Topics in U.S. History
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Course Information from the University Catalog
Study of historical topics or periods of special interest.
Topics announced in advance. May be repeated for credit when topic is different.
Section Information from the Schedule of Classes for Fall 2011
Vietnam War in U.S. Life —
01:30 PM to 02:45 PM MW — Krug Hall 5
"Vietnam" has alternatively meant a place; a war; an era in American history; personal, political, and cultural turning points; an explanation for social ills like homelessness and addiction; a cause of mental and physical illness; a crime; a crucible; and a cautionary tale. How can one word be fraught with so much meaning? This course will examine the lessons and legacies of the Vietnam War, including the myriad ways the war has influenced American politics, foreign policy, and culture. Topics to be covered may include the homecoming Vietnam veterans received; the role Vietnam service has played in several presidential elections; the image of the Vietnam veteran in popular culture; Vietnam on film; the advent of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a diagnosis; Agent Orange-related illnesses; Vietnamese migration to the United States; changes in military doctrine; changes in US foreign policy; media censorship and "the credibility gap"; body recovery and the POW/MIA controversy; and efforts to remember and commemorate the war. Students will be encouraged to read the news in search of topical legacies of the Vietnam War. The course will combine readings, lecture, documentary films, and discussions. Skills developed in the course include formal and informal writing, textual analysis, public speaking, and critical thinking.
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