Sample Classes

International Politics

IPOL-320 Quantitative Methods for International Politics

The study of social and political phenomena is a vast endeavor and this class will serve as an introduction to quantitative methods for social science research. We will discuss the use of quantitative research methods as a tool to further aid you as researchers of – and participants – in social science research. The progression of this course will address scientific research design and statistics and consider many examples of such research. Students can expect to be introduced to not only the means for conducting rigorous research in social science fields but also the theory that guides the accumulation of knowledge about these phenomena. Its format will be lecture, discussion, active practice, and include formal written submissions. This course will provide students with the analytic tools necessary to understand and perform fundamental quantitative social science research, to identify its limitations and abilities, and to approach quantitative research critically. 

IPOL-388 External Interventions in the Middle East

External Intervention in the Middle East: The Great Game in a vital region. This course will examine the nature and form of external intervention in the Middle East from an international politics and international history perspective. Beginning by looking at the theories of intervention and the ways in which local parties engage with external actors, it will then be separated into two sections investigating the strategic, economic and military motives for intervention in the Middle East. The first will examine the historic clash between great powers in the region before and during the Cold War. It will chart the decline of Britain as the dominant external actor and its replacement by the US in the context of the Cold War. It will also examine how external and local actors have engaged with each other given their different priorities, interests and goals. The second section will look at the role of local non-state actors in the post-Cold War era. Over this period US hegemony in the region, consolidated following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, has been eroded as other external actors, as well as local state and non-state actors have asserted themselves in in order to protect and promote their own interests 

IPOL-385 Contemporary Global Security Issues

The aim of this course is to provide students with an understanding of contemporary security issues in the world as a whole, against the background of wider economic, social, technological and political developments. The course will cover both thematic issues like state failure, terrorism and resource conflict, and specific disputes and conflicts in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Recent events – such as the US ‘war on terror’ – provide the backdrop to this course, and there is flexibility to adjust to any further developments. The lectures and seminars will provide the historical and analytical context for the current debates. Particular attention will be paid to providing an explanation of how a range of different governments and elites around the world understand both global issues and their own national interests. The first part of the course will briefly cover global history in recent centuries, and give students an understanding of how existing patterns and situations came into being. We will then move on to discuss different theoretical approaches to the study of international relations, and certain key factors and concepts (such as nationalism) which will appear frequently in the discussion of different issuesthroughout the course. The second section of the course will discuss specific issues, and the foreign and security policies of different countries, starting with the United States and covering both the factors shaping US strategy as a whole, and US policy in particular regions. The course will then proceed to cover security issues in particular regions, starting with the Middle East, and concerning particular great powers, including India, China and Russia. The final part of the course will deal with a range of trans-national and trans-regional security issues, including organized crime, humanitarian intervention, and environmental change.  

IPOL-386 US Foreign & Security Policy

This course is intended to provide a detailed understanding of the history and contemporary nature of US foreign and security policy, in terms of both general approaches and strategies concerning particular issues and regions. It will introduce students both to the leading academic debates on the underlying motivations and forms of US policy, and to the leading contemporary public debates on what present and future US policies ought to be. The first part of the course will deal with the history of the external relations (both diplomatic and military) of the United States, and US domestic developments insofar as they have shaped external policy: for example, the impact of the Frontier experience and Frontier cultural imaginaries on US attitudes and behavior. The second part will cover the main theoretical approaches and debates concerning the origins and nature of US policy. The third part will deal with US institutions, parties, groups and forces responsible for creating and shaping US foreign and security policy. The fourth part will deal with US policies concerning specific issues, countries and regions of the world, including the past history of US engagement in these areas. The final part of the course will look briefly at the possible future issues and challenges facing US policy, and how the USA is likely to respond and behave.  

Culture & Politics

CULP-045 Theorizing Culture and Politics

Students in this course will examine some of the major theoretical material that is foundational to the CULP major. In particular we will focus on subjects of race, labor, sexuality, nationalism, identity, and culture. Moving across historical moments as well as geographic spaces, we will study how these subjects have been formed and reformed in time and in different contexts and are meaningful in contemporary life and influence how we think about politics, economics, and culture. 

SOCI-134 Women and Development

Women’s experiences are shaped by socioeconomic status, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, and age. This diversity is true not only in our own countries, but globally, and it tremendously influences gender equality and development efforts. Stimulated by the United Nations’ Fourth Women’s World Conference in 1995, reaffirmed in 2005, awareness of the global diversity in women’s experiences and equality struggles continue to grow.We will analyze this global diversity and integrate it with feminist theoretical perspectives on gender and development. Our scholarly journey will explore the evolution of gender and development theories, feminist scholarship, introduce competing theoretical frameworks, and examine new and emerging debates. We will also focus on the implications of theory for policy, social justice and practice in creating a more egalitarian global society.  

THEO-082 Christian-Muslim Dialogue

​Given that Christians and Muslims have been in constant contact from Muhammad’s time to the present day, it comes as no surprise that interactions between the two faiths have centered on a wide range of issues from the theological to the social and political. The first part of this course is designed to introduce the students to the points of contention and intersection between the two faiths in the theological sphere. Topics will include scripture, eschatology, human nature/origins, the purpose and mechanisms of prophecy, and the various understandings of the nature of God. In the second part of the semester, students will be presented with various models for Muslim-Christian cohabitation that have existed throughout the centuries. What are the obligations and restrictions placed upon Christians, “people of the book,” under the “protection” of the Islamic state? What were the motivations – religious and otherwise – behind the Crusades? The course will end with a comparative analysis of how each faith has dealt with issues of contemporary ethical relevance. How are minority rights treated within each faith? How do scholars from each tradition deal with contemporary issues concerning the value of life such as suicide, abortion, and euthanasia? In more general terms, how has each religion regulated the personaland political affairs of its adherents? 

CULP-356 Neoliberalism in Euro Culture

One of the goals of this course is to explore the political and social foundations of French and Francophone cinema. Broadly defined, social realism in cinema means films that deal with the under-represented and/or dispossessed of society and those films that bring to the fore social issues such as migration, poverty, crime, class, gender and age. We will consider the socio-political subject matter of our films in relation to New Realism and the return of the political in Frenchcinema since the mid-1990s. To understand what is at stake in these movies, one needs to approach the broader context in contemporary France and Western Europe. We will do so by readingLuc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello’s book The New Spirit of Capitalism. This work, translated into English in 2007, describes how capitalism has reinvented itself in the 90’s while dismantling the organized working-class in Europe. This process was accompanied by mass-unemployment and by the weakening of welfare state. A reading of Pierre Bourdieu: Firing Back: Against the tyranny of the Market will provide additional sociological and theoretical tools. In this course we will investigate these unfolding social dramas in film and in the critical literature about their representations. Since these works in European contexts possibly contain unfamiliar behavior and meaning to students at SFS in Qatar, we will look at how they inform our understanding of European culture, history, social and economic policies. The question we shall also try to elucidate is: how does cinema, as an aesthetic and political form help resist the neo-liberal consensus? Why and how are those films critical of globalization policies and of the consequences of globalization? Our selection of movies includes classics from filmmakers with international profile such as Laurent .Cantet, The Dardennes brothers, Eric Zonca and others. In addition, the class will observe narrative strategies from the former Eastern bloc as well as immigrants from North Africa, all ground-breaking films: these films show us parts of society and facets of human nature that mainstream cinema would typically want us to forget. In this course, opportunities will be offered for analytical explorations of the themes, through class discussions, through the discussions of the required books/articles material, through oral presentations and through 4 comparative papers. 

International Economics

ECON-384 Topics in Trade

Topics in International Economics is a seminar that meets once a week to cover issues that are key to economists and policy makers. The course is split into two parts. The first part of the course covers topics in International Trade and the second part of the course covers topics in International Finance. As you can see from the reading list, most of the topics we deal with in the course from trade(roughly 80%). We start the course by analyzing the outcome of trade policies such as import tariffs, quota, and voluntary export restraints. Then, we examine how trade affects growth, income inequality, the environment, and quality of output. Finally, we show how trade can explain why developed countries are more productive, and why prices in rich countries are higher than prices in poor countries. Next, we move on to International Finance. We study the linkages between globalization and inequality and also discuss whether China should revalue the Renminbi” and analyze global imbalances. Most of the material for the course comes from academic articles and case studies 

ECON-243 International Trade

This course covers the theory and practice of international trade. The first part of the course develops the classical and modern theories of the determination of the pattern of commodity trade between nations. The second part of the course covers trade policy and the role of institutions in managing world trade.  

ECON-121 Economic Statistics

After overviewing descriptive statistics, and the theory of probability and random variables, this course covers statistical inference in detail. Students receive the firm foundation needed for Introduction to Econometrics. Regression analysis, the primary tool for empirical work in economics, is introduced. Electronic data acquisition and computer applications receive hands-on treatment.  

ECON-101 Intermediate Micro

This course covers the basic elements of microeconomic theory including consumer choice, the impact on resource allocation of different market structures ranging from competition to monopoly, game theory, general equilibrium analysis, and asymmetric information. We will focus on equilibrium and optimization throughout. 

International History

HIST-334 Welcome to Paris!

Paris — “the city of light.” Paris – “the city of love.” Paris – “the hub of France”.How could anyone who has visited the city (or heard a great deal about it) not be moved by these images of Paris, or, for that matter, by Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” especially when sung by Maurice Chevalier? Yet none of these images or sentiments would have been articulated in the early centuries of Western civilization. Paris, as we know it today, was created only in the 19th and 20th centuries. This course will examine the evolution of Paris from a crowded and dirty old medieval city into an elegant and modern city, one that became a political, economic and cultural powerhouse by the 19th century. We will start with Paris during the period of the French Revolution and will follow seminal developments up to the post-World War II period, if not beyond. Readings will include both primary and secondary sources, all of which will help illuminate a widely diverse set of topics – the demographics and topography of Paris; political, economic and social realities; disease; prostitution; art, music, architecture; urban reform efforts; the appearance and development of new forms of commercial and social life such as department stores, cabarets, and cafés; and so forth. We will strive, as much as possible, to come to know Paris as Parisians of the past knew it. And, on the first day of the course, we will all adopt first names that Parisians would recognize as supremely French. There will be no exams in this course. The final grade will be based on participation in the twice-weekly discussions on the assigned readings, four to six 300-word reflection papers on certain of the course readings, one or two short class presentations by each student over the course of the semester, and a research paper of 12-15 pages. 

HIST-317 African women’s history

African women’s history has experienced modest growth since Margaret Strobel published what is recognized as the first monograph of the field, Muslim Women in Mombasa: 1890-1975, in 1979. Since then, more monographs have followed in addition to several scholarly papers in both women’s history journals and general African history journals. This literature has enriched African history by broadening its horizons and diversifying its perspectives. The study of literature pertaining to a given area of specialization is a crucial academic endeavor. It permits one to survey the extent of knowledge generated over the relevant period of time, examine its philosophical underpinnings, identify gaps in that knowledge, examine contradictions and confluences in the interpretation of research, and investigate methodological rationales and methodologies. As such this course will introduce you to a wide range of themes in African Women’s History that span regions, time and class as it enables you to engage in the sort of analyses that are necessary for a thorough exercise in historiographical reflection. 

HIST-305 International Perspectives and Global History

Processes of historical change have become increasingly global during recent centuries. This colloquium explores diverse approaches to historical globalization: political, diplomatic, economic, ecological, and cultural. In addition, it examines the relations between globalizing processes and history as it is experienced, discussed, and debated in nations and communities. It asks why historical understandings have focused on national developments, while the forces of change have operated on ever larger scales. 

HIST-122 China I

This course begins a two-part sequence offering a general history of China from the earliest records of Chinese civilization through the first three decades of the People’s Republic. The course is introductory, has no prerequisites, and assumes no prior knowledge of China or its language. The organization of the course is basically chronological, but within that framework we will be approaching China from a wide range of viewpoints, taking up political, economic, social, religious, philosophical, and artistic developments. In this fall semester, we will cover the formation of China’s social, political, and intellectual culture and its development through various dynastic regimes, up through the height of the Qing Dynasty in the late 18th century. The course has two basic goals: (1) to present a basic introduction to the traditions and legacies of the history and culture of China; and (2) to use the specific study of China as a means for developing more general skills in the discipline of historical analysis. Fall. 

Certificate of Arab & Regional Studies

INAF-258 Lebanon’s History, Society and Politics

This course examines the evolution of the Lebanese political system against the backdrop of the changing socio-economic characteristics of the LebaneseRepublic. A refuge for a plethora of sects and open marketplace for ideologies and intellectuals of all stripes, Lebanon has been touted as the historic hub of Arab liberalism. Until this day, Lebanon has managed to retain a vanguard position as the Middle Eastern frontrunner in terms of the scope of press freedoms, the density of schools and universities, the gross number of publications, and the unmatched diversity of political parties and NGOs from the entire spectrum of left and right, religious and secular, Muslim and Christian. And yet: the same country which served as a laboratory for blossoming freedoms and cross-cultural hybridism has conversely been bemoaned as the grisly theatre for the clash of competitive confessionalisms. As the first Arab state to grant women suffrage, Lebanon also became the scene for the first suicide terror attack carried out by a woman. The same Lebanon which saw inter-confessional barriers dismantled during the cosmopolitanism of its gilded age witnessed a return to tribalism and sectarian segregation during a bloody civil war.This course will examine how Lebanon became the ostensible victim of its turbulent environment by situating the fate of the Merchant Republic in its geopolitical milieu; we shall trace the ebb and flow of larger international currents, both political and economical, as they have impacted the inter-communal relations in Lebanon. Likewise, we shall gauge the extent to which direct external interventions and mediations by third parties have accentuated and attenuated domestic conflicts in Lebanon. Lastly, we shall probe how political movements and debates in this small country have in turn exerted a disproportionate influence on the Arab world at large. The enduring political predicaments of the Lebanese Republic and its efforts to balance (consensual) democracy and pluralism form the touchstone for this course. We shall explore why the long legacy of power-sharing and Muslim-Christian cohabitation has not resulted in a more secular political order in twentieth century Lebanon, and whether in fact full laicization and deconfessionalization is a viable nostrum for Lebanon’s fragile but enduring, multi-confessional democracy. Lastly, in response to the seismic upheaval of the 2011 Arab Uprisings, we shall also examine the repercussions of the bloody civil war in Syira on the future of Lebanon’s fragile mosaic.  

ARAB-320 Arab Film

How has Arab cinema transformed our vision of cinema as well as of history since its emergence on the scene in the early twentieth century? This course will survey Arab cinema from different periods and will consider how cinema is used to explore themes such as gender and sexuality, national identity, war, displacement, poverty, urbanization, colonialism, censorship, language and religion. The course will introduce Arab cinema as a vehicle through which themes of social significance in the Arab world and in the diaspora are reflected upon, analyzed, upheld or challenged. In addition to weekly viewings, we will also read critical material in order to analyze films critically and become familiar with the key theoretical elements of modern critical and cultural theory as they apply to film study and criticism. The films screened as part of the course will not only be analyzed from an aesthetic perspective, but also as socially produced narratives that reveal some of the central tensions and concerns of the culture from which they emerged. Students will be introduced to various genres that characterize Arab cinema such as epic, comedy, drama, documentary, musicals, and historical among others. 

ARAB-393 Arabic Sociolinguistics

This course focuses on how Arabic (both the Standard and the colloquial) is used in the different Arab societies of the Arab world. We will study how the variation in how Arabic is used is influenced by different sociological variables such as education, social status, politics, gender, and religion. Topics also include diglossia (native speakers’ use of Standard Arabic and the colloquial), switching between Arabic and foreign languages (code-switching), switching between Standard Arabic and the colloquial (diglossic-switching), and the official status of Arabic and foreign languages in the Arab countries. This course is taught in English.  

Certificate in American Studies

HIST-190 Film and US History

Film has always played an important role in shaping how people understand and interpret the past This course will analyze films as historical texts and will examine what films reveal about the time in which they were made and the historical narratives they seek to put forward about the past. The course will focus on several moments in history to understand how the past has been represented by and shaped Hollywood film, including Native American history, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, WWII, the Cold War, McCarthyism, Vietnam, Civil Rights and the most recent war in Iraq.  

GOVT-226 Religion and Politics

America has been described as a nation with the soul of a church. This course will explore the many ways in which religion and politics interact in the United States. One series of classes focuses on the political leanings of adherents to America’s religion traditions (including but not limited to Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and three strains of Protestantism in the evangelical churches, the African-American churches and the mainline churches) and the history of the engagement of these groups. Other classes focus on particular issues including the rise of religious conservatism and the reemergence of a religious left; the role of religious groups in the movements for social justice and civil rights; the role of faith-based organizations in social policy; arguments over the meaning of the First Amendment’s guarantees of religious freedom; and the specific electoral role of religious groups and why different kinds of moral issues mobilize and motivate different parts of the religious community.  

Certificate in Media & Politics

IPOL-387 EU & GCC: Comparative Perspectives

Though established at different times and for different reasons the European Union (EU) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are two of the world’s leading regional entities. This course examines their relationship in the socio-economic, political and strategic spheres. It begins with an examination of the theories of regional integration, followed by an examination of the motives and expectations that drove the establishment of the EU and the GCC in the late 1950s and early 1980s respectively. It then moves on to look at specific aspects of the bilateral socio-economic, political and strategic relationship. Notably, it examines the energy factor in the bilateral relationship and the role of the EU in contributing to security and stability in the Gulf region. It then examines EU-GCC trade ties, in particular the consequences on relations of tense and drawn out negotiations over a free trade agreement (FTA) over many years. The concluding section examines the EU as a role model for the GCC post-2000, as the latter has looked to integration and develop a customs union, a central bank, a common market and a single currency. It then examines how the European financial crisis since