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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kazimierz Poznanski
JSIS B 311
Seattle Campus

Myth of War

Explores war as a concept in international political economy. Examines interpretations of war as put forth by proponents of the key theoretical constructs of mercantilism, liberalism, and Marxism. Explores contemporary challenges to the prevailing, dominant theories of war.

Class description

Provides a review of the political economy of war in a global perspective covering Western and Eastern views. In Western thinking the dominant view is mercantilism, where the autonomous state is a key actor and war is the principal strategy for survival. War and the state as an instrument of war are also central to the competing paradigms (classical, liberal, and Marxist). Through detailed analysis of historical material on wars (national, civil, and imperial) an argument is made that, by major measurements, wars engage very limited resources (forces raised and losses incurred). This contrast between concepts of history stressing war and the historical reality of the limited role of wars is of practical consequences as it increases the propensity to war. With a view of the world where the state is an instrument of peace and wars are the weapons of the last resort, this propensity is reduced. The contrast between these two general visions of the role of war in history is documented not only with rich war statistics but also by examining respective cultures, notably literature, painting and music. This comparison is focused on Western culture and that of China as a crucial part of the Eastern world.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Recommended: general grounding in basic elements of comparative political economy.

Class assignments and grading

Grades based on class participation, three non-cumulative tests, and a paper to be presented in class.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 04/16/2012