Course outlines will be added to the Graduate Timetable (selection below) as they become available.
Core courses are offered as graduate seminars in the key sub-fields. These seminars are designed to consist of the advanced study of topics that are of particular interest to specialists in the field. The normal requirement is the writing of a substantial paper in each term.
Note: PhD students are required to take both core courses within a given field as preparation for their comprehensive examinations. (For example, Political Theory I and Political Theory II.)
Note: MA students must take at least one core course each term, but they need not take two from the same subfield. (For example, they may take International Relations I and Comparative Politics II.) In no case is the first core course a prerequisite for the second core course.
Graduate - Core Courses
9501 - MA Scope & Methods in Political Science
MA Scope & Methods (first term) is mandatory for all MA students. Students are exposed to a range of qualitative and quantitative methods.
P502 - PhD Scope & Methods in Political Science
PhD Scope & Methods is a compulsory course for PhD candidates.
9503 - Political Theory I
In this seminar we will discuss the classical arguments for toleration developed by Locke (A Letter Concerning Toleration, and parts of his later Letters) and Mill (On Liberty). We will examine the texts, with the aid of some contemporary and modern critiques, and in Mill's case we will also discuss the relevance of his argument for some recent issues, such as censorship, cultural accommodation, and paternalism. The course will conclude by discussing some recent views of the idea of toleration.
9504 - Political Theory II
The object of this series of discussions is to explore the way in which some of the familiar elements and authors of modern political theory are re-invented (deconstructed? re-constructed?) in the context of postmodern discourses of various kinds.
9511 - International Relations I
This seminar introduces students to the academic study of International Relations by examining competing theoretical and conceptual approaches to this political science subfield. We will discuss works that address different levels of analysis such as international regimes, domestic politics and psychological influences on leaders, as well as works that span major theoretical paradigms such as realism and liberalism. We will discuss the intellectual history of the field and explore some cutting edge research.
9512 - International Relations II
This course provides students with an advanced introduction to the theoretical approaches and empirical debates associated with contemporary international relations and international political economy. Topics covered will include: the evolution of IR theory; new critical theories; American hegemony and unilateralism; nation-building; theories of international political economy; economic globalization; global governance; and international law.
9523 - Seminar on Advanced Local Government
This course examines the importance of rules and structures in understanding the role of Canadian local government. Topics include: special-purpose bodies, provincial-municipal relations, municipal finance, and metropolitan and regional government. The Canadian experience is approached from varying theoretical perspectives with the use of comparative examples from Britain and the United States.
9524 - The Policy Process in Local Government
After an introduction to policy analysis, there is an examination of the factors which help determine local government decisions about policies, development expenditures, and taxes. The scope for local government to frame its own economic policies and address social, economic and environmental problems is analyzed.
9531 - Canadian Politics: Institutions
This course will provide a critical analysis of selected topics and key scholarship in Canadian politics with an emphasis on political institutions, federalism and constitutional developments. Topics to be examined will include the Executive, Parliament, the Judiciary, Federalism, and Constitutional Politics.
9532 - Canadian Politics: Society
This course will critically and comparatively assess the scholarly literature on the core sources of societal 'input' in Canadian politics. The class will emphasize political culture, political parties, voting and elections, interest groups/social movements, public opinion and the role of citizen's assemblies in reforming political institutions.
9566 - Comparative Politics I
This seminar introduces students to the academic study of Comparative Politics with an emphasis on examining competing conceptual, methodological and theoretical approaches to this political science subfield. We discuss the historic roots of comparative politics and examine a variety of comparative methodological approaches including most similar and most different systems, case studies, large n, small n, and rational choice. Current substantive debates will illustrate the various approaches. Topics are explored by examining classical and contemporary contributions from leading scholars.
9567 - Comparative Politics II
The course analyzes the political and cognitive dimensions of the knowledge construction process in comparative politics. More specifically, it examines the dominant conceptual vocabulary of comparative politics and its capacity to represent/misrepresent the historical specificities of the political societies of the Global South.
9591 - Intro to Quantitative Research
This is an introductory statistics course. It is meant to introduce Political Science graduate students to the basics of quantitative analysis and provide them with the tools necessary to use those methods in STATA. Studens will be expposed to statistics, the applications of statistics, and have the opportunity to use STATA to test out their knowledge on datasets.
Graduate Courses - Special Topics
Each year the Department offers a range of specialized seminars spread across the subfields within the discipline. Space in these courses may be limited to 5 graduate students.
9710 - The European Welfare State
Is the European welfare state on the way out, or are the reports of its death greatly exaggerated? This seminar will deal with the status of the contemporary welfare state, within the context of its history, social and ideological foundations, and relationship to questions of citizenship, economic development, and European integration.
9723 - Genocide
An examination of the theoretical and methodological issues related to the topic of genocide and a consideration of empirical cases of genocide and genocidal acts, such as “ethnic cleansing.” The course begins by looking at the definition of genocide provided by the 1948 UN Genocide Convention and the legal-political context in which that convention was held. We will examine recent debates and alternative theoretical models by referring to selected specific cases, beginning with those of the Armenians and Nazi Germany in the first half of the Twentieth century, and then move to discuss more recent cases, including those in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, among others.
9738 - The US and the Middle East
This course in international politics examines the context and nature of the United States relationship with the Middle East (excluding Turkey and North Africa) as a clearly demarcated region in the world since the end of World War II to the present time. The course focus is on how and why the Middle East remains an area of great contention and importance for the United States in world politics. This is a seminar course and is weighted for seminar presentation and class participation.
9739 - International Security
This course overviews current threats to international secruity such as nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism, environmental degradateion, and ethnic conflict. It also considers various approaches to alleviating these problems including UN peace support operations, regional alliances, espiionage, arms control, and disarmament.
9746 – UN Issues
The course will critically assess the political perspectives on contemporary issues on the United Nations and global governance. This course will explore theoretical perspectives on the UN, objectives, structure and decision-making procedures, followed by UN policies and activities on a range of contemporary issues.
9749E (full year course) - Legislative Politics
The course will focus on the role of legislatures in parliamentary and congressional regimes with particular reference to Canada and the United States. The recurring challenges to institutions of representative democracy provide an appropriate perspective to review relevant literature on the role of legislatures in democratic political systems and to assess the challenges faced by legislators in both parliamentary and congressional systems.
9751 - Transitional Justice
The twentieth century gave rise to some of the bloodiest massacres in history. It also saw the development and implementation of instruments to deal with these crimes. Yet there is still substantial debate and even disagreement about the efficacy and appropriateness of the kinds of mechanisms that have come into being, and about the particular results that each has been able to achieve. This course aims to critically examine three broad categories, around which the course is structured: retributive justice; restorative justice; and restitutive justice. The course will focus on the conceptual frameworks and approaches, as well as both historical and contemporary uses of each. Use of selected case studies and a variety of examples of will be considered.
9752 - Political Theory and Modernity
This seminar is one of a series aimed at deconstructing and reconstructing ‘modernity’ as it pertains to political thought. What might we mean, assuming that fully shared meanings are indeed possible, by ‘modernity’? Is it a closed, completed period in past thought, or does it still pervade present thought and shape our visions of the possibilities for our political future? Can the ‘modern’ be distinguished from the ‘pre-modern’ and the ‘postmodern’ in plausible and useful ways? Is there a ‘modern’ or ‘modernist’ mind set? Let’s suppose that we are acting and thinking inside the bubble of a modernist paradigm: is it possible for a theorist to stand aside from or outside of that paradigm and see/say things really differently? Might it be liberating and empowering to do so?
9754 - American Foreign Policy
Much has been written in recent years about the constitutional struggle between the Executive Branch and the U.S. Congress over the conduct and implementation of US foreign policy. The debate over who is in charge of navigating America’s involvement in the international community has become particularly important as the United States has become embroiled in protracted conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The course will also examine why the Executive and Congress have abdicated much of their decision-making authority and responsibilities to various interest groups, think tanks, lobbyists and corporations who are all too willing to influence American behaviour on the world stage.
9755 – Gender and the Challenges of Transnational Politics
This course explores the challenge posed by feminist and critical theory to the study of transnational politics. It proceeds through cross-cultural and historical comparisons to discuss the centrality of gender to three processes: work and migration; citizenship and human rights; and indigenous mobilizations.
9756 - Politics of Race
This course will focus on the politics of race in the North American context with a view to assessing how, when and with what impact social, economic and political life have been informed by and continue to be informed by the politics of race. The course is predicated on examining the ways in which the white experience is institutionalized in political, economic, legal and cultural structures so as to understand how benefits and burdens flow to citizens based on their racial, ethnic and Indigenous status.
9757 – "America" in Political Thought
This course provides participants with an opportunity to explore the very special place of 'America' in Western political thought, from John Locke's assertion that "in the beginning all the World was America", more specifically "the in-land Parts of America, where [a person} had no hopes of commerce with other parts of the World", to the era of American Empire and super-power status, in which the United States of America has become, in President Clinton's phrase, the world's 'indispensible power', a major player wherever in the world major problems arise.
9758 – Social Diversity, Gender and The Law
From religious minorities and Aboriginal peoples to feminists and gays and lesbians, Canadian social groups contend that group-differentiated rights and group-sensitive legal and constitutional interpretations are a necessary condition of equality. While the Canadian state has responded with group-specific provisions in the Charter and Constitution, as well an official policy of multiculturalism, social groups continue to press for legal concessions and the expansion of their rights. This course will examine the relationship between Canadian social groups and the law to assess how social groups employ the legal system in pursuit of equality and how they challenge laws that fail to attend to social group differences. Additionally, this course will examine how the differences that cut across social groups complicate the legal accommodation of ‘group’ differences.
9759 - War on Terror
What happens when war and militarization extend out of the space of the battlefield and become integrated into the civilian space of everyday life? Just as we have witnessed the global integration of information, communication, and trade which are no longer confined by territorial boundaries, so too can 'war' be seen as no longer confined to its classic theatre of operation, the battlefield. Today, in combination with the technological and informational revolutions characteristic of the 21st century, the governance of terror in the name of security has effectively led to the tactical and indefinite extension of war into all spheres of life.
9760 – Cognitive Dimensions of Politics
Over the past three decades, cognitive science - the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence - has radically improved our understanding of the way in which we perceive, represent and understand reality. The knowledge generated by this relatively new field of science can no longer be ignored by political science. This course has been designed as a first point of contact between students of political science and cognitive science. Its objective is to introduce students to key ideas in cognitive science that have a bearing on the ways in which we study and explain political phenomena.
9762 – Theories of Global Justice
A seminar on issues in global political theory, focusing on the gneral frameworks that justify normative views about international distributive justice.