Fall 2022 Course Offerings
79-145 Genocide and Weapons of Mass Destruction
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:25pm-2:15pm R. Law
Recitations on Fridays
[Note: Students who have passed 79-104, Global Histories: Genocide and Weapons of Mass Destruction, may not enroll.]
Can you imagine being responsible for the deaths of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people? No? Almost everyone who ended up committing unspeakable atrocities had not been able to either. In fact, many of them still would not face their responsibility even after their complicity was proven beyond doubt. Some convinced themselves, often sincerely, that there was no choice or that someone else was actually responsible. Others found reasons that justified, in their minds at least, taking many lives. Still others managed to forget that they had blood on their hands. How could anyone do such terrible things? And more important, can you be sure that you would not act like them under the right circumstances? Through the history of genocide and weapons of mass destruction, this course will teach you to look out for factors that turn ordinary people into mass killers. You will explore why conflicts break out and potential solutions. You will also learn to see from multiple perspectives and to be humble before history. We focus on genocide and weapons of mass destruction because stopping them is a top priority in global affairs today. Our exploration will begin with the European encounter with the Western Hemisphere and continue to 19th-century imperialism, the Holocaust, the atomic bombings of Japan, the Cold War, and decolonization and independence. At the end of our journey, you will have grasped the concepts and historical facts of genocide and weapons of mass destruction. You will also come to appreciate the significance of unintended consequences and the ambiguity of human progress, a realization that will guide you in life.
79-189 History of Democracy: Thinking Beyond the Self
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:20pm-1:10pm R. Law
Recitations on Fridays
[Note: Students who have passed 79-104, Global Histories: History of Democracy, may not enroll.]
What is the best way to run a country? What is the worst? Democracy has been called both the best and worst form of government. Either way, as almost all countries in the world claim to be a democracy, chances are you come from one of them. What does it mean to live in a democracy? In essence, it means thinking beyond the self and from the perspectives of other people. It means looking for facts but being open to different interpretations. And it means taking responsibility to think critically and independently. These traits are also necessary for understanding history. This course will train you in the skillset and mindset of a historian so you can act democratically. You will learn to tell historical facts from opinions and to see from various angles. The course will also push you to think for yourself, and to argue persuasively for your own position. These skills of thinking historically are useful not just for school or work, but they are also indispensable to a democratic society. Democracy is chosen as the course theme because it is a feature that sets humans apart from other organisms. Knowing the history of democracy is thus knowing what it means to be human, which is the essence of the humanities. Our investigation will begin with ancient Rome and continue to revolutionary France, Weimar Germany, modern Japan, the Chinese nation, and the Iranian nation. At the end of our journey, you will have gained a basic appreciation of the philosophical appeal and practical challenges of democracy, so that you will be able to decide for yourself what role democracy should play in your life and vice versa.
79-201 Introduction to Anthropology
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:50am-1:10pm E. Grama
Anthropologist Ruth Benedict claimed that anthropology's mission is truly to "make the world safe for human difference." Cultural anthropologists "make the strange familiar and the familiar strange," attempting to understand the internal logic of cultures which might, at first glance, seem bizarre to us. At the same time, anthropologists probe those aspects of our own society which might appear equally bizarre to outsiders.
The goal of this course is to raise questions basic to the study of culture and social relationships
in a multitude of contexts. We will also discuss the particular research methods informing anthropology, as well as anthropologists' relationship to the people they study, and the responsibilities informing those relationships.
The readings focus on topics that have long captured anthropologists' attention and that continue to be intensely debated: social inequality, race, colonialism, body, kinship, religion, gender, social lives of things, globalization and migration. Through written work, including ethnographic readings and a novel, films, and in-class discussions, we will examine how anthropology makes us more aware of our own culturally ingrained assumptions, while broadening our understanding of human experiences.
This course is structured as a combination of lectures and seminar discussions. In the first part of the course, I will give a lecture every week, followed by a class session that will focus solely on discussing the readings and key concepts. In the second part of the course, I will introduce the readings by placing them within larger debates, but the course will become more discussion oriented.
79-206 Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Europe
9 units Mondays and Wednesday, 1:25pm-2:45pm A. Creasman
This course will examine European legal and social institutions and their role in defining and punishing crime 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 and the investigation and punishment of crime, focusing in particular on the historical debates concerning the use of torture and capital punishment and the evolution of modern policing and prisons. It will also address the criminalization of social deviance (witches, religious minorities, and other outcasts) and the legal enforcement of sexual norms and gender roles. The course concludes with an examination of current debates concerning criminal justice reform, policing, torture, and criminal punishment.
79-209/A2 The Art of Historical Detection
6 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm L. Eisenberg
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. There is a final project instead of a final exam.
79-210 American Society & Culture between the Two Great Wars, 1918-1941
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:40pm-8:00pm B. Koerber
How do we recover from a global pandemic? Should America open its borders to immigration? Should public schools teach evolution? How much should our government regulate businesses and how should it deal with a dictator who invaded a bordering country unprovoked? These questions not only dominate current political discussions, they were also majorconcerns in American life during the 1920s and 1930s. As America recovered from World War I and a pandemic, its citizens experienced unparalleled economic success that soon receded during a Great Depression that ended as the country prepared to enter World War II.
In this class we will study the period bookended by the two World Wars. We will especially examine the experiences of ordinary Americans, paying special attention to issues of race, class, and gender. Ultimately, we will assess the social, political, and economic patterns during the 1920s and 1930s in the hopes that they can help us better understand our current domestic and foreign challenges.
79-212 Jim Crow America
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:50am-1:10pm E. Sanford
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (The New Pres 2010) has drawn attention to the ways that American institutions and social systems continue to produce racial inequalities. The recent failure of federal voting rights bills in the United States Congress and the proliferation of state-led efforts to constrain voting rights have led activists to claim “Jim Crow 2.0.” Using these present-day assessments as a point of departure, this course introduces students to the Jim Crow period of American history spanning the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. From the 1890s to the 1950s, Black freedom was limited by the policies and practices of racial segregation in Jim Crow America. This course critically examines Black life in Jim Crow America, from the halls of federal power, to the every-day practices of racial subjugation and resistance. It examines cross-cutting themes: how racial segregation structured various social sectors, the role of national and local policy mandating racial segregation, African American modes of resistance, and racial violence.
79-219/A2 Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Idea of “China
6 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:50am-1:10pm B. Weiner
Starting with the core question, "What is China?", this mini-course explores the recent histories of Hong Kong and Taiwan to investigate questions of identity, nationalism, ethnicity, exceptionalism, colonialism, and historical memory in "Greater China." While the international community recognizes the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China (PRC) over both Hong Kong and Taiwan, neither has ever been fully included in the modern Chinese nation-state. The agreement that transferred Hong Kong from the British Empire to Chinese control in 1997 enshrined the idea of "One Country, Two Systems," a guarantee that Hong Kong's political, legal, and economic systems would not be altered by China for fifty years. One Country, Two Systems has also been offered as a blueprint for "reunifying" Taiwan with Mainland China after seventy years of mutual hostility. However, in recent years publics in both Hong Kong and Taiwan not only increasingly resist political reunification with the PRC, but more and more identify themselves as citizens of either Hong Kong or Taiwan rather than members of a singular Chinese nation. This has led to mass protests in Hong Kong and calls for true independence in Taiwan.
79-223 Mexico: From the Aztec Empire to the Drug War
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:10am-11:30am P. Eiss
This course provides a survey of Mexican history and culture over a variety of periods, from the rise of the Aztec empire, to Spanish conquest and colonization, to national independence, to the Mexican Revolution and contemporary Mexico. A wide range of topics will be addressed, such as: race, ethnicity, and indigeneity; state formation and politics; national identity and the politics of memory; migration and the border; and the drug war. Students will discuss historical and anthropological scholarship on Mexico, but will also consider cultural documents of various kinds, like Mexican music, art, and food.
79-225 West African History in Film
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm E. Fields-Black
West Africa is a vibrant, diverse, and rich region, which has had the largest influence demographically, culturally, socially, and linguistically on the Americas. This course will examine West Africa's history from the pre-colonial to the independence period. It will cover such topics as states vs. stateless societies, urbanization, trans-Saharan trade, Islamization, European interaction, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, cash crops, missionaries, nationalism, and independence. Students will understand how this dynamic region changed over time as a result of internal factors, such as state formation, as well as external factors, interaction with Muslim and European traders. Students will also be exposed to the variety of sources used by historians to reconstruct West Africa's rich history. The course will use historical films by some of West Africa's most famous filmmakers, such as Ousman Sembene, to illustrate the diversity of the region and its historical change over time. Course includes two class meetings and mandatory film screenings on Wednesdays from 6:40-9:30pm.
79-227 Modern Africa: The Slave Trade to the End of Apartheid
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:10am-11:30am E. Fields-Black
The course is designed to give students an understanding and appreciation of African history and culture from the "inside out." Though it deals with the period of European expansion in Africa, it is centered on African language/ ethnic groups, villages, and individuals as historical actors who daily make collective and personal decisions to pass down, innovate, and borrow practices, technology, spiritual systems, etc. in the face of social, political, and economic realities. The course is also designed to get students thinking critically about how historians select and interpret sources to construct and reconstruct history at these different levels.
79-229 The Origins of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, 1880-1948
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm L. Z. Eisenberg
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 that 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?
79-248 U.S. Constitution & the Presidency
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm S. Sandage
This course explores the changing role and powers of the American Presidency under the Constitution, from the founding era through the twentieth century. After absorbing drafting and ratification debates, we will focus on how particular presidents (Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Nixon) established or expanded the executive power and how particular conflicts (the Civil War, the "Court Packing" plan, Watergate) restructured or restricted the presidency. Readings will include the U.S. Constitution (of course), selections from The Federalist Papers, and three short books: Corey Brettschneider's The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents, Daniel Farber's Lincoln's Constitution, and Cass Sunstein's Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide. Grades will be based on three short papers, a final paper, and daily preparedness and participation in group discussion.
79-260 Nazi Germany
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm D. Harsch
This course covers Nazism in Germany from its beginnings as a small movement after the First World War through its rise to power in 1933 to its fiery destruction and defeat in 1945. What were the sources of its appeal as a political party? How did the Nazi regime suppress the political opposition in 1933? Why did so many ordinary Germans collaborate with the regime in its hunt against political, religious, sexual, and racial enemies? Why did they support the regime to the bloody end of the most murderous war in history?
79-261 The Last Emperors: Chinese History and Society, 1800-1900
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm B. Weiner
This course is an introduction to late-imperial "Chinese" history and society with a focus on the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). We begin by examining the Qing not just as the last of China's imperial dynasties but also as an early-modern, multi-ethnic empire that included Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang. In fact, China's "last emperors" were actually Manchus from northeast Asia. Secondly we investigate the social, economic, intellectual and demographic developments that transformed late-imperial China prior to the coming of the West. Thirdly, we examine Qing responses to a string of nineteenth-century disruptions, including but not limited to western imperialism, that threatened to not only end the dynasty but also challenged the very tenants of Chinese civilization. Lastly, we will look at the fall of China's imperial system, the end of empire, and the post-imperial struggle to reformulate the state and re-imagine society for the twentieth century.
79-268 World War I: The Twentieth Century's First Catastrophe
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:10am-11:30am D. Harsch
This course offers a comprehensive retrospective of the First World War in Europe. Guiding questions will be: How did a containable crisis between Austria-Hungary and Serbia become the most murderous war Europe had ever experienced? How did the war spill over into the Middle East? Why did the US enter the war? Why did every General Staff follow unimaginative military strategies that turned the war into a bloody horror for soldiers? How did the war affect women’s situation and rights? How did the war become a Total War that fomented social and political revolution and led to the downfall of four Empires?
79-272 Coexistence and Conflict: Muslims, Christians and Jews in Spain and Portugal
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:10am-11:30am M. Friedman
In Medieval Spain and Portugal, Islam, Judaism and Christianity coexisted in a situation distinguished by cooperation and exchange, as well as by friction, rivalry and violence. In this course, we shall explore the complexity of this unique historical encounter, as well as its role in shaping debates over modern Iberian and global identities, and historical memory. We shall discuss topics such as: Inter-ethnic collaboration and violence; Jewish-Christian disputations; the exclusion and expulsion of religious and ethnic minorities; as well as Muslim and Jewish presence in present day Spain and Portugal. Historical documents, literary texts, film, musical traditions, as well as contemporary political and cultural debates, will be discussed to enhance familiarity with the topic.
79-288 Bananas, Baseball, and Borders: Latin America and the United States
79-288 Bananas, Baseball, and Borders: Latin America and the United States
9 units Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10:10am-11:00am J. Soluri
This course will examine the tumultuous and paradoxical relationship between Latin America and the United States from the time of independence to the present, with an emphasis on Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean during the Cold War (1945-1989) and its aftermath (1990s-present). We will literally talk about bananas, baseball and borders; the title also alludes to the key dimensions of the relationship we will study: economic, cultural, and geopolitical. We will learn about the actions of U.S. and Latin American government leaders and diplomats along with many other kinds of people including activists, artists, and journalists; athletes, movie stars, and scientists; and migrant workers, tourists, and drug traffickers. Mondays and Wednesdays will feature interactive lectures, videos and in-class activities; Fridays will be entirely devoted to student-driven discussion. Evaluation will be based on participation; two written analysis of historical documents, and a final reflection.
79-289 Animal Planet: An Environmental History of People and Animals
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm J. Soluri
Why do modern societies go to great lengths to protect some animals and slaughter others? Why do some cultures make pets of animals that other cultures turn into a meal? What are the environmental ramifications of hunting, domestication, and trading animals? Is there a connection between human pandemics like COVID-19 and animals? Why are there so many cute animals inhabiting social media? These are some of the questions that we will seek to answer as we trace changes in human--animal relationships over time. We will explore these themes through both texts and visual representations (art, film, photography) of animals. Evaluation will be based on active participation in class discussions, submission of weekly field notes, and a final curated exhibit of images of people and animals.
79-291 Innovation and Entertainment: A Business History of American Popular Culture
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:10am-11:30am M. Hauser
This course will examine one topic in popular culture and entertainment per week, from newspapers to streaming services. The course will consider these industries through the lens of business history, documenting innovation and the development of entertainment as commodities. While we will trace many changes over the years, we will primarily focus on the birth of new industries. Guiding questions will be: How did the country's economy, society, and politics structure the development of popular culture? How did performers and entrepreneurs develop industries around new innovations in popular culture? And how did popular culture shape the country's economy, society, and politics?
79-296/A Religion in American Politics
6 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:50am-1:10pm J. Gilchrist
Religion figures prominently in American politics, especially in congressional election years. A common view, reinforced by some media and polling organizations, holds that "religiosity" correlates with conservative politics, but that's highly misleading, as religious people are in fact all over the political map. Thomas Jefferson's mention of a "wall of separation" between church and state indicates that religious institutions are generally kept separate from government in America, but religious motivations have always played an important part in our politics. This course will provide a historical perspective on religion in public life down to the present day, including religion's influence on political parties and public policies, and the boundaries set by the Constitution on such activity.
79-300 History of American Public Policy
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm J. Aronson
This course will describe and analyze aspects of the development of public policy in the United States from the colonial era to the present, with a focus on the post-Civil War era. For the purposes of this course, public policy will be defined as the making of rules and laws and their implementation by government: 1) in response to the failure of private actors (i.e., markets) to reach desirable outcomes; 2) to regulate markets to influence their outcomes; or 3) in an attempt to achieve a particular normative vision of what society ought to be like. This course assumes that the public policy landscape is complex but still comprehensible given the proper set of analytical frameworks and appropriate historical background. Particular emphasis will be placed on: changing views about the authority of the government to intervene in economic and social issues; the best way to balance individual and collective interests; and the variability within society of the life courses of individuals. Topics to be covered include: immigration and health care/health insurance, among others.
79-306 Fact into Film: Translating History into Cinema
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm J. Hinkelman
From the very beginning, film has provided a window into the past. But how useful are the images we see through that window? For every person who reads a work of history, thousands will see a film on the same subject. But who will learn more? Can written history and filmed history perform the same tasks? Should we expect them to do so? How are these two historical forms related? How can they complement each other? This course will draw examples from across the history of film in order to examine how the medium of film impacts our understanding of facts and events, the ways that film transfers those facts to the screen, and how that process affects the creation of historical discourse. Films may include such titles as The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Saving Private Ryan, World Trade Center, Enemy at the Gates, Lagaan and Hero.
79-312 War and Peace: A History of Peace Movement
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:40pm-8:00pm J. Choudhry
We generally assume war is a constant in our history and in the modern world. However, in every era there have been voices attempting to understand, explain and ultimately prevent it. In the modern world there has been a great deal of debate about the relationship of violence, capitalism, colonialism, empire, and racism to war. We will examine some of these debates among peace activists. Advocates for peace have attempted to build movements addressing the factors leading to war. What kinds of efforts have been made for a more peaceful world and how have they fared?
We will examine how world leaders, businesspeople, civil rights, and other peace activists have thought about war and peace. We will examine case studies of select wars and select peace movements.
79-316 Photography: The First 100 Years, 1839-1939
9 units Mondays, 6:40pm-9:30pm D. Oresick
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.
79-330 Medicine and Society: Health, Healers, and Hospitals
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm E. Sanford
How have notions of health and healing changed over time in the United States? Why are doctors seen as professional “heroes”? Why are hospitals so central to patient care and professional training? How has American healthcare developed into its present form? This course explores the history of American medicine and its relationship to American society. By exploring major developments in the history of American medicine and public health, students will examine the voices of historical actors, including physicians, patients, activists, policymakers, and researchers. In analyzing these voices, students will learn what was at stake as Americans confronted diseases and struggled to explain and cure them. Students will also examine medical research, education, disease patterns, patient experiences, and technologies from the colonial period to the present day. Readings include a range of primary accounts and secondary sources of medicine and health in America.
79-331 Body Politics: Women and Health in America
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:50am-1:10pm L. Tetrault
[Note: Students who have taken 66-121, First Year Seminar: Body Politics: Women and Health in America, may not enroll.] This course takes a topical, intersectional approach to the history of U.S. women's health in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is less about governmental politics, although we do some of that. Rather, it sees bodies as cultural texts through which power is built and contested. The course covers topics such as the history of anatomy, menstruation, reproductive rights, body image, mental health, sexuality, violence, childbirth, and menopause. We explore how science and American culture both have constructed these issues over time (some of it is super whacky!), while also examining women's organizing around them. This course is open to all students.
79-343 Education, Democracy, and Civil Rights
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm N. Slate
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.
79-352 Christianity Divided: The Protestant and Catholic Reformations, 1450-1650
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm A. Creasman
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.
79-355/A2 Fake News: “Truth” in the History of American Journalism
6 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:10am-11:30am J. Gilchrist
Scandal, conspiracy, and partisan propaganda have been among the stuff of media ever since newspapers first appeared in America, 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 in many aspects of contemporary life, from elections to pandemics to climate change and foreign wars. This course is literally "ripped from the headlines," examining conflicts over credibility in print and online in the context of historical experience. We'll explore ways of determining when news really is "fake" and when it's more likely to be "an inconvenient truth."
79-370 Technology in the United States
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm E. Russell
This course examines the ways in which technology and society have shaped each other in the United States from the colonial era to the present. Topics include Native Americans and technologies, farming, industrialization, transportation, automobiles, aerospace, information technology, drugs, and biotechnology. Students will read a textbook, write brief essays about technologies of their choice, and discuss their essays and the text in class. The course welcomes students from any major.
79-400 Global Studies Research Seminar
12 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:25 pm-2:45pm N. Theriault
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.
79-415 Arab Culture: Through Dialogues, Film, and Literature
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:10am-11:30am N. Abraham
F22: Minorities in the Middle East and North Africa
In today's society that explores Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), one ought to ponder if Arab societies have made progress to ensure DEI among minorities of other races, religions (Muslims, Christians, Jews), sects (Sunni and Shi'a), ethnicities (Copts, Nubians, Kurds), Palestinians, and LGBTQ groups. This course aims to enrich students' understanding of the diversity of Arab countries and the historical changes that have shaped identities of these groups and explore the progress made in granting them more rights. Students will learn the impact of colonialism, Pan-Arabism, socio-economy, and cultural norms on minorities' status through readings, films/documentaries, music, data collected via surveys and virtual sessions with students in Arab countries.
79-418 Russian Cinema: From the Bolshevik Revolution to Putin’s Russia
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm N. Kats
"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.
79-419 20th Century Russian Masterpieces
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:25pm-2:45pm N. Kats
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian Empire underwent a series of dramatic changes in quick succession: industrial modernization, the unsuccessful 1905 rebellion, terrible losses in the First World War, finally culminating in the 1917 October Revolution. The literature and culture of the era were deeply impacted by these upheavals as artists and writers of the era attempted to capture and convey the world rapidly shifting around them. This course will acquaint students with canonical texts from 20th-century Russian literature and will also examine the highly specific context in which they were produced. From the fin-de-siècle aesthetics of a crumbling Russian Empire to the avant-garde experimentalism of the Russian Revolution and Civil War era, to the establishment of Socialist Realism and the implementation of a Totalitarian regime under Stalin, the course invites students to think about both the realities of life and artistic production in a rapidly transforming country as well as the ways in which these works bring contemporary readers to the inner lives of Soviet citizens.
79-420 Historical Research Seminar
12 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:05pm-4:25pm S. Schlossman
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.
79-424 History of German Film
9 units Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:10am-11:30am S. Brockman
This course, conducted in English, is a chronological introduction to one of the world's greatest cinema traditions: German cinema. It moves from the silent cinema of the 1910s to the Weimar Republic, when German cinema represented Hollywood's greatest challenger in the international cinema world. It then addresses the cinema of Hitler's so-called "Third Reich," when German cinema dominated European movie theaters, and moves on to the cinema of divided Germany from 1949-1989, when cinema in the socialist east and cinema in the capitalist west developed in very different ways. In the final two weeks of the semester, the course will address German cinema in the post-unification period, which has experienced a revival in popularity and interest. The two historical foci of the semester will be the Weimar Republic, the classic era of German cinema, and the era of the so-called "New German Cinema" of the 1970s and 1980s, when major German directors developed radical new approaches to cinema and critiques of Hollywood. Among the great directors focused on in the course of the semester will be Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, Wolfgang Staudte, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. No knowledge of the German language is required for this course. Most of the films will be in German with English subtitles. The course will be cross-listed in the departments of Modern Languages, English, and History. Students will be required to attend class, including all film screenings, to actively participate in discussion, to write a term paper on a topic related to German cinema history, and to take two tests.
79-449 EHPP Project Course
12 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:10am-11:30am J. Aronson
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.
79-496 Chinese Language and Culture Before the Republic
9 units Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:10am-11:30am T. Yao
[Note: students who have taken course number 79-476, section A, Chinese Language and Culture, during the Fall 2021 Semester, may not enroll.] With China as a growing political and economic power, understanding the country through its history and culture becomes necessary for students as responsible citizens of the world. This course is designed to help students, previously unexposed to Chinese culture and civilization, better understand China's past. By learning about the history of the Middle Kingdom, students will be exposed to the deep and fascinating foundation of Chinese civilization. We will not cover thousands of years of history, but discuss a chronological timeline of dynasties for reference. Areas of focus include the general knowledge of geography, religion, art, ancient lifestyles, and values. This course is conducted in English with no requirement of prior knowledge of Chinese language.
79-497 Chinese Language and Culture in the 20th Century
9 units Mondays and Wednesday 1:25pm-2:45pm Z. Sun
[Note: students who have taken course number 79-476, section B, Chinese Language and Culture, during the Fall 2021 Semester, may not enroll.] This course will introduce students to important developments in China's culture and language since the end of the nineteenth century focusing on the interactions between Chinese and Western cultural traditions and the historical, social, and political contexts in which these interactions evolved. The following questions will motivate discussion: What is Chinese culture in the modern world? What is "modern" and what "traditional" Chinese culture? How does high culture interact with folk culture and popular culture? How have education and language policies shaped Chinese cultural identities over the last century? What does it mean to be Chinese in a diaspora context? This course is conducted in English with no requirement of prior knowledge of Chinese language.