HISTORY 476/576 III
THE UNITED STATES IN THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY: AMERICA SINCE 1950
Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30 - 10:50 in 360 Condon Hall
Professor Ellen Herman
office: 321 Grayson Hall
phone number: 346-3118
office hours: Tuesday, 1-2; Thursday, 2:30-3:30
This class will explore whether and how the second half of the 20th century is coming into view as history by considering a number of important, interesting, and interrelated developments in American society since 1950, many of which remain controversial. Special attention will be devoted to exploring the dynamic relationship between politics and culture during this period: between the formal operations and policies of government, on the one hand, and broader cultural changes, on the other. For instance, we will consider the Cold War as a critically important episode in domestic social life as well as a series of international geopolitical events involving diplomatic and military action by nation states. By the same token, we will think about how cultural developments like television, the sexual revolution, and the growth of consumption shaped the public sphere and altered how Americans thought about the meaning of political participation, the worth of democratic capitalism, and the direction of their daily lives and personal experiences.
Major topics to be surveyed include the Cold War at home and abroad; postwar liberalism and antiliberalism; the civil rights movement and the enduring problem of difference and diversity in a democracy; political and cultural protest associated with the 1960s; the Vietnam War; Nixon and Watergate; feminism and gay liberation; the origins and emergence of the New Right and the Reagan Revolution; culture wars and identity crises; globalization and the end of the American century.
Format: This course will combine lectures and discussions with occasional films (or parts of films) shown in class. Students are expected to come to class with the required reading already done and ready to talk! Active participation is crucial to the success of the course.
Writing Requirements: There will be one 3-page Internet assignment, one 8-page review essay, and a final, take-home exam. The exam will be handed out on the final day of class, Thursday, November 30. It will be due on Tuesday, December 5.
1. The Internet assignment requires you to locate and document a good web site relevant to one or more of the topics covered in the class. Due: October 17.
2. The review essay requires you to write both descriptively and analytically about either The Feminine Mystique or The Origins of the Urban Crisis. Due: November 14.
3. The final exam will include short and long essay questions that integrate the course material as a whole. There may be some brief identifications as well.
Please notice that most of the written work is due toward the end of the term. Plan your time accordingly.
Academic Honesty: If this course is to be a worthwhile educational experience, your work must be original. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating are very serious infractions and will not be permitted. Students who are uncertain about exactly how to cite published, electronic, or other sources should feel free to consult with the instructor.
Lateness Policy: No late assignments will be accepted and no makeup exams will be given. Students who miss deadlines will be given an F for that assignment.
Accommodations: If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please arrange to see me soon and request that Disability Services send a letter verifying your disability.
attendance and participation: 15%
Internet assignment: 15%
review essay: 35%
final exam: 35%
Course Packet, noted below as CP.
William Chafe and Harvard Sitkoff, eds., A History of Our Time: Readings on Postwar America, 5th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). [noted below as HOT]
Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (New York: Dell, 1963).
Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).
Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried (New York: Broadway Books, 1999).
Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle (New York: Bantam, 1983).
Note: Required reading does not mean required buying. You can find all of the above on reserve in Knight Library as well as at the UO Bookstore.
Week 1: Now That It's Over: The Cold War Era in Historical Perspective
Tuesday, September 26: Introduction
Thursday, September 28: The 20th Century as History and the Cold War as History
Week 2: Global Cold War
Tuesday, October 3: What can we learn by treating the Cold War as history?
Thursday, October 5: Containment and the National Security State: International Communist Conspiracy vs. The Free World
Week 3: Cold War at Home
Tuesday, October 10: McCarthyism as Politics
Thursday, October 12: McCarthyism as Culture
Week 4: Nuclear Culture, Nuclear Families, Nuclear Consciousness
Tuesday, October 17: The Culture of the Bomb
Thursday, October 19: Sex, Marriage, and the Baby Boom
Week 5: Consumption, Conformity, and Cultural Revolution
Tuesday, October 24: Liberal Consensus?
Thursday, October 26: Counter-Cultures and Other Americas
Week 6: Liberalism in Crisis, Part I: Rights
Tuesday, October 31: Race in Black and White
Thursday, November 2: Resistance
Week 7: Liberalism in Crisis, Part II: Vietnam
Tuesday, November 7: The War
Thursday, November 9: The Anti-War Movement
Week 8: From Identity Crisis to Identity Politics
Tuesday, November 14: Nixon, Watergate, and the Secrecy Society
Thursday, November 16: Postwar Social Movements and the Politics of Gender, Sexuality, and Kinship
Week 9: Reagan, Culture Wars, and the End of the American Century
Tuesday, November 21: The End of the New Deal Order and the Dawn of the New World Order
Thursday, November 23: Thanksgiving Holiday!
Week 10: Coming to Terms with the Legacy of the Long 1960s
Tuesday, November 28: Freedom and Equality at Odds: Universities and Meritocracy in a Post-Civil Rights era
Thursday, November 30: The Recent Elections in Historical Perspective