Unit 5

How Historians Argue About the Fifties

During this unit, we’ll pay attention to how scholarly arguments are constructed.

Historians disagree on many things about the 1950s; our case studies will be:

— Did the status of women go up or down in the 1950s?

— Was the fear of Communist subversion a legitimate one?

Mon 11/6 Gender and Family in the 1950s. Reading: “More is Better” and “Beyond June Cleaver” (both as PDFs, posted in Blackboard Unit 5 Folder)

Wed 11/8 Library Day – we will not meet in our regular classroom. Instead, bring laptops with you to the instructional classroom inside the glass-walled Childrens Book area of the library

Fri 11/10 No Class, Veteran’s Day

Mon 11/13 Article Workshop. Bring to class (in print form or on your laptop) the scholarly article you selected as a result of our library day

Wed 11/15 Cold War & McCarthyism. Reading: “Venona Project” and “Cold War Historiography” (both as PDFs, posted in Blackboard Unit 5 Folder)

Our discussion will take the form of a debate on this unresolved historical question:
To what degree was anticommunism / fear of Communism justified in the 1950s?

Be ready to take *either* side, and employ evidence from our readings (and from anywhere else you want to pull information, e.g. from US History in Context or other reliable repository of scholarly information) in the debate. You’ll be randomly assigned either to the “it was justified = a real threat” or “not justified = exaggerated hysteria” when you enter Wednesday’s class.

Fri 11/17 Discussion Day – prepare to share out the findings from your article in class discussion. H-Lab #5 is due, analyzing a Scholarly Article