Courses

Foreign Policy Pressure Points: Globalization—Nuclear Proliferation—Biodefense—Diplomacy—Dem

Four Thursdays, March 30, April 6, 20, and 27, 1:00–2:30 p.m. One Wednesday, May 3, 1:00–2:30 p.m. | Compass Bank Building, Second Floor, 2001 Kirby at San Felipe

March 30: Tyler Priest, “Globalization: Past, Present, Future”
Globalization, like many deeply ideological words, is rarely defined explicitly.  Tyler Priest will offer provisional definitions of globalization in a historical context and show how globalization has often been a contradictory process:  pulling and pushing societies in opposite directions, fragmenting and integrating, promoting cooperation as well as conflict, universalizing our world’s economy while particularizing its effects.

Professor Priest is the director of global studies at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston and oversees the international area studies program.  He teaches a course on the history of globalization and has published several books on major oil and steel companies.  His book The Offshore Imperative: Shell Oil’s Search for Petroleum in Postwar America will soon be published by Texas A&M University Press.  His current research is on the history of offshore oil and gas exploration.

April 6: Eugene Gholz, “Nuclear Proliferation:  Bad Guys with the Bomb?” 
The prospect of hostile regimes or terrorists with nuclear weapons terrifies both national security experts and the American public.  Nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, the threat of instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan, and the fear that some of the old Soviet nuclear arsenal might fall into terrorist hands have raised the stakes for American counter-proliferation policy.  Professor Gholz will explore the risks of nuclear proliferation, the American response so far, and next steps and policy reforms that might make us all safer.

Eugene Gholz is an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin.  He is an expert on the American military, technology and innovation in international affairs, and U.S. foreign policy.  He has published widely in academic and policy journals and was part of a project team that wrote a report on proliferation for Congress.  His book Buying Military Transformation: Technology and the Defense Industry, will be published in spring 2006 by Columbia University Press.

April 20: Andrew Price-Smith, “Biodefense: Pandemics and Bioterrorism—The Threats and Our Response”
Infectious diseases, whether naturally occurring or spread by terrorists, are a threat to the prosperity, stability and security of nations.  Professor Price-Smith will discuss natural pandemics such as Avian Influenza, and the possibility of deliberate release of microbes by terrorists.  He will evaluate our national preparedness initiatives at the federal and state level, and propose solutions to reduce our current vulnerabilities.

Andrew Price-Smith, an assistant professor of political science at Colorado College, specializes in international health and economic development, and biosecurity issues.  He was a founding director of the Project on Health and Global Affairs at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto and is author of The Health of Nations (MIT Press, 2002), and editor of Plagues and Politics: Infectious Diseases and International Relations (Palgrave, 2001). His book Contagion and Chaos is forthcoming from MIT Press.

April 27: Francis J. Gavin, “America and the World in the Twenty-first Century”
America finds itself at a crossroads in its relations with the rest of the world.  As the sole remaining superpower in a world of new threats and challenges, the United States has struggled—since the end of the Cold War and particularly in the aftermath of 9/11—to craft a sustainable, long-term role for itself in global and diplomatic affairs.  Competing visions for U.S. foreign policy and world politics have been laid out over the past fifteen years, but no consensus has emerged.  If anything, confusion and disagreement over America’s place in the world has increased, and the polarizing debates over America’s role show no signs of abating.  Professor Gavin will seek to put these debates and America’s current international position in context by understanding the history of U.S. foreign relations in both war and peace, particularly over the past hundred years. 

Francis J. Gavin is an assistant professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson  School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. His publications include numerous scholarly articles, book reviews and editorials, and his book
Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations, 1958-1971 was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2004 as part of the New Cold War History series.  Professor Gavin has won several prestigious awards and honors, including the 2002-2003 Smith Richardson Junior Faculty fellowship in International Security and Foreign Policy and the 2003-2004 Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship at the University of Texas.  In September 2005, he was selected by the American Assembly to lead “The Next Generation Project: Creating Better Global Institutions for America.”

May 3: Robert G. Moser, “Dealing in Democracy:  Why Does the U.S. Want To and How Successful Is It?”
Spreading democracy has long been seen as a universal good and has now become a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. Yet, as the task of implanting democracy in inhospitable environments
like Afghanistan and Iraq becomes increasingly daunting, it is important to ask two fundamental questions:  1) Why is democracy in the interest of the United States? and 2) Even if it is in our interest, how capable is the U.S. of achieving this goal?  Professor Moser will focus on two potential benefits of exporting democracy—the democratic peace theory (democracy will lessen the occurrence of war) and democracy as an antidote to international terrorism.  He will also examine the historical record of American attempts to export democracy and the lessons this record implies.

Robert Moser is an associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.  He specializes in the study of electoral systems, political parties, and Russian politics. He is the author of Unexpected Outcomes: Electoral Systems, Political Parties, and Representation in Russia (2001) and co-editor, with Zoltan Barany, of Russian Politics: Challenges of Democratization (2001) and Ethnic Politics after Communism (2005).  He has been appointed the William D. Blunk Memorial Professor for 2005-06 in recognition of his undergraduate teaching and advising and was awarded the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award in 2002.

 

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Fall 2018 brochures are being delivered! 
 

Registration is now open. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 

 

The interest list for the fall and spring study tours is also now open. If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez in the fall of 2018 or Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy.

 

Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 

 

Have a great summer. We look forward to seeing you this fall!

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For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at registrar.houstonseminar.org  or phone 713.666.9000.