First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Course unit
LE01107988, A.A. 2014/15

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2013/14

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
LE0613, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2014/15
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Department of reference Department of Linguistic and Literary Studies
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge STEFANO LUCONI SPS/05

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines SPS/05 History and Institutions of the Americas 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 42 108.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/10/2014
End of activities 24/01/2015
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
8 Commissione 2019/20 01/12/2019 30/11/2020 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)
5 Commissione 2017/18 01/12/2017 30/09/2018 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)
4 Commissione 2016/17 01/12/2016 30/11/2017 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)
3 Commissione 2015/16 01/10/2015 30/11/2016 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)
2 Commissione 2014/15 01/10/2014 30/09/2015 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)

Prerequisites: None. Previous exams in Modern History and Contemporary History are advised but not compulsory.
Target skills and knowledge: By the end of the course, the student will be able to master and to critically discuss the main events of U.S. foreign policy, from colonial times to the presidency of Barack Obama, as well as to discuss the leading scholarly interpretations. He/she will also become familiar with the main documents and the most influential strategic doctrines of U.S. foreign policy.
Examination methods: Oral exam on the issues addressed during classes and/or in the "textbooks" section of the syllabus.
Assessment criteria: Ability to discuss the issues addressed during classes and/or in the “textbooks” section of the syllabus; clarity in expressing one’s ideas and arguments.
Course unit contents: THE UNITED STATES IN THE GLOBAL ARENA. The historical development of U.S. foreign policy has consisted of the search for worldwide hegemony over the centuries. The country virtually started to pursue this goal in 1630, even prior to its founding as a sovereign nation, and temporarily achieved it by means of its triumph in the Cold War and the ensuing establishment of a short-lived Washington-centered unipolar moment in international affairs in the last decade of the twentieth century. Yet the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent failure of the military interventions in the Middle East put an end to the previous status of the United States as a hyperpower – to quote former French minister of foreign affairs Hubert Vedrine – and paved the way to what Fareed Zakaria has called The Post-American World. Such a longing for hegemony has been intermittent, as Washington has alternated isolationism and internationalism. Furthermore, the rise of the United States has resulted from two kinds of stimuli, in theory conflicting but actually often interrelated because the one has not infrequently been used as a pretext to conceal the other. On the one hand, Washington has endeavored to spread its own political model – founded on liberty, peoples’ self-determination, and government based on consensus – in the world so that additional nations could benefit from it. On the other, it has protected its own economic interests by means of the seizure of new markets and has ended up abusing other countries, heavily influencing their policies. Born out of a war of independence fought against a European empire, the United States claimed its right to become a sovereign nation, drawing upon a project that was the ideological antithesis of the colonial policy of the great powers, and followed its self-assigned mission to export its value system first to the territory corresponding to the present-day forty-eight contiguous States and then globally. To this end, besides extending its north-American borders to the Pacific coast, the United States has opposed the European interference with the western hemisphere since the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, fought against the authoritarianism of the Central Empires in World War I and the totalitarianism of the Nazi-Fascist regimes in World War II, struggled with Soviet expansionism for almost half a century during the Cold War, launched a sort of a global crusade against terrorism at the dawn of the third millennium, and encouraged the weak openings to the democratization of the Middle East in even more recent times. But, especially in the twentieth century, embracing an approach that tended to link Wilsonism to Bill Clinton’s Democratic Enlargement, the promotion of liberal democracy was often strictly intertwined with the will to spread economic liberalism, an aim that eased the U.S. penetration into foreign markets. Moreover, the completion of the continental expansion in the mid nineteenth century found a continuation in some colonial acquisitions – albeit limited in time and space – and the subsequent development of a large informal empire that took on not only economic but also political and cultural features during the twentieth century. As a result, the United States has ended up following in the very footsteps of those great powers from which it initially intended to distance itself. The lessons aim at outlining the main stages of this process as well as to analyze its numerous ambiguities and inconsistencies against the backdrop of the diverse historiographic interpretations.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Frontal teaching with discussions during classes.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Further readings will be recommended during the course. They will be used for discussion at classes and will become essential texts for the oral exam for students attending classes.
Students who are not planning to attend classes will prepare an additional book that is listed at the end of the "testi di riferimento".
ATTENTION!!! The syllabus refers to an exam for NINE CFU. Students with SIX CFU in their learning agreements are invited to contact the instructor for a readjustment of the exam program.
The reading of the texts listed in the syllabus can be confined to the pages specified.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Del Pero, Mario, Libertà e impero. Gli Stati Uniti e il mondo, 1776-2011. Roma-Bari: Laterza, 2011. utilizzare l'edizione del 2011 Cerca nel catalogo
  • Dorrien, Gary, The Obama Question. A Progressive Perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. pp. 125-65. Cerca nel catalogo
  • LaFeber, Walter, Illusions of an American Century, in Andrew J. Bacevich (a cura di), The Short American Century. A Postmortem. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. pp. 158-86, 256-60.
  • Manela, Erez, The United States in the World, in Eric Foner e Lisa McGirr (a cura di), America History Now. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011. pp. 201-20.
  • Mariano, Marco, L’America nell’“Occidente”. Storia della dottrina Monroe (1823-1963). Roma: Carocci, 2013. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Romero, Federico, Storia della guerra fredda. L’ultimo conflitto per l’Europa. Torino: Einaudi, 2009. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Stephanson, Anders, Destino manifesto. L’espansionismo americano e l’Impero del Bene. Milano: Feltrinelli, 2004. pp. 11-145. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Ducci, Lucia, Stefano Luconi e Matteo Pretelli, Le relazioni tra Italia e Stati Uniti. Dal Risorgimento alle conseguenze dell’11 settembre. Roma: Carocci, 2012. Quest'ultima lettura è solo per gli studenti NON frequentanti. Cerca nel catalogo