HIS 580 - Readings in US Foreign Relations and International History
Bradley R. Simpson
Wednesday 9:00 – 11:50 am
Office Hours: T,W 1-2 or by appointment
This seminar will examine U.S. foreign relations and international history during the twentieth century from a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches. Its purpose is to survey some of the most innovative recent scholarship in the field (and a few that should cause us to think more critically about how we approach the field), work informed by considerations of gender, race, ideology, culture, development, domestic politics, international relations theory, political economy and recently released archival material from the former Soviet Union, some of which goes well beyond existing conceptions of foreign relations history.
Writing: For half of the semester’s readings students will prepare a two - or three-page paper as a way of getting discussion going. In addition, a class participant will help to lead each week’s discussion. In these short papers the emphasis should be first on explaining the main points of the reading, and secondarily on offering a critique of those points. "Critique" does not mean tearing a book apart, but assessing a book's value, its importance, its place in the literature, and after that, what more we might have expected from it.
Students will prepare a substantial review essay (18-20 pp) on a thematic topic of your choice in the field of international history or U.S. foreign relations, subject to instructor approval. Essays will critically engage the evidence, methodology and theoretical approach of 4-6 books grouped around the same theme, utilizing where possible available primary sources.
Schedule of Readings:
Patrick Finney, International History (Palgrave Reader)
Martin Lewis and Karen Wigen, The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1997).
Karl Polanyi. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
Mark Bradley, Imagining Vietnam & America: The Making of Postcolonial Vietnam, 1919-1950 (2000)
Robert Latham. The Liberal Moment. Modernity, Security, and the Making of the Postwar International Order (1997)
Mark Atwood Lawrence, Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam
Frederick Cooper, Ann Laura Stoler, eds., Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)
Matthew Connelly, Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population (2007)
Robert Vitalis: America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier (Stanford 2006).
Adam McKeown, Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders (2007)
Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (2007)
Melanie McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media and US Interests in the Middle East, 1945-2000 (2001)
Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of our Time (2006)
Basic Resources for Studying US Foreign Relations and International History