Making of the Contemporary World
The Russian Revolution began in 1917; the First World War ended in 1918. The two decades between these events and the 1939 invasion of Poland that started the Second World War witnessed transformative change around the globe and set in motion forces that continue to shape the world we live in today. Colonial domination in Asia and Africa faced new tides of resistance in the international and Communist movements. Women, some newly emboldened by the English suffragette movement, pushed back in myriad ways against the conventions and vested interests that denied them access to public life. Spectacular developments in science, art, music, and fashion accompanied spectacular failures in the political economy around the globe. Recession, depression, and the rise of fascism in the 1930s were not merely American or central European experiences. This seminar will explore some of the many threads in the vivid fabric of the interwar world, threads that may not appear so distant to us as the second decade of the twenty-first century unfolds. \nThe two seminar sections will meet jointly once a week for lectures or films, and separately once a week for discussion of primary-source readings. In addition to the rich historical material that the course addresses, students will begin to learn the basic skills of the historian: asking questions, finding and analyzing relevant documents or primary sources, and identifying different kinds of interpretations of those sources. Open to first-year students only.