Political Systems of Latin America (PSC407E) at the University of Nevada Reno, Spring 2021 Course summary: This course provides a survey of politics in Latin America. In this course, we will come to understand the contemporary political, economic, and social history of the more than 20 countries that comprise the region collectively called “Latin America.” We’ll look at democratization and democratic decline in the region, as well as the rise of populism. We’ll examine social movements in the region, indigenous politics, and agrarian reform. We will explore how Latin America has been impacted by US foreign policy and intervention in the region. We’ll compare party systems and institutions and look at how religion has impacted politics. We’ll explore persistent and current issues impacting Latin America, such as inequality, organized crime, and corruption. We’ll also delve into specific cases to illustrate these substantive issues including looking at the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff and democratic decline in Brazil; demilitarization and the subsequent economic growth and democratic stability in Costa Rica; indigenous, environmental activism in Peru; and, finally, ongoing conflict and the impacts of the historic 2016 Peace Accords with the FARC in Colombia.
Intro to Comparative Politics (PSC211) at the University of Nevada Reno, Spring 2021 Course summary: This course provides students with a foundation in the field of comparative politics. We will explore “big questions” within the field of comparative politics, e.g. why are some countries democracies and others not? By studying how politics and political systems are similar or different across countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, students will learn how to better understand the world—as well as the United States. We begin by exploring the origins of states, nations, and political regimes such as democracy and authoritarianism. We examine the role of political institutions, including electoral systems, party systems, and systems of government. We will explore processes of economic development and political violence. Students will also gain substantive knowledge about several countries including Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Iran, Nigeria, the UK, Germany, Japan, India, and China.
Problems in World Politics (PSC405F) at the University of Nevada Reno, Fall 2020 Course summary: This class explores several contemporary problems of world politics: organized crime, transnational gangs, and migration – as well as the interconnections between these issues. Since 2006, Mexico’s “drug war” has resulted in over 150,000 deaths and more than 60,000 disappearances. In this class, we will examine the politics behind the ongoing drug war in Mexico. We will look at how legacies of U.S. policies during the Cold War, as well as contemporary politics, have fueled cycles of violence and contributed to a transnational gang crisis between the US and the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala). We will explore the challenges of responding to the maras gangs (MS-13 and M-18) in Central America. We look at how violence in the region impacts migration and will delve into US immigration politics and the militarization of the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border.
The Politics of the Drug War (PO 300) at Boston University, Summer 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2020 Course summary: This course explores the modern history of the United States’ counter-narcotics policy, or as it is commonly referred to, the “War on Drugs.” This course aims to examine both the domestic and international implications of the long-standing US prohibitionist policy, as well as the potential for change. We begin reviewing the history of the “War on Drugs,” what motivated various policy developments and how policy has shifted over time. Then we explore the domestic implications, particularly mass incarceration and police militarization. Next, we move on to look at the international implications of the drug war, including rising violence in Mexico and Central America, the US role in the region’s militarization as well as illegal arms trade, the consequences for nascent democracies in the region, and the often-overlooked environmental damage that accompanies the drug trade. We then examine two “hot topics” in terms of drug policy – the shift towards legalizing marijuana and the opioid crisis in the US. For both these topics, we pay close attention to the role of lobbyists and also consider the international as well as domestic implications. Finally, we wrap-up by exploring the potential for changing drug policy, pulling together the entirety of the course material while considering both the domestic and international stake holders.
Additional courses I’ve taught: Congressional Internship (PSC490G) at the University of Nevada Reno, Fall 2020 - Present Public Service Internship (PSC490F) at the University of Nevada Reno, Fall 2020 - Present International Affairs Internship (IAFF 350) at the University of Nevada Reno, Fall 2020 - Present Introduction to American Politics (PO 111) at Boston University, Summer 2016