First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Course unit
LE02107988, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
LE0607, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can 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
Core courses SPS/05 History and Institutions of the Americas 9.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 63 162.0 No turn

Start of activities 03/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 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)

Prerequisites: None. A previous exam in contemporary history is advised but not compulsory.
Target skills and knowledge: By the end of the course the students will have the knowledge and analytical tools to master the most relevant events and issues concerning the role of the United States in the international system from Washington’s entry into World War II to the initial months of Donald J. Trump's presidency. They will be also able to discuss the diverse interpretative paradigms of the American behavior in the world arena and the main strategic documents of U.S. foreign policy in that period.
Examination methods: Oral and rigorously individual exam on the issues addressed during classes, including the contents of the readings uploaded to Moodle, and in the "textbooks" section of the syllabus. Students are advised not to prepare the exam by learning names and dates by heart. The readings uploaded to Moodle are a basic and unavoidable part of the exam also for the students who do not plan to attend the course.
Assessment criteria: Ability to discuss the issues addressed during classes, including the contents of the documentary sources and essays uploaded to Moodle, and in the readings listed in the "testi di riferimento" section of the syllabus; clarity in expressing one’s ideas and arguments.
Course unit contents: THE UNITED STATES AND THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM: FROM THE POSTWAR PURSUIT OF GLOBAL HEGEMONY TO TRUMP'S LONGING FOR NEOISOLATIONISM. The dynamics of the Allies' success in World War II turned the United States into the only victorious nation endowed with the status and means becoming a global superpower. It seemed the premise for the consolidation of what in February of 1941 publisher Henry Luce had called "the American century". Actually, President Franklin D. Roosevelt envisaged the postwar establishment of a specific collective security order and the integration of markets, under the U.S. aegis, in order to avoid the outbreak of further military conflicts, to encourage the globalization of the American model of society based on liberal democracy and economic liberalism, and to pave the way for the achievement of Washington's worldwide hegemony. Nonetheless, the emergence of the Cold War prevented the United States from exerting a global primacy and witnessed the birth of a bipolar world resulting from the contrast between the United States and the Soviet Union. Once Roosevelt's Grand Design had come to its demise, cointainment, roll back, massive retaliation, anti-Communist modernization, and flexible response became Washington's diverse strategies to cope with the new configuration of the internazional system before Richard Nixon's presidency marked the temporary abandonment of the search for the U.S. hegemony and the Reagan administration successfully reignited the pursuit of Amerucan global leadership. It was only after the fall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union that the United States could enjoy a brief unipolar moment within which the American hegemony appeared so unchallenged that political scientist Francis Fukuyama postulated "the end of history" after Washington’s victory in the Cold War. In a few years, however, the rise of Islamic-inspired terrorism, the growth of the economic and military influence of the People's Republic of China, and the revival of Russian expansionism have posed new challenges to the United Sates and have contributed to causing Washington's global retreat, especially during Barack Obama's two terms and with a few planks in Donald J. Trump's platform about the reduction of the country's international commitments. Such events have corroborated, at least in part, Fareed Zakaria’s hypothesis about a "post-American world" at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The course will examine the U.S. foreign policy from the intervention in World War II to the initial months of the Trump administration. It will pay specific attention to both Washington's changing position within the international system and the diverse analytic paradigms of the American behavior in the world arena. On the one hand, classes will address the different phases of the U.S. influence on the international relations, which can be summarized in terms of bipolarity during the Cold War, a unipolar moment in the subsequent decade, and multipolarity since the dawn of the third millennium. On the other, the American conduct in the international affairs will be referred to an interpretative grid of four dichotomic couples such as isolationism and internationalism, unilateralism and multilateralism, containment and engagement, as well as realism and idealism. The course will also take into account the strategic documents, not only those produced by the branches of the federal administration, that help outline Washington's foreign politices and the endeavors to influence it from outside the government.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course will alternate frontal teaching and collective discussions about documentary sources and essays that will be recommended and uploaded to the Moodle platform in advance. Such readings are an essential part of the exam program. Students are required to participate actively in classes.
Additional notes about suggested reading: ATTENTION!!! The program above is for students planning to take an exam in U.S. history with NINE CFU. For students with SIX CFU, the exam program covers the period from the entry into World War II to the presidency of Bill Clinton included. Therefore, 1) the study of Del Pero, Libertà e impero can be confined to pp. 250-423, 2) the study of Daalder-Lindsay, Del Pero, Era Obama and Iannuzzi is not required.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Daalder, Ivo H. e James M. Lindsay, America senza freni. La rivoluzione di Bush. Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2005. ISBN 9788834312193. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Del Pero, Mario, Libertà e impero. Gli Stati Uniti e il mondo, 1776-2016. Roma-Bari: Laterza, 2017. pp. 250-452, ISBN 9788858128275, le pp. 250-434 sono per TUTTI gli studenti. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Del Pero, Mario, Era Obama. Dalla speranza del cambiamento all’elezione di Trump. Milano: Feltrinelli, 2017. pp. 57-102, 141-65, 169-70, ISBN 9788807173196. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Iannuzzi, Roberto, Se Washington perde il controllo. Crisi dell’unipolarismo americano in Medio Oriente e nel mondo. Roma: Castelvecchi, 2017. ISBN 9788869449185. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Romero, Federico, Storia della guerra fredda. L’ultimo conflitto per l’Europa. Torino: Einaudi, 2009. ISBN 9788806188290. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Brinkley, Douglas, Democratic Enlargement: The Clinton Doctrine, "Foreign Policy". no. 106: Spring, 1997. pp. 110-27.