William B. Piggot
Introduction to the discipline of history for new or prospective majors. Emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historian's craft. Each seminar discusses a different subject or problem.
This course will explore American society during the 1970s. The 1970s was initially believed by social commenters and an early generation of historians to be a time when--to quote Peter Carroll--"it seemed like nothing happened," a period uncomfortably sandwiched between the "radical" sixties and the Reagan "Revolution."
However, recent scholarship has begun to emphasize the fundamental importance of the decade. On the one hand, these years saw the full "mainstreaming" of many of the social and cultural transformations activists first introduced to American culture during the 1960s. However, on the other hand, the 1970s was also the period in which an ascendant conservative movement rose from the ashes of the collapsing New Deal order. Backgrounding these social, cultural, and political changes were a fundamental shift in the global economy, as the United States moved--often awkwardly--from an economy emphasizing manufacturing to one emphasizing services.
This course will review these trends through the use of readings, film, and music. We will explore some of the decades most important themes and events. Students will be expected to prepare and ultimately submit a 12 to 15 page research paper based on a topic of their choosing drawn from the larger themes of the course.
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