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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Arista Maria Cirtautas
POL S 530
Seattle Campus

Transatlantic Relations: The United States and Europe in World Politics

Fulfills required component of "American Module" of Transatlantic Studies program. Addresses political dynamics of relations between United States and Europe from American republic's founding to post-Cold War era. Limited to students in Transatlantic Studies program.

Class description

This tutorial is divided into two parts: during the first half of the quarter we will read and discuss four books that address, in varying ways, the extent to which Europe and the United States constitute a singular entity, "the West" which may or may not be in a position to meet the challenges of an increasingly multi-polar world. These are in fact the fundamental questions that underlie any discussion of 'transatlantic relations' -- on what foundations do these relations rest? on shared strategic and/or material interests alone? or, are there deeper cultural and political affinities that unite both sides of the Atlantic? In the second half of the quarter we will turn to specific topics and case studies identified jointly by the tutorial participants. Potential topics include: how are Europeans and the United States structuring their relations with the Rising Powers (e.g. China) - jointly? or separately?; how are Europeans and the United States approaching the security challenges in the Middle East (e.g. the Sahel) and, more generally, how are they responding to the Arab Spring? how well/poorly is NATO preserving the Western 'security community' and meeting the demands of the 21st century? Many more topics are possible depending on the interests and research projects of the participants. Finally, at the end of the quarter, students will present their research papers for peer review.

Student learning goals

Students will gain an understanding of the challenges facing post Cold War transatlantic relations; relations that are shaped not just by individual leaders and their policy priorities but also by historic, cultural, economic and institutional factors beyond the immediate control of politicians and policy-makers.

Students will learn to read texts carefully and critically, identifying core arguments and evaluating the implications for policy outcomes.

Students will identify and pursue their own research interests, culminating in a presentation to the class and a paper (ca. 18-20pp, double-spaced).

General method of instruction

seminar discussion

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Course requirements include two presentations - the first, a presentation on one of the assigned books (20-30 minutes worth 20% of your grade) and the second, at the end of the quarter, on your research project (20-30 minutes - 20%). There are also two writing assignments, the first (5-7pp - 25%), either a book review based on the text you presented or a position paper on one of the issues/case studies covered in the second part of the quarter and the second, your research paper (35%).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Arista Maria Cirtautas
Date: 03/02/2013