Instructor: Professor Candace Sobers

Introduction: The Cold War was one of the defining elements of the twentieth century. This seminar employs a thematic approach to re-think and re-imagine the Cold War from a global perspective, focusing on beginnings and endings, security cultures and geopolitics, decolonization and postcoloniality, and Cold War cultural production, including questions of race, class, and gender.  Using historical documents and cultural artefacts from around the world (e.g. music, literature, and film) this course encourages a multidimensional exploration and interrogation of the Cold War paradigm, and reflects on how the Cold War continues to shape contemporary realities and circulations.

Class Format: Meetings will take place one/week for a three hour block. The majority of the time will be spent in class presentations and discussion based on examinations of historical documents, images, and films. Occasionally, students may be asked to watch a film, listen to a podcast, or visit a local exhibition outside of normal class hours.

Aims and Goals: This course aims to re-consider the Cold War as a global phenomenon, questioning strict US-Soviet bipolarity and interrogating US-centred triumphalist narratives of the Cold War’s end. Students in this course will demonstrate an understanding of the field, will research and interpret primary sources, will engage in critical historical discussions, and will complete a high quality research project. Familiarity with twentieth century United States history is an asset.

Assessment: Evaluation will consist of a combination of presentations, regular short written reflections, and a final research paper or project.

Text:  Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of our Times (Oxford University Press, 2005), plus additional readings, films, etc. The text will be made available of Haven Books (at the intersection of Sunnyside Ave. and Seneca St., two blocks from campus) but it is also available at all major online booksellers.

Questions? Please email: