International and Global History since 1945

History 186

Spring 2012
141 McCone
Day & Time: 
TuTh 9:30-11

In 2012, children born in 1945 will turn 67. In the years since their births-almost the span of a human life-the globe has been transformed. The ends of empires and the rise of nationalism have expanded the membership of the United Nations from 51 to 193 nations. But the end of the colonial era was followed by the emergence of new transnational political systems, as the United States and the Soviet Union created vast alliances in the name of the Cold War. Now, one of these superpowers has collapsed, and the other is challenged by rising powers, including China. Meanwhile, global economic, social, and technological upheavals have been at least as tumultuous as political ones. The postwar years brought dramatic growth- not least in the world's population- but the fruits of prosperity have not been shared equally, either among or within societies. While literacy has expanded worldwide, many nations have failed to maintain decent living conditions for their citizens. Technological innovation has brought societies closer together; conversely, the world has experienced violent conflict, including genocide. The interplay between forces of integration and disintegration-globalization and fragmentation-has come to define our globe. This course, "International and Global History since 1945," explores these great and complex historical changes. By situating the major postwar upheavals - from decolonization to the Cold War; from population growth to environmental degradation; from globalization to the endurance of economic inequalities - in comparative and international contexts, this course encourages students to see the origins of our own times and dilemmas in their proper historical context and provides an introduction to recent international and global history.