HS1FBB-From Berlin to Baghdad: The origins of the War on Terror

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Level:4
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Mara Oliva

Email: m.oliva@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module is optional for SINGLE HONOURS STUDENTS ONLY.

Aims:
The aim of this module is to obtain an understanding of US foreign policy in the post Cold War world. In particular, it focuses on how the tragedies of 9/11 and the subsequent “War on Terror” have provided the clear organizing principle lacking in US foreign policy since the containment of communism became an irrelevant notion in 1989.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
• identify the sources of the topic in question
• trace its historical development
• be aware of differing historiographical interpretations of the pattern and causes of this development
• understand how ideas and events are shaped by their historical contexts
• organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays
• demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims:
• to encourage students to think independently
• to help students develop good oral and written communication skills
• to develop the effectiveness of students in group situations
• to develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources.

Outline content:
Beginning with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, this module looks at America’s search for a purpose in the post-Cold War world. In the 1990s, George H.W. Bush envisioned the US as the guardian of a “new world order”, and the Clinton administration sought the “enlargement” of America’s political and economic influence. However, both presidents eventually came to accept, albeit grudgingly, that America’s multifaceted roles, responsibilities, and objectives could not be reduced to a single fundamental principle. During the early years of the George W. Bush administration, it appeared that the tragedies of 9/11 and the subsequent “war on terror” would provide the clear organizing principle lacking in US foreign policy since the containment of communism became an irrelevant notion. For a time, most Americans were united in support of Bush’s foreign policies and the military incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq. As the swift invasions transformed into grinding occupations, however, popular support for Bush’s policies waned, and the rubric of the war on terror lost much of its political and rhetorical cachet. By analyzing these issues, the module will allow students to understand the US role in the world and its influence in the face of the post Cold War world’s daunting complexities.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is by eight two-hour seminars over one term. Students are reminded to email their tutors for help and advice whenever needed and to note office hours.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 16
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 74
       
Total hours by term 100.00
       
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Written exam 50%:
one 1-hour unseen paper requiring 1 answer

Written assignment, including essay 50%:
1 essay of c. 2000 words, to be submitted once via Blackboard on Turnitin by latest 12 noon on the Monday of 11th week of each term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:



The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    1 hour

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Last updated: 22 September 2016

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