During the term we will explore the origins of European civilization and trace its sometimes brilliant, often troubled, but always fascinating history from Classical Antiquity through the Medieval period to the Renaissance. To this end, the course comprises four units: Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. With respect to historical understanding, four main projects will guide our exploration of these periods. First, we will become acquainted with the essence of during each of these periods. We will do so by examining representative moments, which highlight political institutions, social organization, and culture. Second, we will gain a sense of the relations among these periods as well as the place of each in the overall course of European history. In the process we will have to embrace notions of continuity and change, and be mindful that ÂprogressÂ, when it does occur, is not inevitable. Third, we will seek to understand the importance of outside influences, of contact with the wider world, on the course of European history in all five of our periods. Fourth, we will examine some of the ways that that these periods are remembered today and in doing so acquire a better sense of how and why they remain relevant to our world.
This course examines the experience of black people in the United States from the end of the Civil War until the present. Major themes include: the process of realizing the dream of freedom and then its denial, forms of resistance to terrorism and economic subordination, the demographic transformation of the African American population in the 20th century, and the current state of race relations. The course emphasizes the historical experiences of black people as expressed through their own words.
n this course we will explore the cultural, social, and political history of
Howard Cosell once said, “Sports is human life in microcosm.” While perhaps an oversimplification, his statement reflects the reality that sports have played and continue to play a vital role in American society. Sports are also a valuable tool for historical assessment. Chronologically, this course will focus on the years from the early twentieth century onward and pay special attention to the development of race, class, and gender structures in the United States. This will not be an exercise in sports trivia, where the focus will be on remembering the last ballplayer to hit .400 or the last horse to win the triple-crown. Rather this course will use sports to gain a new understanding of US history. As a rule, students will spend less time on Jackie Robinson the ballplayer, for example, and more on questions such as “Why, in 1947, were African-Americans allowed back into professional baseball?”