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Dilemmas of American Power (353-0-20)


Peter D Slevin

Meeting Info

Kresge Cent. Hall 2-380 Kaplan: Tues, Thurs 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

It isn't easy being a superpower. For the past 60 years, U.S. policymakers have struggled to define America's role in an ever more complex world where threats multiply and challenges morph and endure. The period beginning with the Cold War traces an arc that reaches from Soviet nuclear arsenals to Islamic suicide bombers, from a fear of falling dominoes in Vietnam to hopes for a wave of democracy in the Middle East. And now the rise of right-wing populists in Europe, a newly activist Russia, an influence-seeking China, and fallout from the presidency of Donald Trump. This course uses an engaging set of case studies and materials to chart one of the most intriguing stretches of international engagement in U.S. history. We will work collaboratively to understand why decisions were made, how policies were implemented and sold, and what it all may mean in the end. Assessing sources from presidential speeches and critics' rejoinders to film documentaries and media accounts, we will study goals and motivations, ends and means. As the course progresses, we will pay particular attention to the foreign policy choices of the U.S. president and the domestic debate about those choices.

This is not a class where you are expected to produce journalism, and no prior experience with journalism or Medill is required.

Registration Requirements

Sophomore Standing

Class Materials (Required)

Nye, Joseph. The Future of Power (used, $17.99):

Class Materials (Suggested)

Hook & Spanier. American Foreign Policy Since World War II (used, $11.64):

Class Notes

This course is also listed as INTL_ST 390-0-22, where you may find seats available if the Medill cohort is full.

Class Attributes

Attendance at 1st class mandatory
No Freshmen
SDG Peace & Justice

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Reserved for Medill Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors

Associated Classes

DIS - Fisk Hall 311: Fri 10:00AM - 10:50AM

DIS - Fisk Hall 311: Fri 11:00AM - 11:50AM

DIS - Fisk Hall 311: Fri 12:00PM - 12:50PM