Topics in Comparative Politics I:

Critical Issues in Sustainable Development (POL377H1F)

Through the study of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this course will engage students with the concept of sustainable development and introduce students to critical theories and practical issues in sustainable development. Students will also use tools in experiential learning during a field experience in Mumbai, India as part of the course.

Held in conjunction with the University of Sydney (USyd), this course will be led by Dr. Gerald Bareebe from the University of Toronto and Dr. Suneha Seetahul from the University of Sydney, with occasional guest lecturers. Course work will include readings and assignments, as well as discussions and project work in collaboration with students from USyd. This collaborative work will be both via an online platform and in-person in Mumbai, India during a joint field experience.

Students who complete the course receive 0.5 credits (POL377H1F).

Detailed Course Description

This course aims to introduce, engage with, and critically assess the concept of sustainable development through the study of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were introduced by the UN in 2015 as an extension of the Millennium Development Goals. United Nations member states signed on the new SDGs agenda, responding to the call for a global vision that will lead humanity towards sustainable development. The vision of SDGs is to create a world in which people are productively employed, free of poverty and hunger, with access to universal health coverage and education, an end to environmental degradation and empowerment of all women and girls by 2030.  Since more than 198 countries adopted SDGs in 2015, they are now extensively used by policymakers and academics to evaluate and measure development progress.

 

Focusing on three specific SDGs: “No Poverty” (SDG 1), “Gender Equality” (SDG 5) and “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” (SDG 16), the course introduces students to the nature and relevance of SDGs. They will examine how various societal actors are responding to and implementing SDGs, how SDGs are understood at different levels of global governance, how progress can be measured and the practical challenges of implementing SDGs. The course is part of the global classroom project between the University of Toronto and the University of Sydney.

 

The course is divided into two parts: the first part provides a general introduction to critical theories and practical issues in sustainable development. The focus is on understanding the strategies, instruments and multidimensionality of sustainable development. Taking readings from the fields of political science, development studies and political economy, the course is multidisciplinary in nature and experientially-focused.  The teaching consists of lectures, online seminars and workshop involving students at the University of Toronto and University of Sydney. The lectures are led by course instructors from both institutions but will involve other guest lecturers from various academic disciplines. Participation in seminars and workshops is compulsory and students will be given sufficient opportunities for individual and group involvement. In the second part of the course, we shall use collaborative (team) exercises and assignments as a tool for experiential learning, critical reflection and cross-university collaboration. Students from both institutions will collaborate to create original projects, which will be presented during joint field sessions hosted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India.

International Experience

Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, India

In the second half of the course, students from both the University of Toronto and the University of Sydney will travel to Mumbai to visit the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Founded in 1936, TISS has grown to shape public policy in India, and has research collaborations with institutions worldwide, including the London School of Economics (LSE), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Sciences Po. Besides the main campus in Mumbai, and three secondary campuses, TISS also has centres across India that offer teaching, training, and research and development support. While in Mumbai, students from both universities will work on collaborative projects with final presentations held at TISS.

Students will also have the opportunity to visit local attractions in Mumbai, including national parks and cultural venues. The program fee includes access to certain attractions and trips will be arranged.

Eligibility & Pre-Requisites

Eligibility

  • Minimum cGPA of 2.25.
  • Students should have second or third year standing at U of T, have a strong interest in studying and travelling abroad, be willing to participate and function as a part of a group, and be flexible in their requirements for personal comfort.
  • Students must hold a current passport and be eligible to apply for a tourist visa to India.
  • Priority will be given to students enrolled in the POL Major or Specialist program. Students from inter-disciplinary programs such as the Peace Conflict and Justice Programme (Munk School) or the International Relations Programme at Trinity will be considered if there are available spaces.

Prerequisites

Program Information & Dates

Complete Program Dates: May 4 – June 15, 2020

Coursework Dates (in Toronto): May 4 – May 24; June 6 – June 15, 2020

Taught  by Dr. Gerald Bareebe at the University of Toronto, and by Dr. Suneha Seetahul at the University of Sydney.

The first part of the course provides a general introduction to critical theories and practical issues in sustainable development, with a focus on understanding the strategies, instruments, and multidimensionality of the field. Readings are from political science, development studies, and political economy. Classes will consist of lectures, online seminars to discuss the readings and lecture materials, and a workshop with students from the University of Sydney. Along with the two lead professors, guest lecturers from various academic disciplines will also offer their insights. Participation in seminars and workshops is compulsory and the work will be both individual and in groups. See the syllabus for more information on assignments and grading. Upon returning to Toronto, students will continue their analysis in class to further draw connections between their practical experience and academic knowledge.

 

Field Experience (in India): May 25 – June 5, 2020

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

In the second part of the course, students will work collaboratively with their peers from the University of Sydney on team exercises and assignments to critically reflect on what they are learning. The group will visit local NGOs, and meet with local activists and policy experts. Students from both institutions will collaborate to create original projects, which will be presented during joint field sessions hosted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India.

 

All students will return to Canada for the final, reflective portion of the coursework  at the University of Toronto, as well as for the final exam.

Program Fees & Available Funding

Program Fees are approximately $3500.

Available Funding

All admitted students will receive an award. Additional needs-based bursaries will also be available for admitted students. Please contact Jocelyns.ma@utoronto.ca for more information.

Program Fees

The program fees will include:

  • Accommodations during all course activities (accommodations will be shared)
  • Meals at all institutions and accommodations (approx. 50% of lunches are provided while in transit)
  • Ground and air transportation within the country
  • Access to local venues

Program Fees do not include (these are additional fees):

  • Flight to India
  • University tuition for 0.5 credits
  • Immunizations and recommended medications (e.g. anti-malaria)
  • Tourist visa application fee
  • Health or travel insurance (if not already covered by UTSU or UTGSU plan)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, souvenirs, etc.

Terms and Conditions:

Refunds will not be possible. All requests for withdrawal must be made by email to Jocelyns.ma@utoronto.ca.

How to Apply & Contact Information

Application Deadline: March 16, 2020 at 11:59pm.

Application Procedure:

  • Course enrollment will open in March and applications must be done in person by returning the application form to the Political Science Undergraduate Office, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 3027 or to undergrad.polsci@utoronto.ca.
  • Required Documents: Application Form, up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (CV), and Statement of Interest (max. 1 page, indicating interest in development and this course)

Contact Information:

For information on the course, please contact Instructor Gerald Bareebe.

Additional Information

All University of Toronto students travelling on university activity must complete the Safety Abroad requirements before departure.

These requirements include completing the: