SPS/06 - 6 CFU - 2° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

The course aims to provide the vocabulary of the history of international relations and the tools to know and understand the structure and evolution of the international system in modern and contemporary times.

The course will pay particular attention to the relationship between the search for a European order and the adoption of law as the semantics of international relations, and to the influence exerted in the international sphere by all the so-called “deep forces” (public opinions, economic actors, cultural factors, domestic political issues, etc.).

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

- Summarise, compare and critically discuss specific approaches to “History of international relations”;

- Use appropriate key concepts employed in the “History of international relations”;

- Engage critically and explicitly with significant literature relevant to the study of international relations

- Develop transferable skills in presentation, discussion and communication in a group context.

Course Structure

Lectures with interactive elements. Each student will be encouraged to contribute to the seminars and required to give a short presentation.

Detailed Course Content

Introduction to the History of International Relations and the theoretical and methodological debates produced by the internationalist literature during the 20th century;

The Birth of the European System of States;

The Westphalian model of international relations;

The discovery of the “ius gentium”;

Colonial expansion;

The American and French revolutions in international relations;

French attempts at hegemony: Napoleon;

The Congress of Vienna and the European Concert;

British hegemony and the Pax Britannica;

The triumph of nationalities;

The rise of the United States and Japan;

Colonialism in the 19th century;

The Great War and the creation of the League of Nations,

International relations in the 1920s and 1930s;

The Second World War;

International organisations and regional integrations;

The bipolar international system and the Cold War;

From bipolarism to American unilateralism;

Globalisation, multilateralism.

Textbook Information

For students attending the course assiduously:

Selected texts and materials will be made available during the course


Non-attending students



Please remember that in compliance with art 171 L22.04.1941, n. 633 and its amendments, it is illegal to copy entire books or journals, only 15% of their content can be copied.

For further information on sanctions and regulations concerning photocopying please refer to the regulations on copyright (Linee Guida sulla Gestione dei Diritti d’Autore) provided by AIDRO - Associazione Italiana per i Diritti di Riproduzione delle opere dell’ingegno (the Italian Association on Copyright).

All the books listed in the programs can be consulted in the Library.

Open in PDF format Versione in italiano