Curriculum Guideline

Current International Issues

Effective Date:
Course Code
POLI 2203
Current International Issues
Political Science
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week/semester Seminar: 2 hrs. per week/semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including the use of formal lectures, structured group work by students, and in class discussion of assigned material. Additional readings may be assigned for each unit of the course and placed on reserve in the library. Where appropriate, audio-visual materials will be used.

Course Description
The media almost daily reports on humanitarian disasters arising someplace in the world. This course examines contemporary issues in world politics including war, genocide, human security, the environment and global economic inequality. The course will assess attempts within the international system to manage conflict and the challenges posed by economic globalization and the environment.
Course Content

Unit One: Global Issues and International Relations Theory

1.1      Identification of global issues examined in the course.

1.2      Theoretical perspectives: neo-realism, neo-liberalism, constructivism, and critical approaches including Marxism, neo-colonialism, feminism, and postmodernism.


Unit Two: Conflict and Conflict Management


2.1      Globalization and violence, ethnic conflict, and genocide.

2.2      Conflict management: The United Nations, regional organizations, and the International Criminal Court.

2.3      Humanitarian intervention.


Unit Three:  The Global Economy: Trade, Monetary Relations, and Foreign Aid


3.1      Globalization, regionalization, inequality, and interdependence and dependence.

3.2      Issues in monetary relations, trade issues, economic development, debt, and foreign aid.

Unit Four: Human Security Issues and Human Rights:

4.1        The concept of human security.

4.2        Human security issues: hunger, population growth, disease, poverty, demographic shifts, migration, and refugees.

4.3        Concepts of human rights and the development and expansion of human rights agreements.

4.4        Democratization.

4.5        Economic globalization and human rights.


Unit Five: The Global Environment:


5.1        Perspectives on the environment.

5.2        Global environmental issues: the limits to growth, the greenhouse effect, the ozone layer, pollution, biodiversity, oceans, deforestation, desertification, and environmental scarcity (energy, raw materials and water resources).

5.3        Environmental regimes: greenhouse gases, ozone layer.

5.4        The relationship between the environment and conflict.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


  1. explain current theoretical approaches to issues in world politics;
  2. describe the key features of a variety of global issues;
  3. apply various theoretical perspectives to an analysis of a variety of contemporary global issues including ethnic conflict,  economic relations, human security and the environment; 
  4. pursue further study of international politics.
Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be based on course objectives and in accordance with the policies of Douglas College and the Department of Political Science. A minimum of 40% of the student’s course grade will be assigned to examinations, a minimum of 30% will be assigned to the various components of a formal research essay, and a maximum of 30% will be based upon components such as quizzes, short essays, participation, and class presentations.  The instructor will provide specific evaluation criteria in course outlines.


One example of an evaluation system:


Midterm Exam                    20%

Group Presentation             20%

Research Essay                   30%

Participation                       10%

Final Exam                         20%  



Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts and course readings will be selected by instructors after consultation with the department. Other materials may be used by instructors as supplements, and texts will be periodically updated. Examples of texts to be used include:


Hebron, Lui and John F. Stack, Jr. Globalization. Second edition (Toronto: Longman, 2011). 


Jackson, Robert M. Annual Editions: Global Issues 11/12. 27th edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Ryerson,



Kelleher, Ann and Laura Klein. Global Perspectives. Fourth edition (Toronto: Longman, 2011).

Payne, Richard. Global Issues. Third Edition. (Toronto: Longman, 2011).


POLI 1103 or permission of instructor