Capitalism and Geopolitics (L2062S)
30 credits, Level 6
In this multi-disciplinary module, you examine the relations between capitalism and geopolitics and how their interaction has shaped different political communities and world orders from the 17th century up to the 21st century.
You'll explore the major theoretical traditions and debates, old and new, on the nexus between capitalism and geopolitics and combines these theoretical perspectives with in-depth interrogations of the historical material, the key events, processes, actors that shaped this turbulent international history of war and peace, crises and revolutions, conquest and exploitation.
This course is at the centre of the emerging sub-fields of International Historical Sociology and the Political Economy of Geopolitics.
You'll study the three classical traditions that have most centrally informed this discourse:
- the writings of Max Weber and Otto Hintze that assert the primacy of military competition for geopolitical orders and that have inspired a Neo-Weberian turn in Historical Sociology and International Relations (IR) since the mid-1980s
- the works of Fernand Braudel and Immanuel Wallerstein, updated and extended by neo-Gramscian IR Theory, that stress the rise of commercial exchange and the construction of successive world hegemonies
- the ideas of Karl Marx that have more recently led to intense debates within the Neo-Marxist literature on how to conceptualise capitalist social relations and class conflict in their effects on inter-state conflict and co-operation across the centuries.
Against this theoretical setting, you also examine sequentially different historical geopolitical orders (dynastic-absolutist, 19th century British Hegemony, imperialist, fascist, liberal and contemporary) and the transitions between them on the basis of divergent and contested interpretations deriving from the three classical traditions.
You'll gain theoretically-informed and empirically-controlled analyses of the ways in which capitalism and geopolitics have shaped each other and constituted varieties of territorial orders in historical perspective.
Teaching and assessment
We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.
Contact hours and workload
This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.
This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, there may be changes to this module in response to COVID-19, or due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.
It may not be possible to take some module combinations due to timetabling constraints. The structure of some courses means that the modules you choose first may determine whether later modules are core or optional.
This module is offered on the following courses:
- Economics and International Relations BA
- Geography and International Relations BA
- History and International Relations BA
- International Relations BA
- International Relations and Anthropology BA
- International Relations and Development BA
- International Relations and Sociology BA
- Law with International Relations LLB
- Politics and International Relations BA