Course Syllabus


Full Syllabus --- Course Schedule

[Class] Political Science 321: American Foreign Policy
[Quarter] Summer 2016
[Mode] Group Start Online Class (6/20/16 - 8/19/2016)
[SLN] 13133
[W Credit Option] See “Writing In This Class” Canvas page / contact instructor within the first week of the quarter

[Canvas Link]

[Instructor] Robin Datta [Video Introduction]
[Best Contact]
[Office Hours] Online - TBD via Google hangout. In-person meetings at the Seattle campus may also be scheduled.

[TA] Jonathan Beck [Video Introduction]

[Best Contact]

[Office Hours] TBD

[TA] Hannah Walker

[Best Contact]

[Office Hours] Online via Skype/Google hangout. Tuesdays, 11-1 or by appointment (In-person meetings on the Seattle campus may also be scheduled)

[Special Notes]

  • This is a group start online class in which participants are expected to keep to course schedule
  • A supplemental fee of $120 is charged in addition to tuition
  • This course is coded as a distance learning course and DOES NOT qualify for residence credit, consult with an advisor in your academic major before registering
  • Political Science Majors: This class counts for Field C or D requirements and is a required course for the Security Option

[Required Text and Readings]

Kaufman, Joyce P. A Concise History of U.S. Foreign Policy. N.p.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013. Print. ISBN: 9781442223608. The text is available in ebook format. Additional readings are assigned via the Course Schedule and may require off-campus authentication with your UW NetID. The US Foreign Policy Flipboard magazine contains links to current news of interest to our discussions.



This class critically analyzes the historical development of U.S. foreign policy. Proceeding chronologically it traces the enduring values, interests, institutions, and processes of American foreign policy in order to throw into relief modern elements of continuity, of change, and of chronic contradiction, and ends by considering contemporary challenges to American hard and soft power as they shape the twenty-first-century international environment. 

Though there will be a refresher, students should possess a basic understanding of International Relations theory and concepts (Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Globalization, Levels of Analysis, state and non-state actors) and a general awareness of the historical development of the International System during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (balance of power systems, colonialism, the World Wars, and the Cold War). Regular reading of foreign policy news is required—Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy are two useful policy-debate journals (more can be found at It is expected that your writing will meet or exceed standards expected of upper-division students.  Writing assistance can be obtained by appointment at the Political Science Writing Center.

[Student Learning Goals]

When you have finished this course, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of US Foreign Policy;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the role that culture and ideology played, and continues to play, in the conceptualization and conduct of US Foreign Policy;
  • demonstrate a better understanding of the impact of political pluralism and stakeholder politics on the development and conduct of US Foreign Policy; and
  • use the lessons of history to critically consider contemporary challenges in foreign policy.

[General Method of Instruction]

Case and film analyses, recorded lectures, response papers, and optional (though recommended) group discussions. This course may be taken for “W” Credit.



The schedule below is automatically generated for this course and contains a list of assignments and due dates in the table. The calendar located in the upper right-hand corner of this page highlights the due dates of all the assignments. Hovering over that date will highlight the corresponding assignment in the Schedule table.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due