Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Fall 2008



Course Number

DIPL 6182

Course Description

This course introduces students to the actors, policy-making processes, historical themes that influence U.S. foreign policy, and some contemporary issues. The course first reviews American institutions and processes as they pertain to foreign policy. We then turn to some of the most influential theoretical explanations of U.S. foreign policy. During the second half of the semester we will read two important contemporary studies of US foreign policy. Walter Russell Mead analyses two centuries of American involvement in world affairs and offers an innovative framework that should help you understand America's past and present foreign policy. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a scholar and a former NSA, focuses on foreign policies of last three presidents.

The course will concentrate on common reading and weekly discussions. An outline of topics and required readings are included in this syllabus. Students should be prepared to do a significant amount of reading each week and to discuss it constructively. Graduate courses work well only when everyone, including those who have little background in U.S. foreign policy, comes prepared for a critical and informed conversation.

Students should also keep informed about relevant current events, which may periodically be discussed in class, through regular reading of newspapers. You should read at least one newspaper that provides thorough coverage of international news (for example, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal). You should also watch news on TV. BBC, CNN International, CCTV9 (a Chinese program) and Russia Today provide good insight into current events.