International Studies Courses
IS 101 - Global Challenges of the 21st Century: An Introduction to International Studies (3)
Introduces the interdisciplinary field of International Studies to all undergraduates and IS majors. Examines the major global challenges of our time, including poverty and inequality, environmental degradation, nationalism, civil war, and armed conflict. Explores the challenge of global governance and global citizenship. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.
IS 105 - Around the World through Film (3)
Explores social, economic, and political change around the globe, through documentaries and feature films. Examines pressing issues that shape and reflect people’s lives in diverse countries and regions, from Asia and Latin America, to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.
IS 200 - Security and Global Governance: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (3)
Examines contemporary security and governance challenges by drawing on insights from across the social sciences. Includes such topics as: war, nuclear proliferation, genocide, human trafficking, and global health threats. Explores the role of international organizations (the UN, EU, NATO and others) in addressing security challenges and advancing global governance. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.
IS 209 - Latin America: the National Period (3)
A survey of Latin American history from Independence (1808-24) to the present: post-Independence political collapse and reconsolidation; Latin America in the world trade system and the changing conditions of economic dependency; nationalist reform (Mexico) and socialist revolution (Cuba), liberalism, populism, and the rise of modernizing military. Treatment by topics and broad historical period rather than county by county. Students who take this course may not take HIST 209 for further credit. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.
IS 210 - Comparative World Politics: Trajectories, Regimes, Challenges (3)
Introduces students to the variety of systems of governance in the world today, examines the historical and cultural sources of their different developmental trajectories, and assesses the challenges they face in the future. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.
IS 220 - Wealth and Poverty of Nations (3)
Analyzes some of the historical reasons for the great divergence in world economic development, and undertakes a cross-country, cross-regional perspective of world economic development using a historical approach to long-run economic growth. Breadth-Social Sciences.
IS 221 - Workers in the Global Economy: Globalization, Labour and Uneven Development (3)
Explores how people experience paid and unpaid work in the global economy. Focuses on processes such as migration and economic structuring, and applies critical development studies and critical geopolitics to study labour and employment. Explores links between capitalism, urbanization and labour struggles. Examines labour internationalism and global labour rights. Students with credit for LBST 201 or LBST 230 under the title "Workers and Global Capitalism" may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.
IS 230 - Beyond the Nation-State: Identity and Belonging in a Globalized World (3)
This course surveys the diverse ways people have fashioned identities and social relations that do not easily conform to the boundaries of nation-states. Explores how, in the context of transnational movements of people and ideas, individuals and communities construct and contest new identities, aspirations, and forms of belonging. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.
IS 265 - Global History from the Revolutionary Age to the Present (3)
An introduction to Global History, beginning in the 1780s and ending in the present day. Key topics include the first Age of Revolution (US, Haiti, Latin America), the post-colonial experience, and the modern world economy. Students with credit for HIST 265 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.
IS 300 - Research Methods in International Studies (4)
Introduces the research enterprise in International Studies. Prerequisite: IS 101 and 45 units.
IS 301 - Returning from Abroad: Discussion Seminar to Unpack the Experience of Work, Study & Research Abroad (2)
Provides an opportunity to examine social, cultural, and political challenges involved in working or living abroad. Students reflect on the knowledge, skills, and values gained while abroad, with attention to career-related pathways and possibilities. Topics include the complexities of cross-cultural engagement and ethical aspects of experiential learning in international settings. Graded as Pass/Fail (P/F). Prerequisite: This course will be open to any SFU student who has completed an international study, research, internship, or volunteership program.
IS 302 - Humanitarian Intervention: An Introduction (4)
Explores how international actors respond to humanitarian emergencies, such as famine, displacement, and genocide. Examines the political, legal, and ethical challenges of humanitarian action by focusing on contemporary cases and on key types of response, from the delivery of aid to sanctions and the use of military force. Prerequisite: 45 units. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.
IS 303 - Ethnic Minorities, Identity Politics, and Conflict in Southeast Asia (4)
Surveys the ethnic minorities of Southeast Asia, focusing on their relations with other ethnic groups, especially majority populations, and governments. Examines the treatment of ethnic minorities and the responses of the minorities, including ethnic-based secession movements. Reviews cross-border and broader international issues relating to minorities, such as their status as refugees and cross-border support for insurgencies. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 304 - Russian Foreign and Security Policies (4)
Introduces the Russian Federation's foreign and security policies. Reviews key actors, institutions, and stages in the development of Russian foreign policy development as well as the gap between rhetoric and realities in Russian foreign policy. Prerequisite: 45 units. Recommended: IS 200 and HIST 335.
IS 305 - Challenging Power Around the Globe: Political Resistance and Protest (4)
Examines various forms of resistance and protest, including everyday resistance and organized activism, with an emphasis on civil resistance. Investigates the conditions and outcomes of protest, focusing on a range of cases which may include Solidarity in Poland, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and the American Civil Rights Movement. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken POL 339 or IS 309 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 306 - State Failure and Reconstruction (4)
Examines the causes of state fragility and collapse, and assesses the challenges of reconstruction. Focusing on cases from different regions, we will explore the security dimensions of state fragility; the role of humanitarian intervention; the challenge of building democratic institutions in divided societies; and, the relationship between statebuilding and peacebuilding. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 409 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 307 - International Ethics: Poverty, Environmental Change, & War (4)
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. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 319 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 309 - Special Topics in International Security and Conflict (4)
Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 310 - Gender and Security (4)
Examines security issues and events with attention to gender. Focuses on themes related to war, political violence, post-war reconstruction, militarism, military culture, and peace activism with attention to women and marginalised communities, gender norms, and feminist and queer approaches to rethinking security and imagining peace. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 313W - Nationalism, Democracy and Development in Modern India (4)
An examination of the differing narratives of nation and modernity in the struggle for independence from colonial rule in India, and their implications for the post-colonial state, for politics and for India's economic development. Prerequisite: 45 units. Recommended: IS 210 or 220. Writing.
IS 314 - National, Regional, and International Politics in Southeast Asia (4)
Provides an overview of national and political issues in Southeast Asia. Surveying politics in individual countries and regional political institutions, focus is given to particular themes such as democratization and civil society, communism and other forms of authoritarianism, the role of the military, decentralization, religion and politics, the impact of China on the region, and security concerns. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 315 - Introduction to Middle East Politics (4)
Introduces the political, economic, and ideological dynamics of contemporary Middle Eastern states. Examines the legacy of colonialism, state formation, central ideological trends such as Arab nationalism and political Islam, the dynamics of state-society contention, and the challenges of economic development. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 319 - Special Topics in Comparative World Politics, Culture and Society (4)
Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 322 - Central Asia: Conflict and Security (4)
Examines the new states of post-Soviet Central Asia, with particular reference to the relationship among democratization, development, autocracy and conflict, and the role of external actors in transnational security issues in the region. Prerequisite: 45 units. Recommended: IS 200. Students with credit for IS 412 may not take this course for further credit.
IS 323 - Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Issues and Understandings (4)
Survey course of major contemporary issues relevant to people's lives in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as major debates about these. Study of the historic, economic, political, social and cultural factors contributing to contemporary realities and perspectives. Relevant for students with little to significant familiarity with life in Africa. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 325 - Social Movements in a Changing Africa (4)
From peasant uprisings and student protests to armed insurrections, this course explores the range of African social movements and assesses their role in shaping Africa's future. Key themes include the role of ethnicity and religion, the impact of urbanization, economic inequality, gender politics, and trends in international solidarity and engagement. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 319 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 329 - Special Topics in International Development, Economic and Environmental Issues (4)
Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 333 - Chinese Development and Its Discontents (4)
Explores China's stunning rise from Mao to global markets, with attention to social issues brought on by "the Chinese Development Model". Examines the bases of state legitimacy in contemporary China, challenges to state legitimacy, as well as state responses to these challenges. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 350W - Seminar on Global Problems in Interdisciplinary Perspective (4)
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. Prerequisite: 60 units. International Studies major or honours students. Students with credit for IS 450W may not take this course for further credit. Writing.
IS 355 - Refugees and Forced Migration (4)
Examines ideas and practices that affect experiences of forced migration and responses to these situations. What does it mean to live as a refugee? And what needs to change to alleviate the hardships and suffering of so many displaced people? Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 329 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 358 - Development, Aid and Difference in Historical Perspective (4)
Examines "International Development" within a series of historical frames, including the history of imperialism, the history of international relations, globalization, and the cultural and intellectual history of North-South relations. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have credit for HIST 358 may not take IS 358 for further credit.
IS 373 - Global Environmental Politics (4)
Examines international efforts to respond to global environmental challenges, such as climate change, deforestation, and the degradation of the oceans. Investigates obstacles to effective action and possible ways forward. Explores the role of a range of key actors, including states, intergovernmental organizations, multinational companies, NGOs, and social movements. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 402 - Global Security Governance (4)
Examines how states engage with the global security architecture to address a range of contemporary security challenges. Taking a comparative perspective, we investigate key actors’ involvement with regional and international institutions such as the UN, NATO, and the EU. Issues may include disinformation, cybersecurity, outer space security, trafficking, and terrorism. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 409 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 409 - Special Topics I (4)
IS 410 - Politics, Institutions and Development (4)
The quality of institutions' exercises a crucial influence on the prospects for development. Aims are to interrogate this claim through analysis of different paths of economic growth and change across the developing world. Examination of the ways in which politics influences economic growth and distribution; the relationships between political systems and patterns of development; and the politics of institutions and state formation. Prerequisite: 90 units.
IS 414 - Current Regional Issues in Southeast Asia (4)
Reviews important current regional issues in Southeast Asia with particular attention to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 415 - Islamist Trend in Middle East Politics (4)
Focuses upon the political Islamist movements that have swept much of the Middle East and North Africa since the mid-1970s. Examines a broad range of movements, from liberal to militant trends, drawing on the experiences of countries throughout the region. Prerequisite: 45 units. Recommended: HIST 151 or IS 315.
IS 419 - Special Topics II (4)
IS 421 - The Economics of International Organizations and Development (4)
Develops an understanding of the interactions between international organizations, economic theory, and implementation of economic policies. Explores as well the impact of their interventions in some chosen countries. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 423 - International Development Practice and Ethics (4)
Critically considers why and how international development has been, and might be, pursued. Includes study of histories of development, theories of development, as well as policies, practices, different perspectives and outcomes of development. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 429 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 427 - Globalization, Poverty and Inequality (4)
Analyzes the origins and the economic consequences of globalization and the uneven process of economic development around the world in relation to poverty, by considering the measurement of poverty, its causes and dynamics, as well as public policy for poverty reduction. Prerequisite: 45 units.
IS 428 - Directed Readings (4)
Independent research in a selected international studies area, under the supervision of at least one faculty member. A research report is required. Prerequisite: By application to the undergraduate chair. May only be taken once for credit towards a degree or diploma.
IS 429 - Special Topics III (4)
IS 435 - Special Topics in Latin American Studies (4)
An examination of Latin America through historical, literary, and social scientific approaches. Prerequisite: 45 units. Recommended: IS 209W or HIST 209W.
IS 439 - Social Movements in the Global South (4)
Examines the nature, activities, and effects of social movements across the Global South. Uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore how social movements shape and respond to political, economic, and social transformation. Considers their relationship with political parties, states, and media and assesses the conditions under which movements emerge and succeed. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 339, IS 329 or IS 419 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 444 - Inside Diplomacy: A Practitioner's Perspective (4)
Explores diplomacy in its bilateral and multilateral forms, from the perspective of practitioners. Examines how diplomatic principles and procedures have been applied in various areas of global policy (e.g. human rights, peacemaking, climate change, and disarmament). Focuses on the development of diplomatic skills, such as analysis, reporting, and negotiation. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students who have taken IS 409 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.
IS 451 - Seminar on Core Texts in International Studies (4)
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. Prerequisite: 90 units. International Studies major or honours students.
IS 490 - Honours Seminar (5)
Intended for the research and preparation of materials for the honours graduating essay. Students must complete this course before taking IS 499. Open only to students who have been accepted into the honours program. Prerequisite: Admission is by permission of the instructor and the School.
IS 497 - Field Practice (4)
Students pursuing a local or international volunteer work placement or volunteership involving a minimum of four hours per week, for a minimum total of 52 hours or work/volunteership for the term. Students reflect upon their work/volunteer experience, and write about it, in relation to problems they have studied in their academic program. Applications should be submitted to the Chair of the Undergraduate Program Committee, in the term preceding the one in which they are proposing to undertake the field practice. Prerequisite: Completion of 60 units and a minimum CGPA of 3.0 is required. International Studies major or honours students. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check, if required.
IS 499 - Honours Essay (5)
In addition to regular meetings with their supervisors, students will be required to submit a major paper on a topic to be selected in consultation with the School. Admission is by permission of the instructor and the School. Open only to students who have been accepted into the honours program. Prerequisite: Minimum grade of B+ in IS 490.
IS 800 - Problems of International Policy and Practice (4)
An inter-disciplinary course which aims to bring to bear different perspectives on problems of International policy and practice. The particular problems taken up will change over time in light of global developments and current events. Prerequisite: Graduate students enrolled in the MA in International Studies, or permission of the instructor.
IS 801 - Politics, Institutions and Development (4)
'The quality of institutions' is now said to exercise a crucial influence on the prospects for development, and the course interrogates this claim both through analysis of different paths of economic growth and change across the developing world, and in regard to public administration and development management. It examines development policies and institutional theories, the politics of institutions and state formation, and the relationships between political systems, institutions and patterns of development. Prerequisite: Graduate students enrolled in the MA in International Studies, or permission of the instructor.
IS 806 - State Failure and Reconstruction: Comparative Perspectives (4)
Examines the causes of state fragility and collapse, and assesses the challenges of reconstruction. Focusing on cases from different regions, we will explore the security dimensions of state fragility, the role of humanitarian intervention, the challenge of building democratic institutions in divided societies, and the relationship between state building and peace building.
IS 808 - Special Topics in Governance and Conflict (4)
IS 809 - Selected Topics - Economic and Social Development of Selected Regions (4)
Examines the specific development experience of a selected region, taking account of the historical context, of state capacity, development strategies and of the political economy of development - as well as of the particular problems of development across different sectors of the economy, and the outcomes in regard to poverty and levels of well-being.
IS 814 - Special Topics on the Middle East (4)
IS 815 - Theories of Latin American Development (4)
A synthetic introduction to historical and contemporary theories of development in Latin America. Topics include political economy of development, sociological theories of development, an introduction to neoliberalism, and the contemporary experience of globalization and development in Latin America. Students who have taken LAS 815 or SA 815 for credit may not take this course for further credit.
IS 816 - Global Security Studies: Concepts, Theories and Issues (4)
Examines a range of perspectives about security and applies them to key international issues.
IS 820 - Directed Readings (4)
IS 830 - Analytic Approaches for International Studies (4)
Introduces key methods in international studies, critically assessing them as concepts and as tools for helping understand the world around us. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MA in International Studies Program. Undergraduate course work in methods is highly recommended.
IS 833 - Chinese Development and its Discontents (4)
Explores China’s rise from Mao to global markets, with attention to social issues brought on by “the Chinese Development Model”. Examines the bases of state legitimacy in contemporary China, challenges to state legitimacy, as well as state responses to these challenges. Students with credit for IS 809 under the title Special Topics in Chinese Development and its Discontents may not take this course for further credit.
IS 835 - Social and Political Change in Latin America (4)
A general overview of social and political change in Latin America, including revolutions, independence, transition to democracy, and contemporary social movements. Theoretical approaches may include social-movement theory, democratic theory, etc. Students who have taken LAS 835 or SA 835 for credit may not take this course for further credit.
IS 840 - Perspectives in International Studies (4)
An inter-disciplinary overview and critical introduction to key issues of governance and conflict within international studies.
IS 879 - Career Development Seminar (2)
Seminar incorporating a variety of professional development, networking, and skills-building activities. Elective course for MA students in International Studies. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
IS 880 - MA Extended Essays (6)
Extended Essays. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the MA in International Studies program.
IS 886 - Thesis Prospectus (2)
Thesis Prospectus. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the MA in International Studies program.
IS 888 - MA Paper (6)
Students are expected to complete either two extended essays (each of not more than 8,000 words) based on core readings, or with the approval of the program director, a project. Prerequisite: Graduate students enrolled in the MA in International Studies.
IS 898 - MA Thesis (8)
MA Thesis. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the MA in International Studies program.