Accueil > Foundations of strategic thinking


Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

“Strategy” as a general notion has been in widespread use and in many different contexts, from corporate management to governmental reports. In the process, the concept of “strategy” has almost lost its original, military meaning. Even in the academic field, strategic studies are but a sub-field of international relations and international security. As a result, conflicts are analyzed with scant reference to the classics of strategy or indeed to strategy itself. By drawing on a rich body of literature, both ancient and recent, this course aims to provide students with the theoretical and historical background necessary to understand the classics of strategic thought, and to be able to apply their relevant teachings to the analysis of current conflicts.


  • APKE, Amélie J. (Chargée de projet)
  • DE DURAND, Etienne M. (Directeur de recherche)

Course validation

Mid-term “take-home exam”: students will have to choose between two texts and analyze one of them in 2,000+ words. Final paper: students will team up by 2 and deliver an 8-to-10-page paper (7,000 words maximum) on a subject chosen from a list of topics. They are expected not to rely solely on facts or events, whether historical or contemporary, but to make use of strategic theories, especially the authors and excerpts studied in class.


Students are expected to do the readings, preferably prior to class, otherwise immediately thereafter. In addition to general attendance and readings, requirements include a mid-term “take-home exam” and a final paper.

Required reading

  • Clausewitz, On War, Books I and II, translation by Michael Howard and Peter Paret
  • Peter Paret, Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age
  • Edward Luttwak, Strategy: the Logic of War and Peace
  • Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Stategy, third edition
  • Gérard Chaliand, Guerrilla Strategies: An Historical Anthology from the Long March to Afghanistan