Section 1, 11-12:15 TR, Professor R. Kennedy
This senior seminar will introduce students to some of the basic issues and historical interpretations related to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The time frame covered will be kept fairly limited, to the period roughly between 1945-1972. The course’s focus is on the strategic interaction between the two superpowers, with particular attention paid to nuclear weapons and the German problem in Europe. For their senior thesis project, students can write on any aspect of the Cold War during the course’s time frame, but are advised to choose something directly related to the issues discussed in class.
Section 2, 6-8:50 T, Professor Wood
"Crime and Punishment” – This course will focus broadly on the history of crime and criminal justice in the United States. We will trace how various social groups in the U.S. have defined crime, conceptualized criminality, and exacted legal and extralegal punishments over time. In particular, we will be focusing on the development of our modern criminal justice system from the nineteenth through the twentieth centuries. Some of the topics we will address include: the rise of the penitentiary system in the 19th century; the history of modern policing; crime and media sensationalism; race and criminal justice; the rise of the field of criminology and its impact on criminal justice at the turn of the twentieth century; and the problem of mass incarceration in the post-WWII era.
Section 3, 5-7:50 M, Professor Topdar
“Gandhi: The Man Behind the 'Mahatma'” - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) is renowned globally as a prophet of non-violence and one of the significant architects of the Indian nationalist movement. This undergraduate research seminar examines Gandhi’s life and political ideology through his own writings as well as through the lens of historical scholarship. We will trace Gandhi’s biographical and political journey starting from the early satyagraha years in South Africa and cover topics including his critique of modernity, experiments with ‘truth’, views on women, communalism and Hindu-Muslim unity, and role as a mass leader
Section 4, 3:35-4:50 TR, Professor Gifford
“The Underground Railroad” – In the last fifteen years, there has been a national effort among historians to redefine the “Underground Railroad,” particularly but not exclusively by focusing on African Americans’ resistance to slavery. In this seminar, we will explore the myths and realities of the UGRR, particularly in the 1950s following the notorious fugitive Slave Law, and each student will have an opportunity to research some aspect related to this growing resistance to slavery in the decade prior to the Civil War.
Section 5, 9:35-10:50 MW, Professor Noraian
"Schooling in American History – Myth Verses Reality” – We will focus on the history of American education from multiple sources and perspectives. We will study and challenge our understandings of what “actually happened” and what we are “teaching happened.” The concept of reality and perceived reality will be discussed as it relates to historical memory regarding education, schooling and American society. Students will be asked to challenge the myth and realities surrounding topics What “stories” do we tell about the past and why? How do these “stories” shape our historical mindedness? We will survey the field post holing with key points, eras and narratives. Students will examine particular time periods in greater detail from both a fiction and nonfiction approach. Sources will include traditional historical monographs, survey texts, biography, children’s literature, images, artifacts, film, etc.
Section 1, 9:35-10:50 TR, Professor He
"Mass Media and Popular Culture in Modern China” – Never before did China undergo such sweeping social and cultural changes in the last one hundred and fifty years. This period time witnessed foreign intrusion, demise of imperial system, foundation of Chinese republican, world wars, communist revolution, Cold War and beyond. This course is designed to examine China’s political and social changes through the lens of the mass media and popular culture in the modern era, from late nineteenth century to the present. I attempt to explore a series of questions such as “How did the introduction of the modern press help reconceptualize “public” and “private” in modern China? “How did the industrialization, commercialization and urbanization in the early twentieth century stimulate the growth the media and culture in China?” “How did political and social activists incorporate the modern media and popular culture into their agenda of mass mobilization?” and “How did expansion of the cultural markets jeopardize or reinforce the existent political power relations?” Students are required to read both western theoretical works about mass culture and recent scholarships regarding modern Chinese cultures. Moreover, students will be exposed to cultural works such as newspapers, popular songs, dramas and films produced in twentieth-century China.
Section 2, 12:35-1:50 MW, Professor Topdar
“Popular Culture and the British Empire” - The British Empire was one of the foremost global powers which for most part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the height of its power, the British presided over large parts of Africa, South Asia, Australia and territories in South East Asia, the Pacific, parts of North America and the Middle East. Through the control of such colossal territories the Empire disseminated its institutions, culture and dominant ideas of its age. Scholars studying the British Empire have argued that the spread of colonialism was not simply a result of superior military organization, political power or economic wealth. Rather, it was equally sustained and strengthened by its cultural impact or what is often termed “popular imperialism.” This undergraduate seminar will explore the role popular culture played in imperial politics and the emergence of new notions of race, gender and national identities that persist to the present. The seminar is designed to help students understand popular imperialism by surveying the social and cultural world of the British Empire. Can films, poems, advertisements, tattoos, items of daily use such as soaps, clothes or food help us understand the past? Through carefully chosen examples, the course brings to the fore the ‘experience’ of the Raj – what did it mean to be colonized and what it was to live in a colonial world?
Section 1, 2-3:15 MW, Professor Soderlund
"The Making of Modern London” – By 1900 London was the largest city the world had ever seen. The center of a vast, far-flung empire, it controlled world finances through its allocation of capital and credit. It was also a major manufacturing hub and an enormously important port that dominated global shipping. A turbulent and boisterous metropolis of dramatic contrasts, with wealth and grandeur coexisting with degrading poverty, London highlighted many of the tensions at the heart of modernity. This course is conceived as the “making” of modern London. It will include a brief overview of London’s ancient history, beginning with the Roman founding of Londinium. It will focus, however, on the 19th and 19th centuries, when the London of today, both above and below ground, took shape. The course will examine London’s remarkable growth and pattern of development. It will also consider the lives of Londoners, particularly the laboring classes and the poor, and give close attention to class relationships.
Section 1, 5:30-9:20 W, Professor Reda
“The Competition for North America” - This course will explore colonial America from the perspective of imperial competition. Beginning in the sixteenth century, the indigenous peoples of North America were joined by European colonizers from Spain, France, England, the Netherlands, Sweden and Russia, as well as by Africans – most of them enslaved. These groups spent the next two hundred years involved in a contest for control of the continent that was won in the end by the upstart United States. This outcome was not inevitable. Our task will be to recapture the contingency involved in the struggle while also seeking to understand how and why the Americans triumphed. In analyzing the competition for North America major themes to be explored include colonization, trade, diplomacy, warfare, and politics.
Section 1, 6-9:50 M, Professor Lessoff
“Public” history is the awkward but accepted term for the many jobs done by historical professionals who are not college professors or schoolteachers. The term can refer to archival, museum, historical site, or government work, preservation, community work, filmmaking, free-lance writing, or anything else you can think of, apart from direct instruction and traditional scholarly writing. The vast expansion over the past fifty years of historical societies, museums, and sites, public and business archives, historical preservation, and other forms of local and popular history, as well as increased attention to such activities on the part of academic historians with an ambition to interact with people other than the traditional audience of other academic specialists. This seminar focuses on aspects of public history with which the instructor, an urban historian with experience in local history and with local history societies, is familiar. Issues covered – museums, planning, downtown renewal, preservation, historic districts – all interest historians because they relate to the way that history infuses the physical setting in which we live and thereby, perhaps, shapes understanding of ourselves and our communities.
Section 1, 5-8:50 T, Professor Olsen
“Beyond ‘Breaking Bad’: A History of Drug Trafficking in the Americas” - This course investigates the history of drug trafficking in the Americas, focusing on the past 40 years. Students will investigate key issues in this area, including the cultivation of marijuana and coca, the historic cultural and social significance of these substances, the production and transshipment of drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and the impact of such upon Latin American economies and societies, with a focus on Mexico's current "War on Drugs." Thus, we will analyze the growth of cartels in Mexico, Central America, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, as well as US responses, particularly the Merida Initiative. In addition, we will study newly declassified documents on the CIA's alleged involvement in drug trafficking in Central America, and its impact in the United States. In various segments of this course we will assess the "reality" of "Breaking Bad" with other artifacts of popular culture in the US and Mexico (particularly Mexican narcocorridos, Santa Muerte, and "St."Jesus Malverde), discerning what each can teach us about these issues.
Section 1, 6-9:50 R, Professor Paehler
“Conflict, History, and Memory” – This graduate-level research seminar, taught under the heading of “Conflict, History, and Memory,” has a dual focus: to hone students’ research and writing skills and to provide a forum in which to think and to discuss issues of historical research and writing. Thus, the class will read and discuss a number of pieces that deal with the topics and the research avenues taken and guide students towards and through their own research avenues taken and guide students towards and through their own research project.