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Bulletin Description
This is an interdisciplinary course, which blends history, sociology, anthropology,
philosophy and political thought for the purpose of exploring the concept of ‘empire’ and
its role in the social sciences. The course begins with the present crisis in Europe and
moves through examples in the histories of German, Roman, Turkish, Spanish, British,
American, and French imperialism as they have been interpreted by historians and
theorists in order for students develop an understanding of what empire is and how it
functions in the global political world.
Detailed Description
What is empire? What does a global and comparative framework on empire and
imperialism give us that looking at a single country’s experience does not offer? What is
the difference between colonialism and imperialism and how can we understand that
difference through a comparative and historical lens? What are the comparisons between
the periods of expansionism in world history?
This course explores these questions beginning with the contemporary crisis in Europe
and Giorgio Agamben’s provocative political statement that the Latin Empire should rise
up against the German Empire. As we turn to the history of German colonialism itself, we
explore the fact that colonial and imperial policies implemented were often based on the
work of sociologists and anthropologists, and that social science itself is directly
implicated in the history and trajectory of empires. From there we move back historically
to the Christianizing of the Roman Empire and look at the role of religion in forging a
common “Europe” or “West” as an imperial center from the Middle Ages to the modern
establishment of capitalism and the world market. We then raise the question of the
origins of empires, looking specifically at the Turkish and Spanish cases. We analyze the
effects of empire, from slavery to proletarianization, and the relationship between
imperialism and national struggles for self-determination, particularly in the Latin
American and African contexts. After examining these historical cases and the theories of
empire that shape them, we consider the possibility of resistance to empire on the level of
civil society, as well as the abstract concept of “negation” and its critiques. Finally, we
watch the classic film, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and think about who will
own Mars.

Type of service: Rewriting
Type of assignment: Essay
Siubject: Social Studies
Pages/words: 10/2750
Number of sources: 0
Academic level: Freshman (college 1st year)
Paper format: MLA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: US English