This course examines
American history from World War II to the present.
We will explore America's emergence as a world superpower in the postwar
period and its struggle to live up to its democratic ideals both at home and
abroad. In particular, we will examine the Cold War's political and cultural
impact on the nation, its influence on foreign relations from Vietnam to Central
America, and the social, political, and cultural trends that dominated the
American scene during this period.
Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound
Daniel Marcus, Happy Days and Wonder Years
Loren Baritz, Backfire: A History of How American Culture Led Us into Vietnam and Made Us Fight the Way We Did
Groove Tube: Sixties Television and the Youth Rebellion
Susan Douglas, Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female With the
There will also be a few short readings available on Blackboard and several online primary source documents found on my website.
Grades will be
based on two midterms, a final exam, a
10-page research paper, and class participation. The exams are essay in form.
Class participation includes reading quizzes and classroom discussions.
brief note on grades: A student
will earn an “A” for only excellent and outstanding work.
A “B” represents very good work, which means more than just doing the
job. A “C” is given to those
who demonstrate adequate competence and satisfactory completion of assignments.
“D” work is that which fails to demonstrate competence and/or fails
to fully complete the assignment. I
don’t think I need to explain the meaning of an “F” to you. Finally, I
always assume that each student puts his or her full effort into an assignment,
so please don’t try to make a case for a higher grade based on how much time
and effort you put into an assignment. I
can only grade performance not effort.
be aware that the major themes and ideas that comprise my exams are generally
drawn from my lectures so attendance is critical if you wish to do well in this
course. Readings, both from
the text and the other assigned books, are not extra or optional assignments.
The readings complement, but do not replace, my lectures and are there to help
you better understand major themes and issues raised in class.
One key to success in this course is to keep up with the reading
Class Etiquette: Please arrive on time and do not leave before the end of class unless you inform me prior to class. Also, please be sure cell phones are off or on silent. This includes no text messaging while in class. Finally laptops can only be used to take notes.
Student Learning Goals:
1. Students will understand and analyze the major themes and issues in recent American history and the historical forces that have shaped them.
2. Students will investigate the relationship between the Cold War and the significant political, cultural, social, and economic struggles that mark US history since 1945 and how this has shaped the nation.
3. Students will explore and critically analyze both primary and secondary source material.
4. Students will probe the nature of historical interpretation.
5. Students will undertake historical research using primary source material and improve writing skills.
SDSU Academic Honesty Policy:
Institutions of higher education are founded to impart knowledge, seek truth, and encourage one’s development for the good of society. University students shall thus be intellectually and morally obliged to pursue their course of studies with honesty and integrity. Therefore, in preparing and submitting materials for academic courses and in taking examinations, a student shall not yield to cheating or plagiarism, which not only violate academic standards but also make the offender liable to penalties explicit in Title 5.
Cheating shall be defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work by the use of dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to (a) copying, in part or in whole, from another’s test or other examination; (b) discussing answers or ideas relating to the answers on a test or other examination without the permission of the instructor; (c) obtaining copies of a test, an examination, or other course material without the permission of the instructor; (d) using notes, cheat sheets, or other devices considered inappropriate under the prescribed testing condition; (e) collaborating with another or others in work to be presented without the permission of the instructor; (f) falsifying records, laboratory work, or other course data; (g) submitting work previously presented in another course, if contrary to the rules of the course; (h) altering or interfering with the grading procedures; (i) plagiarizing, as defined; and (j) knowingly and intentionally assisting another student in any of the above.
Plagiarism shall be defined as the act of incorporating ideas, words, or specific substance of another, whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained, and submitting same to the University as one’s own work to fulfill academic requirements without giving credit to the appropriate source. Plagiarism shall include but not be limited to (a) submitting work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; (b) omitting footnotes for ideas, statements, facts, or conclusions that belong to another; (c) omitting quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, sentence, or part thereof; (d) close and lengthy paraphrasing of the writings of another; (e) submitting another person’s artistic works, such as musical compositions, photographs, paintings, drawings, or sculptures; and (f) submitting as one’s own work papers purchased from research companies. Those guilty of committing plagiarism or cheating will receive an F for both the assignment and the entire course.
“Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Blackboard's Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. You may submit your papers in such a way that no identifying information about you is included. Another option is that you may request, in writing, that your papers not be submitted to Turnitin.com. However, if you choose this option you will be required to provide documentation to substantiate that the papers are your original work and do not include any plagiarized material.”