After Empire

History 280B

Fall 2018
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Wed 2–4pm
Class Number: 

In Postwar (2005) Tony Judt sought to understand the history of Europe after 1945, and the brief life of its social democracies, as primarily shaped by the experience of World War Two. In contrast, this class will ask how far the history of Euro-America’s neoliberal present, even in its increasingly nativist and populist forms, was shaped by decolonization. Apart from examining the end of European empires during the Cold War we will also explore what role decolonization had on the various revolts of 1968 and the counter-revolutions they spawned, as well as their influence on the formation of what we now refer to as neoliberalism. Chronologically the class will stretch from the 1940s through to 2008 and its aftermath, while geographically it will work outwards from (predominantly western) Europe and the United States. Each week students will be expected to provide brief responses to the readings on bcourses and to participate in class discussion. The final assignment could take one of several forms:- a syllabus that outlines how you would teach the history of post-1945; a 3,000 word op-ed on how some element of Europe’s postwar history shapes its present; a podcast or blog interview with a historian engaged in an area of research or debate that engages you; a review of a recent work that you could submit to a journal; a 5,000 word historiographical review (with abstract) that you could publish; or some other exercise that you would find helpful.