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International Relations of the Americas (PO396)

An old refrain in Latin America, asks: “Why are there no coups in the United States?” The answer: “There is no U.S. embassy in Washington.” Behind the joke is a serious allegation and assumption: the region’s politics are not determined by local actors, but by the machinations of the United States. International Relations in the Americas are characterized by tremendous disparities of power. The United States dwarfs the combined nations of Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of economic might, military power, and global influence. Historically, this has led most observers to focus on the “hegemonic presumption” of the United States. How did the Northern colossus impose its will on its weaker Southern neighbours? Was U.S. power also the determining factor for Western Hemispheric relations? This module examines the history and current challenges of international politics in the Americas, trying to understand the motivations and actions of multiple actors within the hemisphere in addition to the salient role of the United States. This module will be of great interest to students with want to deepen their knowledge of Latin America, of the history of U.S. foreign policy, and for those with an interest in the broader application of IR theories on power disparities, regionalism, and more.

The principal aims of this module are to help students understand the international relations of the Western Hemisphere. The module will explore historical and contemporary international relations among the states of the Americas, using both general and sui generis IR theories and foreign policy analysis. The module will examine US-Latin American relations, regional organizations, intra-Latin American relations, and foreign policies of major Latin American states. Students will examine competing theoretical explanations for broad trends and specific state actions.

International Relations of the Americas

Module Director:

Tom Long

CATS:

This module is worth 15 CATS