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This subject examines contemporary issues in contemporary international relations and the policy issues they raise. It draws on the expertise of prominent foreign academic and practitioner visitors to the School of Social and Political Sciences and reflects one or more of the School's core research areas and policy concerns.
April 2019: Reconciling America with the World: Globalization, U.S. Sovereignty, and Multilateral Cooperation
Stewart Patrick, US Council on Foreign Relations
This seminar examines America’s ambivalent and selective attitude toward multilateral cooperation, with a particular focus on the defensiveness of the United States toward perceived incursions on its national sovereignty. While such instincts are longstanding, they have surfaced with a vengeance in the “America First” administration of Donald J. Trump. This seminar will expose students to the historical, ideological, geopolitical, and institutional roots of U.S. discomfort with international treaties, organizations, and commitments; trace how the U.S. rise to global leadership after World War II tempered these instincts; and explore the role of contemporary globalization in bringing these anxieties and misgivings to the fore today. Students will examine how U.S. conceptions of national sovereignty have evolved since the founding of the republic, including how these conceptions informed the debate over the League of Nations and the subsequent U.S. decision to sponsor the United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions. In separate sessions, students will analyze how conceptions of sovereignty have shaped U.S. debates about international law; collective security and arms control; multilateral trade; immigration and border security; and international organizations like the UN. The course will assess the consequences of “sovereigntist” U.S. instincts for the United States and global governance, and explore whether less formal means of collective action might help bridge the gap between America and the world.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- be able to demonstrate a specialist understanding of the subject being studied;
- show a good capacity to communicate research in written form;
- have developed the analytical skills to evaluate the core issue of the subject;
- have an awareness of the contemporary theoretical debates in the subject;
- be able to demonstrate an ability to undertake critical independent research.
On competion of this subject students should:
- develop effective oral and written communication skills;
- display aptitude for theoretical analysis;
- ability to apply research skills to a specific area of inquiry.
Last updated: 16 March 2020