American Studies

Emma Bianco - Cold War Politics and American Culture

Emma plans to pursue a Master’s and Ph.D. in history to continue studying the emergence and changing ideologies of Republicanism and extreme conservatism, particularly women’s role in redefining local party politics in California.

Area of Concentration Courses

American Studies 101AC - World War II
American Studies 101 - Golden Age of Advertising
American Studies 101 - The Great Exhaling: Culture, Politics and History, 1946-1952
American Studies 102 - California, the West, and the World
History 171C - The Soviet Union
History 130 - American Foreign Policy


“A Subversive Monstrosity:” The Right Wing’s Struggle with History Education in Orange County, California, 1965-1970

Emma’s honors thesis explores the development of the 1960s right-wing movement in Orange County, California—a place nationally recognized as a grassroots leader in the conservative restoration epitomized with the Nixon and Reagan campaigns. In order to document and fathom this political revolution, Emma developed a specific case study: Orange County’s adoption and backlash to the eighth-grade American history textbook, Land of the Free: A History of the United States. The burgeoning right wing’s response to this text sparked public debates and contributed to the mobilization of radical right groups in Orange County, given the region’s affluent suburbanites and white supremacist mindset. Emma’s thesis also considered concurrent liberal intellectuals findings on similar radical movements, and the degree to which this incident lends itself to or detracts from these theorists’ findings on extreme conservative ideologies.

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