Philip Jenkins

Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies

Pennsylvania State University

Click here for my e-mail address, and other contact information.

You can find information about my publications here.

For information about our graduate program in History and Religious Studies, click here.

For the other courses, I teach, go here.


This is the course syllabus.

Reserve reading list for the course, on reserve in Pattee/Paterno

GOALS of the course


This section contains handouts and discussion questions for various classes including:

The new conservatism

The politics of God

Confronting evil

The Reagan Doctrine

Evil Empires

Intelligence and terrorism



Some excellent bibliographies on the 1980s can be found online.

The Feminist Chronicles break down events in women’s history year by year.

This site covers the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The Tehran hostage crisis and the resue attempt.

Documents relating to the Iran-Contra affair.

The CNN series on the history of the Cold War produced some really useful texts and transcripts.

Many other resources can be found online, especially in terms of media and popular culture. This site lists the major films of the 1975-85 era, broken down year by year. This site also leads to many other pop culture resources of the 1970s  and 1980s.

The Eighties Club offers rich sources on popular culture and social history

Television shows of the period can be found here, with details about their exact runs. Mileposts in popular music are also listed.

Best-selling books of the 1970s and 1980s are listed here.

This is a book chapter I wrote, largely on the history of Pennsylvania in this era. It might be useful for discussions of industrial and urban trends in what was fast becoming the Rustbelt.

Some valuable resources for political history:
The Gerald Ford Presidential Library
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Note the excellent collection of documents and related materials (often searchable) available at all these libraries. The Carter collection is listed here; the Ford documents here; Reagan materials here.

Significant documents and speeches of the period:

Jimmy Carter’s inaugural speech, 1977
Carter’s “National Malaise” speech 1979
The Carter/Reagan Presidential debates, 1980
Ronald Reagan’s inaugural speech, 1981
Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech, 1982
Reagan’s SDI (“Star Wars”) speech 1983
The Reagan/Mondale Presidential debates, 1984
Reagan’s second inaugural 1985

Miscellaneous but useful documents about the presidencies of Carter and Reagan.

Reagan's major speeches.

This site gives Presidential election results for the relevant years, broken down by electoral vote, popular vote, and state returns.

The National Security Archive gives links to important documents, but the site comes from a particular point of view (OK, so do the presidential libraries!)

For Cold War history, an essential source is the National Security Decision Directives of the Reagan administration.


For some links on various topics, please click here.