Fall 2018 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

April 9, 2018

Fall 2018

Course Descriptions 


Please note that all Proseminars (497), Tutorials (498C), are RESTRICTED classes.  This means that enrollment is by consent of the instructor only, and that you CANNOT enroll in them simply by asking for a permission number.  You must personally contact the professor so that he/she can determine whether your enrollment is appropriate given the particular content, approach, requirements, and level of the course.  Before contacting the professor, be sure you have read the description of the class provided below. The professor will then decide whether to give you a permission number.  Also, since these courses fill up quickly, DO NOT wait until your registration date (or even later) to contact the professor.  Do so as soon as you have determined that you wish to take the course.  Following these procedures will assist both you and your professors.    

History 497C (12997)         Proseminar:    The Victorian Age         Professor Auerbach        Thursdays   4-6:50 pm   SH 288      

Bloomers and bicycles, prudery and pornography, self-help and selfishness, Trollope and Twain, steamships and steampunk. The Victorian Age was about cities and suburbs, dogmatism and doubt, empire and etiquette, homosexuality and hypocrisy. It was also an era of contradictions: optimism and anxiety; religious enthusiasm and declining church attendance; industrial growth and progressive reform; separate spheres and female emancipation. The Victorians invented the theme park, the department store, the Christmas card, movies, roller coasters, crime novels, even the internet (or at least the telegraph). This course, which focuses on the Victorian Age in Britain and America, is designed to satisfy the proseminar requirement of the history major by giving students the opportunity to research and write an original essay of 12-15 pages on a topic of their choice based on relevant primary and secondary sources. After several weeks of common readings on Victorianism on both sides of the Atlantic, students will pursue their own individual research topics through a series of guided assignments including a book review, annotated bibliography, note-taking exercises, rough draft, and final polished essay.   

History 497D Proseminar:   Latin America’s Global Christianity      Professor Susan Fitzpatrick Behrens       Monday 1600-1745            SH288  

By 2025, Latin America will surpass Europe to become the global region with the highest number of Christians.  Latin America is also arguably the site of the earliest and largest-scale global “conversion” to Christianity.  Spanish and Portuguese Catholics who invaded what came to be known as Latin America more than 500 years ago did so with legal sanction provided by the Pope.  Their “right” (which others debated then and later) to territories of the region was predicated on their conversion of Native populations to Christianity.  Enslaved Africans subsequently brought forcibly to the region also became subject to European efforts to convert them to Catholicism, although slave traders and owners were often much more eager to use religion as a method to control the enslaved than to save their souls.   

Surprisingly, despite the imposition, indigenous and African-descendant peoples embraced Catholicism but they did so on their own terms, transforming practices, symbols, prayers, music, iconography, social hierarchy, and architecture to conform with their own religious practices and beliefs.  In Latin America European Christianity thus came to be defined by the beliefs and practices of the global South’s majority indigenous and African-descendant populations through a process of what Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz coined “transculturation”.   

This class will examine this process.  We will look at Christian-indigenous-African-descendant transculturation as evidenced in social hierarchies, music, material culture, faith rituals and practices, and beliefs.   Through this study we will gain a distinct understanding of the history of Latin America and of global Christianity.  

History 498C Tutorial:  Feast, Fast, and Famine:  Dimensions of Food in the Middle East               Professor Rachel Howes          Wednesday  1600-1845         SH184

Food, its production, distribution, consumption, meaning, and enjoyment is crucial to any society.  The Middle East in the Islamic period is no exception.  The subject of food has also in recent years become a very production arena of study for many historians and has allowed them insights into realms of study as varied as cultural interactions, economic status, and climatic change.  This 498 will allow students to sample some of the different ways that the study of food in the Middle East has been approached by modern, early modern, and medieval scholars alike.  We will examine topics that range from agriculture, science, and economics to cultural norms, cultural exchange, and gastronomy. The class will be divided into three parts.  The first will examine food production and the economics of food in the Middle East.  The second will examine cultural and religious aspects of food, and part three will examine the impact of food security and insecurity in various times and places in the Middle East.  Assignments will largely consist of reading and participating in class, but will also include several short papers and a final project that focuses on some aspect of food in the Middle East.

History 498C Tutorial:   The French Revolution           Professor Erik Goldner         Thursday  1900-2145     SH268    

What was revolutionary about the French Revolution? This history tutorial involves reading, discussing, and writing about landmark primary and secondary sources in order to answer important questions about the French Revolution. By the end of the course, students should have a deeper understanding of the origins, development, and legacy of the Revolution, not only for France or Europe but indeed the world. Students interested in the history of revolutions, the emergence of modern political culture, and historical struggles for liberty and equality are particularly encouraged to enroll.