Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with the conceptual tools required to analyze questions of effectiveness and fairness in public policies, citizenship rights, (universal) human rights as well as global justice.

Course contents

The course aims at providing students with the tools to approach the main topics at stake in contemporary debates in political theory. Each year a single question or author is selected. This year the course will focus on “globalization,” from the angle of the challenges posed by the pandemic and the war to a concept that has long served as a privileged framework to make sense of the contemporary condition. In particular, we will dwell on two books that figure among the most important attempts to articulate a political-theoretical reading of globalization: Empire, by Michael Hardt and Toni Negri (2000), and Territory, Authority, Rights by Saskia Sassen (2006). After contextualizing the analyses articulated in these two works, we will test them against the background of the current global world, with the aim to formulate a political diagnosis of the present.


Books required for the exam (English speaking students):

A. The following book:

S. Sassen, A Sociology of Globalization, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.

B. One of the following works

M. Hardt and A. Negri, Empire, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2000.

S. Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights. From Medieval to Global Assemblages, Princeton – Oxford, Princeton University Press, 2006.

Teaching methods

Lectures will be combined with seminars, with direct involvement of students and possible participation of external guests.

Assessment methods

The exam will be oral. Students attending classes are encouraged although not required to present a paper (around 4.000 words), to be discussed during the exam. The paper must be delivered at least a week before the date of the exam, when it will be discussed with the instructor.

Teaching tools

The course presupposes a basic knowledge of the history of modern and contemporary political theory. Students who do not have such knowledge in their curriculum can refer to one of the following texts:

S.S. Wolin, Politics and Vision. Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2006

A. Negri, Insurgencies. Constituent Power and the Modern State, Minneapolis, MI, University of Minnesota Press, 1999
C. Galli (ed), Manuale di storia del pensiero politico, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2011
A. Pandolfi (ed), Nel pensiero politico moderno, Roma, Manifestolibri, 2004

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Sandro Mezzadra