IR448      Half Unit
American Grand Strategy

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Peter Trubowitz CLM 4.05


This course is available on the MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (Research) and MSc in International Relations Theory. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course will explore American foreign policy at the broadest level of analysis - the level known as grand strategy. The course will showcase the main theoretical perspectives that inform the study of US grand strategy and apply them to historical and contemporary cases of American statecraft. In this connection, we will assess the relevance of the US experience for theorizing about power politics and the implications of alternative theories for thinking critically about American behavior. Students will gain an appreciation of the debates and controversies that animate the study of US foreign policy, as well as of the unique challenges posed by making foreign policy in the American political, economic, and cultural context.


10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Students in this class will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Two short essays.

One in class presentation.

Indicative reading

Colin Dueck, The Obama Doctrine (Oxford 2015).

Aaron Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy (Norton, 2012)

Charles Kupchan, No One's World (Oxford 2012)

Kevin Narizny, The Political Economy of Grand Strategy (Cornell 2007)

Peter Trubowitz, Politics and Strategy (Princeton 2011)

Linda Weiss, America Inc.? (Cornell 2014)

Fareed Zakaria, From Wealth to Power (Princeton 1998)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2014/15: 14

Average class size 2014/15: 14

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information