Summer 2018 - HIST 374W D100

Selected Topics in the History of the Americas (4)

US & the Global Cold War

Class Number: 5950

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 3255, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



A writing-intensive examination of selected topics in the history of the Americas. The content will vary from offering to offering. See department for further information. Students may not take selected topics within HIST 374W for further credit if duplicating content of another history course and vice versa. Writing.


The United States and the Global Cold War

This course will investigate the United States’ role in the global conflict known as the “Cold War,” which is commonly described as having begun after the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945 and lasted until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The term “Cold War” has become embedded in popular culture. It is invoked to depict two adversaries, such as when the media warns of a “new Cold War.” These depictions invoke a binary conflict: two enemies staring at one another, with a “prize” in between that is to be fought over. This course moves beyond consideration of the Cold War as a bi-polar confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, as it approaches it as a truly global conflict involving the interplay of multiple spheres. While it gives justified attention to events in the European theatre, it transcends the “the Western Bloc versus Eastern Bloc” narrative so as to discover the vital role played by nations all around the world. It will not simply reflect on how the United States acted upon these states, bur rather, will explore how it interacted with them as part of an international conflict. As this course has a “W” designation, writing will receive considerable care, primarily through two means: 1) interrogation of the writing of historians through weekly readings 2) writing assignments that will give students an opportunity to improve and revise their work.

This course will be comprised of a lecture component and a tutorial component.


  • Attendance and participation 25%
  • Written primary sources analyses (three) 30%
  • Research paper draft (July 25th) 5%
  • Final research paper (August 1st) 40%



This course will use The Cambridge History of the Cold War in order to prepare students for the lecture component of the course. It is a multi-volume work (available via the SFU Library website) co-authored by leading scholars of the Cold War, and is an opportunity for students to appreciate how experts in the field have written “new” Cold War history as the discipline has transformed from being primarily national and American in scope to being international in its approach.

Tutorials will be devoted to the analysis of primary sources (available online). The aim will be to enhance students’ critical thinking skills as they learn how history is “constructed.” Students will select three weeks for which they will submit a written, two-page primary source analysis at the beginning of the class meeting. This will prepare them to write the research paper to be submitted at the end of the end of semester.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.