I strive to inspire in my teaching the same curiosity and passion for international relations that drives my research. At Stanford, I have served as a teaching assistant for eight classes in the field of IR, including introductory courses, advanced electives, and honors colloquia. In 2018, I was awarded the Centennial Teaching Award in recognition of my work as a teaching assistant.
Please find the course descriptions for the classes I've taught, with links to my complete student evaluations and section lesson plans. You can find a summary of my teaching evaluations here.
International Relations Honors Field Research
Instructor: Erica Gould (2019)
For juniors planning to write an honors thesis during senior year. Initial steps to prepare for independent research. Professional tools for conceptualizing a research agenda and developing a research strategy. Preparation for field research through skills such as data management and statistics, references and library searches, and fellowship and grant writing. Creating a work schedule for the summer break and first steps in writing.
Instructor: Michael Tomz (2016, 2017, 2018)
This course introduces students to the systematic study of international relations. The course has three main goals:
To familiarize students with major theories of international relations. The course will focus on explanations for war and peace, environmental destruction and preservation, protectionism and free trade, and capital flows between rich and poor nations.
To evaluate theories according to logical and evidentiary standards. Students will practice thinking like social scientists, by scrutinizing the internal logic of theories and testing them rigorously with quantitative and qualitative data.
To encourage philosophical as well as scientific analysis. People often disagree about what is morally right or wrong in international affairs. Students will join these ethical debates through class discussion and writing assignments.
The course provides an introduction to major factors shaping contemporary international politics, including: the origins and nature of nationalism; explanations for war; nuclear weapons and their impact of international politics; international implications of the rise of China; civil war and international peacekeeping since the end of the Cold War; understanding international institutions and how they facilitate interstate cooperation despite anarchy; and the politics of international environmental treaties. Example questions include:
Why is the world divided up into formally independent countries, and what are the consequences of organizing global politics in this way, as a "states system"? Does anarchy (absence of an effective world government) imply that international politics are necessarily going to be highly costly, and conflict prone? Would some form of world government be better?
What factors determine the amount of protectionism and free trade, and what are the domestic political consequences of international trade? What determines success and failure for international cooperation on environmental problems, such as global warming?
How much can treaties, international organizations, or U.S. foreign policy fix problems in these various issue areas, and how do they work?
Instructor: Kenneth Schultz (2015, 2016)
This course examines the use of military force in American foreign policy. It considers both the international and domestic determinants of decisions to wage war and to intervene (or not) in humanitarian crises. Some of the questions we will consider include:
When and why does the United States choose to use military force as an instrument of foreign policy? To what extent is this decision driven by national interests or domestic political forces such a public opinion and Congress?
When the United States does use military force, what explains the size and strategy of the forces employed? To what extent are these decisions influenced by the goals of the operation, domestic political constraints, or the doctrine and preferences of military officers?
When is military force an effective instrument of foreign policy? What factors explain the success or failure of military operations?
What are the proper criteria for thinking about when the United States should use military force?