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Undergraduate courses

These summaries provide an overall sense of the course and are not considered official course outlines. You will receive detailed course outlines for all courses you're registered in on the first day of class.

Summer 2024 courses

POLI 240 - International Politics

Summer 2024: July 3 - August 16
Instructor: Dr. Michael Carpenter
Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30 a.m.-noon
Delivery: On campus - face-to-face


Course description

International politics does not only occur in distant countries, the backrooms of capital cities and global centres, or at the United Nations. In a globalized world, international politics occurs all around us and is fundamentally connected to issues that affect our daily lives, the structure of our societies and the form of our economies.

At its root, the study of international politics is the study of power: who has it, who seeks it, and how it is used. This course provides students with a general introduction to both international politics and the discipline of International Relations (IR).

Course outcomes/objectives

  • identify the major theoretical approaches to IR and the differences between them
  • develop a basic knowledge of key issues in international politics
  • apply IR theories to key issues in global politics, and critically reflect upon the merits and limitations of the different theoretical approaches
  • participate in informed discussion about key issues in world politics
  • write a research essay that contains a clear central argument, sufficient evidence and correct citation practices

Topics may include

  • international systems and governance
  • climate change
  • migration
  • conflict and security
  • human rights
  • international law

POLI 300B - Early Modern Political Thought

Summer 2024: May 13 - June 28
Instructor: Neil Montgomery
Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30 a.m.-noon
Delivery: On campus - face-to-face


Prerequisite

Complete POLI 103 or 202; or permission of the department

Course description

This course explores the concepts and arguments of early modern political thought and examines how these ideas shaped modern states, imperial expansion, understandings of citizenship, exclusion and equality, property, labor, colonialism, slavery and gender subordination.

We will read major works by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and J. J. Rousseau, texts written by women and people of colour and several revolutionary documents.

Questions we consider include:

  • Is political society natural or artificial?
  • What constitutes legitimate government?
  • What is the relation between human beings and non-human nature?
  • Can land be owned?
  • Are social inequalities based on nature or convention?
  • If all men are equal, is slavery justified? Why are women subordinate?
  • What is the relation between ideas of reason, rule over children and justifications of slavery?
  • What is the relation between ideas of labour, justifications of private property and colonialism?

Course outcomes/objectives

  • recognize and reconstruct central concepts, problems and arguments of social contract theory
  • evaluate and criticize theoretical arguments
  • construct and advance your own arguments
  • listen to your peers, connect your ideas to theirs, and advance your arguments in dialogue with them
  • apply these concepts to new contexts, both current and historical
  • identify issues in current events that have motivated social contract theorists and their critics

Topics may include

  • state of nature
  • social contract
  • equality and exclusion

POLI 323 - Issues in Politics: Political Psychology

Summer 2024: May 13 - June 28
Instructor: Dr. Joseph Fletcher
Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 a.m. - noon
Delivery: Online synchro


Course description

Looking for insight into the waves of populism, authoritarianism and polarization sweeping the globe? The fast-growing field of political psychology offers useful perspectives on these phenomena. The course focusses on these topics via an examination of classic and contemporary work in political psychology.

About the instructor

Dr. Joseph Fletcher is professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He teaches political psychology and research methods at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • Develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • Develop critical analytic and synthetic skills needed to interpret social and political life
  • Gain an understanding of many conceptual tools useful in understanding our world
  • Gain insight into the strengths and limitations of contemporary social science

Topics may include

  • populism

  • authoritarianism

  • political polarization

  • social and political psychology

POLI 349 - Issues in International Relations "Great Power Politics in the 21st Century"

Summer 2024: July 3 - August 16
Instructor: Husnain Iqbal
Schedule: Tuesday and Thursdays 1:30 - 4 p.m.
Delivery: Online synchro


Course description

The spectacular rise of China and the re-emergence of Russia as a great power has announced the end of the ‘unipolar moment’ and the arrival of a world with many powerful states competing for influence. This course explores the dynamics of this new international political reality.

The course is divided into three sections. The first part of the course engages with theoretical works to understand the multipolar context of international politics and explores whether the future would be any different from the past, and how. The second part looks at the political dynamics between the most powerful states of the international system from secondary states’ points of view which are often overlooked by the mainstream analyses of great power politics. The third part goes beyond the traditional focus of IR on states and explores the impact of great power competition on non-traditional domains of international politics such as gender, environment, international economy and trade.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop knowledge about key concepts and dynamics of recent shifts in international politics
  • apply concepts and theories to emerging competition between great powers
  • think strategically about how secondary states would (or should) respond to great power competition
  • understand how political dynamics between great powers affect other global issues
  • explore a specific dimension or an issue area of great power politics by working on a research paper

Topics may include

  • great powers

  • multipolarity

  • competition and rivalries

  • alliances

  • conflict and security

  • secondary states

  • non-traditional security

POLI 350/ADMN 311 - Introduction to Public Administration

Summer 2024: May 8 - August 2
Instructor: TBA
Delivery: Online


Course description

Public administration encompasses a changing structural and value context within which public officials work. This course explores external and internal factors affecting contemporary public sector management in Canada. We will discuss the various legislative, executive and judicial processes which engage public officials and citizens.

The course sets the theoretical and institutional context and examines emerging trends in public administration. We then proceed with an analysis of how various layers of the public sector function. This includes federal, provincial, local and Indigenous forms and modes of governance. We will examine current and emerging debates about public institutions, laws, policies and diversity. Course material includes a range of text and visual materials that integrate diverse perspectives on how to advance public goods and interests. We will examine the functioning of various institutions and their responses to the contemporary challenges of our time.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • debate and evaluate techniques of public administration
  • understand the policy-making process, forms of engagement and decision-making
  • understand the various approaches, processes and organization of public administration

Topics may include

  • Westminster model

  • public service

  • decision making models

  • levels of government including local government

  • Indigenous governance

POLI 369 - Issues in Canadian Politics "Canadian Elections"

Summer 2024: July 3 - August 16
Instructor: Dr. Taylor Green
Schedule: Tuesday and Thursdays 9:30 a.m. - noon
Delivery: Online synchro


Course description

Elections are core aspects of democratic life. They allow for citizens to voice their approval or disapproval, to select their legislator, and, in some instances, to vote directly for their head of state/head of government.

This course examines how political parties compete in elections and how institutions (e.g., the electoral system, federalism and national diversity) structure party competition. We will explore both national level and provincial elections and ask “What is an election?” We will also consider candidate nomination, primaries and leadership selection.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • understand how historical and Institutional contexts impact and shape Canadian elections.
  • explore factors which shape voter choice and participation including identity, the economy and partisanship.
  • learn about the role of party leadership and patterns of political candidacy.
  • explore strategic party behaviour.
  • participate in informed discussions about key issues in electoral politics

Topics may include

  • electoral systems

  • national and provincial elections

  • political parties

  • partisanship

POLI 373 - African Politics

Summer 2024: May 13 - June 28
Instructor: Dr. Smith Oduro-Marfo
Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Delivery: Online synchro


Course description

This course offers a broad overview of the trajectory of politics and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. It does so by addressing significant themes that relate to the continent as a whole, while drawing on case studies from several countries. We explore the legacy of colonial rule and neo-colonialism and the role of corporations, international institutions, domestic social movements and African governments in shaping political and economic systems, struggles and the development processes in the contemporary period. 

Course outcomes/objectives

  • identify some of the general characteristics of Africa’s pre-colonial social, economic and political formations
  • define colonialism, settler colonialism and neo-colonialism, and discuss the legacies of the slave trade and colonialism in current
  • identify and discuss some of the contemporary issues and topics in politics and the political economy of development in Africa
  • develop core undergraduate skills such as effective writing, research and analysis

Topics may include

  • colonialism, settler colonialism, neo-colonialism

  • nation-building

  • social movements and political struggles

POLI 391/GDS 391 - Politics of Environment and Development (Field School)

Summer 2024: April 29 - May 3 (on campus), May 6-29 in Thailand
Instructor: Dr. Will Greaves


Spend two weeks in northern Thailand learning about local economic development and environmental challenges, specifically those issues that highlight the importance of inclusivity, equitability and sustainability in community development and resilience movements. Through community visits, conversations with civil society groups, museum visits, and travel throughout Thailand, students will learn about the impacts of environmental challenges on everyday life and on rural and urban landscapes. They will also learn about community resilience and innovative approaches to such environmental challenges, and strategies aimed at advancing sustainable community development. Topics and site visits may include: mining and the impact of extractive growth strategies on the local environment and on communities; deforestation and local experiences of climate change; grassroots anti-poverty initiatives; community resistance to environmentally damaging economic growth strategies and community resilience; and, legal rights and political movements of ethnic minorities. Finally, we will consider the intersection of some of these issues with local and international supports to refugee and undocumented communities in Northern Thailand.

Through classroom learning, site visits and direct engagement with communities and NGOs in Thailand, students will acquire a deeper understanding of the interconnections between humans, development policies and practices, and the environment. Students will also learn about how communities organize to resist harmful practices that affect livelihoods and the environment, and about community struggles, and the politics and processes of resilience.

Learn more about the field school

Course requirements and expectations

  • attendance and participation in all pre- and post- departure training and classroom work.
  • completion of all course requirements, including in-country (Thailand) activities, and one blog post for the CAPI website. Details will be provided in the course outline.
  • profile picture and bio for the CAPI website.
  • completed GSO pre-departure form and final narrative report (on an external portal). Details to be provided once program participants are identified.

This course will take place from approximately May 1 – 31. Pre-departure training and classroom lectures will take place from Monday 29 April. The in-country component of the field school will take place for 3 weeks in May. 

POLI 456 - Politics of the Internet

Summer 2024: May 13 - June 28
Instructor: Dr. Simon Carroll
Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30 - 4 p.m.
Delivery: On campus - face-to-face


Course description

This seminar addresses political economy of the internet, and combines theoretical discussion with contemporary political, social and legal issues. The overriding question is to what extent the Internet can still be arena for democratic engagement and free speech, or whether governmental and corporate interests have now overwhelmed the essential and original potential of the medium.

The course is situated within some broader theories of technology and politics. We address the historical evolution of the Internet and its current governance structures and political-economic context. A series of global, interrelated policy issues are then discussed; censorship and free speech; surveillance and privacy; and intellectual property and the intellectual commons; the internet and social movements; misinformation as political strategy and, the rise of authoritarian politics.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • compare how different jurisdictions are integrated into a global digital political economy and have responded to challenges posed by the internet
  • understand how states attempt to manage and govern technological change
  • explore the impact of information and communications technologies on civil liberties, human rights and social justice struggles
  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion

Topics may include

  • online free speech and censorship

  • behavioural advertising

  • hacking and cybersecurity

  • privacy and surveillance

  • intellectual property

  • intellectual commons

  • hegemony and digital culture

  • financial capital and the internet

  • Silicon Valley as the global hub of digital economy

100 level Spring 2024

POLI 101 - Canadian Politics

Spring 2024 CRN: 22703
Instructor: Dr. Matt James
Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30 - 6 p.m.


Course description

This course will explore some of the major divisions and fault lines in Canadian politics, with a particular emphasis on understanding conflicts over sovereignty and the ways in which traditional assumptions of Canadian politics have been challenged in recent decades.

We begin by examining the colonial history and machinations that led to Confederation. After discussing the idea of a distinctive Canadian political culture, the course then looks at the contours and conduct of partisan politics at the official level, focusing on Canadian elections, parties and party systems.

The remainder of the course studies the country’s central societal debates and divisions, starting with what the political scientist Peter Russell calls Canada’s constitutional odyssey.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop knowledge of Canadian politics including the conflicts with an emphasis on the debates surrounding sovereignty and self-determination
  • explore themes of identity and equity
  • expand critical thinking skills including the ability to analyze, synthesize, interpret and evaluate ideas, information, situations and texts
  • develop and practice academic writing skills
  • develop and practice research skills related to the discipline of political science

Topics may include

  • Quebec nationalism
  • Indigenous peoples and settler colonialism
  • feminism and gender
  • racialization and multiculturalism
  • globalization

POLI 103 - Worlds of Politics

Spring 2024 CRN: 22712
Instructor: Dr. Michael Carpenter
Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10:30 -11:30 a.m.


Course description 

What is politics and what is political science? Political science deals with political activity and behaviour which can be found in a vast array of areas and contexts.

The first that comes to mind are systems of government in Canada and across the globe. But politics also appears in everyday actions such as the consumer choices that you make about food to eat or what products to buy and the modes of communication that you use.

Using case studies and readings, we will organize the course into four units: an introduction to political science and its research methods; political theory; comparative politics; international relations.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • understand basic concepts and areas of study in the discipline of political science
  • apply political ideas, institutions and outcomes within different settings
  • analyze, interpret and evaluate ideas, information, situations and texts
  • develop and practice academic writing skills
  • develop and practice research skills related to the discipline of political science

Topics may include

  • research methods
  • key ideas, theories and historical examples
  • current affairs
  • Indigenous politics
  • populism 

200 level spring 2024

POLI 201 - Canadian Institutions of Government
Spring 2024 CRN: 22721
Instructor: Dr. Jamie Lawson
Schedule: Monday and Thursday 1 - 2:30 p.m.

Course description

Canada’s governing institutions, including colonial, liberal-democratic, federal, and parliamentary, have a long history marked by both continuities and changes.

Whatever opinion you may have about them, understanding how they operate is useful. This course introduces these institutions, their origins, and conceptual frameworks for understanding them.

Topics may include the imperial legacy, crown sovereignty, parliament, the prime minister and cabinet, the courts, federalism, the police, and the charter of rights.

We also look at key turning points in Canadian history, when new elements of the constitutional framework arose out of political debates and decisions and took their modern form.

This course also provides some limited training and assignments to enhance students’ academic writing skills. 

Course outcomes/objectives

  • identify the history, structure, and functions of key Canadian governing institutions
  • develop an understanding of liberal-democracy and other concepts as they are defined, debated and assessed in distinct and sometimes conflicting ways
  • develop analytical reading, speaking and writing skills
  • practice research, reasoning and presentation skills

Topics may include

  • liberal democracy
  • parliamentary government
  • federalism
  • settler-colonialism
  • constitutional law and convention
  • Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • policing and the judicial system

POLI 202 - Introduction to Political Theory

Spring 2024 CRN: 22728
Instructor: Dr. Mara Marin
Schedule: Mondays 4:30 - 7:30 p.m.


Course description

This course introduces students to political theory as an essential component of the study of politics. Political theory involves paying close attention to the concepts, language and the basic problems of politics as we try to understand and judge our political institutions and practices. We will read a variety of texts of social and political philosophy and ask the following questions:

  • What is justice?
  • What is a political community? Is it natural or conventional?
  • Who is included, who is excluded and why?
  • Is it compatible with private property?
  • Who is responsible for raising children?
  • Is democracy the best regime? What are the constraints and opportunities of political rulers?
  • How are exclusion, marginalization, subordination, dispossession and slavery justified?
  • What is colonialism?
  • What is the relation between politics and the economy? In what forms have we inherited these political ideas?

Course outcomes/objectives

  • read and understand complex texts
  • recognize and reconstruct concepts and arguments in these texts
  • evaluate and criticize theoretical arguments
  • construct and advance your own arguments
  • listen to your peers, connect your ideas to theirs and advance your arguments in dialogue with them
  • become familiar with central concepts and problems of social and political thought and identify these in current events
  • develop your ability to apply these concepts to new contexts, both current and historical

Topics may include

  • Plato; Machiavelli; Marx; Baldwin
  • development of political traditions
  • diversity of political thought
  • the history of political thought

POLI 240 - International Politics

Spring 2024 CRN: 22735
Instructor: Dr. Sarah E. Sharma
Schedule: Monday and Thursday 2:30 - 4 p.m.


Course description

International politics does not only occur in distant countries, the backrooms of capital cities and global centres or at the United Nations.

In a globalized world, international politics occurs all around us and is fundamentally connected to issues that affect our daily lives, the structure of our societies and the form of our economies.

At its root, the study of international politics is the study of power: who has it, who seeks it, and how it is used. This course provides students with a general introduction to both international politics and the discipline of international relations (IR).

Course outcomes/objectives

  • identify the major theoretical approaches to IR and the differences between them
  • develop a basic knowledge of key issues in international politics
  • apply IR theories to key issues in global politics, and critically reflect upon the merits and limitations of the different theoretical approaches
  • participate in informed discussion about key issues in world politics
  • write a research essay that contains a clear central argument, sufficient evidence and correct citation practices

Topics may include

  • international systems and governance
  • climate change
  • migration
  • conflict and security
  • human rights
  • international law

POLI 263 - Politics of Indigenous Peoples
Spring 2024 CRN: 22742
Instructor: Dr. Kelly Aguirre
Schedule: Mondays and Thursdays 10 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.

Course description

In this introductory course, we will survey the politics of Indigenous peoples living within the territories presently claimed by Canada – while remaining fully cognizant that the constructed nature of this scope doesn’t actually reflect the web of Indigenous relationships that supersede state borders.

Key insights will be drawn from an historically-informed approach to contemporary Indigenous politics; noting that Canadian colonialism is reproduced through co-constitutive regimes of racialization, sexism and heterosexism, capitalism, ableism, etc.

We will pay attention to the ways in which both the enduring reality of Indigenous peoples’ political authority and the colonial project are experienced and undertaken at different times and in different places.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • place contemporary Indigenous politics within a broad historical context, so that the continuities and breakages of colonization will become more readily apparent
  • develop critical reflections on how colonialism, anti-colonialism, and the endurance of Indigenous peoples’ political authorities is always already differentially distributed along various intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, etc.
  • link theories and practices on settler-Indigenous relations in present-day Canada

Topics may include:

  • Indigenous governance
  • treaties
  • The Indian Act (1867 - present)
  • resurgence
  • residential schools 

300 level spring 2024

POLI 300B - Early Modern Political Thought
Spring 2024 CRN: 22749
Instructor: Dr. Mara Marin
Schedule: Monday and Thursday 2:30 - 4 p.m.

Prerequisite

Complete POLI 103 or 202; or permission of the department

Course description

This course explores the concepts and arguments of early modern political thought and examines how these ideas shaped modern states, imperial expansion, understandings of citizenship, exclusion and equality, property, labor, colonialism, slavery and gender subordination.

We will read major works by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and J. J. Rousseau, texts written by women and people of colour and several revolutionary documents.

Questions we consider include:

  • Is political society natural or artificial?
  • What constitutes legitimate government?
  • What is the relation between human beings and non-human nature?
  • Can land be owned?
  • Are social inequalities based on nature or convention?
  • If all men are equal, is slavery justified? Why are women subordinate?
  • What is the relation between ideas of reason, rule over children and justifications of slavery?
  • What is the relation between ideas of labour, justifications of private property and colonialism?

Course outcomes/objectives

  • recognize and reconstruct central concepts, problems and arguments of social contract theory
  • evaluate and criticize theoretical arguments
  • construct and advance your own arguments
  • listen to your peers, connect your ideas to theirs, and advance your arguments in dialogue with them
  • apply these concepts to new contexts, both current and historical
  • identify issues in current events that have motivated social contract theorists and their critics

Topics may include

  • state of nature
  • social contract
  • equality and exclusion

POLI 300C - Post-Enlightenment Political Thought
Spring 2024 CRN: 22750
Instructor: Julian Evans
Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Course description

The goal of studying the political thought of the post-enlightenment period is to examine the foundations of the ideologies that have shaped our lives the 20th and 21st centuries.

In a very direct way, the major movements of the contemporary era have their roots in the political and intellectual thought of the post-enlightenment era, whether we are discussing Liberalism (in both its classical or ‘Neo’ variety), Marxism, Cosmopolitanism or Feminism.

An exploration of these earlier thinkers and texts give us a stronger understanding of the ideas and forces that have shaped the world around us.

Prerequisite 

POLI 103 or 202 or permission of the department

Course outcomes/objectives

  • explore the foundations of ideologies which have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries
  • examine the early investigations of ‘progress’ and they give us an understanding of our own place within history.
  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • through close reading of texts, develop analytical and critical-thinking skills
  • understand how these influential texts inform current political debates

Topics may include

  • Kant and Marx
  • progress
  • enfranchisement
  • liberalism

POLI 309 - Democracy and Disobedience
Spring 2024 CRN: 22751
Instructor: Dr. Avigail Eisenberg
Schedule: Wednesday 2:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Course description

This course examines political theories and strategies of disobedience and dissent. Questions we will ask are:

  • Do citizens have an obligation to obey unjust laws?
  • Which strategies of dissent and law breaking are successful?
  • Does disruptive protest damage democratic community or can it be democratizing?
  • Is violent resistance ever justified?

We will explore how we should understand the scope of political disobedience and examine the ways in which dissent and disobedience rely on particular political subjects and how they view themselves in relation to others.

We consider the leading texts in political theory about disobedience alongside some of the manifestos of social movements or reflections about groups such as Black Lives Matter, Earth First!, Idle No More, and Occupy to name some examples.

Prerequisite

Minimum 3rd year standing or permission of the department

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop knowledge of key concepts and questions in theories and cases about political dissent and disobedience
  • develop core undergraduate skills, especially effective writing, textual analysis and critical thinking
  • enhance critical reading skills
  • sharpen research skills and develop capacity to draw connections between theoretical debates and political practices

Topics may include

  • political theories of disobedience
  • conscience and resistance
  • violent and nonviolent protest
  • imperialism and dissent 

POLI 319 - Issues in Comparative Politics: Peace and Conflict in the Middle East
Spring 2024 CRN: 22752
Instructor: Dr. Michael Carpenter
Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Course description 

This course introduces students to basic issues of peace and conflict in the Middle East, including political-historical background and common analytical lenses. Contemporary issues include Western military interventions, Israel/Palestine, the Syrian conflict, the Saudi/Iranian cold war and how they interconnect.

Conceptual frames include human security, Orientalism, postcolonialism, political Islam, popular politics and the international state system.

By the end of the course, students are expected to demonstrate a working knowledge of the major political alignments and fractures of the region and the different ways of thinking about them

Course outcomes/objectives

  • explore the major political fault lines in the Middle East
  • understand the legacies of colonialism
  • develop reading and analytical skills through required readings
  • develop academic writing and communication skills

Topics may include

  • colonialism
  • orientalism
  • Nasserism and pan-Arabism
  • Muslim brotherhood

POLI 321 - Introduction to Research Methods in Political Science

Spring 2024 CRN: 22753
Instructor: Dr. Feng Xu
Schedule: Thursday 3 - 6 p.m.


Course description 

This course introduces students of political science how to conduct research and critically assess research results and design.

The course will teach students how political scientists ask answerable questions:

  • how we define key political concepts
  • how we formulate hypotheses and theories about political dynamics
  • how we measure the phenomena we want to study
  • how we think about and assess relationships of cause-and-effect
  • how we report our findings to the world.

This course also develops skills that will help students know how to write up, present and discuss empirical research findings. Students will learn by using employing the concepts, ideas and methods on a topic of their choosing.

Prerequisite 

A minimum third-year standing, declared honours or major in political science or permission of the department

Course outcomes/objectives

  • understand the scientific method and basics of philosophy of science
  • distinguish between qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • understand the basic principles of various research methods
  • understand how variability influences data and outcomes
  • become familiar with very basic statistics
  • develop written and verbal communication skills through group projects and individual assignments

Topics may include

  • political behaviour
  • voting
  • public opinion
  • social movements
  • public policy coordination

POLI 323 - Issues in Politics: Misinformation and Social Media
Spring 2024 CRN: 22754
Instructor: Dr. Simon Carroll
Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Info: TBA

POLI 343 - International Organizations
Spring 2024 CRN: 22755
Instructor: Dr. Claire Cutler
Schedule: Wednesdays 12:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Course description 

International governmental organizations (IOs) are the heart of global governance.

Since the mid-20th century, IOs have played a central role in defining, implementing and enforcing rules and norms to resolve international collective action problems and provide public goods ranging from peace and security to financial stability and growth. Yet many of the oldest and most prominent IOs in the world today are in crisis: their relevance, legitimacy and effectiveness constantly under fire by actors spanning the political spectrum.

Why are these IOs in crisis? What is the nature of these crises? What is being done to reform these organizations, and to what end?

The course will begin with a broad historical and theoretical overview of the birth and growth of IOs in the world.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • explore why states create and work through IOs
  • understand the design and the delegation of functions to IOs
  • examine the sources and exercise of IO authority and power and the often dysfunctional or pathological behavior of IOs
  • explore the relationship between IOs and private, non-state actors

Topics may include

  • multilateral organizations
  • theories of global governance
  • non-state actors
  • economic institutions

POLI 345 - Ethics in International Relations
Spring 2024 CRN: 22756
Instructor: Dr. Scott Watson
Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Course description 

Some of the most pressing issues in international politics require difficult ethical assessment and decision. Some of the questions we will ask are:

  • Should states militarily intervene to prevent gross human rights violations?
  • Are states justified in restricting immigration, even of refugees?
  • Is there a moral duty to redistribute wealth globally?
  • Who bears primary responsibility for the costs of preventing, mitigating, or adapting to climate change?
  • Are there situations in which states may legitimately wage war, and is it ever acceptable to target non-combatants?

All of these questions are of current importance and involve difficult moral decisions. The goal of this course is to introduce different traditions of moral thought and to explore their implications for contemporary international issues.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • understand major approaches to international ethics
  • introduce issues which present ethical dilemmas for practitioners and students of international politics

Topics may include

  • theories of international politics
  • immigration, citizenship and community
  • “Just” warfare
  • environmental challenges

POLI 348 - International Security
Spring 2024 CRN: 22757
Instructor: Mehdi Hashemi
Schedule: Tuesday 6 - 9 p.m.

Course description 

Traditionally, the study of international security focused on the causes of violent conflict between states, mostly major powers.

Changes in the international system and the expansion of the realm of security studies have, according to one scholar, rendered security an essentially contested topic.

Security scholars and practitioners now grapple with fundamental questions concerning the nature of security, such as:

  • What does security, and insecurity, mean?
  • How do we assess threat claims?
  • What are the primary threats to international security?
  • Whose security is paramount, states or individuals?
  • Who are the legitimate providers of security?

This course aims to provide students with the tools and ability to address these important questions, through the application of IR theory and contemporary case study.

Prerequisite

POLI 240 or permission of the department

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • examine the scholarly theories of international security
  • develop a critical attitude to varied perspectives
  • use theory and evidence to make sense of global conflict
  • explore debates using credible media sources

Topics may include

  • causes of war
  • theories of international security
  • migration and security
  • terrorism
  • international security cooperation

POLI 349 - Issues in International Politics: Middle Power Options in a World of Great Power Politics
Spring 2024 CRN: 22758
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Ankersen
Schedule: ONLINE Monday and Wednesday 4:30 - 6 p.m.

Course description 

This course examines the foreign policy choices of middle powers in a global system dominated by great powers.

We will explore the historical, economic, and political factors that shape these choices and how they navigate challenges and opportunities. Topics will include diplomacy, trades, multilateralism, alliance-making and military strategy.

We will also consider the role of middle powers in shaping the global order and their potential to influence great power behavior. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of international relations and the strategies employed by middle powers to advance their national interests.

The course will cover a wide range of middle powers, including Canada, India, South Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, and others. 

Course outcomes/objectives

  • use course material and discussion to expand analytical and critical-thinking skills
  • explore the key concepts and theoretical frameworks related to middle power behaviour and great power competition
  • evaluate different middle power strategies, including balancing, bandwagoning, buck-passing, and hedging, and the conditions under which they are most effective
  • apply understanding of middle power behavior and great power competition to a real-world case study

Topics may include

  • world order
  • foreign policy
  • diplomacy
  • middle power; great power
  • multilateralism
  • alliances

POLI 350/ADMN 311 - Introduction to Public Administration

Spring 2024 CRN: 22759/20003
Instructor: Dr. Sean Darling
Schedule: Wednesday 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.


Course description 

This course explores external and internal factors affecting contemporary public sector management in Canada.

We will discuss the various legislative, executive and judicial processes which engage public officials and citizens.

The course sets the theoretical and institutional context and examines emerging trends in public administration. We then proceed with an analysis of how various layers of the public sector function. This includes federal, provincial, local and Indigenous forms and modes of governance.

We will examine current and emerging debates about public institutions, laws, policies and diversity. Course material includes a range of text and visual materials that integrate diverse perspectives on how to advance public goods and interests. We will examine the functioning of various institutions and their responses to the contemporary challenges of our time.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written communication through essay writing
  • debate and evaluate techniques of public administration
  • understand the policy-making process, forms of engagement and decision-making
  • understand the various approaches, processes and organization of public administration

Topics may include

  • Westminster model
  • public service
  • decision-making models
  • levels of government including local municipal government
  • Indigenous governance

POLI 364 - Canadian Public Policy
Spring 2024 CRN: 22760
Instructor: Dr. Cara Camcastle
Schedule: Online Tuesday 6 - 9 p.m.

Course description 

This course examines, assesses and applies theoretical perspectives to the study of policy-making in Canada.

We will address both where and how decisions are made (or not) across levels, scales and locales of government. Given that numerous actors such as interest groups, lobbyists, the public and the media affect public policy, this course will emphasize both structure and agency, key terms and concepts associated with how government functions.

This course will also discuss processes of governance. The first section of the course introduces various approaches to public policy in Canada. We will follow this by applying these approaches to selected policy domains in Canadian politics, including health, environment, ethnicity, race, risk and security. The final portion of the course will focus on the applied craft of policy-making.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • introduce theoretical approaches and concepts concerning public policy
  • explore crucial components of the public policy processes
  • allow participation in public policy development and engagement
  • provide a knowledge and skill set that students can expand in the workplace
  • learn how to write a policy brief and a position paper
  • develop analytic, writing, research and presentation skills that are fundamental to working in both public and not-‐for-‐profit sector environments.

Topics may include

  • policy paradox
  • intersectionality
  • policy networks and communities
  • policy domains

POLI 369 - Issues in Canadian Politics: Politics of Western Canada
Spring 2024 CRN: 22761
Instructor: Dr. Justin Leifso
Schedule: Monday and Thursday 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Course description 

  • What is Western Canada?
  • Are 'BC-ers' Westerners?
  • What distinguishes politics in Western Canada from the rest of the country?
  • Why is Alberta like that?

In this class, we will study the politics of Canada west of Ontario. We’ll interrogate the history of the West, define what “the West” or "Westerner" means, explore the dynamics of settler-colonialism, gender, sexuality, class, and race in the West, then trace how these undercurrents are articulated in contemporary regional and provincial politics. 

Prerequisite 

POLI 101, 201 or permission of the instructor

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • gain understanding of the political, economic, and social dynamics of Western Canada
  • learn to view western Canadian politics (and politics more broadly) through a variety of theoretical frameworks
  • develop written and verbal communication skills through academic writing and class discussion

Topics may include

  • Canadian regionalism
  • settler colonialism in Western Canada
  • numbered treaties
  • provincial politics of BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

POLI 371/HSTR 365D - Chinese Politics
Spring 2024 CRN: 22762/21840
Instructor: Dr. Can Zhao
Schedule: Monday 6 - 9 p.m.

Course description 

This course examines the domestic politics of the People’s Republic of China.

Covering the historical continuity and change of Chinese politics from 1949 to the present, the course is organized into two parts: Mao Zedong’s reign with liberation and the proletarian dictatorship (1949-1976) and the post-Mao eras with reform and refreshed repression.

We will consider China as a country case in comparative political perspectives, including comparisons with other communist states, transitional politics in East Asia, authoritarian politics in general, and in terms of political economy of development, the Global South.

A student taking this course does not need specialized background knowledge on Chinese politics, but, with the guidance provided by lectures and readings, is expected to experiment imagining of a political system that is perhaps fundamentally different from one in which they live and seizing of the concepts applicable to comprehending and analyzing the Chinese political system.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • understand the theoretical perspectives in contemporary Chinese politics
  • explore political institutions in revolutionary and transitional Chinese politics
  • analyze the dynamics of revolution, reform and repression embedded in state-society relations
  • develop core undergraduate skills such as effective writing, analysis, and argumentation

Topics may include

  • The Maoist state
  • rural reform and governance
  • democratization
  • socioeconomic change

POLI 379/EUS 300 - Issues in European Politics: European Integration
Spring 2024 CRN: 22763
Instructor: Dr. Keith Cherry
Schedule: Monday and Thursday 1 - 2:30 p.m.

POLI 382/RCS 383 - Politics and Religion
Spring 2024 CRN: 22764/22898
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Wender
Schedule: Monday and Thursday 1 - 2:30 p.m.

Course description

POLI 382/RCS 383 uncovers revealing points of overlap between the two vital dimensions of human experience and social life - politics and religion. More than this, POLI 382 is dedicated to critical reflection on what is signified by the modern concepts of “politics” and “religion” as distinct entities.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • critique the supposed division between politics and religion
  • examine how “religion” and “secular” have been molded in relation to one another worldwide through diverse historical and contemporary instances
  • explore how discourse and significance of religion are deployed within the context of political interests
  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion

Topics may include

  • intersecting concepts of religion, politics, and secularity
  • civil religion and political religion
  • worldwide instances of supposed, contemporary religious resurgence
  • critiques of so-called fundamentalist movements
  • religion and global colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial transformations
  • religion and policy considerations surrounding social and scientific dilemmas like climate change and COVID-19

POLI 386 - Issues in Political Theory: LGBTQ Political Theory
Spring 2024 CRN: 22765
Instructor: David Miller
Schedule: ONLINE Synchronous session Friday 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Course description 

  • What is "queer theory" and what does it mean to be "queer"?
  • How does queerness relate to political movements for LGBT acceptance, inclusion, and liberation?
  • And what can it tell us about the “nature” of the political – what does (or does not) count as politics – more generally?

Through an engagement with the concepts, ideas, poetics, and polemics of LGBTQIA2S+ theorists and activists, this course will introduce students to some of the major thinkers, themes and histories of both queer theory and LGBT politics, with the aim of exploring how variable notions of queerness have helped to challenge not only the exclusion and oppression of LGBT people from public life, but also the very idea of what counts as political.

Course outcomes/objectives:

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • become acquainted with the basic ideas, concepts, and problems of queer theory
  • learn to interpret, evaluate, and apply ideas from queer theory to our own lives
  • understand some of the ongoing history of LGBTQ politics
  • gain a better appreciation of current LGBTQ political issues and possible interventions into LGBTQ politics

Topics may include:

  • Queerness
  • LGBTQ politics
  • political theory
  • identity and identity politics

400 level spring 2024

POLI 423 - (Seminar) Neoliberal Canada
Fall 2023 CRN: 22766
Instructor: Dr. Justin Leifso
Schedule: Wednesday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Course description  

Neoliberalism has been the prevailing form of governance across much of the world for almost forty years.

It has been located in myriad spaces, from policies like privatization, deregulation and austerity to the ways in which neoliberal citizenship governs how we live our lives. In this course, we will trace the emergence of neoliberal governance in Canada. 

The course includes 3 units that seek to understand exactly what neoliberalism is, how it emerged in Canada and what its (and our) future holds.

We will trace the emergence and growth of neoliberal thought, starting with the context that incubated the ideas of neoliberal thinkers such F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman, then think about how to best conceptualize exactly what neoliberalism is, focussing on political economy and institutional understandings of neoliberalism versus post-structural perspectives.

Finally, we will take these lessons and deploying them to understand how neoliberalism came to Canada and how it has been articulated here in specific places and in specific ways.

Prerequisites 

Complete one 300-level course in political science or permission of the department

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • have a sound understanding of the history of neoliberal ideas
  • be able to identify various theoretical perspectives on neoliberalism
  • feel comfortable deploying concepts related to neoliberalism in research

Topics may include

  • neoliberalism
  • policy
  • Canadian politics
  • political economy
  • governmentality

POLI 433 - (Seminar) Issues in Politics: Borders and Migration
Fall 2023 CRN: 22767
Instructor: Dr. Michael Carpenter
Schedule: Wednesdays 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Course description

Borders and migration have become highly contentious issues in politics and public debate.

Among other factors, the 2015/16 "refugee crisis" further contributed to the rise of populist-nationalist forces that mobilize based on anti-immigrant sentiments and a fundamental opposition to mainstream liberal and neoliberal politics.

This course addresses this context as well as the conditions experienced by migrants themselves. While borders are the primary obstacle to the free movement of people, borders are also complex filters and interfaces between jurisdictions. Not simply confined to the boundary line, borders are powerful policy instruments for states to govern migration, not only to prevent it.

  • How are borders and migration politicized with a view to debates surrounding irregular migration, refugee policy, security, identity, citizenship and the integration of newcomers?
  • How are borders and migration bound up with the rise of the populist, anti-immigrant right and its effects on democracy?

Course outcomes/objectives

  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • develop reading and analytical skills through required readings
  • understand the challenges surrounding migration and its politicization
  • explore nuanced theoretical conceptions of borders

Topics may include

  • populism and popular politics
  • securitizing migration
  • citizenship and exclusion
  • humanitarian borders

POLI 441 - (Seminar) International Political Economy and the Environment
Fall 2023 CRN: 22768
Instructor: Dr. Sarah E. Sharma
Schedule: Thursday 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Course description

International political economy and environment (IPEE) is a field of study that examines how relations of power in the global political economy shape environmental governance.

From an IPEE perspective, global environmental governance is not just a product of climate science or multilateral negotiations. Rather, private authorities, economic considerations and colonial relations also shape the design and execution of global environmental governance. Moreover, IPEE analyses the motivations and real-life outcomes of environmental policies by asking “who benefits?”

This course will equip students with the skills necessary to approach global environmental governance from an IPEE perspective. Students will also be able to analyse how socio-economic and socio-environmental inequalities are produced and reproduced at global, national and subnational scales.

Prerequisite

4th year standing or permission of the instructor

Course outcomes/objectives

  • identify the core theories in the field of IPEE and examine topics from a IPEE perspective
  • become familiar with global environmental governance policy tools and various perspectives surrounding them
  • develop an understanding of how intersecting social, economic, political, and environmental inequalities are produced, reinforced, and contested across and within the global North and global South
  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion
  • develop rigorous critical analytical skills that will be put in practice through reading, in-class discussions, presentations and written assignments

Topics may include

  • climate change governance
  • environmental inequality
  • climate adaptation, risk management, and resilience
  • global waste governance and food governance
  • private authority in global environmental governance
  • green consumerism
  • urban climate governance

POLI 463 - (Seminar) Violence to Indigenous Lands and Bodies
Fall 2023 CRN: 22768
Instructor: Dr. Kelly Aguirre
Schedule: Friday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Course description 

Indigenous lands and bodies have been constructed as terra nullius, wastelands and criminal spaces, enabling the US and Canada to avert attention from their own illegality.

The imposition of colonial law, facilitated by casting Indigenous peoples as savage and in need of civilization and constructing Indigenous lands as lawless spaces absent legal order, have made it possible for the United States and Canada to reduce Indigenous political authority and dispossess Indigenous nations of their lands.

Settler colonial logics operate to keep state sovereignty discursively intact while implementing and mobilizing settler sovereignty in ways that play out on Indigenous bodies and lands.

This course is discussion based. You are expected and required to come to class prepared to discuss the readings with a critical lens. This class covers a range of political and legal issues.

Course outcomes/objectives

  • examine Indigenous relationships to their territories
  • explore Indigenous assertions of sovereignty and resistance to the state
  • understand settler colonialism and its enduring impacts including gender violence and policy responses
  • develop written and verbal communication through essay writing and discussion

Topics may include

  • economies of violence
  • colonial space, elimination and containment
  • heteropatriarchy
  • discourses of reconciliation and healing