JSIS B 375
An introduction to both political geography and geopolitics, addressing the fundamental links between power and space. Topics covered include: theories of power, space, and modernity; the formation of modern states; international geopolitics in the aftermath of the Cold War; the post-colonial nation-state; and the geopolitics of resistance. Offered: jointly with GEOG 375.
Geopolitics is the practice of separating 'our' space from 'theirs'. It is the practice of envisioning and representing global space in a way that reflects particular strategic interests – though these interests are not always overtly stated. Cultural and economic differences can then be governed, tamed, contained or conquered by powerful states. This course draws mostly from critical geopolitics literature that deconstructs spatial representations of these strategic interests, revealing their cartographic constructions and erasures and the material violences they produce. We will take a historical overview of some of the dominant geopolitical imaginations of the last 200 years, including colonial representations of 'the Orient', Nazi propaganda maps, the bipolar world of the Cold War discourse, and the current US-led 'war on terror'. We will also explore the ties and tensions between contemporary geopolitics and neoliberal globalization.
Student learning goals
• analyze geopolitical issues as they are depicted in both foreign policy documents and popular culture;
• explain how geographic representations of the world both come out of and help to create specific forms of engagement and policy decisions;
• explain how these discourses reflect particular interests and ideologies;
• knowledgeably discuss a range of political, economic, social and cultural dimensions of geopolitics;
• see improvement in your communication and writing skills on complex social ideas.
General method of instruction
Seminars will involve a combination of lecture, discussion, in-class activities and films.
Class assignments and grading
The main forms of assessment will be a annotated bibliographies, in-class activities, midterm exam and a term paper.