Spring 2024 practitioner-led study groups

These not-for-credit study groups provide an opportunity for students to delve deeply into topics and apply theory and research to real world challenges. Enrollment in each group is limited to 25 students.

Documentary Filmmaking: A Filmmaker's Approach to Crafting Stories from Real Life
Lizzie Gottlieb
Meeting dates are Tuesdays 2/27, 3/12, 3/19, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16. Each session will meet in McKinney Conference Room from 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Registration closes on Monday, February 19. Limited to 15 students.

This study group will take a filmmaker's approach to look at how we craft stories from real life. Students will explore a wide range of documentaries – past and present - to try to understand what makes them work and why. Students will examine verité filmmaking, interviewing, directing the camera, creating narrative through-lines, imposing a structure on non-narrative material, and the ethics of documentary. Students will address these questions with a practical hands-on approach, in a collaborative, constructive conversation. In the six 90-minute sessions, there will be active in-class work, but minimal work outside of class. At the end of the program each student will pitch and workshop a documentary they hope to make.

Surveying the Cyber Threat Landscape and Protecting the United States Against Cyberattacks of Significant Consequence
Rep. James Langevin
Meeting dates are Wednesdays 2/21, 3/6, 3/20, 4/3, 4/10. Each session will meet in McKinney Conference Room from 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Registration closes on Monday, February 12.

In this study group students will learn about the risks facing the country in cyberspace, how they have developed, and why some have continued to persist for decades. Students will examine cybersecurity as a whole-of-nation effort, and consider where to vest responsibility in mitigating these risks. They will also explore the shared responsibility between the federal government and the private sector in securing the nation and its critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. And students will think through the strategic priorities that should guide the next generation of policymakers that will be focusing on these problems.

The International Effort to Contain Global Climate Change
Todd Stern
Meeting dates are Thursdays 2/29, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 4/4. Each session will meet in McKinney Conference Room from 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Registration closes on Monday, February 19.

This study group will focus on the seven-year strategic effort that produced the Paris Agreement, running from the start of the Obama Administration in January 2009 through annual climate conferences near the end of every year, culminating in the Paris Conference in December 2015; the special relationship between the United States and China that was crucial to getting the Agreement done; and, in a final session, what of importance has happened in regard to climate change since the Paris Agreement and what needs to happen going forward.

Human Rights and Technology
Malika Saada Saar
Meeting dates are Thursdays 2/29, 3/14, 4/4, 4/11, 4/25. Each session will meet in McKinney Conference Room from 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Registration closes on Monday, February 12.

The Human Rights and Technology study group will explore the emerging and complex intersection between human rights and advancements in technology. Students will reckon with, and critically analyze, the racial justice, gender equity and human rights implications of technology. Will AI further entrench hierarchies of racial, gender and economic privilege, or can we forge AI for justice that upends those hierarchies? Can tech be leveraged to accurately document and support the prosecution of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity? What does it mean to innovate from a rights-based framework that centers underrepresented communities? Are our smartphones human rights tools that advance the work of human rights lawyers to bear witness; or do existing and new technologies continue the oppressive tactics of state surveillance and harassment against human rights defenders and emerging justice movements?