Tag Archives: B-movies

Teaching the Nuclear Cold War: Conclusions

13 Jan

NCWIt’s well over a month now since the conclusion of my first foray into teaching honours-level history (and only a couple of days until I start teaching my second course). Time to take stock, to assess, and to examine the good and the bad. In this post, I aim to summarise the course, look at how things ended up when compared to how I imagined they would, and think about ways to improve the course for future offerings. Hopefully, this reflection and analysis will make me a better teacher and make the course better in future.

The Good

I was delighted to see students responding to my enthusiasm for nuclear history, engaging with subjects they had never studied before, and coming to their own considered conclusions. Furthermore, I was very pleased to see from the feedback that the course had encouraged many students to think more about contemporary nuclear issues and how they relate to the Cold War.

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Teaching the Nuclear Cold War: Week 6, nuclear popular culture

27 Oct

This was, without a doubt, one of the classes I was looking most forward to taking: how nuclear weapons affected popular culture in the 1950s and 1960s. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know that I’m a big fan of using The War Game (Dir: Peter Watkins, 1965) as a teaching tool and discussion point. Things turned out as something of a mixed bag, however.

We’re just over a week away from the hand-in date for the big course essay, and this is quite reasonably dominating students minds. Hence, there was perhaps not quite as much preparation done as there normally would be. That being said, we had some excellent presentations on a variety of topics: civil defence and popular culture, the ‘apocalyptic imagination’ in 1950s science fiction movies, comparisons of The War Game and A Day Called X, and so on and so forth. In the main, I’ve been very impressed with the standard of presentations on this course. They have generally been thoughtful, well put together, and imaginative.

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It’s The Fault of Bond. James Bond

16 Jan

Oops! Bit of a gap between posts, going against my determination to put up something constructive each week. Excuse? Well, I was down at The National Archives doing research for my thesis. Some interesting stuff came out of that, but there is still a mountain of documentation to assess. Anyway, enough of that…

This story on the BBC (and elsewhere throughout the intersphere) gave me cause for a wry smile. The gist of it is that Professor David Philips (head of the Royal Society of Chemistry) asserts that a huge part of the problem with nuclear energy is the negative associations created by the villains from James Bond films, such as the eponymous Dr Julius No, who had his own personal reactor.

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