Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies


MA & PhD in Political Studies Program

Graduate Course Timetable for Political Studies: 2018-2019 (PDF, 173KB)

Internal Courses Offered in 2018-2019

Field courses (POLS 910, POLS 930, POLS 950, POLS 960, and POLS 980) are the PhD-level equivalents of the MA-level core courses (POLS 810, POLS 830, POLS 850, POLS 860, POLS 880) offered in each field. PhD and MA-level courses are offered jointly in each related field. Doctoral students will be registered under the field course number and Master’s students will be registered under the core course number. Doctoral students will receive a supplementary reading list that will provide additional depth on the topics covered in the core course to help them prepare for their field examinations. In years when a field cannot offer the 800-level core course, the doctoral field course will be offered as a reading course to doctoral students taking it for field exam preparation.

POLS 810*/910* Canadian Politics / Field Course in Canadian Politics
Professor: Janet Hiebert
Term: Fall 2018
Description: A critical analysis of the literature on Canadian politics. Topics covered include parliamentary institutions, federalism, the courts, multiculturalism and citizenship, Aboriginal politics, women and politics, political economy, interest groups and social movements, the mass media, political parties, public opinion and voting.
POLS 829* Canadian Political Institutions: Deliberative Democracy in Canada and Abroad
Professor: Jonathan Rose
Term: Winter 2019
Description: Deliberative democracy can be understood in a number of different ways but has at its core the increased role of the citizen in democratic governance. This role is premised on the ideal of a reasoning citizen and that better quality outcomes emerge from citizens at the centre of policy-making. There is a vast range of how we define increased citizen participation in policy-making and similarly, there is a wide range of how we might understand or measure the reasoning citizen. Many of the assumptions of deliberative democrats challenge traditional ideals of the capacity of the public and more specifically the public’s ability to reason well. Are the assumptions of those twentieth century theorists who are sceptical of the public’s ability wrong? Or is deliberative democracy an impossibility or perhaps even not desirable? This course is divided into two sections. In the first half, we unpack the theoretical foundations of deliberative democracy and attempt to determine the core values of deliberative democrats. To what flaw does deliberative democracy respond? What are the sine qua non that make a successful deliberative experiment? Each week in our readings we will work towards creating criteria that define deliberative democracy. In the second half of the course we will apply these criteria to case studies both within Canada and elsewhere in an attempt to see how successful the case studies are based on the criteria that we have developed.
POLS 830*/930* Comparative Politics I / Field Course in Comparative Politics
Professor: Grant Amyot
Term: Winter 2019
Description: The field course in comparative politics is designed to familiarize students with the main literature and debates in the field. The emphasis of the sessions will be on key theoretical debates that have driven research, as well as on the methodological issues that arise in the study of any question.  The first sessions will examine some of the major approaches to the study of comparative politics; later sessions will discuss major subject areas in the field – e.g. nationalism and ethnicity, the state, social revolutions – with the selection partly based on students' research projects.  This course should help students to acquire literacy in the main canonical works of comparative politics. 
POLS 832* Theories and Politics of Nationalism
Professor: Zsuzsa Csergo
Term: Winter 2019
Description: This course examines major theoretical debates in the scholarship of nationalism and evaluates influential contributions to the understanding of nationalism in sub-state and global politics.  Readings combine broader theoretical approaches and empirical studies.  Beyond critical evaluation of diverse theories, approaches, and arguments, the course emphasizes questions of methodology and provides opportunities for students to design research projects and develop advanced analytical writing skills. 
POLS 838* Politics of Ethnic Conflict
Professor: Oded Haklai
Term: Fall 2018
Description: This course will explore a variety of theoretical and empirical issues related to the politics of ethnic conflict. The politics of ethnic conflict encompass a wide range of issues that present distinct challenges to states and societies. Themes invested in this course include the construction of ethnic identities, sources of conflict, types of mobilization, state-ethnicity relations, changes in territorial and social boundaries, and the complex interaction between ethnicity and democracy. 
POLS 840* Comparative Politics of Development
Professor: Poulomi Chakrabarti
Term: Winter 2019
Description: A critical survey of the main theoretical approaches to development, including modernization theory, neo-Marxism, underdeveloped theory and neo-liberalism. These are considered in relation to issues of ethnicity and culture, the role of the nation state in development, technology and industrialization and the globalization of the world economy. One 3-hour seminar. 
POLS 842*/442 Topics in Latin American Politics
Not offered in 2018-19
Description: Latin America has the unenviable status of being one of the most violent regions in the world. Public opinion polls show that Latin Americans consider crime as one of the greatest problems facing their countries. Our seminar explores the many manifestations of violence in contemporary Latin America, the underlying causes and the efforts to address the problem in a variety of public policies. Readings rooted in ethnographic research will help us understand the day-to-day experiences of violence ---from the viewpoint of victims, bystanders, and perpetrators. As we examine the phenomenon, we’ll consider how the current security crisis impacts democracy and what it means for the long-term development of the state. Graduate students will be encouraged to design writing projects that link to their own research interests. 
POLS 844* Macro-Political Regulation of Ethnic Conflict
Not offered in 2018-19
Description:  The course offers an advanced study of how states respond to ethnic conflict and diversity. The course will focus on the best analytical (empirical) explanations and normative critiques of the different state responses to diversity.
POLS 846* Citizenship and Non-Citizenship: The Politics of Immigration and Integration
Professor: Beesan Sarrouh
Term: Fall 2018
Description: The purpose of this course is to initiate students into the dominant discourses and debates regarding the politics of immigration and integration in North America and Western Europe. The following questions serve as point of departure for this class: “Who is admitted and under what criteria?” and “Once admitted, what are the obligations of the state to newcomers? ” This course will draw on different theoretical approaches, themes, and case studies to demonstrate the importance the study of immigration and integration offers scholars, policy-makers and the public. Students will first engage with the theoretical considerations of immigration and integration policies. The course will then turn to attendant themes including border control and security, public opinion and public discourses on immigration and integration, the intersection of race, religion, gender, and class in impacting access to citizenship, and accommodation within public institutions such as education and healthcare.​
POLS 851 Global Distributive Justice
Professor: Margaret Moore
Term: Winter 2019
Description: An exploration of issues in international politics from a theoretical and normative perspective, including global redistributive justice, just war theory, 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 853* Topics in Political Theory: Libertarianism and Its Critics
Professor: Andrew Lister
Term: Fall 2018
Description:   This course will examine the philosophical foundations of neoliberalism. The term "neoliberalism" is generally used to refer, disparagingly, to views that see private property, free markets, and a reduction in the scope of state action as the solution to all social problems. But there are different currents of liberal thought that tend in this direction. Classical liberalism makes the case for markets and private ownership based on the claim that they promote liberty and prosperity. Natural rights libertarianism defends similar conclusions about policy but on the basis of the claim that individuals have the fundamental moral right of self-ownership, which then extends (via the mixing of labour, and/or the satisfaction of the Lockean ‘proviso’ about leaving ‘enough and as good’ for others) to ownership of resources. Classical liberalism will be represented by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman; the natural rights tradition will be represented by Locke (under one interpretation), Murray Rothbard, and Robert Nozick. The course will consider issues such as environmentalism, reparations, and immigration from a libertarian perspective. 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. 
POLS 856* Debates in Contemporary Political Theory: Theorizing Identity
Professor: Eleanor MacDonald
Term: Winter 2019
Description: The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of the theoretical debates about the politics of identities. The course seeks to look at critical perspectives on identity politics through weekly topics that survey different theoretical approaches (e.g. indigenous theory, discourse theory, psychoanalytic theory, postmodern feminist, anti-racist theory, Marxist theory, queer theory etc.) while considering a range of politicized identities (including sex, race, class, indigeneity, gender, sexuality and ethnicity). Identity politics not only challenges existing social relations and institutions. It also, in a variety of ways, provides critical interrogation of the self, of representation, of knowledge, of oppression, and of social justice.
POLS 857* Science and Justice
Professor: Colin Farrelly
Term: Winter 2019
Description: 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, the morality 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 860*/960* International Relations / Field course in International Relations
Professor: David Haglund
Term: Fall 2018
Description: This course is a comprehensive examination of the evolution and current state of the field of International Relations (IR). It covers international theory, the structure of the international system, key concepts, readings from the canon, and themes in the study of IR such as war, security, foreign policy, the state, gender, global systems, and concepts of power. This course also locates IR in relation to Global Political Economy (GPE) and other related fields of study.
POLS 862* Topics in Contemporary American Foreign Policy
Professor: Joel Sokolsky
Term: Fall 2018
Description: This is a generic topics course in American foreign policy, the specific focus of which varies from year to year.  In the autumn term of 2017, we are going to be examining an issue that has attracted attention from a variety of perspectives, as well as disciplines, over the years, namely the phenomenon loosely called “Anglo-America.”  It might be said of this phenomenon that it represents the quintessential “intermestic” problem in America’s foreign relations, and has for some time, highlighting as it does the interplay between domestic and international levels of analysis, and embracing topics ranging from, at the domestic level, America’s “culture wars” to, at the international level, the structure and functioning of its core alliance network.
POLS 864* International Political Economy
Professor: Wayne Cox
Term: Fall 2018
Description: This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the systematic study of international relations and international political economy. It will attempt to address a wide range of theoretical approaches and issues within the field, paying particular attention to the foreign economic policies of advanced industrial states and the various issues surrounding the redistribution of wealth and influence in the contemporary international system.
POLS 867 Approaches to Global Governance
Professor: Stephanie Martel
Term: Winter 2019
Description:This course provides an overview of debates and challenges relating to the study and practice of global governance since the end of the Cold War. It examines competing perspectives on global governance and international cooperation, explores the sources and consequences of international order, as well as the key actors, institutions, regimes, and norms involved in sustaining (or contesting) it. The course includes discussions of particular issue-areas of global governance, including environmental, human rights, and security governance. It also discusses regionalism in and beyond the West as an increasingly important focus in the study of governance in International Relations.
POLS 880*/980* Gender and Politics / Field course in Gender and Politics
Professor: Margaret Little
Term: Winter 2019
Description: This course is designed as a survey of the diverse and developing field of Gender and Politics within the discipline of Political Science. It will also serve to introduce graduate students to the breadth of expertise in this field housed in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University. For doctoral students, this course serves as background to the Gender and Politics graduate qualifying examination, with a view to preparation for advanced specialized research and/or university-level instructional qualification. It is also offered as a graduate level course for MA students.​
POLS 900* Methods of Political Studies
Professor: Grant Amyot
Term: Fall 2018
Description: This course introduces students to challenges and trade-offs that arise in the design and execution of empirical political science research. It is compulsory for doctoral students who have not already completed a similar graduate course. Doctoral students who have completed a similar course will take another course as their sixth. Students in the Political Studies MA program are eligible to take this course with permission from the Graduate Coordinator.​
External Course Options

Graduate students are permitted to take one external course that is not offered in the Political Studies department. Below are links to external departments that may be of interest. Enrollment in external courses is subject to availability. All course selections should be discussed with the Graduate Coordinator, Andrew Lister.

Course of Research Ethics

The non-credit Course of Research Ethics (CORE) is mandatory for all incoming graduate students who will engage in research involving human subjects. It is a web-based tutorial providing familiarity with and practical application of Canada's national standard of ethics for research as outlined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement. For more information and to access the course, please go to the Government of Canada's website


MA in Political and Legal Thought (PLT) Program

The MA in Political and Legal Thought requires a minimum of four PLT-designated courses from Political Studies, Philosophy, or Law. The document below lists all PLT-designated courses for 2018-19:

Graduate Timetable for Political and Legal Thought: 2018-2019 (PDF, 178KB)

Courses Offered in 2018-2019

For detailed descriptions of the Political and Legal Thought courses, please refer to each link organized by department:

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