Poli 260 Essay



Section 921   1st Term   T TH   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Nojang Khatami (n.khatami@alumni.ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: POLI 100 will be a prerequisite for all 200 level Political Science courses.

Political Science 100 will introduce you to the key concepts and ideas of politics, as well as current global challenges. It is meant to provide you with the analytical tools necessary to study all four areas of political science at UBC: Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Canadian Politics, and International Relations.

This course will be animated by a set of closely related, central questions. What, first of all, constitutes the political? What kinds of ideas, texts, actions and forms of expression fall within this realm? And how do we navigate the complexities of talking and doing politics? To explore these questions, we will look to classic as well as contemporary sources, considering the meanings and implications of a diverse set of ideas including power, justice, freedom, ideology, culture, identity, and global politics.

In this exploration, our sessions will involve more than readings and lectures. In order to make the ideas we study come to life, every three-hour class will include an interactive portion such as group discussion, debate, or presentations; and multimedia such as music, short videos, or news snippets of current events. These exercises reflect the imperative to always bring course readings and materials into conversation with concrete, present-day political realities.



Section 951   2nd Term   M W   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Elena Choquette

Prerequisites: Please see academic calendar

This course is an introduction to the context, institutions and issues of power and politics in Canada. It will first examine the history of settler colonization in North America and present the major colonial and ethnoreligious dividing lines that shaped the 1867 Canadian Confederation. It will then look into the institutions that structure the modern Canadian political regime: the Crown, the federal system and the constitutional order; the Parliament, the government, the judiciary and the Charter of Rights; as well as the party system and democratic life in Canada. The last section of the course will focus on the challenges to the current parameters of Canadian citizenship by Indigenous peoples, Québec nationalists and ethnocultural minorities. Other themes to be discussed include regionalism, globalization, and economic equity; language and multiculturalism; and the nature and limits of political participation through elections, political parties, social movements and interest groups. This course should enable students to identify, describe and think critically about the constitutional and institutional foundations of the Government of Canada.



Section 921   1st Term   M W   13:00 – 16:00

Instructor: Eric Merkley (eric.merkley@alumni.ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: POLI 110 is a prerequisite for POLI 380. POLI 380 is a required course for majors.

This course prepares students to engage with the field of political science by introducing them to the basic logic and tools used by political scientists to understand and explain the political world. The course will teach students how political scientists ask answerable questions; how we define key political concepts; how we formulate hypotheses and theories about political dynamics; how we measure the phenomena we want to study; how we think about and assess relationships of cause-and-effect; and how we report our findings to the world. We will consider these issues by examining how political scientists have investigated major questions in domestic and international affairs, such as why some countries are poor and others rich, whether international intervention can bring about democracy, and how citizens arrive at their vote choice and evaluate candidates for public office.



Section 951   2nd Term T TH   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Spencer McKay (smckay1@mail.ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: POLI 100

Politics is often seen as a dirty word. A 2016 Gallup poll found that people view politicians as the least honest and ethical professionals. Yet, politics appears to be both an unavoidable and important part of social life. Political theory gives us a vocabulary to categorize and understand concepts like freedom, justice, obedience, and power. Political theory provides us with a way of examining our institutions and behaviours from a variety of different perspectives and questioning our own assumptions. Political theory invites us to consider how to bring about the types of political practices that we value and avoid those that we don’t value.

This course is designed to introduce you to 1) the activity of theorizing, 2) influential works in political theory, and 3) key concepts in the field. Students will be given the opportunity to develop their skills as political theorists through short writing assignments that will build up to writing a short political theory essay. We will read canonical writings in Western political theory from antiquity to present, including writings by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx. In addition, we will have the opportunity to expand the limits of this canon by introducing works by theorists like Confucius, Ibn Khaldun, Frederick Douglass, and Hannah Arendt.



Section 921   1st Term   T TH   14:00 – 17:00

Instructor: Miriam Matejova (miriam.matejova@alumni.ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: POLI 100

Environmental destruction, the spread of diseases, political polarization, terrorism, civil strife – the world seems to be in a state of upheaval, with technological, environmental, and other changes accelerating at a pace never before seen. Through an examination of the central issues in global politics, this course will introduce students to the forces that have shaped the world. Why do we live in the world of sovereign states? Why do we fight wars? What is power, and what are the implications of having or not having it? Are the media neutral or do they only pretend to be? How can we end poverty? How can we save the planet? To understand where we are heading, we first need to know where we have come from. This course will examine major transformative events (both recent and historical) as well as the main concepts, theories, and analytical approaches used in the study of global politics. The aim is to enable students to evaluate the ongoing challenges and opportunities of the international stage, and to think critically about the inevitability of change as well as the malleability of its direction.



Section 921   1st Term   T TH   12:00 – 15:00

Instructor: Allan Craigie (allan.craigie@ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: POLI 101

Federalism is a form of organizing decision making which constitutionally divides state power between a central government and regional governments.  Canada is one of only a handful of federal states in the world today.  The Canadian state is a continent-spanning multinational federation whose true nature is a source of great political debate.  Building upon students’ knowledge of Canadian politics and the Canadian state, Federalism in Canada will examine the structures, histories and processes of Canadian federalism within a broad theoretical context to gain in-depth understanding of the continually evolving Canadian federal system. The course culminates in a day-long simulated First Ministers’ Conference.



Section 951   2nd Term   M W   13:00 – 16:00

Instructor: Deanne LeBlanc (dealeb@mail.ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: POLI 101

This course explores some of the major themes and thinkers within Canadian political thought and philosophy.  Covering such topics as the constitution, colonialism, race and gender through the works of those like Kymlicka, Cairns, Vickers and Taylor this course will introduce students to a variety of theories and currents that have helped shape Canadian society as well as its study within the academy.  By the end of the course students should be able to identify, contextualize, and apply a number of core intellectual traditions which have shaped, and which continue to shape, contemporary Canadian institutions, issues and values.


POLI 308B (3)   ISSUES IN CANADIAN POLITICS (CSDI: Summer Institute for Future Legislators)

Section 951   2nd Term  

Instructor: Gerald Baier (gerald.baier@ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: By application only

This course blends academic discussion, practitioner insight, and experiential learning to give students an understanding of both the theoretical and practical aspects of legislatures in Canadian democracy. Topics include Legislatures & Legislative Life, Parliamentary Relationships, The Ethical Politician, Working in the House, Communications, Representation, Constituency Service, and Parliamentary Reform. We will explore the role of the individual Member of Parliament/Legislature in influencing legislation and decision making, and the relationship between political parties, individual legislators and the legislature. The major activities of the course involve the three weekend workshops of the Summer Institute for Future Legislators program.

This course has two essential components. The first is the weekend package (three weekends) that students will take alongside members of the wider community. This will take place both at UBC and at the provincial legislature in Victoria. Attendance during these are mandatory and participation is graded. The second is the academic portion which is only for those attending SIFL for UBC credit.

Dates for the Poli 308B seminar are: July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3 from 10:00 – 13:00 in BUCH C403

The program is run by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Registration in this course is by application only. For more information please go here:

http://www.democracy.arts.ubc.ca/summer-institute/ or contact CSDI Program Manager, Rebecca Monnerat (rebecca.monnerat@ubc.ca)



Section 951   2nd Term   M W   09:30 – 12:30

Instructor: Sarah Munawar

Prerequisites: Please see academic calendar

Where is the horizon? What are the issues of our time? Who is the Other? This course is a journey through the major themes and issues in contemporary political theory. From textual interpretation, to critical-historical hermeneutics, to post-colonialism, we begin with a brief instruction in the methods of political theory to encourage creative engagement and confidence in critical writing capacities. The major themes of this course range from: 1)Historicizing History, 2)Political Violence and the Banality of Evil, 3)the Ghosts of Colonialism, 4)Voices from the Subaltern and 5)Facing “the Other.” We will learn from a diverse array of theorists ranging from the traditions of continental philosophy (Hegel, Nietzsche), to post-colonial literary theory (Said, Spivak, Derrida), to the writings of Hannah Arendt, to feminist political inquiry (Butler, Joan Tronto, Sara Ahmed), to non-western traditions of political thought (Islamic, South-Asian, African, etc.). The aim of the course is to expose students to different traditions, methods and styles of political theory to equip them with critical tools and language to navigate the challenging terrains of our contemporary political horizons.



Section 921   1st Term   M W   13:00 – 16:00

Instructor: Chris Erickson (chris.erickson@ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: Please see academic calendar

There can be little doubt that we live in fearful times.  We are bombarded on a daily basis with stories of crime, fanaticism, war, death and danger.  This has been articulated in new ways since the events of September 11, 2001, the economic upheavals of the past decade, and in the aftermath of the 2016 American election cycle, but the presence of fear and its use as a political tool is not a new phenomenon.  This course will seek to identify a persistent logic of fear and offer both a critique of that logic and a response to it.



Section 921   1st Term   T TH   09:00 – 12:00

Instructor: Justin Alger (justin.alger@ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: Please see academic calendar

This course analyzes the politics of global environmental change, striving for critical thought that integrates both rigorous analysis and ethical reflection. The focus is on the consequences of political power struggles, institutions, and discourses for global sustainability and justice. What are the political foundations of the world’s most pressing environmental problems? How well equipped is the global community to address them? What role do states, multinational corporations, and environmental groups, among others, have to play in solving the global environmental crisis? To answer these questions, the course analyzes topics such as the causes and consequences of unsustainable development, the ecological shadows of consumption, the contradictions of technology, the effectiveness of international agreements, the eco-business of multinational corporations, and the value of certification and eco-consumerism.



Section 951   2nd Term   T TH   13:00 – 16:00

Instructor: Alexander Held (alexander.held@alumni.ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: POLI 110

An introduction to quantitative methods in the study of Political Science. Students taking this course are expected to purchase their own 6 month Stata license (US$45).

POLI 449D (3)   TOPICS IN POLITICAL THEORY: Feminist and Queer Understandings of Dis/Ability

Section 921   1st Term   T TH   15:00 – 18:00

Instructor: Jennifer Gagnon (jennifer.gagnon@ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: Please see academic calendar

All of our lives, will at some point in time, embody disability, whether temporarily, periodically, or lifelong. Even if we ourselves are not presently disabled, our lives are always affected by disability and social relationships of care. Disability in this course is understood inclusively to encompass physical, mobility, sensory, learning, and cognitive disabilities, as well as chronic illnesses, visible or invisible, and mental or emotional differences, through which a person’s body or mind may be perceived or experienced to be different from the “norm.” This is an interdisciplinary and intersectional course that most closely aligns itself with feminism, disability studies, and queer politics. Topics will include: the medical v. the social model of disability, ableism, relations of care and dependency, disability and violence, the gendering and queering of the dis/abled body, questions of reproductive justice and biomedical interventions, and the claiming of disability as an empowering identity for both individuals and society. Through engagement with the lectures, critical discussions, readings, and their colleagues, students will have the opportunity to broaden their own understanding and engagement with dis/ability in thought and practice.



Section 921   1st Term    M W   09:30 – 12:30

Instructor: Robert Farkasch (robertfa@mail.ubc.ca)

Prerequisites: Please see academic calendar

This course studies the relationship between politics and economics in order to understand the process of late development -both theoretically and empirically. Specifically, we will study questions such as: How important are political institutions to economic development and what role do they play? How does economics affect political institutions and government policies? Why do inefficient and/or harmful institutions survive? Topics include the role of the state in alleviating or exacerbating poverty, the politics of industrial policy and planning and the relationship between institutional change and growth. We will also examine the economic effects of different growth strategies in Latin America, Africa and East Asia, and investigate some of the pitfalls of natural resource wealth and the difficulties of foreign aid.



Once students are admitted to the Major, Honours, or Combined Major programs in their third year, they begin to take more specialized courses on particular topics within each of the subfields of the discipline. These courses all build on the foundations provided by the second year course in that field, and therefore we strongly encourage students to take the relevant 200 level course as preparation for any third and fourth year courses. Students who find themselves interested in particular upper-level courses but are lacking in the 200 level preparation can take those 200 level courses in their third year.

Students in third year should pursue courses that interest them, keeping in mind that a breadth of knowledge within Political Science is valuable for fourth year research-intensive seminar courses, for applications to graduate studies programs, and for adaptability on the job market.

There are a wide range of learning activities in third year courses:

  • some have a traditional lecture, midterm, essay, final exam structure;
  • others involve discussion in class, dedicated discussion sections, group projects, writing-intensive learning, simulations of political negotiations, community and international service learning, applied political research, learning in the field, and other activities.

We recommend that students take courses with a wide range of learning activities in order to diversify the skills acquired in the program. Most third year courses have between 60-100 students per class, while a handful of courses are larger or much smaller.

Note: POLI 380 (Quantitative Methods in Political Science) is required for Majors; POLI 110 (Investigating Politics) is the prerequisite for POL 380.
We recommend that students take POL 380 as soon as possible so that they can engage with and conduct quantitative research in Political Science.

300 Level Courses by subfield

Canadian Politics

POLI 301 – Canadian Political Parties
POLI 302 – Public Administration
POLI 303 – Federalism in Canada
POLI 304 – British Columbia Government and Politics
POLI 305 – Canadian Political Ideas
POLI 306 – Local Government and Politics in Canada
POLI 307 – Quebec Government and Politics
POLI 308 – Issues in Canadian Politics
(i.e. Public Opinion, Polling, And Survey Research, Courts, Law, and Politics in Canada)
POLI 309 – Canadian Perspectives on Human Rights
POLI 310 – Parliament and Party: The Strategy of Politics

Comparative Politics

POLI 310 – Parliament and Party: The Strategy of Politics
POLI 320 – Government and Politics of the USA
POLI 321 – Chinese Politics and Development
POLI 322 – Japanese Government and Politics
POLI 323 – South Asian Government and Politics
POLI 324 – Southeast Asian Government and Politics
POLI 325 – Communist and Post-Communist Politics
POLI 326 – European Politics: Selected Cases
POLI 327 – European Integration
POLI 328 – Topics in Comparative Politics
POLI 329 – Gender and Politics
POLI 330 – Japanese Political Economy
POLI 331 – Korean Government and Politics
POLI 332 – Politics and Government of Latin America
POLI 333 – Issues in Comparative Politics
POLI 334 – Comparative Democratization
POLI 335 – Comparative Federalism
POLI 336 – Associations and the State in Comparative Perspective
POLI 337 – The U.S. Presidency in Comparative Perspective
POLI 350 – Public Policy
POLI 352 – Comparative Politics of Public Policy
POLI 385 – Public Opinion and Elections

Political Theory

POLI 340 – History of Political Ideas
POLI 341 – Contemporary Political Theory
POLI 342 – Modern Political Theory: Analysis of a Selected Theorist
POLI 343 – Theories of State and Society
POLI 344 – Social and Political Thought
POLI 345 – Gender and Politics: Political Thought and Practice
POLI 346 – Democratic Theory
POLI 347 – Law and Political Theory
POLI 348 – Political Theory and Public Policy

International Relations

POLI 360 – Security Studies
POLI 361 – International Violence and Its Control
POLI 362 – The Great Powers and International Politics
POLI 363 – Canadian Foreign Policy
POLI 364 – International Organizations
POLI 365 – Asian International Relations
POLI 366 – International Political Economy
POLI 367 – International Relations Theory and the International System
POLI 368 – Japan’s Foreign Relations
POLI 369 – Issues in International Security
POLI 370 – Issues in International Conflict Management
POLI 373 – Ethics in World Politics
POLI 374 – International Peacekeeping
POLI 375 – Global Environmental Politics


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *