Message from the Chair
Department of Political Science
Message from the Chair
Our Department offers courses in the five sub-fields traditionally associated with Political Science in Canadian Universities: Political Theory, International Politics, Comparative Politics, Public Policy and Administration, and Canadian Politics. As you look at the areas of expertise of each faculty in the Department, you will see how cutting-edge work is pursued here in all of these sub-fields.
Additionally, this will underscore how our Department tries, in effect, to let each of these sub-fields enrich the others. For instance, one cannot explain current development in international politics - the new forms of intervention defined by the current situation in Libya, as an example - without immediately drawing from much deeper issues of political theory associated with question of rights, sovereignty, and responsibility. Many of us in the Department work precisely in this fashion, at the intersection of lines of inquiry which have often remained distinct in the past.
Another key characteristic of our Department is our emphasis on the seminar system. In most courses, you will be required to demonstrate your command of the issues, and to defend your take on them, in small-group discussions. This goes to one of the most fundamental tenets of political science: informed and rational dialogue leads to better politics, and to better political science. This sort of experience will also give you an important ability: the capacity to construct a strong and rational argument, and to defend it in front of others who might not always agree with you. In any walk of life you might choose after your studies, this will serve you well.
Finally, another important element here is the focus on research. Many of our faculty have important research projects ongoing, with funding from external agencies. This also often leads our faculty to engage in policy work, for example at the municipal level here in St. Catharines, but also at the provincial or national level. All of this helps provide our teaching with real-world input, and it keeps it informed by current developments in political science and in politics itself.