Political_Studies_3798278Political Studies examines the dynamics of human interaction in which individuals and groups compete to achieve their goals. The study of politics involves a consideration of the interactions between the individual, the state, government, public affairs and public policy. Political Studies examines the dynamics of these interactions in the context of competing visions, values and interests, particularly in the pursuit of varying public goals, including the quest for political power and the control of government. Politics is thus both a study of conflict among competing interests and a study of how these competing interests achieve compromise and cooperation.

Why Study Politics?

Though you might be attracted to the study of politics by current events, you will soon realize that the most pressing problems are an aspect of that human activity known as politics. Desires, requests, and demands form the raw material of political action among people. Naturally, if everyone shared similar values on all subjects, there would be no need for politics or the study of politics. But of course they don’t. People have different ideas concerning such things as civil liberties, sustainable development, and distributive justice. Consequently they divide into various groups: nations, political parties, trade unions, business associations, environmental organizations, and other interest groups.

Where does the study of politics enter into all this? Political Studies seeks to understand what happens when individuals and groups struggle with one another to achieve their different goals. Within states there are mechanisms called governments to oversee and guide political struggle, and studying politics can help us better appreciate why various types of government behave the way they do.

What makes politics so fascinating is that it is a source of conflict in the world, as well as a mode of activity seeking to resolve strife and create better societies. The student of politics is more than a detached observer; he or she feels involvement and a commitment to explore the conditions promoting more just societies.

For more information, including registration details, contact the Political Studies department.

Gender and Politics in Canada (POLS 3100)

This course introduces the principal themes in the study of gender and politics in Canada. Topics may include women’s political organizing and activism, representation in political institutions, the gendered division of labour in the private and public spheres, gender and public policy, and the gendered nature of political behavior.

Rights (POLS 3360)

A survey and analysis of the concept of rights, their rival interpretations, and applications in political theory and practice.

Equality (POLS 3370)

A survey and analysis of the concept of equality, its rival interpretations, and applications in political theory and practice.

Terrorism and Political Violence (POLS 3540)

This course offers students a comprehensive and critical approach to the central features of domestic and international terrorism, with an emphasis on Canada.

International Organizations (POLS 3550)

This course explores the origins, theory and practice of international organizations, with a focus on organizations of particular interest to Canada.

Politics of International Law (POLS 3560)

An introduction to international law including sources of international law, the use of force and international human rights.

Canadian Constitutional Politics (POLS 3730)

An in-depth examination of the constitutional foundations of the Canadian regime as well as the politics of the constitution and of constitutional reform.

Canadian Government (POLS 4070/POLS 7340)

Examines the core institutions of Canadian Government and politics including parliamentary government, federalism, the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Political Ideas (POLS 4140)

An examination of the ideas that underlie Canadian politics. What are the values at the centre of political movements in Canada and where do they come from? How have these values changed over time and why? We will attempt to answer these questions by exploring the development of Canadian political ideas as well as our current ideological context in Canada. Effort will be made to reflect on ideological debate on contemporary issues of the day.

International Relations Theory (POLS 4580/POLS 7790)

An overview of the dominant and alternative analytical perspectives and debates in the study of International Relations.

State-Civil Society Relations (POLS 4970/POLS 7330)

An examination of how the state relates to civil society actors, notably the voluntary sector in Canada.  Students will critically assess the role voluntary organizations play – and should play – in the governing process.