DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
POLSC 271, Day Session [Codes 2374 and 1716]
Prof. K. Erickson
International Politics in the Americas
This course aims to give students an understanding of foreign policies and international relations in the
Western Hemisphere, the basic political, economic, and social processes shaping them, and the
consequences of those policies and relationships for the peoples of the hemisphere.
It presents the historical
evolution of the paradigms that policymakers have used to interpret the region, its needs, and its challenges,
with particular emphasis on the last six decades.
We will cover writings reflecting both Latin American and
In any field of scientific inquiry, scholars employ explanatory concepts and theories to organize data and
to interpret phenomena.
One goal of this course is to show students how academic disciplines develop
dominant explanatory paradigms composed of such concepts and theories, and how, over time, these
paradigms are challenged, refined, and/or replaced by new paradigms.
The changing patterns of US policies
toward Latin America serve well to illustrate this process, while revealing underlying constant elements.
Dominant paradigms also shape the ways that political leaders, policy practitioners, and citizens in
general interpret and approach contemporary problems.
The relationships among academic paradigms,
policy paradigms, public-opinion currents, and political processes provide an important theme for this
Understanding these relationships not only helps one explain why certain policies are followed at a
given moment, but it should also enable critics and opponents to assess these policies more effectively in
order to propose alternatives.
The required text, available from Revolution Books, 146 W. 26 Street, between Sixth and Seventh
Avenues (tel: 212-691-3345), is:
Peter H. Smith,
Talons of the Eagle: Latin America, the United States, and the World
, 3rd ed. (Oxford
University Press, 2008).
Additional readings will be available via the internet or posted on Blackboard, on electronic
, or in the library reserve book collection.
password for this course is erickson271.
Announcements and some readings will be emailed, so students are
required to activate and use their Hunter internet accounts, and to check their Hunter email inboxes, even if
they usually use commercial email servers.
Blackboard is accessed through the CUNY Portal (instructions
There is an alternate login link on the
Blackboard info page, along with other helpful information:
If you seem
blocked from Blackboard (usually because there is a problem at the Portal), try this alternate link.
The instructor has designed this course to enable students not only to understand the substance of