Sociology of War Online
VIETNAM: A Television History

Dr. Robert Sanderson
Office hours by appointment only
Stabler Hall 401-G
Phone: 569-3173


... Men have gained control over the forces of nature to such an extent that with their help they would have no difficulty in exterminating one another to the last man. They know this, and hence comes a large part of their current unrest, their unhappiness and their mood of anxiety.

--- Sigmund Freud

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear: "A fool lies here
Who tried to hustle the East."

--- Rudyard Kipling


For over two decades the United States was militarily, politically, and economically involved in what has come to be known simply and inclusively as the "Vietnam War." It is perhaps the single most important sociological event of the last quarter of a century in United States history. However, until quite recently many mainstream writers in sociology largely ignored this event. In an era when American sociology was in its "heyday" on college and university campuses one could find numerous courses devoted to the study of political behavior, deviance, and crime. During the same period while the United States was pouring billions of dollars in aid and thousands of men in assistance into Vietnam, one could scarcely find any relevant literature and even fewer course offerings on the subject of the Vietnam War. Thus, students' perceptions remain obscured regarding how the war, and systematically related domestic and foreign violence, may be endemic to America's permanent-war economy.

This webcourse is designed to explore some of the questions raised by America's longest undeclared war. It is by no means an exhaustive study of all facets of the Vietnam War. It is, however, as comprehensive a study of this event, as the medium will allow. Our task, as students of sociology, is to utilize the films and readings as tools to investigate, analyze and gain some understanding of the relevant philosophical, intellectual, and sociological implications of the Vietnam War.


The primary instructional material for this course is the video-taped series “VIETNAM: A Television History” by Stanley Karnow, which students will acquire from UALR Off-Campus Credit Program. The series includes the following programs:
“Roots of War”
“The First Vietnam War (1946-1954)”
“America’s Mandarin (1954-1963)”
“LBJ Goes to War (1964-1965)”
“America Takes Charge (1965-1967)”
“America’s Enemy (1954-1967)”
“Tet 1968”
“Vietnamizing the War (1968-1973)”
“Cambodia and Laos”
“Peace is at Hand (1968-1973)”
“Homefront USA”
“The End of the Tunnel (1973-1975)”

In addition to the film series, you will be supplied with reading material and articles posted on the web. Since there will be no face-to-face meetings between instructor and student, all correspondence will be via e-mail, discussion board, and assignment submissions on WebCT.



It is the policy of UALR to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Any disabled student who needs accommodation, for example, in seating placement or in arrangements for examinations, should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. The chair of the department offering this course is also available to assist with accommodations. Disabled students are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Support Services, located in the Donaghey Student Center, telephone 569-3143.