Junior Seminar: American Foreign Policy Toward East Asia

Course Description

This course is a junior seminar in political science. It is designed primarily for majors interested in exploring in depth the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and developments in East Asia. Although geographically quite distant from the Asian mainland, the United States has been involved militarily, diplomatically and economically with that region since the 19th Century. Since the defeat of Japan in the Pacific component of World War II, the United States has maintained a strong military presence throughout the Asia-Pacific and has fought costly wars in Korea and Viet-Nam, all as integral components of the Cold War. Today, the rise of China; the cross-Straits problem surrounding Taiwan; the economic torpor of Japan; the continued division of the Korean peninsula and the nuclear program of North Korea; and the potential for Muslim terrorism in Southeast Asia are but a few of the problems that animate the interactions between East Asia and the United States. This seminar will explore the historical and contemporary foreign policies of the United States toward Asia with an eye toward analyzing the ways in which Asia has been shaped by American, and in turn American policies have been shaped by events in Asia.

The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research. Junior seminars fulfill upper-DIV requirements in the major.

This course fall under both International Relations or Comparative Politicis subfield


This seminar will focus on reading rather than research and the seminar will emphasize discussion and analysis of various interpretations of events; it will not be a lecture course. To make this work effectively, students will be expected to have done a careful reading of each week’s assignments prior to the weekly meeting and to come to class prepared to discuss the readings, the arguments they present and the extent to which these readings agree or disagree with one another.



Political Science Majors of Junior and Senior status, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.3. Students must place themselves on the waitlist through TeleBEARS in Phase II. Selection and notification will occur around August 19 2013.