My courses engage undergraduate and graduate students in the origins, dynamics, and solutions of urgent global problems. I teach and advise students on topics related to international relations, climate change/environmental politics, and security/peace, and my survey courses on these subjects introduce students to key actors, debates, and issues. I also offer specialized seminars that provide students with a rich and nuanced understanding of pressing international challenges, as well as methods courses that equip students with the knowledge and research skills to investigate them. In addition to teaching in a traditional classroom setting, I lead research labs in which students actively participate in politically relevant research projects.
Climate Change and Armed Conflict (undergraduate, Spring 2021)
Winner of the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Notre Dame
Abstract: What are the potential security consequences of climate change? In this course, we consider how environmental change reverberates through economic, social, and political systems to cause political violence. We examine how environmental change contributes to domestic political instability through factors such as resource scarcity, resource abundance, and migration. In addition, we consider how climate change fuels interstate contention over issues such as water and the Arctic, and the implications for international security. We balance these discussions with an examination of environmental peacebuilding as a framework for responding to and reducing violent conflicts. Finally, we conclude with a critical consideration of how war affects the natural environment and what this means for security in a warming world.
Research Apprenticeship (Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021)
Abstract: The Political Science Research Apprenticeship is a teaching-led research course on various topics related to climate change/environmental politics and political violence. Students participate actively in the social science research processes by engaging a faculty-led research project or by developing and implementing their own project (advanced students only). Student researchers come from a range of disciplinary/subfield backgrounds and employ both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Introduction to Peace Studies (TA, undergraduate, Fall 2019)
Instructor: Ernesto Verdeja
Abstract: The world is a violent place. Although the Cold War ended in 1989, civil war and genocide have occurred and continue to occur across the globe, and violent nationalism and racism continue to spread abroad and at home, while millions barely have the means to survive in the face of crushing poverty. Nevertheless, we have also witnessed the emergence of sophisticated civil society networks and social movements to address these challenges, as well as institutions like truth commissions and international tribunals committed to securing justice and peace in the aftermath of political violence. This course is designed to introduce students to the various ways scholars and activists define peace and the challenges faced in securing peace.
Quantitative Methods (TA, graduate, Spring 2019)
Instructor: Luis Schiumerini
Abstract: This course provides an introduction to quantitative research methods in political science. After a brief discussion of the basics of statistical analysis and hypothesis testing, the first part of the course will focus on ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, its assumptions, and its extensions. In the second part of the course, we will focus on widely-used methods that are appropriate when the assumptions of OLS are violated, and especially on limited dependent variable models. We will try to strike a balance between theory and mathematics on the one hand and the practical application and interpretation of statistics on the other hand. We will discuss the theoretical rationale behind and mathematical underpinnings of various statistical methods, how to apply those methods to real political questions, and how to conduct and interpret analyses using a standard statistical package.
Quantitative Methods (TA, graduate, Fall 2018)
Instructor: Jeff Harden
Abstract: In order to understand quantitative and game theoretic work in political science, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of a few mathematical concepts. Topics covered in this course include probability, set theory, logic, matrix algebra, logarithms, exponents, calculus, and frequently used distributions. Learning math is like learning a language, so this course emphasizes short problem sets for each class as well as larger projects designed to pull together disparate skill sets.