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Political Theory Courses

Political theory explores, in a philosophical manner, the ways that societies are governed and could be governed. Political Science courses with a "1" as the second number have been designated as delivering primarily political theory content. (note: applicable credit restrictions and prerequisites not shown -- see courses page for detailed information)

Political Science Honours and Majors candidates may wish to apply political theory courses towards an optional concentration in Global Studies. A recommended course sequencing for students interested in political theory is as follows:

  • Begin with 1000 Introduction to Politics and Government. Also, consider taking one of 1010 Issues in Canadian Politics or 1020 Issues in World Politics.
  • Next, take 2100 Introduction to Political Theory.
  • Then, take some 31xx courses (more specialized political theory content).
  • Finally, take 41xx courses (advanced seminars in political theory).

1000 Introduction to Politics and Government: Introduction to Politics and Government is an introduction to basic concepts in the study of politics, power, law, public policy and government, touching on major areas of political ideologies, institutions, and current domestic and international political issues. Suitable for students in all disciplines.

2100 Introduction to Political Theory: A survey of the most important political thinkers and schools of political thought. The course will ordinarily cover major political thinkers and include a selection of contemporary political ideologies.

3100 Political Theory from Plato to Rousseau: Examines selected political theory from Plato to Rousseau. The theme of the course is the development of liberal democratic theory.

3110 Political Theory from Tocqueville to Present: Examines selected political theory from Tocqueville to the present. The theme of the course is the crisis in liberal democratic theory.

3140 Feminist Political Theory: Examines feminist scholarship that has challenged previously accepted notions in political theory, including definitions of politics itself, the distinctions between public and private, the nature of citizenship, and the roles of women in civil society. This course considers different ways of looking at power and political culture in modern societies, examining themes such as gender and democracy, race and class, poverty and welfare, sexuality and morality.

4100 Approaches to Political Theory: An introduction to the interpretation of political texts. Features historical and hermeneutical approaches to the study of political science.

4110 Multicultural Citizenship: Examines political theorists' interpretations and assessments of democracy and multiculturalism.

4120 Contemporary Democratic Theory: Examines alternative conceptions of the foundations of democracy. Theorists to be considered include Dworkin, Hayek, Nozick, Rawls, and Walzer.

Other political theory options: Political Science Honours and Major candidates may substitute Philosophy 3870 and 3890 for 3000-level Political Science credit hours (31xx), and Women's Studies 4005 for 4000-level Political Science credit hours (41xx).