Understanding and Teaching the Cold War

Understanding and Teaching the Cold War Book Reviews Understanding and Teaching the Cold War. Ed. Was it a “war,” as the policy repor nsc t -68 by Matthew Masur. (Madison: University of insisted in 1950? If not, what was it? A met - Wisconsin Press, 2017. xii, 364 pp. $34.95.) aphor? Several contributors emphasize peri - odization but tend to evade its constituent The genre here is pedagogy, and the object feature. Without a proper account, location is to aid college instructors in teaching the and periodization lack precision. Hence, the Cold War. The instrumental aspect is thus collection hovers with uncertainty between paramount. The “how to” takes two related the notion of a “global cold war” and the forms: suggestions for ways to engag-e stu notion that the Cold War had global effects dents for whom the topic is ancient history while intersecting with, for example, decol - and accounts of pertinent resources (now onization. What the Cold War was remains chiefly online). Though uneven, the colle-c fuzzy. The working shorthand seems to be tion is indeed pedagogical in offering advice that it was the bi polar , ideologically fraught on pedagogy. The problems arise in the fra- m tension between the United States and the S - o ing of the object itself and the historiography. viet Union that came to an end with the end The brevity of the twenty-one contributions of the latter itself. This definition occludes the makes this framing difficult, and the t-op origin of the term, how it was deployed, and ics sometimes similarly so. To say anything for what purposes. It also makes murky that it probing about the Cold War in continental was articulated in the United States as a way chunks is difficult. The most useful essays to define the very nature of the Soviet Union tend to be the more tightly focused ones. (a country dedicated to the “totalitarian de - Kenneth Osgood does an excellent job with struction of the free world by whatever means propaganda, a subject that also lends itself to necessary”). It also makes détente difficult to illustration and critical reflection in a m - an place, not to mention Washington’s quasi alli - ner congenial to the image-laden student of ance (eventually) with the much more radical today. communist regime in Beijing. Questions of Osgood’s account appears in a section - de this sort do appear in David Bosso’s remarks voted to the Cold War and American society. on teaching “the post-9/11 generation”; in The other four sections deal with the Cold War Hiroshi Kitamura’s considerations on K - o and the classroom; new perspectives on tradi - rea, where the hot war that was the Cold War tional topics (such as origins); the global Cold War; and archival collections. Four of the fivnev e er really ended; and, above all, in Mario articles on American society feature cultural Del Pero’s historiography of the “end” of the aspects, and the fifth, Brenda Gayle Plummer’s Cold War. Yet the first pedagogical question bracing reflections on race, includes (rightly) to ask—What was “cold war” about the Cold a strong component as well. Perhaps an essay War?—r emains largely unanswered. on the Cold War and the economy would not Anders Stephanson have been amiss. Columbia University The fundamental limitation of the v-ol New York City, New York ume, however, is the absence of a developed concept of the object itself: the Cold War. doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax435 © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Organization of American Historians. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. 994 The Journal of American History March 2018 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/994/4932612 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of American History Oxford University Press

Understanding and Teaching the Cold War

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Oxford University Press
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© The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Organization of American Historians. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
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0021-8723
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1945-2314
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10.1093/jahist/jax435
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Abstract

Book Reviews Understanding and Teaching the Cold War. Ed. Was it a “war,” as the policy repor nsc t -68 by Matthew Masur. (Madison: University of insisted in 1950? If not, what was it? A met - Wisconsin Press, 2017. xii, 364 pp. $34.95.) aphor? Several contributors emphasize peri - odization but tend to evade its constituent The genre here is pedagogy, and the object feature. Without a proper account, location is to aid college instructors in teaching the and periodization lack precision. Hence, the Cold War. The instrumental aspect is thus collection hovers with uncertainty between paramount. The “how to” takes two related the notion of a “global cold war” and the forms: suggestions for ways to engag-e stu notion that the Cold War had global effects dents for whom the topic is ancient history while intersecting with, for example, decol - and accounts of pertinent resources (now onization. What the Cold War was remains chiefly online). Though uneven, the colle-c fuzzy. The working shorthand seems to be tion is indeed pedagogical in offering advice that it was the bi polar , ideologically fraught on pedagogy. The problems arise in the fra- m tension between the United States and the S - o ing of the object itself and the historiography. viet Union that came to an end with the end The brevity of the twenty-one contributions of the latter itself. This definition occludes the makes this framing difficult, and the t-op origin of the term, how it was deployed, and ics sometimes similarly so. To say anything for what purposes. It also makes murky that it probing about the Cold War in continental was articulated in the United States as a way chunks is difficult. The most useful essays to define the very nature of the Soviet Union tend to be the more tightly focused ones. (a country dedicated to the “totalitarian de - Kenneth Osgood does an excellent job with struction of the free world by whatever means propaganda, a subject that also lends itself to necessary”). It also makes détente difficult to illustration and critical reflection in a m - an place, not to mention Washington’s quasi alli - ner congenial to the image-laden student of ance (eventually) with the much more radical today. communist regime in Beijing. Questions of Osgood’s account appears in a section - de this sort do appear in David Bosso’s remarks voted to the Cold War and American society. on teaching “the post-9/11 generation”; in The other four sections deal with the Cold War Hiroshi Kitamura’s considerations on K - o and the classroom; new perspectives on tradi - rea, where the hot war that was the Cold War tional topics (such as origins); the global Cold War; and archival collections. Four of the fivnev e er really ended; and, above all, in Mario articles on American society feature cultural Del Pero’s historiography of the “end” of the aspects, and the fifth, Brenda Gayle Plummer’s Cold War. Yet the first pedagogical question bracing reflections on race, includes (rightly) to ask—What was “cold war” about the Cold a strong component as well. Perhaps an essay War?—r emains largely unanswered. on the Cold War and the economy would not Anders Stephanson have been amiss. Columbia University The fundamental limitation of the v-ol New York City, New York ume, however, is the absence of a developed concept of the object itself: the Cold War. doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax435 © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Organization of American Historians. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. 994 The Journal of American History March 2018 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/994/4932612 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018

Journal

The Journal of American HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2018

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