Empires and States in a Globalizing World (1500-present)


Course Objective

*To gain knowledge of and insight into the history of modern state
formation since the early modern period, in particular the political and
economic developments that drove this process, and key historical
debates about the origins, nature and development of nation-states and
*To familiarize oneself with historical and comparative analytical
skills that are needed to study globalization processes in different
periods of time.
*To familiarize oneself with the combination of humanities and social
science approaches.
*To research independently a limited topic in the field of empires and
states in a globalizing world and to write a larger English-language
paper according to academic standards.

Course Content

This course studies patterns of political organization, in particular
empires and the modern nation-state, in a global, comparative
perspective. The module emphasizes the impact of warfare, yet in
contrast to the Realist International Relations School it does not focus
on the belligerent interaction between states itself Instead, the course
examines the social and economic backgrounds of state formation and
power arrangements within states.
The course starts with the background of the emerging political world
order from the sixteenth century onwards, turning then to the period of
national states, discussing the era of intensified nationalization in
the later nineteenth century, followed by the period of decolonization
and their effects in the present. It deals with questions such as: 1.
Why did states and empires emerge first in Eurasia, and not in Africa or
the Americas? What were the preconditions for early state formation in
Eurasia? 2. Why was European state formation geared towards the
development of capitalist nation-states, in contrast to eastern Eurasia?
3. Why did state formation follow a different route in sub-Sahara
Africa? 4. How did political and economic developments interact within
the different models of state formation? What was in particular the
impact of the financial revolution and the industrial revolution on
state formation? 5. How did these patterns relate again to the emergence
of state-formation-from-below and comparable democratic processes? 6.
How did the emergence of nationalist notions interact with state
formation, among others in former empires? 7. How did border-communities
respond to the overwhelmingly nationalist-territorial ambitions of
empires and states?
The course will invite students to engage in critical discussions about
worldwide social and economic transformation, the politics of space,
nation-state ideology, the colonial encounter, and the supposedly
rock-solid connection between state power, territoriality and

Teaching Methods

Lectures combined with seminars, 4 hours per week.

Method of Assessment

Portfolio with assignments (must be completed). Test 1 (20%); Test 2
(20%); Paper outline (10%); Final paper (50%)

Entry Requirements

World History 500-1800; World History 1800-present


To be announced.

Target Audience

The course is open for students Bachelor History, Specialization History
and International Studies, who have completed the modules World History
500-1800 and World History 1800-2000

Recommended background knowledge

Global History; Social and Economic History

General Information

Course Code L_GWBAGES211
Credits 6 EC
Period P5+6
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. M.C. 't Hart
Examiner prof. dr. M.C. 't Hart
Teaching Staff prof. dr. M.C. 't Hart

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: