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Global History



While global history has triggered numerous new debates amongst historians, this particular course is tailored specifically for students of international relations, for whom a basic understanding of modern global history is absolutely essential. The starting observation is that over the modern period (roughly 1400 to the present), international relations occurred not in a world of states but in a world of empires. The course therefore introduces students to the global context of empire-making between 1400 and the present, with a particular emphasis on the making and unmaking of European empires. The emphasis on the latter is a deliberate choice in light of what can best help IR students understand the shape of contemporary international relations: European empires came to almost completely dominate the world between the late nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century, and their impact continues to be deeply felt in international relations to this day, from the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East to the divide between the Global North and the Global South and the institutional politics of international organizations. The course places the different pieces of this history back within their global context in order to give students a sense of the broader trajectory of our global international order.

Course Objectives

The ultimate goals of the course are threefold:
1) To provide students with a solid sense of chronology;
2) To outline the core events in both the processes of modern imperial expansion and in the various acts of resistance to empire that eventually brought about a new world order;
3) To allow students to think more critically about the weight of this heritage on contemporary international relations.

Mode of Instruction:


Study Material:

The reading list and the course syllabus will be posted on Brightspace before the start of the course.

Assessment Method

Final exam.

The time and location of inspection and debriefing of the exam will be announced via Brightspace no later than the publication of the grades.


See general information on Tab 'Year 1'.

Timetable - courses and exams