Undergraduate Modules

Civilisation, Empire and Hegemony

With American power seemingly all powerful today, this unit provides a rethink of the origins of great power politics/economics. Mainstream Eurocentric theories in International Relations view great power politics/economics as having universal materialist properties. And they view America and Britain as hegemons that either provide global public goods for the benefit of all or private goods that maximise the economic power of their own capitalist class. This module problematises this view by revealing the differing moral foundations and 'standards of civilisation' that inform the various directions that great power can take. It examines Britain and China in the pre-1900 era and contemporary America, drawing out parallels but also radical differences. The central issue of the module is to problematise Western IR theory in the context of China in the tribute system.

Third Year Module
Semester One
Module Code 3005


  • 11 two-hour seminars


  • 2000 word essay
  • two-hour exam