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PPR.227: Foreign Policy of Contending Powers

Tutor: Dr Tom Mills, Dr Astrid Nordin, Dr Simon Mabon       
Term: Michaelmas and Lent

Course Description

The aim of this module is to examine the foreign policy developments of the USA, China and Iran, to provide an understanding of their historical development, key concepts and issues, as well as an evaluation of key challenges.  The module will consider and explore:

  • The logics that underpin the foreign policies of three states that are of central importance to contemporary world politics: the USA, China and Iran
  • How these three states have developed distinct foreign policies with greatly varying policy processes and interests
  • The ways that these foreign policies have been developed on distinct traditions of thought, each deploying a different set of concepts rooted in a different history of ideas
  • The history of thought on which foreign policy is based, its recent historical development, key concepts, key issues, implementation and policy making process, and finally crises and future challenges.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key issues, concepts and challenges in the foreign policies of the USA, China and Iran
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the development of foreign policy from different philosophical-cultural traditions


40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework 2 essays of 2500 words each.  Exam: 3 hours.

Teaching Method

Lecture (1.5 hours) and seminar (1 hour) weekly.

Introductory Reading

Ansari, A.                         Confronting Iran, New York: Basic Books, 2006
Callahan, William A.
& Barabantseva, E.        China orders the world?: normative soft power and foreign policy,
Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, MD; Woodrow Wilson Center Press:
                                       Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011
Cox, M. & Stokes, D.       US Foreign Policy, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2012
Ehteshami, A.                  After Khomeini: The Iranian Second Republic, London, Routledge, 1995
Lanteigne, M.                 Chinese Foreign Policy: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Abingdon,
                                       Routledge, 2013
Wittkopf, Eugene R.       American Foreign Policy: Pattern and Process, 7th edition, Belmont,
                                       Calif: Wadsworth Publishing, 2008.

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