Course Descriptions

2018-2019 Academic Year: Graduate Lecture Schedule 2018-19

5000 Level Courses

GS POLS 5810 3.0 – Social Justice and Political Activists

Integrated Course: AP POLS 4410 3.0

The focus of this course is on what political directions and strategies are needed to move us closer to the goal of social justice, primarily within the context of advanced capitalist democracies with a focus on Canada. We will explore different conceptions of social justice and its relationship to the goals of individual liberty, capacity development, equality, inclusion, solidarity and democratic participation; examine the relationship between liberal capitalism and social justice; assess to what extent we moved closer to social justice in the era of social democracy, and away from it in the era of neo liberalism; examine the political economy of social justice and injustice in contemporary Canada; critically assess contemporary political and social movements advocating for social justice; and explore to what extent moving towards the goal of social justice requires fundamental changes to our economic and political institutions.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course offerings

6000 Level Courses

GS POLS 6000A 3.0 – The MA Colloquium

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with graduate study in the Department of Political Science, to examine areas of common concern to students, and to prepare students to write their Major Research Paper (MRP) and/or other research.  Seminars will include introductions to faculty members and their research, workshops on research preparation and proposal writing, and information on well-being and graduate life.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6000J 3.0 – The State, Restructuring and the North American Economic Bloc (A new course on NAFTA)

This course will focus on the political economy of integration and disintegration in the North American region by looking at the impact of the North American Free Trade agreement (NAFTA).  Important aspects of the NAFTA agreement have been brought into question and the existence of the agreement itself has been challenged. We will examine how these tensions have developed by examining the processes of restructuring that were associated with the NAFTA agreement.  The impact of the NAFTA agreement on state institutions, politics, and social and economic relations within the three member countries will be analyzed from this perspective.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6010 6.0 – Symposium in Political Theory (Core Course, PhD students only)

An intensive survey of selected political thinkers from Plato to Nietzsche designed to give  students a broad background in the history of political thought. The course will also expose students to different methodological tendencies in the study of the history of political theory.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6021 3.0 – The Return to Political Philosophy in Contemporary French Thought

This advanced seminar seeks to understand the origins, ideas, and problems of the return to political philosophy in contemporary French thought. This multifaceted intellectual phenomenon presents a particularly rich and intense debate on the fundamental issues of political life such as freedom, democracy, conflict, domination, and social division.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6031 3.0 – Class and State in Precapitalist Society: History and Social Theory

The nature of the state as the dominant locus of coercive power in society, and the relationship of state power to the historical development of forms of class exploitation, are fundamental issues for the study of politics. This course examines both the origin of the state, and the relationship between state power and social class in the course of precapitalist historical development. The historical specificity of the forms of class and state in the line of Western European societies following from the world of Graeco-Roman antiquity, and the relationship between the history of these Western societies and societies with different histories, have been the subject of much debate in relation to theoretical approaches to colonialism, modernization, and the growth and extension of capitalist society. The relationship between history and theory is a recurring theme. The nature of precapitalist class relations is central to the course, together with a critique of economistic social theory.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6045 3.0 – Gramsci and Contemporary Political Theory

Part I:  The course will begin with a careful examination of the work of Antonio Gramsci.  Two main purposes are to be achieved in this part of the course.  The first is a clear understanding of Gramsci's contribution to political theory, in particular his theories of hegemony and civil society, his conception of the state, and his overall view of society as historical bloc.  The second one is the analysis of the general assumptions that guided Gramsci's thinking in general.  These assumptions are the constitutive principles of his historicism, a concept that embodies a general theory of social explanation, a theory of history, and a general epistemology.

Part II:  Gramsci's thought is often considered to be a radical critique of Marxism, one that does not reject Marx's original thought but seeks to revitalize and update it.  Most of his original theories, however, have been of considerable influence among many political thinkers, some of whom would not consider themselves Marxist.  This broad appropriation of Gramsci's ideas has led to a complex web of influences that has grown along with many of the contemporary positions within political theory.  Thus, Gramsci's vocabulary can clearly be detected in works on feminism, postmodernism, the new political economy, and even in the work of some liberals and communitarians.  Although the vocabulary is of Gramscian inspiration, the concepts and the theoretical assumptions behind them are often of a very different character.  In the second part of the course some of these new treatments of the topics developed in the first part of the course will be carefully examined.  The purpose is again twofold.  First, an appreciation of some of the new conceptual frameworks (the specific topics can differ from year to year, a fact that may be identified by the subtitle following the colon) will be carefully examined and their differences from Gramsci's original thought carefully noted.  The second task will be to trace the differing philosophical assumptions and to confront them with Gramsci's.  This comparison will no doubt result in a heightened appreciation of the complexity of political theory and a greater understanding of political analysis

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6070 3.0 – The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School - Adorno Marcuse, Horkheimer

The course will cover the themes of critique, ‘negative’ thought and utopian possibility in the works of Frankfurt School Critical Theorists Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Max Horkheimer. We will explore their critiques of western philosophy, Reason, consciousness, ideology, capitalism, mass consumer/popular culture, aesthetics, mass psychology and authoritarianism, as well as their philosophical, historical, social, cultural and political contexts and the implications of their distinctive analysis

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6110 6.0 – Canadian Government and Politics (Core Course, PhD students only)

This course surveys the major approaches and issues in the study of Canadian politics and engages students in the contemporary debates in the field. Through a critical discussion of articles and books, the course evaluates the major theoretical paradigms and methodological approaches that have dominated the study of Canadian politics. The course is designed to prepare students to write the qualifying exam in Canadian politics and also to teach in the field.
Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6130 3.0 – The State and Society in Canada

A never-ending economic crisis, declining living standards across western countries, increasing inequalities of wealth and opportunity, the exhaustion of the post-war compromise as embodied in the welfare state, and a seeming lack of clear alternatives to the capitalist status quo: all these conditions suggest there is no better time to explore the intersections of society and the state in Canada to examine how such inequalities are either furthered or challenged. This course will critically examine three arenas of political struggle: civil society, the state, and the institutional means by which they are linked to each other. The state and society are seen here as mutually constitutive; in myriad ways, each helps to shape the other. For instance, inequalities in civil society mean that some have considerably more power to influence the state than others. At the same time, the state plays a crucial role in helping to shape and maintain those inequalities through policies, regulations, institutions, and actions taken by state actors.

The point of the course will be to highlight how many of the seemingly mundane links between society and the state are in fact highly complex and contested terrains of social control and struggle. For instance, events like elections or instruments for gauging public opinion like polling do not merely reflect or register public aspirations but represent important opportunities to shape and control them. Even the institutions themselves can be the site of political struggle as different forces attempt to shape them to produce the results they prefer. This ‘critical institutionalist’ approach will be developed with attention to a divided Canadian civil society, techniques of public mobilization, debates over the capitalist state, and struggles over institutions and the left’s imagined alternatives.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6155 3.0 – Democratic Administration

The study of democratic administration is based on the premise that the permanent executive of the state can play a central role in enhancing democracy and the capacity of citizens to govern themselves collectively. For example, general elections are seen as too shallow, infrequent and unable to represent the views of minority groups. However, many of the principles of public administration were developed prior to the democratization of the state, and one result has been public administration and public policy-making procedures that are unnecessarily hierarchical, inflexible, and inefficient.

The purpose of this seminar is to examine the extent to which an increased level of citizen participation in policy-making and program delivery, and a higher standard of public service ethics and accountability, can be attained. The objectives of the course are three-fold. The first objective is a comparative and historical analysis to better understand the possibilities of citizen empowerment and how social and political contexts shape those possibilities. The second objective is an investigation of the bureaucratic impediments to increasing democracy. And, third, an examination of the promise and limits of recent attempts by governments to overcome such impediments. This seminar includes readings on both the theory and practice of democratic administration.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6185 3.0 – Governing Urban Poverty

This course draws upon diverse analytical tools to investigate the contemporary governance of urban poverty. Drawing upon examples from urban Canada and beyond, readings consider changes in how disadvantage is defined and acted upon in diverse ways as an urban governmental problem. Emphasis is placed on assessing the character and implications of new street-level institutions and practices, their relationship to wider political dynamics, and their implications for democratic governance. Topics typically include: gentrification, sanctuary cities, supervised injection facilities, responses to food and housing insecurity, Indigenous rights and cities, as well as urban activism, such as activism pertaining to Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, the Occupy Movement, and the Women’s March on Washington.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6195 3.0 – Advanced Study in International Relations (Core Course, PhD students only)

This course provides an advanced overview of the main approaches to the comparative study of public policy in political science, focusing on policy development over time within the nation-state, cross-national policy similarities and differences. The course will cover a range of theories beginning with an exploration of the policy process. The course will then range through pluralism and corporatism, before assessing the emergence of rational choice theory. The final section of the course will survey the recent development of a range post-positivist approaches. Examples will be drawn from OECD countries with a particular focus on Canada. The course will end by considering different strategies for designing advanced research projects in public policy.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6200 6.0 – Advanced Study in International Relations (Core Course, PhD students only)

This course is intended as the final preparation for the qualifying examination in
International Relations for Ph.D. students with a major or minor in that field. The course  will cover the core material in four subfields: (1) global political economy; (2)multilateralism; (3) conflict and security; (4) foreign policy analysis.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6220 3.0 – Contemporary Security Studies: Conflict, Intervention and Peacebuilding

Particularly since the end of the Cold War, there has been a growing sense that the nature of contemporary conflict is in flux. These changes are bound up with wider transformations associated with processes of globalization. Discussions about the rise of so-called ‘new wars’and ‘complex emergencies’ reflect these apartment shifts in practices of violence well as emergent strategies to contain them. Some of these developments are meaningfully novel. Yet they also have significant linkages with historical patterns of colonization anddomination of the world by dominant powers. Many policy measures aimed at managingconflict and redressing human suffering have also frequently fallen short of their self declared objectives and been the object of vigorous scholarly debate and political contestation.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6221 3.0 – World Politics and Popular Culture

What can we learn about world politics from popular culture? Most scholarly
representations of world politics present an image of a ‘higher’ realm of politics, one peopled by elites such as diplomats, heads of state, military officers or, more abstractly, by states-as-actors. Such representations of world politics are typically reproduced in popular culture, such as in spy fiction. However, by virtue of being ‘popular’, popular culture also presents the possibility of a politics that is not abstracted and insulated from the concerns and experiences of ‘ordinary’ people. Thus, world politics in popular culture can be both the reproduction of alienated or elite versions of world politics and the critique of that politics. This course explores the intersections of popular culture and world politics, through a reading of selected popular culture artefacts and scholarly literature, to ask what are the analytic and political possibilities of these sites. The course is held jointly with a similar course at he University of Newcastle (UK), with seminars joined by video conference.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6245 3.0 – The Global Politics of Health

This course examines ‘health’ at the intersection between global and national political terrains.  It explores the impact of extensive biomedical development, national competition, and international trade on both the ‘reality’ and delivery of health for populations.  It challenges students to consider health from a variety of angles and intellectual perspectives, encouraging a distinctly political understanding of health across a range of contexts.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6271 3.0 – Political Economy: Major Texts

This course surveys the history of thought in political economy from Mercantalist thinkers through Keynes to the emergence of neoliberal economics. The course covers key texts by such thinkers as Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, Mill, Marx, Hilferding, Luxemburg, Keynes and Hayek.  It lays a foundation for students to understand the origins and key theses of the dominant paradigms of political economy – modern neoliberal economics, heterodox or institutional political economy and Marxian political economy. Particular attention is paid to issues having to do with methodology, the links between economic relations and the social reproduction of  life, theories of value and distribution, conceptions of market competition and stability, theories of accumulation and crisis and the world market.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6280 3.0 – Topics in Political Economy: Comparative and International I

The purpose of this course is to review critical debates and literature in Global Political Economy, a field that is taken to include issues addressed by both international and comparative perspectives and links to social and political theory.  The course will be taught by faculty and student-led seminar discussions, focusing on a range of major works and issues within the field.  The course will address power, governance and resistance in the global political economy, including potential future alternatives – in light of the changing relations between rulers and ruled.  It will discuss selected issues which each year will include some of the following: market civilization, power of capital, inequality and social stratification, the offshore world and progressive taxation, disciplinary neo-liberalism, new constitutionalism, surveillance and panopticism, livelihood and dispossession, food security/sovereignty and sustainability of the biosphere.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6285 3.0 – Global Capital

What is capital? Despite centuries of debate, there is no clear answer to this question – and for a good reason. Capital is a polemic term. The way we define it attests our theoretical biases, ideological disposition, view of politics, class consciousness, social position, and more.
Is capital the same as machines, or is it merely a financial asset? Is it a material article or a social process? Is it a static substance or a dynamic entity? The form of capital, its existence as monetary wealth, is hardly in doubt. The problem is with the content, the stuff that makes capital grow – and on this issue there is no agreement whatsoever. For example, does capital accumulate because it is productive, or due to the exploitation of workers? Does capital expand from within capitalism, or does it need non-capitalist institutions like the state and other ‘external’ forces? Is accumulation synonymous with economic growth, or can capital expand by damaging production and undermining efficiency? What exactly is being accumulated? Does the value of capital represent utility, abstract labour – or perhaps something totally different, such as power or force? What units should we use to measure its accumulation? Surprisingly, these questions remain unanswered; in fact, with the victory of liberalism, most of them are no longer being asked. But the silence cannot last for long. As crisis and social strife intensify, the questions are bound to resurface. The accumulation of capital is the central process of capitalism, and unless we can clarify what that process means, we’ll remain unable to understand our world, let alone to change it.
The seminar has two related goals: substantive and pedagogical. The substantive purpose is to tackle the question of capital head on. The course explores a spectrum of liberal and Marxist theories, ideologies and dogmas – as well as a radical alternative to these views. The argument is developed theoretically, historically and empirically. The first part of the seminar provides a critical overview of political economy, examining its historical emergence, triumph and eventual demise. The second part deals with the two ‘materialistic’ schools of capital – the liberal theory of utility and the Marxist theory of labour time – dissecting their structure, strengths and limitations. The third part brings power back in: it analyses the relation between accumulation and sabotage, studies the institutions of the corporation and the state and introduces a new framework – the capitalist mode of power. The final part offers an alternative approach – the theory of capital as power – and illustrates how this approach can shed light on conflict-ridden processes such as corporate merger, stagflation, imperialism and the new wars of the twenty-first century.
Pedagogically, the seminar seeks to prepare students toward conducting their own independent research. Students are introduced to various electronic data sources, instructed in different methods of analysis and tutored in developing their empirical research skills. As the seminar progresses, these skills are used both to assess various theories and to develop the students’ own theoretical/empirical research projects.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6410 6.0 – The Study of Comparative Politics (Core Course, PhD students only)

The purpose of this course is to survey major approaches and issues in the study of
comparative politics and engage students in the contemporary debates in the field. Students (especially majors) are expected to acquire in-depth knowledge of their principal area of specialization in other courses. Weekly readings are chosen so as to address central themes and introduce students to the diversity of theoretical approaches that constitute the field. In addition to keeping up with weekly readings and participating actively in seminar discussion, students will be required to submit two short papers (ten pages) in each term.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6435 3.0 – Capitalism and Social Provisioning

This course is concerned with coming to a better understanding of the challenges posed to social policy, and to social provisioning more generally, by neo-liberalism and most recently, the period of economic crisis and austerity. In order to do so, the course first examines methodological and historical perspectives, including the forces that resulted in the establishment of welfare states, and pressures that have led to their transformation. The course then discusses how the role of the state in general in social provisioning has changed, as well as transformations within specific programs and sectors. Topics to be examined include privatization of social services, workfare and approaches to income security, growing inequalities and migrant labour. A major underlying concern is to examine not just the constraints on social policy but also the possibility for alternative directions. A theme running throughout the course is how hierarchies of gender, race/ethnicity and class both formed part of the transformations that have taken place and created differential impacts.

Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6515 3.0 - The Making of the Modern Middle East: Politics, States and Societies

This is a comprehensive graduate seminar about the Making and Re-making of the Middle East, of its politics and economy, its multiple histories (imperialism, colonialism, class, gender, state etc.), ideological discourses and practices (nationalism, socialism, communism etc.). The course will familiarize graduate students with theoretical, historical, and methodological issues that are of relevance to the study of Middle East Politics and Economy. The complexity, contradictory nature, and multilayered make-up of the subject - the concepts, over different histories up to specific topics and current multiple developments - makes a multidisciplinary approach compulsory. We will approach these issues in the context of various disciplines: comparative politics and International Relations, (international) political economy, state theory, political thought, ideology critique, and discourse analysis.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6525 3.0 – Diasporas: Transnational Communities and Limits of Citizenship

The purpose of this graduate-level course is to understand how people’s intersecting social locations such as their gender, race, and sexuality impact im/migration trends, policies, patterns, and migrants’ lived experiences. We will examine how migration occurs on a voluntary and involuntary basis between, within, and across borders, and interrogate the role of settler colonialism, liberalism, and border imperialism in facilitating the mass movement of people and communities.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6625 3.0 – Political Economy and Economic Diplomacy of the BRICS

This course examines the global rise of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the so-called “BRICS” nations – and the shifting world order.  The focus will be on analyzing the political-economic evolution of these rising states and societies, and the question of their collective action as an international grouping, from the perspectives of comparative and international political economy, global development, and global governance.  Special attention will be given to the considering whether, and if so, how, the states, and the rising corporate and societal actors of the BRICS countries are reordering the world economy, and changing the global balance of power and the biosphere.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6656 3.0 – Politics and Policies of European Integration

This advanced comparative politics seminar addresses specific policies of European integration.  Course topics will include such policy areas as foreign and security policy, environmental policies, social policies, gender and identity politics.  The course will attempt to offer an understanding of the various policy areas of the European Union.  It furthermore aims to question who the key actors in the EU policy making are and analyses who benefits from the process of integration in Europe.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Course Offerings

GS POLS 6700 6.0 – Advanced Studies in Women and Politics (Core Course, PhD students only)

This course provides a comprehensive survey of the theoretical and empirical literature in the fields of feminist theory, feminist epistemology, and women and politics broadly defined.  The course reviews the major streams in feminist theory including liberal, socialist, radical, lesbian, postmodern and postcolonial theory. It also explores the methodological and epistemological critiques of these different theoretical approaches to the study of women, power and social relations. The course contextualizes these theoretical foundations through a detailed consideration of gender and the changing global order. Topics include: gender and restructuring, citizenship, nationalism, migration, security and organizing through human rights discourse.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Current Offerings

GS POLS 6750 6.0 – Gender and the Construction of Global Markets

This course will explore key aspects of the globalization process as they reconstitute existing gender orders related to social reproduction and care I the global North and South.  In order to address current transformations, we will focus on the historical development of the concept of social reproduction, and its interplay with changing systems of production, the shifting social relations of these forces and the constitution male and female subjects across time and space.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Current Offerings

GS POLS 6775 3.0 – The Political Economy of Work and Welfare

This course examines the political economy of work and welfare in industrialized contexts. Framed around classic and contemporary debates in feminist political economy as well as in scholarship on welfare regimes and in socio-legal studies, it explores the relationship between labour market trends and welfare state restructuring in comparative perspective, with particular attention to shifting employment norms, gender relations, and citizenship boundaries.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Current Offerings

GS POLS 6900 3.0 – Contemporary Research in Politics: Intersectionality and Feminist Political Theory - Winter

A course normally offered on a one or two time only basis by a short term member of the Program (usually a visiting Professor) examining the current research of the Course Director.

Has feminism “won the mainstream but lost the movement” (Richie, 2012)? In this course we will examine a variety of feminist co-optations (or merely formations) in which feminist discourse and politics are used to consolidate prevailing power relations rather than challenge them. Critics have labelled these ‘imperial feminism’, ‘carceral feminism’, ‘consumer/corporate feminism’, and so on. This course will use debates over these ‘co-opted’ forms of feminism to survey and assess a variety of contemporary issues within intersectionality studies and feminist political theory, as well as new directions within these fields.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Current Offerings

GS POLS 7000 0.0 – The Dissertation Proposal Workshop - Required for PhD III Students

PhD III candidates are required to register in and attend GS POLS 7000 0.0, the PhD Dissertation Proposal Workshop. The proposal workshop consists of 3 three-hour sessions offered on a monthly basis during the Fall term of the academic year (with dates set for September 25, October 30 and November 27, 2018), plus two individual meetings (totaling 1.5 hours) with the Graduate Program Director to discuss their dissertation proposal, to set up a supervisory committee and to go over the draft proposal.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Current Offerings

GS POLS 7100 3.0 – Political Inquiry and Research Design

This course will cover political inquiry and research design. We will focus on concrete and practical issues of conducting research: picking a topic, generating key research questions and hypotheses, strategies of research and particular research methods such as case studies, surveys, interviews, field work, archival research, sampling procedures, coding data and working with data sets, combining quantitative and qualitative methods, content and discourse analysis, and research ethics. The course is designed for PhD students in Political Science.

*  Please see Lecture Schedule for current Current Offerings