HST6062: Cold War Histories


HST6062 Image

15 credits (Semester 2019-20: Spring)

Module Leader 2019-20: Kostis Kornetis

 


Module Summary

'What is Cold War? How many of the post-war conflicts and tensions did it encompass? Should we approach it as a global conflict, a bipolar rivalry, a struggle for Europe and the Third World? Conceptualizations of the Cold War and historical investigations of its dynamics have substantially changed over time. How is the Cold War understood in an expanding and diversifying historiographical field? The module will explore the key approaches and debates that are redefining our understanding of the Cold War today' Dr Eirini Karamouzi

The module will explore the key approaches and debates that are redefining our understanding of the Cold War today, with a particular focus on themes for which the historiography is especially rich and highly developed: technology, weapons and the arms race; human rights revolution; propaganda and culture; debates on the endings of the legacy of the Cold War.

What is Cold War? How many of the post-war conflicts and tensions did it encompass? Should we approach it as a global conflict, a bipolar rivalry, a struggle for Europe and the Third World? Conceptualizations of the Cold War and historical investigations of its dynamics have substantially changed over time. How is the Cold War understood in an expanding and diversifying historiographical field? New critical approaches question its nature, scope, reach and implications. Conceptual precision and specificity seem to be giving way to a wider understanding of the Cold War as an era that encompassed different and at the same time interconnected conflicts and transformations. Today we study it not so much as an ideological and security issue but rather as a crossroad of cultural, transnational, local and global perspectives. As a result, its definition has grown more elusive and contested while historical research has become increasingly multifaceted.


Module aims

This module aims to explore the key approaches and debates that are redefining our understanding of the Cold War today:

  • To explain the way in which Cold War History has developed over time;
  • To analyse the methods of the Cold War historian, identifying methodological problems and strengths;
  • To understand the broader themes and interpretations of the Cold War and its legacy with a particular focus on themes for which the historiography is especially rich and highly developed: technology, weapons and the arms race; human rights revolution; propaganda and culture; debates on the endings of the legacy of the Cold War.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Approach critically the historiography on the Cold War and to relate it to broader historiographical currents;
  2. Undertake independent thinking on the subject that is competent and historically, historiographically and methodologically informed. The course will develop critical and analytical skills in reading, writing, presentation and discussion;
  3. Be aware of relevant historiographical debates, including recent developments, and capable of placing their own analysis and arguments within their historiographical context.

Teaching

Learning hours
Seminars Tutorials Independent Learning
10 1 139

The module will be taught in five, two-hour classes. The first will provide a broad overview of the Cold War, considering the merits of various historiographical approaches and definitions to the period. Subsequent classes will focus on technology, weapons and the arms race; human rights revolution; propaganda and culture; debates on the endings of the legacy of the Cold War. You will, in addition, have individual tutorial contact with the module leader in order to discuss your written work for this module.

 

Assessment

Assessment methods
Assessment % of final mark Length
Coursework 100% 3000 words

You will prepare a 3,000 word paper which relates to at least one key theme of the module.

 

Selected reading

  • Melvyn Leffler and Odd Arne Westad, The Cambridge History of the Cold War (Cambridge, 2010), vol I, II and III [online access on STAR plus) - excellent edited volumes - we will be using chapters throughout the course - will appear as CHCW
  • Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 (London, 2006)
  • Dan Stone, Goodbye To All of That? The Story of Europe Since 1945 (Oxford, 2014)
  • Federico Romero, Storia della guerra fredda: l'ultimo conflitto per l'Europa. (Torino, 2009)
  • David Reynolds, One World Divisible: A Global History since 1945, Global Century Series (New York, 2000).
  • Odd Arne Westad, Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory (London, 2000)
  • Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge, 2005)
  • Hal Brands, Latin America's Cold War. (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2010)
  • Gilbert Joseph and Daniela Spenser (eds.), In From the Cold: Latin America's New Encounter with the Cold War (Durham/London, 2007);
  • Tsuyoshi Hasegawa (ed.), The Cold War in East Asia, 1945-1991 (Stanford, 2011)
  • Mary Fulbrook (ed.), Europe since 1945 (Oxford, 2001) - useful thematic accounts
  • Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (London, 1999).
  • John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War (Penguin, 2007)
  • Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev, New Cold War History. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007)
  • Melvin Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind: the United States, the Soviet Union and the Cold War. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2007)
  • Jussi M Hanhimäki and Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts. (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) - excellent edited volume of primary documents
  • William I. Hitchcock, The struggle for Europe: the turbulent history of a divided continent 1945-2002 (New York, 2002).
  • Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes. The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991 (London, 1994) - Rightly famous Marxist account.

 

 

*The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.