POL 111 Contemporary Idealogies

  • 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:  Why do we often disagree with our leaders? Do you sometimes wonder if your ideas make more sense than the Prime Minister's? Students will find answers to these questions in 'Contemporary Ideologies' by studying various ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism, fascism, religious fundamentalism, feminism and environmentalism.  Specifically, the course examines contemporary political ideologies as a way of assessing our political approaches to human nature, the state, political authority and obligation, human rights, the common good, freedom, equality, and justice. This course also emphasizes practical skills such as group discussion, presentations, and research/writing skills, which will help students develop their critical thinking and excel in their careers/ life.

    REQUIRED TEXTS:  Ball, Terence, Richard Dagger, William Christian, Colin Campbell. Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal. 3rd Canadian ed. Toronto: Pearson, 2013.

    Sandel, Michael J. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to do? Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009.


    1. REFLECTIVE JOURNAL. Students will keep a Journal consisting of a number of entries that describe the student’s reactions to and reflections upon the course readings.  Journal writing is intended to assist students to make up their minds about fundamental questions of justice and to help prepare students for class discussion (worth 20% of the final grade). 
    2. MIDTERM EXAM. Comprised of a series of political concepts and short answer questions that must be answered in paragraph form (worth 25% of the final grade).
    3. RESEARCH ESSAY. Students will provide an analysis of what justice requires as applied to a contemporary political issue from the perspective of one of the major political ideologies studied in class (worth 25% of the final grade).
    4. FINAL EXAM. It will be identical in format to the mid-term exam (worth 25% of the final grade).
    5. PARTICIPATION (worth 10% of the final grade).