Scheda insegnamento

Anno Accademico 2021/2022

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

At the end of the course students will acquire the fundamental methodological and theoretical tools of the so-called «Atlantic History», which redefines the spatial limits of Modern politics, considering Europe, Africa and the Americas as part of one and the same global experience. This perspective well developed in North American universities will be extended to the history of political concepts, with a special attention to antagonistic political cultures and resistance movements, but also to the colonial dimension embedded in the great classics of Modern and contemporary political thought.


The course focuses on the spatial framework of modern political concepts. It will be divided into two parts:

The first part will give to the students the basic theoretical tools of conceptual history and its redefinition from a global and oceanic perspective. It will also outline the rise of the Atlantic as the space within which western modern political concepts were forged. This epistemological perspective will be exemplified through the reading and comment of pages from classics such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Tocqueville.


The second part will have a more seminar style, with readings and collective discussions.We will focus on the black abolitionist critique of liberal modernity, with special reference to authors such as David Walker,Frederick Douglass, and Martin R. Delany.



Students that will attend classes

- A. Bogues, R. Laudani, Theses for a Global History of Political Concepts, http://aghct.org/political-concepts-thesis

- R. Laudani, Mare e Terra. Sui fondamenti spaziali della sovranità moderna, in “Filosofia politica”, 3, 2015, pp. 513-530. (An English version is available for students in the teaching material of this website) 

- D. Walker, Appeal to the colored people of the World (any integral edition)

- F. Douglass, selected discourses to be indicated in class

- M.R. Delany, Political destiny of the Colored People of the United States (any integral edition)


Students that will not attend classes

Students that will not attend with regularity will have to study the following books for their final exam:

- R. Koselleck, Futures Past. On the Semantics of Historical Time, New York, Columbia University Press, 2004;

- P.E. Steinberg, The Social Construction of the Ocean, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001;

- J. Pitts, A Turn to Empire. The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005;

- P. Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness, London, Verso, 1993.




Metodi didattici

Lectures and discussions in class.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Students will have to pass an oral exam, with questions aimed at verifying the student's knowledge of the themes treated in the program's texts. Questions will be aimed at testing the student's ability in exposing with an appropriate language some of the topics tackled by the books, as well as his/her skills in making connections between different texts in order to build an argument.

Students attending classes can write a paper on a topic agreed with the teacher and discuss it collectively with other attending students during specific seminarian sessions. Their final exam will be completed by an individual conversation on the different topics discussed in class and texts indicated in the students' bibliography.

Proper language and the ability to critically speak about the books' content will lead to a good/excellent final grade

Acceptable language and the ability to resume the books' content will lead to a sufficient/fair grade.

Insufficient linguistic proficiency and fragmentary knowledge of the books' content will lead to a failure in passing the exam.

This 6 CFU course can be chosen as a part of the 12 CFU Integrated Course “81861 - OCEANIC STUDIES (I.C.) (LM)". If the student has the Integrated Course (12 CFU) in his/her study plan, the final grade will result from the arithmetic average of the marks obtained in the two parts (“81719 - ATLANTIC AND GLOBAL HISTORY OF MODERN POLITICAL CONCEPTS (1) (LM)" and “81722 - INDIAN OCEAN HISTORY (1) (LM)“).

If this course is part of the integrated course Oceanic Studies, students can take first either Indian Ocean History exam or Atlantic and Global History of Modern Political Concepts exam. Students will get a grade for each module (one for Indian Ocean History and one for Atlantic and Global History of Modern Political Concepts). The final grade for the integrated course will be the average grade of the two modules.

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

We will be using several "non-conventional" sources for the historians of political thought. 

The reading and comment of political texts will be complemented by the analysis of movies, images, and music

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Raffaele Laudani