The World War II era was a sea change in the international system, dooming imperial powers of the 19th century, introducing the United States to the world as a dominant player, and structuring the early postwar balance of power as a bipolar “free world” versus “Marxist world.”  As the international system evolved in the latter half of the 20th century, that bipolar balance morphed into more complex configurations.  And transnational, regional, and international relationships became more complex than could be simplistically portrayed in power models.

These relationships involved asymmetries of capabilities among states/groups, ongoing urbanization of countries with greater compressions of populations, ongoing advances in technology ignoring sovereignty and state boundaries to link peoples as never before imagined as well as reveal in stark contrast such social/economic/political conditions as poverty, political oppression, and leaders more concerned with preserving their privileged positions and the status quo than initiating major systemic reforms and change (witness such events as the “Arab Spring”).  This is the world that the identity perspective is interested in.

Learner Objectives

  • Understand the identity view of historic change
  • Gain a sense of how its impact can be variously interpreted


  1. Identity Assignment: go to (Links to an external site.) and read Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History article.  Then go to (Links to an external site.) [there will be a button on the site for you to connect to our UCF Library and you will access the article that way] and read Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations article.  Answer the following questions:
    1. How do the two authors differ in their assessment of the implications of the changes in the international system with the end of the Cold War?
    2. What do you think is the fundamental flaw in Fukuyama’s argument?  In Huntington’s argument?
    3. With which view are you more in agreement and why?


4-page (suggested, can be more or less)/double-spaced, footnoted with bibliography: