ENG4540 – Liberal Globalism and the American Future

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course examines recent history of political and economic institutions and the current debate over the future of the US and the world. It will seek to address the following questions: (1) why has the American-led liberal world order fallen into crisis? (2) what can the debate about alternate American futures tell us about the current state of the world and of American politics and culture? Our times have seen an exciting rebirth of ideas and proposals for the future from developments in international relations/foreign policy, to discussions of economics, politics and political philosophy. The course takes a holistic approach encompassing a broad spectrum of different political opinions in looking at the intersection of three looming questions: the future of international relations, the future economy, the future of democracy.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you:

  • can analyze the American role in the creation of the current regime of international relations, both after WW2 and in the critical post-Cold War period;
  • can apply scholarly approaches to the study of foreign policy and international relations;
  • can identify different American narratives of the world;
  • can analyze the rise in the 1990s of globalism as social phenomena and as ideology;
  • can critically analyze and narrate the cultural, political and economic components that underscore changes in America’s approach to the world;
  • learn to think in broad terms and to use ideas to frame questions.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The course has a capacity of 15 students.  ILOS will not provide additional capacity if there are more applicants.


Recommended previous knowledge

Students should have a general familiarity with postwar American history and politics. Some understanding of the discipline of International Relations and/or of World Politics would be helpful, but is not required.

Good reading skills in English.


Seminar: two hours per week for 10 weeks, 20 hours in all.

Obligatory activity:

  • Students will give a 20-30 minute presentation on a course text in the course of the semester. The presentation may serve as the basis for the required book review (see below).
  • For spring 2021, attendance is not obligatory, but it is highly recommended.

All obligatory activities must be approved in the same semester. All obligatory attendance and assignments are only valid the semester you attend the course.


The form of assessment is a term paper consisting of two parts: a 3-5 standard page book review on a class text and a 7-10 page essay.  You chose your topic from a list provided by the instructor. The essays must include both course texts and academic sources not discussed in class. NB: a standard page consists of 2,300 characters. References and bibliography comes in addition to page numbers noted.

Assessment guidelines.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

You must do all obligatory activities, including attendance, in this course again if you want to qualify to re-take the exam. Admission depends on capacity.

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






This course is taught irregularly

Teaching language