IAFS 3000 Special Topics in International Affairs: Vietnam/US, War and Society

Instructor Contact:

Nguyet Nguyen, PhD

Email: Nguyet.Nguyen-1@colorado.edu

About the Course:

This course places the Vietnam War in a comprehensive historical context, investigates its development, and dissects it topically. We will examine interdisciplinary scholarship, documents, literature, and film produced in both countries to understand the ways in which US foreign policy led to the most destructive war in the global history of decolonization.

This course not only internationalizes the history of the Vietnam War in the Asian context and the context of the Cold War, but analyzes its lasting impact on US and Vietnamese society and culture, with which to this day both countries are still trying to come to terms.

This is a reading and writing intensive course. Each week you will be asked to write a discussion post or a written assignment, or both.

Course Prerequisites: List course prereqs here:


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Identify various factors that led to the start of the Vietnam War and the way it unfolded.
  • Explain how the Vietnam War influenced the foreign policies of the various parties involved and vice versa.
  • Situate the Vietnam War in the global context of the 20th
  • Evaluate the legacy of the war in the US and in Vietnam.

Required Texts:

ALL the materials for this course will be provided: Texts will be in word or pdf files; videos will be either uploaded or available online.

The main source of text for this course is: McMahon, Robert J., Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War: Documents and Essays, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008 (4th edition).

If you feel motivated, you can read each week’s materials to see if you want to acquire paper versions of the readings.


Assignment Percentage of Total Grade
Quizzes 35%
Written Assignments 20% (10% each x 2 assignments = 20 %)
Discussions 25% (5% each x 5 discussions = 25%)
Final Paper 20 %

Grading scale:

95-100 = A, 90-94 = A-, 87-89 = B+, 83-86 = B, 80-82 = B-, 77-79 = C+, 73-76 = C, 70-72 = C-, 67-69 = D+, 63-66 =D, 60-62 = D-, and less than 60 = F. Missing assignments are not worth 59 points but zero points.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado