In areas ranging from human rights and migration to trade and development, those who influence and understand international laws can create profound and lasting change. International laws and agreements have led to the transformation of domestic laws in nations around the world, making these tools quite powerful.
Students who take classes in the International Law and Institutions degree program are well positioned to understand the development and impact of these global structures. A joint endeavor between the Hamilton Lugar School and the Maurer School of Law, this program puts HLS students in classes with Maurer faculty and vice versa, making for a dynamic and thought-provoking environment that gives students experience engaging with diverse experts and policymakers.
Says Nikhil Jain (BA ’20), “Getting to take classes with former ambassadors and international lawyers has been one of the best experiences I’ve had of the International Law and Institutions program and HLS at large. It’s not often that you get to learn directly from the people who have shaped international policy in worldwide institutions, and I’ll never forget their insights on how to navigate a career in international law. Taking classes at the Maurer School of Law was an amazing experience, and I know I’ll leave IU with a greater passion and interest in immigration reform.”
Courses coming up this summer and fall include an overview of International Law, a deep dive into authoritarianism in China, a study of international indigenous movements, a travel course going to the UN’s annual climate change conference, and more. Take a look:
BETWEEN CONTINUITY & DISCONTINUITY: US FOREIGN POLICY TRANSITIONS IN THE BIDEN ERA
INTL-I300 • First 6 weeks • MTWR 4:20–6:10pm • Feisal Istrabadi
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., began his term in office after a period of tremendous change in the US foreign policy posture. His predecessor, Donald J. Trump, challenged and upended several norms of US foreign policy that had enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support. These norms include US participation in international institutions, many of which were founded with the US as a principal driving force, such as the United Nations; the commitment to alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and alliances with Japan and South Korea; a commitment to free trade, among others. This course examines those core foreign policy issues, and will focus on comparing and contrasting President Biden’s aspirational foreign policy agenda against the realities that some of the Trump Administration’s actions will constrict the ability of the new Administration to chart a different course, at least quickly.
GLOBAL FAKE NEWS
INTL-I305 • First 4 weeks • MTuWThF 1:15–3:25pm • Noah Arjomand
What makes news real or fake? Who creates fake news, why, and how does it spread? And how do answers to those questions vary over time and around the world? This course will take a global perspective to understanding truth and falsehood in the media and their effects on societies and on international relations. From the philosophy of bullshit to the history of the yellow press to analyses of online networks, we will bring together a wide range of sources and disciplines to consider fake news as a political tool, as a side-effect of the social organization of news making, as a product being sold to consumers, and as either a threat to or an inescapable aspect of democracy.
Says Arjomand, “I hope that students learn to identify patterns in how and why misinformation gets produced that can be found in a variety of different times and places. We will also discuss why people believe fake news, not in order to feel superior to them, but to understand in a sociological way why misinformation spreads and even to self-critically consider our own beliefs and assumptions.”
He adds that in the course, “We discuss radio and film propaganda in Nazi Germany to understand Hitler’s rise and consolidation of power. We will also address contemporary American news coverage of the rest of the world to discuss why even journalists who don’t think themselves propagandists can go wrong.”
LAW & AUTHORITARIANISM: THROUGH THE LENS OF CHINA
INTL-L351 • MW 3:15–4:30pm • Ethan Michelson
We are witnessing a global turn towards populist and illiberal governance. Authoritarian leaders often embrace international legal norms symbolically and rhetorically while subverting them in practice through various means of local political control and interference. This course uses the case of China to explore the functions and behavior of legal systems in authoritarian political contexts because China overwhelmingly dominates scholarship on the topic. Despite a burgeoning scholarly literature chronicling the reconstruction, expansion, and proliferation of laws, courts, and lawyers in China since 1979, scholars disagree about the significance and implications of these developments. Does the Chinese legal system offer meaningful redress to people with grievances, or should it be understood as ornamental “window dressing”? Does it do more to limit or to strengthen the power of the government and its ruling party? Does it do more to help people challenge or to prevent people from challenging the state? In this interdisciplinary course we will not only explore and debate these questions, but will also (re)consider conventional scholarly notions about authoritarianism and popular political participation, single-party rule and judicial governance, democracy and political legitimacy, and legal professionals and their fights for legal and political freedoms. In the process we will scrutinize recent developments in China, including the so-called “turn from law,” the rise of “stability maintenance,” and a crackdown on lawyers.
INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS MOVEMENTS & THE UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
INTL-I428/I504 • MW 4:55–6:10pm • Andrea Siqueira
This course focuses on transnational indigenous movements and their struggles for land rights and social, economic, and cultural rights.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
INTL-I204 • TR 11:15am–12:05pm + Friday discussion • Andrea Siqueira INTL-I204 • TR 9:25–10:40am • Nicole Kousaleos
This course considers the relationship between human rights and freedom. We look at the nature and practice of human rights in relationships among individuals, groups, and institutions while also exploring the nature of freedom and how people seek it through human rights. In this course we treat human rights and freedom as ongoing arguments, productive processes, and arenas of contestation, as means of constructing aspirations, seeking and challenging power, developing ways of life, and finding fulfillment. The course considers positive and negative consequences of framing relationships and power in terms of human rights and critically examines uses of human rights to manage problems.
INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL LAW & LEGAL INSTITUTIONS
INTL-L250 • MW 9:25–10:40am • David Bosco
For centuries, leaders, ethicists, lawyers, and philosophers have advocated and sought to design a system of law that can regulate relations between the world’s different sovereign states. Law beyond the state, it has been argued, can control or at least mitigate the ‘anarchy’ of international relations and help states and other actors resolve many of the problems that plague international cooperation. This international law project has always faced significant obstacles. States do not relinquish sovereignty easily, and important critiques of international law have emerged, including from some observers who see it as little more than a mechanism for control by powerful states. Still, international law remains both a powerful aspiration and, in many areas, an important reality. The last several decades, in particular, have featured a remarkable expansion in the scope and ambition of international legal instruments. Understanding and being able to analyze legal instruments has therefore become essential in many areas of international relations. This introductory course will thus help students become familiar with international law’s central instruments and methodological tools. Students will read excerpts from key international law cases, review and analyze elements of major treaties, and complete writing assignments designed to familiarize students with legal methods and analysis.
BODIES UNDER FIRE: GENDER, VIOLENCE & HUMAN RIGHTS
INTL-I304 • TR 1:10–2:25pm • Nicole Kousaleos
This course will examine the human rights issue of contemporary gender based violence (GBV) including violence targeting those victimized for their gender performance. The course materials bridge the fields of medical anthropology, culture studies, human security, gender studies and human rights to ask the critical question: what is at stake for human agents across the globe as they live their daily lives within female/male/non-binary bodies? Studies of the impact of neoliberal policies, globalization, migration, and poverty and health can benefit from a focus on the bodily experiences and lived consequences of structural violence. The developing field of intersectional feminist studies allows for the emergence of new theories, questions, challenges and critiques. Following the Frankfurt school of critical theory, dominant paradigms and hegemonies will be deconstructed and challenged in the interest of conducting research that engages in the transformation of power dynamics in human gendered experience and violence. This course will train students in emergent theory and qualitative analysis of contemporary gender violence topics while encouraging them to design their own grant proposals for future research.
WAR, PEACE & THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER
INTL-I310 • MW 11:30am–12:45pm • Feisal Istrabadi
In a relatively idealistic moment in world history, the United Nations was created in 1945 in an attempt to regulate war and to minimize its devastating effects. This was followed shortly by the near-universal ratification of the Four Geneva Conventions in 1949. Yet almost immediately, a Cold War began between the world’s two greatest powers, resulting in many hot wars in various places around the globe. This course will explore and analyze the theoretical and practical considerations of the attempt to regulate the use of armed conflict through the United Nations Charter and other international documents. Readings will examine how successful such attempts have been, including attention to such issues as the responsibility to protect, collective security, and the role of the Security Council and the great powers in armed conflict.
GLOBAL GOVERNANCE & INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
INTL-I426/I521 • MW 3:15–4:30pm • David Bosco
For centuries, mankind has struggled to find ways to organize international life and restrain the chaos and conflict that have so often plagued it. But the search for structures and mechanisms to govern the world has always encountered forces that push in the other direction. The desire for uninhibited national sovereignty has been a consistent check on movements for international organization. Questions of democratic accountability remain a persistent problem for global governance efforts. As daunting have been architectural and mechanical problems. What mission should international organizations have? Who should control them and to whom are they responsible? Today, there exists a group of powerful but incomplete and often flawed global governance mechanisms. Formal organization including the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Criminal Court receive the most attention. At the regional level, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and other organizations have become. Other efforts at providing governance across borders take less institutionalized forms, including networks, consultative groups, and even shared norms. Understanding the complex interactions between these mechanisms, national governments and other actors is essential to understanding the modern world.
INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE GOVERNANCE
INTL-I434/I525 • W 9:25–11:55am • Jessica O’Reilly
How is international climate policy negotiated and implemented? In this travel course, students form the Indiana University student delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We learn about the key components of the Paris Agreement, including their historical originations, their interpretations in case studies preceding the agreement, and in the document and its implementation. We learn about how people negotiate these issues in the two weeks that the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) convenes by participating in these meetings. Participation at the COP may be virtual, depending on the state of global public health.