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May Program


While in Washington during the May intersession term, you may pursue one of the following courses.  These courses meet intensively each day, Sunday through Friday, May 19-24. A mandatory Introductory Session will be scheduled in early April, which will be accessible remotely.


Current Policy Issues in US-Latin American Relations | PAI 703 |  Philp French

2018 LatAm Schedule and Syllabus 

Book List and Assignment for Intro Session

This one-week intensive seminar in Washington provides students with a detailed introduction to the contemporary relationship between the U.S. and Latin America.  The Maymester program offers students the opportunity to discuss current policy issues with current and former practitioners, scholars, and non-governmental organization representatives concentrating on Latin America and its relationship with the U.S.  

The seminar will provide participants context and substance from which to draw to answer questions about the current and historical relationship between the U.S. and Latin America; is U.S. policy interventionist or neglectful?  How are the current populist trends different than those of the 20th century?  How do U.S. narcotics, terrorism, and immigration policies shape relations with Mexico and Latin America’s perception of the U.S. under the Trump administration?  How will the U.S. respond to the challenges of Venezuela, the Lopez Obrador government in Mexico, and the newly elected president in Brazil?  Why did the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the “Washington Consensus” fall out of favor?  What are the OAS, ALBA, UNASUR, and CELAC, and how do they fit together in regional integration efforts?  Can the region escape the boom-and-bust effects of commodity-based economies? Students will supplement discussions of current regional affairs with readings on the historical context of the relationship, challenge common approaches and assumptions, address themes and events currently in the news, and explore possible responses to major social and political changes.  

Central Challenges in National Security Law and Policy | PAI 730 |  James Baker

2019 National Security Law and Policy Syllabus

Using a series of case study modules that jump off the front page, the course examines critically the hardest U.S. national security law and policy challenges of the decades ahead. The case studies range from decisions to intervene and what laws apply if we do intervene in humanitarian crises, insurrections, or civil wars, and what laws should govern when we are involved; dealing with the Arab Spring; dealing with Iran and North Korea related to nuclear weapons; anticipating and controlling new technologies in warfare and surveillance; managing civil/military relations in protecting the homeland; countering the cyber threats to our infrastructure and cyber attacks waged by nation states, such as China and Russia; managing public health as a national security issue; resource depletion and global warming as a national security issue. Students will learn to integrate legal and policy analyses, and will gain lessons in how policy is made and implemented with significant legal guidance. 

Russia and Post-Soviet Politics | PSC 786 | Brian Taylor

2019 Russia Syllabus- DRAFT

A survey of the major issues in contemporary politics in the post-Soviet region in general, and Russia in particular.  The seminar will briefly examine the pre-Soviet and Soviet period, but the primary focus of the course is on developments since 1991.  Topics to be examined include the Soviet collapse and transition, the nature of Putinism as a political and economic system, broader patterns of reform in the post-Soviet space, and Russian foreign and security policy, including US-Russian relations.  We will meet with multiple guests from the DC area community of Russia scholars and practitioners.  We also will watch two documentary films, one on social change and the transition from communism in Russia and one on Putin’s motivations for interference in the US 2016 elections.