Below is a list of upcoming courses for the Spring 2023 semester.
RasPutin to Putin: Russia’s Ravaged 20th Century
This lecture course examines some of the most important events, ideas, and personalities that shaped late Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet periods of Russian history during the last one hundred years: from the outbreak of the First World War and the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 through the Great Terror of the 1930s, the experience of the Second World War and the emergence of the Soviet Empire, late Stalinism and post-Stalinist developed or mature socialism, the collapse of the communist rule and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, as well as Russia’s uneasy transition “out of Totalitarianism” and into Putin’s authoritarianism during the first fourteen years of the twentieth-first century. The course is designed for history majors as well as for students in other disciplines with or without background in modern Russian and East European history.
MW 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
Irish Hands that Built America
This course will try to capture the essence of the Irish in America. It will do so from a number of vantage-points. In the class, we will meet a heroic and oppressed people; a people who did a fair bit of victimizing themselves; and a people who lived lives indifferent to either of these narratives. We will encounter men and women almost perfectly designed to negotiate a globalizing world, as well as a group seemingly flummoxed by change. We will catch a glimpse of a people defined by their brutality and by their faith, and ultimately, a group which struggled to define itself in often difficult circumstances and that persevered with remarkable resiliency and strength. We will, in short, search to understand a group of men and women who built America.
MW 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
The American Revolution
When speaking of the American Revolution, many writers reach for a comment made by John Adams in 1818 that, “[T]he Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. . .” Whether this assertion is true historically or not, it still does not adequately describe what that revolution was. The American Revolution obviously had its political elements, primarily the formation of the United States. To reach its political goals, military means were necessary. Without a successful War for Independence, there would have been no revolution. To leave matters there, however, would be insufficient. A fuller understanding of the revolution would need to address how it affected the whole spectrum of American life. It would consider the revolution as a social movement that challenged the political and social hierarchies of the day. It would also ask how the revolution affected those who were not white males, especially women, slaves, and Native Americans. Without considering the possible negative implications of the revolution, any telling would be incomplete. This class will take up these challenges and attempt to make a full-orbed presentation of the events surrounding the American Revolution. It will introduce students both to elites and to those whom the popular narrative glosses over. It will attempt to count the losses, as well as the gains, which flowed from the move to independence from Britain. Finally, it will attempt to describe the many changes through this period, which resulted, not only in a new political nation, but in a new society and culture—changes that in varying degrees are still with us today and of which contemporary Americans are the inheritors.
MW 12:50-1:40 p.m.
History of Food
Food feeds culture. It nourishes societies as well as bodies. No discipline is intelligible without it. It provides economics with products, physiology with sustenance, social sciences with classes and relationships of power. and intellects with food for thought. Food’s also essential in ecology. Our most intimate contact with the environment occurs when we eat it. From interdisciplinary perspectives, we’ll approach the history of food in all cultures (including, by the way, those of non-human cultural creatures) in all periods that we can say something about, from the origins of carnivorism and cannibalism through famines and fusion to the food-related environmental problems of the future. There may even be time to explore cuisines.
MW 2:00-2:50 p.m.
History of the Medical Sciences
This course is an intellectual history of western medicine. It is intended to familiarize students with the multiple explanatory problems that occur in medicine and the most important approaches to them. Its focus will be much more on medical theory and knowledge than on medical practice and institutions. The course will begin with a review of the Hippocratic and Galenic heritages and early modern appeals to chemical and physical explanations of disease and of health. A middle section will explore the 17th-18th century syntheses of Sydenham, Boerhaave, and Cullen, consider the difficult problem of nosology, and examine the empiricist critique in the clinics of early nineteenth-century Paris, including the conflict between ontological and physiological concepts of disease. The final section will examine several distinct trends in the nineteenth century: the impact of experimental physiology, the growth of clinical science, the emergence of epidemiology and tropical medicine, the rise of bacteriology, immunology, and virology; and the impact of new statistical methods. Reading assignments will be a mix of scholarly articles by medical historians and extracts from primary sources. Requirements include critical reviews of primary sources, journal, quizzes, and final exam. There are no prerequisites for the course. While some familiarity with the human body and its ailments and vulnerabilities, and some comfort with modes of biological explanation will be helpful, the course is intended for persons with general interests.
TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Modern India and Pakistan
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh account for more than a fifth of humanity: nearly two billion people in one of the most densely populated parts of the planet. South Asians speak more than a hundred languages, and represent most of the Hindus, Muslims, Sikh, Jains, and Zoroastrians in the world. The region’s major economy, India, is by itself among the ten largest economies and one of the fastest growing. Yet, there is much about South Asia that can be perplexing. Caste based violence remains widespread in a society that is fast modernizing; billionaires mushroom alongside widespread malnourishment; space missions are launched to Mars amidst vast numbers of illiterate and uneducated citizens; Bollywood thrives while freedom of expression is often under threat; religious fundamentalism exists alongside extraordinary religious pluralism; gay rights expand alongside the murders of atheist bloggers; a democratic government lives in fear of military overthrow; a society that has that has chosen women as heads of state also sees increasing reports of sexual crimes. This course will unravel these knots and explain the processes that gave rise to them. Beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, this course will progress chronologically and bring us to the present day via themes on politics, economy, society, and popular culture. It offers an understanding of contemporary India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and their place on the global stage.
TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m.
History of Modern Japan: From Samurai to Salarymen; From Feudalism to Fascism
This introduction to modern Japanese history focuses on political, social, economic, and military affairs in Japan from around 1600 to the early post-WWII period. It considers such paradoxes as samurai bureaucrats, entrepreneurial peasants, upper-class revolutionaries, and Asian fascists. The course has two purposes: (1) to provide a chronological and structural framework for understanding the debates over modern Japanese history; and (2) to develop the skill of reading texts analytically to discover the argument being made. The assumption operating both in the selection of readings and in the lectures is that Japanese history, as with all histories, is the site of controversy. Our efforts at this introductory level will be dedicated to understanding the contours of some of the most important of these controversies and judging, as far as possible, the evidence brought to bear in them.
MW 3:30-4:45 p.m.
HIST HIST 30147:
Early Chinese Empires
Our understanding of early Chinese Empires is primarily determined by the available sources and our methodologies. This seminar will provide advanced undergraduates with a critical introduction to the most important sources and major themes, both textual and archaeological, for the study of early imperial China. We will consider materials from the earliest historical period, circa 1300 B.C., down to the consolidation of the empire in the first century B.C. We will focus on outstanding problems and controversies pertaining to this period, such as the relationship between archaeology and classical historiography, the nature of the Chinese writing system, myth and history, the textual history of the transmitted texts, Chinese empires and its rivals, and gender issues in ancient China. Finally, we will consider the basic methodological tools presently used by historians, textual critics, paleographers, and archaeologists.
TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Sport and the Cold War
This course aims to accomplish the following: 1) to develop students’ understanding of the Cold War and its major political developments; 2) to develop students’ understanding of the ways sports and society influence and reflect political developments; 3) to see sports programs as a reflection of the nation-states in which they develop, and to use athletic traditions in different nations to develop students’ understanding of different societies; 4) to improve students’ ability to use contemporary periodical sources in historical research; and 5) to improve students’ analytical reading and writing skills through readings, exams, and a paper.
TTh 2:00-3:15 p.m
From the Crusades to the Ottoman Empire: The Eastern Mediterranean 1000-1500
This course explores the major developments in Byzantium and the Eastern Mediterranean from the time of the crusades and the eastward expansion of the Italian naval powers until the rise of the Ottoman Empire to a new universal power unifying the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor under the rule of a Muslim sultanate. The encounter between Latin and Greek Orthodox Christians in the wake of the crusade led to political rivalries and religious discord, culminating in the Latin conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade of 1204. While the eastward expansion of Italian naval powers had already begun in the late eleventh century, it was mainly as a result of 1204 that Venice and, later on, Genoa became predominant political and economic factors in the Eastern Mediterranean, controlling much of the long-distance seaborne trade between Italy and the Syrian coast. The Anatolian Seljuk Turks initiated the gradual Turkification and Islamization of Asia Minor. In the thirteenth century, the Eastern Mediterranean endured increasing pressure from the Mongols and the Mamluk sultanate. One of the results of this development was the rise of the Ottoman principality to a leading political power incorporating large parts of the Balkan Peninsula and, in 1453, the city of Constantinople. We will discuss both socio-economic and political aspects of these developments.
TTh 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
The Making of Modern Ireland
This course offers a chronological survey of Ireland and the Irish from the Act of Union with Great Britain to the present day. It will consider the social, political, religious, gendered, cultural and economic aspects of that history, and will place the island of Ireland within its wider contexts, as part of the United Kingdom, as part of Europe, as part of the British Empire, and as the source of the global Irish Diaspora. The course will focus on a number of central issues, including: how enduring sectarian divisions have influenced the development of Irish history; the Famine, mass emigration, and the rise of the Diaspora; the development and course of both Ulster and Southern unionism, and of Irish nationalism; the relationship of Ireland and the Irish to the British Empire and the wider Anglo-world; the Irish revolution, counter-revolution, and partition; the development of the Irish Free State, and Republic of Ireland; the history of Northern Ireland, the Troubles, and the peace process; the collapse of the “Celtic Tiger”.
TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m.
The Crusades were a unique period in both human history and in Catholic history and theology. The period began when, in AD 1095, the Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Alexius Comnenus sent emissaries to Pope Urban II, asking for succor from Latin Christendom in order to repel the Muslim invaders who were overrunning his empire. Pope Urban II did not merely comply with this request, but transformed it into a much broader call to restore to Christendom the lands of Christianity’s origin in Syria, including the city of Jerusalem, which had been conquered by the Muslims more than four hundred years previously. In issuing his call, Pope Urban also inspired and unleashed an outpouring of religious fervor– and bloodshed– unique in the annals of Christian history, which lasted for centuries. During this time Christians, ranging from great saints, popes– including three beatified ones– and even a Doctor of the Church and a Confessor, to lords, knights, and peasants, considered the military Crusade in the Holy Land to be their best path to salvation and highest religious goal on earth. The Crusades also produced the first sustained, large-scale contact between Latin Christendom and the Islamic World in the Middle East, permanently changing the political landscape of the Mediterranean. This course will examine the historical and religious unfolding of this extraordinary movement, from the initial call to Crusade and the overwhelming response it aroused among Christians across Europe through the fall of Acre in 1291, including the Muslim reaction to and views of the Crusaders. Issues that will be explored include the preaching of popes, priests, saints and legates on behalf of the Crusade, and what these writings reveal about the place of the Crusades in Christian doctrine in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; the rise of military monastic orders (The Templars, the Knights of St. John, the Teutonic Knights); relations between Church and secular authorities in both the Crusading armies and the Crusader kingdoms; the conflict between the popes and the Holy Roman Emperors, and how this affected the various Crusades; how Muslims and Franks viewed one another; and how Frankish society was organized overseas.
Normative issues that will be considered include: How is that for 200 years, Catholicism, including one of only 36 Doctors of the Church, viewed the best and even the noblest path to salvation and the remission of sin as lying in fighting and killing non-Catholics? How is it that St. Bernard could tell the Teutonic knights to fight the Wends until “either their religion or their nation has disappeared”? What was the meaning of St. Bernard’s espousal, with a new interpretation, of Pope Gelasius’s “Two Swords” theory in “De Consideratione”, and what in fact is the proper relationship between the spiritual and the temporal powers? What effect did the Investiture Contest have on the Crusades and on the papacy, how was this conflict reflected in papal involvement in the Crusades and in politics, and what lessons does one learn about what papal political involvement should or should not be? Primary source reading sections will include not only medieval chronicles in translation, but also the writings, preaching, and letters of some of the main figures of the Crusade– and of the Church, including Pope Urban II, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and Popes Paschal II, Alexander III, Innocent III and Innocent IV.
MW 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Tudor England: Politics and Honors
The period from 1485 to 1603, often feted as something of a ‘Golden Age’ for England, saw that country undergo serious changes that challenged the traditional ways in which the nation conceived of itself. These included the break from Rome, the loss of England’s foothold in France, and the unprecedented experience of monarchical rule by women. Each of these challenges demanded creative political responses and apologetic strategies harnessing intellectual resources from classical, Biblical, legal, chivalric and ecclesiastical sources. This course will examine these developments. It will also look at how the English, emerging from under the shadow of the internecine dynastic warfare of the fifteenth century, sought to preserve political stability and ensure a balance between continuity and change, and, furthermore, how individuals could use these unique circumstances to their own advantage.
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Irish Language & Culture 1600-1900: Anglicization or Modernization
From the Plantation of Ulster in the early seventeenth century to today the hegemony, and later the survival, of native Irish culture in the Irish language has been challenged by English language culture. This course seeks, by analyzing primary sources in Irish (available to students in translation) in their historical context, to chart this process over time. The course also seeks to ask questions about the extent to which the Irish Catholic population resisted or collaborated in the process of anglicization that took place. Was the ‘Sacsa nua darbh ainm Éire’ /(New England going by the name of Ireland) culturally alien to the Irish population that resided in it.
TTh 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Europe in the Age of Revolution and Nationalism, 1789-1871
Europe made a violent and dramatic entry into the modern age in the tumultuous decades from 1789 to 1871. The period opens with the French Revolution and closes with the unification of Germany and Italy. In between lie the revolutionary Reign of Terror in France, the Napoleonic Wars, the independence wars of Latin America, the revolutions of 1830 and 1848, the Industrial Revolution, and the invention of liberalism, conservatism, socialism, feminism, nationalism, democracy, atheism, and modern science. Europeans in 1789 still lived in a world that in many ways was similar to the 16th and 17th century; by 1871, the outlines of Europe in the 20th century were beginning to form. How this profound transformation occurred will be the subject of the course.
MW 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Catholicism Confronts Modernity
This class introduces students to the history of Catholicism since the French Revolution, focusing primarily on Europe. It examines how Catholics confronted the challenges of modernity – from liberal democracy and nationalism; to capitalism and modern science; to new political ideologies such as fascism and communism. We will explore not only how these encounters transformed the Church, but also how Catholicism itself has shaped modern politics and culture. The first part of the course begins with the nineteenth-century – culture wars – between Catholics and anticlerical forces, focusing in particular on popular devotions like the Lourdes pilgrimage and the perceived “feminization” of religion. The second part of the course shifts to the twentieth century and examines the relationship between the Catholic Church and modern political ideologies such as nationalism, fascism, communism, and democracy. The third part of the course explores modern Catholic art, literature, and film. Finally, we close by examining the more recent history of Catholicism since the transformative changes of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Readings are drawn from a range of primary sources – including novels, speeches, Church documents, works of art, and films – as well as secondary sources by historians.
TTh 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
US Civil War and Reconstruction, 1848-77
This course surveys the years 1848 to 1877 and centers on the constitutional crisis of the mid-19th Century that exploded in the U.S. Civil War. We begin with the political controversies over slavery, consider the eruption of violence between abolitionists and slaveholders, the breakdown of the political system that climaxed in the election of 1860, the southern rebellion to Lincoln’s election, the experience of the war itself, the process of emancipation, and the political struggles during Reconstruction over federal power and the place of African-Americans in the Republic. This course emphasizes constitutional, political, social, and cultural events, the decisions made by public officials and voters, by men and women, by whites and blacks. In order to understand this tumultuous era, we will read political and legal documents as well as poetry, fiction, and private letters. Lastly, we will consider the ways in which historians evaluate the period and the ways the public remembers it. The course will be a mix of lecture and discussion.
TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m.
1970s America and the Rise of the Culture Wars
This course provides a multifaceted look at one of the pivotal eras in US history, the legacies of which we still live with today. During the 1970s American society weathered tumultuous changes in politics, economy, and culture generated by unprecedented upheaval at home and abroad. Moving chronologically, we will assess large-scale forces that transformed American life on a year-to-year basis. Arriving on the heels of the 1960s, an earth-shattering decade in its own right, the 1970s was almost destined to be a period of chaos, a moment of reckoning. On this score we will trace the major trajectories of social change whose endpoints in the 1970s added political intensity to the period. There was the civil rights movement, of course, the reorientation of which in the early 1970s both harnessed and redirected the energy of an earlier time. No longer fueled by an assimilationist agenda of the early 1960s, which saw civil rights activists lobby for inclusion in “mainstream” society, those taking the political fight “to the streets” in the 1970s (including feminists and black nationalists, white ethnics and indigenous peoples) sought instead to protect group interests and define America on their terms. One cannot assess shifting priorities in the civil rights movement without confronting the Vietnam War and US involvement in this troubled geopolitical space. We will devote plenty of time to unpacking the immediate and long-term effects of this war, and assessing what it meant for the nation’s understanding of itself as well as its reputation abroad. Economics will center our discussion as well. In the wake of the 1960s and Lyndon Johnson administration Washington felt the burdens of debt; this pressure was compounded by deindustrialization and globalization, all of which contributed to stagflation, a new (troubling) phenomenon. The backdrop of such changes included multiple energy crises and struggles over natural resources, rising tensions associated with decolonization and nationalist interests in the Middle East, the advent of terrorism on an international stage, and the more tangled Cold War politics of the period, which certainly drove the nation to a new political reality by 1980 and the election of Ronald Reagan.
Even as we move sequentially through the decade with lectures and discussions focused on change over time, we will also pause on a weekly basis to flesh out with more detail key turns in 1970s American society that continue to shake and unsettle us as a nation today. Here we will welcome a more “presentist” approach to our subject matter by allowing for direct connections between the historical developments of the 1970s and the ongoing ruptures of our own time. Topics addressed will include the politics of energy and environmentalism, working-class malaise and the decline of organized labor, Watergate and the fragmenting of American politics, the emergence of the culture wars and religious right, Title IX and the politics of gender, sexuality, and family, and—of course—the explosion of popular cultural forms in the decade that saw such phenomena as disco, punk rock, and the Hollywood Renaissance take the nation by storm. Writing towards the end of the 1970s one journalist dubbed it the “Me Decade”; writing a few decades later a historian has called it the “Age of Fracture”. While surveying the diversity of human experience and dramatic range of societal ruptures of the time we will ponder whether their descriptive labels are correct.
TTh 3:30-4:45 p.m.
U.S. Environmental History
This class considers the environment’s role in shaping history. We will discover how our stories of the past change when we include microbes, pigs, and the climate, alongside of more typical subjects like presidents, wars, and ideas. We will ask what nature has meant in the past to a range of people, from the Comanche on the Great Plains, to settler-farmers in New England, to coal miners in Colorado. Throughout the course we will also ask the question: What is nature? And how have ideas about nature changed over time? A premise of this course is that nature is not something “out there,” but in fact is everywhere. Thus, we will explore a robust set of thematic topics that will illumine the the varied meanings of “nature”: the ways it is constructed, how ideas about it have changed over time, how it surrounds us, nourishes us, has been used to justify violence and racism, how it impedes on our lives.
MW 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Gender @ Work in US History
Gender has been fundamental to the organization of nearly all human societies, but what gender has meant in terms of identity, opportunity, and economic activity has varied widely across time and space. This course will explore gender at work in US history, taking a chronological approach to show gender’s evolution and ongoing intersections with class, race, age, religion, region, and sexuality from 1776 to the near present. The term “gender at work” expresses a double meaning here — first, it connotes that this is a labor history course, with an emphasis on the ways gender has operated at the workplace; second, it suggests the ubiquity of gender in shaping Americans’ lives, experiences, and imaginations not only at the workplace, but also in formal politics, informal communities, and every space in between. By exploring the ways gender has been both omnipresent and contingent throughout US history, students should better understand — and perhaps act upon — seemingly intractable contemporary conundrums involving questions of equal opportunity and pay, household division of labor, work-life balance, and the proper relationships among employers, workers, households, and government.
TTh 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Cities and Suburbs in Postwar America
This course will survey historical scholarship on the development of American cities and suburbs from World War II to the present. Making use of primary and secondary sources, and print and visual media, we will seek to understand what defines American cities and suburbs, how the idea and ideals of cities and suburbs have changed over time, and what forces have shaped the places in which we live today. We will explore how a metropolitan approach to modern American history sheds light on major events, movements, and transformations of the twentieth century along thematic lines of race, class, and education; politics and protest; modernity and religion; gender and sexuality; ethnicity, immigration, globalization, and citizenship; urban crisis, renewal, and gentrification; and urban sprawl and environmentalism. Course objectives include learning to analyze and interpret primary sources, including written texts, film, photographs, and the built environment; to read secondary sources critically and effectively; to identify significant people, places, and events in twentieth-century American urban, social, and political history; to recognize major changes and continuities in postwar urban history; and to place contemporary issues and debates in historical and cultural context.
TTh 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Blueprint for Modernity: A Global History
This class examines the history of engineering in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and its relationship with capitalism and development on a global scale, with the use of digital tools. Engineers came to design, implement, and manage nearly all elements of the modern world from their positions within corporations and state bureaucracies; they quickly became the primary agents in development in the 20th century. We will examine the history of engineering, introduce students to basic tools in data science, digital humanities, and data visualization, and students will develop data-intensive research projects using the skills they have learned. The class is designed for students from both Arts & Letters and STEM disciplines as a window onto historical methods and an introduction to using qualitative data for analysis and data visualization. There are no prerequisites. This course emerges from a three-year NSF-funded research grant to the instructors, which includes a commitment to develop new undergraduate courses on the subject and the development of open access course materials. Student projects from this course are eligible for inclusion in our global dataset and for hosting on the project website.
MW 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Economy and Business in History
How do we explain the important role of the state in China’s economy past and present? Why did China not experience an industrial revolution in the 19th century? Why did capitalism never take off? These are just a few examples of important questions we will address in this course. The relationship between visible and invisible hands, i.e. state and market, provides the framework for our in-depth discussion of China’s economic and business history that geographically includes Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Chinese overseas communities across Asia. At the beginning of the 21st century, China has reached a stunning level of growth and entrepreneurship embedded in a complex, constantly changing framework of economic, social, and political structures. A historically informed approach to China’s business and economic development allows us to uncover the institutional and organizational origins of firms, different forms of entrepreneurship and the relationship between government and business in a long-term perspective. This course also offers a comparative approach to the issue of China’s industrialization and economic modernization across time in a global setting.
MW 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Can human societies learn to live well and peacefully within ecological constraints? This burning question guides our investigation of early modern (Tokugawa) Japan. Around 1600, Japan managed to close itself off from the world for about 250 years, neither importing food nor exporting people. It was, in short, an almost hermetic ecological system, but instead of outstripping their natural resources, denuding their mountainsides, overrunning their food supply, and warring over resources, Japanese people managed to attain a level of well-being above that of most other people on the planet at that time. Given these circumstances, might early modern Japan serve as a model for a sustainable society? Some scholars say yes, calling Tokugawa Japan an “eco-utopia;” others disagree pointing especially to the emerging social tensions toward the end of the period. Some of the issues we’ll discuss are population stabilization, reforestation, the power of the central government versus local autonomy, peasant ventures in agricultural and other technologies, new efficiencies in energy production, sanitation, and how monetization undermined social cohesion. Sustainability and social resilience in the face of nature constraints and disasters over centuries is rare. We’ll explore whether Japan was truly “green.”
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Northern Ireland Troubles
This course explores the history of the six north-eastern counties of Ireland which became “Northern Ireland” in 1920/1. Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom and had a built-in Protestant unionist majority, while the Catholic minority, alienated from the state from the outset, looked across the new border and to Dublin, capital of the Irish Free State, as the site of their allegiance. Northern Ireland was thus, from the beginning, dysfunctional, scarred by sectarian violence and systematic discrimination in housing and employment. After examining the origins of the state and the early decades of its existence, the class will turn to its main concern, “the troubles,” which broke out in the late 1960s. The major episodes under scrutiny include the civil rights movement, Bloody Sunday, the hunger strikes, and the Good Friday Peace Agreement.
TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War
This course asks how we should narrate and understand the great ordeal of Civil War and emancipation. Reading both primary and secondary sources, it considers the Civil War era and life of Abraham Lincoln in light of the rise of abolition and antislavery politics; attitudes toward race, slavery, and labor; the political and social meanings of war and emancipation; the challenge of reconstructing the nation amidst the tangled legacies of racial slavery and a destructive war.
TTh 3:30-4:45 p.m.
History of American & European Fashion
This seminar examines the rise of the modern fashion and garment industries in Europe and North America during the late 19th through the 20th century. While fashion is often viewed as a subject of interest only to women, this course contends that it has held significant meaning in the lives of both men and women, and different classes and races. Clothing could signify who was praised as beautiful, modern, and respectable, or who was damned as immoral. We will trace such economic shifts as the movement from custom-made women’s clothing to mass-produced ready-to-wear and the invention of the department store, and consider the impact of mass consumption on modern peoples. We will read how the aesthetics and practicality of women’s and men’s dress were criticized by reformers, and how American home economists taught the art of dressing according to standards of efficiency and beauty. We will address the impact of technological innovations, such as the removable collar and the stiletto heel, and of political concerns, such as the world wars and the Civil Rights Movement. We will pay particular attention to the dress revolutions of the 1920s and 1960s, and the question of whether they signaled concrete liberation or merely a fantasy of liberation. This course is a seminar, so class time will be devoted to discussion. During discussion and in short assignments, students will practice the analytical skills necessary to writing the research paper. Students will have two kinds of reading assignments. Secondary sources demonstrate how historians evaluate and interpret different kinds of evidence found in the historical record. Students will learn to both appreciate and question the historical narratives that these scholars offer. Primary sources are the evidence drawn directly from the historical record. For this class, the primary sources range from a fictional short story about women who try to sew a dress to fashion illustrations, photographs, and feature articles from popular women’s magazines and newspapers. We will use our secondary sources as examples of how to evaluate these kinds of evidence and learn to justify our own interpretations. We will use both kinds of sources as we write our own narratives of the history of dress, and of how its shape and its meaning shifted over the past 100-plus years.
TTh 2:00-3:15 p.m