Prof. Joyce Mao, Middlebury College, Fall 2017




If the 20th century was “America’s Century,” then it could also be deemed “America’s Pacific Century” as interaction with Asia fundamentally shaped the United States’ political, social, and diplomatic development. In this course we will examine American foreign relations on the Pacific Rim from the war in the Philippines to the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Topics to be covered include: the United States’ imperial project in Asia, the annexation of Hawaii, Wilsonian diplomacy, the occupation of Japan after World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Richard Nixon’s visit to Communist China, and the immigrant experience.

Throughout our course, we will explore these key questions: Why has the Pacific held such a unique position within the American imagination? How has America’s action in Asia molded the nation’s place within the global community? Our exploration of the US-Asia affairs will utilize primary historical evidence such as government documents, films, and essays in addition to scholarly articles and other texts.