Summer 2019 - POL 310 D100

Identity Politics (4)

Class Number: 4451

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    WMC 2503, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 13, 2019
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    SWH 10041, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Six lower division units in political science or permission of the department.



Examines the impact of identity politics on the dynamics and organization of political systems. Topics include the impact of ethnic, racial and/or religious diversity on modes of political representation, the formation of public policy, and the quest for political stability and national identity. Student with credit for POL 481 may not take this course for further credit.


Identity politics is a doubly-contested concept.  There is debate about whether political actors should engage in identity politics at all or whether it is unnecessarily divisive and hence damaging to political order.  Second, there is debate about the very meaning of the term.  What is identity politics?  Which identities are the most salient?  What would a politics that didn’t take identity into consideration even look like?

Disagreement about these questions results in a variety of competing stories being told about identity politics.  Some speak of identity politics as focusing on what separates us – race, orientation, gender, etc. – rather than on what unites us as citizens; some speak of it as being necessary in order to shed light on structural injustice that other perspectives are prone to miss; still others speak of it as the recognition that all political thinking hinges on identity whether we realize it or not.  This course will be a study of some of these stories.  In the course of thinking about the meaning of identity politics, we will necessarily pay attention to the question of its desirability as well.  Finally, we will end by applying some of our theoretical insights to some political/policy issues in which identity is particularly salient.

There will be one 4-hour seminar each week.


  • Participation and reading of all assigned texts 10%
  • Midterm exam 10%
  • Midterm paper 20%
  • Final paper outline, synopsis, and bibliography 10%
  • Final paper 20%
  • Final exam 30%



Francis Fukuyama (2018). Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
ISBN: 978-0374129293

Ashley Jardina (2019). White Identity Politics. Cambridge University Press.
(Ebook available from SFU library) 
ISBN: 978-1108468602

All other sources on reserve or accessible online.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.