Gov 377 Global Cyber Politics (Spring 2016)

Instructor: Harinda Vidanage PhD

Office: Hepburn 09

Office Hours: By Appointment

 (Additional sessions on WebEx )


Office Phone: 229-5437

Skype: cyberscholarx

Twitter: @harindav


Course Introduction

With the ever-expanding reach of Information Communication Technological Eco Systems and their necessity in every human interaction, cyber space has transformed into a vital life support system to the human life world. In the context of politics, cyber space has provided new spaces and networks to emerge and has radically transformed political representation and political engagement across societies and cultures globally. This course is an attempt to locate important themes of “international politics” and to explore the transformations of these themes both intellectually and practically when cyber space is used as a form of political space that links national and international political agendas.

The course is looking at the workings of globalization of cyber ecosystems and their consequences. Thus the working of the Internet politics from ‘national perspectives’ such as electoral processes to the impact on transnational social movements to global security concerns forms key foundations of the course.

The course intend to highlight competing, complementing and interwoven themes that students have to grapple daily living in a society where globalization meets global politics with most of these engagements facilitated through Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) from hardwired phones, smart phones, mobile communication backbones to the Internet. States are attempting to rework their foreign policy initiatives, security systems and political communication understanding and anticipating the transformations cyberspace and its technologies have brought forward.

Thus the course is not a set menu of titles but a process of education where most topics will be engaged by students as transformatory phenomena and future oriented projections where students will experiment with learning as well as developing capacities as navigators and pathfinders to understand and predict what social and political change will happen and what options we have to shape or cope with such transformations.

Goals: The class is an attempt to expose to students key changes in local and global politics, where cyberspace and cyber driven networks and political spaces have opened up and new types of political action and policy challenges to states.

Secondly, the students are expected to engage more with the technologies that shape their social self and to encourage them to see the political importance in the intersection of human intentions and technological opportunities.

Thirdly, to identify that these technologies have introduced a new set of  challenges, from increased surveillance, new forms of corporate authoritarianism which are challenging the very existence of free thought and free expression, values that are essential in becoming intelligent political agents in any society.

Expected Learning outcomes

  • The ability to understand the impact of cyber space, cyber technologies and devices attached to cyberspace in conjunction with political actors have on mainstream politics, international institutions, norms, systems of governance and security establishments
  • The use of technologies of social networking, cloud computing, and exploring the ability to collaborate as teams using these technologies will help students to understand the actual workings of online politics, political mobilization and power of networking
  • Simulating/encouraging role playing of real world political actions online, will enhance student ability to use online resources as tools of civic engagement
  • The use of cyber space will provide students confidence to express ideas, provide political viewpoints without the general classroom peer pressure, especially in voicing political opinions on various themes, giving them skills and confidence for future civic engagements
  • To critically evaluate the use of information communication technologies for social and political engagements both to understand their power and strategic use and grasp their limitations

The Class: The class will not totally work as the everyday classroom scenario as it is designed on a hybrid delivery platform , it will be a semi workshop where students will contribute actively to develop the course, shape its trajectory or even be the change agents during the semester both in class-room (offline) and in online interactions . This is the nature of cyberspace the very nature why many political scientists, policymakers and even institutions find it hard to adapt.

Students will work in 4 Groups, Groups will be formed in second week of class.

Evaluation criteria,

Blog Post 1            8 (week 4)
Group Presentation (1)             15 (Week 7)
Forum Contribution (OL)             30 (Weeks 2- 13)
Essay             20 (Week 13)
Group Presentation (2)             15 (Weeks 3 – 14)
Attendance/WebEx Participation (OL)             12

Grading rubric for Group Presentations

There are two group presentations due during the semester, each carries 15 Marks, and the rubric explains grading criteria

Criteria Quality
(5/5) (4/5) (3or2/5) (1 or 0/5)
Quality of Outline/ content (5 marks) The content is very relevant for the strengthening of your argument and clearly structured The content is relevant for the argument and well structured The content is not that relevant to the argument The content and the argument have no connection
Engaging Key themes(5 marks) The presentation engages with the theme where the group demonstrate important insights from readings The presentation engages with the key theme but not critically engaging with the readings The presentation does not clearly engage with the key theme but refer to some readings The presentation lacks clarity and focus and do not clearly link with the readings
Analysis and Making connections(5 marks) The group makes a clear argument and provides a clear analysis to the theme The argument is clear, the analysis lacks depth The argument is clear but no clear analysis Both the argument and analysis lacks clarity

Grading Rubric for Forum Discussions

The maximum Mark for a forum discussion is 5 , it is anticipated we will have 6 rounds of forum discussions during the semester your forum post will be graded based on its strength ‘Strong’ , ‘Moderate’ or ‘Poor’. Each Post should be between 150 – 200 words.

Total Marks for the forum: 30 (6*5)

Criteria Strong (5-4 Marks) Moderate (3-2) Poor (1 – 0)
Timely contribution to the discussion 4 – 5 posts distributed throughout the week 3 – 4 Posts 2 or less posts
Responsiveness to Discussion Very clear coherent argument and contribution to discussion theme Coherent argument and contribution to the discussion Argument is not relevant to discussion theme
Applying Knowledge gained from readings/classroom/videos on the discussion Application of ideas, content from readings to critically develop your discussion and responses to peers Application of ideas of content from readings to the discussion Minimal references to readings in responses

Grading Rubric for WebEx interactions

It is anticipated that we will have 6 WebEx Sessions (group meetings throughout the week) you are allocated 12 marks for your video conference participation. Your assessment will be based on if your participation/attendance and contributions are ‘Base Line’, ‘Effective’ or ‘Exemplary’ as indicated in the rubric, each session is allocated a grade of 2 marks maximum. ( Each missed session will cost 3 marks from overall grade)

Criteria Base Line Effective Exemplary
Enthusiasm 1 1.5 2
Engaging with discussion theme
References to Readings and classroom notes
Awareness of global developments
Team dynamics

Grading Scale

96-100 4
92-95 3.75
91-88 3.5
84-87 3.25
80-83 3
75-79 2.75
70-74 2.5
65-69 2.25
60-64 2
55-59 1.75
50-54 1.5
45-49 1.25
40-44 1

Forum and readings/blog will be hosted on,

The course will use collaborative spaces of social media and cloud-based collaboration mainly using Google spaces and tools from Hangouts, Google Drive, Docs, to Forms and Cisco online conferencing platform WebEx. will be the key resource hub where multimedia content, blog posts and forum discussions will be assigned in designated pages. You will be provided additional guidance as the course progresses.  .



Week 1) Course Introduction


Internet Governance

Week 2)  who controls the Internet for what and why is it political?


Reading: What Countries Will Shape the Future of the



Mainstream Cyber Politics from Local to Global


Week 3)   Cyber Politics: Origins, Debates, and Adaptations

 Melissa E. Hathaway. Connected Choices: How the Internet Is Challenging Sovereign Decisions


Week 4) International Relations and Digital diplomacy

Reading: Choucri, Introduction: Cyber Politics in International Relations

Choucri & Goldsmith, Lost in cyberspace:Harnessing the Internet, international relations,

and global security



U.S Cyber Policies and International Relations


Week 5) US Cyber International Relations

Reading: Whitehouse ‘Cyberspace policy review’

Cyber State Actors and International Relations Implications

Week 6)


From Net Neutrality to Democracy Vs. Control Debate

Reading: Diamond, Liberation technologies


Week 7)


Liberation technologies Vs. Military Machinations 1


Reading: Deibert & Rohozinski ‘Liberation Vs. Control: The future of cyber space’


Rebecca MacKinnon, China’s “Networked Authoritarianism


Week 8) Presentations (08/03/16)


Cyber Non State Actors and International Relations Implications


Weeks 9) Spaces of Activism: From Zapatista’s, Arab Spring to Umbrella Revolution I


Reading: Cleaver, Zapatista Effect


Social Media and Political Engagement (Pew Internet Research)


Week 10)  Spaces of Activism II


Reading: Hampson, Hacktivism: A New Breed of Protest in a Networked World.


Wellman et all, ‘Egypt: The First Internet Revolt?’


Week 11) Case Focus: Wikileaks


Internet Freedom: War of all against all


Reading: End of Secrecy

Wikileaks and the New Language of Diplomacy


Ammori & Poellet, ‘Security Vs. Freedom’ on The Internet: Cybersecurity & Net neutrality


Geo Politics and Cyber Politics: Cyber Power, Cyber Security to Cyber War

Week 12)


Geo Political Implications:


Reading: Nye, ‘Information revolution and American Soft Power’


Nye: Cyber Power


Franklin. ‘Digital Dilemmas: Transnational Politics in the 21st Century’


Week 13)


Cybersecurity: framework or doctrine?


Reading: Defending America in cyberspace


Klimburgh, Mobilizing Cyber Power


Glennon, State-Level cyber security


Week 14)


Geo Political Implications:  Cyber war


Reading: Deibert ‘Cyber arms race’


Cardash, Cyber Domain Conflict in the 21st Century


Sharma, ‘China’s Cyberwarfare capability and India’s concern’



Week 15) Presentations and feedback





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s