Sarkar Awarded Second Stanton Foundation Grant

April 18, 2019

Jayita Sarkar, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, was recently awarded a Stanton Foundation Applied History Course Development Grant. This grant will support the enhancement and revision of the new course, “IR539: History, Policy & Statecraft,” which will be taught for the first time in summer 2020, and then during the ensuing academic years thereafter.

This is Sarkar’s second Stanton Foundation Grant — the first grant went to support the new undergraduate course, “IR315/ PO358/ HI335: International Nuclear Politics” (formerly, Nuclear Governance) in 2017-18 at Boston University. Sarkar held the Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University during 2014-15.

A brief preliminary description of the course, “History, Policy & Statecraft” is below:

What can we learn from our recent past? How can we use history to understand the past, contemplate the present, and anticipate the future? How effective is historical analysis to resolve contemporary policy problems? What is counterfactual reasoning? Are counterfactuals useful to understand strategies adopted by states and their leaders? How to effectively employ historical analogies to understand the present? How can we effectively use primary sources obtained through archival research for policy analysis and research? What is oral history and how can we effectively conduct oral history interviews for research? How is an onsite archival repository different from (and similar to) a library, and how to ace archival research? These are some of the questions that this course will collectively examine and seek to answer. The course will connect history with current policy problems to make sense of national strategies and grand strategies of states in the international system, leaders’ policy choices, and group dynamics at play in past events. Themes will include immigration, citizenship, government-business relations of the United States. It will integrate a conceptual analysis of the past with hands-on training in conducting archival research, oral history interviews and analyzing large corpus of textual data manually and through appropriate software.

Jayita Sarkar, an historian by training, is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. Her expertise is in the history of U.S. foreign policy, nuclear proliferation, the global Cold War, South Asia and Western Europe. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in the Journal of Cold War Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Cold War HistoryInternational History Review, and elsewhere. Dr. Sarkar has held fellowships at MIT, Harvard, Columbia and Yale universities, and obtained a doctorate in International History from the Graduate Institute Geneva in Switzerland.

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