Explores war as a concept in international political economy. Examines interpretations of war as put forth by proponents of the ken theoretical constructs of mercantilism, liberalism, and Marxism. Explores contemporary challenges to the prevailing, dominant theories of war.
The course provides a review of political economy of war in a global perspective covering Western and Eastern views. In Western thinking the dominant view is this of mercantilism, where autonomous state is a key actor and war is the principal strategy for survival. War, and 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 historical reality of limited role of wars is of practical consequences as it raises propensity to war. With its view of the world where 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 this of China as crucial part of Eastern world.
Student learning goals
To have a/ a better understanding of the extent to which war is an intellectual construct in Western thinking /b/ gain a clearer appreciation to what extent the world is driven by conflict /war/ as opposed to cooperation /peace/, /c/ learn how to formulate agenda for empirical research, /d/ appreciate the scope of differences in the world perspective shared by various parts of the world, /e/ engage in learning through in-depth historical research
General method of instruction
Key is the class lecture and class discussions plus discussion of student's papers
General grounding in basic elements of comparative political economy
Class assignments and grading
> three non-cumulative tests plus a paper to be presented in the class earning equivalent of points earned in each test
test and paper grading