The course will focus on the relationships between space, geography and international politics. It will address classical geopolitical theories and doctrines as well as new approaches to the study of space and politics, including empirical studies of the links between international wars and regime changes; spatial diffusion of conflicts; the social and political consequences of climate change; the rise of China.
Topic 1 - Introduction; The birth and expansion of "human space" and political power
Sloan, G. (2017), Geopolitics, Geography and Strategic History. London, Routledge: chapter 1.
Diamond, J. (2005). Guns, Germs and Steel. London, Vintage Books: chapters 4, 5, 10, 14.
Gat, A. (1999). "The Pattern of Fighting in Simple, Small-Scale, Prestate Societies" Journal of Anthropological Research 55(4): 563-583.
Christian, D. (2011), Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. Berkeley, University of California Press: chapters 9, 12.
Topic 2 - Classical geopolitical theories:
Sloan, G. (2017), Geopolitics, Geography and Strategic History. London, Routledge: chapter 2.
Sumida, J. (2013), "Alfred Thayer Mahan, Geopolitician", in Gray, C. and Sloan, G. (eds.), Geopolitics, Geography and Strategy. London, Routledge, pp. 39-62.
Herwig, H. (2013), "Geopolitik: Haushofer, Hitler and Lebensraum", in Gray, C. and Sloan, G. (eds.), Geopolitics, Geography and Strategy. London, Routledge, pp. 218-240.
Topic 3 - Cold War and post-Cold War geopolitical theories:
Sloan, G. (2017), Geopolitics, Geography and Strategic History. London, Routledge: chapter 6.
Kennan, G. (1947), "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" Foreign Affairs 25 (July): 566–82.
Lippmann, W. (1987) "The Cold War" Foreign Affairs 65 (4): 869–884.
Huntington, S. (1993), "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72(3): 22-49.
Fukuyama, F. (1989) "The End of History?" The National Interest 16 (Summer): 3-18.
Topic 4 - New approaches to power politics: International wars and internal regimes:
Gunitsky, S. (2017), Aftershocks. Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the 20th Century. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Topic 5 – New approaches to space, geography and politics (I):
Buhaug, H. and Gleditsch, K. S. (2008), "Contagion or Confusion? Why Conflicts Cluster in Space" International Studies Quarterly 52(2): 215-233.
Salehyan, I. and Gleditsch, K. S. (2006) "Refugees and the Spread of Civil War" Internatinal Organization 60(2): 335-366.
Bohmelt, T., Bove, V. and Gleditsch, K. S. (2019) "Blame the Victims? Refugees, State Capaciti and Non-State Actor Violence" Journal of Peace Research 56(1): 73-87.
Theisen, O., Holtermann, H. and Buhaug, H. (2012), "Climate Wars? Assessing the Claim that Drought Breeds Conflict" International Security 36(3): 79-106
Koubi, V., Spilker, G., Schaffer, L. and Bernauer, T. (2016) "Environmental Stressors of Migration: Evidence from Vietnam" World Development 79(3): 197-210.
Topic 6 – New geopolitical confrontations: The rise of China:
Liff, A., and Ikenberry, G. J. (2014), "Racing toward Tragedy? China's Role, Military Competition in the Asia Pacific, and the Security Dilemma" International Security 39(2): 52-91.
Brooks, S., and Wohlforth, W. (2016), "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the Twenty-first Century" International Security 40(3): 7-53.
Shambaugh, D. (2018), "US-China Rivalry in Southeast Asia Pacific. Power Shift or Competitive Coexistence?" International Security 42(4): 85-127.
Lind, J., and Press, D. (2018), "Markets or Mercantilism? How China Secures its Energy Supplies" International Security 42(4): 170-204.
NON-ATTENDING STUDENTS will have to add the remaining chapters of the following book to the readings indicated above:
Diamond, J. (2005). Guns, Germs and Steel. London, Vintage Books.
Knowledge: Advanced understanding of the major channels through which space and geography connect to international politics and of the evolution of geopolitics from the classical pre-World war II doctrines to contemporary empirical approaches.
Abilities acquired at the end of the course: High degree of confidence in dealing with theoretical and advanced empirical research in international relations; Critical evaluation of scholarly literature.
Capacity to apply the knowledge acquired: Conduct basic research on the links between space, geography and international politics; Present pieces of research with appropriate technical and oral skills.
Basic knowledge of modern and contemporary history, comparative politics and international relations
The course will take the form of seminars. Following an introduction structured as a lecture, students are expected to discuss the topic of the day and give presentations. Reading class material in advance is thus essential to participate successfully in the course.
Students have to register on the EMoodle platform (http://e-l.unifi.it/ ask professor for the password) and download the material that the teacher will be posting on it.
Special attention will be devoted to specific important needs (such as students with disabilities that are unable to attend the course).
Modalità di verifica apprendimento
- In class presentation: 25% of the grade;
- Long abstract (Max. 1000 words) of a research paper: 25% of the grade;
- Final research paper (Max 6000 words, including references): 50% of the grade.
Students who do not regularly attend class (or attending students who prefer this procedure) will be assessed through a final written exam on all readings (2 hours).
COVID-19 UPDATE: IN JUNE AND JULY 2020 THE EXAMS WILL TAKE PLACE ONLINE AND AN ORAL EXAM WILL SUBSTITUTE THE WRITTEN EXAM. NOTHING CHANGES FOR THE STUDENTS WHO OPTED FOR WRITING THE RESEARCH PAPER.
Students can either take an oral exam online, or a written exam in person.
Nothing changes for the students who opted for writing the research paper.
Programma del corso
The course is structured in four parts. After an introduction to Geopolitics, the first part of the course will focus on the birth of "human space", the creation of the first political entities and the links between geography and human development in early modern history. The second part of the course will be devoted to classical and modern geopolitical theories and doctrines, ranging from pre-World War II authors to post-Cold War interpretations of the links between human geography and international politics. The third part of the course will present a contemporary approach to the study of power politics, and more specifically to the link between international wars and domestic regimes, while the final part of the course will take into account contemporary geopolitical issues, such as the spatial diffusion of conflicts, the social-political consequences of climate change, the rise of China.