UC Online University 8-week course, Asynchronous

Dr. Stephen Porter

This course surveys the various roles the United States has played in the world and vice versa during the long 20th century in an effort both to understand that history itself and to use that historical knowledge to better comprehend the world in which we live today. It adopts a broad notion of foreign relations, including not only the actions of government officials but also of individuals, institutions, and networks outside of formal government.

We will focus especially on why and how the U.S. became increasingly involved in world affairs throughout much of this period, often contributing to forces of globalization, and eventually rising to a position of world superpower. But we will additionally note how this trajectory was not always straight as American foreign relations were marked at times by impulses of isolationism and significant challenges to U.S. international authority.

We will think critically about how Americans sought to reconcile the country’s growing authority over various parts of the world with certain American traditions of “American exceptionalism” that touted the importance of small government, democracy, and freedom for all.