THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ASPECTS OF EMPIRE
FOUN 097-49/Fall 2006
OFFICE HOURS: W 9-12 , Others by appointment (Coleman 165)
ADDRESSES: e-mail: email@example.com, phone: X- 73441
Many texts are devoted to examining the history or past empires and
the current state of the U.S. empire and the new imperialism. The 2005 George Lucas film, Revenge
of the Sith, reminded us of the “dark side”
of empire, but this critical examination and review will
focus not just on empires dark side, but on its complexity. This course is designed to
study the economic causes of empire and to examine the
resulting social, political, cultural and other economic consequences.
Over the semester we will read books, essays, and articles that
examine empire in the 21st century and that remind us of some ancient and not so ancient
empires and their goals. We will view videos, listen to podcasts and
examine recent events directly related to empire and
- * Benjamin R. Barber, Fear’s Empire: War, Terrorism, and
Democracy, W.W. Norton, 2004.
* Niall Ferguson, Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire, The
Penguin Press, 2004.
* THE NEW YORK TIMES - Monday thru Friday
- * Additional reading assignments are on e-reserve and others will
be handed out during the semester.
* War in Lebanon - daily update: BBC | NYTimes
CLASS SESSIONS: Class periods will be devoted
to discussion of the assigned readings, projects, videos,
and/or Podcasts and assigned questions that focus on these assigned materials. In our
discussions you should feel free to express your own views
about the ideas presented in the readings. Please raise
questions about the readings as well as any comments you
might have on the ideas we are studying or how the ideas
of various authors relate to those of another.
We will study ideas that offer a number of views and perspectives of the 1990s
and will consider arguments which range from the abstract to overly concrete.
Some of these ideas have probably influenced your thinking. And, they may have
even affected your behavior! (Keep a list of what those might be.) The opportunity
to compare your ideas with the ideas of authors commenting on the events of
the nineties, and to use your imagination to perhaps re-envision some of the
lessons we might take from this period are two of the most important challenges
of this course, and if taken seriously, are important lessons to take from the
GOALS for this Foundations Seminar:
One of the goals of Foundations Seminars is to help you begin to "negotiate
the complexities of the modern world." Perhaps a goal of this particular
seminar is to help you understand these complexities and help you chart the
waters so you might better navigate your future journeys. Projects will be designed
to help you further your analytical skills, be a bit more reflective and creative
and understand diverse viewpoints that should serve you well as you continue to
explore ideas throughout your life. You will be reading, writing, listening,
and speaking. You will also examine material that will explore where the web leaves off and the library begins--and
how to use each effectively.
Assigned readings, projects and videos provide the structure and the
context for each class session. There is of course no
scripted discussion of the material. Those will be constructed
class by class. For each of the class periods you are
invited to confront ideas, concepts, policies, facts,
data, in the context of the ideas of economists, political
scientists, sociologists, historians and the role of the media, and popular culture.
You will be graded on a combination of written and oral assignments
and projects. The following criteria will be used for course evaluation:
- 1. Preparation of assigned materials and reflection about questions
that might arise in each reading assignment.
- Make notes and jot down "muddy points" in your journal--and
respond to them after class discussion.
- List connections (and "disconnects") that you find between
your "learning goals" and ideas or attitudes or behaviors you observe
- your assignments.
- 2. Voluntary participation in class discussions.
- 3. Frequency of participation.
- 4. Quality of participation.
- 5. Creating and asking questions about the ideas involved in class
readings, projects and videos.
- 1. A course
journal. You will keep a journal to record your reflections on readings,
current issues in public policy, economic trends, the media, popular culture, and new technologies of empire.
- 2. Often you will be asked to prepare short written answers for
class (sometimes for your journal) in which you discuss a specific question,
reading or handout. These short essays should demonstrate all aspects of the
writing process, including thinking through the argument, stating the argument
clearly and revising the answer if necessary.
- When these papers are returned, please collect them in a folder
that you will hand in on the last day of class.
3. Short paper/oral presentation and/or (perhaps) a Web or an iPod project. As the semester
progresses you will be assigned a 6-10 page paper. At the end of the semester,
oral summaries of these papers and projects will be presented to the class.
- 4. Group projects. Occasionally you will be asked to work in groups
or teams to collaborate on a project. Generally there will be a written report
at the end of the exercise.
- CLASS PARTICIPATION -You are expected to come to all class sessions,
to have done assigned reading, and to contribute actively. Your class participation
will be evaluated in the standards below.
A - 4.0 Excellent. Perfect attendance. Always well
prepared. Contributes actively in almost all sessions, in making contributions
and in reacting to those of others.
B - 3.0 Good. Only missed two or three class/sessions.
Almost always came well prepared. Usually contributed actively, both in
making contributions and reacting to others.
C - 2.0 Satisfactory. Attendance at least 80%. Usually
came prepared. Contributed actively in about half of the sessions.
D - 1.0 Unsatisfactory. Attendance at least 70%.
Prepared about half of the time. Contributed actively in at least 20% of
F - 0.0 Fail. Attendance spotty. Preparation poor.
Little active participation.
Please remember that every class period is a final exam. Don't miss
a daily final.
If you would like to discuss your written work or class participation,
please feel free to stop in my office, (Coleman A165) to discuss your progress.
ACADEMIC RESPONSIBILITY: The following passage is taken from the academic
regulations section of the Bucknell University Catalog:
"Bucknell students are responsible for the preparation and presentation
of work representing their own efforts. Acceptance of this responsibility is
essential to the educational process and must be considered as an expression
of mutual trust, the foundation upon which creative scholarship rests. Students
are directed to use great care when preparing all written work and to acknowledge
fully the source of all ideas and language other than their own."
I fully support the above principles and the institutional process that deals
with violations of academic responsibility at Bucknell. I will not hesitate
to initiate this process if the above mentioned “mutual trust” is
violated in my course. In addition, it is important that you recognize that
there may be instances when collaboration is appropriate in my class and other
instances when it is not. Absent specific instructions to the contrary, you
are to assume that all assignments are to be completed without collaboration.
Finally, in acknowledging the source of all ideas and language other than your
own, you must cite the creator of Internet posted information just as you would
an author of a textbook, a journal article, a reference book, emails, or personal
conversations from which your have used information or ideas.
CLASS ETIQUETTE - Please make sure that you leave early enough to arrive
in class on time. Please make sure that your cell phone is turned off--or assigned to silence. Also make sure that you are prepared to remain in class for
the full period. It is disruptive for the class when someone
wanders in and out of class after it has begun. (Certainly, if you find yourself
in the middle of a coughing fit, please feel free to go get a drink of water,
otherwise, please wait until class is over.)
Last updated, August 2006 please contact Jean Shackelford, Department
of Economics, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837.