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American Icon Carl Bernstein Teaching Course on Cold War This Fall

Carl Bernstein
Carl Bernstein

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein, Visiting Presidential Professor at Stony Book University, will teach The Cold War: Reshaping America and the World during the Fall 2014 semester. He will co-teach the topics course with Frank Myers, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Political Science.

The course is co-scheduled as POL 391.03 and HIS 357.03 and will meet in Frey Hall, Room 222, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 am to 12:50 pm. Students can register now; the class is limited to 30 students.  View syllabus.

The course will analyze the political, social and cultural upheavals of the Cold War, especially in America and Europe, between 1946 and 1991. From the era of Stalin and Truman and Churchill to that of Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Gorbachev, Bernstein and Myers will use two related perspectives to teach the course.

First, they will examine the creation of the Cold War national security state in the U.S. and its pervasive effect on American domestic life. Because this is a vast subject area, Bernstein and Myers will focus their discussion on selected events and actions — Vietnam, civil liberties, the McCarthy Era and Watergate among them. They will also examine the role of films, music (especially rock and roll) and television programs as battlegrounds of the Cold War.

The second perspective will focus on the acts of major political decision-makers as they attempted to manage foreign and defense policies on the one hand, while at the same time maintain domestic political support. Their approach will pay special note to rhetorical features of historic speeches delivered by political and religious leaders whose words were essential weapons in the titanic struggle of the second half of the 20th century.

“This is an extraordinary learning opportunity for the students at Stony Brook,” said Distinguished Professor Jeffrey A. Segal, chair of the Department of Political Science. “I am envious about their chance to learn from one of the University’s best professors, Frank Myers, and an historic figure, Carl Bernstein.”


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