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BHIS 1785A - US Foreign Policy and American Leadership

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


No prior background of US foreign policy/diplomatic history is assumed for this course.

Course Description

This course provides a history of US foreign policy with an emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries. Adopting a diachronic approach, we move from general theories and doctrines to historical cases to implications for contemporary policies. Sessions will focus on specific historical landmark events or developments, and examine implications with contemporary events and challenges: national security, national interest, trade, war and peace, hard and soft power, alliance politics, ideology... The course will also analyze the different approaches to US foreign policy, and question the nature and relevance of key concepts such as isolationism/interventionism, international liberalism/America first, idealism/realism, maximalism/retrenchment, exceptionalism...


HEURTEBIZE, Frédéric (enseignant-chercheur)

Pedagogical format

Each session is divided into two parts: a one-hour lecture on a specific topic, and a one-hour period of exposés, discussion and debates. Each session requires readings (see syllabus) to participate in debates.

Course validation

- One cross-reading review (2-3 articles or book review): one 5-to-7-minute oral presentation + a 1-2-page written summary + questions – 20% - One oral presentation/exposé (PowerPoint or Prezi), 2 students (pair-work 20-25 minutes) – 40%. - One final essay (2 hours) – 40%


- Cross-reading review + exposé (see above) - Required readings (primary and secondary sources) every week. - Note: come prepared to participate.

Required reading

  • Anderson, Perry, American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers, London, Verso, 2015.
  • Smith, Tony, America's Mission: The US and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century, Princeton, Princeton UP, 2012.
  • Sestanovich, Stephen, Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama, New York, Vintage, 2014.