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Elective: Cold War

Vak
2013-2014

Admission requirements

This course is open for students of BA International Studies only. The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Although it ‘ended’ more than twenty years ago, the Cold War continues to influence the global political environment into the 21st century. The traditional Western perspective saw it as a struggle between the forces of freedom against those of tyranny, and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 triggered a strong sense of triumphalism for this reason. But the Cold War was more complex than this, and over the past twenty years different perspectives have been put forward to broaden the scope of interpretation beyond a simple East-West power struggle. The Cold War can be seen not just as an East-West but also a North-South contest. It involved not just government-to-government diplomacy but also the mobilisation of private institutions, NGOs, and public opinion. This course will address the Cold War as a multinational phenomenon, involving many actors with different interests and motives, to provide the students with a many-sided view of the conflict.
Course materials will include primary documents and secondary literature. Part of the course will be focused on interpreting these primary documents and how they are ‘translated’ into history. Additionally, the students will work through W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable will be available on the BA International Studies website this autumn.

Mode of instruction

The course is divided up around a series of wars and crises through the Cold War. Each week will involve a mixture of lecturing, presentations, and discussion of the documentary record.

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Assessment method

Weekly assignments (including presentations), and a final paper of approx. 4-6,000 words (excluding tables and bibliography).

Blackboard

Blackboard is used for making documents and literature available, and running discussion boards on specific topics.

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Textbook:
Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: CUP, 2007)

Registration

Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Remarks

Plagiarism:
The unacknowledged reproduction of the work, words, or ideas of another person constitutes plagiarism (for faculty regulations, please see the onderwijs en examenregelingen). Make sure to always cite your sources. Always paraphrase, never just ‘copy’ or moderately edit original text. Any work found to be plagiarized or to contain plagiarism will receive, at the very least, a mark of zero, and you will fail the course. Please take this matter seriously; there are cases of this kind every year.