LEAD 396
The Pivotal Decade--The 1970s Origins of Contemporary America Fall 2022
Division II
Cross-listed HIST 396 / LEAD 396

Class Details

Often overshadowed by the long 1960s and the conservative ascendancy of the 1980s, the 1970s provides an important transitional moment for the United States. It was also a decade fraught with contradictions. On the one hand, Americans experienced widespread disillusionment with the power of the federal government to promote and protect the minority from the majority. Historians seeking to understand the collapse of the welfare state or the origins of white resistance to civil rights’ initiatives often point to the 1970s as the time when the federal government shifted the burden of the social welfare system onto the market, state and local governments, and onto poor people themselves. And yet, the 1970s also saw an explosion of progressive social activism, as the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, and the environmental movement, among others, all came into their own. Likewise, this was a time when U.S. realignment internationally and military overextension intersected with new hegemonies of human rights regimes, multinational corporations, and “globalization.” This course will emphasize a wide array of social movements and activism–both left and right–and the interplay among formal politics, grassroots organizing, and popular culture. It will ask students to consider how and why the 1970s catalyzed many of the domestic and international dynamics and debates that define American politics and society today. Students will be assessed on participation, short response papers, and an individual research project culminating in a poster presentation. In Fall 2022, this course will be offered at both Amherst and Williams College campuses. There will be an end of the semester symposium at Williams College that all enrolled students are required to attend as part of the final project.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1403
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Students will be assessed on participation, short response papers, and an individual research project culminating in a poster presentation
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Priority to History and LEAD students
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 396 Division II LEAD 396 Division II
Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada

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