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Current Course Offerings

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Summer 2020--June 8-August 13 (registration begins April 6)

Force, Conflict, and Change: Empires--Good Thing or Bad Thing? (MALS610-010)

The image of empire has been largely shaped not by historians but by Hollywood: marching Roman legionnaires or pith helmeted Britons ordering Asians or Africans about. (The image of empire might well include the American "winning of the West" but, for some reason, seldom does.)  But empire is a much more complex business than cinematic spectacle and worthy of very serious attention.  After all, much more of human history has been shaped by empires than by nation states and parliamentary democracies--both quite recent arrivals on the scene and by no means guaranteed to dominate the future.  Empires of various sorts are still with us--and also aspire to write that future. We will look comparatively at several long lived and influential empires and seek at least a tentative answer to the question posed by the course title.

The basic reading for the seminar will be Krishan Kumar's "Visions of Empire" (Princeton,2017).  A paper edition is available.  Further readings will grow out of the discussions in the seminar and the paper topic chosen.

Every student will be expected to do a paper of roughly 15 pp on a topic developed out of the reading and seminar discussions.  A one page proposal will be handed in at the end of the first month of the course.  Once approved, the full paper will be due at the last class meeting.  Details (footnote form, etc.) will be discussed in class.


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Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Current Course Offerings