HIST 4337 The 1980s: Politics, Culture, and Memory in the United States

October 22, 2020

HIST 4337 The 1980s: Politics, Culture, and Memory in the United States (also HIST 6337) (HNA)

Wednesday: 2:40-4:35 (online)

Professor Stephen Vider

This seminar will examine U.S. culture and politics in the 1980s as a pivotal decade in shaping our contemporary cultural, social, and political landscape. We will consider how U.S. culture and politics shifted with the "Reagan Revolution" and the end of the Cold War, and their connections to and ramifications for social activism, social welfare, media, foreign policy, and everyday life. At the same time, we will consider the methodological opportunities and challenges in researching, writing, reading, and presenting recent history. Students will complete a research paper, and work together to design and launch a digital exhibition on the 1980s. We will also explore how 1980s culture and politics was shaped by nostalgia for the 1950s, and how the 1980s and remembered and misremembered today. Topics include the rise of neoliberalism, privatization of civil and social services, the emergence of digital technologies, activism in response to HIV/AIDS, transnational feminisms, the consolidation of the Christian right, and the “Culture Wars.” Readings will include historical scholarship, as well as creative non-fiction, films, TV, and music from the 1980s.

Act Up Protest Photo