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United States

Fall 2023

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. Seminar readings include primary sources as well as recent scholarship.

Prof. Lerman, 4 credits, TTh 10-11:20 a.m.

-Fulfills Social Sciences distribution.

-History major: Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity

Spanish Americans? Hispanics? Latina/os? Latinx? For over two hundred years, the "Latino" identity in the United States has been forged, imposed, fragmented, and reclaimed. This course examines the social, cultural, and political trajectories of Latin American communities from the US-Mexico War of 1847 to the presidential election of 2020. With a combination of primary and secondary sources, we will approach different communities and their relationship to the land, the history, and the politics of the United States. For instance, how did legal policies encourage practices of exclusion or assimilation? What impact did specific waves of immigrants and exiles have at the local and national levels? How did different communities coalesce or build their own civil rights movements? What are the contrasts between Chicano nationalism and Puerto Rican nationalism? And in what ways did cultural and artistic representations shape their social and political identities? Furthermore, the course will explore the nuanced positions of the Latinx communities towards US foreign policy as well as the different modes of marginalization of indigenous and folks of African descent within the "Latino" identity frameworks. May be taken for credit toward the Indigeneity, Race, and Ethnicity Studies major or minor.

Prof. Lund-Montaño, 4 credits, TTh 1-2:20 p.m.

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and/or Social Sciences distribution, as well as IRES requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Empires & Colonialism

"Energy" is a complex category with a deep and complex history, including fuels and technologies, uses and values, choices and implications. How did people of the past think about light, heat, transportation, forces of production? What kind of work produced cordwood, kerosene, coal, copper wire? When does this look like a national story, and when a tale of private "enterprise"? Does a long history of energy help us situate questions of our own times? Focusing on the US from the late 18th Century to the early 21st, we will explore themes such as "nature" and "resources"; options, choices, and whose choices; geographies of transmission; commodification, cost and whose cost; networks of use, purpose, and power.

Prof. Lerman, 4 credits, MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

-Fulfills Social Sciences distribution and Environmental Studies requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Social Justice

Spring 2024

North America at the turn of the 17th Century was home to more nations and languages than Europe. During the next several centuries, tiny European colonies began a long project of conquest and empire, swelling with settlers, importing enslaved workers, trading and fighting with neighbors, and remaking both landscape and political geography. The settler colonists of England and Spain eventually claimed nationhood, becoming the US, Mexico, and (later) Canada, creating new "national" policies about borders, neighbors, citizenship, government. In the 19th Century we will focus more on the nation-building project of the United States -- a "republic" of freedom and slavery, an imagined empire spanning the continent, vast immigration from unimagined places -- and its challenges confronting paradoxes of sovereignty, slavery, and Enlightened "equality." Our US exploration takes us through Civil War into the continued quest for empire and the new racializations bequeathed to the 20th Century (to around 1890).

Prof. Lerman, 4 credits, MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and/or Social Sciences distribution, as well as IRES and Global Studies requirements.

-History major: pre-modern; Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity

This seminar explores the tangled histories of migration and immigration in the United States, roughly from the end of the 19th century to the first decade of the 21st century. We will identify and unpack the traditional narratives that have shaped the mythologies of the "American Dream" and the US as a "melting pot" or a "nation of immigrants." In addition to the exploration of first-hand experiences and government policies around immigration, the course will also explore internal migrations that have reshaped the social, political, economic, and physical spaces in US history- such as the forced relocation to reservations, the Great Migration, the Dust Bowl, "white flight" and suburbanization, etc. Through the in-depth reading of primary and secondary sources - contrasting canonical texts with recent scholarship on the subject - students will not only engage with the counter-narratives developed by historically marginalized and traditionally excluded voices, but also discuss and define contentious concepts such as settler colonialism, xenophobia, displacement, assimilation, gentrification, cultural pluralism, and community empowerment. Assignments include a semester-long research project on a topic of your choice within the major themes of the course. Not open to first-year students. Recommended prerequisite: History 299.

Prof. Lund-Montaño, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50 p.m.

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and/or Social Sciences distribution.

-History major: 39x seminar; modern history

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