Fall 2022

Geopolitics & US Policy

Listed in: History, as HIST-363  |  Political Science, as POSC-363


N. Gordon Levin (Section 01)
Pavel Machala (Section 01)


(Offered as POSC 363 and HIST 363 [US/TE]) The goal in this course is to examine the geopolitics which lies at the intersection of international relations and foreign policy. But what is geopolitics and why is it as often berated as it is embraced by American politicians and policy elites alike? Over the past two centuries, what part has geopolitics played in the currents of world politics and in the conduct of American foreign policy? What role has geopolitics played in the post-Cold War era, after the demise of the Soviet Union and the ostensible triumph of liberal capitalism? Using the methods of diplomatic history and political science, this course will explore critical moments and themes in American foreign policy. Our overall aim is to better understand today’s position of the United States in world politics as well as present domestic controversies over the character of America’s global role. This is also a period which has been characterized by growing tension between two sets of political power dynamics: one is dominated by a territorial logic of power that has as its basis the direct control of specific territory, people and resources; the other is dominated by a more diffuse logic of power that derives from the command of “de-territorialized” global political, economic, technological and cultural forces which emanate from states as well as stateless groups with a global and transnational reach. In an attempt to better understand world politics in the age of America’s preponderance, the course will ultimately examine how American presidents have understood and navigated between these two sets of political power dynamics in articulating and conducting foreign policy, and how the American public and elites have facilitated or complicated this task.

Requisite: Two or more classes in the social sciences. At least one must be a POSC course (200 level or above) Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Machala and Professor Emeritus G. Levin.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to Political Science majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on reading and written work.

POSC 363 - LEC

Section 01
W 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM WEBS 217


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2024