Spring 2021 - IS 307 D100

International Ethics: Poverty, Environmental Change, & War (4)

Class Number: 5866

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Examines ethical issues of global concern, with a focus on debates about poverty, environmental change, and armed conflict. Introduces students to relevant political and ethical theories, such as cosmopolitanism and nationalism, utilitarianism, theories of human rights, and ethics of care. Assesses various policy responses to these global challenges. Students who have taken IS 319 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.


Questions have always been asked about the ethical obligations that transcend national borders. Given the imbalances and inequalities of the global system, these questions have often centred on the responsibility of the Global North to help alleviate the problems associated with poverty and human rights violations in the Global South. However, in an era of intense globalization, finding answers to these questions have become all the more pertinent. The effects of war, global inequality, environmental degradation, and attacks on human dignity have increasingly broadened, impacting more people across a wider geographical space. The refugee crisis of the last decades, both South-to-South and South-to-North, is one clear example of these effects. The purpose of this course is to explore the major theoretical debates that have transpired around questions of international ethics. In doing so, we will also investigate some of the most pressing ethical issues faced by the international community, including their origins, consequences, and potential solutions.


  • Theoretical Paper 25%
  • Research Paper 25%
  • Take-Home Final Exam 30%
  • Class Preparation 10%
  • Participation 10%


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.


This course will be delivered via online platforms, such as Zoom, Canvas, Blackboard, etc. Though lectures will be uploaded, discussions will take place synchronously during scheduled class and tutorial times.

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.



Required readings available on Canvas, online, or in the SFU Library’s electronic collection.

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 spring 2021 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).