Critical Policy Studies (P)

Course Description: 

What are the impacts of global politics on gender, and how has gender influenced global politics? These are the two central questions of this course. This course is designed for students to think both conceptually and practically about the implementation of gender norms, concepts, and frameworks to global policy. As such, this course applies feminist principles and theories to critically examine policy and governance issues. The aim is to introduce students to the varying ways that gendered norms, concepts, individuals, and structures have shaped global social and political issues, or have the potential to shape them, as well as our responses to them. Students can expect an historical and theoretical overview of how global policy is formed, the primary institutions involved in global governance and policy formation, and how to analyze global policy through feminist and gender frameworks. These concepts are then applied to contemporary issues of global policy, including:  immigration, wartime sexual violence, human rights, development, and the global financial crisis.

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. A sound knowledge of the major global institutions, their historical development and their legal and policy frameworks.
  2. An understanding of the relationships between states, key international institutions and global civil society in processes of political and economic governance.
  3. An understanding of key conceptual and empirical debates on global governance.
  4. An ability to apply a gender analysis to dominant understandings of key institutions and actors, as well as the conceptual and empirical debates that dominate the field of global governance.
  5. The capacity for balanced and reasoned analysis (in spoken and written form) of key issues and controversies in forming gender-sensitive global policy.
  6. The ability to examine and evaluate global policies on gender, as well as gender-blind policies for their gendered assumptions and impacts.
  7. The ability to connect theory and case study to real-life situations.

Class Expectations

This course is primarily discussion-based. Therefore, attendance and participation in discussion are mandatory. Only illness or serious unavoidable matters are considered valid excuses for missing class. In cases of prolonged absence due to such serious obstacles, the department may arrange for extensions on assignments, temporary withdrawal, or other solutions that will allow the student to complete the program within the parameters of our requirements.

Failing to meet attendance or other course requirements will result in the “AF” (administrative failure) grade which does not allow awarding credits for the given course and contributes to the GPA with 0.00. Tardiness will not be accepted. If you are more than 10 minutes late to class, you may not be allowed to join. Habitual tardiness will detrimentally affect your participation grade.

This course is also reading-intensive. Each week, students will be expected to have completed all of the required readings in order to facilitate informed discussion and debate. Students should complete the readings well in advance of the seminar and thoughtfully reflect on them in preparation for an active participation.

Students are expected to consult the e-Learning site regularly for messages, assignments, and updates to the course. If you would like to reach me, the best way is to attend my regularly scheduled office hours. Outside of this time, I am contactable through email. However, please understand that I will not necessarily respond immediately to emails, and will not respond on weekends/holidays.

While attendance is mandatory, in general, there is no need to contact me to “excuse” your absence. If you are absent more than twice during the term for medical or other personal reasons, then please keep me informed. I expect that everyone will have once or twice in the semester when they cannot come due to sickness or an important appointment. Two or fewer absences will not affect your participation grade.

Mobile Phones and Laptops: Please be sure that your mobile phones are silenced before coming to class. Text messaging during class will not be tolerated. Use of laptops for any purpose other than note taking is not acceptable. Persons using electronic devices inappropriately during class will be asked to leave. The use of electronic devices in any manner that distracts from classroom activities will not be tolerated and will detrimentally affect your participation grade.


Participation – 10%
Briefing Papers (2) - 20%
Refugee Crisis Simulation Exercise – 70%

  • Position Paper – 25%
  • Analysis of policy outcome – 25%
  • Negotiations/communications/engagement in simulation – 20%