United States Foreign Relations Since 1914 [CRN 83329]

Discipline: History
Instructor: Madsen
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1410
End: 1530
Field Work: Day 2 | October 16, 2019 | Morocco
Prerequisites: Completion of three (3) history credits AND no fewer than 45 total credits or by permission of the instructor Download Syllabus

Over the last century, the United States has played a critical role in world affairs. This course investigates American foreign policy since 1914, considering not just the aims of Washington policymakers, but using our voyage to see American policy from the vantage of affected parts of the globe as well. In particular, we will address the diplomacy surrounding major international conflicts (World Wars I & II, and the Cold War); global economic events (such as the Great Depression and financial globalization); and the process of decolonization and African independence. In addition, the course will investigate the primary interpretive frameworks historians use to make sense of American foreign relations—as well as the important questions that have preoccupied historical research.

Learning Outcomes:

To understand the main historical interpretations of American foreign policy since 1914, especially

  1. the causes and consequences of the two world wars
  2. the Great Depression
  3. the Cold War
  4. decolonization
  5. financial globalization and trade

Field Work

Country: Morocco
Day: 2
Date: October 16, 2019

Most Americans are unaware of the power exerted by the United States around the globe. They are usually even less aware of how the State Department—the country’s primary foreign policy institution—employs that power at the local level. We will have the rare opportunity to “pull back the curtain” on American foreign policy and see how diplomats operate abroad. We will visit the U.S. embassy in Rabat to speak with embassy staff and officers about their experience in the foreign service and how they influence other governments—particularly the Moroccan government, but also governments in Western Africa generally. In particular, we will get a sense of how directives coming from the Washington become action items for the field operatives in Rabat. From this we will have a clearer view of the power of the American foreign policy establishment as well as the limits to American influence abroad.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To better understand the United States’ foreign policy
  2. To see how the State Department implements American aims abroad
  3. To gain a deeper appreciation of the issues and interests of the United States in Morocco (and Western Africa generally)