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COMM 499 – Special Topics

Dr. Nancy Snow

Anti-Americanism: Hating the U.S. at Home and Abroad


Who is anti-American? Who hates America? Why do they hate the U.S. and how does this hatred get politically expressed? What is legitimate criticism and what is baseless propaganda? Is there anything constructive to emerge from such debate or is it all irrelevant political dribble? This provocative course takes an in-depth look at anti-American sentiment, both across the globe and within our own country.

Students examine the entire spectrum of criticism, from geographic (Western Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia) and religious (Islam) to economic (globalization) and academic (American universities). The class aims to engage all in ascertaining the validity and/or frivolity of the various attacks. Through this course, students will not only come to better understand America’s place within the global community, but also will develop a more subtle, nuanced knowledge of the unique challenges facing the ‘world’s lone superpower’ in the 21st century.

Debate and discussion is a major part of this course. Students must come to class not just having read the material, but having formed opinions and questions about it. Respect for divergent ideas is demanded. No element of intellectual intimidation will be allowed. All attendees should feel free to and are expected to participate in the discussion.


  • Anholt, Simon, Brand America: The Mother of All Marketing Brands, Cyan Books, 2004.
  • Anonymous, Through our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, Brassey’s Inc, 2002.
  • Chomsky, Noam, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project), Henry Holt & Co., Inc., 2003.
  • Flynn, Daniel J., Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies that have Obscured Our Country’s Greatness, Three Rivers Press, 2004.
  • Rubin, Barry and Judith Colp Rubin. Hating America: A History, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Snow, Nancy. Information War, Seven Stories Press, 2004.


  • Two Essay Papers (40%): There will be two medium-length papers (5-6 pages) assigned in the course. Each will be worth 20 percent of your final grade. The first is due September 29 and the second is due November 10. I will hand out questions from which you can choose and provide a week to complete each essay paper.
  • Mid-Term Exam (20%): There will be a mid-term exam of about 50 questions on October 20 in an open-ended, short answer, true/false, and multiple choice format.
  • Term Paper (30%): The final take-home paper is worth 30 percent of your final grade and will consist of a topic of your choose (or suggested by me if you are stumped). This paper is original research and is designed to take the class discussion further with an

in-depth critical analysis of a topic related to anti-Americanism (e.g., media, globalization, religion, popular culture, open society, rhetoric, propaganda). Think of this paper as teaching me something that I don’t already know so you must be willing to tackle the subject head-on and not just use descriptive language. Your term paper should be at least 10-12 pages but I won’t weigh it or count words. Due: December 1st (must be handed in to me in person no later than 3:30 PM.)

  • Class participation (10%): This is an important element that I do not take lightly. As part of your participation, you may be asked to be a discussion leader for an outside reading.


Superb attendance is expected and NOT rewarded. Unexcused absences will result in a lowering of your participation grade. More than two excused absences will result in a lowering of your overall class grade. Please let me know if you must be absent from class before the class meeting. Consistent tardiness will also result in a lowering of your participation grade.


As members of the USC community, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of your degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form. Students willing to risk engaging in this venture will find I am extremely unaccommodating with its subsequent exposure. In other words, do not take the risk!!!


Nancy Snow is Assistant Professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. She is a former U.S. government official responsible for cultural affairs and international exchange management at the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and international humanitarian assistance (refugees, migration) at the U.S. State Department. Snow received a Ph.D. in international relations from American University’s School of International Service where she completed a doctoral dissertation on “Fulbright Scholars as Cultural Mediators.�? She has written extensively on American persuasion, influence and propaganda in the world and maintains a website devoted to the topic at Her fourth book, on the topic of anti-Americanism and methods to combat it, will be published in 2006. Dr. Snow is a Senior Research Fellow in the USC Center on Public Diplomacy where she directs a research initiative on anti-Americanism. She was a Fulbright scholar to Germany and is a lifetime member of the Fulbright Association.


I am available Thursdays before class from 2:30-3:30 PM in ASC 103, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. Since I teach full-time at California State University, Fullerton, it may be more convenient to reach me via e-mail ( or leave a message at my CSUF office (714) 278-4302.



  • August 25: Introductory Class/Overview; What my own research on the topic has taught me about how to teach it.
  • September 1: HATING AMERICA: A HISTORY, Chapters 1-4
  • September 8: HATING AMERICA, Chapters 5-9
  • September 15: BRAND AMERICA, Chapters 1-4
    Note: I may be in Washington, D.C. for a BBC panel, “Who Rules Your World?�? If so, finish reading Brand America for next week.
  • September 22: BRAND AMERICA, Chapters 5-7
    First Essay Paper Assigned, due on Thursday, Sept. 29 Debate and discussion: Brand America –Is American culture across the globe helping or hurting?
  • September 29: INFORMATION WAR
    Essay I Due Today; Frontline presentation, “The Persuaders�? or Fox News Channel, “Hating America�? special from November 2004
  • October 6: WHY THE LEFT HATES AMERICA, pp. 1–146
  • October 13: WHY THE LEFT HATES AMERICA, pp. 147-214.
  • October 20: Mid-Term Exam
  • October 27: Anti-Americanism and other Isms (Anti-Semitism, Globalism, Terrorism) Debate and discussion: How is the global economy supposed to work – to benefit all or to benefit rich Americans?
    Debate and discussion: Taming America’s Power; The Global Reaction to US Primacy Robert Kagan, “America’s Crisis of Legitimacy,�? Foreign Affairs (Mar/Apr 2004) Adam Segal, “Is America Losing Its Edge?�? Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec 2004); Second Essay Paper Assigned
  • November 10: THROUGH OUR ENEMIES’ EYES, Chapters 1–4. Essay Two Due Today
  • November 17: THROUGH OUR ENEMIES’ EYES, Chapters 7-8; 11-12
  • December 1: THROUGH OUR ENEMIES’ EYES, Chapters 13-15
    Closing debate and discussion: What does studying anti-Americanism at home and abroad teach us about ourselves? Is there common ground or will the subject remain politically contested and a politically loaded term?
  • December 1: TERM PAPER DUE BY 3:30 PM
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