The last decade has brought about tremendous upheaval in how Journalists, politicians and policymakers do their jobs. This is anything but fake news. These dramatic changes have come, in part, with the rise of the 24/7 news cycle. It was not that long ago when television, radio and newspapers dominated the media landscape. Politicians and their handlers sought to own the morning or the evening. Journalists would file for one platform. And the idea using social media to reach the public was still a fantasy. That is hardly the case anymore. Now those traditional media sources are in fierce competition with all-news networks, online media sources and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. These new forms of media are not only putting more pressure on journalists to break stories and match stories under tight deadlines, but they are complicating the political and public administration process. Politicians, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump, are also using the power of social media for their own purposes, which is creating an avenue for them to bypass the traditional media to reach out to citizens.

This is an introductory study of American government and politics. In the first part of the course, we will focus on the American regime’s defining political principles and examine how these principles provide the basis of the country’s primary political institutions. Particular attention will be paid to the founding period and the political thought of the framers of the Constitution. In examining the primary political institutions of the national government, we shall compare American political institutions with Canadian, considering the ways in which a congressional system of government differs from a parliamentary system.

In the second term, we shall focus on contemporary American politics. We will examine federalism, the electoral system and its effects on American politics, the ongoing primaries for the 2020 presidential elections, the American party system, and contemporary political issues.

I am teaching the course in the Winter Semester 2020.

This course is a fourth year seminar examining an issue in International Relations in depth. This year, the course will focus on the politics, economics and science of climate change. Climate change has emerged as the most important issue of the modern age, yet the world has done relatively little to address it in an effective way. This course will examine why this is the case, drawing on theoretical, economic and political analyses to examine the problem.