BA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1960s

Course unit fact file
Unit code HIST31551
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by History
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This module examines the course and conduct of American foreign policy during the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and the consequences of their management of foreign affairs. The course will focus on the series of East-West crises that marked Kennedy’s brief term in office, most notably in Berlin and Cuba, as well as considering the ways in which the United States projected its values, power and influence with mixed results in settings as diverse as Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

 

Pre/co-requisites

HIST31551 is restricted to History programmes and History joint honours programmes (please check your programme structure for further details).

This module is only available to students on History-owned programmes; Euro Studies programmes; and History joint honours programmes owned by other subject areas. Available to students on an Erasmus programme subject to VSO approval.

Aims

Students will be encouraged to engage with the historiographical debates surrounding both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and to understand how these relate to key intellectual concerns in studying U.S. foreign policy and American history more widely. Utilising an extensive range of primary documents students will establish their own assessment of the period, as well as considering how recent developments in the way diplomatic history is studied – such as a new focus on gender, religion, race, and ideology – affect how the topic is understood. Through a range of seminar activities and assessments students will develop both knowledge of the material and key historical skills.

 

Knowledge and understanding

Students will be encouraged to engage with the historiographical debates surrounding both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and to understand how these relate to key intellectual concerns in studying U.S. foreign policy and American history more widely. Utilising an extensive range of primary documents students will establish their own assessment of the period, as well as considering how recent developments in the way diplomatic history is studied – such as a new focus on gender, religion, race, and ideology – affect how the topic is understood. Through a range of seminar activities and assessments students will develop both knowledge of the material and key historical skills.

 

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Engage with historiographical debates at an advanced level
  • Quickly assess and interpret a range of primary and archival materials
  • Relate primary material to historiographical debates to build sophisticated arguments
  • Present and defend differing intellectual positions during fluid debates

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Produce sophisticated literature reviews
  • Produce essays that incorporate original research
  • Prepare for and participate in wide-ranging  discussions and debates
  • Utilise a variety of online databases for primary source research
  • Analyse and interpret a range of primary materials

 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Carry out independent research projects
  • Interpret a range of different sources
  • Communicate sophisticated arguments through improved written and oral communication skills
  • Work efficiently as part of a group through teamwork skills developed via discussion and seminar activities

Employability skills

Analytical skills
The course provides a wide range of history based skills appealing to future employers including: - The ability to formulate and answer cogent and focussed questions - The analytical ability to consider complex problems to which there is no single solution - Identifying, gathering, sorting, organising and deploying evidence, data and information. - Analysing texts and other primary sources both critically and empathetically - Marshalling of argument in written and oral forms
Other
In providing insight into American politics, presidential leadership, and foreign affairs, it would also be of particular use to students with an interest in careers in politics, journalism, civil service, or similar fields.

Assessment methods

Presentation and review of essay plans 0%
Article/Literature review 30%
Essay 70%

 

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Oral feedback on group discussions, presentations, and essay workshops

Formative

Written feedback on coursework submissions via turnitin

 

Summative

Additional one-to-one feedback (during office hour or by making an appointment)

Formative

 

Recommended reading

H.W. Brands, The Wages of Globalism: Lyndon Johnson and the Limits of American Power (1995)

Lawrence Freedman, Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam (2000)

Geoffrey Hodgson, JFK and LBJ: The Last Two Great Presidents (2015)

Diane B. Kunz (ed), The Diplomacy of the Crucial Decade: American Foreign Relations During the 1960s (1994)

Mitchell Lerner (ed) A Companion to Lyndon B. Johnson (2012)

Stephen Rabe, John F. Kennedy: World Leader (2010)

Mark J. White (ed), Kennedy: The New Frontier Revisited (1998)

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Thomas Tunstall Allcock Unit coordinator

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