AMST 409
Prehistories of the War on Terror Fall 2023
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

On September 11th, 2001, members of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and rural Pennsylvania. For many Americans this tragedy seemed to come out of nowhere. In an attempt to historicize these shocking events, and the global wars that resulted from them, this course will examine the prehistories of the War on Terror. We will study the United States’ emergence as a global power after World War II, US foreign policy and its relationship to the Middle East, and the political and cultural currents that informed American responses to the events of 9/11. We will also explore the history of the War on Terror itself. Topics will include the Cold War, the environmental history of oil, the history of terrorism, the relationship between race and war, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1569
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Assignments will include participatory discussion, daily responses to assigned readings, short papers, and a research paper.
Prerequisites: Introductory course in American Studies or History; or some prior coursework on US history, empire, foreign relations, race, environment, and violence.
Enrollment Preferences: American Studies majors and students that have completed upper-level coursework in American Studies, History and related fields.
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: In this workshop-style course students will focus on developing their skills in reading primary and secondary literature, advancing historical arguments, conducting research, engaging in discussion, and producing academic writing. Short writing assignments, peer review, and revision will break down the research process into manageable parts, scaffolding to a final research paper.
DPE Notes: This course explores the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, and other social structures often organized around inequality, with an emphasis on the Cold War and War on Terror. Students will develop tools to analyze how power shapes the differences produced by colonialism, empire, global capitalism, and similar historical processes.
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives
AMST 400-level Senior Seminars

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