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Liberalism and Imperialism

This course examines the historical and conceptual relationship between liberal political theory and modern imperialism. It explores the tension between liberalism’s universalistic commitments to equality, political inclusiveness and individual rights and the forms of exclusion and domination accompanying the modern era in which those ideals developed. The course treats a broad range of thinkers from the early modern, Enlightenment, late modern and contemporary period to consider (a) how theories grounding universal human rights and political equality were made compatible with imperial and colonial domination, and (b) how this might impact on evaluation of the liberalisms that we inherit from them.

POLSCI 715

Liberalism and Imperialism

Unit(s): 3.0 Level(s): Graduate Term(s): Winter Offered?: Yes

This course examines the historical and conceptual relationship between liberal political theory and modern imperialism. It explores the tension between liberalism’s universalistic commitments to equality, political inclusiveness and individual rights and the forms of exclusion and domination accompanying the modern era in which those ideals developed. The course treats a broad range of thinkers from the early modern, Enlightenment, late modern and contemporary period to consider (a) how theories grounding universal human rights and political equality were made compatible with imperial and colonial domination, and (b) how this might impact on evaluation of the liberalisms that we inherit from them.


Inder S Marwah

Assistant Professor