Indigenous Courses

Below is a list of Political Science courses that include topics in Indigenous politics and/or Indigenous political thought. Please visit the relevant timetable section of our website to see which courses are currently being offered. Please note that not all courses listed below run every term.

POL 101Y1Y: Democracy, Dictatorship, War, and Peace (Syllabus)
Courtney Jung and Ryan Balot
This is an introductory course to politics and political science. In the first semester, the course includes one lecture, and readings, on the history of colonialism and cultural genocide in Canada, the residential school system, the TRC, reconciliation, and contemporary Indigenous politics.

POL 198Y1Y: Social Justice and the City (Syllabus)
Theresa Enright
This course considers questions of social and spatial justice. Racism, capitalism, and the distribution of land, resources, and opportunities are central themes. We also more explicitly problematize debates about “public space” on un-ceded land. This year we will be participating in a First Toronto walking tour.

POL 214Y1Y: Canadian Government and Politics (Syllabus)
Nelson Wiseman
The first semester of this course, on the topic of the Canadian Constitution, includes material on the constitutional status of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, including a critical analysis of the Indian Act. The second semester, which covers issues in Canadian politics, includes one session on Indigenous politics in Canada, including for example Idle No More, the Assembly of First Nations, the National Enquiry into MMIWG, responses to the Final Report of the TRC and the 94 Calls to Action, and so forth.

POL305Y1Y: Politics and Society in Latin America (Syllabus)
Donald Kingsbury
This course introduces students to the comparative politics of Latin America from a historical and critical perspective. We discuss the lasting impacts of colonialism and neocolonialism on political institutions, identities, economies, and landscapes, with an emphasis on resistances to injustice and inequality by Indigenous, poor, and racialized peoples. A reading that represents this decolonial perspective is Walter Mignolo’s The Idea of Latin America.

POL 308H1S: Indigenous Politics in Canada
Dale Turner
Students will examine closely the legal and political relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state from the Hawthorn Report in 1966 to the federal government’s Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples in 2018.

JPS 315H1S Sexual Diversity Politics (Syllabus)
Julie Moreau
This course examines LGBTQ politics and activism in Canada and the US. We discuss the effects of settler colonialism, including the imposition of heterosexuality and binary gender categories, and the marginalization of Two-Spirit ways of being. We read, for example, Quo-Li Driskil’s “Stolen From Our Bodies: First Nations Two-Spirits/Queers and the Journey to a Sovereign Erotic.”

POL 329H1S: Experiences of Conflict (Syllabus)
Nancy Bertoldi
This course on political conflict reviews selected novels that deal with personal and collective experiences of conflict in light of pertinent political analyses of conflict. The course includes two weeks on Indigenous political conflict and engagement. Selections from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and from Thomas King, in conjunction with fiction that depicts Indigenous experiences of war, are assigned. Special attention is paid to questions of identity formation and moral choice in contexts of war and nationalism.

POL 337Y1Y: The Canadian Constitution (Syllabus)
David Pond
This course on the Canadian Constitution includes two weeks on Indigenous People and the Constitution, including the following reading assignments: Isabelle Brideau, The Duty to Consult Indigenous Peoples (Library of Parliament, 12 June 2017; Sébastien Grammond, “Treaties as Constitutional Agreements,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution (2017); Gregory Inwood, “Aboriginal Governance and Federalism” (chapter 9), in Understanding Canadian Federalism (2013); Roger Townshend & Tom Flanagan, “Can Native Sovereignty Co-Exist with Canadian Sovereignty? Yes or No,” Mark Charlton & Paul Barker, eds., Crosscurrents (8th ed., 2015); Martin Papillon, “The Rise (and Fall?) of Aboriginal Self-Government,” in James Bickerton & Alain-G. Gagnon, eds., Canadian Politics (6th ed., 2014).

POL 344Y1Y: Social movements in Europe and North America (Syllabus)
Sylvia Bashevkin
This course on social movements includes two weeks on Indigenous activism, in particular as it arose in the United States and Canada in the 1960’s and beyond.

POL 349H1S: Global Urban Politics (Syllabus)
Theresa Enright
This course examines urban politics in the context of globalization. In part, it considers how Indigenous struggles and knowledge (e.g. Idle no More, anti-extractivist movements, the Zapatista uprising, models of Indigenous sovereignty, and alternative global cosmologies) can illuminate urban political dynamics.

POL 360H1F: Topics in Latin American Politics (Syllabus)
Donald Kingsbury
This year’s Topics focuses on the rise of reactionary governments in contemporary Latin America. We examine developmentalism as a logic of state that has characterized governments across the ideological spectrum in what Peruvian theorist Aníbal Quijano describes as la colonialidad del poder (the coloniality of power). Key questions addressed include: the status of the nation-state after globalization and neoliberal structural adjustment; resource extraction and sustainable development; regional integration. The course prioritizes the perspective of social movements, with particular emphasis on women’s, ecological, and Indigenous perspectives. A reading that exemplifies this approach is Arturo Escobar’s “Latin America at a Crossroads: Alternative Modernizations, Post-Liberalism, or Post-Development?”

POL 377H1F: Truth, Reconciliation, and Settler Colonialism
Uahikea Maile
This course examines settler colonialism in reconciliation policies and their regimes of truth. We will explore theories and critiques of settler colonialism through the truth and reconciliation commission. A comparative study in Indigenous politics, the class engages truth, reconciliation, and settler colonialism in South Africa, Canada, and elsewhere.

POL 377H1S: Indigenous Feminist and Queer Theories
Uahikea Maile
This course discusses Indigenous feminist and queer theories. We will track political theories within Indigenous feminist and queer studies and how they advance critiques of colonial heteropatriarchy as well as decolonial modes of relationality. The class considers Indigenous feminist and queer interventions in governance, affect, sovereignty, erotics, futurity, and more.

JPS 378H1F Sex and the State (Syllabus)
Julie Moreau
This course explores sex and sexuality as key sites of colonial and settler colonial domination and subordination in the process of state-making. We explicitly discuss the concept of “settler biopolitics” and read Scott Morgensen’s Spaces between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization.

POL 378H1F: Cities and Citizens (Syllabus)
Theresa Enright
This course examines citizenship and democracy in an urban age. At various points in the course, readings examine what local democratic participation and The Right to the City might mean through an Indigenous lens.

POL 380H1S: Queer IR
Julie Moreau
This course examines issues at the intersection of sexuality and international relations. We critique fundamental concepts in international relations such as the state system, sovereignty, security and cooperation from queer, feminist and Indigenous perspectives. We read, for example, Manuela Lavinas Picq’s “Decolonizing Indigenous Sexualities: Between Erasure and Resurgence.”

POL 380H1F: Global Governance (Syllabus)
Wendy Wong
This course will explore how we conceptualize the governance of the global order. The material will include discussion of various institutional forms, both formal and informal. We first learn about the different theories explaining governance and articulating key issues before moving secondly to a discussion of the different actors that participate in global governance. Finally, we will be examining how some issues highlight the strengths of, and challenges to, global governance: climate change, Indigenous political movements, and refugees.

POL 381H1S: Global Politics and Global Political Thought
Matthew Walton
This course examines non-Western or otherwise marginalized perspectives on political thought through primary source readings. It includes an array of readings from Indigenous scholars on the environment, justice and the natural world, as well as some readings on engaging with Indigenous thought more generally.

POL 381H1F: Privilege and Race in Global Perspective (Syllabus)
Matthew Walton
This course includes readings from Indigenous scholars on the topics of “Racialized Onto-Epistemologies,” “Indigeneity and Settler Colonialism,” and the relationship of work in Critical Race Theory to various expressions of Indigeneity.

POL 382H1S: Canadian Political Development (Syllabus)
Robert Vipond
This course introduces students to Canadian political development – an approach that sets out to understand how attention to history can illuminate and explain patterns of Canadian politics. The course introduces students to some of the core theories, concepts, and tools of a developmental approach. It also applies this approach to key moments in Canadian political history (e.g. Confederation, 1867), key contestations (e.g. the place of Indigenous peoples), and key institutions (e.g. political parties).

POL 382H1F: Canadian Political Economy (Syllabus)
Rodney Haddow
This course includes one session that is devoted to the political economy of settler-Indigenous relations.

POL 410H1S: Race (Syllabus)
Courtney Jung
This course considers the origins and history of the rise of race (and racism), explicitly as a historical, social, economic, and political construct, and the contemporary role of race (and racism) in ordering and maintaining power. In particular the course focuses attention on the ways race is differently deployed in different parts of the world. One week of the course focuses attention on the racial construction of Indigeneity in Canada, Mexico, and parts of South Asia.

POL 480H1F: Studies in Comparative Political Theory (Syllabus)
Matthew Walton
This course includes critical work on settler encounters with Indigenous populations in the Americas, reflections on Indigenous practices and methodologies over two weeks of methods readings, readings by Indigenous authors on Recognition, Refusal and Resurgence, and works from Indigenous scholars on “Non-Human Political Perspectives.”

POL 484H1F: Indigenous-Settler Relations in Canada (Syllabus)
Melissa Williams
This course monitors the Canadian governments’ (federal, provincial, municipal) responsiveness to the TRC Calls to Action. The course focuses on Calls 43 and 44, to use UNDRIP as a framework for reconciliation in Canada, and particularly on three normative concepts in UNDRIP: the right of self-determination; free, prior and informed consent; and treaties. Throughout, we explore many Indigenous thinkers’ understandings of these concepts, and contrast them with the interpretations we find among government actors and non-Indigenous thinkers. Most of the literature in the course is by Indigenous authors. This year, the class will travel to Six Nations to meet with the Justice Department and visit the Woodland Cultural Centre to learn more about wampum belt treaties. Students are encouraged to write research papers on topics of interest to the Six Nations Justice Department.

POL 490H1S: Leadership in the Territories and Provinces
Sylvia Bashevkin
This course examines political leadership in Canada’s provinces and territories, asking how the style and content of sub-national governments are affected by the demographic background of premiers. About two weeks of that course will focus on Indigenous leadership in the territories, with particular attention to Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

POL 492H1S: Indigenous Nationalism
Dale Turner
This seminar examines and compares contemporary Indigenous politics in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. In each country Indigenous peoples de facto possess some special form of political recognition: in Canada, the rights of Indigenous peoples are explicitly recognized and protected in the Canadian Constitution; in New Zealand, the political relationship between the Maori and Pakeha (European newcomers) is grounded in the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi; and Australia now recognizes the legal existence of Native title in Australian law. The seminar examines the meaning and content of Indigenous rights, sovereignty, and nationhood in domestic contexts, which has nurtured an evolving Indigenous politics in the international forum.