The course aims at providing students with an understanding of the formation of European political order from antiquity up to the dissolution of the ancien régime. Still, this is not a ‘history’ course. Rather, the objective is to familiarise students with the ways of theorising international political order, which, instead of focusing on some ahistorical, unchanging patterns, pay attention to the historically-acquired, contextually specific differences. This emphasis on differences and change also applies to the choice of approaches to the subject. Thus various conceptions of historiography - from materialist to the history of ideas - are presented. In the Winter Term, this course will be followed up with another one - Formation of Global Political Order - tracing the transformation of European political order into a global arrangement after the First World War. Students considering taking that course are not required, yet strongly encouraged, to take the current one.

The course is organised into hour-long lectures followed later in the week by a two-hour seminar discussion. Lectures are not meant to discuss the texts assigned for the seminars. Their purpose is to provide context(s) for the texts. Although these texts are presented loosely chronologically, the main focus is not on chronology (‘linear history’). In fact, it is not about history at all. Rather, it is about various questions (and various orders) arising from the intersection of different forms/structures - geographical, economic, ecological, biological, religious, linguistic, social or political - throughout history.