Winter 2019/2020 Courses




Section 003   2nd Term   M-W-F   15:00 – 16:00

Instructor: Bruce Baum (

Prerequisites: NA

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 this 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:  NA

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

Instructor: Gerald Baier (

Prerequisites: NA

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 002   2nd Term   T/TH   9:30 – 11:00

Instructor: Carey Doberstein (

Prerequisites: NA

An introduction to government and politics in Canada, covering institutional structures and their evolution, including the Constitution, Parliament, federalism, and the Charter and courts.  After examining the core institutional features of the political system, we focus on contemporary issues in Canadian politics that speak to questions of intergovernmental conflict, regionalism, the judicialization of politics, and proposals for political-institutional reform.



Section 001   1st Term    M-W-F   16:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Matthew Wright (
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 to ask answerable questions; how to define key political concepts; how to formulate hypotheses and theories about political dynamics; how to measure the phenomena we want to study; how to think about and assess relationships of cause-and-effect; and how to 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, including the nature of political power, the relationship between public opinion and public policy, the roots of ethnic prejudice, and the psychology of suicide terrorism.



Section 003   2nd Term    T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

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

Instructor: Chris Kam (
POLI 100

How did modern states form? Why are some countries democratic whereas others are dictatorships? Why are regimes stable in some countries and unstable in others? Why does ethnic conflict flare up in some countries but not others? This course introduces students to the theories and methods that comparative political scientists use to understand and answer questions such as these. Evaluation is based two midterm and one final exams, as well as several short assignments. The text for the course is Clark, William R., Matt Golder, Sona Nadenichek Golder. 2017. Principles of Comparative Politics. 3rd Edition. Sage/CQ Press.



Section 001   1st Term   M-W-F   16:00-17:00

Instructor: Nojang Khatami (
POLI 100

This course provides an introduction to some of the major figures of the Western tradition of political thought, as well as glimpses into other political traditions around the world. The main guiding theme on this journey will be the notion of political narratives and storytelling as ways to sustain meaning, order, and continuity in different political communities. The two main types of narratives we will examine are those marked as exclusive (closed off) and inclusive (open to greater participation and diversity). Moving from ancient to modern political thought, we will analyze how representative political thinkers in conversation with one another have indelibly shaped and impacted today’s political communities.

Readings in this course will include excerpts of major works by Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill and Nietzsche. Along the way, we will also compare other “non-Western” traditions through the lens of thinkers such as Jalal al-Din Rumi, Saadi Shirazi, and Mahatma Gandhi. At the end, we will turn to the work of Hannah Arendt and Edward Said to reappraise some of the global political challenges of the 20th and 21st centuries.



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

Instructor: Christopher Erickson (
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   17:00- – 18:00

Section 002   1st Term   M-W-F   08:00 – 09:00

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (
Prerequisites: Recommended for prospective students of POLI 360-379

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: Allen Sens (
Prerequisites:  Recommended for prospective students of POLI 360-379

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   T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Gerald Baier (

Prerequisites: POLI 101




Section 001   1st Term   M-W   17:00 – 19:00

Instructor: Fred Cutler (

Prerequisites: POLI 101

This is a hands-on class where students will participate as citizen-scholars in the 2019 election campaign by building websites on particular issues at play in the campaign. Students will form teams to conduct research, plan site design and architecture, present information and opinion, and market their sites. Content will include academic research, summaries of party positions and events, media production (podcasts, videos), social media outreach and commentary, interviews and surveys, and more. Potential issues include climate change, pipelines, refugee policy, foreign affairs, federal-provincial relations, youth issues, education, trade and economic competitiveness, drug policy, health policy and pharma care, gender issues, and more. There will be gentle competition among the teams on various metrics.

As Election Day is late October, this class will be held twice per week for four hours total. Students will be expected to put in around 6 hours work per week outside of class. The course will finish on Monday November 4.



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

Instructor: Samuel La Selva (

Prerequisites: POLI 101

This course examines key issues in the history, theory and practice of human rights in Canada. The methodological orientation of the course is critical, analytical and philosophical. The main themes of the course include: (A) The Philosophical, Comparative and International Background to Human Rights, (B) Human Rights and the Human Good in the Old and New Canada, (C) Charter Rights and Charter Problems. When appropriate, historical and contemporary Canadian issues are considered in terms of their wider international and comparative contexts. Please Note: this is NOT an international relations course.

COURSE ASSIGNMENTS: class test; major research essay; final exam



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

Instructor: Paul Quirk (

“The Politics of Public Policy in the United States”

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.



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

Instructor: Yves Tiberghien (

Prerequisites: 3rd year and up

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.



Section 002   1st Term    T/TH    12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Xiaojun Li (

Prerequisites: 3rd year and up

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 002   2nd Term   T/TH   17:00 – 18:30

Instructor: Yves Tiberghien (

Prerequisites: 3rd year and up

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   1st Term   M-W   8:30 – 10:00

Instructor:  Kurt Huebner (


This is a preparatory course for students participating in the European Study (and its internship program).  Half of the course will be taught at UBC, the other half abroad. It is highly recommended to also register for POLI 326 to get a solid analytical and historical base for the European Union and European politics and economics.

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   1st Term   M-W-F   16:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Yang Yang Zhou (


The Politics of Development and Government Accountability

What political factors can help explain patterns of development — in terms of health, education, prosperity, and security — around the world? While there are no easy answers to this question, this course aims to equip students with the conceptual and analytic tools from a social science approach to study development. The first part of this course considers how development is conceptualized and measured, as well as the influence of historical legacies, geography, natural resources, and the role of the modern state and political institutions in determining development outcomes. The second part of this course explores contemporary development initiatives such as democratic governance, information campaigns, and other channels for citizen participation. Students should be able to understand the political drivers of development, and critically evaluate and propose development initiatives and policies considering these political factors.



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

Instructor: Antje Ellermann (


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   08:00 – 09:30

Instructor: Chris Kam (


This course considers the historical evolution of liberal democracy, examining how democracy and liberalism have been understood and practised, and how liberal democracy has ebbed and flowed over time and across countries. The course critically examines the contention that liberal democracy is now in retreat, not just in terms of the democratic backsliding of various regimes, but also in terms of the intellectual understanding and support it receives among populations of long-standing democracies. There is no assigned text; readings are taken from academic journals. Students can expect to read an average of two such articles per week. Evaluation is based on several short, critical essays, one of which is a take-home final.



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

Instructor: Chris Kam (


This course examines government formation, electoral competition, and public policy in advanced democracies. The course begins by outlining the constitutional regimes and electoral systems employed in advanecd democracies; it then introduces theoretical models of party competition, government formation, and policy development, and ends by considering the main policy challenges that now confront advanced democracies. Evaluation is based two midterm and one final exams, as well as several short assignments. The main text for the course is Clark, William R., Matt Golder, Sona Nadenichek Golder. 2017. Principles of Comparative Politics. 3rd Edition. Sage/CQ Press. This text will be supplemented by a series of academic articles.



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

Instructor: Grace Jaramillo


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: Bruce Baum (


“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   T/TH    10:00-12:00

Instructor: Mark Warren (


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 (


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 (


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 001   1st Term   T/TH   11:00 – 12:30

Instructor: Samuel La Selva (


This course examines key theories and issues in jurisprudence and political philosophy. Its main concepts and themes include: sovereignty, adjudication, equality rights, free speech and pornography, rights in time of emergency, as well as various critical approaches to law such as legal positivism, American legal realism and Critical Legal Studies.  The orientation of the course is analytical, critical, and dialectical. Students who register in Political Science 347 should have either a background in or an aptitude for political theory and a taste for rigorous (but polite) philosophical argument.

COURSE ASSIGNMENTS: class test; major research essay; final exam



Section 002   2nd Term   T/TH   15:30 – 17:00

Instructor: Spencer McKay (


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. Key questions explored in this course include: What role should experts play in policy-making? How do inequalities of power and value-conflicts shape policy formulation and evaluation? How can governments design meaningful institutions for citizen engagement? What are the prospects and limits of citizen participation in policy-making?

Students will have the opportunity to apply concepts from both normative democratic theory and public policy analysis to a specific policy problem over the course of the semester.



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

Instructor: George Hoberg (


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   1st Term   T/TH   15:30 – 17:00

Section 002   2nd Term   T/TH   15:30 – 17:00

Instructor: Kathryn Harrison (


This course will cover concepts and theories related to environmental policy with a particular focus on climate change.  Topics covered will include policy instruments (e.g., carbon pricing, smart regulation), interest group politics, and strategies of political influence (e.g., lobbying, protest, litigation, civil disobedience), and implications of political institutions such as Canada’s federal system. Although most political science theorizing about climate change sadly does a very good job of explaining our failure to date, we will work together to derive positive insights for moving forward. All students will participate as part of a group in one of two simulations — an election-related town hall first term, a First Ministers Conference on Canada’s climate plan, other term 2 simulation TBD — and write an individual paper reflecting on course content and one of the simulations. There also will be a final exam. On the dates of the simulations, the class will go three hours (i.e., to 6:30 pm) and the preceding class will be cancelled to compensate. In term 1, the simulations are tentatively planned for October 15 and November 7. Students concerned about potential scheduling conflicts can confirm the final dates one week before the term begins.



Section 002   2nd Term   M-W-F   16:00 – 17:00

Instructor:  Allan Tupper (

This course provides an overview of public management. Its focus is primarily on OECD countries but it also examines the politics of China and other non OECD countries.

POLI 352 focuses on program delivery and government policy implementation. It covers such things as contracting out government programs to companies and NGOs as well as privatization. Other major topics are ethics in government, secrecy and openness, the private conduct of public officials and the evaluation of government programs. Electronic government, citizen privacy and the possible impact of artificial intelligence are explored as is the “politicization” of civil servants.

Topics are explored through case studies including the SNC Lavalin controversy in Canada and several actions of the Trump government.



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

Instructor: Brian Job (


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   M-W-F   13:00 – 14:00

Instructor: Carla Suarez (


This course focuses on the micro-level aspects of civil wars. The first section of the course considers the underlying processes and dynamics that shape the outcomes of civil wars. This includes the organizational structures of rebel groups, the strategies used by rebel groups to “govern” civilians, and the different strategies used by civilians during wartime. The second section examines the political economy of international interventions. In particular, we will look at how policy prescriptions have been shaped by the behaviour of armed groups and civilians. By the end of the course, students will have a strong understanding of the contemporary of civil war dynamics, its main actors, and dominant international responses.



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

Section 002   1st Term   T/TH     09:30 – 11:00

Instructor:  Katharina Coleman (


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   10:00 – 11:00

Section 002   2nd Term    M-W-F   14:00 – 15:00

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (


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 (


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.



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

Instructor: Brent Sutton (


This course introduces students to the study of international political economy, with a particular focus on current debates and issues related to the global trading and finance systems.  It is designed to prepare students to understand the rise of globalization and challenges to it.  While economic factors shape much of what happens in the global economy, so too do political ones.  After all, it is governments that decide whether to impose tariffs on foreign goods, allow multinational corporations to invest locally, open their capital markets to foreign investors, offer foreign aid, bailout failing banks, or enter into economic agreements with other states.  This course will examine these and other topics through the lens of interests, institutions and ideas, which provide a theoretical framework to understand the actions of states. The growing importance of China in the global economy and the rise of economic populism will also be explored. There is no assigned text: weekly readings will consist of articles from academic journals, think tanks and the media.



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

Instructor: Robert Crawford (


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 (


The Politics and Law of Outer Space

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   T/TH   14:00 – 15:30

Instructor: M.V. Ramana (

Prerequisites: POLI 260 strongly recommended

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 002   2nd Term   WED   14:00 – 17:00

Instructors: Jenny Peterson ( & Gabriel Potvin (


Please note this course is cross-listed with APSC  367.

Through this project-based, multidisciplinary course, students from different disciplines will work together to explore a variety of humanitarian issues and how they can apply the skills from their different disciplines to develop a sustainable technical solution that will contribute to their resolution. The overall goals of this course are to introduce students to humanitarianism from social, political and technical perspectives, to explore how to make efficient and appropriate use of the technical design process in humanitarian relief settings, to provide them with the tools and resources necessary to pursue humanitarian programming or other related fields as a career, and incorporate humanitarian-thinking into their work. An outline of humanitarian issues and failures of aid as well as critical analytical perspectives will be covered. This framework will be incorporated into the three main technical modules. The technical modules will cover issues related to energy security, infrastructure, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and involve a multidisciplinary design project.



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

Instructor: Robert Crawford (

Prerequisites: 3rd Year; POLI 260

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   11:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Richard Price (


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   08:30 – 09:30

Instructor: Allen Sens (


This course will introduce students to the theory, evolution, and practice of International Peacekeeping. The course will explore the development of peacekeeping within and outside the United Nations system, and how peacekeeping has evolved as an instrument of conflict management. The diplomatic, organizational, and operational elements of peacekeeping will be examined in detail, with a view to evaluating lessons learned, reform efforts, and the challenges facing current and future operations. Students will be expected to apply this knowledge to evaluate current and future conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Case studies will be used to illustrate course themes.

This course has five core learning objectives. Students will be able to:

  1. Describe the motives behind the creation of past, current, and future peacekeeping missions;
  2. Describe and illustrate the political, organizational, and operational components of peacekeeping missions;
  3. Differentiate between past and current peacekeeping missions, and identify lessons learned from the peacekeeping experience;
  4. Develop project management, final report writing, and presentation competencies; and
  5. Evaluate if, when, and how peacekeeping might be applied to current and future crises, wars, and emergencies.



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 (


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 (


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   09:00 – 10:00

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (


This course will analyze various aspects of terrorism in both the international and domestic communities including the structure and dynamics of terrorism, terrorist weapons, strategies and tactics, their use of the media, and theories of counter-terrorism are all covered. The course will also explore Jihadism/Islamism, a political movement dating from the early-20th century Middle East given the extensive coverage in today’s contemporary media. With its radical interpretations of the Koran, the Muslim holy text, Islamism calls upon its supporters to engage in acts of violence against those in the West and elsewhere who are said to suppress and humiliate Muslims and seek the annihilation of Islam and Islamic civilization. We will seek to explain why Islamists commit acts of violence, draw parallels between Islamism and other forms of terror in the West. The course also asks about the meaning and practice of “state terror”.



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

Instructor: Xiaojun Li (


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   T/TH   12:30 – 14:00

Instructor: Jeehye Kim (


In this course, we study the history of China’s foreign policy since 1949 to present with a special focus on applying theories of international relations. There are three goals in the course. The first is to identify the critical junctures of China’s foreign policy, such as China’s involvement in the Korean War and its normalization of diplomatic relations with the United States and Japan. The second goal is to learn the analytical tools to formulate competing explanations of foreign policy behavior. The third goal synthesizes the first two; we combine our knowledge of the historical context and theoretical approaches to tackle the most pressing issues in China’s foreign relations today.



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

Instructor:  Andrew Owen (

Prerequisites: POLI 110

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



Section 002   2nd Term   TUES   16:00 – 18:00

Instructor:  Fred Cutler (

Prerequisites: POLI 110

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   2nd Term   THURS   14:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Samuel La Selva (

Prerequisites: POLI 101 and one upper-level Canadian politics course

The course examines key problems of the Canadian constitution, with special emphasis on federalism and the Charter of Rights. Its purpose is to encourage philosophical discussion of Canadian constitutional problems, while placing them in historical and comparative perspective. Topics include: the Canadian, British, and American constitutional models; theories of judicial review before and after the Charter; the notwithstanding clause and reasonable limits on rights; free expression and hate literature; multiculturalism and aboriginal rights; equality rights;  emergency powers;  and  foundational questions about secession, federalism, and  political unity under the condition of cultural pluralism.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: two oral presentations with two short essays; a participation mark; a major research essay



Section 001   1st Term   TUES   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Carey Doberstein (

Prerequisites: POLI 101 and one upper-level Canadian politics course

Urban Governance and Policy in Canada

Major political, economic, environmental, and social challenges in Canada intersect in cities; economic development, housing and homelessness, transportation planning, and environmental sustainability are all subject to the policies and investment priorities of city governments. Though municipalities in Canadian federalism lack independent constitutional status and confront limits to their legal, fiscal, and political autonomy, increasingly they are critical actors in major policy debates and are generators of policy innovations and governance reforms.

This course will provide students with the theoretical and analytical tools to understand and explain the politics and policy activities of Canada’s metropolitan governments within their unique historical, institutional, and constitutional frameworks and within the political economy of cities. We will examine different theories of urban power and governance, and the ability of different theoretical approaches to explain the emergence of urban policy problems and their various solutions. The focus of the course is on cities in Canada, with a particular focus on Vancouver in the second half of the course when we examine various urban policy issues. Our fundamental aim will be to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how, why, and with what consequences, urban governments and their partners develop and implement policy.



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

Instructor: Fred Cutler (

Prerequisites: POLI 101 and one upper-level Canadian politics course

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 quantitative 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: POLI 101 and one upper-level Canadian politics course

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.


POLI 420B / 514D (3)   Seminar in the Politics of Policy in the U.S

Section 001   1st Term   WED   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Paul Quirk (
Prerequisites: For 514D: graduate status.  For 420B: Two of Poli 220, 320A, 320B, and 333.

This seminar investigates national institutions and policy making in the US.  Topics include:  presidential decision making and leadership; representation and the legislative process in Congress; bureaucratic policy making; and the influence of interest groups, experts, communications media, public opinion, and the electorate.  We will analyze policy making in selected policy areas—for example, business regulation, climate change, health care, trade, immigration, gun control, foreign policy, and/or others—with selections partly dependent on student interest.  We will make comparisons between the US and other countries, especially Canada, and assess the barriers to constructive action in an increasingly polarized political system.  Finally, we will examine the Trump presidency as a critical period for American political institutions.

Research papers may use quantitative or qualitative methods, may deal with an institutional or policy topic (including foreign policy), may focus on the U.S alone or in a comparative context, and may focus on earlier or more recent periods (including the Trump administration).  Students whose main interests are in comparative politics, international relations, or political theory are encouraged to select paper topics that relate to those interests.  Students are encouraged and assisted to design their papers, if they wish, as first stages of potential MA- or PhD-thesis projects.

Requirements:  Regular class participation; several brief writing assignments; several oral presentations; a research paper; and a take-home final exam.

(This course does not does not duplicate Poli 514B, the Core Seminar in US Politics; students may take both courses for credit.)



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

Instructor: Matthew Wright (

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.

Survey Research Design, Implementation, and Analysis

This course, the first of a two-course sequence that also includes POLI 574, focuses on the design and analysis of sample surveys, which are both the cornerstone of a large (and growing) industry devoted to public opinion polling, and far and away the most commonly used evidence in studies of political behavior. In taking it students will: 1) become familiar enough with survey methodology to be intelligent consumers of work that uses it; 2) develop the ability to design, field, and analyze their own survey, as well as report on its result; 3) learn to think critically about whether and how to employ these methodologies in their own research, and; 4) learn to think both appreciatively and critically about specific examples of social scientific research that uses one or both of these designs.



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

Instructor: Christopher 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 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. However, it is now clear that the internet can be used to undermine democracy and human rights, as seen in the rise of disinformation campaigns, mass surveillance of citizens, and the prevalence of misogynistic and anti-immigrant discourses online.

This course will examine the internet’s role in contemporary politics, drawing on scholarship in political theory, political communication, international relations and comparative politics, as well as works of journalism and policy-making. We will examine topics such as the role of social media in political campaigns, the rise of online disinformation and hate speech, and the use of artificial intelligence by governments and corporations. We will also look at how citizens and activists use digital technologies to advance democracy and human rights. Students will be encouraged to discuss the role of the internet in the Canadian election and other current events, and to reflect on the political dimensions of their online lives.



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

Instructor: Andrew Owen (


This course surveys the mainstream literature on citizens’ political opinions and actions. It covers many of the central questions that animate a very large scholarly literature. Topics include: both foundational and current studies of citizen vote choice, general theories of political opinion formation and change, debates about the quality of democratic choice among individuals and the public as a whole, claims about the role of the mass media, and the relationship between public opinion and public policy. Discussion of the assigned reading material will consider the theoretical perspectives employed and the assumptions inherent in these theories, the strengths and weaknesses of the research design and methodologies employed, and the implications of these empirical results for democratic theory.



Section 001   1st Term   MON   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Yang Yang Zhou (


The Comparative Political Economy of Development

This course provides a graduate level introduction to the comparative study of development. Why do some regions of the Global South seem to do better at “development” than others? While Asia is often viewed as developing rapidly, sub-Saharan Africa is often treated as a failure, and Latin America is commonly perceived as a mixed case. The first part of this course begins with a brief overview of how development is conceptualized and measured. We then consider and discuss existing explanations of developmental success and failure such as the influence of historical legacies, the role of the modern state and political institutions, markets and globalization, structural adjustment, and democracy versus authoritarianism. The second part of this course explores contemporary development initiatives such as democratic governance, information campaigns, and other channels for citizen participation.



Section 002   2ND Term   MON   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Max Cameron (


The subject of this course is Ethics in Democratic Politics. We will examine this subject through an approach known as “Virtue Ethics,” in which the highest virtue, or virtue of virtues, is Practical Wisdom (Phronesis, in the Greek). Throughout the course, we will be investigating five questions:

  • What is ethics, specifically “virtue ethics,” and what is practical wisdom?
  • When and why do we need ethics or practical wisdom in our everyday lives?  Why do we as citizens, public servants or elected officials need ethical practices and practical wisdom in politics to sustain a working liberal, constitutional democracy?
  • When and how do we acquire ethical knowledge and practical wisdom?
  • What institutional forces threaten ethical practices and practical wisdom?
  • What institutional arrangements encourage and nurture ethical practices and practical wisdom?

We will investigate these questions in several important domains of life—friendship, education, work, medicine, law, family, and especially politics in democratic societies.  We will also investigate these questions more theoretically, in the hope of developing a solid understanding of what makes wisdom or judgment a crucial component of our lives.  Throughout the course, we will be contrasting decision-making that depends on practical wisdom, or judgment, with decision making that depends on following various kinds of rules or responding to external rewards and punishments.



Section 001   1st Term   THURS   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. Canadian examples are derived from federal, provincial, municipal and Aboriginal 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.



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

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (


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.


POLI 440A / 547A (3)       CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL THEORY (Interpretation and Criticism in Political Theory)

Section 001   2ND Term   FRI   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Bruce Baum (

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




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

Instructor: Sam La Selva (


This course examines some of the most important modern and contemporary political thinkers and their contributions to the theme of “human rights in theory and practice.” It considers the historical origins and philosophical significance of human/natural rights as well as the challenges posed by their critics and by their implementation in a culturally heterogeneous world. Topics include: the moral, legal and philosophical foundations of contemporary human rights; Burke, Bentham and Marx as critics of natural rights; Rawls, Dworkin, Hart and Waldron on the role of rights in liberal constitutional theory;  arguments for and against of socio-economic rights such as the right to welfare;  Sandel and Pateman on the communitarian and radical feminist critique of rights;  religious persecution and religious toleration as issues of human rights; and the fate of human rights in an increasingly violent world. The methodological orientation of the course is normative and analytical. In the seminars, the conversation is dialectical and critical (including self-criticism).

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: two oral presentations with two short essays; a participation mark; a major research essay.



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

Instructor: Spencer McKay (


We are frequently told that we are currently living through a crisis of democracy. But what is democracy? And what kinds of problems is democracy facing? Are there solutions to these problems? We will spend the first half of this class exploring different ‘models of democracy’ that each define the concept in a unique way that emphasizes different practices, such as voting, debating, or representing. The second half of the semester proposes a different approach to democratic theory that starts from specific problems, rather than with a idealized models of democracy. This approach draws our attention to questions of how institutions can be designed to address challenges to contemporary democracy. Each week we will review a debate in democratic theory about a particular concept – such as partisanship, populism, representation, or inclusion – before examining a novel application of the theory to a particular political phenomenon. While we are only able to cover a small number of the pressing issues in democratic theory, you will have the opportunity to address a problem of your choosing in the final paper.



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

Instructor: Chris Erickson (





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

Instructor: Glen Coulthard (


Theorizing Settler-Colonialism and Indigenous Politics

This upper-level undergraduate seminar will explore the relationship between Western political theory and the project of settler-colonialism through four lenses: liberalism, Marxism, feminism and anarchism. In doing so, we will attempt to answer, in a provisional way, the following two questions: in what ways have these diverse traditions within Western political thought served, either implicitly or explicitly, to justify the dispossession of Indigenous peoples’ lands and self-determining authority on the one hand, and in what ways have Indigenous peoples and their allies been able to critically appropriate and transform these theoretical frameworks to support Indigenous peoples’ struggles for land and freedom on the other?



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

Instructor: Kathryn Harrison (


The objective of this course is to provide students with tools and experience for conducting policy analysis in support of public sector decisions.  Through analyses of real-world policy issues, students will gain experience in problem definition, crafting policy alternatives, and identifying trade-offs among alternatives. The course is more applied than most senior undergraduate and graduate seminars in the department.  Emphasis will be placed on developing practical research, analytical, and communication skills to generate and present clear and useful analysis for a client or supervisor. The course will integrate in-class case studies of organ transplant shortages, graffiti, and distracted driving. The course mark will be based on class participation, three papers (each of which builds on the previous ones), and a class presentation.



Section 001   1st Term   MON   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor:  Alexander Butterfield (


The Situation Room: The National Security Council Takes on Asia Pacific Security issues

This is a role-playing simulation of the Principal’s Committee of the U.S. National Security Council as it takes on complex security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.  Students will assume the roles of PC members, advisors, White House Staff, diplomatic representatives, and subject matter experts and represent their respective institutional equities in the formulation of policy options for presidential decision-making. Asia-Pacific security scenarios will include Resource Competition in the Arctic, North Korea Nuclear Capability, and Territorial Dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, China-Taiwan, Territorial Disputes Over the Spratly Islands/South China Sea, Pacific Ocean Climate Change Policy, the Rohingya Refugee Crisis, and a Tsunami in Indonesia.



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

This interdisciplinary seminar examines the role of law in international politics. It does so across a range of issues areas, including human rights, armed conflict, climate change, and international trade. Students will be exposed to the theoretical literature as well as case studies of actual practice—which they will research. No prior legal training is required.


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    TUES   14:00 – 17:00

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

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. 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, corporate sustainability initiatives, the geopolitics of climate change, civil society advocacy, environmentalism in the global South, and environmental justice and equity, among others.



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

Instructor:  Lisa Sundstrom (


Global Civil Society and NGOs in International Politics

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 002   2nd Term   FRI   13:00 – 16:00

Instructor: Erin Baines (

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   THURS   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Katharina Coleman (
Prerequisites: POLI 374A

This seminar builds on POLI374A (International Peacekeeping) to deepen students’ understanding of the politics and practice of contemporary peacekeeping. It focuses on  several key debates and controversies including 1) the politics of mandating operations; 2) the use of force in peacekeeping; 3) cooperation among different international organizations in peace operations; 4) the identity and motivations of troop-contributing countries; 5) peacekeeping financing; 6) social responsibility in peacekeeping; 7) the civilian dimension of peacekeeping; and 8) operational challenges, including intelligence and logistic support. These topics span the arc from headquarters politics to implementation in the field, and will be explored through both academic literature and policy reports in the context of several contemporary peace operations. Particular emphasis will be placed on the UN missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Students will be expected to actively participate in seminar discussions and grapple constructively with the many dilemmas of contemporary peacekeeping.

Successful completion of POLI374A is required for enrollment in this course. There will be an online application process in October 2019. Students completing POLI374A in December 2019 are eligible and warmly invited to apply.



Section 001   1st Term   FRI   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Alexander Butterfield (


Intelligence and Politics

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   1st Term   WED    09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Robert Crawford (


Post and Non Disciplinary Approaches to International Relations: From Political Philosophy to Popular Culture




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

Instructor: Stewart Prest


Comparative Armed Insurgencies

In the last two decades, civil wars have emerged as the most common form of armed conflict in the world today. The source of much of the violence seen globally, they constitute a central obstacle to development in the regions where they occur. It is no coincidence that, in the same period, armed civil conflict has emerged as both one of the most widely—if unevenly—covered phenomena in international media. Such conflicts have implications that stretch well beyond the borders of countries directly affected, even influencing our domestic politics in important ways. For these and other reasons, armed civil conflict has become one of the most intensively studied phenomena in political science.

There is now a diverse and well-developed research agenda focusing on understanding different aspects of armed insurgency, including its causes, internal dynamics, resolution, and long-term effects. Scholars in this area employ a variety of methods, ranging from immersive ethnography, to small- and large-n comparative analysis, to formal modelling. This course provides a survey of some of the most significant research on different facets of this research programme, while also exposing students to a range of specific cases of civil conflict. These cases will provide students with a thorough grounding in both the theoretical and empirical study of conflict, and the link between the two.

In terms of organization, each week will focus on a limited set of theories related to a particular dimension of armed conflict. Most weeks will also include either a focused case study relevant to the topic, or theoretical readings that also have a significant case study component. This approach will help students become more familiar with the comparative approach to political science, and the different ways research on the subject can be done.



Section 001   1-2 Term   WED   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.