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Winter 2011 undergraduate courses


~These courses are suitable for students in all disciplines. There are no prerequisites.~


1000 Introduction to Politics and Government

section 1 (J. Baker, slot 6, M/Tu/Th, 1:00-1:50pm)

section 2 (S. Clark, slot 7, M/W/F, 2:00-2:50pm)

section 3 (S. Clark, slot 3, M/W/F, 10:00-10:50am)

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. (required for Political Science Honours, Majors & Minors)


1010 Issues in Canadian Politics (A. Marland, slot 18, Tu/Th, 10:30-11:45am)

Canadians may be good at hockey, like maple syrup and perhaps be able to parler 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? What kinds of jobs can you get by studying Political Science? 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?



~ These courses are suitable for students who are seeking an introduction to an area of Political Science. We generally recommend that you complete POSC 1000 before taking these courses. ~


2010 Research and Writing in Political Science (M. Kerby, slot 17, Tu/Th, 9:00-10:15am)

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? This section of 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. In this R/W course you’ll also hone your research and writing skills, availing of resources such as RefWorks, Ingenta, JSTOR and—wait for it—even the library bookstacks (horrors!) as you develop skills for use in other courses and in your post-university career. Prerequisite: POSC 1000.

2100 Introduction to Political Theory (D. Panagos, slot 19, Tu/Th, 2:00-3:15pm)

What do revolutions, dividing up a pie, and doing the laundry have in common? They are all examples of foundational concepts in political theory. By exploring the works of significant political thinkers like John Locke, Karl Marx, Catharine MacKinnon, and others, you will become familiar with the basic tenets of the most important political ideologies of our time. After POSC 2100, you will be able to decide when revolution is justified; how to best carve up a delicious blueberry pie (actually, you will be able to divide up any pastry-based item); and men and women will be able to settle who should do the laundry. [same as POSC 2000]


2200 Introduction to International Politics (O. Croci, slot 20, Tu/Th, 3:30-4:45pm)

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 18, Tu/Th, 10:30-11:45am)

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 (S. Tomblin, slot 17, Tu/Th, 9:00-10:15am)

Americans have been debating how to reform their health care system – they have different perspectives on the nature of the problem and what should be done (or not) to fix it. Meanwhile, governments are spending money on infrastructure programs in an attempt to ‘stimulate’ economic growth, but someone has to make decisions about actually putting shovels in the ground. How do we arrive at solutions to public problems? How are perceived solutions then implemented? A major advantage of this course is that we will highlight the challenges of both public policy and public administration, providing you with an improved ability to examine new challenges, to construct a vision, and to assess whether the resources exist for ideas to be implemented. [same as the former POSC 3540]


2800 Introduction to Canadian Politics and Government (C. Dunn, slot 18, Tu/Th, 10:30-11:45am)

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] (required for POSC Honours, Majors & Minors)



~ These courses are suitable for students who are seeking deeper knowledge in an area of Political Science. We generally recommend that before taking these that you complete the corresponding 2000-level course (i.e., the same second digit in the course number). ~


3010 Empirical Methods in Political Science (K. Blidook, slot 2, M/W/F, 9:00-9:50am)

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 POSC Honours, Major or Minor.


3110 Political Theory from Tocqueville to Present (M. Wallack, slot 3, M/W/F, 10:00-10:50am)

Marx maintained that a new power was being created among the working class and de Tocqueville warned about majority tyranny. Mill argued for the tolerance of individualism. Kropotkin believed that law and authority were neither necessary nor legitimate. Conversely, Freud proposed that political discontents might reflect a conflict between eros and death. After this course, what will your political viewpoints be?


3140 Feminist Political Theory (K. Mullins, slot 30, Monday, 7:00-9:30pm)

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.


3210 International Law (F. O'Brien, slot 30, Monday 7:00-9:30pm)

This popular course is an introduction to international law concerned with the interaction of the political and legal systems. Topics discussed are sources, agreements, membership, recognition, territory, jurisdiction, immunities, state responsibility, and force and war.


3250 International Political Economy (R. Williams, slot 19, Tu/Th, 2:00-3:15pm)

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.


3290 Human Security (S. Clark, slot 5, M/W/F, 12:00-12:50pm)

War is not simply a matter of politics and power. Indeed, even the tamest of battles instil fear, apply violence, and draw blood. At their most extreme, the costs exacted stagger the imagination. So how best can we deal with these tragedies? It has been, at least since the interwar period, the position of political science that only by improving our knowledge and understanding can we hope to keep such capricious forces at bay. This course will therefore use the seminar format to critically evaluate the main approaches to the study of violent conflict. The material covered will include not only the various theories that suggest the causes of war and peace, but also the basic strategies that underpin the employment of force. These theories will then be followed by a series of 20th and 21st century case studies, which will allow us to compare theory with practice. Finally, the course will end with an evaluation of current security issues, such as NBC weapons proliferation, terrorism, and guerrilla insurgencies.


3305 Irish Politics (M. Kerby, slot 20, Tu/Th, 3:30-4:45pm)

If Sarah Palin lived in St. John’s, she might suggest that if you were to stand on top of Signal Hill you may see the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day. Seriously though, we'll get a little closer to Ireland by examining what makes Irish politics so interesting. Whether you are attracted to one of the most unique electoral systems in the world, the rise and fall of the Celtic tiger, or the rapid transformation of Ireland's relationship with Northern Ireland and the rest of Europe... Céad mile fáilte.


3310 American Politics (M. Wallack, Slot 4, M/W/F, 11:00-11:50am)

this course will examine the unusually powerful role of the US Congress, the legal and political implications of the Constitution, and the politicized bureaucracy of the executive branch. Drawing on Web and television sources, we will examine the role of the media and interest groups in the struggle for power over the vast resources of the federal budget.


3600 Public Policy in Canada (S. Tomblin, slot 19, Tu/Th, 2:00-3:15pm)

Addressing climate change. Maintaining and recruiting health care professionals. Rising obesity rates. Developing knowledge networks. These are just some of many public policy issues facing Canadian society. Public policy is designed to ensure that nothing is “inevitable” and that there is a conscious choice based on policy considerations. In this course you will be introduced to the study of public policy in Canada, key concepts and theories (e.g., structuralism- dynamic), techniques of assessment, and why context matters.


3820 Constitutional Law in Canada (F. O'Brien, slot 31, Tuesday, 7:00-9:30pm)

In this course we’ll use a casebook approach to examine critical issues of Canadian constitutional Law. The development of the Canadian constitution and processes of judicial review, as well as the legal development of federalism and protection of civil rights, will be examined in detail. [same as the former POSC 3720]


3880 Introduction to Newfoundland and Labrador Politics (P. Boswell, Distance)

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]



~ These are advanced Political Science seminars suitable for students who have completed at least four courses in Political Science, including two at the 3000-level. There are specific prerequisites to help ensure that only those students with appropriate background knowledge are enrolled. ~


4010/4011 Honours Essay I & II (contact the Head of the Department)

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 at [same as the former POSC 4950/4951] Prerequisites apply.


4100 Approaches to Political Theory (D. Panagos, slot 17, Tu/Th, 9:00-10:15am)

Do we live in a man’s world? POSC 4100 will investigate this question by exploring the relationship between contemporary theories of justice and gender. The first half of the course highlights the manner in which gender impacts the theorization of justice: What do justice theorists say (or not say) about women and gender? The second half of the course focuses on justice related topics such as pornography, violence against women and reproductive rights in order to trace the impact of these topics on the way we think (or should think) about justice. Prerequisites apply.


4200 International Law and Politics (P. McCarter, slot 30, Monday, 7:00-9:30pm)

This is a research seminar on contemporary Canadian legal problems that will focus on one particular problem, such as Northern sovereignty, fishing zones, pollution, or control of the sea. Prerequisites apply.


4210 Arms Control and Proliferation (M. Wallack, slot 13, M/W, 2:00-3:15pm)

We're still here despite several close calls during the Cold War when the world faced nuclear annihilation. Did arms control have anything to do with our survival? Can measures to control proliferation prolong our time on the planet? This course examines the history and future prospects of arms control and measures to limit proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Prerequisites apply.


4250 The European Union (O. Croci, slot 18, Tu/Th, 10:30-11:45am)

Besides banning seal products and allegedly engaging in overfishing, what exactly does the EU do? What is it? Why was it formed? For what purpose? Iceland and Greenland are not part of it, but which countries are, when did they join, why, and who might join in the future? Why is it an economic giant but a political pygmy in world affairs? Would anyone regret it if it fell apart? Take this course and Even U can find out the answers. [same as the former POSC 3291] Prerequisites apply.


4330 Comparative Political Institutions (K. Blidook, slot 12, M/W, 12:30-1:45pm)

In this course we will study the relationship between political institutions and political outcomes. Topics will address the origin, evolution, demise and consequences of political institutions in a variety of western and non-western contexts. Prerequisites apply.


4340 Women and Mass Politics (A. Bittner, slot 33, Thursday, 7:00-9:30pm)

For centuries women have been excluded from mainstream politics, and the legacy of this exclusion remains. To this day women are missing from the highest administrative posts, and they continue to participate in lower numbers than men. We will look at women’s efforts to secure political rights from the mid-19thcentury onward, as well as assessing women’s attitudes towards politics, participation, and public policy. Over the course of the semester we will address systemic and institutional barriers to participation, as well as looking at the effects of women’s participation in politics, both in conventional institutional settings as well as non-conventional forms of activism. How big a problem is it if women don’t vote, don’t run for office, and don’t legislate? We will explore these and other normative questions. [same as the former POSC 4503] Prerequisites apply.


4370 Democracy and Democratization (D. Butler, slot 31, Tuesday, 7:00-9:30pm)

This course features a comparative study of the conditions necessary 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. Prerequisites apply.


4380 The Developing World (D. Close, slot 14, M/W, 3:30-4:45pm)

Why do so many poor countries stay poor? Why are so few of the world’s poor countries stable democracies? POSC 4380 looks at the politics of world’s poorer states to find answers. In Winter 2011 we will look at the relationship between democracy and development, the question of failed states, and the emerging roles of China and India. Prerequisites apply.


4600 Public Policy Work Internship (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 32, Wednesday, 7:00-9:30pm)

This course involves a study of public policy in Newfoundland and Labrador. We will examine the formation, implementation and impact of policies in one or more of the following areas: fisheries, resources, industrial development, agriculture, social policy. Prerequisites apply.