TeachingMichael Niemann has over twenty years of teaching experience. Currently, he is a professor of International Studies at Southern Oregon University. Prior to this appointment, he taught at Trinity College in Hartford, where he was a member of the International Studies Program. He also served as Director of the Trinity Center for Collaborative Teaching and Research, Director of the Tutorial College, coordinator of the African Studies concentration and the Global Studies Concentration.
Human Rights in a Global Age
Can human rights serve as a moral discourse in an age of globalization? This course examines this fundamental question in light of the dramatic increase in global flows that undermine traditional state boundaries. After an introduction to the fundamental concepts, we will examine a variety of case studies which exemplify the clash between the global and the local in the area of women's rights, civil war and humanitarian intervention, and the impact of globalizing forces on social, economic, and cultural rights. Download syllabus.
Despite our common-sense notions about geography and nature, the spatial arrangement of our world is not the result of natural processes but the outcome of human struggles about the position of borders, the extent of territory, and authority over territories. In this course, we will investigate these struggles and their impact on today's global relations. Special attention will be given to the spatial nature of the state, the role geography has played in the power politics of major states, and future scenarios in a world in which the territorial aspirations of political communities clash with the globalizing flows of economic and cultural activities. Download syllabus.
Cocoa and Chocolate from a Global Perspective
Cocoa and chocolate will serve as our entry to our global system. Beginning with a historical overview of cocoa's origin in the Americas, we will approach the topic from the perspective of production, distribution, consumption and thus gain an understanding of the manner in which different parts of the world are connected both through tangible and intangible links. Topics include the pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial organization of cocoa production, the emergence of global commodity regimes and their governance, the centralization and concentration of production of chocolate, and the role of chocolate as a cultural sign in different contexts. Download syllabus.
Political Economy of Sub-Saharan Africa
This course examines the state of African affairs at the beginning of the current millennium, particularly the occurrence of democratic transformation in some cases and state collapse in others. We will begin with an analysis of the nature of structural adjustment during the 1980s and then link that experience to various transitions which have occurred since 1990. Particular focus will be on the interplay of global, regional, and local dynamics during those transitions. Download syllabus.
No Easy Walk to Freedom
While the process of formal decolonization was completed in most of Africa during the 1960s, southern Africa's struggle for independence was much more drawn out and was characterized by organized violence, repression and racism. The purpose of this class is to investigate the historical roots of this development and, based on an analysis of existing local, regional, and global forces, analyze the prospects for development and democracy in the region. Download syllabus.
This course provides a critical survey of world politics. The goal is to enhance students' ability to understand and analyze the events and processes taking place in world politics and to make the student conversant with theories of world politics. The course will cover the historical genesis of the global system, investigate global structures and actors and critically engage with "common sense" notions of the world.
This course is an introduction to International Studies. It examines current international affairs and global issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will learn how different disciplines contributed to a holistic understanding of the world. They will explore the major regions of the world. Finally, they will discuss specific global issue