Yekaterina Oziashvili

BA, Barnard College. PhD, Graduate Center, City University of New York. Research and teaching interests include ethnic conflict, ethnofederalism, political parties and electoral systems in multinational states, constitutional and electoral engineering, American constitutional law, and, more broadly, American political development. Recent awards include Fulbright/IIE Dissertation Fieldwork Fellowship and the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship. Conducted field research in Russia. Taught courses in comparative and American politics at City University of New York’s Hunter College and Baruch College. SLC, 2012–

Current undergraduate courses

International Political Economy: The Rise (and Fall) of Neoliberal Hegemony

Spring

It is often said that all politics is economics. The aim of this course is to show that all economics is politics. Though economists and policymakers often present their economic policy decisions and views as neutral—based solely on abstract mathematical models, guided by the laws of nature (or the “invisible hand” of the market)—they are, in fact, driven by sometimes surprisingly transparent political ends and ideology. In this class, we will question the frequently proclaimed universality, neutrality, and inevitability of economic principles and policies through a close examination of neoliberal ideology and the ways that it limits political discourse, reforms, and development. Specifically, we will examine the economic and political origins and consequences of shock therapy in Latin America and Eastern Europe, structural adjustment policies in countries suffering from economic crisis, and austerity measures imposed by the Troika on Greece and other states in the European Union. Some of the questions that we will explore include: What is the role of international economic institutions in domestic and international affairs? How do the interactions between international and domestic institutions and actors determine the production and distribution of scarce resources? And what is the relationship between capitalism and democracy, conditional lending and democratization, and international institutions and national sovereignty?

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Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Introduction to International Relations

Fall

"War made the state, and the state made war." —Charles Tilly

This course will take a critical approach to the study of international relations. First, we will study the main theories (e.g., realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism), concepts (e.g., the state, anarchy, sovereignty, balance of power, dependency, hegemony, world order), and levels of analysis (systemic, state, organizational, and individual) in the field. Then we will apply those various theoretical approaches and levels of analysis to current international conflicts and crises in order to better understand the many ongoing debates about war and peace, humanitarian interventions, international institutions, and international political economy. Some of the questions that we will explore include: Why do states go to war? Why do some humanitarian interventions succeed while others fail or simply never materialize? Why are some regions and states rich while others are poor, and how do these inequalities shape international relations? How do international organizations help to reinforce or moderate existing interstate political and economic inequalities?

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Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Previous courses

American Politics and the Constitution

Spring

Both a historical artifact and a living document, the US Constitution has shaped—and continues to shape—the lives of ordinary Americans in often extraordinary ways. In this course, we will examine the development of American constitutional politics. We will begin with an exploration of the impact of American political culture and early historical events on the Constitutional text and its later interpretations. We will place special emphasis on the shifting meaning that Americans have attached to fundamental rights and liberties. Next, we will address some of the theoretical debates about the impact of the Constitution on our lives, its existence as both a written and unwritten document, and its intended and unintended effect on American democracy. Finally, we will examine some of the most visible contemporary political debates—including states’ rights, sexual and reproductive freedoms, equal access to education, and voting rights and electoral rules—by learning about the politics of Constitutional lawmaking and by reading some of the key Supreme Court opinions that shaped these issues. Throughout the duration of the course, we will attempt to answer the following questions: How does the Constitution shape our everyday lives? What effect, if any, do the Supreme Court justices’ political views have on American politics? How democratic is the US Constitution?

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Ethnic Conflict

Spring

Many of the most bloody and brutal scenes of violence since the end of the Cold War have been ethnic in character; a fact that seems to belie the possibility of a slow and steady march toward global political stability. The proliferation of such violence over the last thirty years has caused scholars and policy makers to more critically examine the sources and potential solutions to the problem of ethnic conflict. Despite much evidence to the contrary, commentators still frequently attribute the sources of such strife to ethnic diversity and the history of animosity between various ethnic communities. In this course we will challenge these commonly held assumptions about the cause of ethnic violence and explore some possible solutions for preventing further conflicts or resolving existing ones. Looking at this problem from a more holistic perspective, which engages with the economic, cultural, and political motivations underlying ethnic violence, we will ask such questions as: what are some of the main sources behind political conflicts deemed “ethnic”? What is the role of the international community in managing ethnic conflicts? What is the effect of democratization on territorial integrity of the state and political conflict between ethnically divided communities? And what constitutional designs, state structures, and electoral systems are most compatible with ethnically divided societies? We will attempt to answer these questions by studying both theories of ethnic conflict and conflict management and case studies, including Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Russia, Georgia,Spain,Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, and Ethiopia. Intermediate.

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Politics of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Post-Soviet States

Fall

About Eastern Europe, the British historian Timothy Garton Ash wrote: “We shall at once be lost in a forest of historical complexity—an endlessly intriguing forest to be sure, a territory where peoples, cultures, languages are fantastically intertwined, where every place has several names and men change their citizenship as often as their shoes, an enchanted wood full of wizards and witches, but one which bears over its entrance the words: ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here, of ever again seeing the wood for the trees.’” This quote, though a bundle of mixed metaphors, captures perfectly the nature of the unresolved tensions and unexpected conflicts that have come to characterize Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet states since the late 1980s. Though it has been more than 20 years since the breakup of the USSR, the consequences of that traumatic series of events continue to influence and shape the economic and political fortunes of these countries. From the civil war in Georgia to the recent conflicts between Eastern and Western Ukraine (as well as renewed tensions between Russia and the West), the region is haunted by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socioeconomic and political transitions that followed. Looking closely at the complex and often contentious relationships between the many different economically and politically diverse actors involved, this class will attempt to make sense of the present political moment by understanding its relationship to its communist past.

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The Politics of Global Austerity

Spring

Since the 1980s, it has become increasingly common among economists and policymakers to present austerity policies as the only way to bring economies out of recession and maintain economic growth and prosperity. Policies of austerity have been enthusiastically praised as a panacea for economic development and stability or grudgingly accepted as a necessary evil. “Softer” alternatives are dismissed as Utopian, unrealistic, and foolish. What explains austerity’s hegemonic status as a solution to all economic problems? What impact do the austerity principles have on state and popular sovereignty and on economic international and intranational inequality? In this class, we will trace the intellectual history of austerity. We will then examine the role that international organizations such as the IMF and World Bank play in promoting and enforcing the principles of austerity. We will also examine the effect that the age of austerity has had on the welfare state and the “race to the bottom.” Finally, we will look at a global backlash against austerity and ask: what's next?

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