• courses are subject to change; please check the Student Service Centre for the most up to date schedule.
    • this does not mean a significantly higher workload, it just means lots of practice writing and lots of feedback.
    • we recommend that students take only one WI course per year.
  • if you have any questions, please contact Undergraduate Academic Advisor at 604.822.5969 or the Political Science office at 604.822.6079





Section 001   1st Term   T/TH   9:30 – 11:00

Instructor: Bruce Baum (

Prerequisites: N/A

Note: POLI 100 will be a prerequisite for all 200-level Political Science courses.

Political Science 100 will introduce you to the key concepts and ideas of Western politics, as well as the current challenges.  It is meant to provide you with the analytical tools necessary to study all four areas of political science at UBC: Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Canadian Politics. The course consists of a combination of lectures, group discussions and readings. Each week you will be required to attend two lectures and one discussion group.

Our overall organizing theme will be the ways in which politics involves interrelated struggles for power and justice. Struggles for power – and the uses of power – often seem to obscure or preclude claims of justice; yet the pursuit of justice – even in the most democratic and egalitarian setting possible – always involves issues of power (what it is; who should wield it or how it should be shared; how it should be exercised). With these broad themes in mind the course is organized into five parts: I. Power, Justice, and Politics; II. The Concept of Power; III. Modern Political Ideologies; IV. The Modern (Democratic) State; V. Global Politics.

In order to examine how all of these concepts in western politics make a difference in our daily political life, the discussion group seminars will use contemporary case studies to make the broader themes specific, concrete and relevant.



Section 002   1st Term   M-W-F   12:00 – 13:00

Section 004   2nd Term   M-W-F   12:00 – 13:00

Instructor: Christopher Erickson (

Prerequisites:  N/A

Note: POLI 100 will be a prerequisite for all 200-level Political Science courses.

Political Science 100 will introduce you to key concepts and ideas of western politics, as well as current challenges. It is meant to provide you with the analytical tools necessary to study political science at UBC. The course consists of a combination of lectures, group discussions and readings. Each week you will be required to attend 3 one-hour lectures and a one-hour tutorial group. We will begin with an introduction to some of the basic conceptual and theoretical tools you will require as a political scientist. We will then move on to a discussion of some of the important political systems and processes. The course will conclude with a look at politics between states. The study of politics must always keep its eye towards tangible, day-to-day, on the ground events and the discussion groups will in part work towards the practical application of the course material.



Section 003   2nd Term   T/TH   15:30 – 17:00

Instructor: Serbulent Turan (

Prerequisites: N/A

Political Science 100 will introduce you to key concepts and ideas of western politics, as well as current challenges. It is meant to provide you with the analytical tools necessary to study political science at UBC. The course consists of a combination of lectures, group discussions and readings. Each week you will be required to attend two 90-minute lectures and a one-hour tutorial group. We will begin with an introduction to some of the basic conceptual and theoretical tools you will require as a political scientist. We will then move on to a discussion of some of the important political systems and processes. The course will conclude with a look at politics between states. The study of politics must always keep its eye towards tangible, day-to-day, on the ground events and the discussion groups will in part work towards the practical application of the course material.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F   12:00 – 13:00

Instructor: Jocelyn Mcgrandle (

Prerequisites: N/A

The Canadian state presents a unique opportunity to explore politics within one of the world’s oldest constitutional democracies.  Canadian politics is not simply about winning elections.  Politics in Canada deals with the basic nature of what Canada is, who we are, and the type of society we want to live in.  The Government of Canada engages students in the exploration of government structures and political cleavages in Canada.  The State, Nationalism and Regionalism, Foreign Affairs, Elections and Political Parties are some of the topics covered.  Students will come away with a strong understanding of the Canadian context, as well as broader political themes, to prepare them for more advanced study within political science.



Section 002   2nd Term   T/TH   9:30 – 11:00

Instructor: Gerald Baier (

Prerequisites: N/A

This course examines the structure and operation of Canada’s political system. Understanding the logic of Canada’s institutions will help students to assume their roles as engaged democratic citizens. Class lectures will focus on the principles and institutions of Canada’s political system. Current and historical events will be employed as examples and used as a basis for class and tutorial discussions.

The course involves two lectures per week and attendance at a weekly TA section. The lectures cover material from the text, supplemented by the presentation and discussion of current and historical events. The sections provide an opportunity to review lecture material, go over assignments, and discuss current events.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F   10:00 – 11:00 

Instructor: Alan Jacobs (

Prerequisites: POLI 110 is a prerequisite for POLI 380. POLI 380 is a required course for majors.

This course prepares students to engage with the field of political science by introducing them to the basic logic and tools used by political scientists to understand and explain the political world. The course will teach students how political scientists ask answerable questions; how we define key political concepts; how we formulate hypotheses and theories about political dynamics; how we measure the phenomena we want to study; how we think about and assess relationships of cause-and-effect; and how we report our findings to the world. We will consider these issues by examining how political scientists have investigated major questions in domestic and international affairs, such as why ethnic diversity sometimes leads to civil war, whether international intervention can bring about democracy, and how we can determine which country has the best healthcare policies.



Section 003   2nd Term   M-W-F   1:00 – 2:00

Instructor:  Michael Weaver (

Prerequisites: POLI 110 is a prerequisite for POLI 380. POLI 380 is a required course for majors.

This course prepares students to engage with the field of political science by introducing them to the basic logic and tools used by political scientists to understand and explain the political world. The course will teach students how political scientists ask answerable questions; how we define key political concepts; how we formulate hypotheses and theories about political dynamics; how we measure the phenomena we want to study; how we think about and assess relationships of cause-and-effect; and how we report our findings to the world. We will consider these issues by examining how political scientists have investigated major questions such as why ethnic diversity sometimes leads to violence and civil war, whether economic growth causes democracy, and what are the effects of gun control laws.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Samuel Reed (

Prerequisites: POLI 100

This course provides a broad overview of the comparative politics subfield by focusing on important questions in our world today. For example, why are some countries more democratic than others, while still others are governed by dictatorships? Why are elected governments stable in some places and unstable elsewhere? Why are rights of citizenship more robust in some states than in others? Why do social movements arise when and where they do? Students are introduced to the theories and methods that comparative political scientists use to understand and answer such questions.



Section 002   2nd Term   M-W-F   10:00-11:00

Instructor: Christopher Erickson (

Prerequisites: POLI 100

This course will provide an introduction to some of the major figures of the Western tradition of political thought.  As a means of moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar, the thinkers and themes discussed in the course will be introduced through the lens of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. This simple story contains within it a number of questions that are closely related to the central questions of political thought. How did Max become king?  Was he a just king?  Was he a good king? What does it mean that the story all takes place in a dream?   Authors to be discussed include Plato, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Locke, Marx and Nietzsche.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F   15:00-16:00

Section 003   1st Term   M-W-F   16:00-17:00

Instructor: Anna Jurkevics (

Prerequisites: POLI 100

This course serves as an introduction to foundational themes and texts in Western political theory. We will consider three historical moments: 1. Ancient thought and the invention of the polis, 2. Social contract and the birth of the modern state, and 3. The Enlightenment and its critics. In order to understand these three moments and their primary themes, we will read and analyze excerpts from Plato (Dialogues), Aristotle (Politics), Machiavelli (The Prince), Hobbes (Leviathan), Locke (Second Treatise), Kant (“What is Enlightenment?”, Theory and Practice), Marx (The Communist Manifesto, “On the Jewish Question”), Hegel (Introduction to the Philosophy of History), and Nietzsche (Genealogy of Morals). The course will culminate in readings from Max Weber (“Science as a Vocation”) and Hannah Arendt (On Revolution), which will give students a view into the challenges of the 20th and 21st centuries.

In this course, we will encounter texts through close reading. Students will be taught to engage in nuanced reading and analysis, take handwritten notes, evaluate arguments in political theory and craft their own, and by the end, students should have a strong grasp on the historical context of the Western canon of political thought.



Section 001   1st Term   T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Arjun Chowdhury (

Prerequisites: Recommended for prospective students of POLI 360-373

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of Global Politics (or International Relations).  Accordingly, the course will examine international relations theory, decision-making analysis, international security and conflict management, the evolution and future of the international economy, development, the role of institutions and non-state actors, globalization, and the politics of climate change.



Section 002   1st Term   M-W-F   13:00 – 14:00

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with some of the basic principles of global politics. It is not a course about current events per se though an effort will be made to integrate contemporary events and issues as a way of understanding the world beyond our borders. The lectures and readings will be used to illustrate basic principles that are both historical and contemporary.



Section 003   2nd Term   M-W-F   11:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Richard Price (

Prerequisites:  Recommended for prospective students of POLI 360-373

Many observers seem to have a sense that global politics is in a state of great flux, with global financial crises, the spread of epidemic disease, global climate change, the geopolitics of cyberspace, and new outbreaks of violence whether it be war in the Ukraine or ISIS in the Middle East. This course will examine some of these and other key global political events, situating in them in the context of continuities and change from the past, to investigate what patterns of contemporary global politics might represent fundamental transformations (for which new approaches and new thinking may be required), and what – if anything – resembles the past (lessons from which we can apply today). Students will be introduced to a variety of concepts and theories to use as tools of analysis for world politics. The aim of cultivating such analytical skills of diagnosing the world’s challenges and opportunities is to enable students to think in an informed and critical way about how to address some of the big challenges of our time.



Section 002   2nd Term   M-W-F   13:00 – 14:00

Instructor:  Andrew Owen (

Prerequisites: POLI 101

This course examines the nature of public opinion in contemporary Canada. The primary focus of this course concerns theoretical claims about factors that influence public opinion and the empirical evidence that supports these claims. We will also discuss how best to conceptualize and measure public opinion and the effects that public opinion has on public policies. By the end of the course students will be able to identify and understand the factors that shape public opinion in Canada and other mature democracies. This course will also help students become more discerning consumers of public opinion data by providing them with the tools needed to critically evaluate claims about public opinion commonly found in media coverage and popular discussions of politics. Much of the reading material for this course involves quantitative analysis of public opinion survey data. Accordingly, students are strongly encouraged to take POLI 380 prior to, or concurrently with, this course.



Section 001   1st Term   M   5:00-8:00pm

Instructor: Fred Cutler (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Electoral Systems and Electoral Reform in Canada

Students in this course will analyze electoral systems and the politics of electoral reform in Canada, with a focus on BC. Learning activities in the course will be student-driven, there will be considerable group work and group discussion, and various learning technologies will be employed to facilitate collaboration and dialogue inside and outside the face-to-face class time.  We will begin by discovering the many ways in which votes can be translated into legislative and executive representation, along with the values and behaviours that are promoted or discouraged by any given electoral system. Students will construct a history of electoral systems and attempts at electoral system reform in Canada and its provinces. Students will have the opportunity to participate actively in the BC Referendum on Electoral Reform and those contributions may be considered for credit in the course.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   12:30-14:00

Instructor: Sheryl Lightfoot (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

The political dynamics of Indigenous peoples’ politics on the global level; the legal and practical realities of colonization as a global Indigenous experience; current global Indigenous political issues and avenues of Indigenous resistance.



Section 002   2nd Term T/TH   11:00 – 12:30

Instructor:  Gyung-Ho Jeong (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule


This course is an introduction to US Politics. We will examine how various agents and institutions inside and outside of government interact with each other. The topics include: the constitution, federalism, civil rights, political institutions (the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court), public opinion, and elections and voting behavior.



Section 001   1st Term   T/TH   9:30 – 11:00

Instructor: Paul Quirk (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Why was the US the last developed nation in the world to establish nearly universal health care?  Why does it now face a burden of public debt that threatens the country with long-term decline in prosperity and influence?  On the other hand, why was the U.S. the wealthiest, most powerful, and often most admired country in the world for most of the past century?  And why has it done more than Canada (yes, more!) to address the problem of climate change?

This course analyzes the nature and performance of the policymaking process in US national government.  Topics include:  the role and effects of institutions (especially Congress, the presidency, and the bureaucracy); the influence of interest groups and public opinion; the political causes of economic inequality; and the nature and influence of policy analysis and expert advice.  Policy areas include economic policy, health, environment, “social” issues, and foreign policy.

An important theme will be understanding the increasing dysfunctionality of the American political system–culminating in the institutional collapse and policy failures of the Trump presidency.


POLI 321A (3)    Chinese Politics and Development

Section 001   2nd Term    T/TH   14:00 – 15:30

Instructor: Xiaojun Li (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course presents an introductory overview of China’s political and economic development from 1949 to the present as well as the challenges that the leadership and average citizens face in China today. Among the topics covered are China’s political institutions, the economy, legal system, corruption, environmental protection, and media and internet control. No knowledge of Chinese is required.


POLI 321A (3)    Chinese Politics and Development

Section 002   1st Term    T/TH    11:00 – 12:30

Instructor: Yves Tiberghien (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course unravels some of the most fascinating questions of political science through a look at Chinese political processes over the Mao, Deng, and modern periods. The course will start with a historical overview, then analyze the Mao years, before focusing on the reform and Xi period. A particular focus will be given to China’s interactions with globalization, China and global environmental challenges (including climate change), and China’s new role in global governance.

We begin with a review of China’s long-term trajectory and the particular dilemmas and traumas that China faced at the beginning of the 20th century. We then unpack the pillars of governance put in place under the Mao regime, as well as the tensions that led to the Cultural Revolution. The larger second half of the course focuses on the reform period that began exactly 40 years ago, in the Fall of 1978. We analyze the lessons from the Chinese pathway of gradualism and experimentation in many issue-areas. The course also focuses on the debate over political change, the rising social tensions, the entry of China into globalization, and the growing global impact of Chinese foreign policy.



SECTION 001   2nd Term   T/TH   17:00 – 18:30

Instructor: Yves Tiberghien (

Prerequisites: N/A

By any yardstick, Japan is one of the most important countries in the world: second largest economy, first country outside Europe and North America to industrialize, most important US ally in Asia, largest aid donor in the world, largest and most established democracy in East Asia…

Yet, its political system and its decision process are among the most poorly understood in the world. To many outside observers, the lengthy proceedings of the Diet, the sequence of ever-changing Prime Ministers, and the odd policy outputs are just too mysterious to be explained in simple sentences.

Moreover, Japan’s historical path over the past 50 years offers a string of deep puzzles. How could a country so thoroughly destroyed by the US in WWII form with its former enemy the most enduring alliance of the modern world? How could the country engineer the most amazing economic miracle for three decades and suddenly be unable to reform itself in the face of a decade-long crisis? How could Japanese voters keep the same ruling party in power even in the face of 15 years of deep crisis, before suddenly shifting to a new party in 2009 in a sudden landslide? How could a country known for the passivity of its civil society suddenly witness the blooming of NGOs in the fields of environment and women’s rights?

The aim of this course is to uncover the mysteries of the Japanese political system and to use the tools and theories of political science to understand its workings and outputs. The course is organized around three main parts. First, we review the key historical foundations and some theoretical lenses that will help us understand Japanese political processes. Second, we review the key debates of Japanese politics during the economic miracle (1950-1985): who has power in the Japanese system, what explains the LDP dominance, what explains the economic miracle? Third, we focus on the key puzzles and debates of the 1990s: the long economic crisis, the rise of civil society and deep social issues, the debates of foreign policy, the see-saw of party politics, the coming to power of the DPJ and its collapse, the Fukushima crisis of 2011, the protracted political and administrative reforms, the crisis of inequality, and the new stable period under Prime Minister Abe. We will also focus quite a bit on Japan’s proactive role in global politics under Abe, including the leadership in closing the TPP deal, the chairing of the G20 in 2019, and Japan-US, Japan-China relations



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   15:30 – 17:00

Instructor: Kai Ostwald (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions and is nearly unmatched in terms of ethnic, religious, and historical diversity. It is a region that has experienced exceptional growth, but that is also marked by lingering inequalities and areas of grinding poverty. Aside from being a fascinating region for its colorful cultures, coups, and captivating personalities, its experiences offer countless lessons for students of political, social, and economic development.

This course provides a systematic introduction to the countries of both mainland and maritime Southeast Asia. It begins with an overview of the region’s complex history, before examining countries through agency-based, structural, and institutional frameworks. The course touches on a variety of themes including political legitimacy, economic development, national identity, ethnic and other social cleavages, human rights, political Islam, as well as domestic and international security.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W   8:30 – 10:00

Instructor:  Kurt Huebner (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

The project of European Integration lately came under pressures. The list is long, ranging from crises of various Eurozone members to the debate in the UK about leaving the EU and the political-military threats at its eastern borders, to name a few. The course will dedicate time to look deeper into some current political-economic issues confronting the EU and analyze the political responses of the EU and core member states.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Cesi Cruz (

Prerequisites: POLI 380 (or equivalent stats courses) + either POLI 220 or POLI 260

This course focuses on the interplay between political institutions and economic development. We will examine how governments shape economic policies, with special attention to development policy and the politics of development aid. The first part of the course explores the economic importance of markets and institutions from a comparative perspective. The second part of the course extends these theories to the practice of development aid and includes modules on: i) politics and aid allocation; ii) political determinants of aid effectiveness; and iii) political consequences of aid. This is a hands-on class that is intended to introduce you to analytical frameworks and tools for development policy.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   11:00 – 12:30

Instructor: Sandra Schinnerl

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course provides students with the analytical tools to understand the dynamics driving the politics of immigration in advanced democracies, focusing mostly on Canada, the United States, and Western Europe.  The first part of the course examines the dynamics driving cross-border migration.  Part Two investigates the factors that shape the making of immigration policy.  In Part Three we engage with the normative question of whether liberal democracies should have the right to close their borders to migrants.  Part Four grapples with the challenge of immigration control.  We take a look at how states try to control their borders and what the consequences of these control efforts have been.  In the final part of the course we focus our attention on the politics of integration.  What is the meaning of citizenship, and why do the rules governing the acquisition of citizenship vary across countries? We will examine the economic, social, and cultural integration of immigrants and grapple with the challenges that linguistic and religious diversity poses to host societies.

This course has an optional Community Service Learning (CSL) component which allows a limited number of students to complete a placement in community organizations serving immigrants and refugees.



Section 001   1st Term T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor:Maxwell Cameron (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

What are the challenges and opportunities for democratization in Latin America? This course compares patterns of political development—anarchy, oligarchic states, import-substituting industrialization, incorporation via corporatism or populist mobilization, repression, re-democratization and market reform, and shifts to the left—in order to understand differences and similarities among countries in the region. Key themes include inequality and poverty, exclusion of indigenous peoples, violence, problems of representation, and constitutional reform. The course will offer an introduction to concepts and theories in the field of comparative politics, including bureaucratic authoritarianism, clientelism, incorporation, corporatism, populism, transitions to democracy, delegative democracy, vertical and horizontal accountability, and competitive authoritarianism. Countries covered may include Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor:  Gyung-Ho Jeong (

Prerequisites:  Please see Course Schedule


This course introduces students to the structure and practice of the federal government of the USA. In particular, this course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the presidency and Congress. This is a demanding course, with a substantial amount of reading. It is imperative that you read all assigned readings before the class for which they are assigned.



Section 001   2nd Term   M-W-F   14:00 – 15:00

Instructor: Bruce Baum (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

“Contemporary” means “belonging to the same time,” or “modern or ultra-modern” (OED). It thus denotes a particular slice of the broader time horizon of modernity, although there have been debates (especially in the 1980s) about whether the world (or parts of it) may have moved beyond modernity into “post-modernity.” Contemporary political theory has been framed by various aspects of modernity: the legacies of the Protestant Reformation, the European Enlightenment, liberalism, Marxism, and theories of “progress”; the Atlantic slave trade; European colonialism and imperialism; the rise of “scientific” racism; popular revolutions and decolonization; global migrations and diasporas; the development of nationalist ideologies and struggles; the impact of mass production, computers, automation, and genetic engineering (the “technological society,” the consumer society); state-building, authoritarianism, and democratization; “ethnic cleansing”; ongoing cultural and religious diversity and conflict; environmental degradation and the rise of environmentalism; new ways of conceiving gender and sexuality, and individual and collective social-political identities.

This course will focus on some key perspectives in contemporary political theory, understanding the “contemporary” era as extending from just before World War I to the present. We will study a range of important theorists as they explore the following themes: freedom, power, democracy, domination, and empowerment in relation to the hegemony of global capitalism; popular education and intellectuals; the special – perhaps fragile – status of distinctly political action and “the political” in our time; ideals and problems of “civilization,” “progress,” rationality, and “rationalization”; the project of a “critical social theory”; and struggles for recognition concerning “race,” gender, nationality, cultural identity.

In addition, as befitting our university setting, we will return a few times to the topic of education. We will consider different theories of how education relates to ideas of progress, equality, freedom, democracy, rationality, and citizenship.



Section 001    2nd Term   M-W-F    16:00-17:00

Instructor: Mark Warren (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course surveys classical origins of contemporary theories of the state, society, and market (capitalist) economies in Smith, Tocqueville, Marx, and Weber, and relates these origins to several contemporary debates about state-society relations. Why are these domains differentiated in modern societies? How do social and economic kinds of power relate to political power? What capacities and limitations inhere in each domain? How is the domain of “the political” changing in modern societies? From a normative perspective, these theories frame accounts of society in ways that relate to the ideals embedded within them, ideals such as order, justice, community, wealth, democracy, individual autonomy, and good political judgment. The course is reading and writing intensive, with about 75 pages per week of readings from complete original sources, and about 30 pages of essay assignments.



Section 001   2nd Term   TH   17:00 – 20:00

Instructor: Jennifer Gagnon (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course takes to heart Socrates’ maxim “know thyself” and strives to study ancient Greek political thought as a way of gaining distance and critical perspective on the ancient world, our own time, and ourselves. Despite obvious differences in society, culture, and technology, the ancient Greeks faced many questions and dilemmas similar to our own. What makes us human? Are democracy and empire compatible? Is free speech a threat to democracy? What does it mean to be a good citizen? When, if ever, is war justified? What forms of violence are glorified or condemned? Throughout the course we will be attentive to the context and history of ancient Greece while always casting an eye towards the present and the question of “what is to be done?” Among the themes that this course will explore are: the transition from Greek city-states, (poleis), to Empire, the claims the state may make on the individual, the relationship of the theatre to politics, and concepts of the self, gender, and violence. We will grapple with these themes through the works of the Greek poets and tragedians, (Homer, Pindar, Sophocles, and Euripides) and the writings of Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, and others.



Section 001   1st Term   TH   17:00 – 20:00

Instructor: Jennifer Gagnon (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Why study feminism and gender today? Didn’t the feminist movement achieve all its goals? Isn’t feminism over? Haven’t LGBTQIA+ peoples achieved equality? This course examines not only the past goals and accomplishments of feminist, gender, and queer politics, but also the present and future struggles for these movements. Students will be introduced to the historical and theoretical foundations of feminist theory, gender theory, and queer theory. We will closely examine the interconnectedness of concepts of male, female, gender, race, sex, and power in forms of discrimination and oppression through feminist, gender, and queer critiques of inequality, family, work, health, sexuality, identity, and politics. Because feminist thought, gender politics, and queer theory are not monolithic, we will explore the many different and often conflicting ways that activists and theorists address issues of gender, sexism, inequality, and oppression. Beyond the assumption that gender inequality and sexism are unjust, this course takes no single political perspective. Instead, this course strives to arm students with the critical and analytical skills needed to start seeing, thinking about, and ultimately changing gender inequality and oppression in our world.



Section 002   2nd Term  M-W-F  9:00-10:00

Instructor: Chris Tenove ( & Spencer McKay (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

There is a misconception that policy-making is a technocratic pursuit, and that it is best informed by rigorously empirical, value-neutral research. This course will challenge those assumptions by using the concepts and methods of political theory to investigate policy-making. We will pay particular attention to the challenges and possibilities of policy-making in democratic societies.

Students will learn how theories of power, deliberation, hegemony and domination can shed light on policy-making and policy outcomes. Students will also learn methods of interpretation and critical analysis, and use these to explore how normative concepts such as justice, equality, and fairness may figure in policy documents and processes.

During the course we will discuss a range of important contemporary issues, such as: What role can citizens play in policymaking, and what power should experts wield? How are policies being developed to address new challenges posed by social media and artificial intelligence? Why do there appear to be continuing ‘failures’ in policy-making in areas such as climate change, criminal justice, and drug use? Students will also have the opportunity to research their own policy areas of particular concern.



Section 001   1st Term   T/TH   12:30-14:00

Instructor: George Hoberg (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course provides an introduction to public policy, focusing on how and why governments adopt the policies they do. The course explores foundational concepts and theoretical frameworks to help understand the policy process, focusing on the relative roles of strategic actors, institutions, and ideas in shaping policies. We will work through the various stages of the policy process: agenda-setting, policy formulation, decision-making, implementation and monitoring/evaluation. The course will focus on Canada but cases will be drawn from other jurisdictions as well. Special attention will be given to multi-level governance, and the similarities and differences in the policy process at the local, state/provincial, national, and international levels. Students are expected to select their own policy issue for assignments, but the course will also be grounded with two case documents about two significant Canadian policy issues: Syrian refugee acceptance and settlement, and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   08:00 – 09:30

Instructor:  Dragana Bodruzic (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Beyond the Welfare State: Comparing Social Welfare Policies in the Global North and the Global South

Driven by a resurgence in both academic and popular interest in rising inequality, there has been an increasing interest in recent years in welfare provision in both the Global North and the Global South. While debates in industrialized countries have centred on whether welfare states are in decline, in the case of the Global South, the very notion that welfare states can emerge has been questioned. In many countries around the world, non-state actors, ranging from non-governmental organizations to multinational corporations, supply more social services than states.

There are two primary goals in this course. First, to understand social welfare policies in the Global North, and to briefly analyze the most important theoretical explanations for the emergence of welfare states, before considering why this literature is not very applicable to understanding social welfare policies in the Global South. Second, to analyze social welfare policies in the Global South, focusing in particular on how different types of non-state actors engage in welfare provision. Throughout, the goal is to engage with the political implications of different types of welfare provision, particularly implications for equitable access to welfare, and accountability to citizens.



Section 001   1st Term M-W-F   09:00 – 10:00

Instructor: Brian Job (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course considers “internal conflict,” (intrastate conflict, regional conflict, civil war, ethnic conflict.) We will explore dimensions of internal conflicts: the issues at stake, the role and strategies of leaders and followers, the motivations of people who engage in violence and in the commitment of atrocities (including sexual violence), and the dilemmas confronting humanitarians and post-conflict peace builders. After examining broad conflict trends and causes of conflicts and violence, attention will be focused on four case studies. Each will be investigated to expose a different aspect of today’s civil conflicts: Bosnia (ethnic cleansing, genocide, gender-based violence), South Sudan (secession, armed groups, natural resources, gender-based violence), and Haiti (non-state armed groups, urban violence, dilemmas of providing aid), and the Boko Haram (non-state armed groups, strategies of terror and atrocities, followers-leaders.).  [Note:  Another contemporary case may be substituted for Haiti.]

The course will place an emphasis on student engagement—in class sessions, working in small groups, and independently.  Assignments will place students in different roles and contexts, e.g. as a movie reviewer of a conflict film, as an analyst of gender-based violence, as the leader of a non-state armed group, or as a young man or woman trapped in a conflict zone.

Course requirements will include attention to required readings and video clips, writing two short (3-page max) individual papers, participation in six small group problem-solving exercises (conducted in class time), a final exam, and possibly a mid-term quiz.  [Tentatively,] grades will be determined on the following basis:  30% final exam, 7 x 10% for remaining assignments (with one not counted.). All necessary materials will be provided through the course website.



Section 002   2nd Term   T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Arjun Chowdhury (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Why do people – whether in state armies, rebel groups, or armed gangs – fight each other? We will analyze three types of conflict: interstate wars, intrastate wars, and terrorism. In each case, we will evaluate the causes (why wars happen), the process of wars (how they are fought, how they end), and policy options for dealing with war (how to stop war, or fight them better).



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F   12:00-13:00

Section 002   1st Term  M-W-F   15:00-14:00

Instructor: Michael Weaver (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course asks: how is media related to the creation of racial categories and racial violence? We will explore key questions of what is race and ethnicity. What is violence? How can media portrayals of violence legitimize and enable violence? How can media be used to challenge the legitimacy of violence? We will explore these questions by engaging with the history of racial violence in the United States, focusing on slavery and slave rebellions, lynching, civil rights protest, and violence perpetrated by police and the criminal justice system. To engage with how media is related to violence, we will watch several films that either address forms of violence or are examples of attempts to justify or discredit violence.



Section 001   2nd Term   M-W-F   14:00 – 15:00

Instructor: Allen Sens (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course is designed to introduce students to the core issues and debates in Canadian foreign and defence policy, and provide students with an opportunity to engage with those issues and debates. The course will focus on contemporary foreign and defence policy issues, and the emphasis will be on foreign policy analysis and applied knowledge, especially through the creation of policy recommendations. Particular attention will be paid to official (government) policy and the evaluation of that policy. Critical perspectives will be explored in class and in course assignments.

Note: This course includes an optional Community Based Experiential Learning (CBEL) component.



Section 001   1st Term   T/TH   15:30 – 17:00

Instructor:  Katharina Coleman (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course examines the roles of intergovernmental organizations and international regimes in contemporary world politics. The first part of the course examines how various theoretical approaches to international relations understand the role(s) of these institutions. The second part introduces several major intergovernmental organizations and international regimes, and examines whether and how they shape international events.



Section 001   1st Term    M-W-F   9:00 – 10:00

Section 002   2nd Term    M-W-F   13:00 – 14:00

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course provides an integrated approach to understanding some of the basic themes of the international political economy (IPE). A multi-disciplinary perspective encompassing insights from the modern disciplines of history, sociology, politics and economics will be called upon to better understand and explain the process of globalization. The tension between market pressures to disperse or concentrate various forms of economic activity and state efforts to enhance or resist those pressures is a theme that will run throughout. Whether markets are embedded within or autonomous from political institutions depends on the theoretical perspective employed. An introduction to the economic liberal, realist, and Marxist/alternative perspectives will provide an overview of the underlying issues and competing ideologies that shape the global political economy. The course will then consider issues conventionally associated with the study of IPE including the political economy of international trade, the role of multinational corporations, international finance, and international development. The course then shifts to topics not normally associated with the study of IPE even though their impact is crucial for understanding causality. The impact from migrations and culture on the processes shaping the contemporary global political economy calls for a wider approach to the study of IPE.



Section 003   1st Term    M-W   16:00 – 17:30

Instructor: Kurt Huebner (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

We live in turbulent times where the ‘global liberal order’ that emerged after WWII has come under threat. Understanding the move towards a multipolar global constellation where the incumbent tries hard to defend her position and where challengers question established norms and power relations, requires careful analyses of the key drivers of this development. This course provides analytical tools and empirical-historical insights that help to understand the dynamics of current processes in the global economy.

The course comes with a significant political economy bias and thus a basic familiarity with international macroeconomics is helpful.


POLI 367B (3)     International Relations Theory and the International System

Section 001   1st Term T/TH 14:00 – 15:30

Instructor: Robert Crawford (

Prerequisites: POLI 260 is recommended, but not required

This course examines the origins, development, and current status of theoretical inquiry in world politics. It examines past and unfolding debates over the defining features, core problems, and appropriate theoretical methods and aspirations for International Relations (IR), and critically evaluates the various “schools” of IR identified by its practitioners. The course also traces the pre-disciplinary roots of what is today called “IR theory” in the broader traditions of ancient and modern political philosophy and related fields, offering detailed analysis of the formative era of IR as a self-standing academic discipline in the years following the First World War. While the course is organized around analysis of distinct theories it also seeks to alert students to conflicting views about the nature and limits of knowledge, underlying assumptions about what constitutes the “reality” of world politics, and the intricate ways in which the normative, legal, and practical aspects of international relations are fused. The course does not merely rehearse the major debates that have come to define international relations discourse, but reveals deeper disputes that seem to threaten the very existence of a united, coherent IR discipline. Ultimately, the course makes a case for international relations as an inter discipline that has come to profit from embracing and amalgamating insights from a number of overlapping fields.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W   14:00 – 15:30

Instructor: Michael Byers (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Space is the final frontier for humanity and therefore international relations. Space sees considerable cooperation, including between the United States and Russia on the International Space Station. Yet Space is also increasingly militarized, through the heavy use of Earth imaging and communications satellites and the related development of anti-satellite weapons. Space is an important part of the global economy, involving 100s of billions of dollars of activity annually. Now, rapid technological developments such as reusable rockets are opening the door to Space mining and the eventual colonization of other planets. All these developments create challenges for national and international policy makers. They also cast new light onto the discipline of international relations and its traditional problems and theories.


  • Optional 4000 to 5000-word mid-term research essay: 50% of final grade.
  • 120-minute final exam: 100% of final grade; 50% of final grade for students opting to write the term paper.



Section 001   2nd Term   M-W-F   14:00 – 15:00

Instructor: M.V. Ramana (

Prerequisites: N/A

Risks of the Nuclear Age

Nuclear weapons have been in the news often in the past year, especially in the Korean Peninsula. Why exactly is there concern and should one worry about nuclear weapons being used in that area or elsewhere? What are the risks more broadly associated with nuclear weapons? This course will help students develop a comprehensive understanding of the multiple risks associated with nuclear weapons. Among the areas analyzed in this course are the risk of nuclear weapons use during and outside times of war, health and environmental risks from the manufacture, testing, and use of nuclear weapons, the risks associated with nuclear energy, economic risks, and risks to democratic practice. By analyzing historical and contemporary case studies, reading papers representing diverse disciplines and perspectives, and watching relevant documentary and fictional films, students will gain the necessary knowledge to actively participate in current nuclear and security debates.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   9:30-11:00

Instructor: Jenny Peterson

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule


Following the military phase of both international and civil wars, conflict affected countries are often ‘treated’ with a wide range of reforms and programs which fall under the umbrella of ‘peacebuilding’ or ‘post conflict reconstruction’.  This course will critically explore the discourses and policies related to the programs that fall under these broad policy areas, addressing the operational, analytical and ideological dimensions of efforts to transform conflict affected societies.  The lectures, discussions and assignments will equip you with an understanding of the various conceptual models which help us understand peace and the various approaches which have been applied to resolve and transform conflict and violence. By the end of the course, you will find that you have been provided with an analytical tool box which can be used to explore issues related to peacebuilding in theory and practice—tools which can be used in this course, other courses related to international aid, and potentially in your future professional lives as policy makers, aid workers etc.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F   13:00-14:00

Instructor: Will Plowright (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

The Politics of Humanitarian Assistance

This course will introduce students to the theory, ethics and practice of humanitarian assistance in conflict and disaster-affected areas. Students will analyze the moral and legal underpinnings of humanitarianism, while also coming to understand the challenges presented by the need of humanitarians to make decisions in ethical dilemmas in complex settings. The goal of this course will be to provide a solid theoretical understanding of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies, while also focussing on what it is like to work in such settings, and the challenging decisions that must be made.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   14:00-15:30

Instructor: Robert Crawford

Prerequisites: 3rd Year; Intro IR course

This course examines the evolving relationship between Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and states in the modern era, evaluating the perceived benefits and costs of foreign direct investment in a number of selected countries, regions, and industries. Our primary objectives are to assess the impact of MNCs on the politics, economies, and societies of states, and to evaluate the effectiveness or desirability of various attempts to control, limit, and regulate MNC behaviour. Special attention is paid to countries, industries, and practices where the potential for exploitation and conflict is greatest.

Please note: Students who took MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS AND GLOBALIZATION with Dr. Crawford as POLI 369 may NOT take this course (this is the same course under a different course code).



Section 002   1st Term M-W-F   11:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Richard Price (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Can the world really be made a morally better place? What could you or other actors do about it and how? Students will examine global advocacy campaigns to understand why some efforts at transnational moral change succeed while others fail.

Claiming that a global advocacy campaign is a success implies we agree it is a morally good thing – but many global challenges resist solution because they involve conflicting moral imperatives. Should interventions have been undertaken in Libya or Kosovo? The second part of the course will engage you with different traditions of moral thought in order to provide you with the tools to make judgments about important moral dilemmas. Issues will then be examined in the third part of the course, such as: Who should be allowed to immigrate and where? Is torture ever justifiable, and what constitutes torture? Who should pay for global climate change mitigation?



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F 14:00 – 15:00

Section 002   2nd Term   M-W-F 15:00 – 16:00

Instructor:  Peter Dauvergne (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course analyzes 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 course 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 course concludes by assessing the merits of various pathways toward environmental sustainability and social justice.



Section 001   1st Term T/TH 12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Allen Sens (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This team-taught, combined enrolment, flexible/blended learning interdisciplinary course will introduce Arts students and Applied Science students to the history, politics, and scientific principles and practices of nuclear weapons and nuclear arms control. Subjects such as ethics, deterrence, disarmament and arms control, testing, and delivery systems will be covered in detail. In this course, a special emphasis will be placed on the political issues and debates and the scientific methodologies and verification practices associated with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).



Section 001   2nd Term   M-W-F   15:00-16:00

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Why do people become terrorists? Are they crazy? Are they thrill seekers? Are they religious fanatics? Are they ideologues? Is there any way to tell who is likely to become a terrorist? These questions will be placed in the context of how contemporary expressions of terrorism illustrate a form of total warfare; have opaque or unknown operational responsibility; and are religiously inspired. This course will thematically examine terrorist groups and individuals through the medium of lecture, discussion and film. Students will review definitions and typologies of terrorism, analyze specific actions like suicide terrorism,  contemplate the use of religion and media as a form of recruitment/warfare and finally address organizational financing. The course will build on addressing the foundational  theme of how terrorist groups are composed of groups of confused and angry individuals who are lost in the plethora of choices available in the modern world, who alienate themselves from the broader choices and challenges that come along with globalization, capitalism, democracy, technology, etc. Their inability to find a “home” in the world leads to desperate and violent searches for a community with a heroic cause.



Section 001   2nd Term   T/TH   17:00-18:30

Instructor: Xiaojun Li (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course examines the impact and implications of the rise of China and its engagement with the world, drawing upon both historical and contemporary cases, as well as international relations theory.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F   13:00 – 14:00

Section 002   2nd Term   M-W-F   11:00 – 12:00

Instructor:  Andrew Owen (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

An Introduction To Quantitative Methods In The Study Of Political Science.



Section 001   1st Term   WED   9:00 – 12:00

Instructor:  Yves Tiberghien (

Prerequisites: Admission to Political Science Honours program

In this seminar, we explore together some of the great debates in political science and some of the greatest works in the field. This first course focuses on foundational works in the subfields of international relations and comparative politics. We start off by asking big questions on the nature and meaning of politics. We then spend a few weeks focusing on the origins and nature of the state, in its international and domestic aspects. These foundations lead us to three critical debates: the debate on the causes and legacy of Western colonization, the debate on peace and cooperation between states, and the debate on the stability of the global economic system. The next section of the seminar focuses on the nature of democracy and its inner workings. We also explore the great methodological debate that lies at the core of all political science research. The last 3 weeks of the seminar are devoted to selected applied debates that like at the intersection of international politics and domestic politics including: development and poverty, globalization and populism, China and the future of the Liberal International Order, climate change and social transformation.

This seminar aims to expose students not just to key questions and issues, but also to the diversity of approaches that exist in political science. We will strive to give voice to alternative views and to contrast the whole range of available theories, from realism to post-modernism and feminist approaches. Furthermore, the seminar attempts to apply the key debates to all continents and to contrast purely Western views of the world to Asian, African, Latin American and Aboriginal views. In particular, the first couple of weeks contrasts the classic Western approaches to politics and to the state with classic Chinese approaches.

In the end, this demanding seminar gives significant exposure to the contents and process of political science. As a student-run seminar, it also aims at creating long-term relationships among honours students.



Section 001   1st Term   TUES   09:30 – 12:30

Instructor: Fred Cutler (

Prerequisites:  Please see Course Schedule

Comparative / Canadian Quantitative Research Workshop

This is a quantitative research workshop in Canadian and Comparative Politics.  The core learning objective is to develop students’ skills at the design and execution of quantiative data analysis. Students will conduct original quantitative analysis of political data.  Some data will be at the level of individuals while other data may pertain to countries or time periods. The course consists of 3-week modules where students, in small groups, will: first, carefully study the methodology of an existing research article; second, plan an application of that methodology to a different data source; and third, conduct that analysis and present it to the class.



Section 001     2nd Term  FRI    09:00-12:00

Instructor: Gerald Baier (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Core Seminar in Canadian Government and Politics

The mandate of this course is to familiarize students with both contemporary and enduring themes, methods and controversies in the study of Canadian politics and government. The course will consider institutions and processes as well as Canadian political culture and behaviour. As the core course, it is necessarily broad in focus, but some attempt will be made to identify patterns in the study of Canadian politics. Topics discussed will include; federalism and the constitution, parliamentary government, political parties, electoral behaviour, regionalism and nationalism, interest groups and social movements, bureaucracy, courts, rights and Canadian political thought.



Section 001   1st Term   TH   14:30 – 17:30

Instructor: Paul Quirk (

Prerequisites:  Two of POLI 220, POLI 320, POLI 321, POLI 322, POLI 323, POLI 324, POLI 325, POLI 326, POLI 327, POLI 328, POLI 329, POLI 330, POLI 331, POLI 332, POLI 333, POLI 350, POLI 351.

This seminar, for selected, academically advanced fourth-year majors in political science, is taught along with Poli 514B, the Core Seminar in US Politics in the graduate program.  The course offers a broad introduction to US politics and to the exceptionally rich political science literature in this area.

The course surveys a wide range of areas:  the Constitution, political development, Congress, the Presidency, courts, bureaucracy, political parties, interest groups, the media, elections and voting, public opinion, public policy (including foreign policy), and the US in comparative perspective.  Readings will combine notable recent studies and earlier works that remain influential; a number of readings will make direct comparisons with Canadian politics.

We will give considerable attention to changes in the functioning of the US political system over recent decades—including issues of polarization, populism, racial tension, authoritarianism, and post-truth politics.  We will discuss the causes and consequences of the Trump presidency, in many ways a culmination of such trends.

Undergraduate students will write a research paper (meeting the requirements for a “research-intensive” course).  It may concern either a strictly US-focused topic or a US-related topic in comparative politics, international politics, or political theory.

Requirements:  Class participation and frequent brief presentations.   Tentatively:  3-4 short summary-commentary papers on assigned readings (shared with other students and graded pass-fail).  A research paper (about 15-20 pages).  A take-home final exam.



Section 001   1st Term   TUES   09:30 – 12:30

Instructor: Fred Cutler (

Prerequisites:  Please see Course Schedule

Comparative / Canadian Quantitative Research Workshop

This is a quantitative research workshop in Canadian and Comparative Politics.  The core learning objective is to develop students’ skills at the design and execution of quantiative data analysis. Students will conduct original quantitative analysis of political data.  Some data will be at the level of individuals while other data may pertain to countries or time periods. The course consists of 3-week modules where students, in small groups, will: first, carefully study the methodology of an existing research article; second, plan an application of that methodology to a different data source; and third, conduct that analysis and present it to the class.



Section 001   1st Term   TH   16:00-19:00

Instructor: Grace Jaramillo

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

How capitalism works in Latin America? What is the role of the state in economic development? How the relationship between state, society and market has been reconfigured in the wake of globalization? The region experienced impressive rates of economic growth during the 2000s alongside rampant income inequality. Neoliberal policies have backfired in important places of Latin America, but also projects of the so-called Socialism for the 21st Century in countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador.

This course will provide students a deep understanding of the relationship between state, society and markets in Latin America. At the end of the course, the students will have a better understanding of what type of statecraft has been built in Latin America and how institutionalized it is; the roots of intra-regional inequality; the role of interest groups and international economic institutions in its institutional development. Students will also be exposed to a learning-by-doing approach of methods of comparison, case studies and variables to explain dynamics of change within the region. The course is designed to prepare students for in-depth course work at the graduate level.



Section 001   1st Term    MON   12:00 – 15:00

Instructor:  Farah Shroff (

Prerequisites:  Two of POLI 220, POLI 320, POLI 321, POLI 322, POLI 323, POLI 324, POLI 325, POLI 326, POLI 327, POLI 328, POLI 329, POLI 330, POLI 331, POLI 332, POLI 333, POLI 350, POLI 351.

Politics and Global Health

Is health a human right? Various international treaties enshrine the right to the highest attainable standard of health to every human being. Global calls for Health for All have been made over the decades. From the Millennium Development Goals of 2015, to the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, the United Nations (UN) and other bodies aim to improve health for the world’s peoples. Despite these efforts, gross health disparities within and between nations persist. Why are some people healthy and others not? Furthermore, why should Canadians care about those whose health suffers from structurally determined inequalities domestically and internationally?

In this course, we will critically examine the socio-political determinants of global health. We explore the big idea that global population health status is politics writ large.  Our essential questions include: how do political levers impact global population health status? How do your actions as future political science graduates have an impact on global public health? The enduring concept of this course is that almost every job you may have will have an impact on population health.



Section 001   2nd Term   TUES   14:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Richard Johnston (

Prerequisites:  Two of POLI 220, POLI 320, POLI 321, POLI 322, POLI 323, POLI 324, POLI 325, POLI 326, POLI 327, POLI 328, POLI 329, POLI 330, POLI 331, POLI 332, POLI 333, POLI 350, POLI 351.

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.

The course is primarily designed for graduate students and is broadly aligned with the reading lists for PhD comprehensive exams. Undergraduates wishing to enroll must seek the permission of the instructor.



Section 001   1st Term   MON   16:00-19:00

Instructor: Chris Tenove (

Prerequisites: Two of POLI 220, POLI 320, POLI 321, POLI 322, POLI 323, POLI 324, POLI 325, POLI 326, POLI 327, POLI 328, POLI 329, POLI 330, POLI 331, POLI 332, POLI 333, POLI 350, POLI 351.

Democracy and Human Rights in a Digital Era

It is increasingly clear that digital communication technologies can be used to undermine democracy and human rights, as seen in the US 2016 elections, the Syrian civil war, the coordinated ethnic violence in Myanmar, and the harassment of women online. And yet it was not that long ago that the internet was viewed as a potential driver of democratization and rights—a “liberation technology,” in the words of political scientist Larry Diamond.

This course will introduce students to key debates about the role of digital communication technologies in politics, both in Canada and globally. It will do so by drawing on scholarship in political theory, political communication, international relations and comparative politics. We will also explore recent cases and current issues, with an eye toward evaluating policies to address them. Topics will include: how digital platforms may encourage or discourage citizen participation in democratic politics; how political parties use data to understand and target voters; how human rights organizations and crowds use social media to investigate rights violations; how states use online disinformation and trolling techniques to interfere in elections; how repressive governments silence and monitor their opponents around the world; how international law and politics shape the internet and online expression; and what citizens and governments are doing to defend against digital threats and advance democracy and human rights. Finally, the course will introduce students to some basic skills in online research, from improving online security to identifying bots.



Section 001   1st Term   W   12:00-15:00

Instructor: Farah Shroff (

Prerequisites: Two of POLI 220, POLI 320, POLI 321, POLI 322, POLI 323, POLI 324, POLI 325, POLI 326, POLI 327, POLI 328, POLI 329, POLI 330, POLI 331, POLI 332, POLI 333, POLI 350, POLI 351.

Social Justice Movements

Social questions are often at the heart of international political considerations. In this course, we critically examine one aspect of these issues—social and environmental justice movements. In the study of peoples’ efforts to improve human rights for communities that face racism, sexism, misogyny, heterosexism, transphobia, ageism, neo-colonialism, we will collectively analyze problems and selected ‘solutions’. Besides human rights issues, this course spotlights the interconnected issues of environmental justice as they relate to resource extraction and opposition to it.

Creative elements of local and global environmental and social justice movements are the focus of this course. We will study and experience both medium and message of movements that represent their ideals through innovations such as theatre, poetry, storytelling, music and more. In the exploration of peoples’ movements which express creative forms of feminisms, anti-racisms, anti-imperialisms, queerness, gender spectrum fluidities, blockades on the road to resources and so forth, we will carry out some of their expressions in class. While no experience in any movement art is required, teaching techniques will reflect active, movement oriented, reflective, expressive, technology-enhanced and otherwise non-conventional androgogies, in combination with standard teaching that includes fiction and non-fiction readings, videos, guest speakers, mini-lectures and so forth. Small group work will take up some in-class time virtually every session. One of the explicit objectives of the course is thereby to embody learning that is inclusive of diverse senses and cultural ways of knowing, reflective of activist pursuits of a just global society and ecosystem. Case studies will likely include #MeToo, Idle No More and trans-rights movements.



Section 001   2nd Term   TH   16:30-19:30

Instructor: Donna Seto (

Prerequisites: Two of POLI 220, POLI 320, POLI 321, POLI 322, POLI 323, POLI 324, POLI 325, POLI 326, POLI 327, POLI 328, POLI 329, POLI 330, POLI 331, POLI 332, POLI 333, POLI 350, POLI 351.

Refugee Politics

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, where over half are under the age of eighteen. In addition, there are 10 million stateless people who have been denied nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. Furthermore, UNHCR identifies that nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution.

This course will draw from historic and current case studies to understand why people flee their homelands or are forced to migrate. It will address three questions. First, who is a refugee? Second, what compels refugees and irregular migrants to leave their homes? And third, how should governments and communities respond to refugees and irregular migration? In doing so, we will explore issues such as the refugee regime, gender, children and unaccompanied minors, access to healthcare and education, extended exile, environmental refugees, radicalization in reception contexts, refugee settlement, and detention practices. In addition, this course will consider the responsibility of the international community in protecting refugees, as well as how refugees are represented in popular culture. At the heart of the course is the question of how refugees exercise agency while navigating political belonging and exclusion in the contemporary world.



Section 001   1st Term   MON  9:00-12:00      

Instructor: Lisa Sundstrom (

This research seminar will focus on contemporary problems of democracy. A survey of democratic theory will provide the platform for a discussion of comparative studies of democratization. Topics include the meaning and measurement of democracy; the development or evolution of democratic regimes; democratic transitions and consolidation; the quality and diversity of types of democracy; defective and hybrid regimes and democratic reversals; civil society and social movements; participatory innovations; constitutional and legal foundations of democratic regimes. At the end of the course we will examine the fate of liberal democracy in the current era of populism and anti-system politics.



Section 001   1st Term   WED   14:00-17:00

Instructor: Allan Tupper (

Prerequisites: POLI 101 and one of POLI 301, POLI 302, POLI 303, POLI 304, POLI 305, POLI 306, POLI 307, POLI 308, POLI 352.

This course examines changes in the structure, role and processes of public management in modern countries.

Among the topics examined and researched by students are the power of civil servants, the status of the Weberian welfare state and public management reform.

These themes are examined through comparative analysis of such topics as accountability, government ethics, alternative service delivery (the delivery of government services by NGOs and/or private firms) and public private partnerships. Other important topics are secrecy, data collection for security purposes, and citizen privacy.

The course focuses on advanced democracies including EU countries, Canada, the US and Australia but major research essays can examine other countries as required. The course has substantial Canadian content derived primarily from the practices of federal and provincial governments.

POLI 428/504 is a seminar with limited enrolment. A major student obligation is a substantial research essay. The research essays will be presented to the seminar on several occasions as they develop over the term.

Note for PhD students: This course may be counted EITHER toward a Canadian Politics or toward a Comparative Politics field requirement.



Section 001   1st Term   WED   10:00-13:00

Section 002   2nd Term   WED   10:00-13:00

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course studies the relationship between politics and economics in order to understand the process of late development -both theoretically and empirically. Specifically, we will study questions such as: How important are political institutions to economic development and what role do they play? How does economics affect political institutions and government policies? Why do inefficient and/or harmful institutions survive? Topics include the role of the state in alleviating or exacerbating poverty, the politics of industrial policy and planning and the relationship between institutional change and growth. We will also examine the economic effects of different growth strategies in Latin America, Africa and East Asia, and investigate some of the pitfalls of natural resource wealth and the difficulties of foreign aid.



Section 001   2nd Term   THURS    14:00-17:00

Instructor: Barbara Arneil (

Prerequisites: Any 6 credits from POLI 240, POLI 340–349.

During this term we will explore the theme of ‘identity’ in contemporary political theory.  We will begin in the first week by considering the role ‘identity’ politics plays in the seminal thinking of liberal political thinkers, John Locke and J.S. Mill. For the remainder of the term we will examine various aspects of ‘identity’, including gender, multiculturalism and disability as well as some critics of ‘identity’ politics and intersectional analysis.  At the completion of this course, students should have a good overview of the key thinkers that have contributed to theorizing on ‘identity’ as well as critiques of such theorizing within the contemporary western theoretical literature.



Section 001   1st Term   FRI   14:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Bruce Baum (

Prerequisites:  Any 6 credits from POLI 240, POLI 340–349.

Critical Theory examines ways in which prevailing conceptions of social and political life perpetuate relations of domination, oppression, and injustice. Following Marx, Critical Theorists of the early Frankfurt School focused on question of class division, political economy, and ideology. More recently, Critical Theory has expanded its purview to address injustices rooted in prevailing conceptions and practices of gender, sexuality, racialization and racism, nationalism, and other topics.

This course will focus on the politics of “race,” racism, and racialization. The construction, perpetuation, and transformation of “racial” (or racialized) identities has long been a central feature of modern politics. Critical theorists of “race” maintain that the significance of “race” is not to be found in our biology, or our DNA, but in the social and political processes through which “race” and racialized social identities and inequalities are constructed, perpetuated and contested. The field of critical “race” theory (or critical “race” studies) is highly interdisciplinary, but we will explore critical approaches to the politics of “race” chiefly through works contemporary political theory.



Section 001   1st Term   MON   16:00-19:00

Instructor: Nojang Khatami (

Prerequisites: Any 6 credits from POLI 240, POLI 340–349.

The question of identity remains one of the most enigmatic yet urgent challenges for political thought today. In the face of ongoing hostility and marginalization, members of oppressed groups in diverse societies have clung to their identities with renewed fervour and resilience. In this course we will examine the implications of this pressing issue by considering why differentiated identities matter to such groups, where the values of their claims lie, and how the concurrent tensions can be negotiated in multicultural societies.

Against the usual order, we will begin this course by conceptualizing identity and its significance through various global (particularly non-Western) perspectives before looking to apply their insights to existing theories of multiculturalism. In keeping with the continually emergent field of comparative political theory, our readings will be eclectic and wide-ranging. These explorations will include travels into Latin American, African, Middle-Eastern and Asian – alongside well-known European and North American – political thought. Accompanying themes on this journey will include the role of emotions, the body as a locus of identity and knowledge, and visceral reactions to foreignness and alterity. Collectively, these views should converge to further inform our understanding of gender, racialization, indigeneity and intersectionality. By the end of the course, we will try to unravel the complexity of maintaining social differences while working toward the possibility of empathic understanding and acknowledgement of shared fates.



Section 002   2nd Term   WED   14:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Chris Erickson (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Spectres and War Machines: Politics as Major Science

We are living in a time when our models seem not to be keeping pace with our realities.  Some have called this a “postmodern” era.  The critiques that have been put forward by a number of “postmodern” thinkers are reasonably well known, but what happens after the critique ends?  I God and the author alike are “dead”, how do we best live our lives?  What might the reconstructive process implied in the very idea of deconstruction look like?  This course will address the question of how a “postmodern” critique might inform how politics is done.  Participants in the seminar will be asked to probe the question(s) of what the practical implications of postmodern theory might be.  There will be a primary focus on Derrida’s Spectres of Marx and Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, although outside reading is strongly encouraged.



Section 001   2nd Term   WED   09:00-12:00

Instructor: Anna Jurkevics (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Course description: This course surveys Western approaches to land, place, and territory. We begin with the phenomenology and economy of place through readings of Hannah Arendt, GWF Hegel, Martin Heidegger, Karl Marx, and David Harvey. Part II of the course covers theories of territory, and will address issues related to land attachment, nationalism, and the property-territory distinction. In Part III, we explore geopolitics through readings of Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt and Hans Morgenthau. In the concluding section of the course, we will consider the pathologies of the Western approach to territory by reading indigenous scholarship on land, including Glen Coulthard’s Red Skins, White Masks.

Students will give a presentation in class and write a term paper on a topic related to the course. Students will also be expected to participate actively in the seminar, which will run according to the Socratic method. This means that each student will be assigned a number of class sessions for which they must be prepared to answer questions from the professor on the spot.



Section 001   1st Term   THURS   10:00-13:00

Instructor: Will Plowright (

Prerequisites: Two of POLI 260POLI 360POLI 361POLI 362POLI 363POLI 364POLI 365POLI 366POLI 367POLI 368POLI 369POLI 370.

The Politics of the Syrian Civil War

This course is designed to introduce students to the core issues and debates of foreign policy analysis, by focusing on the Syrian Civil War. Although the conflict began as internal dispute, it quickly became one in which most regional and global powers had a stake. Students will come to understand the trends and dynamics of the conflict, as well as the foreign policy approaches of different actors. Students will especially focus on the interventions of key states (US, Russia, Turkey) as well as the role of non-state armed actors (including the Islamic State).



Section 001   1st Term   TUES   17:00 – 20:00

Instructor:  Paul Evans (

Prerequisites: Two of POLI 260, POLI 360, POLI 361, POLI 362, POLI 363, POLI 364, POLI 365, POLI 366, POLI 367, POLI 368, POLI 369, POLI 370.

The world is being reshaped by the fourth rise of China, its integration into regional production networks and global value chains, its diplomatic and military assets, its deepening role in international institutions, and the persistence of its particular form of authoritarian capitalism.

The seminar addresses several related questions.  What is global China?  What are the implications of its rise for the balance of power as well as international norms, rules and institutions? Is China ready to play a leadership role in a world order that Mr. Trump’s America appears to be unraveling?

Case studies will focus on G20 and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; the use of force; climate change; cyber security; soft power.  A major theme will be implications for Canada appropriate policy responses.

Advanced knowledge of China and international institutions valuable but not essential.



Section 002    2nd Term   WED   9:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Michael Byers (

Prerequisites: Two of POLI 260, POLI 360, POLI 361, POLI 362, POLI 363, POLI 364, POLI 365, POLI 366, POLI 367, POLI 368, POLI 369, POLI 370.

Each change of government in the United States brings a new approach to foreign relations. This creates new challenges and opportunities for other governments, international organizations, and non-state actors. It also creates new questions and opportunities for the study of international relations and international law. This seminar will examine the behaviour of the Trump Administration across a range of issue areas, including international trade, human rights, military force, and the environment. It will also examine several key relationships of the United States, including with Canada, China, Russia, the United Nations and NATO.


Three factors are considered for evaluation purposes:

  1. Individual effort, initiative, ingenuity, and teamwork—as expressed through the provision of collegial support and constructive criticism for the work of other students (33 percent);
  2. An oral presentation to a public workshop (33 percent);
  3. A term paper of between 4000-5000 words on a specific issue or insight related to the course focus (33 percent).



Section 001   1st Term    WED   13:00 – 16:00

Section 002   2nd Term   WED   09:00-12:00

Instructor: Justin Alger (

Prerequisites:  Two of POLI 260, POLI 360, POLI 361, POLI 362, POLI 363, POLI 364, POLI 365, POLI 366, POLI 367, POLI 368, POLI 369, POLI 370, POLI 375. 6 credits of ECON are recommended.

This seminar explores how the political economy of environmental issues influences the decisions that governments, environmental groups, and multinational corporations make to address global ecological change. Mainstream environmentalism has, for better or worse, adopted a free-market approach to managing environmental change. Governments tend to adopt environmental targets that do not undermine their economic priorities. Environmental groups are increasingly shying away from more aggressive positions on environmental issues. And corporations continue to adopt eco-labeling and sustainability schemes that only alter practice at the margins. This seminar will analyze the benefits and limitations of this free-market approach to environmentalism. Topics include the problem of global consumption, the politics of climate change, civil society advocacy, conservation politics, corporate sustainability initiatives, and eco-labeling schemes, among others. It will focus on the politics of a number of environmental problems throughout the term, including climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and ocean decline.



Section 001   1st Term   TH   9:00 – 12:00

Instructor:  Lisa Sundstrom (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course will examine the growing and changing roles of nongovernmental organizations in international politics. We will ask whether a “global civil society” may be said to exist today, then focus in on the major contemporary organizations that constitute this sphere today: transnationally active nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Fundamental topics for discussion will include how much impact nongovernmental actors have in global governance, the organizational dynamics within and among NGOs, and the positive and negative aspects of NGOs’ global activities. We will spend a number of weeks concentrating on NGO activism in particular sectors, such as human rights and humanitarianism, environment, gender, and development.

The course will contain a mandatory community-based experiential learning (CBEL) component. The CBEL component is aimed at deepening students’ learning and community engagement by placing them in short-term project assignments (30 hours of expected work) with relevant NGOs in Metro Vancouver. The evaluated assignment associated with CBEL, in addition to a portion of students’ participation grade, will be a journal that students write throughout the term, as well as a group presentation at the end of the term, to which community partner organizations will be invited, reflecting upon their CBEL project experiences and how they relate to the academic course materials.



Section 001   2nd Term   FRI   13:00 – 16:00

Instructor: Erin Baines (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Gender, Peace and Security

This class considers the politics and policies stemming from Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000) and related UN Resolutions. It examines the historical evolution of SCR 1325, as well as debates surrounding its strengths and limitations. It introduces gender and inter-sectional analysis and how these can be applied in practice.   We consider some of the methodological and ethical concerns of research/policy on gender in volatile or politically charged settings, and larger geo-political critiques regarding SCR 1325’s normative framework. Finally we will examine four themes in conflict affected settings:  i. Sexual violence against women; ii. Gender based Violence against men and boys; iii. Children and youth; iv. Resilience and agency.



Section 001   2nd Term   WED   16:00 – 19:00

Instructor: Alexander Butterfield (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

This course explores the relationship between intelligence and politics.  It is primarily concerned with the influence of the intelligence services and the intelligence they produce on policy formulation and political decision-making at the national level.  Intelligence support to military command at the strategic and operational levels will also be considered.  In this context, we will examine how bias, perception, and political pressure play in the production and delivery of intelligence and the consequences of those influences on warning and decision.  We will use a series of historical and contemporary case studies to illustrate aspects of the intelligence-policy interaction in the formulation and execution of national security policy at the highest levels of government. Finally, we will look at the integrity of the intelligence-policy dynamic and discuss ways to minimize bias, misperception, and political distortion and maximize understanding, critical judgment, and sound decision-making.



Section 001   2nd Term   WED    09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Jenny Peterson (

Prerequisites: Please see Course Schedule

Human Right Advocacy: Case Study–Academic Freedom and Scholars at Risk

In this seminar, students will explore theories and processes related to international human rights advocacy.  Alongside a tracing of the growth of international human rights discourses, students will also analyze praxis, gaining an understanding of mechanisms through which a range of actors fight for human rights and how we as scholars can analyze such practice.  These lessons will be explored via a case study of the concept of Academic Freedom which focuses on the rights of scholars to engage open, scholarly inquiry without fear to their physical safety, freedom or other forms of persecution from states or interest groups.  As part of the seminar, students will conduct human rights research/monitoring and engage in advocacy on behalf of the Scholars at Risk network–  an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom (



Section 001   1st Term   MON   14:00 – 17:00

Section 001   2nd Term   MON   14:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Richard Johnston (

Prerequisites: Admission to Honours program

This is a seminar designed to help you deliver a thesis that is appropriate and on time. You will learn some basic analytic and editorial skills and how to select and frame a topic. You will be guided through editorial milestones, culminating in the presentation and defense of the thesis at the end of the second term. You will also be assigned to a co-supervisor who is an expert in the field of your chosen thesis.

In consultation with faculty, students develop a research project, report on their project during seminars, give feedback on their fellow students’ projects, and write a thesis.