|American Studies 185b Fall 2014
The Culture of the Cold War Mr. Whitfield
Block D M W Th 11-11:50
This seminar addresses American political culture from the end of the Second World War until the revival of liberal thought and radical criticism in the 1960s. Attention will be paid to the specter of totalitarianism, the "end of ideology," the crisis of civil liberties and the strains on the pluralistic consensus under the impact of anti-Communism.
1) Aug. 28 M Introduction
2) Sept. 3 W "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"
T. S. Eliot, The WasteLand
Lecture on the atomic bomb
Read: John Hersey, Hiroshima
3) Sept. 4 Th By the bomb's early light
Discuss: Martin J. Sherwin, "The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of
the Cold War," in Dinnerstein and Jackson (eds.), American Vistas, II (on LATTE as “Atomic Diplomacy”)
4) Sept. 8 M The paymaster in the death camp
Discuss: Dwight Macdonald, "The Responsibility of Peoples," in
Memoirs of a Revolutionist (on LATTE)
5) Sept. 10 W The concentration camp universe
Discuss: Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, chapters 12
6) Sept. 11 Th Complete discussion of Totalitarianism, chapters 34
7) Sept. 15 M Lecture on the origins of the Cold War
8) Sept. 17 W X marks the spot. . .
Discuss: George F. Kennan, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," and
Walter Lippmann, The Cold War (on LATTE)
9) Sept. 18 Th Complete discussion of "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" and The
10) Sept. 22 M The personal is political
Discuss: essays by Arthur Koestler and Ignazio Silone in
Crossman, ed., The God That Failed
11) Sept. 23 T Discuss essays by Richard Wright and Louis Fischer in The God
12) Sept. 24 W Praxis makes perfect: lecture on the Frankfurt School
Discuss: Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man, chapters 1-4
13) Sept. 29 M The nascent New Left
Complete discussion of One-Dimensional Man, chapters 5-10
14) Oct. 1 W The Many Dimensions of Herbert Marcuse
Attend at least one panel of international conference on campus
15) Oct. 2 Th FIRST EXAMINATION
16) Oct. 6 M Destroyer of worlds
Lecture on J. Robert Oppenheimer
17) Oct. 8 W "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying
my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country"E. M. Forster
Lecture on the Hiss/Chambers case
Read: Whitfield, The Culture of the Cold War, chapters 1-2
18) Oct. 13 M The Hiss/Chambers case, closed
Read: Schrecker, The Age of McCarthyism, pp. 134-151, 190-220
19) Oct. 15 W The crisis of civil liberties
Discuss: Richard Rovere, Senator Joe McCarthy, chapters 13, and
Schrecker, The Age of McCarthyism, pp. 237-241
20) Oct. 16 Th Patriot games
Complete discussion of Senator Joe McCarthy, chapters 46, see
See It Now, "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy" (on DVD)
21) Oct. 20 M "Are you now, or have you ever been--?"
Discuss: Testimony of Larry Parks, Budd Schulberg, Elia Kazan
and Lee J. Cobb, in Eric Bentley (ed.), Thirty Years of Treason, pp. 308347, 434-457, 482496, 653666 (on LATTE)
22) Oct. 22 W Seeing Red
Discuss: Hollywood on Trial (on DVD) and Schrecker, The
Age of McCarthyism, pp. 242-257
23) Oct. 22 W 4 pm guest lecture by Arnie Reisman ’64 on “When Red Was a
Scary Color: Hollywood and the Blacklist”
24) Oct. 23 Th How deeply our children will be ashamed . . . remembering how
in so strange a time/common integrity could look like courage"Yevgeny Yevtushenko, "Talk"
25) Oct. 27 M Discuss: Testimony of Lillian Hellman and Arthur Miller, in
Bentley (ed.), Thirty Years of Treason, pp. 533543, 791825 (on LATTE); and Whitfield, Culture of the Cold War, ch. 5
26) Oct. 29 W No way to treat a lady
Discuss: Lillian Hellman, Scoundrel Time (on reserve);
Whitfield, Culture of the Cold War, chapter 8
27) Oct. 30 Th The power and the glory: lecture on Reinhold Niebuhr
Read: Whitfield, Culture of the Cold War, chapter 4
28) Nov. 3 M SECOND EXAMINATION
29) Nov. 5 W The politics of pragmatism
Discuss: Sidney Hook, Political Power and Personal Freedom,
chapters 9, 11, 1314, 16
30) Nov. 6 Th Complete discussion of Political Power and Personal Freedom,
31) Nov. 10 M Obedience to authority
Discuss: Edward Dmytryk (dir.), The Caine Mutiny; and
Whitfield, Culture of the Cold War, chapters 3, 67
32) Nov. 12 W A few bad men
Discuss: C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite, chapters 15
33) Nov. 13 Th Continue discussion of The Power Elite, chapters 610
34) Nov. 17 M Complete discussion of The Power Elite, chapters 1115
35) Nov. 19 W Nukes and kooks
Discuss: Stanley Kubrick (dir.), Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned
to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
36) Nov. 20 Th The "comfortable concentration camp"
Discuss: Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, chapters 19
37) Nov. 24 M Complete discussion of The Feminine Mystique, chapters 1014
38) Dec. 1 M Even paranoids have enemies
Discuss: John Frankenheimer (dir.), The Manchurian Candidate,
and Whitfield, Culture of the Cold War, chapter 9
39) Dec. 3 W The end of Cold War ideology
Discuss: Noam Chomsky, "The Responsibility of Intellectuals," in
American Power and the New Mandarins (on LATTE)
40) Dec. 4 Th From the Fifties to the Sixties
Discuss: Whitfield, "The Stunt Man: Abbie Hoffman (1936-
1989)," in Barbara L. Tischler, ed., Sights on the Sixties, pp. 103-19 (on LATTE)
40) Dec. 8 M Conclusion
A THIRD EXAMINATION will be given during the final exam week, to cover only the material since the second exam was administered.
A critical essay of about 7 pages is also required, on a book dealing with a significant and relevant feature of this era, to be determined in consultation with the instructor. The paper should be analytical and interpretive. It is due Wednesday, December 10, with no exceptions or extensions apart from medical reasons. WARNING: The grade on the paper will be lowered in cases of egregious lapses of proofreading (such as spelling and punctuation) and errors of grammar.
Attendance and participation in this seminar are also required.
Because computers are distracting, please do not use them in the classroom, except by special permission. Turn cellphones off.
The following books are available for purchase in the bookstore:
Arendt, Hannah Totalitarianism
Crossman, Richard, ed. The God That Failed
Friedan, Betty The Feminine Mystique
Hersey, John Hiroshima
Marcuse, Herbert One-Dimensional Man
Mills, C. Wright The Power Elite
Rovere, Richard Senator Joe McCarthy
Schrecker, Ellen, ed. The Age of McCarthyism, 2nd. ed.
Whitfield, Stephen J. The Culture of the Cold War
All other assignments are available in LATTE.
Read carefully Section 3 of Rights and Responsibilities, to ensure that all work submitted in Amst 185b satisfies the criteria of academic integrity.
Any student who has a documented disability should inform the instructor at the beginning of the semester so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
office hours: 1-2:30 M W in Brown 314 and by appointment (x63035).