Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies

Undergraduate Courses

Courses Offered in 2020 - 2021

Forthcoming in Spring 2021: 

  • POLS 211: Canadian Government
  • POLS 319: Public Discourse in Canada - Issues and Debates
  • POLS 327: Topics in Comparative Politics
  • POLS 431: European Politics
  • POLS 360: International Relations Theory
  • POLS 434: Multiculturalism
  • POLS 486: The Politics of Rights

Forthcoming in Summer 2021: 

  • POLS 348: Middle East Politics
  • POLS 397: Topics in Gender and Politics
  • POLS 482: Public Policy

Course Descriptions

100 Level Courses
POLS 101: Contemporary Issues in Politics

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description An examination of current political issues. By examining an issue or problem students will be exposed to political institutions, processes and concepts in political science. The subject matter will change depending on the instructor and current political events.

NOTE: This course does not lead to further courses in Political Studies. Not available for credit towards any POLS Plan.

POLS 110: Introduction to Politics and Government

Instructor: Jonathan Rose (Fall), Andrew Lister (Winter)
Term: Fall 2020/Winter 2021

Description: 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.

200 Level Courses
POLS 211: Canadian Government

Instructor: Elizabeth Baisley
Term: Spring 2021

Description: An examination of the institutions and constitutional foundations of government and politics in Canada.

POLS 212: Canadian Politics

Instructor: Rachel Laforest
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An analysis of the processes, groups, parties, voters, and culture of Canadian politics.

POLS 230: American Elections

Instructor: Paul Gardner
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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. 

POLS 241: Comparative Politics: Transformations

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: An examination of how and why societies change and the context in which transformation occurs.

POLS 242: Comparative Politics: Contemporary Regimes

Instructor: Dalal Daoud
Term: Winter 2021

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

POLS 243: States, Ethnic Diversity, and Conflict

Instructor: John McGarry
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Colin Farrelly
Term: Fall 2020/Winter 2021

Description: 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 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Wayne Cox
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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

Instructor: Wayne Cox
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An introduction to the major issues in the study of international political economy, including transnationalism, integration, globalization, and underdevelopment.

POLS 264: World Politics in Historical Perspective

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: This course examines the evolution of global politics in the modern era, from the institutionalization of sovereignty in the Peace of Westphalia to the contemporary period.

POLS 280: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Politics

Instructor: Yolande Bouka
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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?

PPEC200: Introduction to the Study of Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Instructor: Andrew Lister
Term: Fall 2020

Description: PPEC 200 is a required course for Queen's PPE program, but it is open (subject to space) to any student with the prerequisites. As the title suggests, it's about the intersection between politics, philosophy, and economics. The focus is on economic life, but from the perspective of assessment and criticism rather than explanation and prediction. People of good faith will often disagree in their assessments, forcing us to ask how we can make decisions about economic policies and institutions despite not having a common vision of what's best. Thus the course is meant to introduce students to the philosophical and political analysis of economic questions. It's about economics but not a course in economics; in face of empirical uncertainty and disagreement, we will typically ask what implications competing principles would have in different factual scenarios. The course aims to include points of view from the right and the left, but cannot claim to be comprehensive. The first part of the course is conceptual (utility, efficiency, wellbeing, equality), the second part institutional (markets, firms, public goods), and the final part applied (sweatshops and exploitation, race and the economics of discrimination, gender and the division of labour, unconditional basic income, socialism).

300 Level Courses

IMPORTANT NOTE: POLS 385 will be offered in conjunction with GPHY 247 in the Winter Term 2019. The course will still include explicit links to political studies and the requirements do not change: Majors and Medials will still require the course.

POLS 310: Principles of the Canadian Constitution

Instructor: Andrew Nguyen
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An examination of the evolution of constitutional principles in Canada. Topics include developments in federal‐provincial relations, the role of the courts in federal‐provincial disputes, and the nexus between the community values of federalism and the individual rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

POLS 312: Political Behaviour

Instructor: Semra Sevi
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This course provides an introduction to the principal theoretical perspectives and empirical debates in the study of elections, voting, public opinion, political participation and political culture in established democracies. 

POLS 313: Mass Media and Politics in Canada

Instructor: Elisha Corbett
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Rachel Laforest
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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. 

POLS 319: Public Discourse in Canada: Issues and Debates

Instructor: Simon Marmura Brown
Term: Spring 2021

Title: “Online Discursive Spaces: Combatting Misinformation”

Description: Public and political discourse increasingly occurs in online discursive spaces. Recent legislative decisions in the United States, Australia, and parts of Europe have shed light on the role social media platforms play in spreading misinformation and emphasizing or exacerbating political divides. This course examines trends towards online debate and deliberation in Canada and questions the effects that new discursive mediums have for political and public engagement.

POLS 320: Indigenous Politics

Instructor: Danielle Delaney
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An examination of Indigenous politics in a Canadian context, including aboriginal self‐government. Lakota scholar and indigenous activist, Vine Deloria Jr, once said: “I do not believe that demonstrations can carry a group of 1 million in a nation of 203 million very far without getting them squashed.” Deloria neatly encapsulated the political reality facing indigenous peoples—numerical small, politically limited, and yet deeply resistant to the systems of political control placed over them. This course explores the impacts of, and responses to, colonization by indigenous peoples in a comparative context. Within the framework of political science methodology, this course explores a variety of themes including: land rights, sovereignty, self-determination, and the Indigenising of democracy and social protest. Students are invited to consider these themes from a comparative lens.

As an introductory course, we explore these themes in broad strokes to understand the underlying theories and logics guiding the political and legal discourses of indigeneity. While this course foregrounds the impact of and responses to colonization by Indigenous peoples in North America, we will also study these discourses have evolved in parallel in the Global South, Africa and among circumpolar regions.

POLS 327: Topics in Comparative Politics

Instructor: Sam Twietmeyer
Term: Spring 2021

Title: “Political Negotiation in Comparative Perspective”

Description: Political negotiations provide a non-violent forum for conflicts of public interests, identities, and values – ideas which are fuzzy and subject to diverse interpretation. The course will critically examine the impact of different institutional and historical contexts upon the inclusion and exclusion of diverse groups and ideas in negotiation processes. These comparative institutional contexts will be presented using first-hand accounts from individual negotiators across case studies including the Northern Ireland Forum, Indigenous treaty negotiations in BC, and Utah’s immigration reform, while introducing students to key concepts in bargaining theory.

POLS 328: Topics in European Politics

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

Description: An examination of key issues in European politics. Topics will vary from year to year; consult BISC website for availability

POLS 329: European Politics

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Fan Lu
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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 2020-21

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

POLS 335: Topics in British Politics

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

Description: 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

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: G. Grant Amyot
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An examination of the European union and the forces towards integration: origin, politics and future. 

POLS 341: Chinese Politics

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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 2020-21

Description: 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

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: Major issues in the contemporary politics and political economy of sub‐Saharan Africa. The development of the colonial and post‐colonial state, capitalist development and the role of indigenous and international capital, and political and socio‐economic aspects of class, ethnicity and gender. 

POLS 348: Middle East Politics

Instructor: Canan Sahin
Term: Summer 2021

Description: 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 2020-21

Description: 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 2020-21

Description: 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 2020-21

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

POLS 354: Democratic Theory

*Not offered in 2020-21

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

POLS 355: Issues in Contemporary Political Theory 

Instructor: Pinar Dokumaci
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This course discusses important contemporary issues that arise in political theory. Examples include: liberty and paternalism, toleration, punishment, multiculturalism, climate change, intergenerational justice (or injustice) and violence.

POLS 358: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Capitalism

Instructor: Eleanor MacDonald
Term: Fall 2020

Description: Selected topics in the critique of capitalism, e.g. Marxism, democracy, the environment, globalization, employment and popular culture.

POLS 359: Issues in Political Theory

Instructor: Margaret Moore
Term: Fall 2020

Description: The course will focus on central issues that arise in political theory: citizens relation to the state and to each other. Specifically, the course will discuss problems of liberty, toleration, punishment, and multiculturalism; and inter-state problems such as global justice, just war, justice and the environment, and inter-generational justice.

POLS 360: International Relations Theory

Instructor: Stéphanie Martel
Term: Spring 2021


Description: This course examines the theoretical approaches, concepts, and debates (e.g. levels of analysis, causality, methodology, historiography) that shape the evolution of International Relations as a discipline, including subfields (e.g. international security and international organizations) and how they relate to the conduct of international politics. 

POLS 361: Regional International Organizations

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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.

POLS 364: International Peace and Security

Instructor: Thomas Hughes
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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

Instructor: Sam Twietmeyer
Term: Fall 2020

Description: An examination of the principles, institutions and politics of the United Nations, assessing its effectiveness in maintaining international peace and promoting cooperation among states.

POLS 367: American Foreign Policy

Instructor: David Haglund
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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

Instructor: Daniel Troup
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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 380: Puzzles in Political Economy

Instructor: Kyle Hanniman
Term: Winter 2021

Description: The course introduces students to the scientific method and its application to various puzzles in Canadian and comparative political economy. Following a primer on research methods, several empirical and theoretical puzzles are examined (e.g. relationships between voting and economic interests, the origins and drivers of government taxation, etc.).  

POLS 382: Gender and Social Policy

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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 the Governmental Process

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Christian Breede
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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: Introduction to Statistics/Quantitative Approaches to Political Studies

Instructor: Bill Nelson
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An introduction to the analysis of data from real life situations, POLS385 covers study design, descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics include probability, t-tests, regression, Chi-square tests, analysis of variance.  Emphasis is on the foundation of statistical inference and practical application of statistical methods using statistical software.

POLS 386: Political Economy and Mass Media

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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: Politics of Migration [Citizenship and Non-Citizenship]

Instructor: Stephen Larin
Term: Fall 2020

Description: POLS 388 will be taught as “Politics of Migration”. Migration is at the centre of contemporary politics around the world, and claims about migrants have played a key role in the shift toward exclusionary, nationalist populism in many countries. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad but detailed introduction to the complex politics of both international and internal migration on a global scale. The first half of the course deals with core issues such as the differences between migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees; why people move; migrant legal status and rights; migration and integration policy and governance; and effects of and responses to migration. The second half applies this foundation to the world’s major regions, with weeks on the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Asia–Pacific region.

POLS 391: Introduction to Electoral Systems

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Daniel Westlake
Term: Winter 2021

Description: Elections play a central role in determining how democracies govern themselves.  This course explores the dynamics of Canadian elections.  It looks at the underlying factors that shape results, examining the way that identity, partisanship, and the economy shape the success of different parties and candidates.  It further examines the way that debates, campaigns, and other events have affected election results.  As part of the course, students will take part in a simulation of a federal election campaign. 

POLS 393: Topics in Comparative Politics - The Politics of Income Inequality

Instructor: Olivier Jacques
Term: Fall 2020

Description: Most advanced democracies have witnessed a surge in income inequality in recent decades driven by a rise of top incomes, a polarization of the labour market and a reduction of governments’ redistributive capacity. This course aims to highlight the processes leading to rising inequality, to recognize how institutions and public policies can explain divergent levels of inequality between countries and to understand the reaction of public opinion to rising inequality as well as the impact of public opinion and political parties on income distribution. Three main questions structure this course.

1. Income inequality has risen significantly during the last decades in some countries, such as the United States and to a lesser extent Canada, while other governments have been able to limit the growth of inequality. What explains the differences in inequality between countries? What public policies cause these divergent outcomes?
2. Many on the left suggest that the state should use a “Robin Hood” strategy to reduce inequality: higher taxes on the rich to fund additional social programs helping the poor. However, several studies in political science and economics highlight that such a redistributive strategy does not take into account some policy trade-offs reducing its effectiveness. What are the main policy trade-offs concerning inequality reduction? What social policies and taxation policies work best to reduce inequality?
3. As high-income individual get richer and the wages of the middle class stagnate, one could assume that rational citizens would vote for parties promising to take from the rich to redistribute income. However, governments have rarely reacted to rising inequality by increasing redistribution under popular pressure. Why public opinion isn’t reacting to income inequality as expected?

These questions will be addressed with a comparative political economy perspective: income distribution is determined by economic factors (growth, unemployment, changes in labour markets), political factors (political parties, institutions, voters, interest groups) and public policies (taxation, social services, cash transfers). It is a course in political science using extensively the literature on comparative welfare states and political behaviour.

POLS 394: Topics in Political Theory

Instructor: Chandra Kumar
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This course is about race, racism and related issues. We will ask: What is racism? What is the relation between racist and other forms of oppression (e.g., gender and class oppression)? How has racism—and antiracism—evolved from colonial times to the present? These (and other) topics, both theoretical and political, will be addressed in the context of the real world of racial politics.

POLS 395: Topics in International Political Economy

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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 - ​Finance, Neoliberalism, and Globalization: Situating Canada in 21st Century Global Politics

Instructor: Douglas Yearwood
Term: Winter 2021

Description: Finance is one of the most powerful, but least well understood features of the 21st Century global political economy. In popular discourse, finance is often presented in a technical manner, and the role of history, power, and politics in shaping financial processes and practices is often unsaid or under-explored. The power of finance in the everyday lives of Canadians has become immense, but the reasons why finance has such a grip on Canadian society is ambiguous. Who have been the main drivers in financialization? Why has financialization happened? What role has the state had in promoting or legitimizing financialization? Who has been positively and negatively impacted? Why did Canada ‘escape’ the Great Financial Crisis in better condition than some other advanced economies? In attempting to answer these questions, and more, this course will provide students who are interested in understanding the power relations of finance with a unique opportunity to explore the Canadian state’s relationship with global finance in the 21st century.

This course provides students with an overview of key discussions on financialization and will examine this process through a variety of political economic lenses (political science, geography, history, etc.) in order to understand how global finance and neoliberalism have shaped key policies, institutions, and debates in Canada in the new millennium. Students will explore and debate the role of scales in governance and will have the opportunity to think critically about the role of resistance, consent, and coercion shaping political economic processes. Taking housing as a focal point, students will explore different policy documents—such as the Canadian federal government’s National Housing Strategy—and situate it within and against international and domestic political and economic processes and considerations.

There are four themes of the course: First, it explores what financialization and neoliberalism actually are. Second, it covers the myriad ways inter-scalar governance—from the local to the international—has influenced financialization and neoliberalism’s uneven development, focusing on the impact this development has had on the Canadian state and various segments of the population located in Canada since the turn of the century. Third, it considers the role of resistance, coercion, and consent in relation to power, policy-making, and statecraft, with examples from Canada and around the world. Finally, in situating Canada’s political economy within the global political economy—using housing as a focal point to understand these relations—the course offers students a unique and dynamic way to understand contemporary power, space, and place.

The course has two key aims. First, it offers a range of theoretical perspectives and analytical tools to understand the Canadian states’ relationship with finance and neoliberalism in the global political economy. Second, it aims to develop students’ writing and reading skills. In highlighting and emphasizing key points from the literature, and through encouraging students to synthesize these points into arguments in their assignments, the course is intended to help students effectively and practicably engage with course material.

POLS 397: Topics in Gender and Politics

Instructor: Jacob Robbins-Kanter
Term: Summer 2021


The course will explore major changes in the policy architecture of the Canadian welfare state, with a focus on gender. The time period will span from emergence of the modern welfare state in the mid-twentieth century to the present. 

Topics will include:

  • The development of the income security system and major social policy programs during the postwar era
  • The effects of women’s labour force participation and occupational gender segregation on socioeconomic inequality in Canada  
  • Retrenchment and restructuring of the welfare state during the 1980s and 1990s  
  • New social risks and the “feminization of poverty” in Canada  
  • Federalism and social policy differences between provinces (esp. Quebec versus the rest of Canada)  
  • Major social policy programs through a gendered lens: social assistance, education, healthcare, and childcare  
POLS 398: Introduction to International Law and Politics

Instructor: TBD 
Term: Winter 2021

Description: The Specialized Program in International Law and Politics is specifically designed for upper-year undergraduate students (ideally in their third or fourth year), and offers foundational knowledge about the relationships between international politics and international law. It explores specific aspects of international law, including international criminal law and the law of armed conflict, examines the phenomenon of genocide and other forms of mass violence in historical and contemporary contexts, and situates the central statutes, customs, and institutions of international law within the broader context of global governance.

This unique team-taught program is divided into three modules and offers three three-hour classes each week: 

Module 1 - International Law and Politics (weeks 1 to 4)
Module 2 - Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes (weeks 5-8)
Module 3 - The Law and Politics of Armed Conflict (weeks 9-12).

In Week 7, students take part in an exclusive seven-day journey (included in your fees) through key sites of interest in the field of international criminal law located in Continental Europe. See the BISC website for more details.

400 Level Courses

IMPORTANT NOTE: In 2019-20, the Department of Political Studies will be organizing enrollment in 400-level courses by a balloting system. Students will be asked to submit a form listing their preferences for 400-level courses. Based on this information the department will assign students to courses manually, prior to the July registration period. The purpose of this system is to ensure that (to the extent possible) every student gets some of their top choices of courses. 

POLS 400: Seminar in Political Science - Social Movements, Contentious Politics, and the Dynamics of Political Change

Instructor: Danielle Delaney
Term: Fall 2020

Description: In April of 2016 a group of young indigenous activists came to a small spit of land in the middle of the Cannon Ball River nicknamed ‘Turtle Island,’ so named in honor of Indigenous creation stories, where traditional healers and elders had been holding ceremonies and prayer-protest against the impending construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This meeting was the start of the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin protest camps. Was this a flashpoint protest lead by indigenous activists, or was this the start of a new indigenous social movement? Was this an indigenous protest, an environmental protest, or something else entirely? At what point does political protest become a social movement? When does conflicting, collective political claims levied by polities against each other and third parties move from politics ‘as normal’, to contentious politics, to revolution?

This course grapples with these types of questions through a comparative lens. This course is focused on providing the theoretical tools to analyze social movements and related political phenomena. We will spend some time surveying the social movements and contentious politics literature to build a theoretical base and shared language for describing the political phenomena as well as exploring current methodologies for collecting and analyzing evidence/data. The majority of our time, however, will be spent examining how such forms of contentious politics—and how we understand them as different types of political phenomena—have arisen and developed in different political regimes, regions and eras.

This is an advance political science seminar, students are invited to think creatively and critically about not just the current theories around social movements and contentious politics, but how these theories apply to modern cases of contentious politics. Students will be expected to write a seminar paper analyzing a specific moment of contentious politics.

POLS 401: Political Theory: Questions and Challenges

Instructor: TBD
Term: Summer 2021

Description: TBD

POLS 402: Science and Justice

Instructor: Colin Farrelly
Term: Fall 2020

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 eugenics, the therapy/enhancement distinction, aging, enhancement in sport, future generations, sex selection 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 Politics: Questions and Challenges

Instructor: Elizabeth McCallion
Term: Winter 2021

Description: Canada has been viewed as a world leader in gender equality, especially since the election of a self-professed feminist prime minister, but do we deserve that recognition? This course takes stock of the positions of women and men in the Canadian political sphere. Through an intersectional lens, we will explore the challenges faced by women leaders, the low number of women legislators, issues of masculinity in the political sphere, differential framing of men and women by the media, equality rights jurisprudence under the Charter, the activities of civil society groups, and more. At the end of the course, students will have developed a critical understanding of how various men and women fare in Canadian politics. They will have the knowledge to evaluate what is done well and what we can do better in terms of gender politics in Canada.

POLS 404: Canadian Politics: Questions & Challenges - The Politics of Social Class in Canada 

Instructor: Jacob Robbins-Kanter
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An examination of the significance of social class in Canadian politics. Five major themes include: the nature of class awareness in Canada (including regional differences in the salience of class structures); class politics in the party system (including “middle class” discourse); working-class political participation; social policy and its effects on inequality and social stratification (including ethno-racial and gender dimensions of class status); and the over-representation of affluent white-collar professionals in electoral politics and in legislatures. 

POLS 405: International Relations: Questions & Challenges - Global Environmental Politics

Instructor: Joshua McEvoy
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This course will examine the questions and challenges posed by global climatic and environmental changes for International Relations (IR) scholarship and practice. The course is divided thematically into four sections. First, students will explore the relationship between the environment and global political thinking and practice. This section will focus on the challenges posed to the discipline of IR and IR theory by environmental and climatic change/crisis. The second section will centre questions of justice, equity, and security in global environmental politics. Concepts such as environmental justice and just transition will be explored alongside discussions of global social movements, activism and resistance. Building on the normative and analytical questions raised in the preceding weeks, section three examines global environmental governance as both an agent and subject of change. Here, students will engage with issues of blurred/diminished borders, private-public governance, international treaties, and multilateralism. In the final section, students will apply their knowledge of IR theory, environmental justice, and global governance to the prospect of "sustainable" transformation(s). Students will examine and critically assess the roles of technology, economy and nature in shaping global environmental politics as well as the pathways proposed for decarbonization, sustainable economies, and relations with the environment.

POLS 406: Comparative Politics: Questions & Challenges - Democratic Innovations in Comparative Context

Instructor: Patricia Mockler
Term: Fall 2020

Description: In this course, students will learn about recent developments in the theory and practice of deliberative democracy. The first portion of the course will consist of a brief examination of the theoretical foundations and key debates in the field of deliberative democracy. After studying the theory behind deliberative democracy, students will then examine the recent proliferation of democratic innovations in established democracies. The course will critically analyze the role of democratic innovations, such as deliberative mini-publics, in established democracies and engage in debates on their use in the context of democratic malaise and political polarization. The course objective is to examine the broader implications of the use of democratic innovations for civil society and political participation.

POLS 410: Seminar in Canadian Politics - Comparing Canada

Instructor: Elizabeth Baisley
Term: Winter 2021

Description: “Knowledge of Canada or the United States is the best way to gain insight into the other North American country.”  Was Seymour Martin Lipset right?  Should we understand Canada through comparisons with other countries, or on its own terms?  In the first part of the course, we will consider broad arguments for and against comparison and review relevant aspects of research methods and design.  In the second part of the course, we will use these tools to evaluate and critique a range of comparisons, most of which involve Canada and the United States.  These comparisons will cover issues ranging from political parties, healthcare systems, and environmental policies to citizenship and immigration, race, indigenous politics, gender, and sexuality.  Throughout the course, students will develop skills in evaluating research, designing a research project, and grant writing.

POLS 412: Provincial Politics

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: Content varies from year to year.

POLS 414: Politics in Quebec

Instructor: Rachel Laforest
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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

Instructor: Olivier Jacques
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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 Communications

Instructor: Paul Nesbitt-Larking 
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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.

POLS 421: Elections

Instructors: Jacob Robbins-Kanter
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Grant Amyot
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This seminar addresses current issues in comparative politics: its content varies from year to year. This year it will focus on right-wing populism in Europe, including the Brexit campaign in Britain and right-wing East European regimes as well as the populist parties of Western Europe.    

POLS 431: European Politics

Instructor: Kalliopi Kyriakopoulou
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This course deals with Europe’s current affairs and complexities that are currently dominated by post-Brexit talks and negotiations. Britain’s detachment from the EU is examined as a symptom of a broader fatigue that characterises a troubled Europe in an uneasy international system. How the UK stands without the European Union and how the European Union evolves without the UK are at the epicentre of our discussions. The aims of the course are to:

  • Identify the driving forces behind Brexit decision and study how public opinion is being formed since
  • Define and understand the complexities of various dilemmas that the EU faces today 
  • Analyse the failures and achievements in the process of post-Brexit talks and negotiations
  • Discuss and analyse whether Brexit can become the starting point of a (Dis)integrated Europe and a less United Kingdom
POLS 432: The Modern Welfare State

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: An exploration of the emergence and functioning of the modern welfare state in comparative perspective. 

POLS 433: Problems of American Democracy

Instructor: Paul Gardner
Term: Fall 2020

Description: Focuses on recent debates about the sources of malaise in the American system, with a special emphasis on understanding the dynamics of mass public opinion and the factors influencing public disaffection from political institutions. 

POLS 434: Multiculturalism

Instructor: Daniel Westlake
Term: Spring 2021

Description: 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

Instructor: Oded Haklai

Description: 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 436: Race and Politics

Instructor: Fan Lu
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This course puts race front and center in the narrative of American politics. Few U.S. public policies are completely race-neutral because individuals who bore—and continue to bear— the brunt of negative externalities in healthcare, environment, law enforcement, gun regulation, education, social welfare policies etc. tend to be BIPOC. Through historical documents, news media, and academic research, students examine the extent to which race has shaped American political institutions, public opinion, and behaviour. Topics include subjugation of Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries; the civil rights movement; contemporary manifestations of racial discrimination and their impact on who gets elected to positions of power and whose prerogatives become law.

POLS 439: American Politics

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Oded Haklai
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An exploration of the causes of ethnic conflict, but focuses in particular on the strategies which states use to manage or resolve such conflicts. The review of state strategies is comprehensive in nature: using case studies, it includes approaches which are morally unacceptable as well as approaches which many consider morally desirable. 

POLS 442: Latin America

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: Advanced research course focusing on problems relating to the consolidation of democracy in contemporary Latin America. Topics may include political parties and elections, economic policy, mass media, social movements, and political violence. Case studies are drawn largely from continental South America.

POLS 443: Gender and Globalization

Instructor: Yolande Bouka
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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 444: Ethnicity and Development

Instructor: Poulomi Chakrabarti
Term: Fall 2020

Description:  Ethnic diversity is consistently associated with poor public goods provision across countries. The negative relationship between social divisions and development has, in fact, been described as the “most powerful hypotheses in political economy”. But what exactly about diversity hinders social goods? This course will explore the dominant themes in the study of ethnicity and development. We begin with a theoretical understanding of the core concepts – What is development? What is the relationship between identity and ethnicity? What are the social-psychological foundations of identity? We distinguish between public goods and common-pool resources and explore the distinct channels through which diversity shapes cooperation between groups in the maintenance of common resources at the community level as well as how identity can be instrumental in shaping the policy preferences of the political elite and hence state provision of public goods. In the process, we will explore the role of shared culture and social norms, differential preferences of ethnic groups, the effect of group-differentiated rights, the effects of status inequality, and finally the historical role of ethnicity in the state-building process and its long-term effects on development. The themes discussed in the course reflect some of the most cutting-edge areas of contemporary research in the field of comparative politics and development.

POLS 445: Dialectics of Development

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: Across developed and developing countries, ethnic diversity is consistently associated with poor public goods provision. The negative relationship between social divisions and development has, in fact, been described as the “most powerful hypotheses in political economy”. But what exactly about diversity hinders development? This course will explore the dominant themes in the literature on ethnicity and development – the role of shared culture and social norms, differential preferences of ethnic groups, the effect of group-differentiated rights, the role of identity in electoral politics and patronage politics, the effects of group-based inequality, and finally the historical role of ethnicity in the state-building process and its long-term effects on development. We distinguish between public goods and common-pool resources and explore the distinct channels through which diversity shapes cooperation between groups in the maintenance of common resources at the community level as well as how identity can be instrumental in shaping the policy preferences of the political elite and hence state provision of public goods. The themes discussed in the course reflect some of the most cutting edge areas of contemporary research in the field of comparative politics and development.

POLS 450 Political Theory: Appeals to Human Nature

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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: Anarchist Political Theory

Instructor: Danielle Delaney
Term: Winter 2021

Description: Once described as the ‘art of not being governed,’ anarchist politics holds open the possibility of politics without rule, governance without a state, organization without a political order. Political science often treats anarchist politics as a problem to be solved: the end (or collapse) of the sovereign through corruption, war—civil or otherwise, or collapsing civil institutions means the end of politics itself. But is it possible to have politics without the social hierarchy of the ruler and the ruled? Rather than the end of politics and the indication of a failure of governance, can anarchic politics be a possibility?

This course considers the contemporary possibility of anarchist politics, attempting to illuminate the politics that might come from resistance to rule. Anarchist politics come in a multitude of forms—organized resistance to state authority and expressions of power to mutual aid societies and cooperative politics all fall within the umbrella of anarchist politics. Resistance and revolution have taken a central focus within popular conception of anarchist politics, but this class explores the broad history of anarchist political theory.

This is an advanced political science seminar; students will be asked to think both critically and experimentally about both anarchist political theory and practice. We will explore both through close engagement with anarchist political pamphlets, key texts in late modern and contemporary political theory—including Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Sterner, Gen-Dor, and Rancière, amongst others—and current expressions of anarchist politics. In this manner we will trace anarchist political theory’s development as a constellation of resistant theories and techniques, as well as their place in contemporary politics.

POLS 453: Seminar in Political Theory - Ethics of Migration

Instructor: Stephen Larin
Term: Winter 2021

Description: Migration is at the centre of contemporary politics around the world, and we urgently need to develop well-reasoned, principled answers to the ethical questions posed by refugee crises, selective bans and deportations, migrant detention camps, temporary foreign workers, majority-group nationalism, and a host of other pressing concerns. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad and strong foundation for doing so. The course is divided into three themes: (1) an introduction to the key concepts and debates in the ethics of migration; (2) migration; and (3) settlement.  The first is self-explanatory. The second theme, which makes up most of the course, deals with ethical issues associated with the act of migration such as border control, asylum seeking, and deportation. Theme three addresses issues associated with settlement after migration, including non-citizen rights and migrant integration.

POLS 456: Theories of Identity Politics

Instructor: Meghan Laws
Term: Winter 2021

Description: What are ‘identities’? How are they ‘made’ and ‘unmade’? What difference do they make for democratic theory and practice? This course will explore these questions by analyzing different theoretical approaches to the study of identities, including class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. Using a variety of contemporary case studies, from the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to the rise of ‘white identity politics’ in the United States and Europe, Hindu nationalism in India, and the politics of Indigeneity in Africa and Latin America, students will come away from the course with a deep understanding of how, why and to what effect identities are formed, mobilized and politicized in different institutional settings around the world. 

POLS 457: Issues in Global Justice: Convergence, Diffusion and Transfer

Instructor: Linda Mussell
Term: Winter 2021

Description: Colonization has created ongoing and lasting impacts in countries and nations around the world, including shaping and influencing justice systems and government practices of punishment, confinement, and criminalization. This course critically explores multiple theories of how and why justice policy convergence, transfer, and diffusion occur between and among several states in the Global North and the Global South. The range of topics examined in this course include colonization and the imposition of English common law justice systems in over a dozen states, the marketing and sale of justice programs across national borders, the provision of corrections/prisons during UN Peace Keeping (e.g., in Haiti), the practice of overseas detention centres (e.g., Guantanamo Bay), and the detention of migrants and asylum seekers.

POLS 458: Ethics of War and Intervention

Instructor: Stephen Larin
Term: Fall 2020

Description: War is the use of organized, purposive violence between two or more groups. We often imagine these groups to be states, but intra-state conflicts have been more common since the Second World War, and so-called ‘extra-state’ conflicts between states and non-state actors in foreign territories have been among the most important since the early 2000s. Regardless of its form, however, war raises urgent ethical questions because it may lead to death, tremendous suffering, and other terrible consequences. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad and strong foundation in the core ethical debates over war and violent humanitarian intervention.

The most prominent general approaches to the ethics of war are ‘realism’, the view that war is and should not be subject to moral consideration, ‘pacifism’, the view that war is unethical, and ‘just war’, the view that war can be ethical if it is initiated for the right reasons, conducted within specific constraints, and concluded in a principled way. This latter approach dominates most ethical discussions of war, and the course is structured around its three themes: jus ad bellum (‘just resort to war’), jus in bello (‘just conduct in war’), and jus post bellum (‘justice after war’). This is not an endorsement of the long, heterogeneous, and contradictory just war ‘tradition’, but instead recognition that it is the standard that all serious ethical discussions of war work either within or against. A wide variety of topics are covered, including state authority in war, revolution, terrorism, autonomous weapons, and the allocation of responsibility after war is over.

POLS 460: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

Instructor: Stéphanie Martel
Term: Winter 2021

Description: This IR seminar introduces students to major issues shaping the study and conduct of international politics in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Asia‐Pacific. Seminar topics examine the involvement of major powers in the region, regional  institutions and regimes, norms and identities, transnational crime, non‐state actors, and natural disasters. 

POLS 461: International Regimes

Instructor: Sara Greco
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An exploration of problems of order and change in the international system with particular attention to the theory and practice of co‐operation, ranging from classic concepts of international organization to current debates about international regimes. 

POLS 462: Studies in National Security

Instructor: Daniel Troup
Term: Fall 2020

Description: 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

Instructor: Sara Greco
Term: Winter 2021

Description: Critical examination of selected themes, issues and works in classical and contemporary international relations theory.

POLS 464: Russian Foreign Policy

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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

Instructor: Christian Breede
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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

Instructor: Yolande Bouka
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An examination of the political dimensions of violent conflict in Africa, including the causes of inter‐state and intra‐state conflict, and responses such as peacebuilding and global governance initiatives. 

POLS 467: International Political Economy

Instructor: Wayne Cox
Term: Fall 2020

Description: Theoretical approaches and issues within the field, while paying particular attention to hegemony and leadership, the economic dimension of post war and post cold war security, trade, money, debt, underdevelopment, regionalism, and international organization. 

POLS 468: The International Relations of the Middle East 

Instructor: Wayne Cox
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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

*Not offered in 2020-21

Description: 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 470: Seminar in International Politics

Instructor: David Haglund
Term: Fall 2020

Description: This is a generic “topics” course in international politics, whose theme varies from year to year.  In autumn term 2020, we are going to be investigating an issue in American foreign policy analysis (FPA) and  international relations (IR) that has recently been receiving a great deal of attention, from scholars and policymakers alike.  That issue is America’s future “grand strategy” in light of current domestic and foreign challenges confronting Washington, not least of the latter being an increasingly aggressive China.  The seminar’s theme is especially pertinent given that there is a good possibility that this coming November’s election will extinguish the geopolitical dumpster fire that has been Trump foreign policy.  But even should the Democrats regain the upper hand in Washington, it is far from obvious what the country’s future grand strategy will be, or what will be its implications for the liberal international order (LIO).  In this seminar, we will be attempting to gauge that future strategy, along with those implications, by examining closely some of the earlier grand strategies followed by the United States.  Especial attention will be accorded to one particular option, the grand strategy dubbed “offshore balancing.”

Now, if this were a normal year, POLS 470 would be a course capped at 22 and restricted to undergraduates.  Similarly, POLS 862 would be a course restricted to graduate students, with a much lower cap.  But for the first time in many years, POLS 862 is going to be cross-listed with an undergraduate course.  Since the overall cap of 22 students will remain in place, the distribution of enrolment in POLS 470/862 will be 16 undergrads and 6 grad students.

The second odd wrinkle, it goes without saying, is owing to the pandemic: the seminar will not be offered in person.  Instead, we will go to a remote option (likely Zoom unless something better comes along before the start of term).

POLS 471: Politics of Artificial Intelligence [Politics and Science in Technological Societies]

Instructor: Stephen Larin
Term: Winter 2021

Description: POLS 471 will be taught as “Politics of Artificial Intelligence”. ‘Artificial intelligence’ (AI) is intelligent action performed by a machine. Autonomous robots and other forms of artificial general intelligence are a common theme in popular science fiction such as Star Wars, Terminator, and WALL-E, but some types of AI are no longer fictitious. Over the past decade, advances in machine learning driven by improved algorithms, ‘big data’, and steady, exponential increases in computational capacity have led to significant improvements in pattern recognition and other forms of narrow, task-specific artificial intelligence that are already changing the world. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad, in-depth introduction to the political implications of this major technological shift.

The course is divided into three themes: (1) “Fundamentals”; (2) “Present and near-term”; and (3) “Long-term or never”. The first theme comprises Weeks 2–4 and provides an overview of the fundamental technical, social scientific, and normative issues associated with the politics of artificial intelligence. Theme 2, the core of the course (Weeks 5–11), deals with the political significance of present or near-term applications of artificial intelligence including computational propaganda, decision-making, and autonomous weapons, as well as AI regulation and governance. The final week of the course addresses long-term, speculative possibilities that may never happen: AI-governed societies and ‘superintelligence’. 

POLS 482: Seminar in Public Policy 

Instructor: Linda Mussell
Term: Summer 2021

Description: This course introduces students to different streams of policy studies, specifically interrogating systems of social control in several states. Streams include more mainstream and positivist policy studies, as well as interpretivist and critical policy studies. Students will learn key theoretical underpinnings and familiarize with tools of policy analysis in order to conduct their own analysis of topics of their choice. Areas of social control for seminar discussion include: policing, welfare, social work, education, health care, and prisons.

POLS 483: Justice and Gender

Instructor: Celia Romulus
Term: Winter 2021

Description: 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 484: Politics of Globalization

Instructor: Akif Hasni
Term: Winter 2021

Description: An examination of the major theoretical debates and issues in contemporary globalization, including the historical roots of globalization, and the impact of globalization on culture, economics, trade, global governance, and global social movements. 

POLS 485: Seminar in Gender and Politics - Feminism, Postcolonialism, and Islam

Instructor: Pinar Dokumaci

Term: Fall 2020

Description:Over the last decades postcolonial theorizing has contributed decisively to feminist thinking. Postcolonial feminists have explored the complex and fractured ways in which gender and sexuality are situated at the core of nationalisms, colonialisms, and racisms. The aim of this course is to introduce students the necessary theoretical and analytical tools to critically reflect upon the gendered dynamics of colonial and postcolonial power structures in the Islamic world and to analyze how these dynamics have led to different explorations of feminism and alternative understandings of modernity. While presenting key texts in the literature on gender, feminism, and postcolonialism, the course also aims to bring in a variety of case studies and recent examples of Muslim women's experience in different Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian contexts.


POLS 486: The Politics of Rights

Instructor: Andrew Nguyen
Term: Spring 2021

Description: Despite widespread assumptions about the courts’ capacity to settle disputes that implicate rights, political and legal conflicts continue to persist in liberal democratic polities. This seminar brings together perspectives from political science, socio-legal, and constitutional studies to examine debates about how political institutions respond to rights-based conflicts. It focuses on the challenges confronting decolonization, race, poverty, and nonbinary gender identities to consider contrasting visions of rights, institutions’ receptiveness to rights-claims, and conditions for justice.

Non-POLS Course Descriptions:

Courses from the following list of "substitutions" may be counted towards a POLS plan, up to a limit of 12.0 units for the Major and 6.0 units for the Medial and Minor

Substitution Courses
DEVS 230: The Global Political Economy of Development /3.0

Description: Applying global political economy perspectives to key aspects of development finance. Topics include the introduction of basic economic terms, the role of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and the growing roles of Transnational Corporations and financial markets in development NOTE    Also offered online. Consult Arts and Science Online. Learning Hours may vary

IDIS304: British Studies I /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

Description: An interdisciplinary introduction to the broad development of British life and culture, focusing on British national identity. The course usually combines British art history, history, literature and geography.

IDIS 305: British Studies II /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

Description: An interdisciplinary introduction to the broad development of British life and culture, focusing on cultural and political conflicts in British society. The course usually combines British art history, history, literature and geography.

INTS 300: Special Studies in Britain and Europe in a Global Context I /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

Description: This course will offer a unique opportunity to study a special topic in Britain and Europe in a global context. Topics will vary each term, and the course may not be offered every year. For detailed course description, see

INTS301: Special Studies in Britain and Europe in a Global Context II /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux 

Description: This course will offer a unique opportunity to study a special topic in Britain and Europe in a global context. Topics will vary each term, and the course may not be offered every year. For detailed course description, see  

INTS 303: The Global Village: Case Studies of South Eastern England /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux. 

Description: This course will examine ways in which South East England has been and is connected to the world. Students will develop an appropriate research methodology drawing on local archival and oral resources to investigate selected topics. Topics will vary yearly and may be examined from a variety of perspectives: historical, sociological, cultural or within a multidisciplinary framework. 

INTS312: Seminar in Modern European Studies I /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux. 

Description: This course will offer a unique opportunity to study a special topic in Modern European Studies. Topics will vary each term, and the course may not be offered every year. For a detailed course description, see  

INTS313: Seminar in Modern European Studies II /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux. 

Description: This course will offer a unique opportunity to study a special topic in Modern European Studies. Topics will vary each term, and the course may not be offered every year. For a detailed course description, see  

INTS320: Fascism in Europe: From Napoleon to Hitler /3.0

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

Description: An introduction to the growth of the fascist mentality in Europe from a cultural perspective. The course will treat the Third Reich as part of the broader conservative and nationalist challenge to liberalism.

LAW 201: Introduction to Canadian Law /3.0

Description: Law 201 is designed for students from all disciplines, but will be of particular interest to students in history, political science, or business.  The course provides students with an introduction to the Canadian legal and judicial systems.  Students will learn the sources of law in Canadian common law jurisdictions, as well as the basic workings of the Canadian court system.  Students will be introduced to the role of lawyers and judges, and legal ethics.

LLCU319: Roots of Fascism: Resistance to Liberalism in the 19th Century /3.0

Description: A survey of various currents of thought from 19th‐century Europe that illustrate conservative discomfort with industrial society and help to make the outbreak of fascism understandable after 1918. The course will distinguish between conservative, nationalist, aesthetic, and religious trends, illustrated by relevant readings from different countries.

LLCU320: Fascism in Europe from Napoleon to Hitler /3.0


An introduction from a cultural perspective to the growth of the fascist mentality in Europe and the emergence of fascist regimes. The course will treat Italian Fascism and the Third Reich as part of the broader conservative and nationalist challenge to liberalism.

Forms & Checklists

Please download the applicable PDF to ensure that you are keeping track of your degree progression and choosing appropriate courses as needed: