IGA-229: Gender, Sex and War – Gender and Public Policy (GAPP) Seminar with Dara Kay Cohen

IGA-229: Gender, Sex and War – The Gender and Public Policy Seminar has been designed by Dara Kay Cohen to give students an opportunity to engage with leading-edge scholars and practitioners working to advance gender equality. Because the subject of “gender and public policy” is too wide ranging and global to address within a single semester, we aim to focus the course each year on a “spotlight” issue.

The spotlight focus for the Fall 2020 semester is gender, sex and war. We will begin with a review of theoretical constructs, then turn to a series of policy relevant questions on the politics and policy of sex, gender, and political violence. Topics will include the causes and consequences of war; wartime sexual violence; the supply of and demand for female members of non-state armed groups; and the regulation of sex and gender within state armed forces. The course will include discussions of research design and implementation, as well as the implications of research on policy responses and interventions. The research will include some U.S. perspectives, but will primarily consider the international dimensions of gender, sex and political violence.

The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays, there will be a mixture of short lectures and participatory activities, including students leading a class discussion of the assigned readings. On Thursdays, students will attend two meetings during the class period. First is the HKS Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) research seminar, which is held from 12:00-12:45pm. The research seminars will be hosted by WAPPP and are open to the HKS community; they take place every Thursday for 12 weeks, from September 10-December 3. Guest speakers from the WAPPP seminar will then join our class for the remainder of the class time, where students will have an opportunity to engage with the speakers about their research and career paths. Readings for the Tuesday class sessions will provide background and a broader research perspective on the Thursday presentations. This course is likely to be particularly beneficial to students who are interested in understanding and working to address the gendered causes and consequences of war. Our primary objective is to equip students with a theory-based understanding of gender, sex and political violence, and with a quiver of potential policy interventions. Please contact Prof. Cohen or her faculty assistant Sarah McLain with any questions.

Fundamental Negotiation Training at HKS: MLD-223 with Kessely Hong and MLD-224 with Julia Minson

Among the signature curriculum of the Harvard Kennedy School, negotiation training has always stood out as among the most popular due to its practicality and necessity across all sectors and policy domains. Founded by one of the luminaries of negotiation science, Howard Raiffa, HKS has faculty have always been at the forefront of negotiation research and training. With the two introductory negotiation courses outside the MPP core, MLD-223 Negotiating Across Differences with Senior Lecturer in Public Policy Kessely Hong, and MLD-224 Behavioral Science of Negotiations with Associate Professor Julia Minson, students can learn the fundamental, time-tested frameworks of negotiation analysis. Both courses introduce the core concepts of distributive bargaining, value creation, stakeholder analysis, trust-building, barriers to agreement, and strategic approaches to negotiation.

Senior Lecturer Kessely Hong

Both courses also feature numerous negotiation simulations, in which students have the opportunity to learn how to prepare effectively, to practice communication and persuasion, and to experiment with a variety of negotiation tactics and strategies.  Analysis of their own approach to, and individual outcomes in, such simulations allows students to experience first-hand the powerful strategic and psychological dynamics present in negotiation situations.  Both Minson and Hong, along with their skilled course coaches, facilitate students’ reflective learning from each of the simulations. Ultimately, this reflective practice through frameworks taught in the courses enables students to develop their own capacity to improve as effective negotiators.

Associate Professor Julia Minson

While there is much overlap in what each course covers, there are distinctive differences between them as well.  MLD-223 (Hong) offers more complex, multiple-stakeholder cases and simulations, some of which include salient cultural or power differences and multi-party dynamics. Students are challenged to navigate differences in expectations, attitudes toward risk, culture, power, status, and partisan perceptions. MLD-224 (Minson) prioritizes the negotiation topics that have the most guidance derived from experimental research. As Minson quips, “I am fundamentally skeptical of expert advice until I see the data,” so she focuses her course more on the psychology and decision-making involved in one-on-one negotiations. In Minson’s course students do almost no written-case discussion, but instead class time is spend talking about how research findings might translate into negotiation strategies. Research-derived topics covered include ethics and deception, the role of gender and personality, operating under time pressure, mixed motives and game theory, judgment biases in negotiations, psychological barriers to conflict resolution, and the impact mediation can have. In Hong’s course, students read and analyze a variety of very rich real-world cases, in which interpretations of the protagonists’ actions provide illuminating insights into similar spectrum of dynamics (personal, psychological, political, cultural, etc.) at play in negotiations over public policy.

For more information, Harvard students can watch the MLD-223 course preview video and the MLD-224 course preview video.

Both MLD-223 and MLD-224 serve as pre-requisites for MLD-280M Advanced Workshop in Multiparty Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, the January-term course, taught by Brian Mandell, Mohamed Kamal Senior Lecturer in Negotiation and Public Policy.  Students wanting to additional venues to study, research, and design new ways of negotiation practice will be interested in exploring the Kennedy School Negotiation Program. Established and directed by Brian Mandell, KSNP brings together affiliated faculty from the Harvard Kennedy School whose work on negotiation, conflict management, alternative dispute resolution, and intersectional leadership expands the way our community and the broader field studies leadership and negotiation. KSNP offers a variety of student resources and programming.

MLD-223 and MLD-224 are offered at Harvard Kennedy School in Fall of 2020. MLD-280M will be offered in January 2021. If you have any questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.