Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies

Undergraduate Courses

Courses Offered in 2018 - 2019

Course Descriptions

100 Level Courses
POLS 101: Contemporary Issues in Politics

Instructor: Jonathan Rose

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.

POLS 110: Introduction to Politics and Government

Instructor: Kim Nossal (Fall) and Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant (Winter)

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: TBA

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

POLS 212: Canadian Politics

Instructor: TBA

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

POLS 230: American Elections

Not offered in 2018-19

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

Instructor: Grant Amyot

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

POLS 242: Comparative Politics: Contemporary Regimes

Instructor: Oded Haklai

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

POLS 243: Comparative Politics: States and Nations

Instructor: John McGarry

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 2018-19

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

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 2018-19

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

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

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

Instructor: Kim Nossal

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: Rebecca Wallace

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?

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: Janet Hiebert

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

POLS 312: Political Behaviour

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 313: Mass Media and Politics in Canada

Not offered in 2018-19

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

Instructor: Janet Hiebert

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

Not offered in 2018-19

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. Offered in alternate years.

POLS 319: Public Disclosure in Canada: Issues and Debates

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 320: First Nations Politics

Instructor: Geraldine King

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

POLS 327: Topics in Comparative Politics

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

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

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 2018-19

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: Paul Gardner

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

Instructor: Kate Korycki

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 2018-19

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

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 341: Chinese Politics

Not offered in 2018-19

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

Instructor: Catherine Conaghan

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 2018-19

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 2018-19

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

POLS 348: Middle East Politics

Instructor: Oded Haklai

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 2018-19

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 2018-19

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 2018-19

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

POLS 354: Democratic Theory

Instructor: Andrew Lister

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

POLS 358: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Capitalism

Not offered in 2018-19

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

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: Stephanie Martel

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 2018-19

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: Daniel Troup

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: Samantha Twietmeyer

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: Joel Sokolsky

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: Kim Richard Nossal

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 382: Women and Politics

Not offered in 2018-19

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 Governmental Process

Instructor: Paul Gardner

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: Hans Christian Breede

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: Quantitative Approaches to Political Studies

Instructor: Bill Nelson

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 2018-19

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

Instructor: Eleanor Macdonald

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: Citizenship and Non-Citizenship

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 391: Introduction to Electoral Systems

Instructor: Jonathan Rose

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

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 393: Topics in Comparative Politics

Instructor: Poulomi Chakrabarti

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

POLS 394: Topics in Political Theory

Not offered in 2018-19

Description: An exploration of different aspects of political thought, political theory, and political philosophy. The focus of this course will vary from year to year.

POLS 395: Topics in International Political Economy

Not offered in 2018-19

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

Instructor: Andrew Grant

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

POLS 397: Topics in Gender and Politics

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 398: Introduction to International Law and Politics

Offered only at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux

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 2017-18, the Department of Political Studies will be organizing enrolment 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

Instructor: Korey Pasch

Description: POLS 400 is a discussion-based seminar that focuses on the fields of International Relations (IR), International Political Economy (IPE), and Comparative Politics as they pertain to the governance of natural disasters in the global political economy. The course will address questions such as: What is a ‘natural' disaster? How are disasters governed at the local, national and global realms? What is the role of global politics, international relations, and political economy in this issue area? What types of policies are being proposed and pursued to address disasters, especially in the context of climate change, global environmental upheaval, and globalization? How can we best understand and problematize these changes?

POLS 401: Political Theory: Questions and Challenges

Not offered in 2018-19

Description: This seminar is organized around a close, contextual and critical reading of Volume 1 of Capital, Marx's magnum opus and one of the foundational texts of modern social science. The immediate goal is to use Marx's own words, rather than those of his interpreters, to develop an understanding of his thought and method. In the process, some of the most important theoretical and methodological limitations of liberal theory and conventional political science will be addressed. As is appropriate for a seminar that takes places in a world which is in the process of being turned upside down, we will also try to explore Marx's way of thinking about the relationship between the world of liberal appearances - “Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham” - on the one hand, and some of the main features of the contemporary context – growing inequality and social exclusion, increasingly authoritarian political forms and practices, and large-scale political upheavals - on the other. One of the primary effects of the way political science has developed has been to make capitalism disappear from view as an important determinant of political life. This seminar seeks to redress the balance, and to put capitalism and its social and political effects back under the spotlight.

POLS 402: Science and Justice

Instructor: Colin Farrelly
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 403: Gender and Politics: Questions and Challenges

Instructor: Marin Beck 

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

POLS 404: Canadian Politics: Questions and Challenges

Not offered in 2018-19

Description: This course will examine a central figure in Canadian democracy: the Voter. Most basic definitions of democracy include voting as an essential element. But we know that the Voter’s influence extends well beyond the simple marking of a ballot, both in theory and in practice. The Voter is regularly invoked by a range of actors in a variety of settings. This course will examine the Voter in this context, primarily outside of the formal elections process, and examine the roles this figure is expected to fill – both historically and within the contemporary Canadian system. Ultimately, our work will lead us to grapple with two key questions: what are the weighty expectations of democracy for the Voter and does the Voter live up to them?.

POLS 405: International Relations: Questions and Challenges

Instructor: Daniel Troup

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

POLS 406: Comparative Politics: Questions and Challenges 

Instructor: Ognen Vangelov

Description: Conflict Settlements and Peace Processes. This course will provide a critical overview of the conflict resolution field, exploring the challenges of international intervention, domestic peace processes, mediation and negotiation, and settlement implementation. Beginning with an introduction to the general theory of conflict resolution, students will then examine a series of case-based comparative discussions of major conflict settlement and peacebuilding efforts, considering the core questions, challenges, and critiques concerning current conflict resolution theory and praxis. Why do some interventions succeed and others fail? How, if at all, can we determine success and failure of a conflict settlement process? The course will provide both an understanding of the key actors and institutions of peace processes as well as introduce practical skill sets in conflict resolution. Case examples include, but are not limited to, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cyprus, Liberia, Northern Ireland, and Iraq.

POLS 410: Seminar in Canadian Politics

Instructor: Jacob Robbins-Kanter

Description:This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate students who want to gain a deeper understanding of the current issues and responses to gender-based violence (GBV) in Canada.  The course will focus on developing knowledge of key concepts and theories to help us identify structural factors that create the conditions for gender-based violence, as well as expose students to some of the anti-violence strategies and activism that seek to build a world free of violence. The course will centrally consider: intersectionality, colonialism, racism, criminalization, Islamophobia, militarism, rape culture, among additional concepts and their relationship to gender-based violence.

POLS 412: Provincial Politics

Not offered in 2018-19

Description: Content varies from year to year.

POLS 414: Politics in Quebec

Instructor: Jacob Robbins-Kanter

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

Not offered in 2018-19

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 Communication

Instructor: Kate Korycki

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

Instructor: Jeremy Ladd

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 2018-19

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: Dalal Daoud

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

POLS 431: European Politics

Instructor: Grant Amyot


Following the 2007-2008 US subprime crisis, the European Monetary Union (EMU) was thrust into a prolonged crisis when several states (beginning with Greece) were accused of having built up unstable levels of sovereign debt. Since then, the future of the European Union, one of the most ambitious political projects undertaken, has frequently subjected to doubts about its very future.

This course uses the ongoing debt crises in the European Union as a lens to explore issues in contemporary European politics by utilizing both International Relations and Comparative Politics approaches, both mainstream and critical. Topics examined include: the structure and history of the European (Monetary) Union; the causes and consequences of debt crises in so-called 'peripheral' or Southern Europe; the changing nature of identity & nationalisms within the EU; the nature of governance and statehood within the EU; Germany's unique role; and the Euro as an international currency.

POLS 432: The Modern Welfare State

Instructor: Anne Lachance

Description: This course analyzes the politics of social policy in contemporary democracies. During the middle decades of the twentieth century, western countries developed a complex set of social programs protect individuals and families from the risks and insecurities inherent in the market economy and modern society. In recent decades, governments have restructured many of these programs, often in dramatic ways, in response to changing economic, social and political pressures. This course examines theoretical debates about the forces that have reshaped the welfare state, assesses the ways in which social programs have been restructured, and evaluates the implications for poverty, inequality and intergenerational fairness. The course will draw on the experience of western democracies in general and Canada in particular.

POLS 433: Problems of American Democracy

Instructor: Paul Gardner

Description: Focuses on recent debates about the sources of malaise and dysfunction in the American political system. Analysis includes an examination of the state of public opinion, the polarization of the party system, and the nature of the political elite. The course will incorporate discussion of developments in the 2012 national elections.

POLS 434: Multiculturalism

Instructor: Maria Krause

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 439: American Politics

Not offered in 2018-19

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: Alexandra Liebich

Description: The goal of this seminar is to explore the sources of nationalism, the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism, and the contemporary challenges of nation-building in a globalized world. The latter part of the course will focus on the manifestation (and peculiarities) of the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism in post-colonial societies. Beyond critical evaluation of theories and arguments, the course also provides opportunities for students to hone their analytical written skills.

POLS 442: Latin American Politics

Instructor: Catherine Conaghan

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.

POLS 443: Gender and Globalization

Instructor: Celia Romulus

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 445: Dialectics of Development

Instructor: Ali Bhagat

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

POLS 450 Political Theory: Appeals to Human Nature

Not offered in 2018-19

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

Instructor: Stephen Larin

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 to ownership of resources. Classical liberalism will be represented by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman; the natural rights tradition by 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 453: Modern Political Philosophy

Instructor: Stephen Larin

Description: An examination of a particular problem or theme in Western political thought post-1500; issues covered might include property, revolution, sovereignty, republicanism, or gender. Topic 2018-19: Ethics of Migration

POLS 456: Theories of Identity Politics

Instructor: Olga Talal

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

POLS 457: Issues in Global Justice

Instructor: Samantha Twietmeyer

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

POLS 458: Ethics of War and Intervention

Instructor: Stephen Larin

Description: An examination of the debates about when it is (morally) justified to go to war - and when it isn’t. Topics will include war as self-defence, humanitarian intervention, preventive war, and different conceptions of the morally proper way to wage war.

POLS 461: International Regimes

Instructor: Craig Jones

Description: Problems of order and change in international politics, exploring the theory and practice of international institutions from early critiques of the Westphalian state system, through the emergence of modern international organizations and regimes, to current problems of global governance.

POLS 462: Studies in National Security

Not offered in 2018-19

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

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 464: Russian Foreign Policy

Instructor: Pierre Jolicoeur

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: Hans Christian Breede

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: J. Andrew Grant

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

POLS 467: International Political Economy

Instructor: Wayne Cox

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

POLS 468: The International Relations of the Middle East 

Instructor: Wayne Cox

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 2018-19

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

Description: The theoretical problems of analyzing foreign policy and the practical issues of diplomatic action.

POLS 471: Politics and Science in Technological Societies

Not offered in 2018-19

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

POLS 482: Seminar in Public Policy - The Politics of Prisons

Not offered in 2018-19

Description: The growth and transformation of prison systems and punishment regimes, and their increasing use as tools for maintaining social order, managing class, racial and ethnic conflict and dealing with the problem of globalization-induced migration is an important political tendency in western liberal democracies. Yet it is a tendency mostly neglected by mainstream political science, perhaps because it questions the discipline's core liberal assumption that order rests upon consent rather than coercion, inclusion rather than exclusion. POLS482 seeks to fill this gap, using historical, theoretical and comparative analysis as means of investigating the changing politics of prisons, and is organized in seminar, research and audio-visual streams. Topics for discussion include: global patterns and national variations in punishment regimes and prison systems; law, punishment and class formation; the prison as a disciplinary institution; punishment and the labour market; punishment and global post-fordism; the ideology of authoritarian populism; the prison-industrial complex; race and incarceration; prison-building and regional development; the prison and the welfare state; imprisonment and democratic exclusion; the camp and the exceptional State. The major assignment for the seminar is to write a substantial research essay on the politics of prison privatization in a jurisdiction of the student's choice, and to present the findings to the seminar in a conference-style format. POLS482 course outline Winter 2016(453 KB)

POLS 483: Justice and Gender

Not offered in 2018-19

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.

POLS484: Politics of Globalization

Instructor: Akif Hasni

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

Instructor: Marin Beck

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

POLS 486: The Politics of Rights

Instructor: Janet Hiebert

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

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

Description: 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.

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