- Code POLS3032
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Political Science
- Academic career UGRD
- Dr April Biccum
- Mode of delivery In Person
Second Semester 2022
See Future Offerings
Recent events in global politics have forced the memory of empire into the public domain. Equally, changes in the international system have prompted analysts of various stripes in the public domain to refer to the US, China, Europe or Russia as ‘empire’. These changes have been reflected in political science with American Empire Debate, a turn toward history and critical voices calling for the decolonisation of the discipline and a call for a recognition of the importance of empire in shaping global politics. A sub-discipline of comparative empire studies has emerged that overlaps history with IR and calls for ‘epistemic decolonisation’ have arisen alongside scholarship which offers colonisation as a viable policy option. With the disciplines of the social sciences being largely oriented around the state, this course takes as its focus empire as its referent object and asks: why has political science paid it so little attention? What is an empire and how do we theorise it and study it? What does the introduction of empire as a field of study mean for political science and how we understand the international system? This course takes empire as its object of inquiry and provides students with a map for the various ways it has been theorised and understood. The aim of the course is to examine and assess in comparative frame the different kinds of analytical tools and methodological problems that might be applied to the study of empire. It will pose the theorisation of empire as a problem which will be explored conceptually, methodologically and empirically. Finally, we explore what empire as a political form or category of analysis contributes to our understanding of global politics.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- have an improved world historical understanding of the role that empire has played in shaping contemporary politics;
- have an improved inter-disciplinary understanding of empire as multi-faceted, multi-scaler and multi-sited object of inquiry;
- develop an ability to compare and assess different theoretical and normative perspectives on empire; and
- have developed some inquiry based skills in research practices of conceptualisation, theorisation and understanding methodological problems.
Course Topics include:
Empire and the International System
Empire in Comparative Perspective
Emprie as polity versus patterns of empire
Classical Approaches to Economic Imperialism
Anti-colonial Nationalism and Postcolonial Theory
Finance Capital and Contemporary theories of imperialism
Empire, Communications and Cultural Imperialism
Empire, Philosophy and Knowledge - the Decolonial School
Globialsation as Empire? (Hardt & Negri)
Global Citeizenship, Global Governance and the Rules Based International Order?
Conclusion and assessment preparation
- Essay Outline (500 words) (15) [LO 2,3,4]
- Research Essay (3000 words) (50) [LO 2,3,4]
- Applied Case Study (1500 words) (20) [LO 2,3,4]
- Workshop Participation (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of workshops over 12 weeks; and,
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Burbank, J. and F. Cooper (2010). Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference. Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press.
Darwin, J. (2007). After Tamerlane: the Global History of Empire Since 1405. London, Allen Lane.
Go, J. (2011). Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Doyle, M. (1986). Empires. Ithaca, Cornell University Press.
Alcock, S. E., et al., Eds. (2001). Empires; Perspectives from Archaeology and History. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Spruyt, H. (2016). Empires, Past and Present: The Relevance of Empire as an Analytic Concept. N. Parker. New York, Routledge.
Cox, M., Dunne, Timothy & Booth, Ken, Ed. (2001). Empires, Systems and States: Great transformations in international Politics. New York, Cambridge University Press.
Eisenstadt, S. N. (1963). The Political Systems of Empires. London, Collier MacMillan.
Waever, O. (1996). Europe's Three Empires: A Watsonian interpretation of Post-wall European Security. International Society After the Cold War. R. Fawn and J. Larkins. London, Macmillan: 224-225.
Munkler, H. (2005). Empires. Cambridge, Polity Press.
Shilliam, R., Ed. (2010). International Relations and non-Western Thought. Interventions. London & New York, Routledge.
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