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 2023 – GINS 4090
- Section B: Canada’s International Assistance Relations - Ioanna Sahas Martin
Despite significant progress towards achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030 is in jeopardy. Even before COVID19 struck, the world was facing the reality of widening inequality. As a mid-range donor among OECD countries, Canada’s influence is varied. Canada played a significant role over the past decade to mobilize global resources to close gaps in maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, education and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Attention to other sectors such as inclusive governance and economic growth – arguably key enabling factors for longer-term and more sustainable progress– is less robust. How can Canada promote enhanced relationships with developing countries and regions based on a more level playing field and mature relationship that goes beyond the traditional donor-recipient model? How do trade and security cooperation contribute to development progress, particularly when countries in North America and Europe focus more immediately on their own populations in a crisis? What does hybrid mean for the future of diplomacy and international assistance, and how can the Government of Canada prepare and leverage a diverse workforce? This honours seminar will examine which SDGs are most at risk of not being achieved, how Canada’s international assistance is contributing to meeting the objectives of Agenda 2030, and which approaches to international cooperation hold the best prospects for closing – or at least not widening further – development gaps. Students will learn about how Canada leverages its regional engagement and participation in international fora to amplify and maximize its international assistance efforts; compare approaches of alternate models of international cooperation such as by Arab, African, Asian or Latin American donors; and explore how Canada and other middle power countries might reshape international assistance cooperation for the future in an interconnected yet dynamic and unpredictable world order.
- Section C: Frontiers of Emotional Diplomacy - Eric Van Rythoven
International politics is often treated as a realm of dispassionate calculation where states efficiently maximize their national interest. Yet from state officials publicly trading barbs on Twitter, to populist narratives of national humiliation, to the emotional visuals from war in Ukraine, global events continue to complicate this image. This bespoke seminar explores a series of emerging debates around the role of emotions in the practice of diplomacy. We will be exploring questions such as how do emotions shape diplomatic practices like face-to-face meetings, international summits, and public diplomacy at home and abroad? Why do some international bureaucrats and diplomatic officials engage in ‘emotional labour’? Are rituals important to NATO? What is the role of emotions in digital diplomacy, the increasing circulation of images, and global disinformation? How do diplomats and state leaders use humour and insults in foreign policy? And what is ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’ anyways? Over the next 12 weeks we will examine these questions and more as we explore the frontiers of emotional diplomacy.
- Section E: New Dynamics in Middle East and Rising Role of China - Iyas Abu-Hajiar
Presently, it is said the world is witnessing a potential power transition between the United States and China. As tensions are rising in the Asia Pacific, China is pursuing a strategy of “Marching West” towards the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is considered to be the pillar of its foreign policy in consolidating power and spheres of influence. This seminar will explore emerging dynamics in the Middle East as China is pursuing spheres of influence in the region in terms of how China’s BRI strategy in the Middle East is competing with the United States in economic, political, and foreign aid spheres and whether China is attempting to build an alternative international order.
Winter 2024 – GINS 4090
- Section D: 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 and critical scholarships to better understand key elements of the contemporary world, including the borders and partitions, the persistence of the state, and post imperial imaginaries and intangibles, and neocolonial legacies. Note: a familiarity with 20th century international history is an asset.
- Section A: Diversification within Globalized Cultural Industries - John Coleman
This seminar introduces students to influential ideas in critical theory about contemporary trends underpinning diversification in the cultural industries. We will approach these ideas from the perspective of cultural production’s globalized infrastructure and reach. This will allow us to discuss and explore the practice of publishers and media firms searching for new artists and producers of unrecognized acclaim, as well as the routine global outsourcing of labour in the cultural industries. In relation to these topics, scheduled readings, meeting discussions, and assignments will focus on: contemporary diversity initiatives making cultural production more inclusive but also limiting for marginalized artists and authors; debates about opening access to cultural production through making education more accessible; perspectives emerging from humanist and economic interests in favour of diversification in the cultural industries; what specifically constitutes “diversification,” from varying the identities of characters in works to shuffling media company workforce demographics; and the discourses of marketing and promotions – used to globally circulate cultural products – which help to frame the reception of artists and their works in different markets and contexts. We will also read and discuss literary and cultural texts by postcolonial and diasporic creators whose narratives manifest and critique the experiences people can have while waging a political statement through cultural expression.
- Section F: The Politics of Self in the Age of Globalization - Hassan Bashir
The focus of this course is on the politics of self and identity in a globalized world. We will explore how individual identities are negotiated, constructed, and redefined in a world where local and global influences intersect continually. We will begin by asking what prompts us to seek continuity of identity over time. Students will then explore the concept of ‘self’ from sociopolitical, cultural, and philosophical perspectives to understand the forces that shape our understanding of self and others. Eventually, the course will analyze the impact of globalization on self-identity, discussing both the opportunities for hybridization and the risks of homogenization. Topics we will cover include the theoretical underpinnings of globalization and its influence on the construction of self-identity, the dialectics of local and global in the formation of self-identity, the concept of hybrid identities, and specific case studies where local cultures interact with global influences. We’ll also discuss the challenges posed by globalization, especially the fear of cultural erosion and the loss of distinct identities. Additionally, we’ll explore the role of self-politics as a site of resistance and preservation of local cultures, the cosmopolitan perspective of self-identity, and the idea of global citizenship and a shared human community. Throughout the course, we’ll analyze the impact of globalization on self-identity, discussing both the opportunities for hybridization and the risks of homogenization. We’ll engage with relevant literature from sociology, political science, cultural studies, philosophy, and global and international studies. Additionally, where possible, we’ll read texts and critically engage with audio-visual sources (films and music) from non-Western cultures (i.e., East and South Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America).