Making the American world: America, power and politics
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
Follow the ascendancy of American power, from 1945 up to the Trump administration, through a history of wars, foreign interventions and “soft power”.
This course is a broad survey of America’s changing place in the world, investigating the relationship between domestic and international politics.
We’ll take a closer look at various key regions as they have become the focus of American attention — digging deeper into each period using film, photography and primary sources.
And ask, is America still a superpower? And what does that mean?
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Post-war reconstruction in Europe
- Cold-war power politics with the Soviet Union
- The Vietnam war
- Military dictatorships in Latin America
- Oil, war and revolution in the Middle East
- After the Cold War: the “end of history”?
- The War on Terror
- Trump’s foreign policy.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Understand the major phases of US foreign policy as they have affected various key regions of the world.
Discuss how US foreign policy has changed and in what ways it has remained consistent over time.
Explain in your own words what motivates the US to act in the world, referring to foreign and domestic factors.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge is required, although you will be encouraged to read regularly as background preparation. While the course is an introductory level one, learners will be expected to have a good degree of English language skills in terms of reading and speaking, in order to actively participate in discussions and gain more from the course content.
As with most of our history and current affairs courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think
about new ideas with which you may not agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The pattern of tutor presentations, discussions of images and texts, questions and interaction is designed to involve both beginners and those with previous reading and knowledge. Some additional work outside class (reading, research on the internet, etc.) might add to your appreciation of the course.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no set textbooks or print news required - in terms of costs for this course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
For information about other courses on American or Contemporary history, please visit the college website: www.citylit.ac.uk.
Jack Gain teaches courses on Latin American history and US foreign policy at City Lit. After becoming interested in Latin America at university, he went on to complete a Master's degree in Latin American Studies at the School of Advanced Study in 2010. His personal involvement in solidarity activism led him to focus on the Central American solidarity movement of the 1980s. His dissertation on that subject was specially commended by the judges of the Blakemore Prize. "Latin America was the place where the US first projected power beyond its own borders. It's not a region that we learn much about at school here in the UK. But its history gives us a uniquely insightful way of understanding US foreign policy — as well as being fascinating in its own right." Jack's teaching at City Lit focuses on the ways in which US foreign policy and domestic politics overlap and on bringing to life the voices of those overlooked by conventional histories. "Studying history gives you a powerful tool for understanding the world around you." Away from City Lit, he also works in the Library at Queen Mary University of London as a library assistant and writing tutor.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.