Carnegie Mellon University

2019 Fall Semester

Below is the list of Undergraduate courses offered by the History Department for Fall 2019. Extensive course listings can also be found on the Undergraduate Catalog.

View the complete Course Descriptions as a PDF »


Instructor Units Lecture 1: MW 12:30-1:20
R. Law 9 Recitations on Fridays

By the end of the 20th century, the spread of democracy seemed all but inevitable as most nations in the world had established a version of it as their governing system. Even many of those that had not still adopted trappings of democracy such as popular elections, representative assemblies, constitutions, and terms of office. Yet the history of collective governance has shown repeatedly that its progress is not unstoppable or its continuation irreversible, and that democracies rose and fell just like other systems of government.

Nevertheless, the ideals of democracy remain a powerful inspiration today. How did democracy become such a widespread phenomenon? What are its features, strengths, and weaknesses? What factors determined whether a democracy would thrive or collapse? This Global History course will answer these questions by surveying the origins and developments of democratic systems in Ancient Rome, Revolutionary France, Weimar Germany, Taisho Japan, and others. By the end of the course, students will come to understand the importance of past lessons and the appeal and challenges of collective governance, and decide for themselves what role democracy should play in their lives.


Instructor Units Lecture 2, MW 1:30-2:20PM
R. Law 9 Recitations on Fridays

Today, halting genocide and curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction rank among the top priorities in international relations. This understanding of world affairs, however, did not always hold true. In fact, if anything, in the last few centuries various individuals and institutions channeled much effort into the invention and refinement of new ideological, organizational, and technological means for mass murder or waging war. How and why did modern societies become so competent in inflicting death and destruction on fellow humans? What has been and can be done to prevent similar occurrences from happening again?

This Global History course will answer these questions by analyzing the causes of and responses to past incidents resulting in mass deaths or tools for armed conflicts. Through lectures, discussion, primary sources, and assignments, the course will examine events within the European encounter with the Western Hemisphere, Imperialism in Africa, the Holocaust, the atomic bombings of Japan, the Cold War, and decolonization and independence. By the end of the course, students will come to realize the historical significance of unintended consequences and the ambiguity of human progress.



Instructor Units Lecture
E. Fields-Black 9 TR 10:30-11:50AM

This course introduces students to methods and materials that historians use to study the past. Its goals are: first, to familiarize students with ways that historians think about their research, how they carry it out, and how they debate findings with other historians; second, to train students in "best practices" for doing historical research in primary and secondary sources. We discuss how to ask questions about the past and develop a one-semester research topic, find appropriate primary and secondary sources, take notes from those sources, and write a paper that answers an original question using skills we have studied. In the Fall 2019 semester, we will use the topic of the history of African slavery in the New World (the US, Caribbean, and Latin America) and the Old World (Africa and the Middle East). Although the institution of slavery dates back to antiquity across many of the world's cultures, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its legal abolition transformed many of the institutions through which people of sub-Saharan Africa were enslaved in the 18th and 19th centuries. Historians of the Atlantic World and the Islamic World have struggled to define "slavery" and the changing category of "slave" and to understand the experiences of the men, women, and children held in bondage by these institutions. The first part of the class will consist of readings from primary sources such as eyewitness accounts, memoirs, poetry, and film to understand the meanings that participants gave to the experience of slavery. We also read secondary accounts of the way in which historians debate the meaning of "slave" and its transformation over time. Work includes reading and discussing course texts, completing short assignments, sharing writing-in-progress, oral reports to classmates, and a final research paper of 10-15-pages.



Instructor Units Lecture
M. Friedman 9 MW 1:30-2:50PM

[Note: students who have already taken this course under its former title, 79-205, 20th & 21st Century Europe, may not enroll.]

This course surveys the history of Europe from 1900 to 2000 and beyond.  While it covers major political trends and social changes in 20th century Europe, it concentrates on the following themes: The end of empire and the rise of the nation-state and ethno-nationalism in Europe; the extraordinary violence of two World Wars and the Spanish Civil War—and their continuing impact on politics, society, and culture; social and political movements/regimes of the far right and of the socialist/communist left; the rise and crisis of the European welfare state and of the European Union; the wars of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia; conflicts within the European Union such as Brexit and the crisis between Spain & Catalonia; contemporary debates over historical memory of the Spanish Civil War, World WWII and the Balkan wars; cultural and political controversies surrounding Islam and Muslims and re-emergent antisemitism in Europe.



Instructor Units Lecture
A. Creasman 9 TR 3:00-4:20

This course will examine European legal institutions and their role in defining and enforcing societal norms of conduct and belief in the early modern era (c. 1400-1800). European society was fundamentally transformed in this period of transition between the medieval and the modern eras, and the laws and legal systems that exist in the Western world today reflect those influences at the deepest levels.  This course will focus on how shifting definitions  of "crime" and "punishment" reflected prevailing societal attitudes and anxieties toward perceived acts of deviance and persons on the margins of society. Assigned readings will examine the evolution of early modern European criminal court systems, the investigation and punishment of crime, the criminalization of social deviance (witches, vagrants, religious minorities and other outcasts), and the legal enforcement of sexual morality and gender roles. We will address not only the historical significance of these developments, but their influence upon current debates concerning social deviancy, policing, torture, and criminal punishment.



Instructor Units Lecture
L. Z. Eisenberg 6 TR 9:00-10:20AM

How do historians determine how and why episodes in the past transpired? This course takes students behind the scenes and acquaints them with the techniques by which historians practice their craft in interpreting historical events. Using dramatic case studies in American history, we will examine a wide array of tools and sources at the historian's disposal, among them oral evidence, photographs and images, maps, official documents, memoirs, psycho-history, media and popular culture. Through in-class workshops and solo and group assignments, students will experiment with different methods of historical analysis using a variety of source material. Students will develop a familiarity with the historian's toolbox and a new-found appreciation for the painstaking efforts that go into producing the history books they may otherwise take for granted.



Instructor Units Lecture
N. Theriault 9 MW 10:30-11:50AM

When you hear the term “Southeast Asia,” what comes to mind? The Vietnam War? The ruins of the Angkor civilization? Beautiful beaches? Or perhaps your own ethnic heritage? However you imagine it, Southeast Asia is an incredibly diverse and dynamic region that has long been integral to world affairs and whose importance continues to grow. This course offers a wide-ranging survey of Southeast Asia’s peoples, their histories, and some of the issues they face today. Together we will explore the region as a “global crossroads,” where the world’s religions, economies, cultures, and politics come together in generative, sometimes traumatic, and often surprising ways.



Instructor Units Lecture
K. Lynch 6 MW 1:30-2:50PM

This course asks a simple question with a complex answer: Why is it that the modern history of the French capital has been so marked by uprisings that challenged and sometimes overthrew the existing political regime? What accounts for this political instability? We answer these questions by studying a selection of well-known examples of Paris uprisings from the period of great the French Revolution (began 1789) through May, 1968. We examine major causes of the revolt, the kinds of people who led and followed it, and its consequences in the short- and longer-term. We also learn about the "culture" that surrounded political and social movements through eyewitness accounts, speeches, literature and the arts. While we are doing this, we'll try to learn as much as we can about continuities and changes in the city itself—its population and built environment. Coursework will consist of attending lectures, responding orally and in writing to assigned readings and several films, and a comparative final essay.



Instructor Units Lecture
K. Lynch 9 MW 1:30-2:50PM

This course explores religious identities, church-state relations, and the situation of religious minorities in Europe in the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. It will show that, far from declining in importance during the process of economic and political modernization or becoming part of private life, religious beliefs and identities continue to play a critical role in public life. Our three case studies explore the topic of church-state relations using a famous case of the kidnapping of a Jewish child by the police of the Vatican and its effect on the nation-building process in Italy; the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Germany during and after German unification in 1871; and today’s conflicts over the place of religious minorities—mainly Jewish and Muslim—in France (the so called "headscarf" debates).

Students will read from both primary and secondary sources. Classwork includes lecture and discussion. There is a mid-term and final exam as well as occasional in-class writing assignments/presentations based on the readings.



Instructor Units Lecture
C. Vaughn-Roberson 9 TR 12:00-1:20PM

[Note: students who have already taken this course under the title, 79-104, Global Histories: The Civil Rights Movement and the World, may not enroll.]

The American civil rights movement was a global phenomenon. Throughout the twentieth century, the fight for racial justice involved multiple areas of conflict that transcended national boundaries. The purpose of this course is to understand how global events and crises influenced the ways in which activists understood political power. How did civil rights activists pioneer a global identity for American blacks and create solidarities with oppressed people worldwide, and how did these solidarities in turn influence activism at home? Answering these questions will require us to analyze various ideologies and political movements and their impact on anti-racist activism within the United States. World historical events, and their impact on the civil rights movement, will cover the 1917 Russian Revolution, the rise of Fascist Europe, the Second World War, the United Nations, the Cold War, and today's struggle for racial justice. By examining these issues, this class will shed light on the dynamic geo-political and socio-economic conditions that shaped the civil rights movement as well as today's activism.



Instructor Units Lecture
L. Z. Eisenberg 9 TR 1:30-2:50PM

This course considers the historical origins of the contemporary Arab-Israeli conflict, beginning with the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Arab nationalism and Zionism in the late 19th century and emphasizing the period of the British Mandate over Palestine (1920-1948). Students will move beyond textbooks to explore primary source documents, maps, photographs, biographies and historical testimony. For five weeks in the middle of the semester, students will immerse themselves in an extended role-playing exercise, "The Struggle for Palestine, 1936," an elaborate simulation game linked to Barnard College's "Reacting to the Past" program. Students portraying British examiners, specific Arab and Zionist characters and journalists will recreate the activities of the 1936 Royal Commission which came to Palestine to investigate the causes of an Arab rebellion and Arab-Jewish strife. This historical reenactment experience constitutes an exciting pedagogical opportunity for delving deeper into the topic material than regular coursework allows. All the role-playing will take place during regular class time, but students should be aware that they will need to devote outside time for preparation and research. Outstanding attendance is also a requirement. Regular classroom activity resumes at the end of the five weeks. The goal of the course is for students to develop a nuanced understanding of the varying goals and priorities of all the actors in Mandate Palestine. Running throughout the course is the question, was peace ever possible?



Instructor Units Lecture
W. Laemmli 9 MW 12:00-1:20PM

How has technology shaped human society? And how have human beings shaped technology in return? This course investigates these questions across history—from stone tools, agriculture, and ancient cities to windmills, cathedrals, and the printing press; from railroads, electricity, and airplanes to atom bombs, the internet, and the dishwasher. In analyzing these tools, we will explore the dynamic relationships between technological systems and the social, political, religious, artistic, and economic worlds in which they emerged. We will also pay particular attention to technology’s effects, asking both who benefited from and who was harmed by technological change. By the end of the course, students will be able to reflect critically on how humanity chooses which technologies to exploit and how human societies have been transformed by these choices.



Instructor Units Lecture
M. Hauser 9 MWF 9:30-10:20AM

This is an introductory survey of American history from colonial times to the present. The course focuses on cultural history instead of the more traditional emphasis on presidents, wars, and memorizing facts or timelines. The major theme of the course is the changing meaning of freedom over three centuries. Required readings include several short books, historical documents, and a study of the concept of freedom. There is no textbook; background facts and events are covered in lectures to provide students with context needed to think about and understand America's cultural history. Assignments include exams and essays.



Instructor Units Lecture
D. Winters 9 MW 10:30-11:50AM

This course is a survey. It examines U.S. history through the eyes of women and gender. It begins in the colonial era (1600s) and runs chronologically to the present. It covers topics such as witchcraft, the story of Pocahontas, women's work, motherhood, slavery, and much more. We will look at the lives of individual women, as well as trends among women, paying attention to questions of race and class. At the same time, we will explore changing concepts of gender, meaning ideas about what women are or should be. Finally, the course asks: how different does American history look when we factor in women and gender?



Instructor Units Lecture
S. Sandage 9 TR 9:00-10:20AM

This small discussion course traces ideas about individualism and capitalism in the U.S., from colonial times to the present. We will focus on three main themes: 1) the relationship between capitalism, work, and identity; 2) changing definitions of success and failure; and 3) the historical origins of students' attitudes toward 1 & 2. In short, we will study the economics and emotions of the American dream: how class, race, gender, occupation, and ambition shape our identities. Readings include "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," studies by Alexis de Tocqueville and Max Weber, writings of Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Henry Thoreau, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Andrew Carnegie's classic essay "Gospel of Wealth," Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," and Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers." Grading is based upon a readings journal, participation in discussion, three short essays and a longer final paper.



Instructor Units Lecture
J. Trotter 9 TR 9:00-10:20AM

The mass incarceration of people of African descent has emerged as one of the most daunting issues in contemporary U.S. society and politics. But too often discussions of this important phenomenon proceeds without sufficient historical perspective. Thus, this course explores the history of African Americans in the nation’s prison system from the emancipation of some four million enslaved people following the Civil War through recent times. Specifically, we examine the process by which the nation’s prison population shifted from predominantly white inmates during the mid-19th century through the inter-World War years to majority African Americans and other people of color by the closing years of the 20th century. In addition to examining the role of law, policing, and racist social policies and practices, students explore the lived experiences of imprisoned people, with an emphasis on the impact of class and gender as well as racial considerations. Along with selected primary documents, assigned readings include a series of scholarly case studies on the carceral experiences of black men and women in the North and South during the industrial and emerging postindustrial eras in African American and U.S. history. Finally, students will write a series of short essays on particular facets of African American life in the American prison system.



Instructor Units Lecture
D. Harsch 6 TR 1:30-2:50PM

Between 1960 and 1980, young Europeans rebelled against the conservatism of their parents and politicians. Heterosexual mores became strikingly looser. Women demanded sexual freedom and abortion rights. In capitalist Paris and in socialist Prague, masses of students challenged their government in the streets. In West Germany and Italy, a minority of radicals took up the gun to bring former Nazis and Fascists to “justice.” From The Beatles to The Clash, British bands created variations on rock and roll that were spectacularly popular from London to Moscow. Rebellion took different forms in every country but also became European as activists, musicians, and fans carried ideas about politics, sex, fashion, and music across national boundaries and the “Iron Curtain.” The course will mix lectures with discussion of scholarly articles/chapters, a novel, and films. Students will write one 4/5- and one 6/7-page essay based on class readings/films.



Instructor Units Lecture
K. Lynch 9 MW 10:30-11:50AM

This course surveys French society, economy, and culture in the years 1939 to 1945 focusing on problems that the war and German Occupation presented. Understanding life under the Occupation and the collaborationist government in Vichy requires us to look back at major political, social and economic conditions of the 1930s that divided the French people. We use film and personal memoirs as well as recent historical studies to recreate and understand life during the war, and try to answer such questions as: What accounts for the French military collapse of 1940? Which groups of French men and women benefitted from collaboration with Germany? How did France's collaboration in the Holocaust come about? We also consider how the French people have tried to come to terms with their wartime experience since the 1940s.

Classes include lecture and discussion as well as several in-class writing responses to the reading and lectures.



Instructor Units Lecture
B. Weiner 9 MW 12:00-1:20PM

This small discussion course traces ideas about individualism and capitalism in the U.S., from colonial times to the present. We will focus on three main themes: 1) the relationship between capitalism, work, and identity; 2) changing definitions of success and failure; and 3) the historical origins of students' attitudes toward 1 & 2. In short, we will study the economics and emotions of the American dream: how class, race, gender, occupation, and ambition shape our identities. Readings include "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," studies by Alexis de Tocqueville and Max Weber, writings of Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Henry Thoreau, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Andrew Carnegie's classic essay "Gospel of Wealth," Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," and Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers." Grading is based upon a readings journal, participation in discussion, three short essays and a longer final paper.



Instructor Units Lecture
B. Weiner 6 MW 3:00-4:20PM

[Note: students who have already taken this course under its former title 79-264, Tibet in History and Imagination, may not enroll.]

This course is an introduction to the "Tibet Question," the dispute over whether Tibet should be part of China, an independent nation-state, or, as the current Dalai Lama now advocates, something in between. "History" often serves as the battleground on which competing visions of the nation are fought - who should be included and excluded, where "natural" boundaries begin and end. This almost always requires a process of simplification in which inconvenient details are forgotten or repurposed in the service of national agendas. The "Tibet Question" is a telling example. In this class, we investigate the historical relationship between "China" and "Tibet" from the 13th century through the present, and note the ways advocates on both sides of the "Tibet Question" have constructed historical narratives (propaganda) in support of their political positions. We will also discuss the prospects for a political solution and consider the lessons the "Tibet Question" may hold for understanding other outstanding "historical" disputes.



Instructor Units Lecture
W. Goldman 9 TR 1:30-2:50PM

This course covers an epic set of events in Russian history from the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 to the death of Stalin in 1953. Spanning almost a century of upheaval and transformation, it examines what happened when workers and peasants tried to build a new society built on social justice and economic equality. Learn about Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and other revolutionary thinkers and dreamers. The course surveys the revolutions in 1917, the Civil War and the Red victory, the ruthless power struggles of the 1920s, the triumph of Stalin, the costly industrialization and collectivization drives, the “Great Terror,” and the battle against fascism in World War II. It ends with the death of Stalin, and the beginning of a new era of reform.



Instructor Units Lecture
M. Friedman 6 MW 10:30-11:50AM

This course will examine the history of anti-Jewish hatred and violence from the Middle Ages through the present. The course will focus on representative case studies, texts, and films. These will include pre-modern incidents of "fake news" such as the medieval rumor of "blood libel" that unleashed massacres and mass expulsions of Jews from countless communities. In examining the rise of modern anti-Semitism, we shall focus on debates over Jewish assimilation and citizenship and consider the popular impact of the print media's dissemination of conspiracy theories of Jewish world domination, including the infamous forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." We will also examine cases of mass anti-Jewish violence, known as pogroms, in Eastern Europe and Russia, and the genocidal onslaught against European Jewry by the National Socialist regime. Finally, we will discuss the resurgence of anti-Semitism in contemporary Europe and the United States.



Instructor Units Lecture
N. Theriault 9 TR 3:00-4:20PM

We live in an increasingly interconnected world, one in which our everyday actions have repercussions across vast distances. To understand this ever-denser web of connections, we must think beyond simplistic accounts of globalization as a uniformly positive, negative, or homogenizing process. Economic crisis, impoverishment, rising inequality, environmental degradation, pandemic disease, and irredentist movements are just as much a part of the story as are technological innovation, digital communication, global supply chains, cultural exchange, the promotion of human rights, and the rise of cosmopolitan values. This course aims to equip you with a conceptual toolkit for thinking critically and holistically about the many dimensions of globalization. By examining how globalization connects and shapes the everyday lives of people around the world, including our own, we will establish a foundation both for your advanced coursework in Global Studies and for your lifelong education as a globally aware professional and citizen.



Instructor Units Lecture
L. Herckis 6 TR 1:30-2:50PM

This course will familiarize students with archaeology as a field, including the techniques and methods archaeologists use to test hypotheses using archaeological data. Secondary objectives are to provide students with a framework for understanding the many archaeological sites that are open to the public across the United States and around the world and to explore problems having to do with the method and practice of archaeological investigation.



Instructor Units Lecture
J. Aronson 9 MW 3:00-4:20

[Note: students who have already taken this course under the title, 79-300, History of American Public Policy, may also enroll in Guns in American History: Culture, Violence, and Politics.]

This course will describe and analyze aspects of the development of law and public policy related to guns in the United States from the colonial era to the present. Students will be expected to synthesize perspectives from social history, ethnography, public health, criminology, policy analysis, and legal scholarship. They will also engage the critical examination of popular culture and media representations of gun cultures and gun violence. Particular emphasis will be placed on changing views about the authority of the government to intervene in the production and ownership of guns, as well as the best way to balance individual and collective interests in a pluralistic society. Assignments may include reading quizzes, in-class debates, policy position papers, and film/documentary reviews.



Instructor Units Lecture
J. Tarr 6 TR 1:30-2:50PM

This course will focus on the transformations, both positive and negative, of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh region in the period from 1945 through the present. It will explore the following themes: the redevelopment of the city in the Pittsburgh Renaissance; urban renewal and its consequences; the collapse of the steel industry and its impacts; the development of an Eds/Meds service economy; air, land and water environmental issues; and the city's changing demography.



Instructor Units Lecture
E. Grama 6 TR 3:00-4:20PM

What is home? What does it mean to belong, or not belong? What does it mean to be mobile? Is mobility a privilege or a curse? How do experiences of migration, exile, and displacement shift one’s understanding of home? This course will examine the emerging patterns of migration, mobility, and displacement in 20th century US and Europe, as well as in today’s world. We will engage with anthropological and historical analyses of global migrations of people, capital, and ideas; social inequalities; and new forms of political control (surveillance, “profiling,” militarization of borders, and race-related forms of rejection and violence).



Instructor Units Lecture
A. Owen 9 TR 12:00-1:20PM

Water is necessary for all forms of life on Earth. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to social and political aspects of water, using in-depth case studies that draw on a variety of perspectives. Examples of regional water projects we'll study include traditional tank irrigation in South India; international negotiations along the Nile River; and the U.S. Government in negotiation with native activists and fisheries on the Columbia River. In addition to regional variety, readings will explore a variety of themes, for example, water and gender; water and armed conflict; and water and private companies versus public management. By the end of this course, students should be able to articulate their own answers to these questions: How have global organizations and participants characterized, enacted, and addressed problems of water supply and delivery for those who need it most? How do particular regions reflect global trends in water resource development, and how might these diverge from global trends? How have social and environmental studies in the literature of development come to understand the problem of water? One set of readings is assigned each week. Students should be prepared to discuss each week's readings in a thoughtful way during class meeting time.



Instructor Units Lecture
D. Oresick 9 M 6:30-9:20PM

Photography was announced to the world almost simultaneously in 1839, first in France and then a few months later in England. Accurate "likenesses" of people were available to the masses, and soon reproducible images of faraway places were intriguing to all. This course will explore the earliest image-makers Daguerre and Fox Talbot, the Civil War photographs organized by Mathew Brady, the introduction in 1888 of the Kodak by George Eastman, the critically important social documentary photography of Jacob Riis and his successor, Lewis Hine, the Photo-Secession of Alfred Stieglitz, the Harlem Renaissance of James VanDerZee, the precisionist f64 photographers Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward Weston, and other important photographers who came before World War II. The class will be introduced to 19th century processes, such as the daguerreotype, tintype, and ambrotype, as well as albumen prints, cyanotypes, and more.



Instructor Units Lecture
C. Hagan 6 TR 12:00-1:20PM

Through primary documents, film and popular media, material culture, and interdisciplinary scholarship from the emerging field of girl(hood) studies, this course will examine historical conceptions of girlhood and accounts of girls' lives, to contemporary concerns and representations. In seeking to understand the meaning and experience of "modern" girlhood, our focus will primarily be on the 20th and 21st century American experiences, though at times we may look to perspectives from earlier periods and elsewhere in the world. Because there is no single experience or representation of girlhood, we will pay attention to the ways that girlhood is lived and constructed differently across social, cultural, geographic, and chronological perspectives.



Instructor Units Lecture
C. Phillips 9 MW 3:00-4:20PM

This course examines the history of American medicine, public health, medical research and education, disease patterns, and patients' experiences of illness from the colonial period to the present. Students read the voices of historical actors, including physicians, patients, policy makers, and researchers. In analyzing these voices, students will learn what was at stake as Americans confronted diseases and struggled to explain and cure them. Readings include a range of primary sources as well as fiction and non-fiction accounts of medicine and health in America.



Instructor Units Lecture
S. Alfonso-Wells 9 TR 3:00-4:20PM

This course introduces students to an anthropological perspective on the relationship between sex (biological) and gender (cultural). In order to understand the various debates we will examine the ideas of manhood, womanhood, third genders and sexuality in cross-cultural perspective. The focus will be primarily on non-western cultures and will examine the construction of status, sexuality, and gender roles within the broader context of ritual, symbolism, marriage, and kinship. Utilizing film, the popular media, and anthropological case studies, this course will provide students with ways to understand and question how and why we express ourselves as "men," "women," and "other."



Instructor Units Lecture
N. Slate 9 TR 1:30-2:50PM

What is the relationship between education and democracy? By examining a series of case studies at the intersection of education and the civil rights movement, this course will prepare students to approach contemporary educational debates as historically-informed critical thinkers. The controversy surrounding charter schools, vouchers, the common core, and the role of standardized testing cannot be understood outside the long history of debates regarding the relationship between education and democracy. Are schools meant to perpetuate the status quo? How did both traditional and more radical forms of education advance the struggle for civil rights? What role have students played in advancing civil rights and democracy? While exploring these questions, we will also partner with local high school students and teachers to bring our learning beyond the classroom.



Instructor Units Lecture
S. Sandage 9 TR 10:30-11:50AM

This course takes a cultural approach to U.S. history since the Civil War, as seen by the nation's most astute and influential critics: its political humorists. Besides immortals like Mark Twain and contemporaries like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, we will (re)discover the satirical yet hilarious voices of H.L. Mencken, Will Rogers, Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, Nora Ephron, Dave Chapelle, and others through essays, recordings and films. At its sharpest edges, humor addresses issues of class, gender and race in American life, and provokes alternative thinking about mass culture, consumerism, and conformity. Assignments include short analytical essays and a final paper.



Instructor Units Lecture
A. Creasman 9 TR 10:30-11:50AM

At the dawn of the sixteenth century, most western Europeans shared a common religious identity as members of the Roman Catholic Church. Within less than two decades, this consensus began to crumble, and the very fabric of western culture was irrevocably altered. By 1550, Europe was splintered into various conflicting churches, confessions, sects, and factions, each with its own set of truths and its own plan for reforming the church and society at large. This period of rapid and unprecedented change in western history is commonly known as the Reformation. Though this term has traditionally referred to the birth of Protestantism, it also encompasses the simultaneous renewal and reform that occurred within Roman Catholicism.

This course will survey the Reformations of the sixteenth century, both Protestant and Catholic, examining the causes of the Reformation, the dynamics of reform, and its significance for western society and culture. In the process, we will analyze such on-going problems as religious persecution and the accommodation of dissent, the relationship between religion and politics, and the interactions between ideology and political, social, and economic factors in the process of historical change.



Instructor Units Lecture
J. Gilchrist 6 TR 1:30-2:50PM

Scandal, conspiracy, and partisan propaganda have been among the stuff of media ever since newspapers first appeared in America 200+ years ago, and now they figure prominently in electronic media as well. The question "What is truth?" is not just a matter of philosophical speculation, but an essential issue at every level of American life, from individuals on social media to citizens, journalists, and politicians responsible for sustaining a democratic society.

This course is literally "ripped from the headlines," examining contemporary conflicts over credibility in print and online, in the context of historical experience. My goal is to help you think in new ways about how to assess - in both past and present -- when news really is "fake" and when it's just "an inconvenient truth".



Instructor Units Lecture
D. Busch 9 MW 6:30-7:50PM

The Vietnam War was never just about Vietnam and the anti-Vietnam War movement was never just about the war. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the anti-Vietnam War Movement took place on several fronts. Americans of different backgrounds protested the war in American universities, city streets, military barracks, halls of Congress, and living rooms. This course examines these sites of protest to 1) understand the various philosophies, tactics, and goals that motivated the anti-Vietnam War movement 2) evaluate where and why the anti-Vietnam War movement succeeded and failed in its political goals, and 3) develop historical interpretations and frameworks to analyze contemporary anti-war movements in the 21st century. By examining the Vietnam War through the lens of dissent and protest, the course encourages students to think critically about the wider impact of war on individuals, society, and democracy.



Instructor Units Lecture
K. Walsh 6 TR 9:00-10:20AM

At-home births, epidurals, C-sections: women's experiences with childbirth have varied widely over time. Many of these differing experiences stem from societal developments that first occurred in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Focusing specifically on England and the United States, we will identify the factors (e.g., human agents, ideologies, etc.) that influenced major changes in the childbirth process and examine how these changes affected mothers and childbirth practitioners of the time. Additionally, we will consider what implications this historical study holds for interpreting contemporary debates surrounding women's health issues, including but not limited to childbirth. Throughout this course, we make liberal use of primary sources to develop arguments about the large-scale changes that occurred between 1600 and the present. Through assigned readings, class discussions, and diverse course assignments, students will develop an informed perspective on the transformation(s) of childbirth.



Instructor Units Lecture
J. Gilchrist 6 TR 12:00-1:20PM

A widely-held notion is that science and religion are perennially at “war” with one another. Debates over evolution, and more recently climate change, are often cited as examples, while predictions that science will eventually render religion obsolete are at least as old as the Enlightenment. Nevertheless, science and religion are both thriving in the twenty-first century, which raises the question of whether these two ways of seeing the world might, for some people at least, be more complementary than conflictual.

We’ll explore the history of the relationship between science and religion and the different “ways of knowing” employed by each. A number of common assumptions will be critically examined as we consider questions of fact and value, and the competency of both science and religion to address some of the major challenges of our day.



Instructor Units Lecture
K. Coopie 6 TR 12:00-1:20PM

Voter participation in free and fair elections is one of the most basic principles of the American republic, yet our country's history is fraught with examples of citizens having to fight to exercise this right. From literacy tests to poll taxes, gerrymandered districts to controversial campaign financing rules, the federal and state governments have been called upon to establish protections for citizens and, when these protections fail, determine a remedy. This course will examine various key elements of voting and elections especially relevant to the current body politic, including campaign finance and gerrymandering.



Instructor Units Lecture
W. Goldman 9 TR 10:30-11:50AM

[Note: students who have already taken this course as a mini course under the title 79-383/A2, Capitalism: The History, may not enroll.] What is capitalism? How does it differ from systems that preceded it, and how did it come to revolutionize the globe? This course will cover the development of capitalism from the 16th century to the present. We will examine the theories of Karl Marx and Adam Smith, who both attempted to theorize the new system of labor organization. We will look at how the transition from feudalism to capitalism took place, and the impact of new world slavery, commodity production, and the role of women and the household. We will examine how the factory system developed as well as the process of deindustrialization in America’s rust belt cities.We will examine “globalization,” the latest dynamic phase of capitalism, and its impact on people throughout the world. Finally, we will discuss the advent of robotization, the loss of industrial jobs, and the impact of casual labor, low wages, and unemployment on democracy, the prison system, and the rise of a technocratic elite.



Instructor Units Lecture
R. Oppenheimer 9 TR 6:30-7:50PM

The course will survey the history of sports in the United States, focusing primarily on the 20th century. Topics considered will include sports and race, gender, and politics; the commercialization of sport; and collegiate sports. We will pay particular attention to the way in which sports have served as an arena for dissent. Also covered will be Pittsburgh’s relation to national sports trends. By the end of the semester students will gain an understanding of the changing role of sports in the United States.



Instructor Units Lecture
C. Phillips, A. McGee 9 MW 1:30-2:50PM

This course examines the history of computing with a focus on the history of computers and computing at Carnegie Mellon University. Students will read historical accounts of computing as well as research the history of computing at Carnegie Mellon using the materials and resources of the University Archives and libraries. Students in the course will collaboratively produce a public exhibition on the history of computing as their final project.


Instructor Units Lecture
N. Kats 9 M 6:30-9:20PM

This course will examine the arts in Pittsburgh, both historically and in the present. We will focus especially on art exhibits and musical events scheduled by the city's museums and concert halls during the semester. The "curriculum" will derive from the artistic presentations themselves, which will provide a springboard for reading assignments, seminar discussions, and research papers in the history of music and art. We will also examine the historical development of cultural institutions in Pittsburgh. The History Department will pay for students' admission to all museums and studios. However, students will be charged a supplemental fee of approximately $275 to help subsidize the considerable expense of purchasing tickets for concerts and performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera, Chamber Music Society, and Renaissance and Baroque Society. Attendance at all art exhibits and musical events is required. Prerequisite: Please check your overall course schedule: you must be available to attend art exhibits on several Fridays and Saturdays, and to attend musical events on several Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Instructor Units Lecture
J. Tarr 6 MW 1:30-2:50PM

Concern over Global Climate Change has increasingly focused on the environment of cities. our largest and most vulnerable population centers. Yet, since their origins, cities have consistently faced environmental challenges from both natural and human made factors. This course will explore some of these environmental challenges over time, examining issues including air and water pollution, floods, heat waves, earthquakes and hurricanes, disease and public health, and warfare. It will examine how these events have shaped and altered cities and urban life over time and consider issues relating to the desirability or undesirability of life in cities.


Instructor Units Lecture
L. Eisenberg 9 TR 9:00-10:20AM

This course considers how historians practice their craft in interpreting great events with the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 serving as the case study. Students read recent scholarly accounts of the war and then check them against one another as well as a variety of primary source materials such as memoirs, documents, speeches, newspapers, maps, eye-witness reports and UN resolutions. We will constantly be asking if the sources support the secondary accounts or if there are other interpretations that might lead to different conclusions. We will be examining the texts for tangents left unexplored and possibly worthy of further research. Students should expect a significant reading load, frequent short assignments and a final research paper of 15-20 pages on a 1967 War-inspired topic.


Instructor Units Lecture
J. Soluri 12 TR 9:00-10:20AM

This research seminar is the capstone course for Global Studies majors. The course is designed to give you a chance to define and carry out a research project of personal interest. The first few weeks of the course will be devoted to developing a research topic and locating sources. We will then work on how to interpret and synthesize sources into a coherent and compelling thesis before you begin drafting your paper. Your research may be based on in-depth reading of a body of scholarly work, field notes from ethnographic observations, archival research, analysis of literary or visual media, or some combination of these sources. Incorporation of some non-English language sources is strongly encouraged where possible. Independent work, self-initiative, participation in discussion, and peer evaluations are required. There are several interim deadlines that will be strictly enforced in order to ensure successful completion of the course. Prerequisites: 79-275 and Theoretical and Topical Core must be complete or concurrently enrolled. Corequisite: 79-275.


Instructor Units Lecture
N. Kats 9 TR 12:00-1:20PM

"Last night I was in the kingdom of shadows," said the writer Maxim Gorky in 1896 after seeing a film for the first time. "How terrifying to be there!" Early film inspired fear and fascination in its Russian audiences, and before long became a medium of bold aesthetic and philosophical experimentation. This seminar-style course surveys the development of Russian and Soviet film, paying equal attention to the formal evolution of the medium and the circumstances—historical, cultural, institutional—that shaped it. We will examine Sergei Eisenstein's and Dziga Vertov's experiments with montage in light of the events of the Bolshevik Revolution and the directors' engagement with Marxism; Georgi Alexandrov's and the Vasiliev brothers' Socialist Realist production against the backdrop of Stalinist censorship; Andrei Tarkovsky's and Kira Muratova's Thaw-era films within the broader context of New Wave Cinema; and the works of contemporary directors, including Aleksei Balabanov, Alexander Sokurov, and Andrey Zvyagintsev, in connection with the shifting social and political landscape of post-Soviet Russia. Besides introducing students to the Russian and Soviet cinematic tradition, this course will hone their skills in close visual analysis. No prior knowledge of Russian language or culture is required. The course is conducted in English, but students will have the option to do work in Russian for three extra course units.


Instructor Units Lecture
S. Schlossman 12 TR 3:00-4:20

The purpose of this research seminar is to help students conceptualize, design, organize, and execute a substantial research project that embodies and extends the knowledge and skill set they have been developing as History majors at Carnegie Mellon. The identification, collection and interpretation of relevant primary source data are integral parts of this intellectual task. Students will strive to hone written and oral presentation skills, deepen their command of research methodologies and strategies, and sharpen their abilities as a constructive critic of others' research. The seminar seeks to develop these intellectual skills through a combination of in-class, student-led discussions of everyone's research-in-progress, and regular individual consultations with the instructor.


Instructor Units Lecture
C. Skibba 9 MW 1:30-2:50PM

"Even today, I've no idea what the truth is, or what I did with it." ¿ Luis Buñuel, My Last Sigh Spanish film is known for its quirkiness, irreverence and, as referenced by the inimitable Luis Buñuel, contemplation of truth. This course will enter into that discourse by analyzing films from 20th and 21st century Spain. While no prior knowledge of Spanish language, culture nor history are required, interest in cultural exploration and critical thinking are necessary. Film analysis will form part of the crux of the course, as we will examine cinematography, sound, script, and music. Some questions that might arise may include - How does the film portray emotion? How does the film reflect cultural nuance? The class will be student-centered, and thus highly interactive. It is also a goal of this course to stimulate analytical thinking, and to promote the close readings of texts directed by argumentation and well-structured insights.


Instructor Units Lecture
J. Aronson 12 TR 1:30-2:50

The Ethics, History and Public Policy Project Course is required for the Ethics, History and Public Policy major and is taken in the fall semester of the senior year. In this capstone course, Ethics, History and Public Policy majors carry out a collaborative research project that examines a compelling current policy issue that can be illuminated with historical research and philosophical and policy analysis for a chosen client. The students develop an original research report based on both archival and contemporary policy analysis and they present their results to their client and a review panel.