General knowledge of US history. Students are expected to have read an outline of US history. A recommended reading is Arnaldo Testi, Il secolo degli Stati Uniti, Il Mulino, 2017.
At the end of the class, students will have knowledge of some essential aspects of the contemporary history of the U.S. (with specific reference to the second post-war period), and in particular a basic understanding of the role the U.S played in the international arena.
The class will be focused on the international and imperial dimension of U.S. history during the 20th century, the so-called American century. The goal is to stimulate the students’ ability to identify the multiple connections between the United States and all the countries on which it has exerted its economic, military, social and cultural influence. Thus, Latin America will work as a source of broader insights and will provide the students with several examples that are relevant beyond the region.
Rise and fall of an empire. The class will allow students to reflect on meaningful moments of U.S. history, starting from what has conventionally recognised by historians as the beginning of “the American century”: the Cuban-Spanish American war of 1898. Specific attention will be given to the expansion of U.S. culture on the international and transnational arena.
A core topic, therefore, will be the role played by the United States in international affairs during the 20th century, with specific reference to Latin American countries, from Central America to Chile. This area will provide several case studies on hard and soft power, i.e. the use of coercion by the U.S. but also the attractiveness of its model of modernity and development.
The class, focused on the imperial dimension of U.S. power, will synthetically analise some crucial issues of the international history of the United States and the economic, political and social factors that underlie and explain those relations.
The class will conclude with a final reflection on the topic of Americanism/Anti-Americanism and the broad range of reactions, from rejection to attraction, that U.S. model has produced on the world scene.
The course will be in English.
The lecturer will give lectures and power point presentations and will constantly stimulate class discussions and students’ questions. Active participation will be crucial for the success of the class and will be highly appreciated. The class will be conducted in seminar format: 1. lectures in English; 2. discussion sessions; 3. presentations of about twenty minutes (optional) prepared by the students under the supervision of the lecturer.
Classes will be supported by slides, audiovisual material and Internet navigation through digital archives to show primary sources online. All activities will be in English.
Learning outcomes will be assessed through a final two-and-half hour written exam. Student will also have the opportunity of taking an oral exam. The final exam will include open-ended and multiple choice questions in order to assess knowledge of the specific notions acquired in class and from the required texts. Open-ended questions will naturally weigh more than multiple choice questions. Students will have the opportunity to have further assessments during the class and before the exams, such as short papers on topics to be discussed with the lecturer in individual consultation meetings. The final grade will also include the in-class presentations.
If students aim to withdraw from the exam they must CANCEL THEIR NAMES IN ADVANCE from the lists.
Joshua Freeman, American Empire. The Rise of A Global Power, The Democratic Revolution At Home, 1945-2000, The Penguin History of the United States (Series edited by Eric Foner) New York, 2013; read: Prologue: E pluribus unum (pp. 1-27); Part I pax americana (1945-1953) pp. 28-79; Part II The High Tide of Liberal Democracy (1954-1974) pp. 113-287.
For the class discussions and the presentations students can choose one of these readings:
Introduction, Marco Mariano, (2013). L'America nell'"Occidente". Storia della dottrina Monroe, 1823-1963, ROMA: Carocci Editore.
Introduction, A.G. Hopkins. American Empire. A Global History, Princeton, Princeton UP, 2018.
In the same book: A.G. Hopkins. American Empire. A Global History, Part II modernity and imperialism 1865-1914 , Chapter 8 Acquiring an unexceptional empire (pp. 3337-373) and Chapter 9 Insular Perspectives on an Intrusive World (p. 383 to p. 403 only).
Introduction, Bender, Thomas, A Nation among Nations: America’s Place in the World (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006).
Introduction, Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire. A History of the Greater United States, New York Farrar Straus & Giroux 2019.
Introduction, de Grazia, Victoria, Irresistible Empire: America's Advance Through Twentieth-Century Europe, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).
Introduction, David Ellwood, Una Sfida per La Modernita'. Europa e America nel lungo Novecento, Carocci 2012.
Marco Mariano, “America in/and the world: uno sguardo internazionalista sul global turn nella storia degli Stati Uniti”, Rivista italiana di storia internazionale, 1/2018