Political Science | International Relations: War and State Making
Y669 | 25573 | Thompson


One of the central contentions about state making is that
contemporary states have been shaped strongly by their war
experiences.  States make wars and wars make states is the
simplifying aphorism.  Yet, however one evaluates the relevance of
this generalization to European and North American states, there is
also considerable evidence to suggest that the generalization does
not apply equally well to other regions (eg, the Middle East, sub-
Saharan Africa, Latin America).  Why this might be the case is the
central focus of this course.  Pursuing it, we will examine the war
making-state making literature based primarily on the United States
and Western Europe and contrast it with counter arguments focusing
on other regions.  Auxiliary questions involving the ratio of
interstate to intrastate warfare, weak states versus strong states,
and contemporary conflict patterns in both strong and weak states
(eg, terrorism and insurgencies) will also be examined.  Students
will be expected to write a seminar paper examining some aspect of
the central question or one of its implications for world politics
in some part of the world.