1. Introduction and set-up session

  • General overview of the topics, the themes and the readings.
  • Key terms: “state,” “nation,” “empire.”
  • Requirements, quizzes and term-paper.
  • Use of the web page.

The course provides a historical and theoretical overview of the concepts “state,” “nation,” and “empire” as they have been used in political theory and historical practice both in Europe and elsewhere. We will start with the very first states of ancient antiquity and go on to discuss the idea of the city-state and the republican tradition, the great empires of Asia, the Cameralist states of Central Europe, the rise of nationalism and the transformation of states into “nation-states.” The course concludes with a discussion of “national self-determination” and neo-imperialism in our contemporary world.

The course will be conducted in the form of seminars in which an active student participation in expected. There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss the material we cover. A 5,000 word research paper is required. The grade will be determined by the research paper (50%) and seminar participation (50%). Only the “readings” on the reading list are required reading. “Additional readings” can be consulted, and may feature in the class discussions, but are not mandatory as such.