Social & Cultural History Of The Cold War HIST4129

  • Academic Session: 2017-18
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

To what extent and in what ways was the Cold War a "battle for hearts and minds"? How were societies and local political systems transformed by their belonging to one of the Cold War "blocks"? How did the East-West conflict affect the lives of people, in terms of their understanding of belonging, security, and enemy?


12 lecture sessions of 1 hour duration and 4 x 2 hour seminars during the teaching period.


This is one of the honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses





■ 1 essay (1500-2000 words excluding references and bibliography; 20%)

■ 1 seminar written paper: 1200-1500 words including references and bibliography; (5%) and 10 minute seminar oral presentation (5%)

■ participation in seminar discussions (10%)

■ 2- hour exam in the April/May diet (60%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:


■ prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills that will be of benefit in a wide range of careers.

Students' research capacity will be enriched by their introduction to diverse source materials and their oral and written communication skills enhanced in ways designed to address employers' expectations for highly literate and highly articulate graduates who are fully cognisant of a range of research tools.


■ show students how a professional historian works.

By supporting students in the production of their essay and seminar presentation, students will gain first hand experience of the scoping and shaping of research projects and the challenges faced by historians in the pursuit of advances in knowledge.


■ familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide-range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (written, visual or other).

The critical interpretation of key historiographical and theoretical debates relating to this subject will inform the close reading of sources. Provenance, perspective, context, intent and audience will be core considerations in students' interpretation of sources.


■ ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised. The seminars aim to encourage student-led learning and the facilitation of rigorous and informed debate.


■ encourage students to develop imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere or employment where these qualities are valuable.

Students will be encouraged to reflect on the range of generic research and communication skills they are developing over the course of this course in order to align their academic and professional aspirations and competencies and encourage reflective practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

have acquired a broad understanding and a general overview of the on-going debates on the longer-term impacts of the Cold War on society and culture in different parts of the world.

discuss the interactions that have occurred between the Cold War and the broad cultural, social and political changes of the 20th century, such as modernisation, decolonisation, the creation of European identity, changes in gender relations, ideological change and the shaping of political identities.

discuss these themes not only in a general way, but also by investigating and comparing concrete historical case studies and examples.


- demonstrate and critically discuss the ways in which selected cultural products, such as film and literature, were informed by the Cold War context in which they were created.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.