Fourth Year Honours Seminars
All BGInS students in an Honours program are required to successfully complete one section of GINS 4090 in order to meet graduation requirements. Fourth year students will be permitted to select one section of GINS 4090 for their timetable.
Fall 2021 – GINS 4090
- Section A: Political Economy of Extractive Industries in the Global South - Pablo Heidrich
Extractive industries (mining, oil, and gas) represent a most relevant challenge and opportunity for local communities and entire nations in the Global South, accounting for the bulk of their trade and investment linkages with rest of the world. The resulting tensions between local communities, often indigenous and/or rural, paying most of the environmental and social costs; and the large urban majorities in these countries, which receive most of the economic and social gains, as well as foreign investors, who accrue extraordinary profits have influenced or even defined politics in much of the developing world. To analyze this reality, this course covers major political economy debates on natural resources-dependent development (Dependencia, resource curse, Dutch disease, accumulation through dispossession, etc.), and focuses on the distributional effects of extractive industries along local, regional, and national spaces, as well as across class, ethnic and gender dimensions. Finally, the course will integrate environmentalist and Indigenous critiques to current extractive industries disputes.
- Section B: Imperialism and Resistance in the 20th Century - Candace Sobers
This course provides a detailed investigation of processes and consequences of empire and resistance in the 20th century, including imperial repertoires, colonization, decolonization as politics and metaphor, anticolonial nationalisms, revolution and counterrevolution, and what it means to be “after Empire”? This course uses historical sources and methods, as well as critical scholarships, to better understand key elements of the contemporary world, including borders and partitions, the persistence of the state, and postimperial imaginaries and intangibles, and neocolonial legacies. Note: a familiarity with 20th century international history is a definite asset.
Winter 2022 – GINS 4090
- Section D: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Political Violence - Sarah Shoker
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a class of physical and digital objects that have several international security implications. AI is a disciplinary ecosystem populated by various subfields that use (often big) data to train goal-seeking technologies and simulate human intelligence. In no particular order, AI: allocates commercial resources , enables large-scale surveillance of often vulnerable populations radicalizes extremists, fights extremism, and may even identify civilians in the battlefield. These technologies are often predictive, designed to anticipate social, political, or economic risk and transfer the burden of human decision-making onto a technological system. This seminar offers a multi-disciplinary overview into what has so-far been a siloed discussion across several disciplines, including political science, data science, computer science, engineering, and philosophy. This seminar also provides students with the multidisciplinary tools necessary for understanding how emerging technologies work, their use in violent conflict, and how we can respond to our changing security landscape.
- Section E: Human Rights & Video in a Globalized World: Is the Internet a Crime Scene? - Sandra Fahy
Handheld recording devices and social media platforms enable almost anyone to capture and circulate footage of rights abuses, sometimes as they occur. Activists celebrate these technologies for empowering civil society to demand redress, raise global awareness for correcting past wrongs, and strive for justice. In the contemporary, individuals and minority groups harness video to amplify complaints against perpetrators. But here a natural question arises. If everyone is filming – victims, witnesses, perpetrators – then the tidy notion that video documentation leads easily to justice and redress is hardly so simple. Cheap and easy access to technology enables both victims and perpetrators to employ the same materials toward opposing causes. In our era of misinformation and post-truth, this is all the more troublesome. Technology is not inherently democratic. Is it rather, unexpectedly, totalitarian? In this course, we will explore the intersection of human rights and video in our contemporary globalized world. We will identify the earliest origins of human rights and video, where state actors used the technology to exonerate their role in atrocity – a phenomena that continues today. Drawing on interdisciplinary human rights scholarship and case studies across the world, we will investigate the early relationship of video and rights violations. We will complete our study in the contemporary, where we learn how groups like Bellingcat and Forensic Architecture use video to identify perpetrators – demonstrating that the internet is, indeed, a crime scene. (Please note, this class will not involve watching videos that demonstrate physical integrity rights violations).
- Section F: Addressing Gender-Based Violence Risks in Global Private Sector Business Operations - Dean Laplonge
Governments and international investors are increasingly requiring that businesses address the risks of gender-based violence (GBV) in their development projects. These risks include workplace sexual harassment, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation of vulnerable populations. Efforts to date have made good use of GBV knowledge and tools already used in humanitarian contexts. But the business world is a different environment that requires different approaches. In this seminar, students will learn about GBV risks in private sector development projects, study the suite of tools available to address these risks, analyze global case studies, and develop new tools ready for piloting. Throughout, we will maintain a critical eye on this field of work. We will consider how best to deal with dominant gendered systems and practices of the business world that help create and sustain the very GBV risks that are now being addressed. Students will have an advanced understanding of how to manage GBV risks in private sector development projects, opening up opportunities to work in this expanding field.