93223 - Critical Geopolitics (1) (Lm)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the students will have a robust knowledge of the historical foundations of geopolitics and of its role in the shaping of European imperialism and colonialism; a clear understanding of the relationship between geopolitics and nationalism and between geopolitics and biopolitics; a very good knowledge of the workings of ‘banal’ geopolitics and of how it is reproduced through a series of daily practices; be able to critically assess a broad range of contemporary geopolitical case studies; understand the relationship between contemporary geopolitical narratives and questions of global mobility; and be able to critically reflect on the role of refugee and detention camps in the implementation of specific geopolitical agendas and in relation to border politics in Europe.

Course contents

The course will examine the history and the contemporary use of Geopolitics in order to critically examine the political geographies of European imperialism, cold war and post-cold war geopolitics, and the contemporary geopolitical landscapes. In particular, questions of borders, migrations and biopolitics will be discussed in relation to the 'making of the European Self' and its associated geographies. The postcolonial and the decolonial will also be presented by taking into consideration a geographical perspective.


S. Dalby, P. Routledge, G. Ó Tuathail (eds) The Geopolitics Reader. London, Routledge, 2020 (second edition)

G. Ó Tuathail Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space. University of Minnesota Press, 1996

Additional materials will be provided during the lectures.

Teaching methods

The course will consist of a combination of formal lectures and discussion classes in order to facilitate the interaction between the lecturer and the students and to stimulate debate among students. Several guest lectures and seminars will be incorporated in the course schedule as well.

Assessment methods

The assessment consists of a written exam with open questions.

There are different sets of question for attending and non attending students. Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

- Attending students will be asked questions focussed on the materials discussed in class and on the relevant list of readings.

- Non-attending students will be asked questions focussed on topics and subjects treated in the textbook and the other readings.

The assessment will consider:

1) the level of knowledge and critical understanding of the content addressed in the questions;

2) the strength of the argument and the capacity to identify links between the main topics discussed in the responses;

3) the use of the appropriate terminology.


- Adequate language skills and the ability to critically analyze relevant topics will lead to a good/excellent final grade

- Acceptable language skills and the ability to resume relevant topics will lead to a sufficient/fair grade.

- Insufficient language proficiency and knowledge of relevant topics will lead to a failure in passing the exam.

Students who receive an insufficient mark are requested to take the exam again.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations, websites, video clips, readings and relevant documents from the media.

Office hours

See the website of Claudio Minca