Empires and States in a Globalizing World (1500-Present)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Empires and States in a Globalizing World (1500-Present)

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Asian Studies, European Studies, History, International Relations

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    To gain knowledge of and insight into the history of modern state formation since the early modern period, particularly in Eurasia, the political and economic developments that drove this process, and key historical debates about the origins, nature and development of nation-states and empires.To familiarize oneself with historical and comparative analytical skills that are needed to study globalization processes in different periods of time. To familiarize oneself with the combination of humanities and social science approaches.

    This course studies empires, the formation of modern states, waves of globalization and global patterns of political organization. It focuses on Europe, China and the Ottoman Empire in a global, comparative perspective. The course starts with the background of the emerging political world order, turning then to the period of national states, discussing the era of intensified globalization in the later nineteenth century, and the effects of earlier states and empire-formations in the present. It deals with questions such as:
    1. Why did the most powerful states and empires emerge in Eurasia and not in Africa or the Americas? What were the preconditions for successful state formation in Eurasia?
    2. Why was it that European state formation was geared more towards the development of nation-states, in comparison to eastern Eurasia? Why, and how, did the Westphalian state system develop in Europe and not elsewhere?
    3. How did political and economic developments interact within the different models of state formation? What was the impact of the financial revolution and the industrial revolution on state formation? And how did this relate again to the emergence of state-formation-from-below and comparable democratic processes?
    4. What was the impact of globalization on state formation?
    5. How did the emergence of nationalist notions interact with state formation? How did empires deal with the nationalist and religious differences, in contrast to the more monolithic models of the European nation-states?

    The course will invite students to engage in critical discussions about worldwide social and economic transformation, the politics of space, nation-state ideology, the colonial encounter, and the increasing problems regarding the supposedly rock-solid connection between state power, territoriality and sovereignty.

    Lectures, seminars

    Assignments (30%); paper outline (10%); final paper (60%). Attendance is compulsory. Make-up assignments constitute part of the sanctions applied in case of non-attendance.

    Basic knowledge of world history or globalization processes.

    Second (and third) year history students; students social sciences and politics; students migration-studies and law.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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