"Computer Applications in International Relations Research"
SIS 513, Spring, 2007
A Multi-Media Focus
on Environment and Conflict Issues
Printing is best viewed in "Landscape" mode.
Course Key Contacts
Class Times: Thursday 5:30-8:00. Meet in the Hurst 202 (SSRL)
Lee, School of International Service
Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, American University,
Washington, DC 20016
Office: Hurst Hall 203 (the SSRL)
email: jlee at american.edu
Assistant: Usman Qadir (email: usman.qadir at american.edu)
Environment and Conflict Home: ICE
Office Hours: Drop In
or By Appointment
This course combines
new technologies and new ideas. By function, it provides a basis for students
in many places and many times to participate in a distance learning class.
By goal, it provides an understanding of Web technologies in the context
of presenting intelligent ideas. This class is linked to a number of classes
at AU and other classes and students around the world. The class inherently
is involved in a form of distance learning. The
idea of the class is to look at key ideas of today, centered around trade,
conflict and environment, and combine them with acquiring some practical
skills in information technology (IT).
The course focuses on
critical issues related to trade or globalization and aspects of the human
condition such as environment, culture, rights and work. This class has
been systematically built up over time and has revealed a wealth of information
available in a variety of media but principally through the Web. You will
add to this wealth in three ways.
First, you will prepare a case
study on globalization for presentation on the Web as part of a Virtual Conference.
This report will become part of many reports submitted in the newest editions
of an online journal called ICE Case Studies.
The topic for the semester is environment and conflict.
Besides the case study you will also analyze a hypothetical case of conflict
and environment using an online expert system.
Second, you will work in a team to conceive, shoot, edit and present a video
related to environment and conflict. I want this video to have some elements
of conflict and environment in them. At the end, I suggest we post them
Third, you will participate in a virtual conference where your web pages
will be the papers for discussion are the topics of discussion. I usually
try to create a link with another online effort that is producing case studies
or other multi-media products.
and Viewing's Schedules
to see the class dates and Readings and Viewing's
Schedule. Each class date is shown with the lecture and computer topics.
A Little History
Projects is a series on online efforts that combine Online journals
of categorical case studies (TED and ICE), a distance learning center called
the Global Classroom, and a series of developmental projects that support
the journals and distance learning. Google the names of the two databases
and you will find a world of links to the Mandala Projects.
From its start in 1992, the Trade Environment Database (TED) has produced
more than 800 case studies that examine the intersection of trade and environment
and other critical issues. As an on-line resource TED is used widely by
students, researchers, and ordinary people. The site receives over ten million
"hits" per year and has become a widely used Web resource. If you type "Trade
Environment Database" into a search engine you will find that more than
300 sites link to TED. If you type "Trade and Environment Database", you
will find even more. Some case studies have received Web awards, some have
been linked to online newspapers such as the Christian Science Monitor,
or have served as supporting materials for PBS programs. Some TED cases
have been reprinted in foreign media (such as the Nation, a Thai
newspaper) and many have been used as materials for other programs and projects.
Some cases have received awards for content: Elephant, Togo, and Seahorse cases. The
Kidney case was reprinted
in The Nation, the largest English language daily in Thailand, and the Viagra
Case excerpted in an online magazine.
The Inventory of Conflict
and Environment (ICE) began in 1995 and like TED is a categorical framework
for understanding cases where environment and conflict come into contact.
ICE has about 150 cases now and is a widely used used resource. The CHACO case study in
ICE has received several awards and an article in 2004 reports on the ICE
web site as a resource for decision makers (Journal of the National Institute
for the Environment).
These case studies form a critical
part of the Global Classroom. The class has become the forerunner in distance
learning efforts in general and especially at American University. It has
expanded from merely posting occasional papers on the Web to a virtual conference
with panels and discussants and a common Web space to communicate or discuss
Several development projects are related to four areas. First, there are
simulations using the case studies. Second, there are special cases that
have been expanded upon to focus on economic costs and benefits. These cases
have a base in statistical orientations to environmental policy. Third,
there are a variety of student web projects related to international relations.
Finally, there is a special focus on international trade related to criminal
activities. Through TED case studies a new project has emerged that focuses
on the role of geographic indications.
There are three skills
required to undertake these two projects. First, you will need to learn
a case study methodology and apply it to investigating a subject. Second,
you will need to learn a computer language called HTML (HyperText Markup
Language), the programming medium of Web, and related software based on
it (Dreamweaver). You will also be introduced to PhotoShop, a graphics package,
and tools for teleconferencing. With these technical tools in hand, you
can write a brilliant and well-researched paper that is web-enabled. Third,
you will need to learn how to use a DV camera, shoot footage, and edit the
footage using a digital editing program called Imovie.
The case study will
be part of a virtual conference that will take place in later in the semester.
We have had prior virtual conferences that can be found at the following
TED Virtual Conferences (the last few)
The case studies have a focus of several years to develop a core of knowledge
in a certain area where information is needed.
Virtual Conference: The Road to Qatar (Fall, 2001)
Virtual Conference: Beyond Trade and War (Spring, 2002)
Virtual Conference: Implementing Doha I (Fall, 2002)
Conference: Implementing Doha II (Spring, 2003)
Virtual Conference: Cultural Geographic Indicators (Fall, 2003)
Conference: Cultural Geographic Indicators and a Focus on North America
Conference: Cultural Geographic Indicators (Summer, 2004)
Conference: Cultural Geographic Indicators in Developing Countries (Fall,
Virtual Conference: Cultural Geographic Indicators in Developing Countries
Conference: Environment and Conflict: The Role of Natural Events (Summer,
Conference: Environment and Conflict: The Role of Natural Events (Fall,
Twenty First Virtual
Conference: Environment and Conflict: The Role of Natural Events (Spring,
Virtual Conference: Environment and Conflict: The Role of Natural Events
Third Virtual Conference: Environment and Conflict: The Future of Climate
Change -- Part 1, (Spring, 2007)
In completing the basic
class objective here are the assignments, assignment grade percent, and
a brief description.
There may also be some readings and discussions on the AU
Blackboard web site.
Legal and Moral
You own the ideas and their
representations in the Web pages you create. Make sure that you have the
right to use the graphic files you send me to post on the Web (and of course
any words you copy). I have to act as a legal Internet Service Provider
in this regard and follow the law on copyright protection. You are liable
for any infringement claims.
You cannot take any materials
that are copyrighted or otherwise protected without permission. There are
many places to obtain free graphics and you can make your own (or your friends
in faraway places can take pictures and send them to you). Usually you can
ask permission to use graphics and often all that is required is to express
thanks to the author and acknowledge ownership. Here is a link to free
online resources on the web. Be sure that you have complete ownership
of the product, because you are liable in cases of copyright infringement.
I want you to provide me a bibliography of all the graphics files used attesting
to the rights of usage, just as you do for publish works you cite.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY CODE: Standards
of Academic Conduct
All students are governed
by American University's Academic Integrity Code. The Academic Integrity
Code details specific violations of ethical conduct that relate to academic
integrity. By registering, you have acknowledged your awareness of the Academic
Integrity Code, and you are obliged to become familiar with your rights
and responsibilities as defined by the code. All of your work (whether oral
or written) in this class is governed by the provisions of the Academic
Integrity Code. Academic violations include but are not limited to: plagiarism,
inappropriate collaboration, dishonesty in examinations whether in class
or take-home, dishonesty in papers, work done for one course and submitted
to another, deliberate falsification of data, interference with other students'
work, and copyright violations. The adjudication process and possible
penalties are listed in American University's Academic Integrity Code booklet,
which is also available on the American University web site. Being a member
of this academic community entitles each of us to a wide degree of freedom
and the pursuit of scholarly interests; with that freedom, however, comes
a responsibility to uphold the high ethical standards of scholarly conduct.
Required Texts and Readings
There are three required books
in the course. They are available in the AU bookstore or on-line through
various vendors such as Amazon and many others. Just acquire the
books. They will be supplemented by lots of recommended readings that will
mostly be found on the Web or provided as hard copies. These other materials
will be available through the Weekly Broadcast.
(1) Michael T. Klare, Resource
Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict, New York: Owl Books;
Reprint edition (March 13, 2002). ISBN:
(2) Daniel Short and Garo Green, MacroMedia Dreamweaver 8: Hands
On Training, Berkeley, Ca: Peachpit Press, 2006. ISBN: 0321293894
(3) David Pogue, iMovie HD: The Missing Manual, Sebastopol,
Ca.: O'Reilly Media, 2005. ISBN: 0596100337.
Other Online Readings
By Richard A. Matthew, Michael Brklacich and Bryan McDonald,
Change and Human Security: Gaps in Research on Social Vulnerability and
Conflict, paper presented at the UNEP/ECSPR Workshop held at the Woodrow
Wilson Center in December 2003.
Aaron Maltais, Kirstin Dow and Asa Persson, Stockholm Environment Institute,
Perspectives on Environmental Security.
Stephan Libiszewski, What
is Environmental Conflict?
software for creating web pages is available on campus in the Hurst, Ward,
and Anderson Computing Complexes. I recommend purchasing
a copy for home use. The software retails at $399. You could buy a copy
through the AU Bookstore where you get a student discount of about
a third of the price. . Macromedia creates
the product. Shop
online for deals.
The primary software tool for editing video is iMovie,
which is only available on campus computers. It is available in the New
Media Center (Hurst 210) and on some work stations in the Hurst Computer
Lab (Hurst 202). It comes with new Mac purchases. A higher level editing
program is Final Cut Pro.
Case Study Topics, Spring 2006: Environment and Conflict
While this is a course
with a focus on technology, I also focus on a certain content so that the
cumulative impact of the class is amplified in terms of web use and research.
In developing these cases, many sources provide inputs each year to updating
new possible cases. These cases are culled from many sources and many users
and students who participate in these efforts. The case list is revised
This semester I want to focus on conflict and environment and specifically
on its relation to climate change and natural events. The relation has two
dimensions, of both a short- and a long-term. For
examples of similar past cases, click
First there are long-term
changes. These are conflicts that are emerging due to long-term trends in
climate change and how they are beginning to generate conflict. These case
might include the impacts of rising oceans on land areas (i.e., Pacific
Islands), warming conditions on resource access (i.e., Siberia), and drying
conditions on food availability (i.e., Turkmenistan).
Second, there are intense intrusions of nature onto human society that has
conflict implications. Prominent in recent history is the Asian Tsunami,
but there are also cases where locust infestations also created the context
for conflict. We understand how it might be a factor after the December
2004 tsunami in Asia. This has altered the balance in civil conflicts already
underway in Sri Lanka (Tamil's and Singhalese) and Aceh, Indonesia for example.
Weather might be another source of conflict, especially when it relates
to long-term droughts. Weather, in addition can alter the course of conflict.
Napoleon, and Hitler, discovered this during the winter after his invasion
Here are some ideas of possible topics. Be sure to check that your choice
is original and not already completed.
1. Future impact of higher temperatures in northern parts of the parts of
the planet, especially far north. Countries include: US (Alaska), Canada,
Denmark (Greenland), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. (See Northwest
Territory ICE case.) Impacts could include receding ice shelves, rising
ocean waters, and new access to mineral and energy resources. Some limited
changes are possible in Antarctica and southern parts of South America.
There is some boundary dispute in this area between Argentina and Chile.
2. Future impact of less precipitation in already near water-stress areas
in the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of Iran, Pakistan, India, and
China. Also, possible drier conditions in Southern Africa, the extension
south of the Sahara, and Central America.
3. Future impact of deforestation in the Amazon region, the forests of Central
Africa and in Southeast Asia.
4. Water trading and dependence: Pipelines like oil can be political
5. Weather Wars: Climate change, drought, will lead countries to massively
divert water and use weather modification.
6. Glacier Wars: Control of glacial areas of the world will be more sought
after if climate change makes them more habitable. Kashmir as an existing
theater and the poles as a new theater would be two types.
a topic that has NOT been done already in the ICE data set. Also check the
TED cases so be sure.
The videos have always
had a mulidi-disciplinary character. This time I want environment to have
a strong role in the story and a way to integrate conflict and environment
into the videos as well. This might produce some synergy between the two
assignments. I am looking for teams of about 4. Here are some prior topics
for videos in this class. They end result is about 5-10 minutes.
Here are some old topics as examples or ideas.
Fear of the Queer: Attitudes and Policies on Gay Rights at AU
Anacostia River Restoration Efforts and Challenges
Immigration Rallies and Who are the Minuteman
Wandering the Aisles: Ethnic and Chain Supermarkets, People and Products
Pandemania: The Zoo, the Public and the Ethics
Bringing Back the Wooly Mammoth: The Ethics of Cloning Ancient Species
International Beers and International Relations (the Brickskeller)
St. Patrick Day: What Does it Mean?
Halloween: The Internationalization of the Holiday
The Migration of Somali Bantus to Baltimore, Home on Halloween
Rally in DC Among Haitians Supporting Aristide after his Ousting
Comparing Two Indian Restaurants Nearly Next Door
Two brief notes on
grading. A "draft" is not intended to be a hastily thrown together product,
but rather a somewhat complete product that needs refinement and direction.
My grading of it therefore intends to provide input to achieve a higher
grade and a better paper for the final version. Also, since your work may
be available for many others to read at some point there is a matter of
personal pride at stake.
Grade: A-F (0-100)
The assignments will
be graded on four dimensions, save for the "HTML quiz" and "Being There".
Quality of case coding and discussion.
Structure, grammar and clarity of expression.
Completeness of assignment.
Creativity in methods, subjects, and theories.
Class Dates and Assignments
Week 1: January 17
Topic: Intros & Overview
Topic: Intro to Online Materials
Week 2: January 24
Topic: Conflict and Environment
Watch a Video
|Assignment 1. Case Study
Week 3: January 31
Topic: What is Conflict and Environment
Watch a Video
Topic: Intro to Dreamweaver;
DW Property and Text
|Assignment 1 Due
Assignment 2. Related
Week 4: February 7
Watch a Video
Topic: DW Links
|Assignment 2 Due
Assignment 3. Conflict
Week 5: February 14
Watch a Video
Topic: Video topics. Chris
Palmer Guest Lecture. (Center for Environmental Filmmaking)
|Assignment 3 Due
Assignment 4. Environment.
Week 6: February 21
Topic: Riches of the Earth
Watch a Video
Topic: DW & Graphics
|Assignment 4 Due
Assignment 5. Environment
& Conflict Overlap
Week 7: February 28
Topic: Livelihood Conflict and Causal Loops
|Topic: More DW Features
Assignment 5 Due
Assignment 6. Case
Week 8: March 7
Topic: Patterns of Conflict
Topic: Using a Video Camera
|Assignment 6 Due
Assignment 8. Video
March 14 (break)
|Week 9: March 21
Topic: Creating Videos
|Week 10: March 28
Topic: Working on Video Ideas
|Week 11: April 4
Topic: Forecasting the Future
|Topic: Post drafts of case studies
||Assignment 9. Analyzing
Current Events and Web Site (Final)
|Week 12: April 11
Topic: What is the Future?
|Topic: More DW and Project work time and Virtual Conference
|Week 13: April 18
Topic: Intellectual Property
|Topic: VideoConference (possibly David Singer)
|Week 14: April 25
|Topic: Project work time
|Final: May 9
||Assignment 10. Video
Assignment 6. Case