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HISTORY 3KK3 Vietnam War

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Stephen Streeter

Email: streete@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 623

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24147


Office Hours: Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Course Objectives:

Between 1945 and 1990 Vietnam suffered three major wars involving France, the United States, and China. Although this course will touch on all of these conflicts, it emphasizes the Second Indochina War (1954-1975), also known as the “Vietnam War” in the United States, and as the “American War” in Vietnam. The central questions to be studied in this course include the following: What are the origins of revolutionary Vietnamese nationalism? When and why did the United States intervene in Vietnam? How was the war fought, and why did the Americans leave South Vietnam, which rapidly collapsed? Why did the Vietnamese Revolution triumph? What lessons have policymakers, journalists, and historians drawn from the Vietnam War, and what has been the war’s legacy? Because American perspectives dominate the historical literature on the war, our biggest challenge will be to learn about the Vietnamese setting in order to gain a comprehensive view of the conflict. No prior knowledge of American or Vietnamese history is expected, but because this an upper level history course, students wishing to excel are expected to demonstrate some mastery of historiographical controversies beyond the basic information available in a survey textbook.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The following required readings are available for purchase at the Campus Store:

Bradley, Mark. Vietnam at War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Dang Thuy Tram. Last Night I Dreamed of Peace. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007

Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015

Please note that additional required readings for each lecture topic are available on Avenue.

Everyone is required to screen all 11 episodes (about 1 hour each) of Stanley Karnow’s documentary film, Vietnam, a Television History.

Method of Assessment:

midterm exam                                      25%            October 6

short essay (1000-1250 words)           15%             October 22 midnight

major essay (2500-3000 words)           30%            November 19 midnight (choose topic on September 14)

final exam                                             30%            scheduled by the registrar’s office

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

It is your responsibility to keep backup copies of all written work that you do for this course. Computer malfunctions will not be accepted as valid excuses for late assignments. That you have a heavy course load this term, have decided to leave early for vacation, or have scheduled work or artistic performances that conflict with this class DO NOT constitute acceptable excuses. Late essays will receive no comments and will be penalized 0.5 points for every hour that they are late.

Please note that because MSAF applies only to academic work worth less than 25% of the final grade, it may NOT be used for either the midterm exam or the long essay.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

See course outline on Avenue

Other Course Information:

See course outline on Avenue.