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Course, academic year 2022/2023
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United States Since WW2: Issues - JTM260
Title: United States Since WW2: Issues
Guaranteed by: Department of North American Studies (23-KAS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2019
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 6
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unknown / unknown (15)
Min. number of students: unlimited
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
Guarantor: Mgr. Jiří Pondělíček, Ph.D.
Examination dates   Schedule   Noticeboard   
Last update: PhDr. Jan Hornát, Ph.D. (12.06.2019)
JMM527 American Society since WW2 Course Description

Course code: JMM527

Course title: United States Since WW2 II: Issues

Credits: 4

Teacher: Jiri Pondleicek

Teaching units: 1/1

Final examination: presentation and written book review

Form: The aim of the course is to give the students some overview of contentious issues of US history after the Second World War. This is not primarily a US history course in a sense that it should cover all the events that happened in that period. It focuses rather on interpretations and receptions of certain selected events trying to help students understand why these are still widely debated and disputed many years later. While it roughly follows the chronological line, the overall organization is topical and not chronological. At the end the students should be able to understand certain political and ideological division lines in the present US society in the context of their historical causes.
Last update: PhDr. Jan Hornát, Ph.D. (12.06.2019)

All the required texts are in the syllabus. The texts will be provided by the lecturer in an electronic form.

Requirements to the exam
Last update: PhDr. Jan Hornát, Ph.D. (12.06.2019)

The students are expected to come to class regularly (3 absences without an apology maximum, one of which is in the first week) and read the compulsory text for each seminar. If they miss an aditional class they are required to submit a position paper discussed at the seminar they have missed. The students are also encourage to do so even if it is one of the two excused absences. They must also one of the elective texts assigned for each seminar and present it to the class in a 10-15 minute presentation. Lastly, they will select a book pertaining to the events discussed in class or to an event of their choice from that period and write a short (3-5 pages, 1000 - 1500 words) review. There is a possibility of publishing it if the reviewed book is not older than two years and the review is good. The final evaluation is as follows. 

  • 91 % and above      =>          A
  • 81-90 %                 =>          B
  • 71-80 %                 =>          C
  • 61-70 %                 =>          D
  • 51-60 %                 =>          E
  • 0-50 %                   =>          F
Last update: PhDr. Jan Hornát, Ph.D. (12.06.2019)

1.      Introduction

2.      Early Cold War - Origins of the Cold War, Truman Doctrine, Cold War Consensus

a.       Chafe, ix - 75 (compulsory)

b.      Fordham, Benjamin. Building the Cold War Consensus.

c.       Zubok, Vladimir. A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev. Chapter 2  

d.      Documents, Part I, pages 1-35.

3.      Early Cold War - McCarthyism

a.       Fried, Richard. Nightmare in Red: McCarthy Era in Perspective. Chapter 1 (compulsory)

b.      Doherty, Thomas. Cold War Cool Medium.(Chapter 1)

c.       Haynes, John Earl. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America.

d.      Documents, Part II, pages 41-69.

4.      Early Cold War - In the shadow of a Mushroom Cloud

a.       Wenger, Andreas. Living with Peril: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nuclear Weapons. Part I, Chapter 1 (compulsory)

b.      Wenger, Part I, Chapter 2.

c.       Zeman, Scott, ed. Atomic Culture: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Chapter 1

d.      Zeman, Scott, ed. Atomic Culture: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Chapter 2

5.      Civil Rights - Second Wave Feminism

a.       Friedan, Betty. Feminine Mystique.(compulsory)

b.      Gilmore, Stephanie. Feminist Coalitions: Historical Perspectives on Second Wave Feminism in the United States.

c.       Documents, Part IV, pages 195 to 244 (2 presentations)

6.      Civil Rights - Fight against Segregation and for Civil Rights

a.       Chafe, 140-173 (compulsory)

b.      Fairclough, Adam. Better Day Coming.

c.       Joseph, Peniel E. Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama.

d.      Documents, Part III, pages 193-183

7.      American Interventions - South America

a.       Rabe G. Stephen, Killing Zone. Chapter 1 (compulsory)

b.      Rabe, Chapter 2

c.       Grow, Michael. U.S. Presidents and Latin America Interventions: Pursuing Regime Change in the Cold War. (2 students choose and present one case study each)

8.      American Interventions - Vietnam and its Reception, 1960s

a.       Chafe, Chapter 11, pages 290-329. (compulsory)

b.      Garfinkle, Adam. Telltale Hearts: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Anti-War Movement.

c.       Hallin, Daniel. The Living Room War. (a chapter in a collective monograph)

d.      Ward, Brian. The 1960s Reader. or 3 documents of the student´s choice from Documents, Chapter

9.      Conservative Backlash - The Reagan Years, Culture Wars

a.       Chafe, chapter, pages 450-475 (compulsory)

b.      Hartman, Andrew. A War for the Soul of America: the History of Culture Wars. Chapter 2, pages 38-69

c.       Rossinow, Doug. The Reagan Era.

d.      Documents, Part VI, pages 393-411.

10.  Civil Rights - Affirmative Action and the Current Racial Discrimination Issues

a.       Anderson, Terry. Pursuit of Fairness. Chapter 3 (compulsory)

b.      Anderson, Chapter 4.

c.       Curry, Geroge ed. Affirmative Action Debate. Part V (2 students choose and present one chapter from this Part).

11.  American Policy on Climate Change - A Historical Perspective

a.       No compulsory text, instead the students are asked to look at and be able to discuss Climate Change policies of both major US parties and their presidential candidates (or candidates to nomination still in the race by then)




Two seminars will be dedicated to oral history. Norma Hervey will come and share her experience from the era of McCarthyism and Civil Rights struggle. Dates will be announced in advance.




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