DESCRIPTION: The course focuses on the most important aspects that security has assumed in the international system since the end of the Second World War. In adopting a historical approach, it intends to offer the students a general survey and understanding of a process that becomes the effect and the producer of frames of political action. The end of the Second World War has been selected as the starting point of analysis, mainly because it marked the beginning of the era of security studies in the United States and the Western world. Indeed, that field of studies developed after the failure of the attempt made at that time to establish an effective collective security within the United Nations. That failure coincided with the beginning of the nuclear era, which, in turn, dominated the Cold War. The time period characterized by bipolar confrontation represents a good deal of the focus of the course because it allows to examine the specific dynamics of that confrontation and the related developments concerning nuclear deterrence and proliferation. Still, in spite of the Cold War demise, the security discourse is still looming large in the contemporary international system, not only for the risk of nuclear proliferation, which seems growing after the end of the Cold War, but also because of the so-called securitization of many international issues, like environment, migration and access to resources. The course, therefore, aims at helping the students historicize the notion of international security and familiarize them with the main components of the contemporary international security agenda.




INSTRUCTOR: Marilena Gala


METHOD OF PRESENTATION: Lectures, library work, critical in class discussion of the assigned readings, presentation, guest lectures and projections.


COURSE OBJECTIVES: The course aims at highlighting the crucial turning points in the evolution of security as an internationally relevant matter, and, at the same time, at making the students aware of the most important developments in the field of security studies, since the end of the Second World War. The course adopts a historical perspective in order to provide the students with crucial tools of analysis and understanding of the contemporary debate about security, and the major challenges to the international order. However, the students will also engage with some relevant theoretical works in the field, as they need to familiarize with the process of production of frames of political action.


REQUIRED WORK AND FORM OF ASSESSMENT: Attendance and participation to class discussions (25%); mid-term written test (25%); in class oral presentation (25%); in class final (25%). The mid-term and final consist of IDs and short essays based on both the lectures and the required readings indicated in the first section. The class discussions and presentations concentrate on the essays listed in the second section of the required readings. Access to this material can be obtained mostly through the online subscriptions of our University; when this will not be the case, the related pdf will be provided to the students at the beginning of the course. In the first week of class the professor will explain how to prepare for the presentations.



  • Part I: (first 5-6 weeks) After having introduced the meaning of security studies in the United States and the Western world, a good deal of attention is devoted to understanding the failure of the attempt made immediately after the second World War to establish an effective collective security within the United Nations, and its later evolution. Then, the focus shifts on the hallmarks and meaning of international security in the bipolar world, when military conflicts were bound to remain limited, as more or less limited was the room for maneuvering that most of the states inside and outside of the principal military alliances might reasonably expect to gain. Inter alia, Western Alliance is examined also to emphasize that, because of the threat of a nuclear holocaust, it has gradually turned out to be the venue for devising a shared security agenda and, through that, a curtailed version of collective security. The era of bipolar confrontation is also examined from the standpoint of the development of nuclear deterrence and proliferation as the two sides of the (nuclear-tinged) security coin


  • Part II: (second 5-6 weeks) The second part of the course concentrates on some of the most relevant challenges to international security characterizing the post-Cold War world, wherein globalization has been coexisting with a growing and widespread securitization of a series of international and transnational matters. Through the adoption of a historical perspective, the students are encouraged to reflect on and discuss about the transformation that the concept of international security has undergone over the last decades. Thus, class discussions are organized with the purpose of favoring a deeper analysis and debate on the various issues singled out as significant, and each student is required to present a short paper on one of those issues, using the bibliographical material suggested or provided by the professor


ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance is mandatory for all classes. If a student misses more than three classes, 2 percentage points will be deducted from the final grade for every additional absence. Any exams, tests, presentations, or other work missed due to student’s absences can only be rescheduled in cases of documented medical or family emergencies.





  • Mary Kaldor and Iavor Rangelov (edited by), The Handbook of Global Security Policy, Wiley Blackwell, 2014 – excluding the following chapters: 4, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 26
  • Mark Mazower, Governing the World. The History of an Idea, Penguin Books, 2012 – pp. 191-342


For the in class discussions, students will have to read the following essays:


  • Fiona B. Adamson, “Crossing Borders: International Migration and National Security”, International Security, 31: 1 (Summer 2006), pp. 165-199
  • David A. Baldwin, “The Concept of Security”, Review of International Studies, Vol. 23, n. 1, (January 1997), pp. 5-26
  • Frank Boesch and Rudiger Graf, “Reacting to Anticipations: Energy Crises and Energy Policy in the 1970s. An Introduction”, Historical Social Research, 39: 4 (2014), pp. 7-21
  • Madeline Carr, “Public-Private Partnerships in National Cybersecurity Strategies”, International Affairs, 92: I (2016), pp. 43-62
  • Colin S. Gray, “What Rand Hath Wrought”, Foreign Policy, 4 (Autumn 1971), pp. 111-129
  • Excerpts of the Human Development Report 1994, Published for the United Nations Development Programme
  • Michael MccGwire, “Deterrence: The Problem- Not the Solution”, International Affairs, Vol. 62, n. 1, (Winter, 1985-1986), pp. 55-70
  • Scott M. Thomas, “A Globalized God. Religion’s Growing Influence in International Politics”, Foreign Affairs, Vol 89, n. 6, Nov-Dec 2010, pp. 93-101
  • David S. Yost, “NATO’s Evolving Purposes and the Next Strategic Concept”, International Affairs, 86:2 (March 2010), pp. 489-522.


Recommended Readings:


  • Robert J. Art and Kenneth N. Waltz (edited by), The Use of Force. Military Power and International Politics, sixth edition, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004
  • Philippe Bourbeau (edited by), Dialogue Across Disciplines, Cambridge University Press, 2015
  • Andrew Cottey, Security in 21st Century Europe, second edition, Palgrave, 2013
  • Christopher Daase, “National, Societal, and Human Security: On the Transformation of Political Language”, Historical Social Research, Vol. 35, n. 4, (134), 2010, pp. 22-37
  • Avery Goldstein, “Discounting the Free Ride: Alliances and Security in the Postwar World”, International Organization, Vol. 49, n. 1, (Winter 1995), pp. 39-71
  • Hilde Haaland Kramer and Steve A. Yetiv, “The UN Security Council Response’s to Terrorism: before and after September 11, 2001”, Political Science Quarterly, 122: 3 (Fall 2007), pp. 409-432
  • J. Johnston, Peter J. Taylor, Michael J. Watts, Geographies of Global Change. Remapping the World in the Late Twentieth Century, Blackwell, 1995
  • Geir Lundestad (edited by), International Relations Since the End of the Cold War. New and Old Dimensions, Oxford University Press, 2013
  • Voitech Mastny and Zhu Liqun (edited by), The Legacy of the Cold War. Perspectives on Security, Cooperation, and Conflict, Lexington Books, 2014
  • Paul Rosenzweig, Cyber Warfare. How Conflicts in Cyberspace Are Challenging America and Changing the World, Praeger, 2013
  • Kenneth Waltz, “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Better”, Adelphi Paper 171, IISS, 1981



PROFESSOR BRIEF BIOGRAPHY: Marilena Gala is associate professor of History of International Relations in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Rome III. She is a specialist in Cold War transatlantic relations and arms control. She got her Ph.D. at the University of Florence under the supervision of Prof. Ennio Di Nolfo, in 1998. She has been Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, in 2003, and again, on a six-month Fulbright Foreign Scholarship, in 2010. She is one of the instructors at the Nuclear Boot Camp – a summer school created within the Non-Proliferation International History Project funded by the Carnegie Foundation.

cancellazione ricevimento

marzo 21, 2013

A causa dello sciopero dei mezzi previsto per domani 22 marzo, la lezione e il ricevimento studenti sono cancellati. Per coloro che avessero bisogno di incontrarmi prima di venerdì della prossima settimana rimane la possibilità di fissare l’appuntamento in data diversa scrivendomi una mail