A Superpower Transformed: History, Strategy, and American Foreign Policy in the 1970s

History 24

Spring 2014
3104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
F 3-4P

The United States began the 1970s mired in the Vietnam War and ended it waylaid by oil crises, economic disarray, and resurgent Cold War hostilities. For historians and others, the 1970s have long been a forgotten—and forgettable—decade. This seminar suggests a different perspective. The 1970s, students will learn, brought great changes, especially for the role of the United States in the world. The decade forced Americans to confront the stirrings of globalization, and it encouraged them to contemplate the possibilities of universal human rights—as both an ideology and a foreign-policy goal. While the Cold War still endured, the maligned 1970s forged new and distinctive patterns of "post-Cold War" politics, some of which endure through to the present day. Students will encounter the 1970s through a book manuscript that Professor Sargent is currently preparing for publication. Besides engaging the history and historiography of the 1970s, the seminar will also give students the opportunity to see how a historian goes about the work of writing a book manuscript. Reading will comprise approximately one chapter per week plus one or two historical documents. This is a Course Threads Theme Seminar. This seminar is part of the Food for Thought Seminar Series.