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Course Descriptions

Course descriptions can be found in the catalog.  However, each semester we might offer experimental "special topics" courses as well as differing topics for our 400-level seminars and tutorials.  The undergraduate catalog will not include those descriptions.  Instead, you can find the course descriptions for such courses on the bottom of this page.  

Fall 2020 Special Topics Courses and Seminar/Tutorial Descriptions

For the rest of the courses offered this semester, see "pre-registration information" in the menu or HOMER.

Professor Trotti, HIST 18501: U.S. Election History Fall 2020 R 10:50-12:05

This course examines the history of voting and elections in the United States, with particular attention to how and why voting patterns have shifted over time. Offered every fall semester during national elections (even-numbered years), students will gain the context necessary to understand current events by learning the history of suffrage and the evolution of the American party system.

Professor Klemm, HIST 20001: Ancient Historians: Herodotus Fall 2020 T 4-5:15

This is a one-credit, Block I course.  The History of Herodotus, while best known for the account it provides of the Persian invasion of Greece, with the battles at Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis, is also a remarkable treasury of incredible stories, both true and not-so true, which have inspired countless moments in fantasy and historical fiction over the years. This course engages us in a deep exploration of these stories, with a focus on understanding how the Greeks situated their identity within the broader context of the Mediterranean, as well as on the role that the History played in establishing a new genre of literature. (IRR)

Professor Freitag, HIST 20001: Slow Read: The Bhagavad Gita Fall 2020 T 4-5:15

This is a one credit, Block II course.  The Bhagavad Gita is one of the great texts of world literature.  It is a crucial part of the South Asian epic tradition, making up part of the 6th book of the Mahabharata; a central element of the bhakti (devotional) movement around the god Krishna; an inspiration for Gandhi’s spiritual work; and a text that spoke deeply to American Transcendentalists such as Emerson and Thoreau (who brought the Gita with him to Walden Pond).  This slow read will examine the text as a poetic, religious, and political work.  The course will also introduce elements of the Gita’s Sanskrit language, and discuss the process of translation of ancient texts. In the end, students will gain an appreciation for the historical power of the Gita, and the ways that texts are constructed and remain alive over time. 

Professor Lin, HIST 34500: Gender and Family in Imperial China, 221 BCE to 1911 Fall 2020. MWF 1:00-1:50

Were women always and universally devalued and miserable throughout pre-modern China? How were gender relations and family dynamics intersected with philosophical ideals, religious values, political agendas, and economic developments? How did individuals, both male and female, navigate available choices to construct meaningful lives? This course explores these questions by investigating the changing nature of gender relations and family dynamics across China’s imperial period, from roughly 200 BCE to the early twentieth century.

Professor Breuer, HIST 48100: The French Revolution Fall 2020 M 4-6:30

This seminar will introduce you to numerous interpretations of one of the most significant events of European history--the French Revolution of 1789.  Over the course of the semester, you will come to understand conflicting interpretations of the French Revolution as well as the evolution of the historical profession.  At the course’s completion, this understanding of historiography should inform a research project based on both primary and secondary sources.  

Professor Smith, HIST 48300: Energy in US History Fall 2020 TR 10:50-12:05

This seminar will explore the sources and uses of energy in the United States from the so-called "Age of Wood" through contemporary times.  Drawing on literature from the history of technology and environmental history, we will read several books and articles that examine the choices Americans have made about energy, the reasons for those choices, and the environmental, social, and political consequences of those choices.  Evaluation for the seminar will be based on thoughtful contributions to discussions, short reading response papers, and the development and writing of a significant research paper of 20-25 pages.  Instructor Permission Needed (email Professor Smith)