Political Science

PSCI 100 People, Power and Politics: An Introduction to Politics

This course provides an overview of the ideas, practices and institutions that inform political life both in theory and practice. We will examine these ideas and practices from a broad perspective with special attention paid to the Canadian and North American context, as well as the political, cultural and ethical challenges to liberal democracy in the 21st century.


PSCI 210 Introduction to Political Thought

This course will examine the major issues, questions, and concepts in the history of political thought as they are explored and illuminated in the works of important figures from ancient to modern times. We will pay particular attention to elucidating the theoretical origins and development of liberal democracy, especially through the contrast between ancient and modern thought, and by analyzing the reservations about modern liberalism expressed by liberalism’s friendly and not-so-friendly critics. Thinkers studied will include Plato, Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche.


PSCI 220 Comparative Politics

An introduction to comparative analysis of industrial and developing states. Topics include: the economies and political traditions of the countries in question; contemporary patterns of politics and policy making, individual and collective rights, governmental power and the functioning of executives, legistlatures, bureaucracies, parties, and pressure groups in the context of current policy problems.


PSCI 230 Canadian Politics

An examination of the political structures and important forces shaping political decision-making in Canada.  Emphasis is placed on national institutions and events.


PSCI 341 Canadian Foreign Policy

This course will examine historical and current Canadian foreign policy initiatives and seek to understand the motivation and effectiveness of Canada's conduct internationally.  It will also address Canadian foreign policy within the context of human security, war, immigration, trade and sovereignty.


PSCI 310 Ancient Political Thought

This course explores the political thought of the ancient world. It focuses on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, but can also include the Pre-Socratics, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch and others. Topics include the questions of justice, goodness and beauty, and the best political order for human beings.


PSCI 311 Early Modern Political Thought

This course will examine the ideas and important works of the major figures in early modern political thought with a view to exploring such issues as the emergence of political realism, the formulation of natural rights theory, the relation of science and society, and the development of modern constitutionalism. The thinkers studied will include some or all of the following: Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Descartes and Locke.


PSCI 312 American Political Thought

This course will examine the development of American Political Thought from colonial to contemporary times. It will focus on the American understanding of rights and constitutional government, as well as the issues of freedom and equality as they emerged in the Founding era, the Civil War period, the progressive era and in the current debates about the role of race and gender in American society. Thinkers and works studied will include Franklin, the Federalist Papers, Emerson, Henry Adams, W.E.B. DuBois and Susan Moller Okin.


PSCI 321 American Politics

This class explores the institutional and conceptual framework of liberal democracy in America and brings to light some of its potential benefits and costs. We examine the theoretical foundations of the American political system and the major institutions and actors in American government, including Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. We also study elections, focusing on the presidential election of 2012. 


PSCI 361 Local and Community Politics         

This course addresses political processes and structures at the local level, and community as a venue for political action. Topics such as community power; local interest groups, issues and conflicts; local democracy; and the local/global dichotomy will be considered. Examples will be drawn from both urban and rural settings.


PSCI 390AS Democratic Theory

Democracy is the most widely held political value in the world today. But what democracy actually means has always been contentious. This course explores the different ways democracy has historically been defined and why it has been and remains a controversial idea (and ideal). Examining democracy's contested history could allow us to better understand our own democracy -- or lack of it.


PSCI 412 Modern Political Theory: The Continental Tradition 

This course will examine the core elements of the continental strain of modern political thought as it related to the question of political legitimacy and sovereignty, to the moral and political claims of reason, and to the emergence of history and culture as a focus of political philosophy. The thinkers studied will include some or all of the following: Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche.


PSCI 413/813 Modern Political Theory: The English Liberation Tradition

This course will examine the origins and development of English Liberal thought.  The works studied may include Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, Robert Filmer's Patriarcha, John Locke's Two Treatises of Government and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism and the Subjection of Women.


PSCI 415 Contemporary Political Theory

This course offers a selection of readings in contemporary political theory. Among the themes considered will be rights, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and democratic theory. Thinkers examined will normally include John Rawls, Charles Taylor, Jurgen Habermas, Will Kymlicka and James Tully among others.


PSCI 434  Politics and the Media

This course examines in detail the structural and ideological aspects of the media in Canada and the world. Topics considered include the political economy of the media, its relationship to the political process and the internal structure of media institutions as they fulfill ideological function.