Teaching

Assistant Professor, Seattle University (Fall 2014-present)

Comparative Law, Politics & Society (PLSC 3910)

The law is not just the law! We interact with the law everyday while filing tax forms, renting a car, crossing a border, or simply watching The Good Wife or Judge Alex. This course presents a variety of approaches to understanding law as a political and social reality by surveying legal systems around the world. The main objective is to compare and contrast different legal systems in order to highlight differences as well as similarities, and discover the ways in which political and social realities complicate our understanding of law and justice. Together we are going to understand how and why law in action may be quite different from law on the books, in the United States and beyond.

The course will address the following questions: What are the major legal traditions? How does a law get legislated, amended or revoked in different countries? What is the function of courts in enforcing or implementing the law? In what ways do ordinary citizens follow, question, interpret, avoid or disobey laws? If law is not just law on the books, then what is justice?

Politics of the Middle East (PLSC 3910)

 The Middle East is at the center of international policy debates nowadays, but the region’s significance goes way back: as the birthplace and meeting point of numerous civilizations and religions, the Middle East has always been a site of conflict and cooperation, war and peace, poverty and prosperity. This course surveys the main political, social, cultural and economic issues in the Greater Middle East region, past and present.

Transitional Justice (PLSC 3910)

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” (Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)

This special topics course explores the possibility of justice, civic repair and reconciliation in societies transitioning from a period of political violence and massive human rights violations. In the last three decades, many societies have made the hard decision to come to terms with past wrongs. Domestic and international human rights trials, amnesty laws, truth commissions, lustration, victim-centered reparations, and commemorative acts have become central to conflict resolution, peace-building and democratization processes.

Throughout the course we will question what transitional justice means, how it has emerged as a distinctive field of study and policy-making, and whether or not transitional justice measures have lived up to their promise of truth, justice and reconciliation in post-conflict societies. We will look at transitional justice from multiple perspectives: (i) the sociology of memory; (ii) the politics of democratization and democratic consolidation; (iii) policy implications in a post-conflict context; and (iv) the representation of the struggle for justice in art and literature. The challenge we set for ourselves is to rethink our everyday notions of memory, truth, justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness in a critical light.

Comparing Nations (INST/PLSC 2300)

Democratization or welfare policy, civil wars or identity politics, constitutional courts or peasant revolutions: comparing across and within nations is the key to understanding social and political processes, actors and institutions. This course is primarily about comparative politics, a social science field that presents a rich variety of possibilities to understand real-world phenomena. Throughout the course you will explore political institutions, state building and state failure, regime change, nationalism, violence and social movements from a comparative perspective.

Politics of Civil Wars (PLSC 3910)

The majority of today’s wars are civil wars, that is, wars between government forces and rebel armies, or between various rebel armies in the absence of a state. Civil wars in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, and the human tragedies resulting from them, grab international headlines these days. Legacies of the British, American, and Spanish civil wars still shape the political institutions and cultures of these societies. The peaceful resolution of civil wars stands out as a much-desired, yet extremely difficult, area of political practice.

This course is about civil wars and conflict resolution. The course aims to find answers to the following questions: In what ways are civil wars different from conventional inter-state wars? What are the individual and collective motivations for taking up arms? Are some countries more prone to civil wars than others? Does violence actually work for achieving political goals? What are the factors that explain military success in a civil war? What are the challenges and promises of conflict resolution efforts.

Reconciliation after Conflict (UCOR 1640)

This course explores the possibility of civic repair and reconciliation in societies transitioning from a period of political violence and massive human rights violations. Throughout the course we will question what it means to come to terms with the past for victims and victimizers of repression, as well as for greater society. Through academic works on human rights initiatives, victims’ testimonies, and artistic accounts of the encounter between victims and victimizers, we will study the practice and ethics of rebuilding civic bonds in the wake of violence. The challenge is to rethink reconciliation, forgiveness, victim, perpetrator, memory, and truth in a critical light.

The first part of the course examines comparative politics and international relations works that describe and assess the specific mechanisms through which societies come to terms with the past. What is “transitional justice”? What are some of the policy tools used to reckon with past wrongs? Do they work? The students are expected to acquire in-depth knowledge of human rights trials, truth commissions, reparations, apologies, amnesties and commemorative gestures. Scholars’ increasing use of large-n statistical analysis alongside case studies will provide the students with insights into the promises and challenges of quantitative research methods in human rights.

The second part of the course will investigate the social and moral aspects of coming to terms with the past. What are the social and cultural dynamics that underlie memory politics? What do justice and reconciliation mean in the wake of mass atrocities? Who are the victims and perpetrators? What are the complexities of speaking about, and listening to, stories of past abuse? A mixture of philosophical essays and artistic works will invite the students to engage with these questions at a deeper level.

 

Limited Term Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University (Fall 2011-Spring 2014)

  • Theories of Latin American Development (Undergraduate / Graduate seminar)
  • State Failure and Reconstruction: Comparative Perspectives (Graduate seminar
  • Transitional Justice (Undergraduate / Graduate seminar
  • Perspectives in International Studies (Graduate seminar)
  • Comparative Regional Cooperation (Undergraduate seminar)
  • Contemporary Latin America (Graduate seminar)
  • Complex Emergencies and Humanitarian Intervention (Graduate seminar)

 

Summer Instructor, Yale University (2011)

 

Summer Instructor, Bogazici University, Istanbul (2008, 2010)