POL 100 Intro to Government and Politics

  • PLEASE NOTE: this abridged outline is an example description of the course, from past years. Instructors can change elements of the course year-to-year.

    COURSE PREREQUISITES: There are no prerequisites for this course. 

    COURSE OBJECTIVES: The study of politics is the study of power.  The objective of this course is to introduce students to the complex world of politics, in order to hone the skills required to critically assess forms and degrees of political power. By learning about the essential concepts of politics, and the processes of government, it is hoped that students will develop the skills to be engaged yet critical citizens. The aim is not only for students to understand the structures of power, but also to be empowered as political agents.

    REQUIRED TEXTS: Mintz, E. et al. Politics, Power and the Common Good. 4th ed. Toronto: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2013.   

    Supplementary readings supplied by instructor.

    COURSE REQUIREMENTS (please note that these requirements will vary each semester, the following is intended as an example only):

    1. JOURNAL ABOUT THE 2015 NATIONAL ELECTION.  The goal of this assignment is to participate in and critically evaluate a number of events associated with the national federal election on October 19, 2015. This exercise will help you relate the themes of the course to one of the most important exercises of all democracies: elections and the right to vote (worth 15% of the final grade - 5% for each entry).
    2. ASSESSMENT OF SUPPLEMENTARY READING, such as Bernhard Schlink’s “The Reader” (worth 20% of the final grade).
    3. NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL ASSIGNMENT.  Students will prepare a three or four page newspaper editorial in response to a question, such as ‘Can we trust government to look after the common good?’, ‘Is the study of politics an essential component of a good education?’, ‘Do radical versions of environmentalism provide a desirable and practical vision for the world?’, with many other possible questions (worth 15% of the final grade).
    4. MIDTERM EXAM (worth 20% of the final grade). 
    5. FINAL EXAM (worth 20% of the final grade). 
    6. PARTICIPATION (worth 10% of the final grade).