Spring 2011

Contemporary Global Order and the Future of the Westphalian System

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-53


Jonathan T. Chow (Section 01)
Pavel Machala (Section 01)


[CP] The sovereign state, the basic building block of modern world  politics, is eroding. Or is it?  While the principle of the state as supreme within its territory remains, the practice of sovereignty faces growing challenges from above (in the form of nascent global governance structures), from below (in the form of transnational non-state actors),  and possibly even from the "side" (that is, from states that might seek to overthrow the Westphalian system and establish a more hierarchical order in its place). In this course, we will examine the nature of the state in contemporary world politics,  and various challenges to  the traditional Westphalian conception of state sovereignty. We will read extensively from Hedley Bull's "The Anarchical Society," examine  different models of order among sovereign states, and discuss how recent developments are raising new questions about the trajectory of the sovereign state system as we know it. Topics will include the establishment and decline of the Bretton Woods System, the creation of the European Union and the International Criminal Court, the post-Cold War rise of China, the growing prominence of religion as a political motivator and the emergence of global terrorist and criminal networks.

Spring semester.  Professor Machala and Loewenstein Fellow Chow.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to upper classmen who have taken one of the prerequisites.

Cost: 15.00 ?


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011