HST6041: Life during Wartime America in the 1970s and 1980s
15 credits (semester 1)
Module Leader: Dr Michael Foley
The module sets out to examine life in the United States in the later Cold War decades of the 1970s and 1980s. The aim of the module is to explore grassroots politics in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s. This has become a fiercely debated period amongst historians of post-war America whose focus is all too often entirely on national political trends rather than on the local and the regional.
The period has also become characterised as one defined by a general retreat from the activism that we associate with the 1960s. This course seeks to counterbalance this approach. Each session will scrutinise the existing historiography of particular political issues, such as women´s rights, `pro-family´ issues, or gay rights, the tax revolt and the trajectory of the labour movement. While we will consider developments on the national level, we will pay particular attention to the grassroots `bottom up´ battles fought over each of these issue areas.
The module will be taught in five, two-hour classes. The first will provide a broad overview of America in the 1970s and 1980s, considering the merits of various historiographical approaches to the period. Subsequent classes will focus on particular subtopics: e.g. battles over racial segregation/integration; gender equality, gay liberation, "family values", labour and the "culture wars". Classes will enable students to research and present their ideas, share knowledge and debate controversial issues. Students will, in addition, have individual tutorial contact with the module leader in order to discuss their written work for this module.
Students will prepare a 3,000 word essay relating to at least one of the key themes of the module.
For help writing the essay please consult Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th edition (2007).
Intended Learning Outcomes