Unit 5: Contemporary













Major Developments - about 5 days / theme

  1. Questions of periodization
    1. Continuities and breaks, causes of changes from the previous period and within this period
  2. War and peace in global context (The World Wars, colonial soldiers in the First World War (if you signed up to go to the Western Front, saw Paris, had a great and terrible adventure, what did you know when you came back home?), the Mandate System (the British are in Basra today, and were before), Holocaust, the Cold War, nuclear weaponry, international organizations and their impact on the global framework, globalization of diplomacy and conflict; global balance of power; reduction of European influence; the League of Nations, the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Nations like Nasser's Egypt)
  3. New patterns of nationalism (the interwar years; decolonization; racism, genocide; new nationalisms, including the breakup of the Soviet Union)
  4. Impact of major global economic developments (the Great Depression in Latin America; technology; Pacific Rim; multinational corporations)
  5. New forces of revolution and other sources of political innovations (Latin Am. revolutions, liberation theology)
  6. Social reform and social revolution (changing gender roles; family structures; rise of feminism; peasant protest; international Marxism; religious fundamentalism)
  7. Globalization of science, technology, and culture
    1. Developments in global cultures and regional reactions, including science and consumer culture
    2. Interactions between elite and popular culture and art
    3. Patterns of resistance including religious responses
  8. Demographic and environmental changes (migrations; changes in birthrates and death rates; new forms of urbanization; deforestation; green/environmental movements (starting with Germany's "3rd Way" movement against both US and Soviet weapons build-up, and Silent Spring, Earth Day etc.), rural to urban shifts)
  9. Diverse interpretations
    1. Is cultural convergence or diversity the best model for understanding increased intercultural contact in the twentieth century?
    2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using units of analysis in the twentieth century, such as the nation, the world, the West, and the Third World?

Major Comparisons and Snapshots

  • Compare patterns and results of decolonization in Africa and India
  • Pick two revolutions (Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Iranian) and compare their effects on the roles of women (wow!)
  • Compare the effects of the World Wars on areas outside of Europe
  • Compare legacies of colonialism and patterns of economic development in two of three areas (Africa, Asia, and Latin America)
  • Compare legacies of colonialism and patterns of economic development in two of three areas (Africa, Asia, Latin America)
  • Analyze nationalist ideologies and movements in contrasting European and colonial environments
  • Compare the different types of independence struggles
  • Examine global interactions in cultural arenas (e.g. reggae, art, sports - listen to Bob Marley in class, song "War")
  • Analyze the effects of global consumer society
  • Compare major forms of twentieth-century warfare (hi-tech vs. guerilla war, asymmetrical, 'generations?')
  • Asses different proposals (or models) for third world economic development and the social and political consequences (ie: socialism, world bank, microlending- development from the bottom-up)

Examples of What You Need to Know

Below are examples of the types of information you are expected to know contrasted with examples of those things you are not expected to know for the multiple-choice section.

  • Effects of the global wars, but not specific battles in the World Wars
  • Cultural and political transformations resulting from the wars, but not French political and cultural history
  • Authoritarian regimes, but not Mussolini's or Vargas's internal policies
  • Feminism and gender relations, but not Simone de Beauvoir or Huda Shaarawi
  • The growth of international organizations, but not the history of the ILO
  • Colonial independence movements, but not the resolutions passed by the Indian National Congress
  • The issue of genocide, but not Cambodia, Rwanda, or Kosovo
  • The internationalization of popular culture, but not the Beatles