Awards and Honors:

I was awarded the UTSC Faculty Teaching Award in 2010-11 and the McMaster University Student Union Teaching Award for the Social Sciences in 2006.  I was Visiting Professor at the Hertie School of Governance during the Fall 2012 term and DAAD Visiting Professor at the University of Birmingham in March 2013.

Select Past Courses:


This course considers the sources of ethnic politics and reflects on why some attempts to manage ethnic differences succeed while others fail. We begin by analyzing ethnicity, nationhood, and ‘race’ conceptually and go on to explore why and how the “management” of cultural differences by liberal-democratic states changed in the post-World War II era. We then examine multiculturalism, probing its theoretical foundations, practical manifestations, and limits. The second half of the course examines diasporas and transnationalism; citizenship in a world on the move; indigenous people’s politics; language politics; sub-state nationalism; federalism and consociationalism; secession; ethnic cleansing; and genocide. Cases span a broad range of geographic regions and historical periods.


International migration prompts policy questions of the highest order: Who shall be admitted?  According to what criteria?  And toward which ends and to whose advantage?  And once admitted what, if any, access should migrants have to citizenship?  This course aims to provide students with the theoretical and empirical knowledge needed to grapple with these questions intelligently.  We will critically review literature from multiple disciplines with an eye to better understanding both why immigration has become such a dominant issue in contemporary politics and governance and how the challenges it provokes have been addressed by liberal-democratic states. After surveying theories of immigration policymaking we consider responses to different modes of international migration, including refugee flows, temporary foreign workers, and highly skilled immigrants.  The final part of the course considers debates sparked by the pluralization of industrialized societies after WWII, including: the regulation of citizenship and naturalization, the accommodation of religious minorities, and the fierce battle over multiculturalism and competing modes of immigrant integration.


This course critically examines the relationship between politics, rationality, and public policy-making. The first half of the course surveys dominant rational actor models, critiques of these approaches, and alternative perspectives. The second half of the course explores pathological policy outcomes, arrived at through otherwise rational procedures. Cases include Soviet-era agricultural collectivization campaigns; eugenics; the Holocaust; nontherapeutic medical experimentation; and state-sanctioned torture. We will ask why public policy scholars have ignored these issue areas and consider whether the dominance of rationalist paradigms in the policy sciences has contributed to this neglect.  We will also discuss the difficulty of attributing responsibility for such conduct in complex, hierarchical bureaucratic organizations. Beyond familiarizing students with rational actor models and their alternatives, the course will grapple with difficult dilemmas: How can we square the use governance techniques that are highly rational in terms of their procedures, with outcomes that are morally reprehensible?  How do we determine what counts as “costs” and “benefits” in making decisions, especially when they significantly affect individuals’ life chances, health, and autonomy?  Can certain fundamental goods, such as human dignity, ever be discounted in the pursuit of other, communal goods such as national security?  How can we ascribe responsibility for actions taken by individuals in systems that are hierarchical, technocratic and dependent on those same individuals “following orders”?  In short, the class will encourage critical thinking and moral reflection – two attributes that are greatly appreciated among policy analysts and practitioners.

This course is a survey of contemporary patterns of public policy in Canada. Selected policy studies including managing the economy from post-war stabilization policies to the rise of global capitalism, developments in the Canadian welfare state and approaches to external relations and national security in the new international order.

Immigration has played a central role in Canada’s development. This course explores how policies aimed at regulating migration have both reflected and helped construct conceptions of Canadian national identity. We will pay particular attention to the politics of immigration policy-making, focusing on the role of the state and social actors.

This seminar course explores some of the major approaches to the comparative analysis of public policies of industrialized countries. The course uses a combination of case studies and theoretical literature to examine selected social and economic public policies and policy making in Europe, Canada, and the United States.

A central theme and indeed assumption in public policy analysis is that policy makers make decisions using rational decision making processes and techniques. This course asks how well rational models serve public policy makers. Is decision making according to rational models an accurate descriptor of what policy makers do? Are policies rationally deduced responses to objective “problems”? Do rational policy models help to account for policy change (or stasis)? How do distinctly political and/or ideological factors shape policymakers’ thinking and praxis? To illustrate these themes, the theories of public policy-making analyzed and discussed in class are applied to specific cases in comparative public policy including global climate change, contemporary health care reform, immigration, torture and national security concerns, and the regulation of genetically modified organisms

This course provides a study of current theories of public policy-making and the processes that are involved in making public policies. Policy processes of agenda setting, choosing governing instruments, making public decisions, and implementing and evaluating governmental programs are examined using specific cases of public policy-making in Canada.

This course examines the rules, both formal and informal, that govern the relationships among actors in the policy process in a variety of settings and jurisdictions, in the context of competing interests and multiple priorities. It considers the factors that affect the development and evolution of those rules, and how different institutional frameworks meet the tests of democracy, conflict management, effective governance and accountability, and capacity to respond to policy challenges. The course will provide an overview of current issues in Canada, including the dynamics of multi-level governance, evolving legal frameworks including the role of the courts and the growing emphasis on transparency and oversight, and will explore options for reform.

This course examines the relationship between politics, rationality, and public policy-making. A central theme and indeed assumption in public policy analysis is the rational model of decision-making. This course explores various aspects of that model as well as critiques. How well does the rationality model serve public policy makers? Is it an accurate reflection of what policy makers do? Does it account for policy change (or stasis)? Theories and models examined are successively applied to specific cases in Canadian and comparative public policy.

This class provides an overview of current developments in comparative public policy and surveys a variety of theoretical literatures that seek to explain public policy in a comparative manner. The course has two fundamental aims. The first is to assess our analytical tools and concepts for understanding how public policies are generated. The second is to explore areas of comparative public policy that have seen interesting developments in the last twenty years.