Summer Timetable

POL380H1S L0101

Topics in International Politics

Critical Approaches to World Politics


Mainstream theories of IR (Realism, Liberalism, most versions of Constructivism) are designed to explain or understand world politics, therefore implicitly promoting the statu quo. Critical theories on the other hand are meant to critique the status quo and seek to change the current social order. Critical thinkers aim is to understand the underlying structures of oppression that prevent us from understanding the world in which we live. In one word, critical theories are oriented towards emancipation from economic, patriarchal, cultural and discursive domination. This course will introduce students to a variety of critical approaches for understanding world politics, including: marxism, post-structuralism, feminism and postcolonialism. This will be done with a strong focus on practical cases by applying these approaches to understanding, for example, human rights, global finance, gender and sexual oppression, social movements, corporations, international institutions, foreign aid, NGOs, LGBTQ rights, nuclear arms, and the Iraq war.


TBA (Articles will be uploaded to BlackBoard)

Format and Requirements

Participation: 20%, Graphic study guides: 15% (3x5%), Research paper (2000 words): 35%, Final test: 30%


POL208Y1 or POL208Y5 or (POLB80H3 and POLB81H3)