Final Exam and Reminders

by admin - May 2nd, 2016

Thanks for a great semester, everyone! I have really enjoyed teaching this course. I hope you have a good end to your semester and a relaxing summer.

Some reminders about wrapping up the course’s loose ends:

Papers were handed back today. If your grade was a 6 or below, you have the option of revising it; see the comments at the bottom of your graded rubric for details. Due date for revised papers is May 9th during the final exam time slot (8:30 – 11:30 am). It can be handed in at the final, or emailed to me, or dropped off at my office mailbox.

Be sure to finish up the Congress project on or before May 9th also – that means making sure the committee page is complete and writing your Congress reflection paper. It can be handed in at the final, or emailed to me, or dropped off at my office mailbox.

Exam #4 will take place on Monday, May 9th at 8:30 – 11:30 in our regular classroom. If you plan to take the exam please come by 9:00.

Download Exam 4 Study Guide

Congress In Session, April 15-29

by admin - April 15th, 2016

Over the last two weeks of classes, we’ll focus in on the legislative process and on recent / contemporary policies and politics through a project of writing your own bill and taking it up in our Congress’s legislative session.

Download project guidelines

Download bill template (Word doc)


Congress Day #7 – April 15th. Learn about the legislative process. Research and decide on your bill or resolution and begin drafting it.

Bill Workshop Day – April 20th. Finalize your bill, and work as a Congress to organize the pending legislation into committee agendas and a queue for debate on the floor.

Email it to me in its final form by midnight Wednesday April 20 as a Word doc. I will give each document a number, post it to the Congress Wiki, and print it out for our next Congress day.

Day 8 – Fri 4/22 – Legislative Session #1
We will conduct hearings and vote on as many acts as possible.

Day 9 – Fri 4/29 – Legislative Session #2
We will conduct hearings and vote on as many acts as possible.

After Day 9 – update your committee page to its final form by Mon 5/2 (last day of class)

Mon 5/9 (Exam #4 day, 8:30 am) – Reflection paper due on the Congress project.

No Class Wed 4/6; Paper Due + Film Friday

by admin - April 5th, 2016

Course / syllabus update:

Wed, Apr 6: I need to cancel class on Wednesday, April 6th. Don’t worry about the reading assignment that was listed on the syllabus, we’ll just drop that one out. Instead focus on finishing your research papers for Friday.

Friday, Apr 8: Research Papers are due in class. We will screen part of a documentary about religion and media in the 1980s, The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Mon, Apr 11: back to our regular syllabus schedule, reading is MO Ch 15

Thanks! ~ Dr. Hangen

Exam #3 – Friday 4/1 – Road to the Final Four

by admin - March 30th, 2016

On Friday’s in-class exam, be ready to discuss any aspect of the Elite 8 events listed on the bracket below. You MAY BRING a 3×5 or 4×6 notecard with you to the exam.

For example,

  • be sure you know the basics Who / What / Where / When / Why / How about the event
  • Be able to make the case for the significance, legacy, consequences, or background of each event

The format of the exam will be four essay questions, resulting in your own individualized Final 4. There aren’t necessarily factual right/wrong answers to these questions, so your exam grade will depend on the strength of your argument and evidence.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 6.14.18 PM

Unit 3: The 1970s and 1980s

by admin - March 9th, 2016

During this unit, which covers the 1970s and 1980s, we’ll have 2 Congress days and also make good headway on the research paper assignment. Remember to figure out the basics of footnote citations preferably BEFORE spring break.

Mon 3/7 America Under Nixon / Watergate. MO 10 + HOT 6. Paper topic + HOT document due
Wed 3/9 Nixon and the World. MO 11
Film clips: Nixon’s Secret Plan (History Channel) + Nixon’s China Game, Part 1 (PBS American Experience)
Fri 3/11 Congress Day #5
Mon 3/14 Era of Limits; Interpreting the 1970s. MO 12 + HOT 7
Wed 3/16 Library Research Day – meet in the LRC instructional area (children’s book section) with your laptops – we won’t meet in our regular classroom
Fri 3/18 Congress Day #6

(Exam 3 Study Guide handed out. Instructions: fill out your bracket and bring it back on Monday 3/28)

3/21 – 3/26 Spring Break

Study Guide Bracket
2016-03-28 10_26_43-PowerPoint Slide Show - [203.26 MarchMadnessSwt16.Mar16.pptx]

Mon 3/28 Social and Cultural Transformations of the 1970s. MO 13
Wed 3/30 The Reagan Years & New Conservatism. MO 14 + HOT 8

Link for today:
The Carter ‘Malaise’ Speech, 30 Years Later (NPR Weekend Edition, 2009)

Fri 4/1 Exam #3 (MO 10-14 and HOT 6-8)

Paper Draft (full length) is due in class on Mon 4/4

Unit 2 Summary: The 1950s and 1960s

by admin - February 9th, 2016

Fri 2/5 Congress Day #2 (cancelled due to snow)
Mon 2/8 Consumer Culture MO 5 (snow day, online class)
Wed 2/10 Men & Women in the 1950s. Reading: Evans, “The Cold War and the Feminine Mystique” (PDF on Blackboard under Readings)
Fri 2/12 Congress Day #3 (bring laptops)
Mon 2/15 No Class – Presidents Day
Wed 2/17 Age of Consensus MO 6
Handout: Consensus Presidents + Civil Rights Cases

Fri 2/19 Age of Consensus: What, Are You Kidding Me? HOT 3
Handout: History of Our Time Part 3 chart

Mon 2/22 New Frontiers and the Great Society MO 7-8 up to page 133
Wed 2/24 Vietnam MO 8 to end of chapter + HOT 4
Fri 2/26 Congress Day #4 (bring laptops)
Mon 2/29 Rebellion and Counterculture MO 9 + HOT 5
Wed 3/2 The 1960s in Review

Exam 2 Study Guide
Fri 3/4 Exam #2 (MO 5-9 and HOT 3-5)

Mon 2/8 – Postwar Consumer Society (Online Class)

by admin - February 8th, 2016

Snow day on Monday, Feb 8th, so we won’t meet in person. Today we’ll just move class online. Please read the information below, in addition to your study of MO Ch 5, and watch the clips posted in the links. Then leave a COMMENT (a paragraph or more, if you have more to say) in the box at the bottom of the post, which will count as today’s attendance.

This chapter identifies elements of popular / mass culture of the 1950s, and also those who critiqued or rebelled against that culture. One key theme I would have discussed in class is the rise of television and its importance in creating and fueling that consumer culture. You might enjoy the commercials and programs in the links below, including the NBC news which in those years was sponsored by a single company that aggressively pitched its product at every opportunity during the 15-minute live broadcast each night (Camel Cigarettes).

I’ve also put a link to an example of a very popular genre of television programs from the 1950s, the game show. “The Price is Right” debuted in 1956. By the late 1950s, popular quiz shows would be exposed as setups. Some, like the one you read about for today, used “ordinary” people as their guests, such as “What’s My Line?” (as in, what do I do for work?) and “This is Your Life” surprising a guest with the story of their life and reuniting them with people from their past.

On “Queen for a Day” (1955-1964), oily host Jack Bailey would identify pathetically needy women from the studio audience in a Hollywood night club, and then get audience members to vote on who needed assistance the most or whose life was the worst, crowning the winner “Queen for a Day.” A glamorous cast of silent tiara-wearing models showed off the prizes. It was universally panned by the critics as a terrible show, but it was immensely popular anyway. It’s a really fascinating program, in that it’s a kind of reverse beauty pageant (and, as one scholar argues, one of the few places on television that looked at the American underclass at all). I posted an entire episode, if you’re interested.

Links relevant to today’s discussion (primary sources about 1950s TV & consumerism):
See the USA in Your Chevrolet (1953)
Brylcreem commercial
Camel News Caravan (NBC) for 9/28/1954
Blackboard Jungle trailer (1955)
Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show (Oct 1956)
Queen for a Day episode (March 1958)

Discussion Question: After watching these clips and studying the chapter, what have you learned about consumer culture, marketing, or social values in the 1950s? Leave your thoughts in the comments below by 11:00 pm Monday Feb 8th.

For your further snow day viewing pleasure… (OPTIONAL)

Good movies made in the 1950s (full-length online viewing):

Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) – Gregory Peck in this earnest, compelling drama about a returning WW2 veteran who takes a soul-numbing job as a Madison Avenue ad executive.

On the Waterfront (1954) – young Marlon Brando portrays a young longshoreman on New York’s wharfs, explores themes of labor organizing, corruption, and the blacklist. Beautifully acted and filmed.

Blackboard Jungle (1955) – the first film to use Rock’n’roll in the soundtrack. Glen Ford is an idealistic teacher in a rough inner city high school (Sidney Poitier plays one of the students). Themes of juvenile delinquency, honor, and social change. (Youtube rental $2.99, not free)

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) – classic teen cars, delinquency, angst and family trouble, featuring young James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo.

Good movies made ABOUT the 1950s (realistic, slightly fictionalized):

Quiz Show (1994) – portrays the Twenty One quiz show scandal of 1956

Good Night and Good Luck (2005) – portrays the efforts of trusted and crusading TV journalist Edward R. Murrow to use his show bring down Joseph McCarthy in 1954

No Class Fri 2/5

by admin - February 5th, 2016

Enjoy your snow day, although it’s cancelled our 2nd day of Congress. We’ll just stay on track with the syllabus as given instead of making the day up. However, if you’re interested in what we would have done, check out the “Day 2” page on the Congress Wiki.

For Monday 2/8: MO Ch 5 “Consumer Culture”

And, here’s a recent article you might enjoy about how Congress managed during the unusually large snowstorm down in DC a few weeks ago –

Fair Deal / Affluent Society – Mon 2/1

by admin - January 31st, 2016

Links relevant to today’s discussion:

NPR, “How Some Baltimore Neighborhoods Reflect Segregation’s Legacy” (5/6/2015)

Ford “Two Ford Family” (1956)

Levittown: Building the American Dream (State Museum of Pennsylvania)

Unit 1 Summary

by admin - January 29th, 2016

Just to summarize our first unit, and looking ahead to next week. Reminder: the slides from our MO lecture days are posted under the “Powerpoints” tab, above.

W 1/20 Course Intro
F 1/22 The US in 1945 (MO 1) – Ppt posted
M 1/25 Atomic Age (HOT 1)
W 1/27 Wars Cold, Hot, Political (MO 2-3) – Ppt posted
F 1/29 Congress Day #1 – bring laptops
M 2/1 The Affluent Society (MO end of 3-4) + HOT 2
W 2/3 Exam #1 (MO 1-4 and HOT 1-2)

Download Exam 1 Study Guide

F 2/5 Congress Day #2 – bring laptops