Global Studies (GLST) 440

Global Governance and Law (Revision 2)

GLST 440 Course website

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study or grouped study (check availability).

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. A prior course in international studies or political science is recommended. Note that this is a senior level course in the social sciences and as such, students are expected to have advanced critical thinking and writing skills.

Precluded Course: GLST 440 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 3 different disciplines—GOVN 440 and POLI 440. GLST 440 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for GOVN 440 and POLI 440.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Global Studies Home

GLST 440 has a Challenge for Credit option.
arrow.gifChallenge evaluation.

Course website

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Global Studies 440: Global Governance and Law provides the tools and concepts relevant to understanding how practices of governance function in contemporary societies and toward what ends. It overviews some of the central debates on global governance and international law, especially in regard to violence and the use of force, human rights, economic transactions, and the environment. A number of key questions are discussed in relation to these debates. What is governance for? Where does accountability lie? How does law function? Who is being governed? Who participates in governance? Students will gain a broad understanding of some of the issues and potentialities for governance and law in global politics. The course does not assume that students already have a background—in global governance and law, however, it provides a sophisticated introduction to some of the key concepts and how those concepts can be applied to contemporary practices.

Global Studies 440 provides the tools and concepts relevant to understanding how practices of governance function in contemporary societies and toward what ends. The course is divided into five parts. The first part is an introduction to the subject of global governance and law, to Michel Foucault's theory of governance and law, and to the perspectives of some of his critics. The second part of the course elaborates upon conceptions of law as governance, and the idea of sociology of law as governance. The third part covers global legal governance and the use of violence, and the relationship of the UN, and International Criminal Tribunals to the laws of war. The fourth part explores notions of humane governance, and assesses the challenges posed by sovereignty and security. The final part of the course explores contestations of global governance by global social movements, including women, labour and environmental movements. In Global Studies 440 students develop a sophisticated understanding of the intellectual terrain of governance and law in a globalized world.


Part I: The Politics and History of Global Governance and Law

  • Unit 1: The Politics of International Law and Global Governance
  • Unit 2: The History and Evolution of International Law
  • Unit 3: Power, Ideas, Politics, and Legal Norms

Part II: Governing the Use of Force through Law

  • Unit 4: Law and Ethics on the Use of Force
  • Unit 5: International Institutions and the Use of Force

Part III: The Expansion of International Law and Global Governance

  • Unit 6: International Law and Human Rights
  • Unit 7: Global Governance and the Global Commons

Part IV: Law, Governance, and Globalization

  • Unit 8: Governance and Globalization
  • Unit 9: Contesting the Governance of Globalization
  • Unit 10: Making Global Governance Accountable


To receive credit for GLST 440, you must submit all the required course assignments and complete them to the satisfaction of your tutor. To receive credit for the course you must achieve an overall course and examination grade of “D” (50 percent) or better. The passing grade for the final examination is also a “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the assignments and exams are outlined below.

TME 1: Theory Paper TME 2: Research Essay Final exam Total
20% 30% 50% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


O'Brien, Robert, Anne Marie Goetz, Jan Aart Scholte, and Marc Williams. 2000. Contesting global governance: Multilateral economic institutions and global social movements Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Reus-Smit, Christian, ed. 2004. The politics of international law. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Sands, Philippe. 2006. Lawless world: The Whistle-blowing account of how Bush and Blair are taking the law into their own hands.

Other Materials

The course materials include a student manual, study guide, assignment manual, and a reading file.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GLST 440 challenge registration, you must complete all required components, and achieve an overall grade of at least “D” (50 percent).

Written Assignment 1 Written Assignment 2 Exam Total
5% 10% 75% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Current Grouped Study Locations

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, November 6, 2007.

View previous syllabus

Updated May 16 2016 by SAS