What is “America” in relation to the rest of the world? This course not only considers the meaning of America in the contemporary world, but also poses two important questions: what does America desire from the world; and, what does the world want from America? The course is divided into three sections. In the first section, students examine enduring imaginaries of national identity that are used to understand the American role in the world. They will consider the discourses and constructions adopted to symbolise and provide meanings for the challenges that the US faces in the world. This section considers the broad concepts of nation brand and examines the purpose of national identity. The second section focuses on what Simon Anholt describes as “the making, unmaking and remaking” of the American brand. The idea of managing a national brand is becoming increasingly important for many countries around the world and Brand America remains the most recognisable and popular. Is the problem inadequate public relations, though, or American policy itself? Students explore the diverse challenges to the image of America in the post-9/11 environment. The third section explores the contentious global issue of how and why the US goes to war. Students will analyse the dynamics of constitutional war powers where the strategic priorities of security in the post-9/11 environment intersect with the ideals of democratic legitimacy. Prior study in political science (an intro PSC course) is recommended. Meets with HST 414.
Department: Political Science
Semesters: Fall, Spring