Thursday, February 06, 2014

Syllabus for Aspects of World History since 1945

Aspects of World History since 1945
HIST 438
Spring 2014
Department of History
University of Ghana
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.

Meeting Time: Thursday 7:30am -9:30am JQB 24

Course Description:

This course is a survey course of world history since the end of World War II in 1945.  It examines the history of the world from 1945 to 1991 in the context of the Cold War between the US and the USSR. The course will focus on the foreign policies of the US and USSR and their effect on other regions of the world. Among other events the course will cover the reconstruction of Europe after World War II, the Arab-Israeli wars, the Vietnam War, and the emergence of newly independent states in Africa. Within the Soviet – US conflict the course will pay special attention to the socialist emphasis on the collectivization of agriculture versus traditional forms of agriculture. The course will look at the extension of collectivized agriculture based on the Soviet model to the Baltic States and Western Ukraine, Vietnam, and parts of Africa. The course will also deal extensively with the displacement of large numbers of people due to war and ethnic cleansing and the long term ramifications of such forced migration. In particular the course will look at forced migration in Europe and the Middle East. Other themes we will touch on are economic development, the emergence of international organizations, and the collapse of European colonialism in Asia and Africa.


The goal of this class is to give students a general frame work of the history of the conflict between the US and USSR and other major international events from 1945 to 1991. Students need to attend class regularly and do the assigned readings. Material from both the readings and the lectures will appear on the final exam. No mobile phones are to be visible during class. They are to be out of sight and turned off. Finally, I have a significant hearing loss and may have to ask people to repeat their questions or statements from time to time. You can minimize this by speaking loudly and clearly. This syllabus is tentative and subject to change.


The readings are taken mainly from three books. These books are Geoffry Hosking, The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), Martin Walker, The Cold War: A History (NY: Henry Holt and company, 1993), and Robert McMahon, The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, 2003). There are also a number of shorter readings, mostly journal articles. The instructor has copies of all the assigned readings and will make them available to the students. The shorter readings are listed below.

Clapham, Christopher, “Revolutionary Socialist Development in Ethiopia,” African Affairs, vol. 86, no. 343, (April 1987), pp. 151-165.

Esber, Rosemarie, “Rewriting the History of 1948: The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Question Revisited,” Holy Land Studies, vol. 4, no. 1 (2005), pp. 55-72).

Hayden, Robert M., “Schindler’s Fate: Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and Population Transfers,” Slavic Review, vol. 55, No. 4 (Winter 1996), pp. 727-748.

Khalidi, Rashid, “Observations on the Right of Return,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Winter 1992), pp. 29-40.

Luke, Timothy, “Angola and Mozambique: Institutionalizing Social Revolution in Africa,” The Review of Politics, Vol. 44, No. 3 (July 1982), pp. 413-436.

Raymond, Chad, “The Insoluble Internal Conflicts of Agricultural Collectivization in Vietnam,” Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 15, no. 2 (2001), pp. 41-70.

Scott, James C., Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1998).

Statiev, Alexander, “Motivations and Goals of Soviet Deportations in the Western Borderlands,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 28, No. 6 (December 2005), pp. 977-1003.

Ther, Philip, “The Integration of Expellees in Germany and Poland after World War II: A Historical Reassessment,” Slavic Review, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Winter 1996), pp. 779-805.

Grading: The grade for the class will be based upon a mid-term exam, attending tutorials, and a comprehensive final essay exam at the end of the semester. The mid-term will be worth 25%, attending tutorials 5% and the final exam will constitute the remaining 70% of the grade. Students must attend at least seven of the ten tutorials to get the 5%. Otherwise they will get 0% for this component of the grade. Students who miss the mid-term will only be allowed to make it up if they have a valid medical excuse from an appropriate health care professional. This excuse must be documented and provided to the instructor within less than one week after the originally scheduled date of the mid-term. Students who do not provide such documentation or provide it after the one week deadline will receive an automatic zero for the mid-term. If there is a UTAG strike it will not alter the timing of the mid-term.  I will deliver the mid-term as scheduled regardless of any industrial action, particularly since such actions usually only require a withdrawal of teaching service and do not effect testing.

Plagiarism Policy: I have a zero tolerance policy regarding plagiarism. If I catch any student plagiarizing once I will fail them for the assignment. If I catch them a second time I will fail them from the class. Plagiarism includes any verbatim copying from a source without using quotation marks or setting the text up as an indented single spaced block quotation. This includes putting down large chunks of memorized verbatim text on in class exams. While the standard is more lenient here than for take home exams, putting down whole paragraphs that are word for word the same as other people’s writings without attribution is still unacceptable. If I find that more than five words in a row in your paper show up in the same order as a Google search and you do not have the words in quotation marks or set up as a block quotation I will fail you. Putting a footnote, endnote or other citation after the copied words without the quotation marks or block quotation form is still plagiarism, you are claiming to have paraphrased verbatim text, and you will still receive an F. Taking text from a source without citing it and rearranging the words so it does not show up in a verbatim Google search is also plagiarism. I will also do Google searches to see if you have taken text and merely rearranged the words. You must either paraphrase the sentence by putting it completely in your own words and citing it in the proper format or quote the actual text verbatim complete with proper citation. Completely paraphrasing sentences in your own words, but neglecting to cite the source of information is also plagiarism. All information that would not be known to the average person on the street with no university education must be cited. When in doubt always cite a legitimate source. Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. Books published by university presses and academic journal articles found on JSTOR are legitimate sources. Other sources may or may not be legitimate. Using Wikipedia or other illegitimate sources will result in a reduction of one letter grade for each citation.

Class Schedule:

Week one: Introduction and Review of Syllabus

Week two: The US and USSR after World War II and the Start of the Cold War

Read: Hosking, pp. 296-325; Statiev, pp. 977-1003; Walker, pp. 1-28; McMahon, pp. 1-15.

Week three: Europe in the wake of World War II

Read: Hayden, pp. 727-748; Ther 779-805; Walker, pp. 28-58; McMahon, pp. 16-34.

Week four: Asia and the Middle East in the wake of World War II

Read:  Raymond, pp. 41-70; Esber, pp. 55-72; Khalidi, pp. 29-40; Walker, pp. 59-82; McMahon, pp. 35-55.

Week five: The 1950s: Khrushchev vs. Eisenhower

Read: Hosking, pp. 326-362; Walker, pp. 83-135; McMahon, pp. 56-77.

Week six: Mid-term examination. The exam is worth 25% of the total grade.

Week seven: The 1960s: Cuba, Vietnam and other Conflict Zones

Read: Walker, pp. 136-206; McMahon, pp. 77-104.

Week eight: The USSR during the Era of Stagnation and the US at Home

Read: Hosking, pp. 364-445; McMahon, pp. 105-121.

Week nine: The Twilight of the Cold War

Read: Walker, pp. 207-277; McMahon, pp. 122-142.

Week ten: “Socialism” and Development in Africa

Read: Scott, pp. 223-261, Luke, pp. 413-436, and Clapham, pp. 151-165.

Week eleven: The End of the Cold War

Read: Walker, pp. 278-357; McMahon, pp. 143-168.

Week twelve: The End of the USSR

Read: Hosking, pp. 446-501.

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