POLS 338 Cosmopolis: From the Roman to the Ottoman and British Empires

This course will offer an unusual conspectus of political thought in the last two thousand years. Most political theory has considered the nature of the polis or the nature of the modern state: there are very few great works, with perhaps the exception of Augustine's City of God, which deal with the problem of the nature of empire, or cosmopolis, that is, a universal city rather than a particular city. The course shall involve a study of the understandings of empire held by those who reflected on the Roman, Byzantine, Holy Roman, Ottoman, Austrian and British Empires. It will include not only writers who lived within empires, but those from the more obvious western canon of political thought who reflected on empires from without. Not only political thought will be studied, but also some literature and history. The question will be why so little theory was written about empires. Credit units: 3 ECTS Credit units: 6.

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