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The United States & Global Politics after the Cold War - POL00074I

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Chris Featherstone
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This module examines US power and foreign policy in global politics from the end of the Cold War to the present.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

One cannot escape the power of the United States in global politics. The post-Cold War era has been defined as ‘unipolar’ and characterised by informal ‘American empire’. If we want to understand international order, we must understand US power in international politics as one of its core features, and vice versa.

This module examines US power and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. The module engages with different understandings of US power and hegemony from within the US and without, and it asks how changes in US power and policies are shaping and have been shaped by wider changes in global politics. This will enable you to analyse and understand US foreign policy over the post-Cold War period, in particular the use of military force. The module examines the ‘grand strategies’ of post-Cold War presidents, key security challenges, such as the 'global war on terror', and US relations with Russia and China, and the future of US power in world politics.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to understand, explain and critically engage with US power in international politics since the end of the Cold War using concepts of hegemony, power, and legitimacy and to communicate that understanding effectively through the assessment. You will find it helpful to have some background in international politics from your first year.

Module learning outcomes

  • Explain the significance of US power in international politics since the end of the Cold War.
  • Identify and explain competing understandings of US power in terms of ‘grand strategy’ in US foreign policy discourse since the end of the Cold War.
  • Describe, analyse and use contested concepts of power, hegemony, exceptionalism, and legitimacy to explain US power and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.
  • Identify and explain resistances to US power and wider critiques of US power.
  • Identify and explain key trends defining US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and use these to engage with debates on the future of US power and international order.
  • Research and present clear, concise, evidence-based analysis of US power and international order individually and as part of a team.
  • Summarise, evaluate and communicate appropriate concepts, events, and arguments on US power and international order clearly and concisely through structured and evidence-based writing.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutors feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutors regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Michael Cox and Doug Stokes (eds), US Foreign Policy, Oxford University Press, 2018 (3rd edition).

Bryan Mabee, Understanding American Power: The Changing World of US Foreign Policy (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Kori Schake, Managing American Hegemony: Essays on Power in a Time of Dominance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).

Inderjeet Parmer, Linda Miller and Mark Ledwidge (eds.) New Directions in US Foreign Policy, Routledge, 2009.

Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, America Alone: The Neo-conservatives and the Global Order, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.