America in the 1950s  (1stSemester 2004)
Teacher: Michael Furmanovsky    E-mail  michael@world.ryukoku.ac.jp   
Homepage: www.world.ryukoku.ac.jp/~michael/

Welcome to this new Kyotsu Kamoku class “America in the 1950s. My name is Michael Furmanovsky. I am a British man who teaches English language and American Culture and history in Kokusai Bunka Gakubu. I am looking forward to teaching you and will do my best to make the class interesting, I would like to ask you to do you your best to attend class regularly and on time, participate in small group discussions and complete all homework on time using the course calendar below.

What will we study in this class?

We
will examine the image of itself that America projected to the world in the 1950s.  Many of the ideas that non-Americans have about American culture and life come from the era of the 1950s. In these post war years, the U.S was the only major country with a strong economy and stable society and this is one reason why it became the first society to develop a popular or youth culture based around consumerism and mass entertainment. The popular culture that young Americans created in the 50s and early 60s were seen and imitated all over the world, and they would later shape and influence the popular cultures of Europe and Japan. We can see this by going to America Mura in Osaka or Yoyogi Park in Tokyo.
What will we actually do in the 90 minutes of this class?
The goal of this class is to help you understand how the image of America in the 1950s has shaped popular culture in the developed world.  It will also help you understand America and its strengths and weaknesses today. To do this, you will need to read a few pages from the handout or some Internet web sites textbook every week. When you get to class, I will ask you to share what you learned for homework with a partner for about 10 minutes. Then I will introduce and lecture on the topic (mostly in English) for 15-25 minutes. After that we will watch the documentary “America in the 1950s” (in Japanese) for 15-20 minutes. This will be followed by notetaking and discussion in small groups. From time to time, I will call on one member from each group to make a comment or answer a question.
What will be the homework for this class and how will it be graded?

You will do Internet and library research for two reports and talk in small groups about your work.. Grades will be based on attendance and participation (30%) and the two FAQ reports (70%). (See handout for an explanation of FAQ) These FAQ reports will be due as follows:

 FAQ or Report  on ONE theme related to suburbanization, housing Nuclear bomb, Cold War, Sputnik May 31
FAQ or Report on ONE theme related to  women, Civil Rights, Fast Food, Cars &Highways, Rock Music, teenage culture July 12
There is no textbook, so where will we find information for reports?

The following websites contain most of the information you need to know to write your reports and understand the class topics. Please look for Japanese websites on your own.

 

 

Name of Website

       HP Address

1

The Fifties Web

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/

2

U.S Culture and Society in the 1950s

http://home.earthlink.net/~neuhausj/1950s/index.html

3

Culture of the 1950s

www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/home.html

4

American Cultural History

www.wsu.edu/~amerstu/pop/hist.html
http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decade50.html

5

America & the Cold War

http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decade50.html

6

Martin Luther King

http://dewey.chs.chico.k12.ca.us/king.html

7

Learn History

www.learnhistory.org.uk/usa/mccarthy.htm

8

Moves and McCarthyism

http://drhill.tripod.com/ssi3240/pdf/lecture8.htm

www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAred.htm

Calendar for the First Semester

April 12  (1) Introduction to the class. Why study the 1950s? What is the American dream? Brainstorming about America in the 1950s. Homework: Read  http://home.earthlink.net/~neuhausj/1950s/schange.html  & http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthemove/exhibition/exhibition_15_1.html
April 19  (2) The suburbanization of America. Housing. Racial segregation. Homework: Read www.fiftiesweb.com/tv50.htm
April 26 (3) TV and Advertizing  Homework: Read http://home.earthlink.net/~neuhausj/1950s/paranoia.html; Choose your topic for FAQ Report 1
May 10 (4) Fear of the Bomb; The Cold War and Sputnik Homework: Start researching for FAQ Report 1
May 17 (5) McCarthyism and Anti-Communism Homework: Work on FAQ Report 1 and read   www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/schrecker-legacy.html
May 24 (6): Movie “Pleasantville”  or “Guilty by Suspicion” (to be decided) Homework: Complete FAQ Report 1-due on May 31
May 31 (7) FAQ Report 1 Due. Be ready to talk about your report in class. Homework: Read www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/peopleevents/p_mrs.html
June 7 (8) Women in the 1950s. Homework: Read from MLK website and  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/mlk/king/biography.html
June 14 (9). Civil Rights Movement Homework: Read from these 2 websites
http://campus.northpark.edu/history/WebChron/USA/MontBus.html www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/civilrights-55-65/montbus.html
June 21 (10)  Movie “Long Walk Home.”  Homework: Choose research topic 2
June 28 (11) Teacher absent Homework: Read www.fiftiesweb.com/pop/pop-history.htm
July 5 (12) Pop Culture : Birth of Rock Music and work on Report: Homework: Finish your report

July 12 (13) Report 2 due Talk about your report in groups

 

Report Guidelines: You will write 2 reports or FAQs in this class

Length: 600-750 words plus bibliography
Format: Typed with size 12 or 14 font (Geneva, Osaka, Helvetica etc)
Sources: 2 or more English Web sites  and 1 or more Japanese sites.
Other: DO NOT COPY DIRECTLY FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE. Always cite your sources. e.g http://www.fiftiesweb.com (Web site on popular culture in the 50s)

Guidelines for Writing an FAQ: An FAQ is a list of so-called “Frequently Asked Questions” and answers to those questions. The writer of the FAQ must try to anticipate or guess the likely questions of someone who does NOT know much about the topic or issue being discussed. Then he or she must put the into a logical order with BASIC and GENERAL questions first and more detailed questions later. In some cases, questions on one subtopic will be grouped together.

When you write your FAQ you should:
o     Think about who you are writing this FAQ for and how much they know.
o     Brainstorm and write a list of very basic questions.
o     Put the questions in order from General/Basic to Specific/Detailed
o     Answer your own questions and by looking at the answers, decide which questions will probably require additional questions (subquestions) and answers.

                

Topics for 1st Semester

Many of the ideas that non-Americans have about American culture and life come from the era of the 1950s. In these post war years, the U.S was the only major country with a strong economy and stable society and this is one reason why it became the first society to develop a popular or youth culture based around consumerism and mass entertainment. The popular culture that young Americans created in the 50s and early 60s were seen and imitated all over the world, and they would later shape and influence the popular cultures of Europe and Japan. In this class we will study the image of itself that America projected in the 1950s.

 

Housing and Suburban Life
TV and Advertising
Fear of the Bomb
Cold War Fears and Sputnik
Anti-communism
Women and Feminism
Civil Rights Movement
Fast Food
Cars and Highways
The Birth of Rock Music
Teenage Consumerism
Hollywood and Glamour

Reference book    David Halberstam, America in the 50s