The following courses are seminar topics for fall 2019. Topics will vary semester to semester and a course may be repeated if a topic is different.
Section 1, 11-12:15 MW, Professor Ciani
To achieve the key goal to research and write an original paper using primary and secondary sources, students will learn about diverse forms of activism conducted by women for women in the twentieth century, including how certain actions influenced change at the personal, community, and societal level. Students will select a topic that explores a type of or incidence of activism among and for women. Any area of the world is acceptable; however, primary sources need to be accessible and secondary sources need to be available in both monograph and article form. A foundation in the histories of the 20th century and women's history is helpful but not necessary.
Section 3, 2-3:15 TR, Professor Noraian
This section of History 300 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 5, 5-7:50 M, Professor Gifford
In this seminar you will have an opportunity to explore abolitionism from the Revolution through the Civil War. Topics we will discuss include the origins of abolition, who were the abolitionists, who was responsible for advancing antislavery sentiment and the goal of emancipation, the intersection of race, class and gender in the abolition movement, the Underground Railroad and the coming of the Civil War, as well as self-emancipation. Each student will have the opportunity to develop a unique thesis that will advance our understanding of antislavery in the Atlantic World.
Section 1, 2-3:15 TR, Professor Adedze
Africa’s contribution to global history is still misunderstood by many. This course looks into the diversity of the continent and its interaction with the rest of the world from the dawn of humanity to the present. It challenges how people imagine Africa and highlights Africa’s contributions through global connections of peoples, ideas, and resources. Topics to be discussed will revolve around:
1. Slavery, colonialism and conquest
2. Economic, intellectual and political power
3. Circulation of communities, cultures and innovations
4. Science, technology, and health
5. Africa in the world today
Section 1, 11-12:15 MW, Professor Paehler
This seminar- style class focuses on a detailed study of Nazi Germany with a particular focus on politics and society; compliance, dissent, and resistance; war and occupation; and the Holocaust.
Section 2, 9:35-10:50 MW, Professor Pluymers
"Environmental History" - This course will explore the methods and questions involved in doing environmental history—the study of the interactions between people, non-human animals, and the material world in historical context. In this class, we will be doing a series of topical case studies from multiple places and time periods. Students will complete two short essays and presentations on a primary and secondary source related to one of these case studies. Students will also write a longer paper on an environmental history topic of their choosing. Topics will include conservation and sustainability, animal studies, environmental movements, climate change, histories of environmental science, and many more.
Section 1, 12:35-1:50 MW, Professor Winger
Section 1, 6-9:50 M, Professor Clemmons
This course will sample readings in many different areas of Antebellum American history (c. 1815-1850). While political and economic topics will be covered, the majority of readings will focus on social issues, including, but not limited to, slavery, Indian removal, changing gender roles, prison reform, and religion. This course will provide a basic foundation of knowledge about this dynamic and transformational era.
Section 1, 6-9:50 M, Professor Varga-Harris
This reading seminar covers key moments in the history of the Soviet Union, including the First Five-Year Plan, which was intended to launch the country into modern industry; the purges and terror of the 1930s; Nazi occupation during the Second World War; the denunciation of Stalin and liberalization that occurred under Khrushchev; and the striving to build socialism amid Cold War competition. The course is framed by the themes of revolution, survival and daily life. As such, it will explore the values, ideals and policies bequeathed by 1917, including how these were applied to the periphery of the former Russian Empire/Soviet Union, as well as exported other countries. It will also examine the struggles wrought by Stalinist repression and war – concomitant with resistance, accommodation and collaboration. And it will delve into how Communism was experienced – its successes and failures – in “sites” ranging from apartment blocks to youth culture. These subjects will be addressed through the discussion and analysis of key monographs in the field of Soviet history that offer rich insight into topics as varied as “everyday” Stalinism, Soviet women in combat, the tribulations of gulag returnees, “closed”/”secret” cities, socialist tourism, Soviet multiethnicity and socialist internationalism.
Section 1, 5-8:50 T, Professor Olsen
This seminar is focused on the relatively new field of Latin American environmental history through the lens of human rights. Both the natural and built environments will be studied, in order to provide an introduction to the scholarship on relationships between peoples and environments. We will discuss the research questions, methodologies, and sources used by historians, social scientists, and activists in this field, in order to provide students with concepts and instruments that will allow further exploration of course topics. Specific topics include: the Conquest of the New World and “Columbian Exchange”; The quest for El Dorado, and the persistence of mythical environments; perceptions of “inexhaustible” environments; consequences of colonial extraction economies, contemporary extraction (oil, minerals, timber) and impact of such activities on the environment, defense of the environment, rising activism; linkages of social justice, human rights, and environmental movements. We will also consider issues in sustainable development, and challenges to activism and environmental protection by authoritarian states and other actors.