Insegnamento a.a. 2021-2022


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 23
BIG (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  M-STO/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 23 (I sem.)

Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza

Suggested background knowledge

Students may have already achieved some knowledge in the area of macroeconomics, international business, development economics and political sciences.

Mission & Content Summary


This course aims at tracing and exploring the evolution of the global economy in the modern era, while providing students with a better understanding of the present. This course will focus specifically on: (i) the evolution of the global economy; (ii) the socio-political impact of the action of global entrepreneurs and companies; (iii) the major geopolitical shifts at the global level. These topics will be presented and analyzed as outcomes of historical processes and long-term dynamics. A further goal of the course is to develop tools to critically analyze, evaluate, and navigate the contexts that students will be facing as decision makers. This will be done by employing historical methodology as a key heuristic instrument. Indeed, a thorough analysis of the past is crucial to shed light on the social, political, and economic complexity of the present.


  • Introduction - Structure of the course; Brief review of pre-industrial trade
  • Shifting Empires - The First Asian Age, Empires and Colonies
  • The First Global World - The British century through the first and the second industrial revolution
  • Opium Wars - Britain’s demise of the Chinese Empire and the first globalization
  • Japan Opening to the World - The Meji Restauration and the industrialization of Japan before WWI
  • Deglobalization - Navigating a deglobalizing economy through global cartels
  • The new global Empires - The Dark Valley: USA, URSS and the fall of Europe
  • WWII and the New Order - Creative destruction and the new world after WWII
  • Banana Republics & US Imperialism - US foreign policy in the McCarthy era
  • The opponent - The URSS during the Cold War
  • Globalization Reloaded - The Road to the Second Global Economy
  • The Rise of the Rest - Decolonization and the rise of emerging markets
  • Liberalism in the West - Washington Consensus after the end of the Cold War
  • Global China and BRI - The rise of China since 1979 and its ambitions to global dominance
  • The Second de-globalization - The slow demise of the second global economy and post-truth era in the West



Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand and absorb knowledge on the development of global capitalism and the transformation of the global political equilibria in the past 250 years, starting from the concepts of globalization and empire.
  • Apply historical knowledge to critically evaluate complex phenomena in different times and geographies.
  • Understand the historical roots of present international relations and apply the knowledge of historical events to the understanding of  present geopolitical dynamics.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Master evaluation and decision making skills in front of challenging business situations and ethical dilemmas.
  • Analyze and critically assess historical sources and archival material, thus compare events using alternative sources.
  • Develop and improve their academic writing.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


  • The teaching method is interactive. Face to face lectures provide a general framework in which students will be requested to contribute with their critical analysis, in a continuous learning experience. 
  • The learning method in this course blends traditional frontal lectures with the (graded) discussion of cases, all treating different aspects of the concept of globalization. Student will be offered pre-class activties intended to stimulate preparation and reflection on the cases. 
  • In addition, students (in groups) will engage in two in-class sessions under the guidance of the instructor. They will be asked to examine original documents and produce dedicated essays, criticizing the source and proposing interpretation of the events.
  • The teaching method is completed by a groupwork project on a unique topic. Students will be asked to submit a report and a short presentation. 

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
x   x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


The assessment of the attending students’ preparation is composed by: 


  1. A final written exam based on short open questions.
  2. Two group essays about the use of sources during the course.
  3. One final group project on an assigned theme (students choose their own specific topic from a provided list).
  4. Class participation and pre-class polls.


The assessment of the non-attending students is based on:


1.  Written exam Open questions about the whole program of the course, representing 50% of the grade. 


 2. Long critical essay (2000 words, 50% of the final grade) about a book suggested by the instructor. 

Teaching materials


Attending students benefit of course materials, slides and suggested readings found on BBoard, plus the following study material:


  • HBS case studies available in the repository.
  • Selected chapters of: Andrea Colli, A Global History of Globalization. Egea, 2018.
  • Selected chapters of: Franco Amatori and Andrea Colli, The Global Economy. A concise History. Giappichelli Editore, 2019.


Students will be able to access materials in the course’s Bboard and the repository.


Non attending students base their preparation on the textbook:


  • All the material included in the syllabus for attending students.
  • Full books: Franco Amatori and Andrea Colli. The Global Economy. A concise History. Giappichelli Editore, 2019.
  • One second book to be suggested by the instructor which will be the basis of the long essay. 
Last change 19/07/2021 23:25