History | America in the 1950's
J300 | 8189 | Wu


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class COLL intensive writing section
Above class open to undergraduates only

One of the most enduring images of America in the 1950s is that of
the perfect (white, middle class, hetero-normative) suburban family
à la Leave It to Beaver.  How has that idea come to represent the
era in our collective memory? And does it accurately reflect the
shifting social, cultural, and political currents in the United
States after World War II?  This class is designed to provide an
opportunity to explore major developments and issues of the period
including postwar reconversion, the dawn of the atomic age and
scientific-technological advances, the baby boom and youth (sub)
culture(s), mass consumption, suburbanization, and connections
between the Cold War and Civil Rights movement.  We will place
special emphasis on the consequences of changing ideas about family
life, gender roles, sexuality, race and race relations, and
generational identities and conflicts.

As an upper-level intensive writing course, the major objective of
this seminar is to provide students with an introduction to the
practice of history. Specifically, we will focus our attention on
learning how to ask questions and how to read, analyze, and
interpret various types of texts—both primary and secondary—as
historians.