Why are things like "free" health care and "free" college so controversial in the United States?
Why does the U.S. care about Iran's nuclear energy program?
Why are people so obsessed with the possibility of Russian interference in our elections?
Why do I have to take Algebra II?
For those who lived through it, it's hard to believe the Cold War ended almost thirty years ago. But for those who were born after 1989, it can be hard to appreciate why the Cold War was so significant. In this class we'll try to bridge that generational gap by explaining what it was like to grow up in the shadow of the Cold War and how echoes of this time period continue to shape modern politics.
Topics we'll cover include the Russian Revolution, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Sputnik and the space race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, controversies around the development of nuclear weapons, and philosophical debates over communism vs. capitalism. By the end of the course you should understand how two former allies, The United States and The Soviet Union, became enemies for over forty years. Although they never went to war with each other, the tense ("cold") relationship of these two superpowers influenced the histories and politics of nearly every country on the planet in ways we still see today.
This course is designed for history buffs as well as those who have never taken a high school history class: no prior knowledge of this period is assumed. But it's helpful if you have an interest in current events, since we'll often tie historical incidents to modern political controversies.
Suggested age range: 13+
Outside work: Main text is George Orwell's Animal Farm. There will be one movie to watch most weeks. Read/watch other media as assigned. All Rise Out classes are homework-optional.
When & where: Fridays at Voyagers in Chelmsford (directions) from 12:30-1:30, Sept. 15-Dec. 8, 2017. No class Nov. 23.
Fee: $200 for the semester + a Netflix subscription. (Please read our media policy.) Includes the cost of books. $10 discount for Voyagers members. Payment plans available. Fees waived for families with financial need. (Waivers and payment plan information.)
Note: Most semesters, Rise Out classes at Voyagers are standalone classes. This semester, uniquely, all three classes complement each other (example: reading Orwell's 1984 in Dystopian Literature, Animal Farm in The Cold War, and Arthur Miller's The Crucible in Witch Hunts). While you can still enroll in each session separately, there is a $50 discount for students who enroll in all three.