The course aims at providing the students with an advanced and comprehensive understanding of the contemporary international system, as well as with the capability to apply knowledge and methodology to emerging case-studies. Against the backdrop of the ongoing geopolitical changes of the international system, each year the course focuses on a single topic: in 2019/20, for instance, the transformation of war and its relationship with the transformation of international convivence.
Expected learning outcomes
Lesson period: Second trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The first part analyses war as the mirrored image of international politics; namely, why the major changes in the history of international politics (such as the shifts from multipolar to bipolar systems, from pre-global to global systems, from ideologically homogeneous to heterogeneous systems) turn out to be mirrored in the frequency of war, its severity, its ability to determine hegemony, or even the way in which it is fought. Particular emphasis will be put on the enduring relationship between war and the distribution of power; the geopolitics of the international arena; culture, ideology, and international law; and between war and the very nature of political actors.
The second part provides a comprehensive analysis of the ongoing transformations of war. The course addresses such topics as the so-called "new wars", the privatization of violence, the proliferation of civil wars, the alleged decline of major wars, the rediscovery of the just war tradition, terrorism and the so-called global war on terror.
In the third part, the attendant students are required to deliver a presentation upon single case-studies.
Prerequisites for admission
International Relations Contemporary History International Law
For attendant students:
M. Van Creveld, The Transformation of War, The Free Press, New York 1991
A list of required readings will be circulated at the beginning of the course
For non attendant students:
J. Keegan, A History of Warfare, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1993.
M. Van Creveld, The Transformation of War, The Free Press, New York 1991.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attendant students will be assessed according to the following criteria: Presentation and discussion 30% Oral exam at the end of the course 70% Both the presentation and the oral exam are aimed at making sure that the student has a deep understanding of IR theory and the geopolitical approach. The exam is also aimed at assessing whether the student can express himself/herself with a correct terminology and apply the information and methodology acquired during the course to new case studies.
Non-attendant students have to pass an oral exam at the end of the course. The exam is aimed at making sure that the student has a deep understanting of IR theory and the geopolitical approach. The exam is also aimed at assessing whether the student can express himself/herself with a correct terminology and apply the information and methodology acquired during the course to new case studies.