Comparative Security and Sustainability

Course Info

Course Number/Code: 17.559 (Fall 2004)
Course Title: Comparative Security and Sustainability
Course Level: Undergraduate / Graduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Department: Political Science
Course Instructor(s): Prof. Nazli Choucri
Course Introduction:
Syllabus Course Summary

This course is in three parts with each part consisting of seminar sessions focusing on specific topics. Together they cover aspects of theory, methods, and empirical analysis within security and substainability of states in international relations.

Part I: Framework and Approach

Focuses on comparative approaches to security and sustainability in national and international contexts, with special emphasis on constraints and options, as well as strategies and policy choice. Theoretical foundations include: definitions of core concepts; implications of underlying assumptions and causal logic. Alternative frameworks for theory, research and policy are examined. The focus is on explanatory and predictive potentials.

Part II: Cases and Comparisons

Comparisons are undertaken in terms of levels and locations (countries, regions, localities); systems (social, environmental, economic, political technological); methods and models (analytical, empirical and historical); time frame (past, present and future). Coverage includes developing and industrial contexts encompassed in a global perspective. The emphasis on specific countries reflects distinctive patterns of dilemmas and decision.

Part III: Implications and Inferences

Many of the issues examined involve trade-offs, inter-temporal effects, and the creation of new problems as well as possibilities. The challenge is to anticipate the possibilities of creating security as well as sustainability.

Course Requirements

Course requirements include

The written requirementA mid-term examRegular reading of the assigned materialsActive class participation and discussion

Details about the written requirement can be found in the assignments section.

Mid-term Exam

Everyone is expected to take the mid-term exam. It is intended to allow the instructor to give you feedback. The mid-term is take home, open book, and questions with choice. If you do well, it will be counted for you. If you do not do well, it will not be counted against you.

Grading Criteria

The grading scheme follows the course requirement format and will be weighted as follows:

Grading Criteria.ACTIVITIESPERCENTAGESWritten Requirement50%Mid-term Exam10%Regular Reading of the Assigned Materials20%Active Class Participation and Discussion20%Course Materials

All reading assignments are listed in the readings section. Other readings may be assigned from other books during the term. Copies of the books are on reserve at Dewey library.

CalendarCourse calendar.WEEK #TOPICSPart I: Framework and Approach 1Introduction2Concepts and Theories3Modes of (In)security and (Un)sustainability4Local Conditions and Global DilemmasPart II: Cases and Comparisons 5When People Move or Boundaries Shift6When Resources are "Scarce"7When Environments "Strain"8When Regimes Fail or States Collapse9When Wars HappenPart III: Implications and Inferences 10Technology Imperatives11Managing Security and Sustainability12Design Systems for Security and Sustainability