PERSPECTIVES ON HISTORY:
Guatemala in the Cold War
T/TH 3:35 pm – 4:55 pm
This course trains history majors in the craft of reading and writing history. In most of our reading and writing in this course, we will focus on a tumultuous period in Guatemalan history, the coup of 1954, in which the role of the cold war-dominated United States—its State Department, its Central Intelligence Agency, and major shareholders of the United Fruit Company—was substantial. Using both primary sources (newspaper articles and declassified CIA documents) and secondary sources (which illustrate the changing interpretations of historians over time), we will investigate the motivations for the coup, how it was planned and executed, and what impact it had both in Guatemala and in the United States. Students will spend much of the semester mastering three sets of skills: how to assess the ways historians have analyzed the past using archival sources; how to perform close readings of documents themselves; and how to write clearly and persuasively about historical interpretations of a variety of sources. Students will practice connecting these skills in a 15 page final paper analyzing the origins, outcomes, and impact of the coup. Course requirements also include a variety of short writing assignments that build up to the larger piece of writing, and formal and informal presentations of source analysis.
PUBLIC HISTORY PRACTICE
This is an individualized opportunity to gain knowledge of local and regional history while contributing to a public history project based at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden. The options include historic house research and curatorship for the Cooper Street Historic District and research and digital publishing for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. In addition to readings in local and regional history, students will be provided with training and ongoing supervision and feedback while working approximately six hours per week on-site on their selected projects. This course is by arrangement, with permission of the instructor, and is open to juniors and seniors with a GPA of 3.0 and above.
WESTERN CIVILIZATION I:
The Carolingian Empire to the Death of Louis XIV
T/TH 2:00 pm – 3:20 pm
The first half of the course will explore the Middle Ages, including the empire of Charlemagne, the Viking invasions, and the feudal system marked by the economic and social relationship between knights, kings and the peasantry. The class will discover how the Catholic church grew from a network of isolated monasteries to a powerful institution that challenged Kings, called for the Crusades, and built great Romanesque and Gothic structures.
In the second half of the course, students will learn how kings rose from small landlords to heads of state, creating a government and military system that replaced knights with a polite nobility. The class will understand the economic crisis and plague that hit Europe at the end of the Middle Ages and paved the way for the artistic, intellectual, political, and military changes that unfolded during the Renaissance. We will cover the scathing criticism of the Catholic Church that led to the Protestant Reformation. Finally, students will learn about the Scientific Revolution, including Descartes and Newton, and the rise of the absolutist state.
WESTERN CIVILIZATION I: (honors)
Questioning the Traditional Narrative
M/W 12:30 pm – 1: 50 pm
In this course, we will be exploring the concept of “Western Civilization” from its ancient foundations to the Middle Ages. Throughout, we will be questioning the traditional narrative of the history of the “West” as we work both to construct an understanding for ourselves of what the West and Western Civilization are and to develop an awareness of what the West has meant over time. In recent years, the concept of Western Civilization has become a political flashpoint. Since Western Civilization was introduced as a college course after WWII, it has presented students with a version of the history of the “West” that concentrates particularly on “high” culture and “great” men. Critics of the Western Civ course have also pointed out that it presumes and perpetuates the belief that Western Civilization is the model the rest of the world should and will follow in the future. But what is the “West”? Where is it? When is it? What ideas and ideals does it present and are these ideas and ideals always exemplified in societies identified as the West? Is the West or Western Civilization itself only an idea that has taken different forms at various times? Students will approach these questions by learning to read and analyze primary sources, as well as engaging with the arguments of current scholarship. Among the topics we will explore are the formation of political systems, the role religion and religious institutions play in the development of civilization, major intellectual trends, the concept of “others” and “difference,” and the motives for including certain civilizations in the history of the West.
WESTERN CIVILIZATION II
M/W 3:45 pm – 5:05 pm
This course explores the development of modern politics, society and culture in Europe and beyond from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. With such a vast time span under consideration, this course is not intended to be an exhaustive survey of modern European history. Rather, we will use a combination of lectures and primary texts as points of entry into the major historical events and trends of the era—the Enlightenment, the rise of capitalism, the French Revolution, industrialization, nationalism, imperialism, the World Wars, and decolonization. Coursework includes attending lectures, participating in discussion, analyzing primary sources, writing short papers, completing daily homework assignments, and taking a final exam.
HISTORY OF FRANCE: MIDDLE AGES TO 1715
cross-listed with 50:420:360:01
T/TH 11:10 am – 12:30 pm
This course traces the rise of France from a fragmented kingdom in the Middle Ages to the most powerful state in Europe at the end of the seventeenth century. The class will explore the myth of Joan of Arc, the French Renaissance, the bloody Wars of Religion, demonic possession, the duel, and life at the palace of versailles. Students will discover how France became the beacon of culture and model of absolutist government in early modern Europe.
SPECIAL TOPICS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY:
Athens: Democracy and Empire
M/W 2:05 pm – 3:25 pm
This course will examine the circumstances that led to the rise of a democratic society in fifth-century BCE Greece. Special attention will be paid to Greek and, in particular, Athenian political and military history, as well as social aspects of the Athenian world, such as religion, slavery, sexual mores and gender politics, ethnic identity, art, literature, and philosophy.
Readings from ancient sources in translation include formal history (Herodotus; Thucydides; Xenophon), political manifesto (Xenophon; Demosthenes), drama (Sophocles; Euripides; Aristophanes), epic poetry (Homer; Hesiod) and philosophy (Plato). Each week students will read some primary source material along with modern scholarship supplementing it. Students will learn to read primary sources closely and analyze them critically in their historical context. Our study, however, will not be limited to the world of textual evidence, but will also include an exploration of the visual world—the art and architecture—of Athens in its golden age.
DEVELOPMENT OF UNITED STATES I: 1607-1877
W/F 9:35 am – 10:55 am
This course traces the path of American history from prior to European colonization, through the colonial period, Imperial Crisis, Revolution, Civil War, and Reconstruction. We will examine the period’s important political, economic, social, and cultural developments, as well as observe how different groups of people shaped and were impacted by such developments. Learning about the past involves a careful effort to understand the ideas and beliefs that motivated people to act in certain specific ways, within particular historical circumstances. Development of U.S. 1 is an introductory course, intended to acquaint students with various ideas, events, and people from this particular segment of America’s past, as well as to introduce students to some of the considerations that go into the study of history.
DEVELOPMENT OF UNITED STATES II
M/W 9:35 am – 10:55 am
This course examines the political, economic, social, and military history of the United States from the 1860s through the 1970s. The course will also examine the roles played by ethnicity, race, gender, class, the development of a national market economy, and the emergence of a powerful national state in shaping ideas about American identity and its place in the world.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY II
M/W 12:30 pm – 1:50 pm
This course covers the history of Black or African American people in the United States from the Civil War to the present. Emphasis is given to the philosophies of W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, and to the black freedom struggle (civil rights movement). The course also examines the growing class divide between the college-educated, suburbanized, white-collar black middle class and the one-fourth of black people who live in poverty and are trapped in inner-city ghettos.
EARLY AMERICAN REPUBLIC
M/W 3:45 pm – 5:05 pm
This course investigates the origins of the modern United States. Why and how did a nation conceive in liberty quickly promote the vast expansion of slavery? Why did a society that revolted against British-style social and economic inequality end up producing more inequality than had ever existed in the thirteen colonies? How did a nation that few in 1789 believed could survive for even two decades come to dominate the North American continent in the next fifty years? Why did the very way it achieved this domination create the conditions that tore the nation apart in a civil war of unprecedented violence and bloodshed? Do you like your historical figures colorful and crazy? Why by 1793 did Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson hate each other and have no doubt the other was a traitor and a spy? Why did as many people despise and denounce George Washington as praising him by the time he finished as President? Why did President Andrew Jackson destroy the nation’s central bank? And why did he name his favorite horse after a drunkard who died by jumping off a cliff? Why did thousands pay to see watermen send a barge full of animals hurtling over Niagara Falls in 1827? Hey, it’s the early republic. Take the course and find out.
CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
M/W 2:05 pm – 3:25 pm
The Civil Rights Movement will examine the Black Freedom Struggle led by individuals such as W.E.B. Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Stokely Carmichael; and associated with organizations such as the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The course will thoroughly examine the efforts to end involuntary servitude, lynching, segregation, and the denial of the right to vote, as well as housing and job discrimination. We will examine the major accomplishments of the classic civil rights era (1954-1974), and contemporary efforts to combat unequal educational opportunity, racial profiling, police brutality, stop-and-frisk, and mass incarceration. We will examine the relationship between the traditional civil rights movement and the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement. There will also be an opportunity to conduct oral history research into the civil rights movement in Camden, NJ.
SPECIAL TOPICS IN AMERICAN HISTORY:
T/TH 2:00 pm – 3:20 pm
What did Americans buy and why? How did purchasing habits change over time, and what can those changes tell us about changes in how Americans lived their lives and thought about themselves individually and collectively, from the first settlers to the present? This course covers a broad sweep of American consumer culture over four centuries, using consumption as a way to better understand broader aspects of American history and life, such as prevailing standards of living and economic conditions; politics; technological innovations; regional, national, and global commerce and emerging marketplaces; and individual and collective aesthetic sensibilities.
The class will draw from both secondary readings and primary source documents, and we will consider everything from 18th-century backcountry dry goods stores to e-commerce. Subject areas of focus will include, among many other things, consumer activism (including boycotts and patriotic purchasing), the development of advertising and marketing, and the rise of department stores, malls, and other sites of shopping. In addition, we will explore the meanings of shopping itself over time and also the shifting roles of the goods we’ve bought, from being expressions of self-fashioning and status to repositories of intense emotion and desire.
This is a writing-intensive course: several essays drawing on primary and secondary source material will be required, in addition to a final exam.
READING IN US, 1820 TO 1898
cross-listed with 56:606:671:01
M 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
This course provides an advanced introduction to the primary economic, political, social, and cultural developments of the U.S. nineteenth century.
COLLOQUIUM IN US, 1898 TO 1945
cross-listed with 56:606:672:01
T 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
The period from 1898 to 1945 was one of profound transformation for the United States. In the half century from the Spanish-American War through World War II, the United States became a great power, fought in two world wars, survived the Great Depression, established the modern welfare state, and experienced profound changes in race relations and gender roles. While the unifying theme of the course is political economy, the readings will expose students to a variety of topics and approaches. The course is divided into two-week units on a particular topic (examples include World War I and the New Deal), with the reading for the first week consisting of a monograph and the reading for the second week consisting of chapters and articles, so that students gain familiarity with multiple forms of scholarly discourse. The writing assignments consist of book reviews and a historiographical essay. The purpose of the course is to provide students with a firmer grounding in a pivotal period of US history, and to prepare them to write a research paper on a topic of their choosing in this era.
TOPICS IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION
This course combines independent directed readings with a ten-week historic preservation course offered on campus by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH). Two course options are available for fall 2017: Introduction to Historic Preservation (Tuesday evenings beginning September 5). Archaeology and Historic Preservation (Thursday evenings beginning September 14). Separate registration for the MARCH course is required and should be arranged by graduate students by contacting Dr. Tamara Gaskell at firstname.lastname@example.org. (No additional charge is involved for students seeking to fulfill public history requirements.) Independent readings will be supervised by Dr. Charlene Mires. MARCH courses may also be taken on a non-credit basis, with an option of earning a continuing education certificate in historic preservation. For further information about the program and next semester’s offerings, go to: http://preservation.rutgers.edu.
TOPICS IN GLOBAL HISTORY
Readings in the 19th Century Europe
cross-listed with 56:606:673:01
W 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
This course provides an advanced survey of the historiography of modern Europe from the French Revolution to World War I. Key topics will include: historiographical debates about how to interpret the Revolution of 1789; the development of modern capitalism and its discontents; the changing role of religion in society; the rise of nation-states and modern empires; the relationship between art, politics and everyday life; and European relations with the wider world.
MATERIAL CULTURAL IN AMERICA
cross-listed with 56:606:632:01
W 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
This seminar examines material forms and their uses in American history, encompassing artifacts, the built environment, and domestic and public spaces, with emphasis on both scholarship and the field of public history. Using readings covering a wide range of time periods and topics in United States history, we will discuss the development of material culture studies, methodologies of material culture; and artifacts as sources for historians. We will also examine interpretation of objects in settings such as museums and historic sites and the impact of digital technologies such as Object VR photography. Options for projects will include object studies and/or historiographical essays. This course fulfills an elective requirement for public history, but all graduate students are welcome.
ADVANCE TOPICS IN PUBLIC HISTORY
Research in Visual Culture
TH 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Students will conduct original research in any period of U.S. History from the late 18th through the early 20th century. Papers will consider some aspect of American visual culture and/or incorporate visual culture as a key evidentiary source. Open only to students who have completed either History 503, 504, 505, or 506.