1) What was the Treaty of Westphalia? In what ways did it define the European concept of state sovereignty How many political units did Europe have before 1500? How many did it have by 1800? How can we explain this radical reduction in the number of states in Europe? Which modern international relations theory reflect this historical episode of inter-state anarchy, similar that of the Italian state system of the Renaissance or the classic Greek city states of the Hellenic era?
2) How does the modern state system of International relations differ from the earlier Chinese “Middle Kingdom”, the Islamic Califate or Mongol “world systems” that were based in the empires of the Mid-East, Central and Far East Asia? Or the European system of multiple overlapping forms of authority that we call Feudalism? What peculiarity of the European “world” allowed it to modernize first and then impose its version of the territorial state and capitalism on the rest of the world? When did the European States (and their overseas offspring) achieve true global dominance over their Eurasian rivals and how long did that dominance really last? Why should care what the Chinese or Islamists remember about their earlier primacies?
3) What do we mean by globalization? Is this term relevant mainly to migration of people, jobs, and industry, or does it have a cultural dimension as well? What are some of the impacts on national societies? How does economic globalization threaten the power of the nation state? How does the neo –liberal globalization of the early 21st century differ from liberal capitalism of the 19th under British “hegemony?” How does it differ from the national state capitalisms of the “short” twentieth century? What kind of transnational actors benefit the most from periods of liberal capitalism? Which approach – realist, liberal or marxist – explains it best?
4) What do we mean by a “Balance of power ” in a multipolar system? Why did it fail to contain the French State when they confronted it with the democratic notion of “popular sovereignty?” Why was Napoleonic France a revolutionary power in the European State System? Which power ultimately replaced it as the “problem state” in 19th century Europe? And in 20th century Europe? How can the “security dilemma”created by “balance of power diplomacy” help us to understand the outbreak of World War One? How does the current crisis of the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea resemble earlier “security dilemmas” and threaten an escalation of tensions between the NATO/EU member states and Putin’s Russia?
5) What do we mean by the term conservative? What do we mean by “reactionary?” To what degree can we say that modern conservatism in the US is “a house divided?” Does ”conservative” denote one ideological position or several competing ones? How many kinds of American Conservatives are there? Where does the Tea Party fit on the American political spectrum? And within the Tea Party where would you locate someone like Rand Paul and then Michele Backmann? What are to make of Donald Trump? Is he a “movement conservative” or a White populist? What’s the difference? How do British conservatives differ from their American Republican counterparts? How much has Cameron government cut Britain’s generous Welfare State benefits? Which of the two of these parties is the more socially “liberal?” Which one is more committed to draconian “austerity” policies?
6) What was the world’s population in 1850? And in 1930? How long did it take world population to hit three billion? And when did it hit Seven? When can we expect to hit Nine Billion? Where will that population growth occur. What is the world’s most populous nation today? What nation will be number one in 2050? And where will the United States rank as the West’s most populous nation? What fertility rate do we need to achieve in order to keep the world population under 11 Billion by the end of the century?
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