Fall/Winter Timetable

POL498H1S L0101

Intensive Course

Global Issues: Science, Technology and International Policy


In the globalization era, the most profound challenges to human survival – climate change, public health, food security, and resource scarcity, to name a few – are rooted in science and driven by technology. Moreover, underdevelopment and insecurity, far more than religious extremism or political violence, represent fundamental threats to world order. In this context, the capacity to generate, absorb and use science and technology (S&T) could play a crucial role in improving security and development prospects. Addressing the needs of the poor, and bridging the digital divide should similarly become a pre-occupation of diplomacy.

Although poverty reduction contributes to development, and development is the flip side of security, S&T issues are largely alien to, and almost invisible within most international policy institutions. Foreign ministries, development agencies, and indeed most multilateral organizations are without the scientific expertise, technological savvy, cultural pre-disposition or R&D network access required to manage effectively. If this is to change, and in order to examine the remedial possibilities, future opinion leaders and senior officials must be critically aware of both the dynamic inter-relationships among principal actors and the key questions and issues at play.

The seminar will involve selected readings, intensive exchange, the preparation of a research essay and the presentation of policy briefs by participants. Sessions will typically begin with a discussion led by the instructor, drawing upon his professional experience in both research and field applications. A multiplicity of media, as well as guest speakers, will be implicated where possible. Premiums will be placed on interaction, innovation, insight and initiative.

Course Details:
This intensive course is offered jointly with Peace and Conflict Studies and is open to ten (10) 4th-year POL students (pending Departmental approval), and counts as a half credit course. It is comprised of eight (8) three-hour sessions as follows:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 13, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 20, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 27, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Eligibility and Enrolment procedures:
POL undergraduate students who are interested in taking this course should submit a copy of their transcript with a request to take the course to Elizabeth Jagdeo (Political Science Undergraduate Office, SSH 3027, no later than 5 p.m., Friday, October 29, 2010. Because of the intensive nature of the course, students are expected to have at least a 3.3 CGPA. Please note priority will be given to POL specialists and Joint Specialists. Students will be notified by the department of the outcome of their application by Monday, November 8, 2010.

More information can be found at www.guerrilladiplomacy.com.

Course Requirements

Writing Assignment: Seminar participants will produce a research paper of approximately 2500 words (disclusive of notes and bibliography) analyzing an issue, constructing a framework for assessment and proposing operational responses and policy recommendations. Topics can be contemporary or historical in nature, and may be determined in consultation with the instructor.

Briefing Note/Presentation Assignment: Seminar participants will prepare a summary of their preliminary research findings in the form of a 2 page briefing note (sections include: Issue; Background; Analysis; Implications (e.g., for Canadian/global interests); Recommendations). During the last week of the seminar students will present those results to the class for consideration and critical evaluation. Presentation length will be approximately 10 - 15 minutes, depending upon enrolment. The content of these discussions may be incorporated into the final versions of both the briefing note and the research paper, each of which will be due on the last day of the spring term.

Grading Criteria
* comprehensiveness and concision of research, 30%
* coherence and organization of analysis, 20%
* clarity and strength of expression/argumentation, 20%
* response to criticism and ability to defend thesis, 10%
* suitability of approach, originality and overall quality, 20%

These criteria will be applied to both oral and written assignments.

Grading Matrix
* demonstrated knowledge of subject matter, participation in seminar discussions, 20%
* preparation of briefing note, 15%,
* presentation of case study, 15%
* research paper, 50%, due no later than Thursday, April 7, 2011