Fall 2019 - IS 350W D100

Seminar on Global Problems in Interdisciplinary Perspective (4)

Class Number: 10121

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    HCC 1505, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units. International Studies major or honours students.



An interdisciplinary course which aims to bring together different perspectives on international affairs through the study of in-depth particular contemporary problems. Students with credit for IS 450W may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


We will begin with contending theoretical approaches to thinking about international cooperation, and from there will move to the analysis of specific multilateral efforts at concrete problem-solving. The international policy issue arenas on which we will focus this term are 1) sovereign debt crises, 2) climate change, 3) United States-China-Canada relations, 4) refugees and migrants, and 5) efforts to promote ethical behavior by multinational corporations. In this writing-intensive course, there will be an early midterm covering theory and methods relevant to international issue analysis. Thereafter students will prepare two theoretically-informed policy essays relevant to two of the five focus arenas, as well as a short opinion piece, which also will be presented to the class. Common readings come from the assigned books. Students will also research their topics in both the academic literature and other credible policy-oriented sources, including the reports of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and serious media outlets.


This course brings together social science theory with concrete problems of international policy and practice, focusing on the development of research and writing skills relevant to defining, researching, and summarizing the key themes and challenges within diverse international issue arenas. The class prepares students for professional employment beyond academia through multiple opportunities for policy-oriented and analytical writing.


  • Theory/methods quiz 25%
  • Policy essay #1 (2000-3000 words) 25%
  • Policy essay #2 (2500-3500 words) 25%
  • Participation, Presentation, and Op Ed (800-1000 words) 25%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Acharya, Amitav, ed. 2016. Why Govern? Rethinking Demand and Progress in Global Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Avant, Deborah D., Martha Finnemore, and Susan K. Sell, eds. 2010. Who Governs the Globe? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. [Note that any edition is fine.]

Additional readings on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html