DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
GRADUATE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS Winter 2013-14
*Updated May 9, 2013*
501A CANADIAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Core Seminar in Canadian Government and Politics
Section 001 Term 2 9:00-12:00 THURS
504A TOPICS IN CANADIAN POLITICS
The Politics of Public Management
Section 001 Term 1 9:00-12:00 FRI
This course provides a overview of major questions in public management in advanced capitalist democracies. Its theme is that public management blends technocratic, ideological and political forces in ways that have major implications for democratic states.
Topics examined include: the proliferation of specialized administrative agencies and the related shift from established decision-making processes, the relationships between political, administrative and corporate elites, the socio-cultural basis of public management and the roles of ‘street level’ bureaucrats. Some specifics topics are: the development and implications of ‘electronic governance’, public service ethics, public service neutrality, public-private partnerships and responsible government in a technocratic age. Student interests will also be incorporated.
The experience of various countries including Canada including federal, provincial and Aboriginal governments, the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union itself will be used.
511A CORE SEMINAR IN COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Core Seminar in Comparative Government and Politics
Section 001 Term 2 9:00-12:00 THURS
Note: This course will meet Tuesdays 2-5 and Thursdays 9-12 every other week of Term 2, starting Week 1. For detailed schedule and classroom information visit the instructor's website http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/bnyblade/teaching.html.
This course is designed to: (1) assist doctoral students prepare to write the comprehensive field examination in comparative politics; (2) provide doctoral students with a sense of the breadth of the field, its intellectual history, and the frontiers of knowledge; (3) equip research-oriented students with the background necessary to assess the state of the art in comparative politics as a precursor to developing their own theses or thesis proposals; (4) provide doctoral students with the background necessary to teach comparative politics. Master’s students are welcome, but the workload and academic requirements are commensurate with the needs of doctoral students.
Comparative politics is a broad, evolving, and dynamic field of study, with ancient roots. The course examines current scholarship in light of the evolution of the field, and in relation to knowledge in other disciplines. This year the course will meet every other week (see the instructor's web page for details) and the major topics will be: research approaches in comparative politics, collective action, the state, democratization, institutional change and varieties of democratic institutions. Research will be discussed for both substantive findings and methodological contributions. Students will read some of the great books produced by the field in recent decades, as well as cutting-edge work from the journal literature. The course has a programmatic intent: it is designed to encourage reflection on where research comparative politics as a field should move in the future.
513A CURRENT DEBATES IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS
Globalization and the Democratic Dilemma: At a Critical Juncture
Section 001 Term 1 9:00-12:00 WED
Note: 513A – Recommended for PHD students
The world stands at a critical juncture. Globalization has both widened and intensified; but it has also become more volatile (at least its financial component). The governance of global markets is in transition since the 2008 global financial crisis. In the midst of the current transformation/turmoil, this much is clear: linkages between global markets and domestic political economic chessboards have greatly intensified. Everywhere, national systems are challenged to respond to global shocks and global change. Meanwhile, domestic political processes in systematically important countries have a great impact on global governance and globalization itself. These linkages between IPE and CPE form the core focus of the course. Our inquiry covers questions such as:
- What are the causes of initial institutional diversity among domestic economic systems?
- In what ways does globalization affect domestic political economy? It is forcing domestic institutional convergence?
- What explains different responses by domestic systems to common global shocks (whether financial crisis, environmental shocks, energy shocks, or trade effects)?
- Why are some systems more successful than others?
- What are the mechanisms through which global forces disrupt domestic equilibria?
- Does globalization affect the quality of democracy (for example, do financial markets weaken democracy in Iceland, or do global bond rating agencies weaken democracy in Europe?) Could financial markets lead to a breaking point in Greece or social revolution in France? Is democracy at risk, and where?
- How do we understand the role of the state in the economy? Why is the state returning as a core actor since 2008, when it had handed down so many functions to private actors?
- Has globalization facilitated or hindered the process of economic and political development around the globe?
- How has China managed the interface with globalization, and is China’s success redefining the nature of the global political economy?
- Does China’s rise question the political underpinnings of the global political economy?
- Has the interaction between global economic forces and domestic political economy qualitatively changed since 2008 or 2000? How can we understand current processes?
- Does the interaction between domestic politics and international political economy preclude the reform of global governance and an improvement in global public good provision?
The course has several functional goals:
1. To provide graduate students with a solid understanding of core works in comparative political economy (CPE) and relevant classics in international political economy (IPE).
2. To provide graduate students with some of the key concepts and tools necessary in CPE. This includes key insights from rational choice theory, comparative institutional analysis, historical international political economy, and theories of comparative capitalism.
3. To cover some of the current frontier empirical questions in CPE-IPE, including the links between global finance and democracy, the links between domestic variables and national responses to global environmental shocks and systemic risk, the European crisis, Japanese political economy, Chinese political economy, and East Asian political economy. In so doing, it is hoped that the course will help graduate students develop dissertation topics or publishable research papers.
513B CURRENT DEBATES IN COMPARATIVE POLITICAL ECONOMY
Problems in International Relations
Graduate Student Version (for MA students)
Section 001 Term 1 9:00-12:00 WED
This is a seminar designed for MA students eager to study the key debates in international and comparative political economy with a good mix of theory and policy questions. Unlike Poli 513A, the focus here is less on theory building and PHD comprehensive exams and more on using theories to intensely debate urgent policy questions. The discussions are more substantive with a strong interplay between readings and the real problems of our world.
Is our global economic system stable and sustainable? Does globalization generate inequality? Are democratic systems functional today in a globalized economic system? What caused the 2008 financial crisis and what needs to be fixed? What are root causes of the Euro crisis, and what can be done? Does the rise of China challenge the current global governance of the economy? How can global environment governance be improved? Are the solutions to global dilemmas to be found in domestic politics and state sovereignty, civil society, or global governance? Does the G20 matter and how?
The format of the seminar revolves around stimulating student presentations and intense classroom debates. This seminar is always the liveliest class of all the ones I teach and always plays a transformative role for all participants involved. The world’s economic system and environment are burning and you need to find solutions!
514B COMPARATIVE WESTERN GOVERNMENTS
Core Seminar in United States Politics
Seminar on the Politics of Policymaking in the U.S.
Section 001 Term 1 9:00-12:00 TUES
This seminar investigates national institutions and policymaking in the US. Topics include: Presidential decision making and leadership; the legislative process, representation, and decision making in Congress; the administrative process and bureaucratic policymaking; and the influence of interest groups, experts, public opinion, mass media, and the electorate. We will analyze policymaking in several policy areas, such as economic management, regulation, health care, trade, immigration, gun control, and foreign policy—with selections partly reflecting student interest. For context, we will consider general theories of policymaking and some leading works in comparative public policy, and we will make specific comparisons between the US other countries, especially Canada. A major concern will be to assess the barriers to constructive action in an increasingly polarized political system.
The course is intended for both MA and PhD students; those with and without prior work in US politics; and those interested in comparative politics or international relations, as well as those mainly focused on the US. Despite some overlap in topics with the core seminar in US politics, we will cover mainly literature that is not treated in that seminar. Students who have not previously studied US politics will receive adjusted reading assignments in the first few weeks to provide the essential introductory material.
Research papers may use quantitative or qualitative methods, may deal with an institutional or a policy topic, and may focus on the U.S exclusively or in a comparative context.
517A THE STATE IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE
Section 001 Term 2 2:00-5:00 WED
This course offers an introduction to the study of the state in political science. It engages with central debates in the literature: What is the state? How can we explain the emergence of this historically distinct form of political organization? What capacities do states possess and under what conditions can these capacities be fully developed? Why do some states succeed while others fail? How do states interact with their societies? What are the limits to states’ intervention in society?
Part I of the course examines the origins of the sovereign nation-state in Europe, focusing on both material and ideational factors including warfare, trade, religion, familialism, and nationalism. Part II examines alternative paths to statehood in the post-colonial world, and extends our analysis to questions of state weakness and failure. Part III focuses on the relationship between states and their societies, both in the Global North and the Global South.
This reading-intensive course is suitable for graduate students with a background in comparative politics, international relations, or political sociology.
521A MULTI CULTURALISM AND IDENTITY POLITICS
Section 001 Term 2 2:00-5:00 THURS
During this term we will explore the theme of ‘identity’ in contemporary political theory. We will begin in the first week by considering the role ‘identity’ politics plays in the seminal thinking of liberal political thinkers, John Locke and J.S. Mill. For the remainder of the term we will examine various aspects of ‘identity’, including gender, sexuality, multiculturalism and disability. In the last three weeks we will consider some critics of ‘identity’ politics from both a modern and post-modern perspective. At the completion of this course, students should have a good overview of the key thinkers that have contributed to theorizing on ‘identity’ as well as critiques of such theorizing within the contemporary western theoretical literature.
533A TOPICS IN PUBLIC POLICY
Section 001 Term 1 2:00-5:00 TUES
540A CORE SEMINAR IN POLITICAL THEORY
Section 001 Term 1 2:00-5:00 WED
This core political theory field seminar introduces political theory as a mode of inquiry within political science. The seminar is organized into three parts. The first part of the seminar surveys the kinds and categories of questions political theorist address in the course of structuring their insights into political reality: ontological questions, having to do with necessary presuppositions about the entities we seek to know; epistemological questions, having to do with the authority of our judgments about these entities; and ethical questions, having to do with what we should or should not do or prefer. The second part of the seminar introduces generic social mechanisms. We will borrow from social theory (e.g., Giddens) and philosophy (e.g., Winch, Searle, and Habermas) to examine several of these mechanisms as signalled by the concepts of human agency, society, institution, power, and language. Finally, because political theory is most often practiced as an academic field within political science, political theorists should have a more or less explicit awareness not only of the distinctiveness of the questions they pose, but also the interdependence of political theory with empirical investigation and explanation, a topic we examine in the final week of the seminar. The seminar develops these fundamentals through combining basic social theory and some philosophy with reconstructions of Hannah Arendt’s and Immanuel Kant’s political theories.
547D TOPICS IN POLITICAL THEORY
Contemporary Democratic Theory
Section 001 Term 2 2:00-5:00 MON
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the idea of democracy has become the dominant frame for thinking about political systems. Democratic theory has developed apace, and is now a diverse, expansive, exciting, and rapidly developing field of inquiry. This seminar introduces the field of democratic theory, and provides opportunities to combine normatively significant problems in democratic theory with empirical research. The first part of the seminar surveys traditional and received problems in democratic theory. The second part focuses on several contemporary approaches to democratic theory, with an emphasis of achieving democratic ideals in large scale, complex, pluralistic societies. The final part is devoted the research and theorizing of seminar participants. Topics will include deliberative democracy, democracy and justice, multiculturalism, as well as new theories of representation and political legitimacy.
552A RESEARCH SEMINAR IN POLITICAL BEHAVIOUR
Section 001 Term 1 2:00-5:00 THURS
This course surveys the mainstream literature on citizens’ political opinions and actions. It covers many of the central questions that animate this very large scholarly literature. Topics include: both foundational and current studies of citizen vote choice, general theories of political opinion formation and change, debates about the quality of democratic choice among individuals and the public as a whole, claims about the role of the mass media, and the relationship between public opinion and public policy. Discussion of the assigned reading material will consider: the theoretical perspectives employed and the assumptions inherent in these theories, the strengths and weaknesses of the research designs and methodologies employed, as well as the implications of these empirical results for democratic theory.
562A TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Section 001 Term 2 2:00-5:00 WED
This is an introductory graduate seminar in international political economy. The primary audience is political science graduate students intending to take the qualifying exam and/or conduct further research in areas of international political economy. The goal of the course is to (1) give students a brief introduction to the large academic literature on international political economy, with the goal of helping them to prepare for the synthesis and analysis they will be required to carry out on the qualifying exam; (2) introduce students to a variety of research problems that animate current work in the field, so they can see and evaluate examples of how empirical research is actually conducted rather than just commenting on the classics or reading pure theory; and (3) initiate one or more of their own empirical research projects, to gain practical experience in elaborating a theoretical argument, drawing out testable implications, assembling and analyzing relevant evidence, and presenting the work in stages before colleagues.
562B TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Global Environmental Politics
Section 001 Term 1 2:00-5:00 THURS
This seminar examines the global politics of environmental change. It surveys theoretical debates across international relations, covering three broad areas: globalization, global governance, international regimes, international organizations, and security; the global political economy of consumption, trade, corporations, and aid; and the role of knowledge, global civil society, and ethics.
Focusing on current issues, the seminar strives for critical thought that accepts both the power of rigorous analysis and ethical reflection. Topics will include the rise of emerging economies, the consequences of big brand companies, the globalization of supply chains, the interplay and effectiveness of international environmental agreements, the security consequences of climate change, the power of NGOs and public protest, and the growth of private transnational governance.
563A INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION
Section 001 Term 2 9:30-12:00 WED
Poli 563A(3) is a graduate seminar that examines breaking developments in global politics and international law. Current and controversial subjects are explored and debated in a fully interdisciplinary manner. A concerted effort is made to connect global developments to Canada and Vancouver in some way.
Students contribute directly to the choice of topics and selection of readings. They are encouraged to implement their learning through policy-directed action. (In previous years, students have published op-eds in national newspapers, engaged in investigative journalism, briefed civil servants and politicians from several parties, and even attempted to prompt a war crimes prosecution.) Finally, students prepare a report on their topic for presentation at a public workshop.
Focus for Fall 2012: Canada, Energy, and the Environment
Energy and the environment are linked in numerous ways, with the most obvious linkage being between fossil fuel consumption and climate change. As one of the world’s largest oil producers, Canada is at the centre of this pivotal issue of global politics. Sub-issues worthy of investigation include the geo-politics of oil marketing and transportation (including proposed pipelines to the BC coast); the development of multilateral standards for oil and gas development (including a new treaty on Arctic oil spill preparedness and response); the role of international non-state actors (including energy companies, environmental groups, and the global media); the role of science (including with respect to the climate change debate); the role of the courts (including with respect to climate change litigation as well as indigenous rights); and the governance challenges faced by energy-exporting (i.e. petro-) states.
563B INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION
Section 001 Term 1 9:00-12:00 WED
This seminar examines some key debates about the role(s) of international organisations in international relations and provides an empirical introduction to several major contemporary intergovernmental organisations. It is designed to allow students to deepen their understanding of the various theoretical perspectives on international organisations, gain empirical knowledge about a range of organisations, and think critically about whether, how, and under what conditions international institutions affect world politics.
564A RESEARCH SEMINAR IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
The Evolving Security Order of the Asia Pacific
Section 001 Term 2 2:00-5:00 TUES
This is a course in security studies, designed to reflect the ongoing reorientation of the field response to the transformation of regional and international security orders. Traditional understandings of security and security relations are examined in light of the engagement of transnational actors, the preponderance of intrastate conflict, and the role of societal, communal forces as they affect intrastate conflict and regime security. In substantive terms the course concentrates on the Asia Pacific. Each seminar explores the application of theories (realism, liberalism, constructivism) and concepts (deterrence, balance of power, civil-military relations, non-traditional security threats, security community, etc.)
The nature of security policies, the modes of security relations, and the forms and processes of institutionalization within the Asia Pacific show distinctive characteristics from those evidenced in other regional contexts. On the one hand, the economic, social, and political parameters of individual states and the region as a whole have undergone fundamental change with relatively little violence. On the other hand, the region remains the most highly militarized in the world; it encompasses several of the most tense international crisis points, including those complicated by the presence of nuclear weapons. Tensions within societies are intense as governments look to mediate the economic and social upheaval associated with modernization. Scholars of security studies and of international relations in general have been slow to develop analytic perspectives that successfully capture the phenomena of the Asia Pacific region.
Students are expected to have some interest/background in international relations, security studies, and/or familiarity with Asian politics.
564B RESEARCH SEMINAR IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Gender and Transitional Justice
Section 001 Term 2 1:00-4:00 THURS
565A TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Section 001 Term 1 2:00-5:00 WED
This course is a survey of the field of International Security, or Security Studies. It will give graduate students an overview of the development of scholarly research on the causes of war, and provide introductions to current research topics in the field. The class is structured with a focus on more recent developments in the field, but seeks to provide background as well to the evolution of thinking on these issues. The readings survey both ‘old’ topics, like coercive diplomacy, and ‘new’ topics like state failure.
571A QUALITATIVE METHODS OF POLITICAL ANALYSIS
Qualitative Research Methods and the Problem of Causal Inference
Section 001 Term 2 9:00-12:00 TUES
This seminar will prepare graduate students to be both thoughtful designers of their own qualitative research projects and careful consumers of other scholars' work. The course revolves around the following question: How can the intensive analysis of a small number of cases help us draw inferences about causal relationships in the social world? We will focus on two broad, complementary strategies of qualitative research: comparison across a small set of cases and process-tracing within one or more cases. In addition to considering these general strategies, the course will examine a set of specific tasks and challenges that qualitative researchers face as they design and carry out their projects, including case selection and the assessment of qualitative evidence. A key aim of the course is to help students make informed choices among alternative methodological approaches in their own research and to assess the tradeoffs made by other scholars. To that end, we will consider the ways in which the logic of qualitative research may both resemble, and depart from, the logic of quantitative work. We will pay close attention to the tradeoffs that analysts confront when choosing among qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. What is gained, and what is lost, when we choose to study a small number of cases (or even just a single case)?
The themes of this course span subfield boundaries. The course will be useful to most students of international relations and comparative, Canadian, or U.S. politics as well as to students of political theory who are interested in empirical causal relationships or in critically assessing empirical work. Alongside methodological texts, we will read and critique substantive works of political science drawn from across the discipline. Over the course of the term, students will develop their own qualitative research designs, which might later form the basis of a dissertation prospectus or thesis proposal.
N.B: While a course in qualitative methods, POLI 571 makes some use of basic statistical concepts for the purposes of comparing and contrasting the two methodological traditions; it is thus recommended that students enter the course with some understanding of basic statistical principles, including some basic familiarity with regression analysis. Students who have not yet taken a course in basic statistics or do not feel comfortable with their command of the subject may find it helpful to work through a readable introductory text or to sit in on an undergraduate statistics course (i.e. POLI 380) before or while taking POLI 571.
572A QUANTITATIVE TECHNIQUES OF POLITICAL ANALYSIS
Section 001 Term 2 2:00-5:00 THURS