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This course provides an overview of American foreign policy and domestic politics in the second half of the twentieth century.
This course examines the history of the Modern America from an international perspective. By exploring the development of the United States from the Cold War to the turn of the century and beyond, the course focuses on the relationship between US foreign policy and the development of domestic politics and culture. The conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union after 1945 divided Europe behind an 'iron curtain' and produced violent conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Latin America and the Middle East. The ideological battle between democracy and communism helped frame American national identity. Domestic tensions, such as the anti-communist purges of the 1950s, the Civil Rights movement and anti-war protests, the rise and fall of the 1960s radical counter-culture and the eventual capture of the White House by Ronald Reagan and the 'neo-conservatives' are indicative of a complex and important period in which the United States rose to world dominance even as it struggled with its own internal divisions. In the aftermath of the Cold War American history took several new turns as both the sole remaining ‘superpower’ and just one nation in the increasingly interconnected (and far from secure) post-Cold War world.History 278 introduces students to the major international conflicts of the Cold War; explores their impact on American politics and culture; examines the nature of the American-led victory over communism in the 1980s and the subsequent rise of the challenge of terrorism in the 1990s and beyond; reviews the reaction of the United States to the bombing of the World Trade Center in 2001; compares the Obama and Trump presidencies; and concludes with a consideration of the legacy of American foreign policy from the Cold War to the present and its impact on democratic politics and culture.
By the end of the course, if you’ve done the work, you will demonstrate: A broad overall knowledge of the modern American nation.An ability to discuss and write about history at the undergraduate level.An ability to analyse with sophistication the historical events covered by the course, and answer questions about the development of the US empire.A grasp of how historians approach questions about the American past.Some sense of larger historical questions and approaches in recent history.The ability to demonstrate a high degree of independent learning.
Any 15 points at 100 level in HIST or CLAS120, orany 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Domestic fee $785.00
International fee $3,500.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Humanities and Creative Arts