Viewing America, 1940 – 1980
This course will examine how Americans experienced some of the major events that shaped their lives. We will view what millions of Americans did by watching feature films, news reels, and footage from popular television shows and news broadcasts. We will also read primary and secondary texts that explore among other topics, the domestic impact of World War II, America's reaction to the atomic bomb, the rise of the military-industrial-university complex, the emergence of the Cold War, the culture of anxiety that accompanied it, suburbanization, the "New Class" of experts, the Civil Rights movement, changing gender roles in the work place and at home, the origins and implications of community action and affirmative action, the War in Vietnam, the Great Society, the counterculture, Watergate, the environmental movement, challenges to the authority of expertise, the decline of political parties, structural changes in the economy, the mobilization of interest groups from labor to religious organizations, the emergence of the New Right, challenge to big government, and the role of the electronic media in politics.
I will lecture on Mon and Wed. and discussion sections will meet on Thursdays to review assigned readings, films, and other materials. There will be a mid-term and final exam, one five to seven page paper and a group project. You will also be quizzed on the readings at the start of each discussion section.
Readings will average about 125 pages a week. There will also be a required film each week that can be viewed through on-line subscription services or at the Robertson Media Center.