History | The World in the 20th Century II
H102 | 4462 | Blackwell
In H102 (3 credits) we tackle the major events and issues of the
last half of the twentieth century. Why was the Second World War
the dividing line in twentieth century World History? Why did
the “Cold War” ensue (and endure for so long) between the United
States and the Soviet Union? Why was national independence in
Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East the cause of so-much
hardship and bloodshed for the peoples of those regions? Why
were “third world” efforts to develop on local terms so often
misconstrued by the great powers? Why has the post-communist era
brought genocide to places as diverse as Iraq, Bosnia, and Rwanda?
And why have relaxed trade barriers, technological breakthroughs,
and the globalization of popular culture only managed to bring the
world’s peoples superficially together? In answering these
questions, I hope we will come to a better understanding about why
the great news events of today are going on around us. We are thus
going to go beyond what the “talking heads” say on the cable
television screen in order to become more critical about what
exactly the historical “roots” of our contemporary problems are.
Readings will include a brief, up-to-date textbook and four other
short books that will immerse you in the decision-making of those
who tried to navigate the difficult everyday conditions of a rapidly
changing world. In-class exams and quizzes a long with quality
participation in the classroom will determine individual grades.
This course will leave us better able to understand and contribute
(?) to the resolution of world problems—a process of change that we
as citizens of the only “super power” on the planet today are in an
especially privileged position to effect.
Questions? Direct all inquiries to the instructor at