Modern International Society

New School for Social Research: Historical Studies

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

Modern International Society

Fall 2021

Taught By: Quentin Bruneau

Section: A

CRN: 12382

Credits: 3

It is customary to describe the international political organisation of our world as an international system (or society) of states, and to identify its origins with the Peace of Westphalia (1648). It is against this familiar story that scholars usually juxtapose another familiar story about the decline of the nation-state, the erosion of sovereignty, and the demise of territoriality in an era of post-Cold War globalization. This course assesses the historical accuracy of the Westphalian story and its problems. In so doing, it raises major questions regarding our understanding of the contemporary period: put simply, we cannot be living in a post-Westphalian world if the world was never organised along ‘Westphalian’ lines. The course proceeds in three steps. First, we attempt to track the origins of international society across time and space: when and where did modern international society emerge? In this section, we will deal with topics such as the origins (European or otherwise) of sovereignty and modern territoriality, and their possible links to capitalism. The next section explores the changing normative principles of international society. It deals, for instance, with the popular early modern idea of divisible sovereignty, the rise of a practice of intervention, the shifting place of non-European polities in the law of nations, and the idea that Great Powers have special prerogatives. The third and final section explores the transformation of three key institutions of international society: diplomacy, international law, and war. The course ends by asking how best to interpret twentieth century transformations in light of the revised historical account of how modern international society was made.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Historical Studies (GHIS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 10

Add/Drop Deadline: September 13, 2021 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 21, 2021 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 8:45pm 12/8/2021 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th

Room: 406

Date Range: 8/31/2021 - 12/14/2021