POS 6933: The Politics of International Law (Spring 2017; Spring 2014)
This course seeks to provide students with an understanding of the logistics and substance of international law. Pitched at the interdisciplinary intersection of political science and law, it helps students to ask what laws exist in the global political arena and how those laws affect the structure, content, and outcomes of global political interaction. As such, the course explores the legal dimensions of international relations, the nature and development of international law, the subjects of international law, human rights, state and individual responsibility, recognition, jurisprudence, immunities, the International Court of Justice, the United Nations, and international law regarding the use of force.
INR 6208: Advanced International Relations Theory (Spring 2015)
Advanced International Relations Theory is a course designed to engage international relations theory at a deeper level that introductory or subfield courses are able to, and in a more rigorous dialogue that is otherwise available to graduate students. This course number does not have a set curriculum. I’ve elected to make it a course about the cutting edges of current IR theory. Everything on this syllabus was published this decade, if it is published. It covers the range of the spectrum of IR theories – from realist to post-colonialist – yet none of the work fits comfortably into any of the theory ‘boxes’ into which we have often been taught to corral our thoughts. The course is meant to bring each reading into argument and debate individually, and then engage them with each other.
The booklist is: “The End of IR Theory” Special Issue of the European Journal of International Relations. ; Emmanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot, International Practices; J. Samuel Barkin and Laura Sjoberg, eds. Interpretive Quantification; Michael Barnett, Empire of Humanity; Peter Hatemi and Rose McDermott, Man is By Nature a Political Animal; Michael Horowitz, The Diffusion of Military Power; Naeem Inayatullah, Autobiographical IR: I, IR; Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations; Daniel Levine, Recovering International Relations; Sebastian Rosato, Europe United; Thomas Piketty, Capital in the 21st Century; Arlene Tickner and David Blaney, eds. Claiming the International; Lauren Wilcox. Bodies of Violence.
Feminist Theory/International Relations (Spring 2013)
Despite the importance of gender in global politics, gender is still not fully integrated in the academic study of international politics. Feminist approaches are offering new views of a field previously defined as devoid of gender politics. Early IR feminists challenged the discipline to think about how its theories might be reformulated and how its understandings of global politics might be improved if gender were included as a category of analysis and if women’s experiences were part of its subject matter. IR feminists critically reexamined some of the key concepts in the field – concepts such as sovereignty, the state, and security. They began to ask new questions – such as whether it makes a difference that most foreign policy leaders, military personnel and heads of international corporations are men and why women remain relatively disempowered in matters of foreign and military policy. IR feminists have also sought to make women visible as subjects in international politics and the global economy. They draw attention to women’s invisibility and gender subordination in the theory and practice of international politics.
INR 6337: International Security (Spring 2010; Spring 2011)
This seminar introduces M.A. and Ph.D. students to key concepts and approaches in the security studies subfield. The course has three main purposes: (1) to familiarize students with key debates in the security studies subfield; (2) to help students prepare for comprehensive exams in IR; and (3) to help students develop a pedagogical approach for teaching college level security studies courses. The seminar is designed to answer the following questions: What are the root causes of war? When, if ever, is war justified? How do recent changes in military technology and doctrine affect the way that war is fought? How can wars be prevented or at least limited? What can third parties do to help manage or limit wars? Do nuclear weapons make war less likely? In answering these questions, the seminar will examine a number of important issues including diplomacy, strategic coercion, grand strategy, civil-military relations, threat assessment, war initiation, war fighting, war termination, and combat effectiveness.
In evaluating those topics, this course provides inherited understandings of the meaning and content of international security, and juxtaposes those understandings with critical perspectives which question whether Security Studies as traditionally constituted addresses the proper actors, the proper harms, and/or the proper scope. In addition to asking questions about the nature of war, the dimensions of interstate conflict, and military threats from non-state actors, this course explores the possibility that security is appropriately theorized by looking at domestic violence, rape, poverty, gender subordination, and ecological destruction. It suggests that we should broaden not only what security means but who is guaranteed security. Given these ontological interests, this course defines security broadly in multidimensional and multilevel terms – as the diminution of all forms of violence, physical, structural, and ecological; in terms of well-being and survival of the individual and her environment.
INR 6607: International Relations Theories (Fall 2011)
This seminar introduces M.A. and Ph.D. students to the academic (inter)discipline of International Relations (IR). The course has two main purposes: (1) to familiarize students with key debates in IR; and (2) to help students prepare for comprehensive exams in IR. Students who plan to take the comprehensive exam in IR (either at the MA or PhD level) should treat this course and its syllabus not as an exhaustive guide so much as a starting point. To be adequately prepared for the exam, you will need to have a general sense of the discipline, acquired both by following citation trails in this course’s readings and familiarizing yourself with the general IR exam reading list (available online and by request).
This seminar is designed to establish familiarity with IR Theory – looking at IR variously as a subfield of political science, as an interdiscipline, and as a scholarly argument. It asks what IR’s concept of the global is, how IR was established, what paradigmatic approaches to the study of IR exist, how those approaches relate, and how IR theory deals with “real world” global politics.
In evaluating those topics, this course provides inherited understandings of the meaning and content of IR, and juxtaposes those understandings with critical perspectives which question whether IR as traditionally constituted addresses the proper actors, the proper harms, and/or the proper scope. In addition to looking at relations between “great states” and the business of international organizations, this course explores the possibility that the global is appropriately theorized by looking at the margins of global politics, and the lived experiences of the people who populate those margins.