Graduate Courses

2024-2025 Graduate Courses

Term 1MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
9 am - 12 pmPOLI 547A

Topics in Political Theory: Democratic Theory

Afsoun Afsahi

Core Seminar in Comparative Government and Politics

Maxwell Cameron

Political Thought: Critical Theory – Political Theory and the Problem of “Race"

Bruce Baum


Global Economic and Environmental Governance

Yves Tiberghien
2 - 5 pmPOLI 561A

Core Seminar in International Relations Theory

Katharina Pichler Coleman

Issues in Comparative Politics: Political Economy of Development

Calla Hummel

Comparative Western Governments: Politics of Policy in the U.S.

Paul Quirk

Political Theory: Contested Territory

Anna Jurkevics


Quantitative Techniques of Political Analysis

Xiaojun Li

Term 2MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
9 am - 12 pmPOLI 504H

Topics in Canadian Politics: Groups, Identities and Political Behaviour: Canada in Comparison

Sophie Borwein

Qualitative Methods of Political Analysis

Arjun Chowdhury

Elections: Parties and Voters

Richard G. C. Johnston
2 - 5 pmPOLI 523A

Political Thought: Multiculturalism and Identity Politics

Barbara Arneil

Topics in International Relations: Global Environmental Politics

Peter Dauvergne

Topics in International Relations: International Relations of the Asia Pacific

Xiaojun Li
POLI 516

Issues in Comparative Politics: Migration Politics and Policy in North America

Irene Bloemraad

Quantitative Techniques of Political Analysis

Michael Weaver

Course Descriptions

Section 001 Term 1 9:00-12:00 Tues

Poli 511 is designed to: (1) assist doctoral students prepare to write the comprehensive field examination in comparative politics; (2) provide doctoral students with a sense of the breadth of the field, its intellectual history, and current challenges; (3) equip research-oriented students with the background necessary to assess the state of the art in comparative politics as a precursor to developing their own theses or thesis proposals; and (4) provide doctoral students with the background necessary to teach comparative politics. Master’s students are welcome, but the workload and academic requirements are commensurate with the needs of doctoral students.
The learning objectives for this course are that students will:

  • Deepen and broaden their understanding of many of the common references and debates in contemporary comparative politics;
  • Hone their skills to understand and critically engage with comparative politics scholarship, including texts using a range of qualitative methodologies;
  • Create a foundation from which to build their own original theoretical arguments and research projects in comparative politics; and
    (where relevant) Significantly strengthen their preparation for the department’s PhD program comprehensive examination in the field of comparative politics by developing their own understanding of how elements of the field fit together.

Comparative politics is a sprawling and dynamic field of study, with ancient roots. The course examines current scholarship in light of the evolution of the field, and in relation to knowledge in other disciplines. Approaches to the study of comparative politics, and comparative politics as a method of analysis, will be examined. Topics vary modestly from year to year, but typically include such issues as: political order and change, constitutionalism and civic virtue, the sources of resistance and rebellion, culture and institutions, cooperation and social capital, democracy and authoritarianism, and transnational influences on domestic politics. Work will be discussed for both substantive findings and methodological contributions. Students will read some of the great books produced by the field in recent decades, as well as cutting-edge work from the journal literature.

Section 001 Term 1 9:00-12:00 Fri

This seminar is about the remaking of the global order in the period since 2008. The time for incremental changes within a stable structure is over. The current battle is over the structure itself. Some pillars remain resilient, and are even expanding, owing to innovative entrepreneurship. But most are fragmenting, decaying, or being redrawn through shifting domestic forces and strategic competition. Will the postwar global order survive? And what explains the different trajectories of key regimes of globalization?

Several simultaneous global disruptions are testing the resilience of the global liberal order and the response of policy makers. First, the global system has been facing new types of systemic risks connected to the increased connectivity (global finance, cyber space, interdependent systems) and to growing ecological pressures (climate change, biodiversity, global ocean governance). Second, the world is living through the greatest shift in the global balance power in a century, with over 20% of global GDP shifting toward emerging powers over the last 15 years, putting great pressures on institutions. Third, the resulting global power transition and the rise of China have led to the growing securitization of the global economy and mistrust. Fourth, rising inequality and growing perception of an unfair game have led to rising populism and a major questioning of globalization. Finally, technology and the Internet (Fourth Industrial Revolution) are putting all domestic work and welfare systems under pressure to adjust. These five disruptions generate and amplify large-scale uncertainty and trigger entrepreneurial initiatives to cope with it.

This seminar focuses on the impact of these disruptions on the global order and develops diverse responses to them. After a review of theoretical approaches about human cognition, systemic risks, global governance structures, and power transition, we turn our attention to the diverging trajectories and outcomes in the battle for new rules in five key regimes since 2008: G20 and global financial coordination (partial investment in fixing the system- followed by stalemate); the battle for digital governance (Internet and AI); the global climate regime (the success of the Paris Agreement); the fragmenting trade regime (multi-level competition for rules); and the gradual emergence of a new paradigm in global biodiversity and global ocean governance, as well as in the global development regime (both thanks to a UN-led process around SDGs and initiatives by large countries and regional units).

The course will include a variety of activities, including lively lectures, guest speakers, movie excerpts, discussions, and debates. Invitations to global online events will be included.

The course may also involve digital or in-person participation to global summits (such as the Paris Peace Forum, T20 Forum, and others) with partial travel support, based on feasibility, pandemic conditions, and availability.

Section 001 Term 1 2:00-5:00PM Tues

This graduate seminar on the political economy of development asks: Who makes choices about development and who benefits from those choices? Under what conditions do communities and civil society contribute to and benefit from economic development? In this graduate seminar, we will examine the current research on the political economy of development. We will focus on work from and about the Global South and prioritize recent research and advances in the literature over foundational political economy readings. We will examine issues of public goods and service provision, social policy, governance, minority rights, civil society, infrastructure, and public health as they pertain to economic and political development. We will pay particular attention to how political scientists design and implement research projects on development, especially in teams and with vulnerable communities.
This course has two goals: to familiarize students with cutting edge research in political economy and to develop research projects on the political economy of development. Students will write a research proposal and a final research paper (co-authorship encouraged) that they will present in a conference-style presentation. Master’s students are welcome but the workload and expectations are set at the doctoral level.

Section 001 Term 1 2:00-5:00PM Thurs

This course surveys and challenges Western approaches to land, place, and territory. We begin with surveys of the concept of place, the history of territory, and the political economy of land. Part II covers theories of territorial right, and will address issues related to land attachment, nationalism, and the property-territory distinction. In Part III, we explore the Westphalian system of territorial sovereignty, including its relationship to migration, borders, colonialism, and empire. In the concluding section of the course, Part IV, we will consider alternatives to the Western approach to territory by reading indigenous scholarship on land, including Glen Coulthard’s Red Skins, White Masks and Audra Simpson's Mohawk Interruptus.

Section 001 Term 2 9:00-12:00 Fri

(Counts toward either one of US politics, Canadian Politics, or Comparative Politics field requirement)

This seminar course surveys the literatures on parties, electoral systems, party systems, and structural aspects of voting. The course is comparative, but makes special reference to Canada and the US.

Topics include:

  • Parties and party systems, the concepts.
  • Origins and impact of electoral systems, and their interaction with other political institutions.
  • Origins, dimensional underpinnings, and transformation of party systems in consolidated democracies.
  • Emergent party systems in post-authoritarian regimes

Section 001 Term 2 2:00-5:00PM Tues

This seminar reflects on the politics of global sustainability and justice, striving for critical thought that integrates both rigorous analysis and ethical reflection. The focus is on the consequences of political discourses, institutions, and power struggles for global ecological change, taking an interdisciplinary approach that does not assume a background in international relations. How, in what ways, and to what extent is global environmental politics making a difference for advancing global sustainability and justice? How and why is this changing over time? What does this suggest for the future? To answer these questions, the seminar analyzes topics such as the causes and consequences of unsustainable development, the ecological shadows of consumption, the power of environmentalism as a social movement, the social justice consequences of climate change, the contradictions of technology, the effectiveness of international agreements, the rising importance of city-level governance, the eco-business of multinational corporations, and the value of certification and eco-consumerism. The seminar further strives to assess the merits of various pathways toward environmental sustainability and social justice.

Previous Graduate Courses