EU4A3      Half Unit
The Americas and Europe

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Cristobal Garibay-Petersen CBG.7.06


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Fudan) and MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for all students that apply but that may not continue to be the case.

Course content

This course examines the role played by the idea of the Americas in the European imaginary and examines ‘Europe’, in turn, from the American context. By looking into processes of colonisation, decolonisation, modernisation, and globalisation, the course investigates the assumptions upon which different conceptions of the Americas have been construed, and seeks to understand the political, socio-cultural, and philosophical implications of those conceptions both for Europe and for the Americas. The course adopts a hybrid approach by making use of both European and American perspectives, and critically engages dichotomies such as settler/settled, coloniser/colonised, domination/subjugation, and self/other, to better understand the Americas and Europe.

The course follows a chronological order by looking, first, at the way in which early European explorers incorporated the so-called New World into their predominantly Christian worldview. It then maps the subsequent transformations of what the Americas signified through the European Enlightenment, through the 19th and 20th centuries of modern industrial states, and into the time of geopolitics, all the while remaining attentive to the changing role of the American conception of Europe. In doing so, the course shows the significance of different ideas of the Americas for what Europe understands as its own history, i.e. world-history: from an idea generated by complex mechanisms of othering that placed the Americas outside of European time and history to an idea that construes the Americas, with Europe at its side in notions such as ‘the West’, as the epicentre of hypermodern capitalism. The course borrows concepts and methodologies from a range of disciplines, including philosophy, cultural studies, history, geography, decolonial/postcolonial studies, politics, and anthropology.

This course is not primarily concerned with any one specific nation (e.g. United States of America). Instead, it understands the Americas in a broad sense.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Winter Term.  This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Winter Term, and a review session will be held at the start of the Spring Term to prepare for the online assessment.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 critical literature review in the Winter Term.

Questions for the formative assessments will be provided by the course convenor.

Chosen literature for the critical review should be cleared with the course convenor. 

Indicative reading

  • Anderson, J. et al. (Eds) The End of the West? Crisis and Change in the Atlantic Order. Cornell University Press, 2008.
  • Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. Routledge, Abingdon, 1994.
  • Cavell, Stanley. This New Yet Unapproachable America. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
  • Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton University Press, 2000.
  • Condorcet. “The Influence of the American Revolution on Europe” in Writings on The United States. Penn State University Press, 2012.
  • Craiutu, Aurelian & Isaac, Jeffrey (Eds) America Through European Eyes. Penn State University Press, 2009.
  • Davis, Kathleen. Periodization and Sovereignty. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.
  • Dussel, Enrique. The Invention of the Americas: Eclipse of the Other and the Myth of Modernity. Continuum, 1995.
  • Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Penguin, 2011.
  • Hall, Stuart. Essential Essays, Vols. 1 & 2. Duke University Press, 2019.
  • Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order. Simon & Schuster, 1996.
  • McGuire, Steven and Smith, Michael. The European Union and the United States. Red Globe-MacMillan Press, 2008.
  • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Harvard University Press, 1999.
  • Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. University of Chicago Press, 2002.
  • Valery, Paul. “America as a Projection of the European Mind” in Reflections on the World Today. Pantheon, 1948.


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

The online assessment for this course will be administered via Moodle. Questions will be made available at a set date/time and students will be given a set period in the ST to complete the answers to questions and upload their responses back into Moodle.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2022/23: 4

Average class size 2022/23: 4

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication