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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The United States and the Vietnam War: Origins and Repercussions (PGHC11273)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on the Vietnam War as a defining and traumatic event in recent US history and foreign policy. US decision-making, perceptions of Vietnam and the Third World, as well as domestic repercussions of the war are key topics of discussion and analysis.
Course description As an historical event, the Vietnam War was a defining moment for US foreign policy, politics, and culture. Americans have experienced the event as the most traumatic foreign policy venture in the 20th century, and the debates the war engendered still influence the political and cultural landscape to this day (as, for example, in the recent wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria). In scope, the course roughly covers the period from 1945 to 1975, focusing specifically on the US point of view and decision-making. Perceptions and approaches to the 'Third World', as well as the repercussions at home will be the most important overarching aspects of this course. Rather than taking a 'totalistic' approach to the subject, the course will revolve around key historiographical and methodological controversies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning US intervention in Vietnam
  2. Analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning why the United States intervened in Vietnam and how the war in turn affected its home front, primary source materials concerning decision-making, and conceptual discussions about the larger context, American perceptions, and in how far Vietnam ought to be understood as typical Cold War conflict
  3. Develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Anderson, David L., ed., The War That Never Ends: New Perspectives on the Vietnam War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007)

Bradley, Mark Philip, Imagining Vietnam and America: The Making of Postcolonial Vietnam, 1919-1950 (Chapel Hill, N.C., London: University of North Carolina Press, 2000)

Bradley, Mark Philip and Marilyn B. Young, eds., Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars: Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)

Carter, James M., Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Gardner, Lloyd, Pay any Price: Lyndon Johnson and the Wars for Vietnam (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1995)

Gustainis, J. Justin, American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993)

Hellman, John, American Myth and the Legacy of Vietnam (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986)

Herring, George C., America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-75, 3rd edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995)

Hess, Gary R., Vietnam: Explaining America's Lost War (Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell Pub., 2009)

Levy, David, The Debate over Vietnam (2nd edition; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995)

Lewis, Adrian R., The American Culture of War: The History of U.S. Military Force from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom (New York: Routledge, 2007)

Small, Melvin, At the Water's Edge: American Politics and the Vietnam War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2005)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsUnited States Vietnam War Origins Repurcussions
Course organiserDr Fabian Hilfrich
Tel: (0131 6)51 3236
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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