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 2019

GINS 4090 Section A: Evaluating Development Projects and Programs – Logan Cochrane
Billions of dollars are spent on development projects and programs every year. How do we know what works? For who? In what ways? And, why? This course is for those who want to understand what approaches exist to answer those questions and to gain practical experience in applying different evaluations tools and approaches. Evaluation tools and approaches covered in this class will include log-frames, theory of change, random control trials, case studies, outlier sampling, complexity mapping, problem-driven iterative adaptation, amongst others. While the focus of this course is upon development activities in the Global South, these same tools and approaches are used around the world by intergovernmental agencies, government ministries, non-governmental organizations, corporations and civil society groups. While learning about the tools, this course will also critically analyze the underlying concepts, theories, practices and methodological implications. Throughout this course we will reflect on questions of bias, positionality, power and ethics.

GINS 4090 Section B: Democracy in the Middle East – Michael Petrou
In 2019, as in past years, the NGO Freedom House’s annual ranking of countries in the world based on civil liberties and political rights judged almost the entire Middle East to be “Not Free.” Only Israel and Tunisia achieved a fully “Free” ranking, and a handful of other nations were considered “Partially Free.” What’s gone wrong? Where have there been successes? What might lead to more political freedom in the region? This class will try to answer these questions. We will explore culture, religion, oil, colonialism, sectarianism, invasion, terrorism, and the effects these have had. We will try to understand where democracy in the region is headed, and factors that may influence its future. Special attention will be paid to the Arab Spring and its aftermath.

GINS 4090 Section D: Globalization and Food – Marylynn Steckley
Food offers exciting possibilities for social change, and tragic illustrations of the trenchant inequalities of the human condition in our time. Food offers ways to build bridges and community cohesion, but can also embody prejudice, violence and suffering. Food production and consumption can foster social equity, healthful lives, and environmental rejuvenation, or can entrench labour exploitation, dietary bankruptcy, and ecological decline.  In this course, we explore the consequences of the way we eat. In particular, we investigate the relationship between Globalization and Food following 4 key themes: the Global Food Economy; Food, Identity and Power; Eating and Ethics; and Food Justice.  To complement our ‘food’ content, we will work our way through a variety of qualitative research methods. Through the lens of Food, students will have the exciting opportunity to engage meaningfully in their food communities to conduct primary research, imagine possibilities for more just and equitable food systems.

Winter 2020

GINS 4090 Section E: The United States as Empire – Andrew Johnston
The United States has tended to believe that it is exceptional among world powers, and one way it has been most exceptional is in not having had an empire. At the same time, American historians have, since at least the 1950s, spent a great deal of energy trying to debunk the myth. Today, the question is debated in different forms, but it still hinges on the idea of whether America’s promotion of a liberal global order constitutes a form of American hegemony or is simply the teleological playing out of the desires of history itself. This course aims to tackle some of these debates by tracing the long history of U.S. expansion—continental, hemispheric and global—and the great historical controversies that each phase of that expansion engendered. The course will, therefore, not only to provide a tour d’horizon of the ways in which the United States was or was not an empire, but will also provide a discussion of the term “empire” itself.

GINS 4090 Section F: Secularism and Religion: Formations and Controversies  – M. Kamari Clarke
The late twentieth century resurgence of religion in world affairs has been among the most politically charged global phenomenon of our time.  From the rise of transnational religious networks, to controversial legal challenges to religious rights, to state-sponsored trials for religious minorities and Western feminist objections to Islamic veiling, the debates remain critical and volatile. This course explores contemporary issues dealing with the emergence of the secular as a public discourse and debates over religious freedoms and accommodations in the contemporary period.  By exploring the disavowal of religion in public life, students will consider knowledge production through the crisis of religion, science and claims to the secular.

GINS 4090 Section G: Migration and Global Justice – Shaira Vadasaria
How do ideas about ‘citizenry’ and ‘non-citizenry’ (i.e. refugees, migrants, undocumented people) take on a discursive and material life? How does a border for instance, demarcate who belongs and does not belong to an ‘imagined community’? What are the constituents of power that contour the boundaries of the nation-state and its desired community? Further, how these processes of subject formation interact with and policy around migration? At its premise, this course investigates the ways that nation-states are constructed, experienced and contested terrain. We will canvass a range of legal, aesthetic and other documentary sources to think about how technologies of im/mobility (i.e. regulatory systems that restrict access to movement) are connected to epistemic and geo-political configurations of modern coloniality. Drawing from theories of migration, decolonial and Indigenous theory, critical race, intersectional feminist theory and socio-legal scholarship, the course challenges dominant sensibilities of securitization and encourages transgressive imaginaries to re-think questions of state sovereignty. Reading sovereignty from below, that is – from the perspectives of indigenous, migrant and refugees subjects, this course is an invitation to conjure alternative grammars for world-making.

GINS 4090 Section H: Conflict, Cooperation, and Change – Candace Sobers
 From the Treaty of Versailles to the War on Terror, this course explores the emergence and development of the twentieth century international system of states, international institutions, and non-state actors. How did the current international system change, who were they key players, and will it survive into the twenty-first century? Concentrating on diplomatic and strategic interactions (statecraft and foreign policy) and their social, economic, political, and cultural contexts, topics covered will include the decline of European empires, Cold War competition, the rise of China, and how Walt Disney helped fight WWII.