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OCAN 2050 - The United States in the World : Nature and Contradictions of U.S. power

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The course will examine how the power and global influence of the United States has changed and evolved since 1945, and the impact of this change on the foreign relations of the U.S.. The course is divided in three parts. The first fours sessions will be dedicated to the different drivers of the post-World War II global ascendancy of the United States, and to the crisis, and apparent demise, of U.S. hegemony during the 1970s. The different and changing forms of post-World War II US globalism will be examined and discussed. The second part of the course will focus on three alleged “lessons of history”: Munich and appeasement; the Vietnam War; and the Balkan conflicts. The discussion will examine how historical analogies have been used and invoked to inform and justify different foreign policy choices and discourses. The third and last part of the course will be on contemporary issues and problems. By examining the impact of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and various, specific case-studies, we will try to understand how the peculiar form of hegemony and globalism of the post-1970s United States – based on military preponderance, high domestic consumptions, dual deficits (external and domestic) and often incoherent national security discourses – has affected the conduct of its foreign relations and its engagement with the rest of the world.


DEL PERO, Mario (Professeur des Universités à Sciences Po)

Course validation

One mid-term and one-final exam of 1 hour each, with open questions on the topics discussed during weeks 1-6 (midterm) and 7-12 (final), 25% each. One 24-hours take-home exam at the end of the course : 25%. Three, 20-minute quizzes in class 8% each. Important : Electronic “etiquette” policy: cell phones, tablets and pagers are to be off during class. Laptops are allowed exclusively for note taking. All other uses are not permitted during class, and the instructor reserves the right to ask offenders to turn their laptops off or leave class. Repeated infractions will result in a reduction of the final grade.

Required reading

See syllabus