GOVT-249 Territory and Borders in Global Affairs
Fall for 2015-2016
The class on shifting boundaries deals with questions related to the formation and reconfiguration/destruction of political entities and peoples. We begin in antiquity and move all the way to the modern nation-state. We will study how polities and states have defined their territorial boundaries and "sovereignty" to shape (and adjust to) the international system of their times. The class deals with the definitions and demarcation of civilizations, ethnic communities, religious groups and other political/cultural associations. How such groupings effect territorial organization? The class will pay special attention to the formation of modern nation states beginning with Westphalian Order and the erosion of the feudal system in the 15th and 16th century. We will then discuss the evolution of the modern states, their ideologies and the raison d'etre, the challenges to the international system by transnational ideologies/Communism/Nazism, and Radical Islam. What are the causes of shifts in boundaries, what is the role of "sovereignty" as an aspiration and reality? What is the role of International Law? What can be considered "territorial legitimacy"? What are empires and could they last?
Other academic years
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