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Lecture:

  • What is an “international system” and what are its main units?
  • What is the difference between an international system and an international society?
  • What kinds of international systems are there?
  • How should international systems best be studied?

Class discussion: Hedley Bull and the English School

  • What is a “Grotian” international system?
  • How is order maintained in international relations
  • What is the history of diplomacy?

Readings:

Additional material:

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Lecture:

  • Who were the Incas?
  • Who were the Aztecs?
  • Which other political entities existed in the Americas?

Readings:

Presentations:

This week too the presentations are based on BBC documentaries. Please consult this page regarding “lost kingdoms of South America” and this for “lost kingdoms of Central America.” Please pick one of the following:

  • Chachapoyo.
  • the Tiwanaku,
  • the Chimor,
  • the Taino.
  • the Olmec.

Additional resources:

  • Erik’s lecture notes.
  • Erik’s map of the Americas.
  • Blanton, Richard, and Gary Feinman. “The Mesoamerican World System.” American Anthropologist 86, no. 3 (1984): 673–682.
  • Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. 1st edition. New York: Vintage Books, 2006.
  • Marcus, Joyce. “A Synthesis of the Cultural Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec.” The Cloud People. Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations. Clinton Corners: Percheron Press. Revised Edition, 2003.

 Lecture:

  • Why and how did the Mongols come to create an empire which spanned most of the Eurasian continent? What made the Mongols militarily successful?
  • How was Mongol diplomacy conducted?
  • Why did the Mongol empire eventually decline and fall?
  • “Nomadic political theory“: tactics in war. principles of social organization, the role of paths and nodes.

Required readings:

  • Erik Ringmar,”The Mongol Khanates,” History of International Relations (Cambridge: Open Books Publisher, forthcoming)
  • Starr, S. Frederick. “The Mongol Century.” In Lost Enlightenment : Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane, 436–37. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
  • Schurmann, H. F. “Mongolian ​Tributary Practices of the Thirteenth Century.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 19, no. 3/4 (December 1956): 304-89.

Presentations:

​Additional resources:

Lecture:

  •  Who were the Mughals?  Why and how did they manage to conquer the Indian subcontinent?
  • Prior to the Mughals, how were political relations organized on the subcontinent?
  • How should we explain the Indianization of Southeast Asia?

Readings:

Presentations:

  • Who was Tamerlane? What do you know about his successors?
  • Who built the Taj Mahal and why?​ 
  • What was going on at Angkor Wat?
  • Why is Hinduism the dominant religion in Bali?  How is Hinduism reflected in Balinese customs and traditions?

​Additional material:

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Lecture:

  • Historical overview of Muslim expansion.
  • The Muslim caliphates
  • The Ottomans from the fall of Constantinople to the “sick man of Europe.”
  • What impact did the Arabs have on Spain and the rest of Europe?
  • How were relations organized between various religious groups?
  • What role did Berber tribes play?

Readings:

Presentations:

  • Provide a review of the TV series “Omar.” 
  • How did the Vikings bury their dead and what did Ibn Fadlan make of it?
  • Who was Mosheh ben Maimon?  What happened to the Sephardi Jews of Spain?

Additional resources:

Two thousand years ago it was the city of Teotihuacán which dominated the valley. With its estimated 150,000 people it was the largest city in the Americas at the time, and it was so crowded that some of the inhabitants had to live in multi-story apartment buildings. Teotihuacán was a multi-ethnic city and not the center of an empire. It was looted and destroyed in 550 CE. Today Teotihuacán is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, famous for the large pyramids located along the so called “Avenue of the Dead.” The Pyramid of the Sun was both the political and the religious center of the city. Despite the fame and power of the city of Teotihuacán, its history is still largely unknown. We do not know what language its people spoke, or even what its proper name was. “Teotihuacán” is a name coined centuries later. The people here had writing of some kind, though it seems not to have been used much; in any case the script has not been deciphered.

Tula, inhabited by the Toltecs, took over the position held by Teotihuacán in the valley of Mexico and dominated political and cultural life here in the centuries around the year 1000 CE. They came after Teotihuacán and before the Aztecs, in other words. What we know about them is largely filtered through the stories recorded in notoriously unreliable Aztec sources. There are still large statues of Toltec warriors to be seen, carved in limestone and volcanic rock.