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School of History

HST6772 Parting the Iron Curtain: Everyday Life in Cold War Europe, 1945-1991

Module code: 30

Semester: YEAR

Module Convenor: Kinga Bloch, Natalya Chernyshova & Jane Freeland

This module approaches European and Cold War history from below. What did it mean to live in divided Europe? Despite many differences, post-war socialist and capitalist societies shared surprising commonalities. Students are invited to take a fresh and intimate look at Europe in the second half of the twentieth century. With the help of a broad range of primary sources, from memoirs and oral history to advertisements and cinema, we will explore consumerism and the home, fashions and leisure, family and relationships, gender and sex, popular culture and generational conflicts on both sides of the Iron Curtain. We will pay attention to the margins of communist and capitalist societies, from ethnic minorities and refugees to youth subcultures. The stories of daily life will lead us to ask bigger questions about Cold War politics and ideology, the meaning of race, class and modernity, and economic and social change in post-war Europe. Knowledge of another European language is not required. This module MUST be taken in conjunction with HST6700 History Research Dissertation.

Assessment: Assessment: Seminar Participation 10% Source Analysis 20% Dissertation Progress Report 20% Essay 50%

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