Saturday, June 6, 2009

The present within modern history - History 1c

UCLA's History 1c is a modern history course that covers the period 1715 unto this day. Usually with these modern history courses (notably like Berkeley's History 5) the narrative more or less stops around 1989. Historians dabble with the past and the closer you get to the present, the past gets to confused in the light of current, unfinished affairs. So even if it goes on beyond this year, you are likely not to get much more than a lecture or two beyond 1945.

The great thing about History 1c is though, that there are more lectures about the post-1945 period and I have greatly enjoyed them. I do not recall getting so much detail about the cold war, decolonization and the question whether Europe is definitively off the map of of power, or that the fledgling EU is going to bring it back.

Especially thrilling is it to get a history of the 1980's that wonderful period in which so much happened. it is not only far enough to have become sufficiently past so that historians confidently deal with it, but also it is part of my own experience. I was 14 in 1980 and as much a devourer of newspapers as a 14 year old can be. The real kick is to compare my own memories, impressions and analyses of the time with what historians tell today. Reagan, Gorbachev, Chernobyl, the fall of the Wall....

More History 1c:
Nietzsche in a nutshell,
Industrialization and Italian unification,
History since 1715.

James Mann about Ronald Reagan (UChannel Podcast),
Unexpected Ronald Reagan (New Books In History),
It was 20 years ago today,
A century of Geopolitics.