Junior/Senior Seminar in the U.S. and the World (UTEP 4325, Spring 2017)

The United States and the World

History 4325: Junior-Senior Seminar

Spring 2017 / T R 1:30-2:50


Professor Patrick Iber

This junior-senior seminar will focus on the role of the United States in the world, especially its foreign relations. U.S. relations with the world will be considered from multiple perspectives, including military, cultural, political, and economic modes of analysis. Students will learn to use tools of diplomatic and foreign relations history, including the Foreign Relations of the United States volumes and declassified documents. Students interested in international U.S. topics, including international aspects of the border, and international perspectives on the U.S., may take this course. This is a capstone course, designed to assist students in developing and improving research, analytical, and writing skills. Along the way, students will generate a research portfolio, with the final goal of producing a research paper of 17-20 pages and an oral presentation of the research.




Wendy Pojmann et al., Doing History: An Introduction to the Historian’s Craft. New York: Oxford University Press, 0199939810, 978-0199939817, $29.95.


Richard H. Immerman, Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010, 0691156077, 978-0691156071, $25.00.


Matthew Karp, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016, 0674737253, 978-0674737259, $29.95.


Michael Adams. The Best War Ever: Americans and World War II (2nd edition), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015, 1421416670, 978-1421416670, $24.95.


Melvyn Leffler, The Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994, 0809015749, 978-0809015740, $14.00.


Penny von Eschen, Satchmo Blows up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004, 0674022602, 978-0674022607, $27.50.


Mark Atwood Lawrence, The Vietnam War: A Concise International History, (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 0199753938, 978-0199753932, $15.


Remaining readings will be posted in PDF format on the course website.


Course schedule:

Week 1 (Jan 17):

  • Tuesday: Introduction to the class
  • Thursday: Discussion of Wendy Pojmann et al., Doing History, Chapters 1-3


Week 2 (Jan 24):

  • Tuesday: No class, do readings and think about your plans
  • Thursday:
    • Discussion of Immerman, Empire for Liberty, 1-162
    • Using library resources and databases [meet in the library]


Week 3 (Jan 31):

  • Tuesday: Discussion of Karp, Vast Southern Empire
  • Thursday:
    • Read Pojmann, Chapters 4-5
    • Using FRUS


Week 4 (Feb 7):

  • Tuesday: Discussion of Gil Joseph and Jurgen Buchenau, Mexcio’s Once and Future Revolution, pp. 37-85, Friedrich Katz, “Pancho Villa and the Attack on Columbus, New Mexico,” American Historical Review 83, no. 1 (Feb. 1978): 101-130 and Mark C. Anderson, “‘What’s to be Done with ‘Em?’ Images of Mexican Cultural Backwardness, Racial Limitations, and Moral Decrepitude in the United States Press, 1913-1915,” Mexican Studies / Estudios Mexicanos 14, no. 1 (Winter 1998): 23-70.
  • Thursday:
    • Read Pojmann, Chapter 6
    • Using UTEP special collections [meet in the library]


Week 5 (Feb 14):

  • Tuesday: Discussion of Adams, The Best War Ever
  • Thursday:
    • Discussion of Mary Louise Roberts, “The Price of Discretion: Prostitution, Venereal Disease, and the American Military in France, 1944-1946,” American Historical Review 115, no. 4 (October 2010): 1002-1030 and Robert Zaretsky, “Reconsidering the ‘Good War’,” Los Angeles Review of Books, https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/reconsidering-good-war/
    • Potential Research Topics Due


Week 6 (Feb 21):

  • Tuesday: Discussion of Empire for Liberty, 163-195; and Leffler, Specter of Communism
  • Thursday:
    • Discussion of Patrick Iber, “Who Will Impose Democracy?: Sacha Volman and the Contradictions of CIA Support for the Anticommunist Left in Latin America,” Diplomatic History 37, no. 5 (November 2013): 995-1028.
    • Using the National Security Archive


Week 7 (Feb 28):

  • Tuesday: Discussion of von Eschen, Satchmo Blows up the World, 1-120, 148-184, 223-260
  • Thursday:
    • Primary Source Analysis Due (submit on blackboard)
    • Individual work day, work on your proposal


Week 8 (March 7):

  • Tuesday: Discussion of Lawrence, Vietnam
  • Thursday: Proposal Due


SPRING BREAK (March 13-17)


Week 9 (March 21):

  • Tuesday: Discussion of Empire for Liberty, 197-237, and Andrew C. McKevitt, “Watching War Made Us Immune: The Popular Culture of the Wars,” in Beth Bailey and Richard H. Immerman, eds. Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (New York: NYU Press, 2015), 238-260.
  • Thursday:
    • Annotated Bibliography Due
    • For examples of good annotations, see Chapter 3 of Part Two of Doing History


Week 10 (March 28):

  • Tuesday: Individual meetings
  • Thursday: Individual meetings


Week 11 (April 4):

  • Tuesday: Outline due
  • Thursday: Structured work time


Week 12 (April 11):

  • Tuesday: Peer Review I (first 5 pages)
  • Thursday: Preparing presentations


Week 13 (April 18):

  • Tuesday: Peer Review II (first 10 pages)
  • Thursday:
    • Thesis haiku due
    • Preparing presentations


Week 14 (April 25):

  • Tuesday: Presentations
  • Thursday: Presentations


Week 15 (May 2):

  • Tuesday: Presentations
  • Thursday: Presentations


Week 16 (May 9): Paper due


Course Requirements:


  • Course Participation (20%): Your attendance and participation in class discussions is essential to your success as a student and our success as a class. Active, engaged, and supportive participation will help everyone to do well.


  • Research Paper Portfolio (80%): Your Research Paper Portfolio consists of the following parts:


  • Primary Source Analysis (5%): For this assignment, each student will critically analyze a primary source of his or her choice. Select a primary source related to one of your potential topics. Print it out and then write 500 words analyzing what the primary source can tell you. Who is its author? When was it created? Why was it created? What can you learn about the assumptions and interests of the author (individual or institutional) by thinking about what it says and what it does not say?


  • Potential Research Topics (5%): For this assignment, describe three potential topics that interest you and describe each one in a paragraph or two.


  • Proposal (5%): The proposal is a preliminary statement that defines your topic, attempts to identify a thesis, and presents questions to be answered.


  • Annotated Bibliography (10%): The annotated bibliography will consist of a list of 5 primary and 5 secondary sources. It will also include an evaluative summary of each source and a description of how the source will be used.


  • Outline (5%): This assignment should clearly identify the major sections of your paper and include a brief statement of what purpose each section will serve in relation to your overall argument.


  • Peer Review of Rough Drafts (10%): Each student will read and critique a peer’s rough draft on two separate occasions. A rubric for constructive criticism will be provided.


  • Haiku (5%): Each student will write a haiku that summarizes the main idea of the paper. A haiku is a 3-line poem with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and seven in the second. For examples, see https://dissertationhaiku.wordpress.com/


  • Presentation (5%): Each student will give a 10-minute presentation of their research. This presentation should summarize your research questions and major findings, and illustrate your paper with pictures and other media, where applicable.


  • Final Paper (30%): The final paper should be 17-20 pages in length and must include proper citations. It should also be grammatically correct, structurally sound, free of typos and other errors, and written in 12 pt. font with one-inch margins. You can’t pass the class if you do not complete the paper according to these specifications.


  • Plagiarism: A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgment. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge another whenever he or she quotes another person’s actual words; paraphrases another person’s words; uses another person’s ideas, opinion or theory; or borrows facts, statistics, or other material, unless the information is common knowledge. It is official UTEP policy that all suspected cases of plagiarism be referred to the Office of Student Life for investigation. For more information, go to: http://sa.utep.edu/wp-content/blogs.dir /60/files/2012/09/Avoiding-Plagiarism.pdf.


  • Disabilities: Any reasonable accommodations will be made for students with limitations due to disabilities, including learning disabilities. Please see the professor during the first two weeks or make an appointment to discuss any special needs one might have. If a student has a documented disability and requires specific accommodations, they will need to contact the Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS) in the East Union Bldg., Room 106 (http://sa.utep.edu/cass/).


  • Frances G. Harper Student History Conference:  Roughly three students from each of the four junior/senior seminars taught in the spring and fall of 2017 will present their research findings in a formal conference setting on dead day in December of 2017.  Papers will be selected based on topic, originality, argument, quality, and use of primary sources. While the best papers from the conference will win cash awards and recognition, all attendees will receive a light breakfast and lunch. All class members are expected to attend at least one session. More specific information on the conference will be made available during the semester.



Grade Distribution:

  • Course Participation: 20%
  • Research Paper Portfolio
    • Potential Research Topics: 5%
    • Primary Source Analysis: 5%
    • Proposal: 5%
    • Annotated Bibliography: 10%
    • Outline: 5%
    • Haiku: 5%
    • Peer Review of Rough Drafts: 10%
    • Presentation: 5%
    • Final Paper: 30%


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