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Fall 2009 Political Science Courses

In many cases information expanding on the formal course description is provided here. Remember, in some classes enrollment is limited, or initially reserved for Political Science Honours, Major or Minor candidates, so sign up early for your preferred choices! Be sure to check out further information about our undergraduate courses, including examples of course outlines.

1000 LEVEL COURSES – Suitable for students in all disciplines

1000 Introduction to Politics
...section 1 (A. Bittner, slot 16, Tu/Th 12-12:50pm & Fri 1-1:50pm)
...section 2 (D. Close, slot 6, M/Tu/Th 1-1:50pm)
...section 3 (M. Temelini, slot 3, M/W/F 10-10:50am)
...section 56 (R. Williams, slot 32, Wednesdays 7-9:30pm)
Everybody thinks they know something about politics. How much do you know? How do governments form? How do citizens get to express their opinions? Do politicians play the same kind of role in different countries, or is politics the same everywhere? POSC 1000 is a popular course that offers a basic introduction to politics for students who have not taken any other courses in political science, for those who may want to major in the field, or for those who just want an interesting elective. We will look at a range of countries and political systems to gain a broad understanding of what politics is all about. After this, you’ll be able to talk politics with your friends and family all day long.

1010 Issues in Canadian Politics (A. Marland, slot 17, Tu/Th 9-10:15am)
Canadians may be good at hockey, like maple syrup and perhaps be able to parle Francais, but this country has plenty of political troubles. Can we trust political parties and politicians? What role should the government play in health care? Is Stephen Harper really as evil as Danny Williams claims? Just what does Quebec want, anyway? Whether this is your first Political Science course or you’re a poli sci guru, you’ll gain a better understanding of how flawed this great country is, eh?

1020 Issues in World Politics (M. Anderson, slot 19, Tu/Th 2-3:15pm)
World politics make the headlines every day: “North Korea test fires missiles”; “Post-election protests turn violent in Iran”; “NATO warships hunt Somali pirates”; “G8 holds poverty summit”... POSC 1020 is an introductory course that looks at some of the key problems and issues facing the world community today. We’ll consider questions of power, global governance, international trade, forms of globalization, and international interventions. Should you be worried? Find out.

2000 LEVEL COURSES – Suitable for students seeking an area introduction

2010 Research and Writing in Political Science (M. Kerby, slot 2, M/W/F 9-9:50am)
It’s a mad world out there. Do you ever wonder why politics seem so messed up and why, despite our best intentions, things go from bad to worse? POSC 2010 will teach you that getting what we want as individual citizens can result in less-than-desirable consequences for society as a whole. We will also discuss what modern democracies can do to resolve this conundrum.
Prerequisite: POSC 1000.

2100 Introduction to Political Theory (M. Wallack, slot 4, M/W/F 11-11:50am)
Timeless ideas meet contemporary problems in a case study introduction to political theory. Same-sex marriage, social justice and disability, hate speech, the Muslim veil, global poverty and climate change are some of the issues discussed. [same as the former POSC 2000]

2200 Introduction to International Politics (O. Croci, slot 18, Tu/Th 10:30-11:50am)
Why is it that a less active USA might not necessarily imply a more peaceful world? Why is military conflict more common in some parts of the world than in others? Under what domestic and international conditions is peace more likely to prevail? Why is the UN neither a supranational nor a democratic organization? These are just some of the questions to be examined in POSC 2200 which you can discuss passionately with your peers.

2300 Introduction to Comparative Politics (M. Kerby, slot 3, M/W/F 10-10:50am)
Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” The same can be said of politics! In this course we will explore how different “actors”, “stages,” “roles” and “scripts” inform and transform the “art” and “theatre” of politics around the world. We’ll look for similarities and differences among political systems while learning how we shape and are shaped by politics in our everyday lives. To take or not to take POSC 2300, that is the question…

2600 Introduction to Public Policy and Administration (J. Loder, slot 7, M/W/F 2-2:50pm)
Somewhere in between the law and election pledges is the world of public policy. How does the government make decisions? Who really makes them – citizens, politicians or bureaucrats? Whether you’re interested in social, economic or health policy, or if you’re just frustrated with red tape, you’ll gain a better appreciation for how government works. [same as the former POSC 3540]

2800 Introduction to Canadian Politics and Government
...section 1 (S. Tomblin, slot 17, Tu/Th 9-10:15am)
...section 2 (M. Temelini, slot 8, M/W/F 3-3:50pm)
This course is like lifting the hood up on an automobile and seeing how everything runs. Why is the Cabinet so secretive in Canada? Why is Parliament so weak? Do bureaucrats really control everything? Why can’t governments “just get along”? After taking POSC 2800, you’ll understand why Canadian politics is less like a sports car and more like a minivan. [same as the former POSC 2710]

3000 LEVEL COURSES – Suitable for students seeking an area specialization

3010 Empirical Methods in Political Science (K. Blidook, slot 16, Tu/Th 12-12:50 & Fri 1-1:50)
One person’s fact is another’s fiction. At some point, we have to ask the questions: what do we know? how do we know it? and how are all the things we know connected? Observing. Interviewing. Surveying. Analyzing. These are just some of the topics that we will explore as you become acquainted with basic concepts in the empirical approach to studying politics. Warning: POSC 3010 teaches important skill sets that employers and academics look for!
Prerequisite: POSC 2010 or another R/W course, and enrollment as a Political Science Honours, Major or Minor.

3100 Political Theory from Plato to Rousseau (M. Wallack, slot 5, M/W/F 12-12:50pm)
In POSC 3100 we’ll look at the six greatest books of political theory. What you think you know and what you need to know about the politics of money, sex and power—not necessarily in that order.

3140 Feminist Political Theory (K. Mullins, slot 30, Mondays 7-9:30pm)
Feminism is one of the most misunderstood concepts both in contemporary society and history. It has very little to do with the “man-hating” and “bra-burning” with which it is often associated. What kind of impact has feminist theory had on politics? What about on the study of political science? Is feminist theory different from "regular" political theory? Regardless of your gender you can expect to consider different ways of looking at power and political culture in modern societies.

3250 International Political Economy (R. Williams, slot 19, Tu/Th 2-3:15pm)
Understanding modern politics requires attention to the interaction of international relations and international economics—these form of an important backdrop for much of what governments “do” in the 21st century. POSC 3250 provides an introduction to the study of international political economy. It combines a review of the major theories of global politics with an investigation of many of the key topics in the field: the difficulties of managing the global monetary and banking system, the political impacts of the international trade regime, the obstacles to economic development, and the challenges of international environmental cooperation. Tuition money well spent.

3280 Canadian Foreign Policy (O. Croci, slot 20, Tu/Th 3:30-4:50pm)
Do you think, as most other Canadians seem to, that Canada has some kind of natural predisposition to play the role of international mediator and peacekeeper? Does the US affect Canada’s foreign policy and, if so, how? Does Canadian foreign policy change when a Conservative government replaces a Liberal one, and vice versa? Do provinces or does the public in general have a say in foreign policy? How has 9/11 changed Canadian security policies? These are some of the topics you will read about and discuss with your fellow students in class and across the country. [same as the former POSC 3200]

3315 Latin American Politics (D. Close, slot 18, Tu/Th 10:30-11:50am)
This is an introduction to Latin American politics which presumes that a student is completely new to the field. It looks at the effects of history, the formal and informal political institutions that shape the political systems of the twenty Latin American Republics, questions of domestic and international political economy, and the international relations of the region. The objective is to provide the background to let students make sense of stories about Latin America when these make the news. [same as the former POSC 3430]

3350 Public Opinion and Voting (A. Bittner, slot 19, Tu/Th 2-3:15pm)
Danny Williams soars in the polls. Two thirds of "rich" Canadians think they’re poor. One quarter of New Democrat supporters say they’re voting Liberal because they don’t like Jack Layton’s moustache. We read poll results in the news every day. Do we really believe them? Whose attitudes are being reported anyway? And why do people think the way they do? POSC 3350 will look in-depth at public opinion: how it's measured, its origins, and its impact on society and government. You will never see polling results the same way again. [same as the former POSC 3510]

3620 Law and Society
...section 56 (F. O’Brien, slot 30, Mondays 7-9:30pm)
...section 57 (F. O’Brien, slot 32, Wednesdays 7-9:30pm)
Law. The court system. Dispute resolution. Civil liberties. Morality. Criminal activity. Damage compensation. Contract law. Private property. The legal profession. Suitable for all types of people studying Political Science, from aspiring lawyers to their future clients. [same as the former POSC 3521]

3681 Corrections Policy in Newfoundland and Labrador (T. Carlson, slot 14, M/W 3:30-4:50)
Is crime out of control? Are we too easy on criminals? Should we return to a time when justice was swift and harsh? How have factors such as politics, religion, the press and public opinion influenced how we have treated criminals in Newfoundland over time? What does current research show to be the most effective way to deal with crime and criminals? We’ll trace Newfoundland and Labrador's penal policy from earliest times, concentrate on current, often controversial, correctional issues and examine the political factors that influence correctional policy-making. What a steal. [same as the former POSC 3791]

3810 Political Executive in Canada (A. Marland, slot 20, Tu/Th 3:30-4:50pm)
Quick – how many Canadian Prime Ministers can you name? We’ll look at the role of the political executive and then trace the major political challenges, key social accomplishments and important political actors during the administration of each of Canada’s PMs. If Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton were MUN students, they’d take POSC 3810. Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Québécois? Not so much. [same as the former POSC 2711]

3880 Introduction to Newfoundland and Labrador Politics (P. Boswell, Distance Education)
Why did the citizens of the country of Newfoundland decide to join Canada as its 10th province? Was Newfoundland and Labrador’s first premier, Joey Smallwood, a real ‘man of the people’ or a power-hungry despot? Is the current state of federal-provincial relations unusually tense or have there been similar stresses in the past? These and other issues will be dealt with in POSC 3880 as we explore the province’s post-confederation political parties, leaders, elections, interest groups, economy, and government structures. [same as the former POSC 3780]

4000 LEVEL COURSES – Advanced Political Science seminars

4010 Honours Essay I and 4011 Honours Essay II (contact R. Levy)
Spend two semesters writing a research essay on the topic of your choice. Sound interesting? More information about our Honours program, including our “Guidelines Governing Honours Essays”, is available on our website. [same as the former POSC 4950/4951] Prerequisites apply.

4100 Approaches to Political Theory (M. Temelini, slot 13, M/W 2-3:30pm)
In POSC 4100 you’ll be introduced to the interpretation of political texts. We’ll use historical and hermeneutical approaches to the study of political science. Don’t know what “hermeneutical” is? Maybe you should take this course. [same as the former POSC 4611] Prerequisites apply.

4230 Theories of International Relations (M. Anderson, slot 17, Tu/Th 9-10:15am)
How do nation-states interact with each other? We will examine the major theories used to understand world politics and international conflict, such as constructivism, feminism, game theory, historical structuralism, liberalism, and realism. These will be explored through classic readings in international relations and case studies. Prerequisites apply.

4310 Comparative Federalism (S. Tomblin, slot 19, Tu/Th, 2-3:15pm)
We will look at theories of federalism along with the development and operation of federalism in selected nation states, including Canada, Germany, the United States and Brazil. In an era of globalization, declining deference, and increasing social diversity, there is much we can learn from federal systems of governance. Hopefully we’ll all get along… Prerequisites apply.

4360 Contentious Politics: Protest, Violence & Terrorism (D. Close, slot 20, Tu/Th 3:30-4:50)
We will examine protest and movement politics, insurgent and counter-insurgent politics, terrorism, and revolution. “Viva la revolucion!” [same as the former POSC 4740] Prerequisites apply.

4370 Democracy and Democratization (D. Butler, slot 31, Tuesdays 7-9:30pm)
If you vote to take this course, you’ll learn about the conditions needed to develop and sustain democratic regimes and the circumstances under which transitions to democracy succeed or fail. We will examine theoretical materials and apply them to recent and historical transitions to democratic rule. Wise choice. [same as the former POSC 4301] Prerequisites apply.

4380 The Developing World (E. Yehia, slot 12, M/W 12:30-1:50pm)
Our fault? Their fault? Nobody's fault? This course will tackle the sensitive and complex topic of politics in the developing world. Are the challenges of securing and maintaining lasting peace, stable democracy and sustainable economies simply too large to overcome? Are these really the issues that matter and need to be addressed? Enroll and find out. [same as the former POSC 4450] Prerequisites apply.

4600 Public Policy Work Internship (contact A. Marland)
Wouldn’t it be great to have career-related work experience on your résumé and to apply your Political Science knowledge to the real world? This three credit hour course includes a part-time job placement with government, a voluntary organization, a political party, a union, or another institution involved in public affairs. Interested? Your first job is to visit and to contact the course administrator before the semester starts. [same as the former POSC 4000] Prerequisites apply.

4680 Public Policy in Newfoundland and Labrador (J. Loder, slot 11, M/W 10:30-11:50am)
Do you want to know how the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador really makes decisions? The factors influencing politicians and civil servants are often surprising. In POSC 4680 we will examine the formation, implementation and impact of policies in areas such as fisheries, resources, industrial development, agriculture and/or social policy. [same as the former POSC 4730] Prerequisites apply.


5999 Exchange Program – Limerick, Ireland or Uppsala, Sweden
Feeling lucky enough to study in Ireland? Information about our exchange programs is available online at Imagine how Swede it would be to study in Uppsala!


A number of improvements to the Political Science program take effect in September 2009. Some courses have been renumbered and some new courses have been added while others have been discontinued. Any Political Science student who had not completed a 2000-level (or higher) Political Science course before September 2009 must follow the new degree requirements. A Political Science “grandfathered” student who had completed a 2000-level (or higher) Political Science course before September 2009 will follow the old degree requirements (although can choose to opt in to the new ones). For more information see