This seminar will examine the varieties of American intellectual responses to WWII in the 1940s and 50s. Seminar participants will explore how American commentators made sense of the war, justified American involvement, and likewise how the war set new terms for American self-understanding. By looking at developments in American political thought, moral philosophy, cultural criticism, and popular theology, participants will see how America’s wartime experiences dramatically transformed American intellectual life at midcentury. The seminar also will reflect on how elements of those mid-century understandings have gone on to shape American debates about war ever since.
Seminar led by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, University of Wisconsin at Madison