Clare McGovern


B.A. University of Oxford
M.A. University of British Columbia
Ph.D. University of British Columbia


Phone: 778-782-4289
Office Location: AQ 6059


Clare McGovern is a Lecturer at SFU, specializing in Comparative and Canadian Politics – in particular teaching courses on human rights, political economy, qualitative methods and separatist movements. She completed a law degree at Oxford and then trained as an accountant, working for the UK National Audit Office – reporting to Parliament on government programs. That job took her from English prisons to peacekeeping missions in the Balkans. She then turned to her twin loves of politics and Canada, studying at UBC, before moving to Quest University in Squamish for her post-doctoral fellowship.

In her teaching, Clare is interested in combining political science with other disciplines (particularly law, economics and history) to explain how individual actions combine to form collective choices – whether through elections, markets, the courts or social norms. In particular, how does this work (does it work?) when a society has deep ethnic, class or regional conflicts? She is currently working on two research projects. The first examines separatist parties which choose to engage in the political systems they want to leave, such as the Scottish National Party in the British Parliament, the Bloc Québécois in the Canadian Parliament and Catalan nationalist parties in the Spanish Parliament. The second project focuses on teaching practices, using community projects to develop students’ understanding of their own political system. This research has included  voter registration drives for election and referendums, as well as in-class trade simulations carried out with the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada.