CIA Operations in the Global Cold War

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2020

Beatrice T. Wayne (Committee on Degrees in History & Literature)
Freshman Seminar BWX    4 credits (fall term)     Enrollment:  Limited to 12

What was the secret side of US foreign policy during the global Cold War? This seminar uses empirically grounded readings from across the Americas, Africa and Asia to understand the impact of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) covert operations on governments, organizations, and ordinary citizens living across the globe. We will examine memoirs, declassified documents and congressional hearings to understand the rationale behind the CIA's actions, and engage with popular culture produced about the CIA to understand how coverage and representations of the CIA have reflected and clashed with the realities of their operations. As this seminar is deeply engaged with understanding the response of global populations affected by this arm of U.S. foreign policy, we will analyze the literature, poetry, films, and various forms of cultural production from those who experienced the fallout of CIA covert actions in their regions. This seminar will focus on methods as well as ideas, exploring the challenges and restrictions inherent in studying an organization that is all about keeping secrets. Students will get hands-on experience with working to declassify documents from the U.S. State Department. The seminar encourages students to ask new questions about the way they see themselves, their fellow citizens, and their responsibilities to the wider global community.

See also: Fall 2020