Fall 2006
Fully Enrolled

SOCS 630
The Evolution of Government: The Rise of the Modern Nation-State


09/11/2006 - 12/16/2006
Wednesday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Public Affairs Center 421

Using both a theoretical and a historical focus, we will analyze the principal movements and processes that have led to the rise of the modern nation-state. The theoretical focus will be oriented around the main factors that account for the rise and legitimation of the state, while the historical focus will be on the political evolution across differing systems of governance from the pre-historical to the modern period and beyond.

We begin with an analysis of the foundations of the theory of the state. Here we will compare and evaluate differing theories of the rise, consolidation, and legitimation of the rise and fall of differing systems of governance across time. This evolution will be considered within an interdisciplinary framework that is oriented around the political adaptation to social and economic modernization. We will start with an analysis of governance in preindustrial societies and then proceed to governance in ancient societies. We will look at the emergence of feudalism from the ashes of the Roman Empire, and then the political transition toward the absolutist state. We analyze the democratic challenge to the absolutist state and then consider the 20th-century political movements embodied in fascism and communism. We discuss present-day challenges to the modern nation-state and then speculate on possible forms of political organization beyond the nation-state.

Since this course meets over the dinner hour, we will make an effort to eat together during class. Professor Gallarotti will provide food on the first night of class, then students will divide into small groups and select one or two class meetings for which they will provide food for the group. Contributions are strictly voluntary, and people who volunteer to bring food should bring whatever amount and kind of food they feel comfortable with.

Students will be responsible for writing two papers and various participatory exercises.

A syllabus for this course is available at:

Giulio Gallarotti (B.A. Hunter College; M.I.A., Ph.D. Columbia University) is professor of Government and Tutor in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University. He has also been a visiting professor in the Department of Economic Theory at the University of Rome.

He is the author of The Anatomy of an International Monetary Regime: The Classical Gold Standard 1880-1914 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), The Power Curse: Influence and Illusion in World Politics (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010), and Cosmopolitan Power in International Relations: A Synthesis of Realism, Neoliberalism, and Constructivism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). In addition, he has published numerous articles in leading journals across five disciplines: economics, politics, law, history, and business. His biography has been published in Marquis Who's Who in America 2010-2014.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
F.L. Ganshof, FEUDALISM (University of Toronto Press), Paperback

Samuel Huntington, POLITICAL ORDER IN CHANGING SOCIETIES (Yale University Press), Paperback

Vladimir Lenin, WHAT IS TO BE DONE (International Publishers), Paperback

Niccolo Machiavelle, THE PRINCE (Penguin Classics), Paperback

Barrington Moore, SOCIAL ORIGINS OF DICTATORSHIP AND DEMOCRACY (Beacon Press), Paperback

Gianfranco Poggi, THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODERN STATE (Stanford University Press), Paperback

Alexis de Tocqueville, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA (Signet Classics), Paperback


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