The 1980s saw the convergence of American politics and economics to strengthen US interests abroad, but the decade was also a moment of social, political, and economic divergence at home. How compatible—or causal—was the end of the cold war with the end of the American cultural consensus? Did such a consensus ever exist, or was it a mere illusion and nostalgia for a “simpler time”? (Also offered Fall 2017) Three decades later, these questions remain essential to understanding the history surrounding the cold war and the culture wars. This course will look at how culture--including novels, films, plays, music, and more--both shapes and is shaped by social and political attitudes. As the 1980s experiences a pop culture comeback in the 2010s, how do we begin to critically make sense of a decade of contradictions?