Message from the Chair

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 12:13pm
Information on the upcoming Term

As we contemplate the end of summer and a return to campus, I write with two brief reminders. First, let us remind ourselves, our friends, and our families that politics centers on important and complex questions of justice, respect, and liberty. We do not shy away from asking difficult questions that defy easy answers. Yet, as we do so, we proceed in a spirit of inquiry that demands marshalling all available evidence, deploying crystal-clear logic, and calibrating our claims based on what the evidence and logic together can bear. We do not back away from hard truths, but we always proceed with intellectual humility and respect for the well considered perspectives of others. So, when you return to the classroom, by all means have tough debates, but remember to remain open to the well considered perspectives of your peers. Listen to them. Learn from them. You just might be surprised what a little respect for others’ perspectives can bring.

Second, we have a terrific slate of courses this year. Below are a few offerings that will add to your education but that you may have overlooked. Please consider enrolling and passing along this information to other UTM students who might be interested.If you do not have the prerequisites, please contact the instructors.


POL302Y5Y - Politics of Western Europe and the European Union

Fridays, 11 am – 1 pm, Professor Reinsenbechler

Political institutions and processes in Western Europe, with special reference to Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Evolution of the European Union, its institutions and policy-making system.

POL304Y5Y - Politics of South Asia

Mondays, 3 – 5 pm, Professor Shivaji Mukherjee

This course surveys systems of government and political processes across South Asia, with attention to state formation, nationalism, ethnicity, democracy vs. authoritarian forms of governance, social movements, political violence, insurgencies, political economy, corruption, and other important issues affection South Asian states currently. The focus will be mostly on India and Pakistan and possibly some of the other countries in south Asia.

POL322Y5Y - Enlightenment and Theocracy

Thursdays, 11 am – 1 pm, Professor Ronnie Beiner

A survey of modern political theories, from Machiavelli onwards, bearing on the problem of religion and politics. The course includes discussions of Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant, as well as anti-liberal thinkers such as Maistre and Nietzsche. Themes include toleration, the Enlightenment, civil religion, and theocracy.

POL390H5F - Topics in Comparative Politics: Russian Politics

Thursdays, 11 am – 1 pm, Professor Ed Schatz

This course provides students with the tools to understand the politics of Russia today. After background on the nature of the Soviet system, the course turns to consider topics like the changing political economy, the nature of informal relations, the dynamics of protest and repression, and the use and abuse of law.

POL390H5S - Topics in Comparative Politics: Comparative Populism: from Chavez and Le Pen to Donald J. Trump

Thursdays, 11 am – 1 pm, Professor Ed Schatz

What is populism and how does it shape the nature of political competition? Can democratic institutions survive the rise of the new populism? This course considers a variety of examples, including Venezuela, France, and—most visibly—the United States, as we address this rising tide of populist politics.

POL390H5S - Topics in Comparative Politics: Cyberpolitics

Tuesdays, 1 – 3 pm, Professor Spyro Kotsovilis

This course will examine various aspects of politics and cyberspace-from domestic, to international and transnational-level interactions and impact. It will focus on issues like the growing role of information and communication technologies in democratic and authoritarian domestic politics and global civil society, the prospects of international economic development and trade in the age of the internet, the evolution of cyber-security and cyber-warfare, the threat of cyber-terrorism, as well as the emergent efforts towards governance of cyberspace. Through their study, this course aspires to explore the complex picture of the increasingly pervasive role information and communications technologies play in the conduct and experience of domestic and transnational politics.