Carnegie Mellon University

2021 Spring Semester

Below is the list of Undergraduate courses offered by the History Department for Spring 2021. Extensive course listings can also be found on the Undergraduate Catalog.

Instructor Units

Lecture 1: MW 12:50-1:40PM

Lecture 2: MW 2:10-3:00PM
R. Law 9 Recitations on Fridays Recitations on Fridays

Human activity transcends political, geographical, and cultural boundaries. From wars to social movements, technological innovations to environmental changes, our world has long been an interconnected one. Acquiring the ability to understand such transnational and even worldwide processes is an indispensable part of any college education. This course provides students with an opportunity to develop the skills and perspectives needed to understand the contemporary world through investigating its global history. All sections are comparable in their composition of lectures and recitations, required amounts of reading, and emphasis on written assignments as the central medium of assessment. The sections all aim to help students: (1) master knowledge through interaction with the instructors, reading material, and other students, (2) think critically about the context and purpose of any given information, (3) craft effective verbal and written arguments by combining evidence, logic, and creativity, and (4) appreciate the relevance of the past in the present and future. For descriptions of specific sections, see "First Year Experience" at the Dietrich College General Education Website

Lecture 1, Global Histories: HIstory of Democracy


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.

Lecture 2, Genocide and Weapons of Mass Desctruction


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.


Instructors Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
E. Fields-Black 9 TR 10:40AM-12:00PM

79-200 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 will 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 students have learned.

We will examine the topic of the history of African slavery in the New World (the US and Caribbean).  The first part of the class will consist of readings from secondary accounts about the slave experience.  In the second part, we will read and discuss primary sources such as travelers’ accounts, slave narratives memoirs, and WPA interviews and watch film to understand the meanings that participants gave to the experience of slavery. In addition to our discussions of these assigned readings, students will develop, carry out, and report to the class on their research topics, so that, by the end of the semester, the group will have built an understanding of New World slavery in its many dimensions. Work includes reading and discussing course texts, completing short writing assignments, sharing writing-in-progress, oral reports to classmates, and a final research paper of 12-15-pages.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
E. Grama 9 MW 2:20-3:40PM

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, while at the same time probing 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 anthropologist's relationship to the people s/he studies, and the responsibilities inherent in that relationship. The readings have been chosen to focus on topics that have long captured anthropologists' attention and that continue to be intensely debated: social inequality, race, colonialism, body, kinship, gender, history and memory, social lives of things, globalization, and global migration. These themes reveal the diversity of human practices and experiences across time and space. The format of the course will be a combination of lectures and discussions centered around the assigned readings and visual material. Through written work, readings, films, and in-class discussion, we will examine how anthropology makes us more aware of our own culturally-ingrained assumptions, while broadening our understanding of human experiences.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
E. Grama 9 MW 10:40AM-12:00PM

Organized as a combination of lectures and seminar discussions, this course explores the political, intellectual, social, and cultural changes occurring in 19th century and 20th century Central and Eastern Europe. It begins with an examination of the emergence of nationalist movements during the 19th century, to then explore the darker side of romantic nationalisms as they unfolded into the radical political ideologies such as socialism and fascism of the interwar period. We will ask to what extent these earlier histories continued to subtly influence post-1945 Central and Eastern Europe under socialism. The second part of the course will focus on the social and political transformations occurring at distinct moments in the history of the Soviet bloc: the 1950s Stalinization, the 1960s De-Stalinization, the emergence of the more subtle forms of dissent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, and the revolutions of 1989. Course materials include not only historical and anthropological readings, but also historical documents, memoirs, and documentaries. The assignments include: mandatory attendance of lectures, regular participation in the class discussions, weekly diary entries and two take-home exams (midterm and final). The diary entries aim to make you better understand the mentalities and social and political changes at an individual level, by vicariously experience the events through "your" historical character. At the beginning of the semester, you will be assigned two specific characters that you will "impersonate" throughout the semester (one at the time), bringing in material from lectures and readings to bear on "your" character's own experiences.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
H. Posner 6 MW 4:00-5:20PM

Railroads in the USA are often considered as a subject for nostalgia or public sector failure, an image largely based on passenger service. However, the USA's private sector freight rail industry is considered a model for the world as the result of its renaissance following deregulation in 1980. This is a "stealth" industry whose history and economics are both intertwined and complex.  Students will gain a basic understanding of the industry’s history and economics and its role in the national transportation network, with special attention to the past half-century. In addition, students will participate in small group research projects in particular areas of special interest – for example, economic history, industry and safety culture, network economics, utility regulation or transportation policy.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
P. Eiss 6 MW 2:20-3:40PM

This mini-course is a survey of Mexican cinema from its origins in silent film to the present.  Some areas of focus will include documentary footage and films of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), films of the Mexican "Golden Age" (1930-1960), and "New Mexican Cinema" from the 1990s forward.  We will explore cinema as a window on Mexico's changing social, cultural and political dynamics, and as a way to probe such topics as: changing conceptions of Mexican identity; political critique and revolutionary movements; and urbanization, migration and the "drug war" in contemporary Mexico.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
D. Glave 6 Thursdays, 6:30-9:20PM

This course explores the historical and contemporary impact of resistance on and in black film emphasizing Black Lives Matter during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Resistance was in response to racism often intersectional with sexism against black women, classism against poor blacks, and homophobia against black LBTQ. A sampling of films we will analyze include: 

  • Women/Gender (Hidden Figures)
  • Colorism/Classism (School Daze)
  • Black Love (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • LBTQ (Moonlight)
  • (Intersectionality of) Black Lives Matter (The Hate U  Give)

 The class content will be based in part on the following questions:

  •  What is the significance and meaning of the history of resistance in black film?
  • Throughout history, how did blacks resist racism, keeping in mind intersectionality?
  • How can we use (the tools for studying) history to help to better understand resistance in black film?
  • How can we contextualize the history of black film through contemporary issues and popular culture?

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
M. Hauser 9 TR 8:20-9:40AM

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 and historical documents. 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 will include three short essays and a final research project on a form of popular culture of the student’s choosing, developed over the course of the semester through three short blog posts. 

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
A. McGee 9 MWF 3:20-4:10PM

This course presents a global history of one of the twentieth century's most tumultuous years. A period of tremendous political, social, intellectual, and cultural ferment, 1968 saw protests against authority rock the globe, unsettle governments, and upend social norms. Course materials will trace the origins and underlying conditions of this revolutionary moment as well as examine its still-relevant historical consequences. 

Readings and discussion will converge on the theme, "Why 1968 matters." Within the United States, topics will include the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the rise of Black Power, the hippie and antiwar movements, and the Vietnam War. Globally, topics will include the Cold War, the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, and a wide range of political clashes in Northern Ireland, China, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere. Additional readings investigate broader trends reshaping the world of the late 1960s, including cybernetics and the computer revolution, the environmental movement, and Second Wave Feminism, Lectures and discussions will make extensive use of period music, film, television, art, literature, and cultural artifacts to capture a sense of the era.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
R. Oppenheimer 6 TR 2:20-3:40PM

This 6-unit mini course surveys Irish history from the earliest human settlements until the present day, with emphasis on the period since the late eighteenth century. Our main objective is to understand the sources of conflict in modern Ireland. In order to do that, however, we will look at a number of topics such as the role of religion in Irish society; the causes of population growth, movement, and decline; changing forms of protest; and the formation of rival myths of the Irish past and its meaning.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
D. Harsch 9 MW 4:00-5:20PM

Between 1960 and 1990, young Europeans rebelled against the conservatism of their parents and politicians.  In 1968, they exploded into the streets in capitalist Paris and socialist Prague.  In West Germany and Italy, a minority of left-wing radicals took up the gun to bring former Nazis and Fascists to “justice.” Young people demanded and practiced sexual liberation. Young women marched for their emancipation and led the struggle to legalize abortion. Young Europeans also contributed to the liberalization of anti-homosexual laws. The British Beat revolution rocked the world with its innovative music, anti-establishment lyrics, shocking fashions, and wild lifestyles. By the 1980s, youth rebellion had taken on disturbing trends with the emergence of right-wing Skinheads and a surge in drug addiction. The course combines lecture and discussion of readings and films.  Students will write three essays (1000 words each) based on class assignments. They will write a final essay (1500-1700 words) based on their own research into the press, fanzines, films, etc. (in place of a final exam).

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
D. Harsch 9 MW 12:20-1:40PM

This course examines the Second World War from the perspective of the country that was central to it in every way. The course will cover: Hitler's ideology, war plans, and military strategy; the military/technological history of the War in Europe and North Africa; the role of the SS; the Holocaust; the occupation of Europe and Resistance movements; the political, social, and economic history of the Third Reich, including popular opinion, the German Resistance, and the use of slave labor in factories and on farms. Readings will include historical studies, a novel, and a memoir/diary.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
C. Grant 6 MW 2:20-3:40PM

It is said that more books have been written on Napoleon Bonaparte than on almost any other historical figure. In this course, we will explore several themes, including how a revolution dedicated to liberty, equality, and fraternity culminated in the rise of a leader who exercised an authoritarian and personal power. What weaknesses was Napoleon able to exploit in France's fledgling democracy, and how did he build a personal "brand" that allowed him to accumulate power around himself? We will examine his transformation of Europe, but also his actions beyond Europe in Egypt and Haiti. Finally, we will interrogate the notion of "great men" of history, highlighting some of the voices that a focus on Napoleon himself fails to capture.          

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
B. Weiner 9 TR 10:40AM-12:00PM

This course is an introduction to major themes in twentieth-century Chinese history, including the transition from empire to nation, revolution, social change and modernization, western and Japanese imperialism, the rise of the party-state, Chinese socialism, economic liberalization and the so-called "Chinese Dream." The first half of the class is devoted to the period between the fall of the imperial system and the founding of the People's Republic of China (1911-1949). If the victory of the Chinese Communist Party and development of the socialist state are to be considered in historical context, it is necessary to first understand the political, cultural, economic and intellectual currents that immediately preceded them. During the second half of the course, we will examine the Maoist period (1949-1976). We will investigate the Chinese Communist Party as both a state-building institution and an engine of social transformation, and consider the tensions these dual roles produced. Finally, we will look at the Reform Period (1978-present), and reflect on a newly robust China's attempts to come to terms with its own recent past and what the consequences might be for both China and the world.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
B. Weiner 9 TR 8:20-9:40AM

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 (REMOTE ONLY)
W. Goldman 9 TR 2:20-3:40PM

How are states built? How are empires forged?  This course, beginning with the first settlements of tribal nomads in the ninth century and ending with the abolition of serfdom in 1861, surveys the grand ‘game of thrones’ in Russian history. It explores the building of a Russian Empire from the first princely kingdoms at murderous war with each other to the emergence of a strong state, headed by a tsar and centered in Moscow. Over the centuries, we make the acquaintance of Mongol marauders, greedy princes, and brave peasant rebels, as well as Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and the long succession of reformers and reactionaries who occupied the Russian throne.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
M. Friedman 9 TR 4:00-5:20PM

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 Spanish/Portuguese 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.  

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
N. Theriault 9 MW 12:20-1:40PM

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 *REMOTE ONLY)
N. Theriault


MW 4:00-5:20PM

It's often said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. What, then, can we learn by excavating some of those pavers and interrogating the theories of change that underlie them?  And what can we learn from more successful attempts to enact social change?  In this course, we will use the tools of history, anthropology, and critical theory to examine various efforts to ‘change the world’.  From top-down social engineering to neoliberal ‘market citizenship’ to grassroots organizing, case studies will challenge us to detect theories of change (even when they are concealed) and evaluate their consequences (intended and otherwise).  With those lessons in mind, we will then apply our tools to the theories of change that we enact, often unwittingly, as members of a university.  Which roads are we paving and where do they lead? 

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
J. Gilchrist 9 TR 12:20-1:40PM

Religion can be understood from the "outside," through the academic lenses of history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, etc., and from the "inside," listening to the experiences and reflections of those who practice various faiths. The course will examine major religious traditions from several perspectives, and begin to explore such topics as the relationship between religion and science, faith and reason, and religion in public life. This introduction is designed for students with a general interest in religion, as well as those contemplating a Religious Studies minor.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
J. Soluri 9 TR 2:20-3:40PM

This course will use historical documents, film/video, and popular music to 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. Evaluation will be based on mini-presentations, written analysis of historical documents, and a final project that documents changing relations between the United States and a Latin American country.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
W. Laemmli 9 MW 10:40-12:00PM

In recent years, conversations about the relationship between technology and work seem to have been conducted with particular fervor: claims of revolutionary ease and freedom sit side-by-side with dystopian visions of exploitation, surveillance, and alienation. Will technological development lead to a new "sharing economy" or widespread deskilling? Will it bring general prosperity or enrich the few at the expense of the many?  These concerns - though especially apparent today - are by no means new.  In this course, we will examine their history, focusing in particular on North America and Europe in the past two centuries. We will examine the ways in which new technologies - from the assembly line to the washing machine to the personal computer - transformed what it meant to work, and how workers, their families, and the companies who employed them reacted to these changes. Our historical actors will include famous figures like Henry Ford, but also unnamed women, children, people with disabilities, and racial and ethnic minorities. Throughout, we will pay attention to who benefitted, who was harmed, and what broader economic, cultural, or social purposes these technologies were designed to serve.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
J. Hinkleman 9 TR 10:40AM-12:00PM

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.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
L. Tetrault 9 MW 10:40AM-12:00PM

This course examines the history of women's rights agitation in the United States from the early nineteenth-century to the present.  It investigates both well-known struggles for women's equality--including the battles for women's voting rights, an Equal Rights Amendment, and access to birth control--and also explores the history of lesser-known struggles for economic and racial justice.  Because women often differed about what the most important issues facing their sex were, this course explores not only the issues that have united women, but also those that have divided them—keeping intersectionality and women’s diversity at the center of the course.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
T. Haggerty 6 MW 10:40AM-12:00PM

US Gay and Lesbian History offers an overview of the changing context and circumstances of sexual minorities in American culture. From early constructions of moral opprobrium, criminal deviance or medical pathology, the LGBT community emerged in the twentieth and twenty-first century as a political constituency and a vital part of contemporary society. Students should be aware that this course will necessarily address issues of intimate relations and sexuality as well as broader historical issues.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
D. Oresick 9 M 6:30-9:20PM

Invented in 1839, photography was a form of visual expression that immediately attracted a large public following. Starting around 1900, photography was practiced with two dominant strands. One of these firmly believed in the power of photographs to provide a window on the world, and was led by Lewis Hine, whose documentary photographs for the National Child Labor Committee helped to ameliorate living and working conditions for thousands of immigrant children. The other strand adhered to the philosophy of Alfred Stieglitz who adamantly affirmed that photographs were first and foremost reflections of the soul and were art objects, equal to painting, drawing and sculpture. These two schools of thought guided photographers throughout the twentieth century. This course explores in depth the tremendous range of photographic expression since World War II and examines in particular the contributions of significant image-makers such as Helen Levitt, W. Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Charles "Teenie" Harris, Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems, Nan Goldin, James Nachtwey, and many others. Classes include a slide lecture, student presentation, and video segments that introduce a focused selection of images by major photographers in an attempt to understand their intentions, styles, and influences. As available, students will be expected to make one or more visits to photography exhibitions on view in Pittsburgh (locations to be announced at the first class.)

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
L. Tetrault 9 MW 12:20-1:40PM

[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.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
S. Sandage 9 TR 4:00-5:20PM

This course is about open source, collaborative innovation and the impact of social and technological change on American music. We will spend the first 7 weeks on early "remix" music (slave songs, Anglo-Appalachian ballads, ragtime, and Depression era blues and country). After studying Bessie Smith, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Hank Williams, and other early artists, we'll spend the last 7 weeks on revolutionaries like Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin. The format is informal lecture and discussion. Assignments include reading two books plus some articles, weekly music listening, short papers, and a final project. NB: This course may be taken pass-fail (with submission of appropriate form).

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
B. Burstin 6 TR 12:20-1:40PM

This course will explore challenging historical material related to Hitler, the Nazis and America's response. Issues relating to immigration, refugee status, contrasting styles of political leadership, foreign policy goals, news coverage, anti-Semitism, theories of racial supremacy, decision making, global responsibilities will be considered both in the perspective of then and now as we look both at America and at Europe. This course will prompt you to think not only about the events then, but also about the implications for us today as individuals and as citizens of the world. A film, a meeting with a survivor or child of survivor as well as the inclusion of first hand readings will serve to strengthen the learning impact.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
A. Creasman 9 MW 2:20-3:40PM

This course examines the origins of Christianity in historical perspective. Using both Christian and non-Christian sources from the period, we will examine how and why Christianity assumed the form that it did by analyzing its background in the Jewish community of Palestine, its place in the classical world, and its relationship to other religious and philosophical traditions of the time. We will also examine historically how the earliest Christians understood the life and message of Jesus, the debates about belief and practice that arose among them, and the factors influencing the extraordinary spread of the movement in its earliest centuries. This course satisfies one of the elective requirements for the Religious Studies minor.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
C. Grant 6 MWF 9:10-10:00AM

Can young lawbreakers be rehabilitated, or should they be removed from society to prevent them endangering others? Since the 1820s, reformers, philanthropists, and state officials in the Western world have wrestled with the question of how to reduce juvenile crime and turn delinquents into good citizens. The institutions and policies they created reflected their conceptions of young criminals, their backgrounds and families, their gender and their race. How did experts develop a body of knowledge about at-risk youth, what practices did they put into place, and what spaces did they build to house and contain the children? How have the children themselves responded, developing a sense of their own identity through compliance with or resistance to reformers' intent?   In this course, we will explore ideas, practices, and institutions created to save juvenile delinquents, presented in reports and studies as well as fiction and film. Students will read and view a variety of primary and secondary sources from North America and Europe from the early nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries. Assessment will include participation in class discussion, written assignments, and exams.         

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
W. Laemmli 6 MW 4:00-5:20PM

The human body has been always an object of fascination. Across time and space, people have wondered what lurks beneath the skin, why we get sick or remain well, and how to explain human variation. The methods used to investigate these questions have, however, varied widely. In this course, we will explore that diversity - from the dissection of medieval corpses to 19th century phrenology to contemporary biohacking - examining how different communities have sought to study, control, and change their bodies over the past several hundred years. In doing so, we will focus on how these scientific efforts were shaped by the political, cultural, and economic values of their times. We will also pay attention to the profound and often ongoing effects of these experiments, particularly on the people who served - both willingly and unwillingly - as their "human subjects."

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
D. Jardini 6 MWF 9:10-10:00AM

For over 150 years, the Pittsburgh region was world-renowned for the scale and intensity of its iron and steel manufacturing complex.  This mini course will trace the origins, explosive growth, stagnation and ultimate collapse of this remarkable industrial complex.  Students will gain an understanding of Pittsburgh's rich industrial history - what makes it "The Steel City," understand the emergence and evolution of iron and steel making technology, appreciate the impact of Pittsburgh's iron and steel industrialization on living and working conditions for workers, and analyze the factors that drove the emergence of Pittsburgh steel then to its decline and collapse.  The course is structured loosely around a set of periods in Pittsburgh's history through which key themes are drawn.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
C. Vaughn-Roberson 9 TR 12:20-1:40PM

Since the 2016 Presidential Election, politicians, journalists, and academics have looked upon the white working class as the key to understanding the historic boom and bust cycles of American capitalism. What's left out of this discussion is a crucial component to the American political economy-black workers. African-Americans' contribution to the economy spans four hundred years, from the initial settlement of the American continent down through the present day. Throughout this period, black Americans found the courage and creativity to construct their own complex body of political ideas about the contradictory nature between democracy and capitalism. In effect, black Americans made their own history. The legacy of black workers also teaches us that the understanding of race is intimately intertwined with the understanding of class. Throughout this course, we will talk about a wide spectrum of African-American leaders, intellectuals, organizations and institutions spanning from the Great Depression to the today's post-industrial era. This course is, thus, constructed around the voices and languages used by black people themselves. The key issues to be discussed are the rise of organized labor, urbanization and segregation, and law enforcement.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
J. Soluri 9 TR 10:40AM-12:00PM

How can human societies ensure that 8 billion people have enough good food to eat without exploiting people or the planet? This course will start with the assumption that the answer to that question requires not only technological innovations, but also an understanding of the cultural and political dimensions of food. For the first half of the course, we will explore the history of human eating, starting in deep time and then moving toward the present, considering along the way the historical evolution of food production and consumption, paying attention to both cultural diversity and cultural exchanges of foods and cuisine.  Students will pursue individual research projects focused on a topic of their choose related to major course themes during the second half of the semester. Evaluation based on in-class participation, analytical reflections on weekly readings, and the research paper.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
P. Eiss 9 MW 10:40AM-12:00PM

Observation, participation and direct experience of "the field" are hallmarks of anthropological ways of knowing, and their representation has played a foundational role in ethnographic writing both past and present. Yet reflexive and postmodernist explorations of these topics have triggered contentious debates over the nature of anthropology as a scientific or humanistic enterprise, and over its ethical, political and epistemological value. In this seminar, we will approach such questions through an exploration of the extremes of ethnographic fieldwork and writing. We will consider such topics as: the colonial history and politics of explorers and ethnographers; liminality and the place of extreme experience--such as cultural dislocation, violence, derangement, intoxication, sex, possession, and dreaming-in fieldwork and writing; field-notes as an ethnographic genre, and their relationship to "official" published ethnography; ethnographic surrealism and surrealist ethnography; the dimensions of sensory experience (visual, auditory, olfactory, etc.) in fieldwork and ethnography; collecting and the powers of "exotic" objects; inter-subjectivity and its implications; and experimentation with alternate ethnographic forms, such as autobiography, film, diary, and poetry.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
W. Goldman 6 TR 10:40AM-12:00PM

What is capitalism? How does it differ from the systems that preceded it, and how did it come to revolutionize the globe? This course examines the development of capitalism from the 16th century to the present. We will read Karl Marx and Adam Smith, who both attempted to theorize the new, emerging system. We will survey the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the role of slavery in capitalist development, and changes in women’s power and household production. We will examine the development and demise of the factory system and deindustrialization in America's rust belt cities as well as "globalization," the latest dynamic phase of capitalism.  Finally, we will discuss the impact of technology, casual labor, low wages, and unemployment on democracy, the prison system, and the rise of a new technocratic elite.

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
E. Russell 9 TR 2:20-3:40PM

This course will compare the experiences of Americans during its two deadliest pandemics, the Influenza 1918 epidemic and the Covid-19 epidemic.  Each week we will compare a facet of the two epidemics, such as government responses, medical knowledge, public health measures, African American experiences, global dimensions, and more.  Students will do guided original research comparing a facet of the two epidemics, and the class will self-publish a collection of student essays as a book.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
R. Oppenheimer 6 TR 2:20-3:40PM

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 (REMOTE ONLY)
A. McGee 6 MW 12:20-1:40PM

How did the computer come to be, and why did the practice of computer science develop historically the way it did? This course provides a general overview of the history of computer technology and computer science as an intellectual field of inquiry. Focusing on the scientific, technological, political, cultural, and business contexts that formed modern computing, the class explores computers as objects, ideas, and embodiments of broader emerging digital society. From early modern efforts to calculate the natural world through World War II codebreaking to present-day Silicon Valley, this course examines the computer as a transformative object and contextualizes its origins and development. 

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)

N. Kats

S. Schlossman

9 MW 8:20-9:40PM

This course will explore the interrelations between society and classical and popular music in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe and the United States. We will examine the importance of different musical forms in the life of society and how music and art reflected changing political and cultural consciousness in several national settings. We will also examine trends in artistic expression by examining the collections and historical development of several notable European and American art museums (including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Vatican Museums in Rome).

The course will be taught Remote Only. We are necessarily adapting the course to the COVID-19 environment. The musical performances and exhibits we use rely mainly on an outstanding group of carefully curated recordings produced in Europe and the U.S. over the past sixty years. The "curriculum," in other words, will derive from the artistic presentations themselves -- symphonies, operas, chamber music, ballet, and art exhibits -- which will provide a springboard for reading assignments, discussions, a personal artistic journal, and written assignments that will help you synthesize your diverse forays into the history of music and art.

 One further word: should the opportunity arise, and in accordance with university- and city-mandated health regulations, we will consider modifying the course design and attending several live musical performances on- or off-campus.

Instructor Units Lecture (IN PERSON + REMOTE)
N. Abraham 9 MWF 12:50-1:40PM

In today's society that explores Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, one can ponder if Arab societies have made progress to achieve DEI towards minorities of religions (Muslims, Christians, Jews), sects (Sunni and Shi'a), ethnicities (Copts, Nubians, Kurds), Palestinians in Israel, homosexuals, and physical disabilities. This course aims to enrich students' understanding of the diversity of Arab countries and histories of intercommunal relations and conflict, explore the progress made in equating minorities to majorities, including them in various sectors, and granting them more rights. We will use readings, films, arts, and music, to engage with students in 4 Arab countries to further their learning.

(Modern Languages Course, cross-listed with History)                                                                                             

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
T. Gershkovich 9 MW 12:20-1:40PM

In the 19th century, Russian writers produced some of the most beloved works of Western literature, among them Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Gogol's Diary of a Madman, and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, to name just a few. These novels continue to captivate audiences and inspire adaptations in theater, film, and television. This course will examine the fertile century that yielded these masterpieces. In addition to the works mentioned above, students will encounter texts by writers who may be less well known but are no less significant, including Pushkin, Lermontov, and Chekhov. We will consider the social and cultural circumstances in which these works were produced and reflect on the reasons these Russian masterpieces have appealed to audiences well beyond the Russian-speaking world. 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.  

(Modern Languages Course, cross-listed with History)

Instructor Units Lecture (REMOTE ONLY)
N. Kats 9 TR 12:20-1:40PM

"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.

(Modern Languages Course, cross-listed with History)