Geopolitics of the Internet

Academic Program

Instructor: Cameran Ashraf

Course description

Recent debates on Internet censorship and the role of the state in online communications highlight concerns about sovereignty, borders, and territory in a globalizing world.  This course will emphasize challenges to conventional geopolitical narratives and state pushback to those challenges as central to understanding 21st century geopolitics.  We will begin with early texts establishing geopolitical thought emphasizing the creation and expansion of the territorial nation-state in the 18th and 19th centuries.  From there, the course will explore the changing geopolitics associated with the technological developments of the two world wars and Cold War.  The course will then explore the ways in which geopolitical narratives, technology, and the territorial state have encountered the Internet and implications for Internet governance, human rights, and free expression.  

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should

  1. Have an understanding of the history of geopolitics;
  2. Understand the relationship between technologies and geopolitics;
  3. Demonstrate and critically evaluate how the Internet supports and challenges existing geopolitical narratives.