PS 4JJ3E: Cosmopolitanism, Winter 2015/2014

Cosmopolitanism, as an idea according to which we can organize political life, takes its popular origin from Diogenes the Cynic’s famous pronouncement that he was a “kosmopolites,” or a “citizen of the world.” Diogenes would surely have had Aristotle’s contrary definition of citizenship, that one can only be a citizen of a particular political community participating in the art of ruling and also being ruled, in mind. This latter definition of course leads to the questions of the just regime and the good society that have been the traditional focus of attention in the history of political thought. That is, answers to the question, “What is the best political order?” necessarily exclude thinking about the world outside our city’s walls or the borders of our commonwealth. Yet, the very word cosmopolitan is derived in part from the word kosmos which means “order,” putting us in mind of a political order and the possibility of a political life beyond the polis. Is it possible to speak of Cosmopolitanism and Cosmopolitics while avoiding on the one hand a “colourless vagueness” and on the other “fierce self-idolatry and nation worship”? This course will be structured around this basic polarity between the universal and the particular, and how these two poles influence how we understand cosmopolitanism and what it means to be cosmopolitan. Our task is navigating the strait between this Scylla and Charybdis throughout the term. We will begin with two very basic pictures of world order in the post-Cold War era, move on to classical and enlightenment conceptions of cosmopolitanism, and turn our attention in the second half of the course to modern theories and practices of cosmopolitanism.

Syllabus Winter 2015
Syllabus Winter 2014

PS 4NN3E: Neoliberalism and Its Critics, Fall 2013

It is common today to speak and think of economics and politics as separate spheres of our daily life, insofar as we think of them at all. This separation, however, is an entirely modern phenomenon. It is going to be our aim in this seminar to recapture the natural unity in how we speak and think economically and politically by considering the roots of our Neoliberal world, and what it means to participate in this global way of life.


PS 4QQ3E: The Psychology of International Relations

Our discussion in this seminar will focus on what can very generally be called the “Psychological Turn” in International Relations. Our aim and chief concern will be the various ways in which the experiences of individuals have become a new/renewed point of emphasis in international politics, and what this lens means for the study and practice of International Relations. We will begin by considering research in the contemporary and traditional approaches to political psychology (broadly defined) in IR, and the ways that these approaches put the grand questions of international politics into a new frame. We will consider the role that the emotions and passions play in IR, and the challenge that these non-rational insights pose to the more familiar “grand theories”. Other discussion topics will include the role of trauma and memory in politics, motivation in political decision-making and foreign policy, the psychology of security and anxiety in international politics, and other related and relevant issues. In short, our goal is to use the introduction of political psychology in IR to broaden our horizon for interpreting, explaining, and understanding contemporary events in international politics.