1. Introduction and setup

  • General overview of the topics, the themes and the readings.
  • The state in historical perspective.
  • Theories of the state.
  • Requirements, mid-term and term-paper.
  • Use of the web page.

The course provides a historical and theoretical overview of the concept of the state. Each week we will discuss a different kind of state, beginning with the very first states in ancient Mesopotamia and finishing with contemporary examples such as welfare-, developmental- and patrimonial states. We will look at the way the respective states were organized, their aims and the scope of their power, and the rights and obligations of the people subject to them.

The course will be conducted in the form of seminars in which an active student participation in expected. Two research papers are required: a 3,000 word mid-term paper and a 5,000 word final paper. The grade will be determined by the research paper (50%), mid-term (25%) seminar participation (25%). “Additional readings” on the reading list can be consulted, and may feature in the class discussions, but are not required as such.