Courses

Spring 2020

Abraham Lincoln and America, 1809-1865
No political figure in American history has attracted more scholarly or popular attention than Abraham Lincoln. This course explores the tumultuous middle decades of the American nineteenth century through the life and career of this one man, at once so exceptional and so representative. While tracing Lincoln's biography from the Illinois frontier to the White House, we will explore how his own life was shaped by, and in turn shaped, great national questions of expansion and empire, enterprise and society, slavery and emancipation, and Civil War and Reconstruction.
Instructors: Matthew Jason Karp
African American History to 1863
This course explores African-American history from the Atlantic slave trade up to the Civil War. It is centrally concerned with the rise of and overthrow of human bondage and how they shaped the modern world. Africans were central to the largest and most profitable forced migration in world history. They shaped new identities and influenced the contours of American politics, law, economics, culture and society. The course considers the diversity of experiences in this formative period of nation-making. Race, class, gender, region, religion, labor, and resistance animate important themes in the course.
Instructors: Tera W. Hunter
Amazonia, The Last Frontier: History, Culture, and Power
This course focuses on the Brazilian Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest and the ancestral home of over one million indigenous peoples, now threatened by deforestation and fires. Further degradation will have disastrous consequences for its peoples, biodiversity, rainfall and agriculture, and global climate change. Combining perspectives from the social sciences and the humanities, we will critically examine projects to colonize, develop, and conserve the Amazon over time and reflect on the cultural wisdoms of its guardians. Students will work together to develop alternative visions to safeguard the forest for Brazil and the planet.
Instructors: Miqueias Henrique Mugge
American Cultural History
Rise of popular entertainment, values, ideas, cultural expression, and the culture industries in modern American history. Two lectures, one precept.
Instructors: Rhae Lynn Barnes
American Technological History
This reading course introduces History Dept. graduate students to historical literature on American technology from the Colonial Era through the Twentieth Century. A chronological survey of technological development highlights the variety of ways scholars have understood technology and its interactions with society and culture from a historical perspective.
Instructors: Emily Thompson
Ancient Greek and Roman Medicine: Bodies, Physicians, and Patients
This course looks at the formation of a techne ("art" or "science") of medicine in fifth-century BCE Greece and debates about the theory and practice of healthcare in Greco-Roman antiquity. We look at early Greek medicine in relationship to established medical traditions in Egypt and Mesopotamia; medical discourses of human nature, gender, race, and the body; debates about the ethics of medical research; the relationship of the body to the mind; and the nature of "Greek" medicine as it travels to Alexandria, Rome and beyond. Readings drawn from primary sources as well as contemporary texts in medical humanities and bioethics.
Instructors: Brooke A. Holmes, Xiaoxi Zhang
Approaches to American History
An intensive introduction for history concentrators, particularly those who wish to be well-prepared for their independent work. Students will immerse themselves in documents of three critical historical events: the Little Rock school integration crisis (1955-59), U.S. policy toward Native Americans and the Dawes Act (1877), and the conflict over Stamp Act taxes and imperial authority (17565-66). Students will learn to interpret documents, frame historical questions, and construct historical explanations.
Instructors: Beth Lew-Williams, Daniel T. Rodgers
Becoming Latino in the U.S.
History 306 studies all Latinos in the US, from those who have (im)migrated from across Latin America to those who lived in what became US lands. The course covers the historical origins of debates over land ownership, the border, assimilation expectations, discrimination, immigration regulation, intergroup differences, civil rights activism, and labor disputes. History 306 looks transnationally at Latin America's history by exploring shifts in US public opinion and domestic policies. By the end of the course, students will have a greater understanding and appreciation of how Latinos became an identifiable group in the US.
Instructors: Rosina Amelia Lozano
Borderlands, Border Lives
The international border looms large over current national and international political debates. While this course will consider borders across the world, it will focus on the U.S.-Mexico border, and then on the Guatemala-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border. This course examines the history of the formation of the U.S. border from the colonial period to the present. Borders represent much more than just political boundaries between nation states. The borderlands represents the people who live between two cultures and two nations. This course will also study those individuals who have lived in areas surrounding borders or crossed them.
Instructors: Rosina Amelia Lozano
Borges for Beginners
This seminar grapples with the question of authorship and meaning in the literature of Jorge Luis Borges, the legendary Argentine writer whose convoluted fictions continue puzzling readers. Borges is a foundational figure. Gabriel García Márquez and Paul Auster, and philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, are all indebted to Borges. Using different perspectives, from philosophy and aesthetics to politics and cultural analysis, we will study Borges's thematic and formal obsessions: time and memory; labyrinths; reading as a form of writing; and the universality of Argentine local traditions such as tango and gaucho culture.
Instructors: Maria Gabriela Nouzeilles

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