Political Science

NOTE: See the beginning of Section H for abbreviations, course numbers and coding.

POLS1203Political Issues in Canada and Beyond3 ch (3C) [W]

Political issues and case studies, drawn from Canadian and international contexts, are used to introduce students to central debates and concepts of politics and political analysis.

POLS1303Pivotal Political Events3 ch (3C) [W]

Considers the political origins and long-term political impact, as well as issues raised in the field of political science, of events which have shaped the contemporary world, such as the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, the dropping of the atomic bomb, the Cold War, the rise of the welfare state, and the recent U.S. elections. 

POLS1403Contemporary Political Ideas and Ideologies3 ch (3C) [W]

Introduces students to the important political ideas and movements of the past century that shape present day society. Tracing the development and thinking about political life in the twentieth century, it examines such diverse ideologies as: liberalism, social Darwinism, existentialism, feminism, ecologism, and post-modernism.

POLS1451The American Presidential Election in Historical Context (O)3 ch (3C) [W]
This political history course introduces students to some of the key issues surrounding each U.S. presidential campaign. Offered every four years to correspond with the American Presidential election cycle, it will be normally co-taught with the Department of History. This course cannot be taken by students who have already taken HIST*1451.
POLS1603Politics of Globalization3 ch (3C) [W]

Introduces students to the study of globalization: the global political, economic and social relations that simultaneously bind states and people together, and divide them. Topics include the global economy and trade; the political impact of new technologies; global social movements; global inequalities; and the effect of globalization on armed conflict, migration, climate change, and health. 

POLS1703Issues in World Politics3 ch (3C) [W]
This course investigates the most pressing issues in contemporary world politics with a particular focus on conflict and security challenges which have arisen since the end of the Cold War. Debates over war and terrorism, international law and human rights, and humanitarian intervention are considered, along with new challenges connected to economic development, population growth and environmental pressures.
POLS1803Politics of Climate Change3 ch (3C) [W]

This course surveys the politics of climate change in a global context.  In the coming years, climate change will drive politics at the international, national, and sub-national levels.  Specific topics include climate change itself, international treaties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, humanitarian crises and climate change refugees, climate change and the media, and climate change denial.

POLS2013Introduction to Political Economy3 ch (3C) [W]
This course surveys the basic themes of Political Economy analysis.  Themes include the nature of capitalism, the work experience, class and class struggle, political organizations and parties, business associations and unions, corporations, poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, the role of the state, militarization, and imperialism.
POLS2202Canadian Politics3 ch (3C) [W]
An introductory course in Canadian government and politics, dealing with the following topics: the constitution and civil liberties; federalism, with some focus on Quebec; the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government; political parties and interest groups; representation and electoral behaviour; nationalism in Canada.  Students cannot hold credit for both POLS 2200 and POLS 2202.
POLS2303Politics of the Developing World3 ch (3C) [W]

This course introduces students to key political issues facing developing countries using a comparative politics approach. Key themes include state formation; sovereignty, democracy and accountability; economic strategy; impact of globalization.

POLS2503Women and Politics3 ch (3C) [W]

This course maps the rise of the Second Wave feminist movement in North America, examining women’s engagement with politics on issues concerning citizenship, the economy, legal status, the division of public and private, and bodily autonomy.

POLS2603Comparative Politics of the Industrialized World 3 ch (3C) [W]

This course introduces students to similarities and differences in the political culture, political institutions and public policies of countries in the industrialized world (Western Europe and North America primarily).

POLS2703Introduction to International Relations3 ch (3C)

Provides a comprehensive overview of the political science subfield of International Relations (IR): the study of global politics as an international system. The course focuses on core IR concepts and theories, and explores how these are used to analyse how power works in global politics; why states go to war; why states and other actors sometimes cooperate address global challenges; and why there are global inequalities. Students are strongly encouraged to complete 3 ch of POLS at the 1000-level before enrolling in this course. 

POLS3011European Imperialism, 1815-1914 (Cross-Listed: HIST 3011)3 ch (3C)

Examines the evolution of European imperialism in Africa and Asia from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the outbreak of the First World War.  Topics to be covered include: causes of the revival of imperialism; the French conquest of Algeria; British expansion in South Africa; the evolution of British rule in India, French rule in Indochina, and Dutch rule in Indonesia; the European powers and informal imperialism in China; the expansion of European control in Africa; theories and practices of colonial rule; the role of explorers and missionaries; race, gender, and class in colonial societies; the promotion of imperialism in popular culture; and resistance to imperialism.

POLS3012European Imperialism, 1914-1975 (Cross-Listed: HIST 3012)3 ch (3C)

Examines the evolution of European Imperialism after the outbreak of the First World War, and ends with a detailed examination of post-1945 decolonization.  Topics to be covered include: the impact of the First World War on European empires; gender, race, and class relations in colonial societies; cultures of imperialism in the 1920s and 1930s; the evolution of imperial systems of control; the rise of anti-colonial nationalist movements; the impact of the Second World War; counter-insurgency and colonial wars after 1945; the causes and dynamics of decolonization; and the legacies of empire.

Prerequisite: Prior completion of HIST 3011 is an asset but not required.

POLS3103Rights in Conflict in North America3 ch (3C) [W]

Investigates competing visions of rights in contemporary North American politics in historical, ethical and theoretical perspective. 

POLS3104African American Politics (O)3 ch (3C) [W]
This course surveys African American history and politics from Reconstruction to the present.  Specific topics include Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, the politics of memory, and Black Lives Matter.
POLS3105American Politics 3 ch (3C) [W]
Surveys the American political experience with a focus on the post-1945 period. Topics include the paranoid tradition in American politics, the New Deal consensus, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the Second Wave feminist movement, the war against Vietnam, the rise of the New Right and post-9/11 American Foreign policy.  Students cannot hold credit for both POLS 2101 and POLS 3105.
POLS3213Capitalism, Canada and Class3 ch (3C) [W]

Examines the shifting class structure of Canada from the standpoint of the evolution of global capitalism. Topics covered include the decline of the established worker, the growth of non-standard work, migrant labour, unemployment, the growth of precarious labour, the lingering effects of the 2008 crisis, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

POLS3215Issues in Canadian Public Policy 3 ch (3C) [W]
Examines major issues in Canadian public policy making, including the role of political institutions, social movements, and public opinion in shaping federal, provincial, and municipal policies in Canada. Topics include a range of policy fields, including health, economic, environmental, urban, immigration, and social policy. 
POLS3217Canadian Environmental Policy (A)3 ch (3C) [W]
Examines Canadian environmental politics and policy. Explores the influence of economic and political interests, public opinion, Canada's political-institutional frameworks, and social movements on envrionmental policy and outcomes. Topics include climate policy, species at risk, air and chemical pollution, water management, land management, and environmental justice. 
POLS3237The Politics of Memory in Canada and the United States (O)3 ch (3C) [W]

What is remembered and how it is remembered is necessarily political. This course examines the politics of memory in different national contexts. Topics include the Native in the North American imagination, slavery, war (for example, the First World War in Canada, the Vietnam War in the United States), and the tourist gaze. 

POLS3241Canadian Foreign Policy3 ch (3C) [W]

An analysis of the foreign policy formulation process and a consideration of sectors other than the Canadian-American relationship.

POLS3247Trudeau's Canada3 ch (3C) [W]

This course will focus on Canadian and Quebec politics in the Trudeau era. Topics will include the Quiet Revolution, constitutional renewal, the 1980 referendum and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The course will also focus on the Charter era through an examination of key legal decisions. Finally, the course will examine Trudeau as a cultural icon in English Canada. 

POLS3251Canadian Federalism3 ch (3C) [W]

Considers theories of federalism, the development of the Canadian federal system, and the impact of current issues.

POLS3257Law and Politics in Canada3 ch (3C) [W]

Analyzes the relationship between law and politics in Canada, with an emphasis on the impact of judicial decisions on Canadian politics. Topics covered include the Rule of Law in the Canadian Constitution, the judicial process, the Canadian Court system, judicial recruitment and selection, judicial independence, judicial review, and judicial decision-making.

POLS3312Political Sociology (Cross-Listed: SOCI 3312)3 ch (3C)

Examines the relations between society and the state by comparing traditional political sociology with the contemporary approach. Issues include the nation state as the center of political activity, how power is exercised through institutions, social groups, class, the production of identity or subjectivity, how globalization and social movements de-center state political activity, the impact of these changes on citizenship and democracy.


POLS3313Political Psychology3 ch (3C)
This course examines theories and perspectives from the field of psychology that provide insight into a wide range of political phenomena, including political participation, political communication, ethnic group relations, public policy design and foreign policy decision-making. Particular emphasis is placed on seminal thinkers and core ideas from the domains of cognitive psychology, social psychology and personality psychology that challenge the "rational actor" model often used in political science analysis.
POLS3323Urban Politics and Policy (O)3 ch (3C) [W]

Examines urban politics and policy problems in both a Canadian and comparative context. Introduces students to the key theories in urban politics scholarship and explores policy issues facing cities such as: democratic engagement; economic competitiveness; decentralization; poverty and polarization; intergovernmental relations; and climate mitigation and adaptation. 

POLS3387Theories of Comparative Politics 3 ch (3C) [W]
This course offers a survey of some of the major theoretical questions and perspectives in the field of comparative politics. Topics covered include the rise of the modern state, revolution, democratization, ethnic conflict, and economic development and underdevelopment. Particular attention is given to the use of the comparative method - focused comparisons of two or more states - to study variations in political development and shed light on theoretical debates.
POLS3392Comparative Public Policy3 ch (3C) [W]
Explores some of the major theoretical approaches to the comparative analysis of public policies across countries and regions. Examines why countries' policies diverge or converge and investigates factors influencing the policy making process in different jurisdictions. 
POLS3415Liberalism (O)3 ch (3C) [W]

The historical and textual foundations of the liberal tradition and its contemporary variants. Central concepts and problems in the development of liberal thought to be examined will include: rights, property, liberty, toleration, and political participation.

POLS3418Politics and Protest Music3 ch (3C) [W]
This course surveys political protest music. Themes covered may range from Mozart's "The Magic Flute" to the ballads of Woody Guthrie through to anti-war songs over the last century.
POLS3433Late Modern Political Thought3 ch (3C) [W]

This course surveys recent political thinkers from the celebrated critic of modernity Friedrich Nietzsche to the post-modernist Jean-François Lyotard. It coheres thematically by focusing on their implicit and explicit responses to the three grand questions of the 20th century: What is wrong with modernity? What happened to the proletarian revolutions of Europe? How can the Holocaust be explained? Other thinkers examined include Lukács, Weber, Gramsci, Cassirer, Horkeimer, Arendt, de Beauvoir, Voegelin and Foucault. 

POLS3441Women Political Thinkers3 ch (3C) [W]

Examines women’s contributions to the history of Western ideas on politics, rationality, autonomy and the body, and violence and war. Key women thinkers include Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir. 

POLS3443Feminist Issues in Political Thought3 ch (3C)

Examines critical issues in feminist theory. Its central focus is on the understanding of women's political and social roles found in the history of political thinking and the response to these arguments presented by contemporary feminist theorists.

POLS3446Subjects, Citizens, Individuals: Politics of the Early Modern World (O)3 ch (3C) [W]
Upheaval, change and disorder, a “world turned upside down”: these are all terms associated with political life in seventeenth-century England.  How did political writers, from Thomas Hobbes and Margaret Cavendish, to the Levellers and John Locke, conceive of this flux, and what roles did they envision for subjects, citizens and individuals in the early modern world?  In this lecture/seminar course, we will map the rise of modern liberalism, individualism, notions of property, the state and the body.
POLS3447Gender, Race and Global Politics3 ch (3C) [W]
This course takes an intersectional approach to investigate the global politics of gender and 'race'. Questions considered will include: Why are there gendered, racialized inequities in the global distribution of power and resources? How have gender and race issues been addressed - and ignored - in international relations theory and practice? How do international organizations, international law, and transnational social movements seek to address gender and race inequities, how do these global activities shape local lived experiences? How do gender and racialization (and their corollaries, sexism, racism, and colonialism) influence our experiences of global phenomena such as migration, armed conflict, health/disease, and trade?
POLS3461Politics and Policy Analysis3 ch (3C) [W]

Examines the relationship between politics, rationality, and public policy making. Topics include the policy cycle (agenda setting, policy information, decision making, implementation, and evaluation), policy durability and change, and globalization and policy making. 

POLS3471When Bards are Bothered: Political Critique in Literature (O)3 ch (3C) [W]

Examines the nature of political critique found in literature. It surveys different literary genres and forms, including tragedy, comedy, satire, poetry, the essay, the short story, and the novel. Some of the authors discussed may include Aristophanes, Sophocles, Thomas More, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, and more recent writers such as Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and John Steinbeck.

POLS3475Marx and Marxism (O)3 ch (3C) [W]
This course examines the formation and maturation of Marx's thought. It also explores Marx's enduring legacy in the 2nd international, the social democratic traditions of Europe and North America, post-WWI council communism. Western Marxism, Trotskyism, Marxist humanism, the New Left, and the socialist feminist tradition. It concludes with an assessment of the 21st -century left-wing movements ranging from 'occupy Wall Street' to 'green politics' through to 'American democratic socialism'.
POLS3531Political and Policy Writing 3 ch (3WS) [W]
This course familiarizes students with various writing styles relevant to the study and practice of politics with the goal of expanding and enhancing written communication skills. In addition to academic essay writing, styles and formats suited to public policy analysis, political advocacy and journalistic commentary are covered. Classes typically follow a workshop format emphasizing practical exercises, class discussion and peer feedback. Open to students from all disciplines.
POLS3533Research Methods in Political Science3 ch (3C) [W]

Intended to familiarize students with processes, methods and techniques of inquiry in political science. Required for all Honours students. Strongly recommended for Majors students.

POLS3535Qualitative Methods in Political Science (A)3 ch (3C) [W]
Provides a grounding in qualitative research methods commonly used in political science, including research design and research ethics. 
POLS3614Ethics and International Politics 3 ch (3C) [W]

Provides a set of ethical frameworks and concepts with which we can assess the issue of how members of national states should treat "outsiders," under contemporary conditions of globalization. Also explores the practical implications of that issue in relation to international challenges of migration and refugees, international aid and development, political violence and warfare, humanitarian intervention, making and sustaining peace, and global poverty. Normally taught online.

POLS3615International Relations Theory 3 ch (3C) [W]
Introduces students to the intellectual history of North American International Relations (IR), through in-depth exploration of some of the most significant works of IR theory. Theories explored include realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism, feminism, and post-colonial theory. Contemporary issues in IR (e.g. war, migration, the environment) are examined through these theoretical lenses. NOTE: Recommended prior course: POLS 2703, POLS 2403, or POLS 3403.
POLS3635The Critical Study of War3 ch (3C) [W]

Explores the nature of war in terms of the social relations of class, race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Particular focus is given to WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Afghan War, the Iraqi Wars of 1991 and 2003, and the war on terror.

POLS3637Capitalism and War3 ch (3C) [W]
This course examines the scholarly literature on the link between warfare and world capitalism over the last century. Themes raised may include the extent of US arms spending, Western military doctrines, the Cold War, regional warfare, humanitarian crises and UN intervention. Specific focus is given to the wars in Vietnam, Central America, the Horn of Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. 
POLS3643United Nations3 ch (3C) [W]
Examines the role of international organizations in global politics, with specific focus on the UN as both a forum for interstate negotiations, and a global politics actor in its own right. Topics may include the UN's role in addressing armed conflict, promoting human rights and development, and protecting global health; the UN and/in the global economy; and direction and scope of UN reform. 
POLS3647Democratic Disengagement3 ch (3C) [W]

Examines the sources of democratic discontent and declining political participation in Canada and other established democracies, along with potential remedies. Topics covered include civil society and social cohesion, the changing role of political parties and the merits of institutional changes such as electoral reform and direct democracy.

POLS3714Imperialism and Crisis 3 ch (3C) [W]
This course examines the analytical writings on capitalist imperialism down to the 2008 global crisis.  Classical and contemporary writers surveyed may include Marx, Luxemburg, Hilferding, Lenin, Baran, Amin, Wood, Harvey and Callinicos.  Topics addressed will range from militarism and warfare through to dependency, underdevelopment, cultural homogenisation, and 21st- century austerity.
POLS3716Governance of the Global Economy (A)3 ch (3C) [W]
Surveys the debates around the governance of global flows: trade, investment, finance, natural resources, and labour. The course engages with the main approaches and theories of International Political Economy (IPE). 
POLS3717The Politics of Nationalism3 ch (3C) [W]

A general examination of nationalism as an ideology and political force, with some focus on specific nationalist movements in both the developed and developing worlds. Topics include: competing definitions of nations and nationalism, the underlying causes of nationalist unrest and secessionism, and methods of conflict management in ethnically divided societies.

POLS3718International Security in Theory and Practice 3 ch (3C) [W]
Critically examines one of the most central and contested concepts in International Relations theory and practice: security. Questions considered include: what does it mean to be secure? What causes various forms of insecurity? How should we identify security threats: what 'counts' as an international security problem? What happens when issues are framed as security problems? The course examines theoretical approaches to security in IR including national, human, feminist, and critical security theories, and considers contemporary challenges that have been identified as international security problems, including terrorism, health/disease, climate change and migration.
POLS3724Latin American Politics and Development (A)3 ch (3C) [W]
Examines the evolution of Latin American development policies as well as the struggles for democracy and authoritarian tendencies of its political systems. The course takes a regional and comparative approach with cases from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
POLS3845Law and Public Policy3 ch (3C) [W]
Examines the extent to which legal rules (laws, regulations and court decisions) as well as institutions reflect explicit public policy goals. Topics and case studies in three core areas of the law -- property, contracts, and crime -- are used to illustrate and develop two related ideas. First, viewing the law through a public policy lens can lead to a better understanding of how the legal system actually operates. Second, analysis of the law through a public policy lens provides a framework with which to assess and critique current law in order to align it with improved overall social well-being. NOTE: Students cannot obtain credit for both ECON 3845 and POLS 3845. POLS 3845 is only open to students in their 3rd or 4th year.
POLS3900Independent Study in Political Science6 ch (6C)

Upon application through the co-ordinator of honours and majors programs, students pursuing an honours or majors degree in Political Science may undertake independent studies with a member of the department. It is expected that students will have a clear idea of their intended area of study and will submit a written proposal justifying it as an independent studies course.

No student will be allowed to take more than 6 ch of independent study in completing the requirements for a majors or honours degree in political science. Independent studies courses will NOT count as meeting the honours thesis requirements.

POLS3903Independent Study in Political Science3 ch (3C)

Upon application through the co-ordinator of honours and majors programs, students pursuing an honours or majors degree in Political Science may undertake independent studies with a member of the department. It is expected that students will have a clear idea of their intended area of study and will submit a written proposal justifying it as an independent studies course.

No student will be allowed to take more than 6chs of independent study in completing the requirements for a majors or honours degree in political science. Independent studies courses will NOT count as meeting the honours thesis requirements.

POLS3905Independent Study in Political Science3 ch (3C)

Upon application through the co-ordinator of honours and majors programs, students pursuing an honours or majors degree in Political Science may undertake independent studies with a member of the department. It is expected that students will have a clear idea of their intended area of study and will submit a written proposal justifying it as an independent studies course.

No student will be allowed to take more than 6 ch of independent study in completing the requirements for a majors or honours degree in political science. Independent studies courses will NOT count as meeting the honours thesis requirements.

POLS3534Quantitative Approaches in Political Science 3 ch (3S) [W]

Introduces students to quantitative methodologies used in political science, with a focus on public opinion research and election studies. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the history and current practice of this type of academic research and will develop a basic foundation in methods of statistical analysis using political science datasets. NOTE: Students can obtain credit for only one of POLS 3534 and POLS 4534. 

POLS4416Canadian Political Thought (O)3 ch (3S) [W]

Historical and comparative examination of the various strands of thought that make up the Canadian political tradition: liberalism, conservatism, socialism and nationalism. 

POLS4495Gender and War: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (O)3 ch (3S) [W]
Exploring a range of topics from women’s experiences as soldiers to the social construction of masculinities to suit the war system, and drawing upon a range of sources, including historical writings by women on war, drama, poetry and fiction, as well as recent political theorizing and analysis, this course puts the gendered aspects of war under the microscope.  Writers considered include Margaret Cavendish, Virginia Woolf, Sara Ruddick, Judith Butler, R.W. Connell and Michael Kimmel.
POLS4496Thucydides: War and Empire 3 ch (3S) [W]

Examines The History of the Peloponnesian War as the founding text of International Relations. This course will also focus on the various readings of the History.

POLS4721Politics and the Human Condition3 ch (3S) [W]
This course surveys the relationship between capitalism, alienation, and the political crisis of contemporary liberal democracies. It draws on a range of intellectual including Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal, and Hannah Arendt. Topics surveyed may include estrangement from nature, loneliness, and social malaise, especially as these relate to such things as demagogic politics, activism and protest, and the realignment of traditional political parties.
POLS4723The Rise of the Far Right 3ch (S) [W]

Recent years have witnessed the rise of various political parties and movements of the far right in both Europe and North America. This course will examine these organizations and the broader political environment in which they have emerged in order to better understand the causes and consequences of this troubling trend.

POLS4724Topics in Environmental History and Politics 3 ch (3S) [W]

This course surveys topics in North American environmental politics and history, including climate change, resource development, and water management.  It examines the role of governments, the environmental movement, and industry.  Finally, it examines how the environment as an idea has changed over time.

POLS4725Climate and Energy Policy3 ch (3S) [W]
Examines climate and energy policy making in a variety of jurisdictions including Canada. The course explores how institutions, interests, and ideas shape climate and energy policy design and implementation. Topics covered include carbon pricing, renewable energy, transportation, infrastructure, pipeline politics and divestment.
POLS4727The Politics of Global Health3 ch (3S) [W]

This course considers challenges in contemporary global health governance by examining the global response to a specific disease/health issue, focusing on how the global South is implicated in this governance and disease response. Questions we will explore include: how is health global? What is the relationship between 'the global' and 'the local' in global health governance? How effective are various global health strategies, programs and frameworks, and in what ways do they have uneven effects on different populations and regions? What are the power relations between actors including states, international and multilateral organizations, social movements, and the private sector? What are the structural and political drivers of health inequity?

Recommended prior coursePOLS 2303POLS 2703, IDS 2001, IDS 2003 or permission of course instructor.
POLS4734Political Economy of Energy and the Environment (A)3 ch (3C) [W]
Surveys recent debates around the political economy of energy and its impact on the environment. Discusses the global energy market of hydrocarbons and its alternatives in the midst of climate change and political transformations globally. 
POLS4735Theories of the Policy Process (A)3 ch (3C) [W]
Examines foundational and contemporary theories explaining variation in public policy processes across space and time. Provides a strong foundation in comparative public policy, process theories, and the politics of policy adoption and implementation. Explores a variety of topic areas, including social, environmental, and economic policy. 
POLS4900Honours Thesis6 ch (6C) [W]

A compulsory reading and research course for fourth year honours students. The student prepares a research program in consultation with a professor in the field concerned and is expected to present a research essay after regular consultations with the professor concerned who will be assigned to the student by the chair of the department.