COURSE DESCRIPTION: THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN VIETNAM
"Vietnam. . . Vietnam. . .," mused the journalist Michael Herr in the late 1970s, "We've all been there." And, indeed, official military involvement in Southeast Asia between 1964 and 1975 became a defining experience not only for the men who fought there but for an entire generation of Americans.
History 316 offers a detailed examination of the causes, course and consequences of the Vietnam War. We will be dealing with broad themes: the complex interplay between American Cold War objectives and the trajectory taken by anti-colonial movements in the post-World War II era; the relationships between leaders, citizenry and the media during war-time; the legacies of the Vietnam War and the ways in which these have both influenced policy and been redefined since the Fall of Saigon. But we will also try to bring history back down to the personal level. How did different Americans experience "their Vietnam," and how have they struggled to find meaning in this experience? The course will combine lecture presentation, class discussion, reading, student research, slide shows, music and video as instructional modes and will use a journal-based format for individual student evaluation.