Course Leader: Dr Fatos Tarifa
Home Institution: European University of Tirana, Albania
Course pre-requisites: None.
Geopolitics emerged in Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and had its heyday between the two World Wars. After World War II it was largely ignored in academia and survived only in military academies, although it continued to inform the foreign policy of major powers throughout the Cold War. Since the end of the 1980s formal geopolitical discourses gradually came back and today geopolitics is once again not only a term that is widely used in academia, mass-media, think-tanks, but also a subdiscipline that is taught in many IR programs. The course aims to provide students with an overview of this changing nature of contemporary geopolitics and the foreign policy strategies of the US and rising Great Powers in a globalized world. The course focuses on changing conceptions of world order against the background of major historical shifts of longue durée—economic and civilizational—which may challenge the western-centric nature of modern international society. The course will initially provide a set of analytical tools to make sense of the contemporary international system, with a focus on geopolitics. Particular attention will be given to the role of the United States as a global hegemon and the geopolitical imagination, the global role of the European Union, the role of demography, and the shifts in international politics and global political economy as a result of the rise of China.
By the end of the course, a successful student should be able to: (i) have developed a critical understanding of geopolitics and grand strategy and relate this to the analysis of the current world order; (ii) comprehend the foreign policy practices of the United States, Europe, China and Russia in today’s international system; (iii) understand some of the key regional dynamics of contemporary geopolitics (iv) formulate academically informed arguments about the themes of this course.
1 The Geography of International Relations
2 The End of the Cold War and the Emergence of a “New World Order”
3 How Stable, Peaceful and Desirable is the Current International System
4 A New “Concert of Power”, or a “Community of Democracies” for the 21st Century
5 Europe—Vive la difference!
6 Russia—A Challenge and a Dilemma for the 21st Century
7 China—The Peaceful Rise of a Great Power
8 Can U.S. Hegemony be Balanced by an Asian Pole?
9 The Future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
10 Shifting Powers: A World without the West?
11 Will the 21st Century Remain an American Century?
12 Twenty-First Century Realities: A Farewell to Geopolitics?
The course is structured around a series of lectures and seminars combined, involving―and encouraging―discussion in class. That means that lectures will be very interactive and students’ participation is essential for making the best of the learning experience.
Required Course Materials
Course materials will include a number of books or book chapters by major authors in the field of geopolitics (Kissinger, Brzezinski, Kagan etc. as well as selected article from some of the most reputable journals in the field, such as Foreign Affairs; The National Interest; The American Interest, Current History, International Security; International Affairs; International Politics, Orbis; Security Studies; Review of International Studies; Political Geography; World Politics; Europe-Asia Studies, China Quarterly.
There will be two assessed pieces of course work for this course: