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HIS 82 — The Elusive Quest for Global Order: History and Prospects of the International System

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Feb 6—Mar 5
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Feb 19
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $320
Instructor(s): David M. Kennedy, James Sheehan
Status: Open
7:00—8:50 pm
Feb 6—Mar 5
5 weeks
Drop By
Feb 19
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
David M. Kennedy, James Sheehan
At the time the United States became an independent nation, Europe was dominated by five great powers that would control the global system for the next century. The Americans, feeling safe behind two great oceans, clung to the tenets of isolationism, as memorably codified in George Washington’s farewell address.

By the sunset of the 19th century, the European powers maintained an apparently durable though fragile peace, commanded far-flung colonial possessions, and sustained an impressive network of international trade and capital flows that some people have characterized as the first era of “globalization.” But two decades later, World War I shattered the European state system that had for so long defined the architecture of the international order. The 20th century saw the United States emerge not simply as another player in the global system, but rather as a nation that aspired to revolutionize the very character of international relations.

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the liberal international order that began to dominate the world after 1945 confronts a number of challenges: the European project is under attack on several fronts; transatlantic ties, so central to the postwar world, are weakening; and new players—notably China—threaten to shift the balance of military and economic power away from the United States and its traditional allies.

In a series of ten lectures (two per class session), David Kennedy and James Sheehan will explain the historical contexts and drivers of these evolving international regimes, and will ask how an understanding of history might illuminate the future of this century’s international order.

David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford

David M. Kennedy, one of the nation’s most distinguished American historians, is the author or editor of more than ten books on American history, including Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. He has been a frequent contributor to The Atlantic and The New York Times. He received a PhD from Yale.

James Sheehan, Dickason Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Modern European History, Emeritus, Stanford

James Sheehan is an expert on the history of modern Europe, and has written widely on the history of Germany, including four books and many articles. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He has received many grants and awards, including the Officer’s Cross of the German Order of Merit. He is a past president of the American Historical Association. His book, Where Have All the Soldiers Gone? The Transformation of Modern Europe, was published in 2009. Sheehan received a PhD from UC Berkeley.