Fall 2020 - IS 451 D100

Seminar on Core Texts in International Studies (4)

Class Number: 5005

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    90 units. International Studies major or honours students.



An interdisciplinary course which aims to bring together different disciplinary perspectives on international affairs through the study of influential texts which, between them, involve study of core themes to the program: development, governance and civil society, war and peace, human rights and questions of culture and ethnicity.


This version of POL451 has been designed with the intention of exploring a current issue central to international studies: divided societies and a divided world. Five texts have been selected on the basis of their contributions to the current global debate on social, political, and economic divisions. Key topics to be explored through the texts include nationalism and identity politics, economic development and inequality, political polarization and populism, the breakdown of US hegemony and the rise of China, and transnational social justice struggles. By reading full texts on various aspects of a pressing global issue, it is hoped that students will come away with both a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of our current predicament as well as new perspectives on how we ought to proceed.

The course will be conducted in a seminar style, with the critical analysis and appraisal of the texts providing the foundation for each class and assignment. Students will be encouraged to lead the way, utilizing their knowledge gained from previous courses to both interrogate the texts under study and develop a series of questions for our weekly discussions.


Learning Outcomes:

• Explore and analyze the accounts of global divisions put forward by core scholars in fields related to international studies.
• Explore and explain the interconnections between different aspects of contemporary social, economic, and political division.
• Develop the ability to read a text critically.
• Develop the ability to analyze and appraise a text’s core arguments and raise questions that will help other seminar participants engage with the text.


  • Reflection 1 15%
  • Reflection 2 15%
  • Reflection 3 15%
  • Final Essay 25%
  • Seminar Prep 10%
  • Participation 20%


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.


Blackboard, etc. Discussions will take place synchronously during scheduled class time.

Students are required to have a computer, with a microphone, webcam, and speakers. They also must have good access to the Internet.

Microsoft Office is required, and a free version of Office 365 is available to SFU students here: https://www.sfu.ca/itservices/technical/software/office365.html.

Students will be required to upload assignments to Canvas and through Turnitin.com.



Appiah, Anthony. The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity, Creed, Country, Color, Class, Culture. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2018.

Boix, Carles. Democratic Capitalism at the Crossroads: Technological Change and the Future of Politics. Princeton University Press, 2019.

Chatterjee, Partha. I Am the People: Reflections on Popular Sovereignty Today. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

Cho, Nam-ju, and Jamie Chang. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982. Toronto: Anansi International, 2020.

Mahbubani, Kishore. Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy. New York: PublicAffairs, 2020.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).