Fragile and failed states are among the most pressing challenges of the contemporary world. Yet how to establish, or reestablish, these states is among the most perplexing puzzles facing policymakers. We will briefly survey the literature on the origins of the modern state, and we will examine why certain states are fragile or failed. We will also discuss security concerns that emerge from failed and failing states, including smuggling, drug trafficking, and terrorism. We will then devote the majority of the class to considering efforts to consciously build states—especially by international actors. We will examine whether these efforts succeed and on what dimensions. In exploring these topics, you will gain familiarity with a range of academic and policy debates on state failure, international security, and statebuilding. By helping you identify and grapple with some of the dilemmas associated with building and rebuilding states, you will also learn to critically evaluate existing theories and evidence. Finally, you will have the opportunity to formulate your own theories and compile your own evidence on these topics through course assignments and class discussions.
The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research. Junior seminars fulfill upper division requirements for the major.
Students must e-mail Prof. Matanock (at firstname.lastname@example.org) with their 250-500 word statement of interest by August 25th . Students will be contacted via e-mail shortly thereafter if approved to enroll.