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First-Year Writing Seminar: Antiwar Activism in the Vietnam Era and After

Semester and Year FA 2015
Course Number FIRST-UG408
Section 001
Instructor David Parsons
Days TR
Time 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


From Norman Morrison's dramatic self-immolation in front of the Pentagon in 1965 to Muhammad Ali's refusal to enter the U.S. military, to Jane Fonda's widely publicized antiwar activism, the Vietnam War motivated a wide range of Americans to take action against it. In this first-year writing seminar, we will explore some of the central questions raised both by war itself and the various types of activism that have historically arisen to challenge its power. What kinds of people become involved in the efforts to stop war? What types of strategies and activities have they developed? And, perhaps most importantly, what impact have their actions had on the operation of not only of the war in Vietnam, but also on the direction of war and peace in the decades that followed? Through readings, class discussions, and writing exercises that lead to formal essays, this course will employ methodologies drawn from disciplines like film and literary studies, cultural theory, and political science to write and think through the complex moral, philosophical, political, and aesthetic elements involved in antiwar activism. Texts and films may include works by T.V. Reed ( The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle ), Peter Davis ( Hearts and Minds ), Penny Lewis ( Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory ), Nick Turse ( Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam ), Diane di Prima ( Revolutionary Letters ), David Maraniss ( They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, America and Vietnam, October 1967 ), and David S. Meyer ( The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America ).


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Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)