No war in U.S. history has cast a longer shadow than America’s thirty-year conflict in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has hovered over every foreign-policy initiative since 1975, including Kuwait, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo; presidents and generals have struggled to avoid replicating the experience that tore their nation apart and led to the first military defeat of the U.S. After 9/11, the War on Terror made plain Vietnam’s enduring relevance: campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere have been conducted with the lessons of Vietnam in mind. Yet what those lessons are is a matter of passionate debate.
In this course, we will look at a vast array of primary and secondary sources, including memoirs, short stories and recently declassified State and Defense Department documents. Students will to learn to make informed judgments and arguments about a complex, confounding subject, and see why and how the experience in Vietnam has endured.
Course Level: Appropriate for sophomores and above with no experience in the same subject area.
Seth Jacobs is a political and cultural historian of the United States in the twentieth century, and his research interests focus on the connection between U.S. domestic culture and foreign policy. He has won three teaching awards at Boston College, including the Phi Beta Kappa Award for professor of the year. The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations has honored him with two Bernath Prizes: for best article published in the field of U.S. diplomatic history (2002) and best book (2006).
Wed 06:00pm - 07:20pm EST
Thu 06:00pm - 07:20pm EST