Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The State Through the Ages
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word Case Study Briefing  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word Cast Study Briefing  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an in-depth and systematic understanding of the concept of the state and various understandings of its origin and applicability.
2. Demonstrate a good knowledge of the reasons for the development of states, including an awareness of such subjects as economic development, nationalism, imperialism, military conquest, and settler societies.
3. Demonstrate the critical awareness to undertake the analysis of complex issues pertaining to the module, and to synthesise and structure analytical material logically, using knowledge and processes from the forefront of the field.
4. Appreciate the limitations and problems with Eurocentric perspectives on the state and international relations;
5. Use a level of conceptual and theoretical understanding that will allow them to critically evaluate (and apply) theory to a particular problem and hypothesise on alternative approaches.

Brief description

This module explores notions of the state in a global context and across centuries of history. This includes the formation and historical evolution of the state. Additionally, it encourages appreciation of the diversity of socio-political forms that have emerged in different spaces and times. By exploring non-European and past understandings of the state, the module challenges Eurocentric notions of political community. In addition, the question of political space will also be explored, locating the state within wider geographies of political power. Typologies explored in the module include nation-states, imperial states, post-colonial states, and modern states. Geographical areas covered include China, South West Asia, India, African, and Europe.

Finally, the module will pay considerable attention to processes of and reasons for state formation. This encourages exploration of the further themes of economic development, nationalism, colonialism and the impact of military conquest and occupation on subsequent political structures.


Topics covered include: Why States?; Sovereignty; War and the State; Nations and States; The State and Capital; The Green State; Empire and the State; and the State and the Population.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars may involve splitting students into groups where oral discussion will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. The presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convener and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. Seminars provide opportunities for students to reflect individually and collectively on their performance. The need to contribute to the seminars and to meet deadlines for written work will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work electronically. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information, images and narratives on the web. Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on Blackboard and through Aspire.
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students’ verbal and presentation and team-working skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing them through to completion will contribute towards students’ portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare for seminars will also enable students to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills The submission of the assessments will reflect the independent research skills of students. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for seminars will also enable students to develop independent project skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples, ideas and issues on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of material relating to the module • Ability to evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political questions
Team work In seminars students will be obliged to prepare, present and discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics and particular case studies. Such classroom debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.


This module is at CQFW Level 7