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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


The Great Powers in Europe Today - Brendan Simms

What is a great power? The renowned German historian Leopold von Ranke defined great power status militarily as the capacity to defy all other powers combined, and historically as the ability to represent a distinct principle in world politics. This class will explore how definitions of great power status have evolved over the past two hundred years, and what might constitute great power status today. Mahan saw the key as lying in naval strength, Mackinder in control of the Eurasian ‘heartland’. Paul Kennedy famously argued that the fate of the great powers was determined by how well they dealt with ‘imperial overstretch’. Today, we include metrics like ‘soft power’ and other factors.

Course information can be found here