HIST 398 Spring 2024
History majors are required to take an Undergraduate Seminar in History/HIST 398. Spring registration is therefore restricted to History Majors only through the first two weeks of registration before opening to all students on Monday, November 6, so register early!
HIST 398.001: The Life and Times of Che Guevara
Days & Times: T 12:30 – 3:00
Instructor: Miguel La Serna
This seminar examines the life and times of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, one of the most iconic and controversial revolutionary figures of the 20th century. In examining mid-twentieth century Latin American politics through the lens of this guerrilla fighter, this seminar explores how the course of Latin American history shaped Guevara, and how, in turn, Guevara shaped the course of Latin American history.
HIST 398.002: The 1968 Years: Ideologies and Practices of Liberation
Days & Times: T 2:00 – 4:30
Instructor: Donald Reid
Occupy activists were not the first to believe that another world is possible. This course will examine a diversity of individuals and movements which sought to bring these worlds into existence during the “long 1968,” extending a half-dozen years before and after 1968. Students will further our understanding of this period by researching and writing a 20-25-page paper on a subject of their choice. There are no geographic limitations on subject matter for your research papers. You can consider events in the United States, France, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, China, and elsewhere. The course is designed to encourage a diversity of research subjects and comparative analysis. There are many individuals and groups whose experiences and the interpretations they and others gave to them are quite revealing. Workers, gays, women, ecologists, anti-war activists, soldiers, prison activists, people of color, libertarians, clergy, etc., pursued liberation struggles and there is much research to be done on them. These individuals and groups had a global imagination. Actions elsewhere provided motivation and support. Many during the long 1968 acted locally (or nationally), but an important element of their politics was they thought globally of other seemingly very different struggles where they lived or struggles they saw as like theirs, but far away. They were not alone and you will not be either. A central element of this class will be the inspiration and aid that students in the class draw from the insights and critiques we offer one another.
HIST 398.003: The Civil War
Days & Times: TTh 12:30 – 1:45
Instructor: William Barney
What was it like to live through (or die in) the Civil War? What difference did it make if one was a Federal or a Confederate, soldier or civilian, white or black, free or slave, male or female? How did the war fit into contemporary political and social beliefs? How do we get at the subjective experiences of the war?
HIST 398.004: Environmental History in Global Perspective
Days & Times: TTh 9:00 – 10:15
Instructor: Cynthia Radding
Global warming? Hurricanes and floods, destructive fires, and crises of food security. These are critical issues of human rights and the changing forces of our natural world.
This capstone research seminar provides students with the experience of planning and carrying out their own research projects, exploring different kinds of sources, and opening discussions on a variety of topics that are central to present-day environmental issues and the history of nature and human society on our planet. Its geographic focus includes four major world regions: North America, Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. Environmental history helps us understand changes in the land as well as issues of survival, sustainability, conflict, and cooperation among different peoples, power brokers, and economic sectors in society. We shall explore the ecological and social consequences of climate change, the problem of communal resource use and management in different historical settings, and the roots of environmental movements. Course work includes targeted readings, class discussions, and research projects.
HIST 398.005: The Great Depression
Days & Times: TTh 9:30 – 10:45
Instructor: Erik Gellman
When writer Richard Wright wrote in the 1930s about his state of “hunger,” he was describing both the physical hunger of hard economic times and his broader ambition to change himself and American society. This course will assess the imagined and real possibilities for change during the Depression, evaluate New Deal reforms, and address the legacy Depression-era Americans made on institutions and succeeding generations. It will do so by interrogating an array of interdisciplinary primary and secondary sources. Weekly topics will include the expansion of the federal government, the rise of an industrial labor movement, the response of businesses, the evolution of African American protest, musical and artistic production that reshaped popular culture, and the paradox of new gender roles alongside stricter gender norms. The course will conclude with a look at the decades that followed, charting how the Depression decade impacted the 1960s generation and beyond.