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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
The Post-New Deal Order

E-Seminar 2
The Politics of Anticommunism

E-Seminar 3
The Stable Fifties

E-Seminar 4
The Subversive Fifties

E-Seminar 6
The Civil-Rights Movement

E-Seminar 7
The Vietnam War

E-Seminar 8
Cultural Revolutions

E-Seminar 9
The Age of Limits

E-Seminar 10
The Rise of the Right

America Since 1945
A Series of Ten E-Seminars

America Since 1945
E-Seminar 5, Kennedy, Johnson, and the Great Society

Taught by: Alan Brinkley

E-Seminar Description
In Kennedy, Johnson, and the Great Society, the fifth e-seminar in the series America Since 1945, the eminent historian Alan Brinkley focuses on the administrations of Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Professor Brinkley compares and contrasts the missions, accomplishments, and personal styles of these two great figures of the 1960s. Brinkley analyzes the social programs, such as the Great Society and the war on poverty, that became landmarks of the period.

The theme running throughout the series is the emergence in the early postwar years of a highly nationalistic vision of America. This vision determined much of the nation's politics, intellectual life, and popular culture for two decades. It spawned an image of America—often associated with the term consensus or the idea of "the American century"—that was decidedly white, middle class, and usually male. This image did not reflect the experiences and values of many, perhaps most, Americans, but it was persuasive because the people who promoted it exercised a great deal of power over American society. In the 1960s a series of challenges arose that shattered the nation's homogenous image of itself and created a new image that was more diverse and contested. The story of the second half of the twentieth century, therefore, is largely about Americans rising up to challenge the elites who had dominated the nation until the 1960s, and about the changes that emerged from the ensuing confrontations.

Included in the e-seminar is a wealth of archival video and photography from the period, as well as a timeline and a section of short biographies of key figures.

E-Seminar Length:3–5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

Interested in this
Go to the e-seminar now*.

Note: Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni will need to use their University Network ID (UNI) to access e-seminars.

E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Provide students with access to many different perspectives on recent American history.

•    Help students appreciate the differences between Presidents Kennedy and Johnson as well as the misconceptions surrounding these two leaders and their administrations.

•    Introduce students to media representations from the period.

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1. Introduction
2. Presidents and Liberalism
3. John F. Kennedy
     The Assassination
     A New Generation
     Charm and Grace
     The Grand Objective
4. Lyndon B. Johnson
     Kennedy's Legacy
5. The Great Society
     A Social Crusade
     The War on Poverty
6. Conclusion

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Alan Brinkley is the Allan Nevins Professor of History at Columbia University in New York, where he has taught since 1991. He is currently Chair of the Department of History. His published works include Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression (Knopf, 1982), which won the 1983 National Book Award; The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People (Knopf, 1992); The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (Knopf, 1995); and Liberalism and Its Discontents (Harvard, 1998). He is presently writing a biography of Henry R. Luce, to be published by Knopf.

His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in scholarly journals and in such periodicals as the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, and the London Review of Books. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the National Humanities Center, the Media Studies Center, Russell Sage Foundation, and others; and he was the recipient of the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize at Harvard. He is chairman of the board of trustees of the Century Foundation (formerly the Twentieth Century Fund), a member of the editorial board of the American Prospect, a member of the board of directors of the New York Council for the Humanities, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998–99 he was the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University.

He received his A.B. from Princeton and his Ph.D. from Harvard.

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Recommended Reading
Dallek, Robert. Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Matusow, Allen J. The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.

Reeves, Richard. President Kennedy: Profile of Power. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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