85629 - Strategic Studies

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, studemts will be alble to: 1) Appreciate variation in conceptions of international security theories. 2) Understand the origins and evolution of mainstream theories on military strategy. 3) Understand the significance of alternative conceptions of national security for states' policies. 4) Develop an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of modern warfare in strategic international events. 5) Develop analytical skills to be applied to international security issues.

Course contents

Strategic Studies is an established field within the International Relations discipline. Specifically, the course covers both theory and practice of war and warfare. It is subdivided into two sections. The first part ("Strategic Theory") examines the principal "theories of war" (Sun Tzu, Claisewitz, Jomini and others). The second part ("the Tools of Warfare") is devoted to the analysis of the principal military doctrines, the weapons of mass destructions as well as irregular warfare (insurgencies, guerrilla and terrorism).

For this class, it is essential to assimilate the English terminology and professional language necessary to work with strategic studies concepts and theories.


Mandatory for all students

  1. Sun Tzu, The Art of War (any edition);
  2. Carl Von Clausewitz, On War (edited by M. Howard and P. Paret) Princeton: Princeton U. Press, Princeton 1976;
  3. D. Jordan et al. Understanding Modern Warfare, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016
  4. Alternatively to n. 3, G. Giacomello e G. Badialetti, Manuale di Studi Strategici, Seconda Edizione, Milano: Vita & Pensiero, 2016

Teaching methods

Lectures and active-learning seminars. The instructor expects all graduate students to regularly come to class and participate in the discussions about the many topics presented during the lectures.

Assessment methods

A final exam (written): 15 questions on the material covered for the whole course (time: 1h).

Teaching tools

In addition to lectures, (1) documentaries and original video footage to be used  in class, (2) the detailed analysis of material on relevant military operations of the past (3) a field-trip to the Gothic Line battlefield on the Appenines around Bologna. 

Office hours

See the website of Giampiero Giacomello