Teaching

POL 134b  - Immigration, State, and Nation (Seminar)

This course examines patterns of global migration and immigration policy in Europe and the US. Immigration poses a dilemma for Western democracies. Anti-immigrant sentiments are on the rise, but immigrants are, at the same time, regarded as needed for their skills and willingness to take jobs not wanted by others. Anti-immigrant backlash fuels the electoral success of far-right parties, yet employer interests and human rights norms limit what governments can do to control immigration, both legal and illegal.  

Students will become familiar with the facts of migration, the core concepts and theories informing scholarly debates and disagreements, and the conflicting views and interests of policy-makers, migrants, and representative communities affected by immigration.

POL160a  -  The War on Global Terrorism

Terrorism is defined as violent acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public (1994 UN General Assembly Resolution 49/60).

Al Qaeda’s attacks against US targets on September 11, 2001, marked a turning point in American history. Nearly 3,000 people died that day. Since then, 7,000 US and NATO soldiers and an unknown number of civilians have died as casualties of war against Al Qaeda and allies. The fight against Al Qaeda has since motivated two wars: the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in cooperation with NATO allies and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The course is taught as a lecture course. The lectures are organized around five components:
  • What happened on 9/11? The statutory authorization to fight Al Qaeda and its uses.
  • A short history of Al Qaeda and its ideology.
  • Theories of why political groups use terrorism and the role of suicide martyrdom in Al Qaeda’s strategy.
  • Counter-terrorism policies and the costs to civil liberties of fighting Al Qaeda.
  • The future of Al Qaeda and “homegrown” terrorism.
  • Government documents, Jihadist videos and documentaries related to the 9/11 attacks and Al Qaeda are used in class.

POL145  -  Integrating Islam: Politics and Religion in Western Europe and the United States

Controversies about the integration of Muslims and Islam into Western societies have risen to the top of the political agendas in Western Europe and North America.  The course investigates a broad range of problems organized thematically. The themes are:
  • Demographic and sociological description of Muslim populations in Western Europe and the United States.
  • Religious practices and public policy in Western states.
  • Discrimination and Muslim identity politics.
  • Islamism and political extremism, and the impact of global politics on attitudes and policies regarding Muslims and Islam in Western states.

The assigned readings are drawn from scholarly analysis, personal accounts by Muslims, and public opinion surveys. Documentary material from newspaper and videos is used in class to provide students with first-hand accounts of conflicting opinions.

We will examine and compare the controversies over mosque construction in Switzerland, where voters recently banned the construction of minarets, and in New York City; the protests against the Danish cartoons purporting to depict the Muslim Prophet, facts and fictions with respect to the size of the Muslim population in Europe, and the role of political extremism in driving conflicts over Muslims’ religious exercise.

The course is inter-disciplinary and will appeal to students in the social science as well as students interested in the hermeneutics of Muslim discourse about faith, public ethics, and politics. No prerequisites are required except an open mind and the ability to discuss controversial issues civilly.