Political Theories of Empire and Imperialism

Term: Fall 2012

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 6655

This is a reading course for graduate students, surveying important literature in an interesting new field of study in political theory. Through selections from a number of classic and recent works, we seek to identify the common characteristics of the various entities that have been described as “empires”, from ancient Greece to the present day, and to evaluate the ideas that have been offered as justifications for imperial projects. Issues for consideration will include: What is an ‘empire’? To what extent are various canonical works of political philosophy ‘imperialist’? Are ‘civilization’, ‘progress’, and ‘development’ inevitably imperial concepts? Do commerce and capitalism stimulate or suppress imperialism? Can empire persist after de-colonization? What is the relation of ‘nationalism’ to ‘imperialism’? and is the contemporary United States an ‘empire’? 

This course will be taught be Joshua Simon, post-doctoral fellow.


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