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Ekstrom Library

HIST 528/612 Recent American History 1929-1945: Sample Subject Areas

Sample Subject Areas (to be narrowed down)


  • Impact of Great Depression or both on particular sectors of the economy (like agriculture, industry, universities, specific business, entertainment, journalism, sports)
  • Impact of Great Depression in a particular place (Kentucky, the South, etc)
  • Impact of Great Depression on particular social group (women, African Americans, Latinos, textile workers, tobacco farmers, etc)
  • Impact of War on different sectors of the economy
  • Wartime economic policies and planning
  • Impact of defense industry on a particular place



  • Elections: what were key candidates, issues, factors in outcome, changes in voting patterns
  • Individual political leaders’ ideas, actions, participation in major debates
  • Opposition movements and their ideas, goals, actions, impact
  • Changes in political parties and their fortunes
  • Political rhetoric and advertising as indication of changing values/perspectives

New Deal Policy

  • History of a particular New Deal program (ideas behind it, political debate over it, what it did etc)
  • Impact of a New Deal program on a particular group or sector of the economy
  • FDR’s ideas, approaches, rhetoric about different policies

Popular Culture

  • Changes over time in film, music, theater, dance, poetry, etc
  • Trace the work of a particular artist/writer/performer over time
  • Trace a particular theme or idea in cultural expression over time


Social Histor/Experience of Marginalized Groups During the War/Social Movements

  • Trace experience and activities of a particular movement (civil rights, labor, women’s, peace)
  • American reaction to the rise of Nazism and the holocaust
  • Internment: calls for it; debates over it; reaction to it; experience of Japanese Americans
  • Impact of the War on women, minorities, etc

Foreign Policy/Diplomacy/World Role

  • Development of isolationism in policy
  • American attitudes about interwar crises
  • Anti-War sentiment and activities and how it changes over time
  • US reaction to Spanish Civil War
  • Trace how a particular war aim was pursued (decolonization, free trade, United Nations, etc)
  • Allied relations
  • Individual leaders’ ideas, actions
  • Military decision making or strategy
  • Development of the Atomic Bomb and IMMEDIATE reaction (don’t go much past late 1945)
  • Explore a particular theme in the soldiers’ experience
  • Be wary: papers trying to demonstrate importance of a particular battle often fall flat

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