STS.436 | Fall 2008 | Graduate

Cold War Science


Course Meeting Times

Seminars: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Seminar Description

This seminar examines the history and legacy of the Cold War on science, looking predominantly at examples in the United States. It begins by exploring scientist’s new political roles after World War II, ranging from elite policy-makers in the nuclear age to targets of domestic anti-communism. The seminar next examines the effects of changing institutions on the course and character of research, before turning to efforts to export the U.S. model to other countries. The seminar closes with a look at the collapse of the Cold War model and efforts to forge a different kind of science.

The seminar is open to undergraduates with permission.

Seminar Requirements

All students will be responsible for doing the assigned reading before each session of the seminar. In addition, students will take turns leading a session of the seminar by presenting an overview of the reading (including discussion of major themes, as well as critiques), and presenting questions for discussion based on book reviews and other relevant sources.

There are two writing assignments: a book review (4-5 double-spaced pages, due in class on session #5, and a research paper (25-35 double-spaced pages, due on session #8).


1 Introduction  
2 Atomic diplomacy  
3 McCarthyism and espionage  
4 “How I learned to stop worrying”  
5 Big science, big classrooms Book review due
6 Exports and imports  
7 Talking back, moving on  
8   Final paper due

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2008
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments