INAF-362 History's Influence on Foreign Affairs
Fall for 2016-2017
McFarland, Kelly
Historical knowledge—and the knowledge of how nation states, politicians, world leaders, non-state actors, and national polities use history in the conduct of foreign affairs—is crucial to success as a diplomat or foreign policy practitioner. From the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to myriad examples of American policymakers using the Munich and Vietnam analogies when debating policy, to China’s current use of history to make claims in the South China Sea, history is an ever-present factor in international affairs. This course will examine the ways in which these groups have used history to create historical narratives and its effects on the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. It will also examine the ways in which some countries deal with difficult aspects of their history. Key to this course will be an exploration of what history is, how it is portrayed, and who decides how it is portrayed. We will pursue the questions of how we can learn from history, how it affects international affairs, and what kinds of “lessons learned” policymakers can derive from history (and why). Furthermore, we will consider the question of whether or not historical analogies aid or burden policymaking decisions. Understanding history and how it is used is only one aspect of affective policymaking. Students will also explore how to sift through this information to make informed policy decisions in a fast-paced environment. Tasks will include weekly reading and short writing assignments; student led class discussions; and researching, writing, and presenting an eight to ten page final research paper on a topic of their choosing that deals with an issue of history in international affairs.

Issues to be covered will include:
-The uses and misuses of history: an overview of history in international affairs
-Using history in the decision-making process
-The Vietnam Syndrome and the Munich Analogy
-The Boxer Rebellion: memory and its effects on policy
-Knowing who’s across the table: history, culture, and race in foreign affairs
-I’m sorry: apologies in the international arena

The professor is Director of Programs and Research at the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. He is a diplomatic historian who served in multiple roles at the Department of State. He recently completed a one-year tour for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the Presidential Daily Briefing Book briefer for State Department senior officials.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Course syllabi
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '16: McFarland K (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.

Sections:

INAF-362-01 History's Influence on Foreign Affairs
Fall for 2016-2017
McFarland, Kelly
Historical knowledge—and the knowledge of how nation states, politicians, world leaders, non-state actors, and national polities use history in the conduct of foreign affairs—is crucial to success as a diplomat or foreign policy practitioner. From the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to myriad examples of American policymakers using the Munich and Vietnam analogies when debating policy, to China’s current use of history to make claims in the South China Sea, history is an ever-present factor in international affairs. This course will examine the ways in which these groups have used history to create historical narratives and its effects on the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. It will also examine the ways in which some countries deal with difficult aspects of their history. Key to this course will be an exploration of what history is, how it is portrayed, and who decides how it is portrayed. We will pursue the questions of how we can learn from history, how it affects international affairs, and what kinds of “lessons learned” policymakers can derive from history (and why). Furthermore, we will consider the question of whether or not historical analogies aid or burden policymaking decisions. Understanding history and how it is used is only one aspect of affective policymaking. Students will also explore how to sift through this information to make informed policy decisions in a fast-paced environment. Tasks will include weekly reading and short writing assignments; student led class discussions; and researching, writing, and presenting an eight to ten page final research paper on a topic of their choosing that deals with an issue of history in international affairs.

Issues to be covered will include:
-The uses and misuses of history: an overview of history in international affairs
-Using history in the decision-making process
-The Vietnam Syndrome and the Munich Analogy
-The Boxer Rebellion: memory and its effects on policy
-Knowing who’s across the table: history, culture, and race in foreign affairs
-I’m sorry: apologies in the international arena

The professor is Director of Programs and Research at the SFS Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. He is a diplomatic historian who served in multiple roles at the Department of State. He recently completed a one-year tour for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the Presidential Daily Briefing Book briefer for State Department senior officials.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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