Nitze Alumni: Where are they now?

Lisa in the Peace Corps in Kenya

The world finds Nitze Scholars in a wide range of walks of life. Cookie cutters have their place...in the kitchen.

The Nitze Experience

JaVon and Emily learning how things work in Senegal

The Paul H. Nitze Program offers:

  • three special seminars for each student
  • cultural outings to DC/Baltimore paid for by the program
  • special meetings with high-profile campus visitors
  • an international study tour paid for by the program
  • a stipend of $3000 per year for participants

Excerpts from syllabi of NITZ 280: Leadership Seminar II

Spring 2015, Heaven Is High and the Emperor Is Far Away: Ethnic Identity and Leadership in China, J. Fu, Chinese & C. Musgrove, History
     There are 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in the People’s Republic, and Yunnan province in southwestern China is the primary home of 25 of them.  Almost forty percent of the population of Yunnan is classified as belonging to minority groups. Being labeled a member of an ethnic minority in Yunnan provides certain perks (such as exemption from the one-child policy) but there are also widespread perceptions of discrimination as well. Minority peoples are stereotyped as feminine and primitive. Millions of Chinese tourists flock to Yunnan each year to enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery, but they also seek out “authentic” minority villages to soak in the quaint indigenous culture with their exotic outfits and exciting tribal dances. Minority peoples and their leaders constantly navigate the tricky waters of ethnic politics, where such identities can be a source of opportunity as well as a potential danger. At the same time, there has long been a perception that the more “Han” one was, the greater access to power and resources one would have.  But to conform too closely to the ways of the Han majority leaves one vulnerable to charges of “selling out” and thereby losing the respect of one’s own people.  How do local political leaders, such as village heads and Communist Party members--find a balance between these conflicting identities?  Where do leaders of the “cultural establishment”—the artists, artisans, and performers—position themselves vis-à-vis the state, local society, and the new consumer-driven tourist industry? How do educators prepare Yunnan’s young people to live in a rapidly changing world?  These are some of the questions we will pursue in this course. What ties it all together are the themes of local leadership and the cultural politics of identity.
     Study tour to China, May 2015.

Spring 2014, From Apartheid to Democracy, R. Feingold, English
    
 This seminar will consider the extraordinary history of modern South Africa. Over the course of less than half a century, the nation adopted and enforced, then dismantled, a rigidly segregationist police state notorious for its human rights violations. That such a state could so radically transform its own structures of power, without invasion from outside and largely peacefully on the inside, and then proceed to usher in a multiracial, democratically elected government, is remarkable and worthy of study--both in itself and as a possible model for how leaders can engender change.
     We will begin with a very brief background survey of pre-1948 South Africa, and the tensions among Boer settlers, more recent British colonizers, and the numerous indigenous groups leading to the 1948 rise to power of the Afrikaner National Party. We will then study the ways Apartheid, the extreme system of racial segregation adopted as a cornerstone of the National Party's agenda, fundamentally restructured both the physical and the psychological landscape of the country. We will be considering, among other things, the economic, public health, environmental, educational, psychological, and sociological effects of the community clearances and other population redistribution schemes implemented to advance Apartheid's aims. In addition to these more concrete results obtained from the literal, physical redrawing of maps, we will also examine the theoretical and philosophical implications of this rigid governmental regulation of space and identity, and the ways it naturally extended into a further regulation of movement, association, and speech.
     Study tour to South Africa, May 2014.

Spring 2013, Islamic and/or Secular? Changing Patterns of State, Society and Politics in the Middle East: The Case of Turkey, B. Başaran, Religious Studies
      
Since World War II, Turkey has been a crucial ally to the US and NATO in the Middle East and integral to many events that influenced US foreign and domestic policy, such as the Korean War and the Cuban missile crisis. However, more recently Turkish foreign policy has been shifting in many ways under the ruling party in government, the AKP, which positions itself to the right of the center with a self-proclaimed Muslim democratic identity. President Obama chose Turkey for his first visit in the region after taking office and commented that Turkey’s relationship with the West shows that true cooperation between East and West is possible, contrary perhaps to the failures in Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan. Can the case of Turkey prove that there is no inherent clash of civilizations between the East and the West? What kind of a model does Turkey present or represent in the greater Muslim world? 
     This seminar will focus on patterns of continuity and change in Turkish society and political trends, and consider the implications of these processes for peace in the greater “Middle East.”  After a brief survey of the historiography and approaches to the study of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, we will examine various questions regarding the project of “Turkish modernity” and its complex consequences for women, as well as religious and ethnic minorities. Other topics of study include the development of democracy, Turkish foreign policy and recent developments in the area (the Arab revolutions, Iran, Syria, and Palestine), controversial domestic issues such as the Kurdish “problem” and Armenian “genocide.” Students will explore these topics through class readings and individual projects (including papers and presentations), but also through film, literature, and music.    
     Study Tour to Turkey, May 2013

Spring 2012, From Apartheid to Democracy, R. Feingold, English
     This seminar will consider the extraordinary history of modern South Africa. Over the course of less than half a century, the nation adopted and enforced, then dismantled, a rigidly segregationist police state notorious for its human rights violations. That such a state could so radically transform its own structures of power, without invasion from outside and largely peacefully on the inside, and then proceed to usher in a multiracial, democratically elected government, is remarkable and worthy of study--both in itself and as a possible model for how leaders can engender change.
     We will begin with a very brief background survey of pre-1948 South Africa, and the tensions among Boer settlers, more recent British colonizers, and the numerous indigenous groups leading to the 1948 rise to power of the Afrikaner National Party. We will then study the ways Apartheid, the extreme system of racial segregation adopted as a cornerstone of the National Party's agenda, fundamentally restructured both the physical and the psychological landscape of the country. We will be considering, among other things, the economic, public health, environmental, educational, psychological, and sociological effects of the community clearances and other population redistribution schemes implemented to advance Apartheid's aims. In addition to these more concrete results obtained from the literal, physical redrawing of maps, we will also examine the theoretical and philosophical implications of this rigid governmental regulation of space and identity, and the ways it naturally extended into a further regulation of movement, association, and speech.
     Study tour to South Africa, May 2012

Spring 2011, Quest for Pachakuti: Indigenous Leaders and Movements in the Andes, J. Ballesteros and L. Bayers, Spanish
"Pachakuti" is a Quechua term that refers to a cyclical overturning of time and space, but can be broadly conceptualized as revolution. Indigenous communities saw the historic meeting of conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Inca ruler Atahualpa in 1532 as a moment of Pachakuti, when the world turned upside down and the Spanish began their time of rule. Since then, several indigenous leaders and movements have endeavored to usher in the next revolution and vindicate indigenous rights. This course will examine several of these movements and the tactics of their prominent leaders, from Tupac Amaru II (whose indigenous revolt posed a serious threat to Spanish colonies in the 1780s) to Rafael Correa (the current president of Ecuador, whose policies have been varyingly embraced and contested by indigenous advocates). We will assess the rationales behind these movements and leaders, as well as the strengths and weakness of their policies, and debate what the future holds as Latin American further develops politically. We will also compare notions of leadership and government derived from indigenous and European models. The course will end with a two week study tour, where we expect to visit sites of indigenous activism as well as meet with indigenous leaders and government officials.
Study tour to Ecuador, May 2011

Spring 2010, Caudillos and Populists:  The Creation of a Latin American Leadership Style, A. Brodsky, History
This seminar will help us understand the rise (and permanence) of Latin American contemporary leaders like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez by focusing on the development of leadership styles in Argentina.  How did these types of leaders come to power?  Why is their military legacy so important in the construction of their political personas?  What is the ‘spectacle of power' they orchestrate in order to advance their causes?  These are some of the questions we will answer by using Argentina's caudillos and Populists as case studies.  This seminar, then, will examine political leadership in an international context.  Yet, the course will address issues that go beyond Latin American political history and reality.  Students interested in how leadership is attained, maintained, and redefined in conversation with the past and the present will find a lot to learn in this class.  The seminar concludes with a trip to Argentina, where we will assess the degree of permanence of these political practices.
Study tour to Argentina, May 2010

Spring 2009, Bushido: The Samurai and Leadership, H. Blumner (Theatre, Film and Media Studies) & B. Park (Philosophy)
What can the samurai teach us about leadership?  In this course, students will examine the role of the samurai in history and the samurai ideal in contemporary Japan. We will examine the truth and the myth of the Japanese samurai through primary accounts, literary texts, and play scripts. Samurai warriors were the legendary leaders of Japan beginning in the eleventh century and remain Japan's great heroes in literature, theatre, and folk tales. The samurai ideals of restraint, honor, civility and leadership have helped shaped Japan, even today, on all levels, from interaction within the immediate family structure to Japan's national identity. Can this same conception of leadership be applied beyond the borders of Japan?  Do these ideals have any place in our contemporary world?  And, perhaps more importantly, should they have any place in the contemporary world?
Study tour to Japan, May 2009

Fall 2007, Imams, Mansas and Presidents: Leadership in The Gambia, West Africa, W. Roberts, Anthropology
In this seminar we will examine the social and cultural construction of leadership and the social structure of leadership from many levels of society in the small Muslim West African countries of The Gambia and Senegal.  Drawing primarily upon historical and anthropological sources, we will discuss past and current leaders that have emerged in The Gambia, their relationship with their "followers," and the social issues which brought them to the fore, such as colonialism, national development, poverty alleviation, public and environmental health.  We will make use of online Gambian newspapers to follow contemporary social issues, and establish contact with student leader counterparts at the University of The Gambia and American volunteers serving in the US Peace Corps who work with community leaders throughout Gambia.
Study tour to The Gambia and Senegal, January 2008    

Fall 2006, India: from Colony to Nation, R. Feingold, English
In this course, we will study the process of national consciousness and identity formation in India through the British colonial era, the rise of national liberation movements in the early twentieth century, and finally the development of India since its birth as an independent nation in 1948. The course will culminate in a two-week study tour to northern India, during which we will examine the material and cultural legacies of colonialism, as well as the distinctive and diverse character of modern India. We will depend heavily on literary texts-both insofar as they reflect national identity and history, and in their role as important tools for fashioning national consciousness-but will also read history and political theory, as well as studying religion, art and architecture, and popular culture artifacts such as Bollywood film.  [Full syllabus here]
Study tour to India, January 2007

Spring 2006, Buddhist Morality and Global Justice, J. Schroeder, Philosophy
This seminar will explore traditional and contemporary Buddhist views on the relationship between Buddhist wisdom, political leadership, and social justice, culminating in a two-week study-tour to Thailand. The first sections of the course will study traditional Buddhist philosophy as it developed in India, focusing on the Buddhist ideas of wisdom and compassion, and the following sections will examine contemporary Buddhists in Asia, Europe and America who apply the Buddhist ideals of leadership, wisdom, and compassion to political practice. The class will conclude with a two-week tour to Thailand, where we will explore Buddhism in an Asian context and meet with Buddhist leaders engaged in various issues ranging from environmentalism and ecology to poverty, women, and educational reform.
Study tour to Thailand, May 2006

Fall 2004, Resistance to Evil: Moral Leadership in an Age of Atrocities,
B. Krondorfer, Religious Studies
This seminar will look at the notion of what it takes for individuals or communities to act morally and humanely in times of massive violent conflicts, especially those of the 20th century.  Ordinary people have become murderers in war crimes and in political systems with genocidal ideologies; but ordinary people have also risen to the occasion to help those in dire need, independent of the serious consequences they may suffer themselves, such as punishment, violent retribution, or death.
Study tour to Austria & Germany, January 2005

Fall 2003, Shakespeare's London, B. Charlebois, English
In this course we will study the vibrant drama of the English Renaissance, paying particular attention to the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  In addition to exploring the poetic and literary virtues of the dramatic literature of the age of Shakespeare, we will focus on the plays as lenses through which we can glimpse a culture in transition, a culture wrestling with hotly contested questions of the day involving everything from politics, warfare, and colonial expansion, to gender, sexuality, marriage, and religion.  We will explore the multi-faceted role of the theater as a pivotal and provocative institution in Elizabethan and Jacobean society.  The course will culminate in a trip to London and Stratford-on-Avon where we will visit a number of historical sites of cultural significance and attend contemporary adaptations of Renaissance plays in London and Stratford-on-Avon.
Study tour to London, January 2004

Fall 2002, Self-Presentation in the Roman Empire, L. Hall (History) & M. Taber (Philosophy)
In these changing times of the globalization of everything from economic institutions, communications technology, the entertainment industry, and military strategy, the prudent explorer of how we will be led into our future will resist the urge to think of everything as having changed.  Although the loci of so much of today's acceleration are such places as Hollywood and Tokyo, the first sustained globalization involved the Mediterranean of classical times.
In this seminar we will explore the various ways in which Roman emperors thought about, talked about, and even built about their leadership.  We will be reading a combination of primary and secondary literature, and because this topic is impossible to do justice to in the course of a semester, each seminar participant will choose a project to share with the rest of the seminar.
Study tour to Rome and Naples, January 2003

Fall 2001, The U.S. War in Vietnam:  American and Vietnamese Perspectives, H. Nguyen, Economics
[Half
 of those entering the NSP in 2000 took this course and study tour.]
This year (fall 2001) marks the 26th anniversary of the end of the American war in Viet-Nam.  Despite the passage of time, the longest war in our history continues to haunt us.  For Viet-Nam, the legacies of the war are still evident by the physical scars in the countryside and by the extreme poverty of its people.  This course examines the military conflict in Viet-Nam from the perspectives of the people, Vietnamese and American, who shaped the events of the war and who are, in turn, affected by them.  At the conclusion of the seminar students will gain a balanced and scholarly treatment of the war and its effects on contemporary Vietnamese and American societies.
Study tour to Vietnam, May 2002

Fall 2001, Chinese Civilization   中国文化, B. Wilson, English 
[Half of those entering the NSP in 2000 took this course and study tour.]                                                             
The goal of this course is to broaden students' understanding of China's contributions to world civilization and her unique place in today's world, as leader and as led.  We will develop an overview of Chinese dynastic leaders, read two novels (Lao She's Rickshaw and J.G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun, set in Beijing and Shanghai respectively), and view several Chinese films. 
Study tour to Shanghai, May 2002

Fall 2000, Community and National Identity in Belize, B. Roberts, Anthropology                                             
This course is designed to introduce students to the social, cultural and environmental diversity and wealth of a small English speaking country, Belize, in Central America.  The course introduces students to the Belizean people and their cultures using a variety of materials from scientific (e.g. anthropological, historical, geographical, ecological) and literary sources.  The intent is for students to gain a better understanding of the struggles Belizean people have faced over time in their efforts to create and sustain communities and cultures that are the foundation for a meaningful and satisfying life.  In the process, students will select a topic or issue of importance to themselves and Belizeans they will develop into a proposal for a service-learning project.
Study tour to  Belize, January 2001