New Courses and Special Topics Courses

This page contains descriptions for new and special topics offered in the Department of Political Science. Special topics courses are developed to complement existing courses, and cover emerging issues or specialized content not represented in our main curriculum. Please see the UTSC Timetable for the course days and times.

New Courses for the 2022-2023 Academic Year

POLC12H3- Global Public Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
This course will introduce students to the global policymaking process, with an emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students will make practical contributions to the policy areas under the SDGs through partnerships with community not-for-profit organizations, international not-for-profit organizations, or international governmental organizations. Students will learn about problem definition and the emergence of global policy positions in the SDG policy areas. They will assess the roles of non-state actors in achieving the SDGs and analyze the mechanisms that drive the global partnership between developing countries and developed countries.

Prerequisite: 8.0 credits including [1.0 credit from POLB80H3, POLB81H3, POLB90H3 or POLB91H3]

POLC13H3- Program Evaluation

This course introduces students to the frameworks and practice of program evaluation. It focuses on the policy evaluation stage of the policy cycle. The course explains the process of assessing public programs to determine if they achieved the expected change. Students will learn about program evaluation methods and tools and will apply these in practical exercises. They will also learn about the use of indicators to examine if the intended outcomes have been met and to what extent. Students will engage in critical analysis of program evaluation studies and reports.

Area of Focus: Public Policy

Prerequisite: PPGB66H3 and a minimum CGPA of 2.5

POLC31H3 - Contemporary Africana Social and Political Philosophy
This course investigates the relationship between three major schools of thought in contemporary Africana social and political philosophy: the African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-North American intellectual traditions. We will discuss a range of thinkers including Dionne Brand, Aimé Césaire, Angela Davis, Édouard Glissant, Kwame Gyekye, Cathy Cohen, Paget Henry, Katherine McKittrick, Charles Mills, Nkiru Nzegwu, Oyèrónke Oyewùmí, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Cornel West, and Sylvia Wynter.

Prerequisite: 8.0 credits including 1.0 credit in Political Science [POL or PPG courses]

POLC33H3 - Politics of International Human Rights
This course aims to provide students with an overview of the way human rights laws, norms, and institutions have evolved. In the first half of the class, we will examine the legal institutions and human rights regimes around the world, both global and regional. In the second half, we will take a bottom-up view by exploring how human rights become part of contentious politics. Special attention will be given to how human rights law transform with mobilization from below and how it is used to contest, challenge and change hierarchical power relationships. The case studies from the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and the US aim at placing human rights concerns in a broader sociopolitical context.

Prerequisite: POLB30H3

POLC43H3 - Prejudice and Racism
To best understand contemporary political controversies, this course draws from a variety of disciplines and media to understand the politics of racial and ethnic identity. The class will explore historical sources of interethnic divisions, individual level foundations of prejudice and bias, and institutional policies that cause or exacerbate inequalities.

Prerequisite: Any 8.0 credits

POLC52H3 - Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State
This course is an introduction to Indigenous/Canadian relations and will give students a chance to begin learning and understanding an important component of Canadian politics and Canadian political science. A vast majority of topics in Canadian politics and Canadian political science can, and do, have a caveat and component that reflects, or should reflect, Indigenous nations and peoples that share territory with the Canadian state. Both Indigenous and Settler contexts will be used to guide class discussion. The course readings will also delve into Canadian/Indigenous relationships, their development, histories, contemporary existence, and potential futures.

Prerequisite: POLB50Y3 or equivalent

POLD54H3 - Michi-Saagiig Nishnaabeg Nation Governance and Politics

The campuses of the University of Toronto are situated on the territory of the Michi-Saagiig Nation (one of the nations that are a part of the Nishnaabeg). This course will introduce students to the legal, political, and socio-economic structures of the Michi-Saagiig Nishnaabeg Nation and discuss its relations with other Indigenous nations and confederacies, and with the Settler societies with whom the Michi-Saagiig Nishnaabeg have had contact since 1492. In an era of reconciliation, it is imperative for students to learn and understand the Indigenous nation upon whose territory we are meeting and learning. Therefore, course readings will address both Michi-Saagiig Nishnaabeg and Settler contexts. In addition to literature, there will be guest speakers from the current six (6) Michi-Saagiig Nishnaabeg communities that exist: Alderville, Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugi 8, Oshkigamig (Curve Lake), Pamitaashkodeyong (Burns/Hiawatha), and Scugog.

Prerequisite: POLB50Y3 and [1.5 credits at the C-level in Political Science (POL and PPG courses)]

POLD74H3 - The Black Radical Tradition

The Black radical tradition is a modern tradition of thought and action which began after transatlantic slavery’s advent. Contemporary social science and the humanities overwhelmingly portray the Black radical tradition as a critique of Black politics in its liberal, libertarian, and conservative forms. This course unsettles that framing: first by situating the Black radical tradition within Black politics; second, through expanding the boundaries of Black politics to include, yet not be limited to, theories and practices emanating from Canada and the United States; and third, by exploring whether it is more appropriate to claim the study of *the* Black radical tradition or a broader network of intellectual traditions underlying political theories of Black radicalism.

Area of Focus: Political Theory

Prerequisite: [POLB72H3 or POLC31H3] and [1.0 credit at the C-level in Political Science (POL and PPG courses)]

POLD75H3 - Property and Power

This course examines the concept of property as an enduring theme and object of debate in the history of political thought and contemporary political theory. Defining property and justifying its distribution has a significant impact on how citizens experience authority, equality, freedom, and justice. The course will analyze different theoretical approaches to property in light of how they shape and/or challenge relations of class, race, gender, and other lines of difference and inequality.

Prerequisite: 0.5 credit from: [POLB72H3, POLC70H3, POLC71H3 or POLC73H3]

PPGB11H3 - Policy Communications with Data

Policy analysts frequently communicate quantitative findings to decision-makers and the public in the form of graphs and tables. Students will gain experience finding data, creating effective graphs and tables, and integrating those data displays in presentations and policy briefing notes. Students will complete assignments using Excel and/or statistical programs like Tableau, STATA, SPSS and/or R.

Recommended Preparation: STAB23H3 or equivalent


Special Topics Courses

Fall 2022

POLD41H3- Advanced Topics in Politics
Instructor: Professor Matthew Hoffmann
Topic: Imagining Climate Futures

Climate change is our reality, but what will we do with it? Climate scientists warn us about the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change while also telling us there is still time to change course; to move towards a just low-carbon world. Making the choices to head off the worst of climate change won’t be easy. We have a relatively short amount of time to undertake major transformation. It’s often hard to imagine how we get from where we are to where we need to be. That’s where this course comes in. Jointly with a class from the English department with the same name (students from both classes and both professors will meet together each week), we will explore the way things could be as society grapples with the climate emergency. Through both political science analysis of the dynamics of climate politics and explorations of speculative climate fiction, we will examine how grounded imagination about the future can unlock potential for political change today and how it can help us navigate the changes that are underway. 


Winter 2023

POLC40H3- Current Topics in Politics
Instructor: Assistant Professor Julian Campisi
Topic: Canadian Defence & Security Policies in Comparative Perspective

This course investigates the politics and policies that underpin our national defence, intelligence and security communities. Unlike the US and some other countries, in Canada, defence, security and the military culture do not take up as much political oxygen, nor are they as intertwined with national sentiment/pride. Canada’s security influence abroad is also lacking compared to allies and adversaries. Yet the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has placed a larger spotlight on Canadian (and Western) security concerns. This course thus places emphasis on defence and security policies in Canada in order to give students a clear and nuanced understanding of the Canadian intelligence, security, and defence communities, with a specific focus on different government agencies, their institutional make-up, and policies. We will study these through a policy lens, and in comparative perspective vis-à-vis other allied nations and organizations such as NORAD & NATO.

POLD42H3- Advanced Topics in Public Law
Instructor: Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream Oded Oron
Topic: Canada’s Immigration System

Immigration is one of the most debated and talked about political issues in the 21st century. Peoples’ movement across continents for a whole host of reasons is not new; however, with the emergence of the nation state, drawing of borders, and the attempts to define and shape of membership in a political and national community, migration became a topic for public debate and legal challenge. This course dives into Canada’s immigration system and looks at how it was designed, what values and objectives it tries to meet, and how global challenges and changes affect its approach and attitude to newcomers. Over the course of the semester, we will review and discuss the key components of Canada’s immigration regime and reflect on its legal constructs. We will review how the system is designed to attract skilled migrates, compassionately absorb forced migrants, successfully integrate all newcomers, and use legal mechanisms to ensure Canada’s strategic interests.    

POLD70H3: Topics in Political Theory

Instructor: Professor Neil Roberts
Topic: The Political Thought of Frantz Fanon

Martinican psychiatrist, philosopher, and revolutionary Frantz Fanon was among the leading critical theorists and Africana thinkers of the twentieth century. Fanon ushered in the decolonial turn in critical theory, a move calling on those both within and outside of Europe to challenge the coloniality of the age and to forge a new vision of politics in the postcolonial period. This course is an advanced seminar devoted to a comprehensive examination of Fanon’s political thought. We will begin with an analysis of primary texts by Fanon and end by considering how Fanon has been interpreted by his contemporaries as well as activists and critical theorists writing today.