Climate Change, Power, and Social Transformations
This course explores fundamental concepts of politics and political science like power, authority, institutions, and the state. As a gateway to the political science program, this course seeks to get you in the political science mindset and to introduce you to thinking like a political scientist. This requires that you have the right vocabulary and conceptual foundations, but also that you use them concretely, to explore crucial issues and questions the world faces today.
The first semester, taught by Professor Hoffmann, will grapple with the politics of climate change as the organizing theme for the term. Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time and solving it or at least avoiding the worst consequences of the problem may require a fundamental transformation in how we live—how we organize our economies, transportation, and energy systems. There is no easy solution and there is still uncertainty about how big the effects of climate change will be and when and where we can expect to see them. Our challenge is to try and grasp the political implications and dynamics of climate change. We will explore why it is hard to address climate change and the way climate change is now a part of politics at every level (individual, municipal, provincial, national, global). At the end of the course, you will not know what the solution to climate change is, but you will have a better appreciation of the politics of this significant issue and be better equipped to take part in ongoing debate and response.
The second semester, taught by Professor Donald Kingsbury, explores a number of enduring questions and concepts that animate the study of politics. Each week carries its own theme in which we will explore a cluster of ideas that inform, question, or extend core aspects of contemporary global politics. Emphasis will be given to concepts that concern power and inequality, political transformation and social change, and the changing practices of democracy and political community in late capitalism. By balancing theory and the study of comparative politics, the Spring semester aims to develop students’ conceptual toolbox and to expose them to challenges and opportunities afforded by globalization and development. Among other case studies, students will study contemporary Latin American social movements, colonization and decolonization in North America, issues surrounding refugees and immigration, and the challenges our increasingly urbanized world pose for state-focused disciplines like political science.
1. Harriet Bulkeley and Peter Newell Governing Climate Change 2nd Edition Routledge Press 2015.
2. John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, and David Schlosberg (eds) Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society Oxford University Press. AVAILABLE ON-LINE THROUGH THE UT LIBRARY
All other assigned readings will be available on BlackBoard.
Format and Requirements
One two-hour lecture per week; tutorials roughly every other week. Course requirements TBA.