Fall 2018


History 150: Before Germs and Genetics - Exploring Wellness, Healing, and Meaning in Early America

Before germ theory, before genetics, before x-rays -- how did various Americans experience and understand bodily change, and diagnose signs and symptoms? Historical study of the realm we now call "medicine" or "health sciences" highlights the fundamental challenge of reading evidence left by people who understood their bodies through vocabularies, categories, and modes of meaning strikingly different from our own. In this course we will consider how ideas about wellness, illness and healing varied among people of different cultures and across time in the US from the late 18th century to around 1900. Topics may include specific diseases (such as smallpox or cholera), reproductive bodies and childbirth, and meanings of classificatory systems (such as type of fever or sweat, shape of nose, bumpiness of skull). Along the way we will begin to consider how Americans came to understand and deploy (or resist) the new explanatory frames of their era, ranging from microbes and heredity to new professions and spaces of bodily examination. 

Prof. Lerman, 4 credits, TTh 10:00-11:20am


History 268: Im/migration and US History

Throughout the history of the United States, there have been people "already here" and people coming and going. Studying the histories of groups and (im)migrants, the experiences of movers and stayers, the ways people have defined themselves and understood others... is studying US history, and its various regionalisms and connections to other peoples and places. This course situates relocation and immigration through historical study of intersecting "big" issues: citizenship, freedom, democracy; race, ethnicity, labor systems; inclusion, exclusion, removal, integration; biology, culture, heritage. The focus will be on 19th and 20th centuries, concluding with a chance to consider 21st century issues in this long historical context.

Prof. Lerman, 4 credits, MW 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills the department's Comparisons and Encounters requirement.


Spring 2019


History 297: Nineteenth Century US - Experiment to Empire

The 19th century was a time of great change in the United States. From the launching of the "Republican Experiment" of the new nation through expansion, developing sectionalism, civil war, reconstruction, and the consolidation of nation and empire at the end of the century, Americans wrestled not only with the nature of their government but also with the transformations of expansion, industrial capitalism, urbanization, immigration, race relations, the role of the household, definitions of citizenship, religion, and secularism .

Prof. Lerman, 4 credits, MW 1:00-2:20pm


History 365: Industrialization in the United States

This course will explore technological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of the industrial transformation of the United States from the primarily agrarian America of the early 19th century to the recognizably industrial nation of the early 20th century. We will examine the choices Americans made about the makings of their material world, and the implications, seen and unseen, of the development of industrial capitalism. This course will make use of primary and secondary sources, and will emphasize reading, writing, and discussion. Prerequisite: 200-level U.S. course or consent of instructor .

Prof. Lerman, 4 credits, TTh 10:00-11:20am