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Queen's University

Undergraduate Courses

 2013-2014 Undergraduate Timetable.  (updated January 13, 2014)


Course Instructor(s) Description

POLS 110 A/B: 
Introduction to Politics and Government 

Eleanor MacDonald (Fall) and Oded Haklai (Winter) An introduction to political science that provides both a framework for thinking about politics and the institutions of governance, and some of the vocabulary necessary for political analysis.

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Course Instructor(s) Description
POLS 211:  
Canadian Government
Erin Crandall An examination of the institutions and constitutional foundations of government and politics in Canada.
POLS 212: 
Canadian Politics
Heather Bastedo An analysis of the processes, groups, parties, voters, and culture of Canadian politics.
POLS 230:
American Elections

Not offered in 


This course provides a general introduction to the institutions and politics of the electoral process in the United States. The course integrates literature on the electoral system (including the system of primary elections), campaign financing, political parties, voting behaviour, political sociology, and political communication.
(Note: This course will be delivered ONLINE.  No classroom time is required.)   

POLS 241:

Comparative Politics:


Normand Perreault


An examination of how and why societies change and the context in which transformation occurs.
POLS 242: 
Comparative Politics: Contemporary Regimes

Not offered in 


The nature of political regimes in advanced industrial countries and the developing world.

POLS 243:

Comparative Politics:

States and Nations

John McGarry   A comparative examination of the ways in which states around the world respond to national, ethnic, linguistic, religious, and racial diversity. The course examines responses that include the morally reprehensible, such as genocide, and the morally defensible, such as federalism and power-sharing.
POLS 244: 
Comparative Politics: Democracy & Democratization
Zsuzsa Csergo A comparative exploration of the apparent disjuncture between the normative assumptions of liberal democratic theory and the realities of democracy-building.
POLS 250 A/B: 
Political Theory
Margaret Moore (Fall) and Andrew Lister (Winter) A survey of the principal ideas of Western political theorists from ancient to modern times, focusing in particular on the role and scope of government; the proper organisation of governmental power; the nature of political obligation; and the ethics of political power and authority.
POLS 251: 
Political Ideologies

Not offered in 



This course introduces students to a range of contemporary ideologies, such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, fascism, feminism, anarchism, ecologism, fundamentalism, and nationalism. It includes primary and secondary readings, and will focus on the critical interpretation of these competing belief systems.
POLS 261: 
International Politics
Stéfanie von Hlatky An introduction to the major issues in the study of international relations: questions of war and peace, national security, the role of the 'state', foreign and defence policy, gender and international relations, and international institutions.
POLS 262: 
International Political Economy
John Rapley
An introduction to the major issues in the study of international political economy, including transnationalism, integration, globalization, and underdevelopment.
POLS 280: 
Introduction to Women, Gender, and Politics

Constance MacRae-Buchanan

This course analyzes the status of women and men in domestic and global politics. It presents primary concepts used in political science to address: What is gender? How is it political? How have the women’s movement and other collectivities addressed inequality and oppression? What does gender equality look like, and how can it be obtained?

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Course Instructor(s) Description

POLS 310:

Principles of the Canadian Constitution

Iain Reeve

Canadian Political Institutions: Formation and Reform  

 This course introduces students to several of Canada’s core political institutions in two-week clusters. The first week describes the initial rationale for the institution and how it has evolved through Canada’s history to its current state. The second week explores criticisms of the institutions’ current forms and discusses possibilities for reform to better reflect modern political needs, values, and contexts. The course will blend a classical lecture format with large-group active learning activities where students will engage directly in a hands-on fashion with the logic and function of institutions. Institutions to be examined include the constitution, the House of Commons and its procedures, the Senate, the First-Past-the-Post electoral system, political parties, and the courts.

POLS 312:

Political Behaviour

Not offered in 


Can citizens make informed choices? Does it matter? This course considers the principal theories and current debates in the study of elections, public opinion, and political participation. It will focus on the effects of political psychology, media, and identity on the behavior and choices of citizens. While the readings will primarily be Canadian and American, the course will also consider how the material relates to other established and emerging democracies.

POLS 313:

Mass Media and Politics in Canada

Jonathan Rose

A critical examination of the relationship between the mass media and politics, focusing on the functions of the media in modern liberal democracies and the ways in which news stories are created and packaged.
POLS 317: 
Charter Politics
Not offered in 2013-14 How courts are responding to their responsibility to review legislative and executive decisions in terms of their impact on citizens; the impact of the Charter on the way government is viewed.

POLS 318:

The Canadian Welfare State

Not offered in 


An examination of the character and functions of the Canadian welfare state. Theoretical explanations of the welfare state. The historical development of the Canadian welfare state. Proposals for social policy reform and their implications. Offered in alternate years.

POLS 319:

Public Disclosure in Canada:

Issues and Debates

Not offered in 


An introduction to Canadian political thinkers who have addressed important themes in contemporary Canadian public, legal and theoretical discourse, including multiculturalism, critical race theory, antipornography campaigns, sexual violence, globalization and modern alienation.

POLS 320:

First Nations Politics

Not offered in 


An examination of First Nations politics in a Canadian context, including aboriginal self-government.

POLS 327:

Topics in Comparative Politics

check BISC website for availability

An examination of key issues in comparative politics. Topics will vary from year to year; consult department homepage 

NOTE Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux.

POLS 328:

Topics in European Politics

check BISC website

for availability

An examination of key issues in European politics. Topics will vary from year to year; consult the department homepage.

NOTE Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux.

POLS 329: 
European Politics

Not offered in 


An introduction to European politics. The themes and geographic focus vary from year to year; they may include current political institutions and forces, the historical evolution of the European polities, and both Western and Eastern Europe.

POLS 331:

American Government

Phillip Wood

Survey of the political process in the United States; functioning and interaction of the principal formal and informal political institutions, the relationship between those institutions and their environment, the making of public policy, and current issues and trends.

POLS 332: 

Post-Communist Politics

Not offered in 


The politics of the Russian Federation and selected countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

POLS 335:

Topics in British Politics

check BISC website for availability

An examination of key issues in British politics. Topics will vary from year to year; consult the department homepage.

NOTE Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux.

POLS 336:

British Politics

Phillip Wood

Contemporary problems facing Britain as a result of its historical evolution: economic stagnation, centrifugal forces of nationalism and communal violence, and the decline of the two-party system.

POLS 338:

European Integration

Not offered in 


An introductory overview of the European Union and major issues facing the EU today. The course presents the history and institutions of the EU, as well as theories of European integration. It then discusses current issues, such as enlargement of the EU to new members, the "democratic deficit" of its institutions, European identity, immigration, and the Eurozone debt crisis, which threatens the very future of European integration.
POLS 341: 
Chinese Politics

Emily Hill

The course begins with an historical overview of the late Qing dynasty, the origins of the Chinese revolution, and 50 years of the People’s Republic of China. It then focuses primarily on political science concepts and approaches to the study of Chinese politics as well as issues of reform in various sectors of China’s economy and polity.
POLS 342:  
Latin American Politics
Normand Perreault Comparative study of Latin American politics. Topics include the political legacies of colonialism and independence, the evolution of class structures, populism, the role of the military, and the transition to democracy and free market policies. Emphasis is on the countries of continental South America.

POLS 346:

Development Theory

Not offered in 


A critical examination of the current theories of development influenced by various post-Marxist, postmodernist and postcolonial tendencies. Growth strategies practised by the state and alternative visions offered by the social movements will also be discussed.

POLS 347:

The Politics of Africa

Bruce Berman

This course provides an introduction to African politics by exploring a broad range of issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives. It examines major themes and issues of importance to African politics, including the legacy of colonialism, post-colonial politics and authoritarian rule, economic development and foreign aid, democratization and ‘good governance’, violent conflict and state failure, environmental issues and challenges, and the relationship between Africa and emerging powers such as China and India.

POLS 348:
Middle East Politics 
Not offered in 2013-14 An examination of the politics of the Middle East, including the legacy of the Ottoman Empire and European colonialism, the rise of nationalism, the role of religion, the nature of the state and political participation in different countries in the region.
POLS 351: 
Liberal Theory
Not offered in 2013-14

An examination of the major theories and critiques of liberalism, focusing on the rival conceptions of freedom and equality that animate classical ‘laissez-faire’ liberalism, egalitarian liberalism, left-libertarianism, and perfectionist liberalism, and the critical responses these various kinds of liberalism have provoked from communitarians, feminists, Marxists, and others.

POLS 352:

Women and the History of Political Thought

Not offered in 


Drawing on historical texts, this course explores the representations of women and the constructions of femininity and masculinity, the body, and gender relations in the history of political thought, and explores contemporary feminist responses to these texts and ideas.

POLS 353:

History of Political Thought

Not offered in 


An analysis of the origin and development of certain major ideas in the western political tradition.

POLS 354:

Democratic Theory

Alexander del Maestro An exploration of the normative underpinnings of democracy, based on a survey of selected historical texts, contemporary theories, and current problems.

POLS 358:

Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Capitalism

Not offered in 


Selected topics in the critique of capitalism, e.g. Marxism, democracy, the environment, globalization, employment and popular culture.
POLS 361:
Regional International Organizations 

Not offered in 


A survey of selected regional international organizations for political cooperation, military security and economic integration in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.
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POLS 364:
International Peace and Security 

Stéfanie von Hlatky

An examination of the concept of international security and the causes of war and conditions of peace. Topics include: the role of nuclear weapons after the Cold War; the economics of security; new security themes (environmental and ethnic factors); regional security and peacekeeping; alliance dynamics; and European security and the future of NATO.
POLS 366: 
The United Nations
Charles Pentland An examination of the principles, institutions and poltiics of the United Nations, assessing its effectiveness in maintaining international peace and promoting cooperation among states.
POLS 367: 
American Foreign Policy
David Haglund An examination of American foreign policy, with particular emphasis on the analysis of concepts and issues and the study of decision-making processes.
POLS 369: 
Canadian Foreign Policy
Asa McKercher An analysis of Canadian foreign policy, its major objectives and orientations. Topics covered include Canada's role and interests in major international organizations and its relations with key countries and regions.

POLS 382:

Women and Politics

Constance MacRae-Buchanan Topics include theoretical perspectives on women and politics, patterns of women’s political socialization and political action, feminist movements, and feminist contributions to contemporary political discourse.

POLS 383:

Law and Governmental Process

Not offered in 


An examination of the role of law in politics, the differences between legal and political reasoning, the law and politics of constitution-making, and the political character of criminal and civil law. Topics include the victim’s rights movement, pornography and censorship, and the role of litigation in political life.
POLS 384: 
Strategies of Political Research
Grant Amyot An exploration of major issues and schools of thought in the philosophy of social science and in examination of contemporary approaches to the study of politics.
POLS 385: 
Quantitative Approaches to Political Studies

Normand Perreault

An introduction to the role of quantitative analysis, statistical software and computers in empirical political research. The operationalization of concepts, the collection of data, data analysis, the logic and uses of statistical techniques, and the political assumptions that form the basis of much statistical work and philosophical debate. Minimal mathematical background is assumed.

POLS 386:

Political Economy and Mass Media

Not offered in 


An examination of the history and political economy of the mass media, exploring the impact of a partisan press, ownership and use of technology on how our identity has been shaped. It will draw upon a comparative assessment of the mass media in advanced liberal democracies.
POLS 387:  
Politics and Culture

Eleanor MacDonald

The course explores contemporary approaches to understanding the politics of culture. In the everyday behaviours, attitudes and practices that form our culture, politics play a role. The course considers a range of diverse theoretical perspectives on the interrelationship of culture with social, political, and economic power.

POLS 388:

Citizenship and Non-Citizenship

Not offered in 


Focusing on issues of citizenship and non-citizenship in the modern world. How issues of nationality and nationalism, minority rights, gender, class, race and ethnicity, and immigration status impact on the rights and obligations of citizenship and central to the politics of these debates. The relevance of these issues to the current Canadian context will be an ongoing theme of the course.

POLS 391:

Introduction to Electoral Systems

Not offered in 


This course introduces students to the various families of electoral systems in use around the world. It examines their variations and assesses the consequences of electoral systems on political parties, legislatures and governments.

POLS 392:

Topics in Canadian Politics

Not offered in 


An examination of selected aspects of Canadian politics and government, including institutions and behavioural approaches. The focus of this course will vary from year to year.

POLS 393:

Topics in Comparative Politics

Not offered in 


A comparative examination of the politics and government of different countries, or theories or themes in comparative politics. The focus of this course will vary from year to year.

POLS 394:

Topics in Political Theory

Not offered in 


An exploration of different aspects of political thought, political theory, and political philosophy. The focus of this course will vary from year to year.
POLS 395: 
Topics in International Political Economy
Wayne Cox An examination of different topics and issues in global political economy, such as the role of international financial institutions, the politics of global trade, or the global distribution of wealth. The focus of this course will vary from year to year.
POLS 396: 
Topics in International Relations 

Dru Lauzon

Issues in global politics, international relations, international diplomacy, or foreign policy will be examined in this course. The focus of this course will vary from year to year.

POLS 397:

Topics in Gender and Politics

Not offered in 


An investigation of selected problems in feminist and gender analysis, examining the different authors and issues. The focus of this course will vary from year to year.

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Course Instructor(s) Description
POLS 401: 
Political Theory: Questions and Challenges
Phillip Wood This seminar is organized around a close, contextual and critical reading of Volume 1 of Capital, Marx's magnum opus and one of the foundational texts of modern social science.  The immediate goal is to use Marx's own words, rather than those of his interpreters, to develop an understanding of his thought and method.  In the process, some of the most important theoretical and methodological limitations of liberal theory and conventional political science will be addressed.  As is appropriate for a seminar that takes places in a world which is in the process of being turned upside down, we will also try to explore Marx's way of thinking about the relationship between the world of liberal appearances - “Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham” - on the one hand, and some of the main features of the contemporary context – growing inequality and social exclusion, increasingly authoritarian political forms and practices, and large-scale political upheavals - on the other.  One of the primary effects of the way political science has developed has been to make capitalism disappear from view as an important determinant of political life.  This seminar seeks to redress the balance, and to put capitalism and its social and political effects back under the spotlight.
POLS 402: 
Science and Justice
Not offered in 2013-14 Advances in biological knowledge bring us closer to a world where we may have the ability to directly manipulate our genetic make-up. With this ability comes new questions concerning the demands of distributive justice. This course examines key developments in biology (especially human genetics), and demonstrates why and how theories of justice may require revision in light of these changes. Issues addressed include insurance and privacy, the therapy/enhancement distinction, aging, themorality of inclusion, future generations, and reproductive freedom. The course is designed to explore the different challenges society faces as a consequence of the genetic revolution and to help equip students with the critical and analytical skills needed to think rationally and cogently about the regulation of new biomedical technologies.

POLS 403: 

Gender and Politics:

Questions and Challenges

Tim Luchies

The Politics of Power and ResistanceThis course draws on poststructural and intersectional analyses to examine how violence is naturalized in contemporary politics. Such approaches emerge from and are transforming resistance struggles across North America as well as providing innovative ways of researching politics. Covering unique and seminal contributions to this evolving body of feminist work, we will build a critical understanding of settler colonialism, imperialism, hetero-sexism, multiculturalism, dis/ability, and resistance. Through research and group work, students will develop the skills to engage with a range of theories / tactics illuminating and contesting oppression. 

POLS 404: 

Canadian Politics: 

Questions and Challenges - 

Canadian Democracy in the 21st Century


Heather Bastedo

This course explores the health of democracy in Canada, including facets of political engagement, media and representation. We begin with an examination of the nature of political engagement in Canada and how Canadians feel about their democracy. A key concern is whether new forms of political action are making Canadian democracy more inclusive or reinforcing existing democratic divides. Particular attention is focused on those who are politically disengaged. The course then moves on to assess the performance of the traditional news media in providing informative coverage and the relationship between media coverage and public opinion, as well as the role of new social media. The next section of the course addresses issues surrounding representation. Focusing on Parliament, we raise important questions about the responsiveness and inclusiveness of representative democracy in Canada, as well as the representational role of MPs. 

POLS 405:

International Relations:

Questions and Challenges

Aaron Ettinger

The Politics of the post-September 11 WarsThis seminar covers the politics of the post-September 11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It addresses the history, themes, controversies and political significance of these conflicts from an International Relations perspective. Topics include the ideas that informed US foreign policy after September 11, the dynamics of war and occupation in both countries, and the legacy of the wars for the Middle East and US power in world politics. Special attention is given to controversies that arise from these conflicts such as torture and extrajudicial imprisonment, drone warfare, and military privatization. Course work includes weekly written assignments, presentations and one major research paper.

POLS 406:

Comparative Politics: Questions and Challenges - 

Introduction to Electoral Systems



Jonathan Rose This course has two broad aims.  First, it is an introduction to the four families of electoral systems and their variations and second it seeks to examine the consequences of electoral systems.  Electoral systems are on one level simple institutions: they are the means by which votes are transferred into seats.  On another level, they are enormously complex and varied.   They can be understood by their constituent elements and how those vary or they can be understood by the kinds of electoral outcomes they produce. Others have sought to understand them as dependent on party systems or political culture.  But some have suggested that  party systems are a product of electoral systems.  One thing that is evident from their study is that the myriad variations of electoral systems tell us about different democratic values and ideals.

POLS 410:

Seminar in Canadian Politics

Constance MacRae-Buchanan TBA

POLS 412:

Provincial Politics

Not offered in 


Content varies from year to year.
POLS 414: 
Politics in Quebec

Not offered in 


An introduction to the political history of Quebec: the development of ideologies (including nationalism), constitutional developments, and the building of the Quebec state during the Quiet Revolution. Some contemporary issues in Quebec politics, and the relationship between Quebec and the rest of Canada.

POLS 415:

Canadian Federalism


An examination of the evolution and operation of the Canadian federal system. Topics include the concept and meaning of federalism, the implications of provincial/federal interdependence, and the politics of constitutional reform.
POLS 419: 
Political Communication
Jonathan Rose A critical examination of the rhetoric of political persuasion, the framing and construction of political messages and the way in which meaning is interpreted and created in the political system. The mass media are an important, though not exclusive, focus of this course.
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POLS 421: 
Randy Besco

An examination of the importance of elections to the maintenance of democratic systems. Six themes are discussed: the history and theory of democratic participation; the legal framework; campaign organization; why people vote the way they do; the manifestation of social cleavages during campaigns; and the future of electoral participation. Canadian examples are placed in a comparative context.

POLS 422:
Public Opinion 

Not offered in 


This course provides an extensive survey of the principal theoretical perspectives and empirical debates in the study of public opinion.

POLS 430: 
Seminar in Comparative Politics


Grant Amyot

Peter Gourevitch’s modern classic Politics in Hard Times deals with the response of governments to major disruptions in the world economy.  The latest case he studied was the turmoil of the 1970s.  In this course, we shall update the analysis by studying the political reaction to the global financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath, including the Eurozone debt crisis.  While the focus will be on Europe, responses in the United States and other developed democracies will also be discussed.

POLS 431:
European Politics 
Philipe Roseberry This seminar in European politics centers on the analysis of intrastate political violence in post-WWII Europe. It proposes an investigation into the conditions, causes and key dynamics of intrastate collective violence, including riots, insurgency, civil war and mass violence. The seminar seeks to answer the question of why state institutions and agents, as well as their challengers, engage in violent action and why they move from one strategy to the other. It combines a survey of theoretical and conceptual debates in intrastate conflict analysis with case studies from contemporary Eastern, Southeastern and Western Europe.

POLS 432:

The Modern Welfare State

Not offered in 2013-14 This course analyzes the politics of social policy in contemporary democracies. During the middle decades of the twentieth century, western countries developed a complex set of social programs protect individuals and families from the risks and insecurities inherent in the market economy and modern society. In recent decades, governments have restructured many of these programs, often in dramatic ways, in response to changing economic, social and political pressures. This course examines theoretical debates about the forces that have reshaped the welfare state, assesses the ways in which social programs have been restructured, and evaluates the implications for poverty, inequality and intergenerational fairness. The course will draw on the experience of western democracies in general and Canada in particular.
POLS 433: 
Problems of American Democracy
Catherine Conaghan Focuses on recent debates about the sources of malaise and dysfunction in the American political system. Analysis includes an examination of the state of public opinion, the polarization of the party system, and the nature of the political elite. The course will incorporate discussion of developments in the 2012 national elections.
POLS 434: 

Stephen Larin

This course explores the political implications of multiculturalism from a variety of perspectives, including theory, policy, and historical meaning. Issues include: history and policy of multiculturalism in the Canadian, US and global contexts; the construction of ‘race’ and anti-racism; and the role of multiculturalism in citizenship inclusion and exclusion.

POLS 435:

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Oded Haklai This course introduces students to some of the important questions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. What is the history of the conflict? How did distinct national identities emerge? What issues are at stake for the actors involved? How do domestic factors shape Palestinian-Israeli relations? Why have peacemaking efforts been unsuccessful? The purpose of the course is to explain the political phenomenon of conflict in the Middle East. The course will seek to understand why political actors act the way they do, using theoretical lenses and analytical concepts that have been developed in the fields of nationalism, ethnic conflict, and conflict resolution more generally.

POLS 439:

American Politics

Not offered in 2013-14 The purpose of this seminar will be to provide an in-depth examination of the United States to address whether it is in decline. Several of the topics the course will evaluate include: the 2012 presidential election, the polarization of American culture, the paralysis in Washington, the role of religion and race on foreign policy, the legacy of the war on terror, the Great Recession, and the rise of the rest, particularly China. The objective of course will be to present a holistic understanding of the United States in a global context.
POLS 440: 
Politics of Ethnicity and Nationalism
Charan Rainford The goal of this seminar is to explore the sources of nationalism, the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism, and the contemporary challenges of nation-building in a globalized world. The latter part of the course will focus on the manifestation (and pecularities) of the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism in post-colonial societies. Beyond critical evaluation of theories and arguments, the course also provides opportunities for students to hone their analytical written skills.

POLS 443: 
Gender and Globalization

Margaret Little General issues and selected specific topics reflecting an interdisciplinary approach combining international political economy, feminist theory and comparative politics. Case studies from both industrialized and developing nations.

POLS 445:

Dialetics of Development

Not offered in 


A critical examination of selected ‘new’ theories of development (neo-Marxism, postmodernism, new social movements, rational choice, flexible specialization, etc.), followed by a study of selected Asian countries’ development strategies to evaluate the relevance of the theories.

POLS 450

Political Theory:

Appeals to Human Nature

Jock Gunn

An analysis of texts that take the nature of humans as the basis for political argument. Emphasis is on the search for foundations for political claims and the nature of 20th-century relativism, cultural and moral.

POLS 451: 
Seminar in Political Theory:

Libertarianism and its Critics

Andrew Lister

This course examines the two main traditions that defend free markets, private property, and the limited state.  The first, "classical liberalism", makes the case for markets and private ownership primarily on the basis of empirical claims about their long-run social benefits.  For 2013-14, classical liberalism will be represented by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. The second main tradition is that of natural rights libertarianism.  Rights-based libertarianism defends similar conclusions about policy, but on the basis of the claim that individuals have the fundamental right of self-ownership, which then extends (via the mixing of labour) to ownership of resources.  The natural rights tradition will be represented by Locke (under one interpretation), Rothbard, and Nozick.  Special attention will be devoted to G.A. Cohen's criticisms of Nozick, and the subsequent development of "left-libertarianism," which tries to reconcile the libertarian principle of self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to the division of the world's resources.  The course will end with the recent development of right-wing Rawlsianism, or so-called "bleeding-heart libertarianism," which seeks to defend libertarian(ish) conclusions about policy on the basis of a Rawlsian concern about the justifiability of social institutions to all those governed by them.

POLS 453:

Modern Political Philosophy


An examination of a particular problem or theme in Western political thought post-1500; issues covered might include property, revolution, sovereignty, republicanism, or gender.

POLS 456: 

Theories of Identity Politics

Eleanor MacDonald

An investigation into different theoretical perspectives on the issue of ‘identity’ and the import of these perspectives for the ‘politics of identity’. Theories of gender, race, class, nation, and sexual orientation, from a variety of perspectives, including Marxist, feminist, postmodern, and psychoanalytic theory.

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POLS 457:

Issues in Global Justice

Michael Kocsis An exploration of issues in international politics from a theoretical andnormative perspective, including global redistributive justice, just war theory, theories of secession, and normative theories of humanitarian intervention. Among the questions posed are whether we have an obligation to redistribute wealth to strangers, what can justify secession ,intervention and war; and the terms on which people can migrate to other countries.

POLS 458:

Ethics of War and Intervention

Not offered in 


An examination of the debates about when it is (morally) justified to go to war - and when it isn’t. Topics will include war as self-defense, humanitarian intervention, preventive war, and different conceptions of the morally proper way to wage war.
POLS 461: 
International Regimes
Charles Pentland Problems of order and change in international politics, exploring the theory and practice of international institutions from early critiques of the Westphalian state system, through the emergence of modern international organizations and regimes, to current problems of global governance.

POLS 462: 

Studies in National Security

Not offered in 2013-14 Contemporary aspects of Canadian international security policy. Topics include: the evolution of policy towards NATO; bilateral defence arrangements with the US; collective security and cooperative security; peacekeeping; defence economics; the role of domestic factors in the shaping of strategy; and aid of the civil power.
POLS 463: 
International Relations Theory
Wayne Cox Critical examination of selected themes, issues and works in classical and contemporary international relations theory.

POLS 464:

Russian Foreign Policy

Not offered in 


An examination of the determinants of Russian Foreign Policy, and the extent to which they have changed over the last half-century. The course will cover both historical and contemporary issues in Russian foreign relations.

POLS 465: 
The Politics of War 


Meseret (Macy) Demissie

An exploration of the causes of war, sampling the literature on war causality and using a case study approach. A number of contemporary cases in contemporary interstate and intrastate war will be examined to illustrate why war and the use of force continue to be a favoured method of advancing political interests.

POLS 466: 
Politics of War in Africa
Michael Hughes

This course challenges students to consider African conflicts in historical perspective and to rethink commonly held assumptions and narratives. Using a case study approach (Darfur, Rwanda), this course will challenge students to consider historical context and what it means to impose labels like genocide onto conflicts with long and complex histories. Students will also be introduced to ongoing debates on topics such as justice and reconciliation in Rwanda, humanitarian intervention in Darfur, and the role of history in shaping current narratives and labeling of conflicts. In the final part of the course students will consider the so-called ‘Arab spring’ in North Africa and the ‘humanitarian’ intervention in Libya. Students will be challenged to use the questions and debates from earlier in the course to think about the evolving situation in North Africa.

POLS 467: 
International Political Economy
Wayne Cox This course highlights the linkages between economic, social, and political change through an examination of various theoretical approaches in the field over the past two centuries. Students will engage with a range of classic and contemporary texts – ranging from classical liberalism to feminism and post-colonialism – with attention to issues of global inequality, trade, finance, and labour.

POLS 468:  
The International Relations of the Middle East


Wayne Cox This course offers an analysis of Middle Eastern politics from the perspective of the field of international relations. Themes covered in this course include, the historical evolution of various identities in the region, the history and role of outside actors in the Middle East, contemporary Middle Eastern state and social relations, and the role that Middle Eastern states play in contemporary world politics.

POLS 469:

Issues in Canadian Foreign Policy

Stéfanie von Hlatky

This course focuses on Canadian-American relations, emphasizing the interaction in both bilateral and multilateral contexts. Primary concern with issues of trade, investment and resources, with some attention paid to security issues.

POLS 471:

Politics and Science in Technological Societies

Not offered in 


An examination of connections between politics, science and technology. Topics include: ideologies and the autonomy of science; science in the Warfare State; controlling the social uses of science.

POLS 482:
Seminar in Public Policy - 

The Politics of Prisons

Phillip Wood The growth and transformation of prison systems and punishment regimes, and their increasing use as tools for maintaining social order, managing class, racial and ethnic conflict and dealing with the problem of globalization-induced migration is an important political tendency in western liberal democracies. Yet it is a tendency mostly neglected by mainstream political science, perhaps because it questions the discipline's core liberal assumption that order rests upon consent rather than coercion, inclusion rather than exclusion. POLS482 seeks to fill this gap, using historical, theoretical and comparative analysis as means of investigating the changing politics of prisons, and is organized in seminar, research and audio-visual streams. Topics for discussion include: global patterns and national variations in punishment regimes and prison systems; law, punishment and class formation; the prison as a disciplinary institution; punishment and the labour market; punishment and global post-fordism; the ideology of authoritarian populism; the prison-industrial complex; race and incarceration; prison-building and regional development; the prison and the welfare state; imprisonment and democratic exclusion; the camp and the exceptional State. The major assignment for the seminar is to write a substantial research essay on the politics of prison privatization in a jurisdiction of the student's choice, and to present the findings to the seminar in a conference-style format.

POLS 483:

Justice and Gender

Not offered in 


An examination of how contemporary theories of justice fare from the standpoint of gender (specifically inequalities in gender relations) and what a just, non-gendered society might look like.
POLS 485: 
Seminar in Gender and Politics

Kyle Jackson

“Queer Canada” explores how Canada perceives itself, and has become perceived by others, as a global leader on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights in the post-same-sex marriage era in the 21st century. The course explores LGBT inclusion and exclusion, and therefore what has been termed “sexual citizenship,” from multiple perspectives and along multiple dimensions. The course mostly attends to qualitative scholarship, but some quantitative scholarship on public opinion is also considered. What ties these diverse interventions together is that they are all looking at issues of LGBT politics (for example, the decriminalization of same-sex sexual activity, gays and lesbians serving openly in the Canadian Armed Forces, same-sex marriage, LGBT immigration and refugee status,” gay villages”, the persistence of heterosexism in the education system) in the Canadian context. An attempt is made in the course to cover some of the varied history of LGBT exclusion/inclusion in Canada before launching into contemporary issues of inclusion and exclusion. Students will be invited to weigh relatively more optimistic accounts of Canada as a “gay-friendly” country against those that are relatively more critical of the state of LGBT inclusion and the inclusion of “others” in Canada.

POLS 486:

The Politics of Rights


A difficult challenge facing a liberal-democratic polity is how to distinguish allowable state action from the protected sphere of human activity. The course examines contemporary debates about whether rights provide an appropriate critical standard for evaluating state action and looks at different institutional methods to assess the justification of state actions.


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Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000