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 qualitative research methods.

 

Courses prepared

Introduction to International Relations

International Human Rights Law and Politics 

International Humanitarian Law: Regulating 21st-Century Warfare

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.

The Law and Ethics of War

This course surveys key debates in the law and ethics of war. When, if ever, is it right to wage war? How should war be fought? When, if ever, is it justified to violate rules of war? The course begins with a review of deontological and consequentialist ethics, and an introduction to just war and realist traditions. We then turn to examine debates about jus ad bellum (justice in the resort to war) and jus in bello (justice in the conduct of war) from both legal and applied ethical perspectives. We in particular focus on debates regarding self-defense and the question of preventive and preemptive war; humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect; distinction and noncombatant immunity; the question of “proportionate” collateral damage; torture, its meaning and permissibility; the implications of autonomous weapons systems; and guerrilla warfare and terrorism. Course materials draw widely from political science, international law, psychology, philosophy, literature, and film.

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.

Causes of War

 

Teaching experience

Instructor

1. Contemporary Civilization, Columbia College (Fall 2020)

2. Conceptual Foundations of International Politics, Columbia SIPA (MA-level) (Fall 2018, Fall 2019)

3. International Humanitarian Law: Regulating 21st-Century Warfare (original course), Columbia Summer Immersion Program (Summer 2020)

4. Human Rights in the 21st Century (original course), Columbia Summer Immersion Program (Summer 2020)

5. Issues in Terrorism and Counterterrorism (original course), Columbia Summer Immersion Program (Summer 2019, Summer 2020)

6. Debating the Ethics of War and Political Violence (original course), Columbia Summer Immersion Program (Summer 2017, Summer 2018)

Teaching fellow

1. Teaching fellow, International Politics (Spring 2015)

2. Teaching fellow, Introduction to Human Rights (Fall 2014)