Morning in America

Ronald Reagan, the Nuclear Crisis, and the Cold War of the 1980s
(crosslisted with NYU Department of Politics / POL-GA.3501.11)

New York University, Fall 2012 (HIST-GA.2655)
History: Graduate Seminar

Mon 11:00-1:45, KJCC 717 (Warren Dean Reading Room)


This course seeks to place the final decade of the Cold War in historical perspective by focusing on the intertwinement of domestic and foreign policy during the Reagan administration.

It explores the emergence of the neoconservative movement, the “Reagan revolution,” the effects of “Reaganomics” and the military buildup, and the ascent of Evangelical Christianity as a political factor. It also retraces the debates surrounding the role of government, social responsibility, the welfare state and public health care system, shifting value systems, and technological innovation, as well as their representations in society and popular culture.

Merging an “establishment” perspective with an analysis of protest cultures, the course examines Reagan’s foreign policy of “peace through strength” with regard to the Soviet Union from a global perspective, analyzing the nuclear threat and the renewed arms race, his policies toward Europe and Central America, Iran-Contra, the question of human rights in East-West diplomacy, and the controversy, widespread opposition, and grassroots activism these issues triggered both at home and abroad.


Readings include the most recent and influential scholarship on this period as well as a variety of primary sources.


For an introduction to the topics covered in this class and recent scholarly debates about the decade, please see, for example:


Other NYU Research Guides related to this class include: