Syllabus - McGill University, Department of History History...

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History 377: American History, 1940-1965 Lectures: 112 Rutherford Physics Building, Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:35-10:25; Conferences Wednesdays and Fridays (sign up on Minerva), starting January 9 and 11. Movie Nights (Optional): selected Wednesdays, 7-9 pm Instructor: Dr. Heather Murray Email: heather.murray@mcgill.ca (please expect 24 hours for a response). Office Hours: Wednesdays 12:30-2:00 (I will stay longer if more students are visiting) and by appointment in Leacock 630. Course Description: This course will explore how the United States developed politically, socially, and culturally during the Second World War and the early Cold War Era. Our central focus will be to understand how Americans have responded to warfare and crisis on moral, political, cultural, and private levels. Accordingly, we will explore the emerging presence of the United States in the Second World War and its subsequent international relations during the Cold War; the developing civil rights movement; the bourgeoning consumer culture; the development of science and technology, including the social sciences and the emergence of television; evolving perceptions of ideology, especially totalitarianism and democracy; the changing shape of American liberalism and political dissent; the emergence of an American ‘postmodern’ artistic, writing, and musical culture; and the tenor of social and private life during a complex, contradictory historical moment of both profound uncertainty and unprecedented bounty. Unifying themes of the course include conformity and nonconformity, as well as deception and authenticity. Objectives: I hope that you will emerge from this course feeling more conversant with an array of primary sources, or original documents, and their relation with broader historical contexts. I also hope that this course will acquaint you with some of the major arguments to surface in the historiography, or historical interpretations based on primary sources, of this period and that you will feel more confident to suggest new lines of historical inquiry. Finally, I hope that this course will help you to cast aside, forever, any preconceived notions you might harbour of the 1950s as a bland, prissy, repressive, stagnant era, to see it for the fascinating, eventful, and rich period that it is! Required Readings: There are seven required books for this course, along with several online readings of primary sources and the occasional J-STOR article. All of these books are at the McGill Bookstore, as well as on reserve at the library. Some of these books are easily shared, and it should be possible in many cases to find cheaper copies of the books online or at used bookstores or to get extra copies in the library. 1
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Syllabus - McGill University, Department of History History...

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