Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Cold War America

ENGL 799.301

This course examines the cultural and political creation of a raging mid-century fear in the US: the danger of loneliness. Sociological and psychological studies worried over the isolating effects of the so-called free world and the seductive appeal of group formations—particularly the vision of social justice offered by the other side. On the home front, those thought to be susceptible to the enticements of communism were subject to a newly politicized demonization; in the world beyond, a movement toward global integration sought to secure alliances. Alongside social scientific and political documents that analyzed the problem of isolation in the era, we will explore key texts that portray the perils and wonders of being alone in the cold war, from high literary (Ellison) to middlebrow (Michener), genre (Spillane), and counterculture (Kerouac), along with major films including Rebel Without a Cause and The Manchurian Candidate, among others.

fulfills requirements