Current / Upcoming Course
Special Topics: Asia’s Digital Futures
Tuesdays, 10 AM – 12 PM
Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
University of Toronto
This course is designed for senior undergraduate students who wish to enhance their knowledge of Asia’s adoption of the Internet and digital tools, and how these tools and systems are reshaping Asian societies, including their politics, culture, and social movements. We will study how governments in the region regulate information flows online and experiment on new technologies that have the potential to either curtail or encourage public participation. This course will also examine the private sector’s outsized role in our digital economy and its consequences for human rights and good governance. Finally, we will shed light on the role of the Internet as a site of contestation, where representation, dissent, and resistance are developed and negotiated. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify and distinguish the range of actors, institutions, and policies that constitute our global network society, and understand Asia’s impact on the future of technology. There are no exams in this course. Coursework required includes a quiz, a presentation, discussion board posts, essays, and class participation. Assignments in the course are designed to help students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, and learn how to write to different audiences.
Topics in Comparative Politics I: Democracy in the Age of Digital Authoritarianism
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12-2 PM
Department of Political Science
University of Toronto
The American think tank Freedom House reported the fifteenth consecutive year of global democratic backsliding in 2021. This democratic recession is occurring simultaneously as new and highly-sophisticated technologies for surveillance, censorship, and information manipulation have proliferated. While the use of these technologies for digital subversion and controls have been known to be part of an autocrat’s playbook, democracies have steadily adopted these approaches as well. To better understand these trends, this course examines the key actors and institutions involved in the governance of the Internet and considers their democratic and civic implications. We will study digital authoritarianism and the models of Internet controls espoused by China and Russia, and the adoption of illiberal practises in the digital sphere by select countries around the world. Finally, we will explore issues related to the Internet and gender, terrorism, and artificial intelligence and Big Data. Coursework required includes essays, presentations, and class participation.