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This course will explore the historical emergence and significance of something that over time has come to be known as the ‘West’. Four lectures will be given by Professor Cox. He will deal  with the rise of the West, whether we should view its rise as triumph or tragedy, how the term ‘West’ itself is a contested one, what happened within the West in the 20th century with the decline of Europe and the rise of the United States, whether now the United States can be said to be in decline,  and what impact the rise of other powers lying outside the traditional West – China  most obviously - will have on the West itself  The other  lectures will be given   by Dr Bryant who will explore the role the idea of the West has played in narratives of modernity and progress that have defined the postcolonial world. The goal here is not only to understand ‘the West’ as a concept, but to understand how, in the context of colonialism and global hierarchies, that concept continues to position a particular geopolitical space in relation to ‘the Rest’. Here the lectures will  look at how the West defines itself  in terms of the West’s ‘others’, the impact that decolonization has had on the West, how the idea of the West shaped the rebuilding of Europe after WWII, and whether or not globalization is the new Westernization. These lectures  will  also examine cases of modernisation and state-building in the Middle East, Russia, and the Balkans to tease out projects of reflexive Orientalization that depended on an antagonistic and/or hierarchical relationship to an Occident—‘the West’. Finally, we will also look at the ways in which certain contradictions and paradoxes inherent to projects of modernisation as Westernisation continue to play out in contemporary geopolitics and in ‘Western’ commentators’ characterisation of certain geopolitical conflicts as representing  a ‘clash of civilisations’.

    Teacher: Picture of Rebecca BryantPicture of Michael Cox