Teaching

I teach a variety of courses in international relations, international law, and international ethics. My teaching interests span psychology, conflict dynamics and strategy in international relations; international humanitarian law and international human rights law in international law; and empirical and normative theories of justice in war in international ethics. I also teach courses in  political theory.

Teaching experience (instructor)

Columbia College

Rules of War

Semesters taught (1): Fall 2021

“In times of war law falls silent,” Cicero is often quoted. Yet war has been subject to regulation for millennia. And today we have an international legal regime that regulates both resorts to war, and conduct in war. This course offers an advanced introduction to these rules of war with a special emphasis on their origins and efficacy. We begin by examining rules concerning the resort to force, focusing on Kellogg-Briand Pact, the U.N. Charter, and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. Then we study rules concerning conduct in war, focusing on debates about the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their two Additional Protocols. Readings are drawn from a broad range of research in international relations, international law, and international ethics, as well as moral and political psychology.

Introduction to International Relations

Semesters taught (1): Spring 2022

Contemporary Civilization I

Semesters taught (2): Fall 2021, Fall 2020

Contemporary Civilization is a course about the kinds of communities – political, social, moral, and religious – that humans imagine, construct and inhabit for themselves, and about the values that inform such communities. We will take as our ambitious focus a broad range of eras, authors, texts, and ideas with the goal of studying, interrogating, and critiquing “civilization,” understood both on the small scale of the individual and on the larger scale of politics and society.

Contemporary Civilization II

Semesters taught (2): Spring 2022, Spring 2020

Contemporary Civilization is a course about the kinds of communities – political, social, moral, and religious – that humans imagine, construct and inhabit for themselves, and about the values that inform such communities. We will take as our ambitious focus a broad range of eras, authors, texts, and ideas with the goal of studying, interrogating, and critiquing “civilization,” understood both on the small scale of the individual and on the larger scale of politics and society.

Columbia SIPA

Conceptual Foundations of International Politics (graduate level)

Semesters taught (2): Fall 2019, Fall 2018

Through a review of major academic writings, lectures, and class discussion, Conceptual Foundations of International Politics examines many of the central concepts, theories, and analytical tools used in contemporary social science to understand and explain international affairs. The theoretical literature is drawn from different fields in the social sciences, including comparative politics, international relations, political sociology and economics; the lecturers include members of the Columbia faculty who are authorities in these fields (as well as, in many cases, experienced practitioners in their own right). The course is designed to enhance students’ abilities to think critically and analytically about current problems and challenges in international politics.

Columbia School of Professional Studies Summer Immersion Program

Human Rights in the 21st Century

Semesters taught (2): Summer 2021, Summer 2020

Are human rights still relevant in promoting social justice and freedom in the 21st Century? Human rights law and advocacy have been central to international politics since the end of World War II. However, recent rises in authoritarianism and anti-liberal regimes have raised new questions on whether the human rights framework is still capable of addressing injustices in the modern world. This course introduces students to the law and practice of human rights as well as the challenges of enforcing rights in an anarchic international system. In the first part of the course, students review the philosophical foundations of human rights and then examine human rights from two perspectives. First, the legal perspective introduces them to basic principles and rules of international law and the main international organizations and mechanisms designed for promoting and enforcing human rights. Second, they adopt the role of social scientist. We debate evidence on the effectiveness of human rights law and discuss challenges of enforcing rights in an international system in which states are not accountable to a higher authority. In the second part of the course, students apply their new knowledge to the problems facing human rights today. Topics include cultural relativist critiques of human rights, challenges from new technologies in state surveillance and autonomous weapons, and existential threats to human populations through climate change and environmental damage.

International Humanitarian Law

Semesters taught (2): Summer 2021, Summer 2020

Is international humanitarian law (IHL) still relevant in regulating warfare in the 21st Century? Trends such as the proliferation of armed conflict between states and transnational insurgent groups and the development of autonomous weapons systems and cyber-warfare capabilities have raised questions about the sufficiency of IHL to regulate warfare today. This course introduces students to the theory and practice of IHL, and central debates about its interpretation and implementation in 21st-Century armed conflict. In the first part of the course, students are introduced to the moral principles underpinning IHL. They then turn to surveying the texts of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the two Additional Protocols of 1977, and the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross in developing and ensuring respect for IHL. In the second part of the course, we examine major debates about IHL and its implementation today. Topics include the questions raised by the proliferation of transnational terrorism, multiparty civil wars, humanitarian intervention, drones, autonomous weapons systems, and cyber warfare. Course materials draw widely from political science, international law, psychology, philosophy, literature, and film. Class time is divided between lecture and discussion of the reading assignments, and film screenings, debates, group projects, and student presentations.

Issues in Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Semesters taught (3): Summer 2021, Summer 2020, Summer 2019

Debating the Ethics of War and Political Violence

Semesters taught (2): Summer 2018, Summer 2017

Courses prepared

International Security

The Strategy of Conflict

Weighing Lives in War

It is often said that human life is priceless. Yet human lives are commonly valued and weighed against other lives and values across multiple domains, including law, economics, and medicine. This course studies the valuation of human life in one domain: war. It does so from two perspectives: those leading and fighting wars—namely, the participants—and spectating audiences judging wars—namely, publics. In the first part of the course, we consider the valuation of life from both positive and normative perspectives, focusing particularly on the psychology of dehumanization, psychic numbing, scope insensitivity, and the identifiable victim effect. We then examine war in two phases. First, we study the actual behavior of commanders and combatants in war. How do commanders and combatants weigh lives? In particular, we study social science on killing in war, in addition to military manuals and combatant war diaries and memoirs. Second, we turn to lay judgments about conduct in war. How do (and should) we evaluate lives weighed by commanders and combatants? We examine how observers judge direct harm to combatants and noncombatants, indirect harm to noncombatants (or “collateral damage”), and compensation for collateral damages. We study survey and public opinion research and laboratory experiments, as well as the latest normative work in international law and ethics on the subject. Issues studied include nuclear weapons, drones, and the problem of “human shields.” Course materials draw widely from political science, international law, psychology, economics, literature, and philosophy.

Teaching philosophy and documents

Coming soon