Delve into topics in history, culture and classics while earning college credits.
Selected available courses are described below. To view the full list of course offerings and course availability, view the Public Course Search.
Credits: 4 Units
Before Marie Antoinette's execution at the hands French Revolutionaries in 1793, she was paraded by her captors through the streets of Paris in an open cart. Unlike her husband Louis XVI—whose execution was a dignified, somber affair—Marie Antoinette was treated as an object of ridicule and disgust by the public, their political rage channeled through a fierce hatred of France's "mother," the Queen. At the same time, her execution was a direct result of political organizing by women, whose 1789 march on Versailles sparked the fall of the monarchy. This course explores these paradoxes of revolutionary political change through the lens of gender, asking how ideas about femininity, masculinity, and sexuality influenced the successes and failures of political revolutionaries from colonial Saint-Domingue to Imperial Russia. Using the methods of gender and queer history to revisit the great revolutions of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, this course asks how women and gender non-conforming people have participated in, shaped, and been shaped by forces of revolutionary political change. Beginning with the "Age of Revolution" and concluding with contemporary events, the course asks us to consider how revolutionaries have grappled with gendered inequalities in the societies they aim to transform. Students will learn how to apply methods from feminist, womanist, and queer approaches history-writing. Close analysis of both primary and secondary sources will prepare students to engage with cultural and literary works in their final projects. Ultimately, students will consider a multiplicity of feminist futures through analysis of multiple feminist pasts.
Credits: 4 Units
In the summer of 2013, activists seethed after a jury acquitted the police officer accused of killing an unarmed African American teenager, Trayvon Martin. The #BlackLivesMatter movement swept social media, calling attention to the injustices of Martin’s death and the institutional racism embedded in the American police system. But the outcry against police violence heard in these protests was not unique to the United States. #BlackLivesMatter reverberated around the globe, producing solidarity protests and bringing international attention to preexisting activist groups. This past year, reports on police violence against citizens everywhere from France to Angola, Russia to Hong Kong, have demonstrated the importance of understanding the making of modern police institutions. In this course, students will learn about the gradual development of the police, tracing the roots of policing from antiquity to today, in the US and around the world. The course will ask how the meaning of policing changed over time and who police institutions are designed to serve. Contextualizing episodes of police violence in the US within a broader historical framework and in conversation with analogous developments around the world will challenge students to rethink structures of power and ask the question, “Where can we go from here?” Course fulfills US, Europe, and Non-Western History major requirements.
Credits: 4 Units
What was it like to experience the explosive atmosphere of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) during the Russian Revolution of 1917? How did it feel to relax on the beaches of Fidel Castro’s Cuba? To work in the factories of Russia or to treat malaria in China? What was it like to fight with the Soviet army in Eastern Europe in the 1940s or with North Vietnamese troops in the 1960s? How did it feel to live socialism, to feel both its promises and its bitter disappointments? For millions of travelers, eyewitnesses, and ordinary people in the twentieth century, socialism was not only an idea—it was a place to visit, a lifestyle to lead, a villain to defeat, or a goal to achieve. Even before the era of social media, many of these people left rich records of their experiences for us to explore today. This course will narrate the global history of socialism in the twentieth century through the first-hand accounts of travelers and observers who were present during key moments in its history. Covering a quarter of the world's landmass at its peak, the socialist world was always an object of fascination and mystery. It contained captivating places, hidden dangers, unexpected encounters, and striking possibilities. In many ways, its history and stories defined the course of the twentieth century, the socialist century. Its legacies continue to shape our world even to the present day. We will use written texts, images, films, and more to explore historical events and experiences in an individual and nuanced way—history as seen through a diary or social media feed, rather than through dusty books or dry lectures. Six weekly themes will guide us through the “socialist century,” allowing us to compare and interpret key events occurring in different times and places. The themes are: Revolution, Building Socialism, Socialism at War, the Global Cold War, Global Socialist Culture, and Socialist Leisure. By the end, we will gain a deeper understanding of the chronology of the twentieth century socialist world, and the diversity of experiences and perceptions that it encompassed.
Credits: 4 Units
This course explores the emergence of populist movements out of the antagonistic relationship between democracy and capitalism in modern societies. The course takes students through the histories of late 19th century populist movements in Europe and North America, through the 20th century and up to the current crop of populist strongmen around the world, such as Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Rodrigo Duterte and Jair Bolsonaro. What is the relationship between the movements around these leaders and the populists of earlier eras of economic and political crisis? Are the populists of post-imperial and post-colonial societies comparable, or do they have divergent origins or goals? Finally, we will interrogate the discourse of populism, its utility as an analytic category and its use as an epithet, asking ourselves what social and political dynamics are revealed or obscured by populists and their opponents alike.
Credits: 4 Units
Growing Up in the City A Transnational History of Urban Childhood, 1800 – Present It is a common practice to denounce cities as unsafe or inappropriate for children. Regardless children have been a part of the urban population as much as the adults who supervise them. Indeed, the history of urbanization and the experiences of urban life cannot be fully understood without taking into account the lives of children that populate cities and the policies that adults create in order to render urban centers “child friendly.” This course will examine history of urban childhood by using various North American and European Cities as examples. We will explore how the specificities of certain cities informed the debates over childhood in that particular urban center at a given time. We will consider the variations in size and location of urban centers but also the variations in populations, economic and social activities. At the same time we will trace the transnational connections between the cities to see how ideas and concepts about urban childhood travelled. We will start our survey in the nineteenth century, as the Industrial Revolution strengthened the economic pull of urban centers resulting in a spike in urban migration, and as the crystallization of the nation-state placed a new value on children as the future of the nation. We will study the correlation between the changing perceptions of the value of children and rising prominence of urban centers as primary spaces of residence. We will examine how larger social issues based on race and class in urban centers impacted the experiences of children, or the ways in which the policies aimed at rendering cities more “child friendly” reinforced these social fault lines.
Credits: 4 Units
Discusses the myths and legends of Greek and Roman mythology and the gods, demigods, heroes, nymphs, monsters, and everyday mortals who played out their parts in this mythology. Begins with creation, as vividly described by Hesiod in the Theogony, and ends with the great Trojan War and the return of the Greek heroes, especially Odysseus. Roman myth is also treated, with emphasis on Aeneas and the foundation legends of Rome.