Summer 2022 - IS 350W D100

Seminar on Global Problems in Interdisciplinary Perspective (4)

Class Number: 4163

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 1325, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units. International Studies major or honours students.



An in-depth examination of select global problems. Focuses on developing policy-related writing skills valuable for careers in government and in intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations. Assignments may include: briefing papers, policy papers, grant writing, and op-ed essays. Students with credit for IS 450W may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


Our aim is to prepare students for professional roles beyond academia, in the public and private sectors alike. These roles commonly involve research and writing on a specific issue / problem over a short period of time, drawing on a range of sources, and presenting the upshot in a concise way. Often this involves identifying the best course of action from a range of policy alternatives, with arguments in support of that course of action. Above all, such writing requires clarity of thought and economy of expression.

We will focus on four types of writing that are especially significant in this context: literature reviews, briefing papers, op-ed essays, and policy papers. You will be asked to practice these forms of writing -- as well as a direct pitch to the class -- with particular regard to the themes of global populism, climate change, public health ethics, and the use of torture. The texts listed below will serve as anchors for those themes, to be supplemented in each case with relevant readings / multimedia resources, both on Canvas and sourced individually by students.


  • Book Review (1000-1200 words) 10%
  • Policy Brief 1 (2000 words) 20%
  • Op Ed (1000-1200 words) 20%
  • Class Presentation (10 mins) 10%
  • Policy Brief 2 (3000 words) 30%
  • Participation & Contribution 10%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to 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:



Mau, Steffen. The Metric Society. Trans. Sharon Howe. London: Polity, 2019.

Judis, John B. The Populist Explosion. New York: Columbia Global Reports, 2016.

Anderson, S. & Nussbaum, M. eds. Confronting Torture. Univ of Chicago, 2018.

Westra, L., Soskone, C. & Spady, D. eds. Human Health and Ecological Integrity: Ethics, Law and Human Rights. New York: Routledge, 2017 {pbk ed}.

Additional readings on Canvas.

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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote, online, or blended courses 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.