Seminar

HIST233 - DEATH IN THE AMERICAS

Description: 
Deathways—our cultures of dying, interment, commemoration, and treatment of the dead—conceal and reveal our values in this world and the next. This reading seminar explores the history of how deathways in the Americas changed, endured, and were categorized, from before Columbus to about 1893 CE. Over this expanse of time, waves of religious, political, environmental, and epidemiological political changes—many due to European colonialism and the unfree Indigenous, African, and Asian labor it sought and employed after 1492—transformed a galaxy of deathways to what might be mistaken as a handful of options. Internally, however, American deathways contain a multitude of answers to one of life’s central questions: where and how we go—physically and spiritually—when we stop breathing. Much of our class’s work, then, is in learning how groups studied each other’s deathways to determine how closely they could converge without compromising internal beliefs. We will also see what happened when one group had the power to divert or deny the deathways of another, via conquest, conversion, or collection. Our subjects will be many—high-altitude human sacrifice under the Incas; the pre-colonial, colonial, and republican roots of Mexico’s Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead; the fingerbone of a Catholic saint buried at Jamestown; an African-American burial ground in Lower Manhattan; the display of Indigenous, African, and Latin American remains in nineteenth century Philadelphia—and its texts are similarly wide, drawing from history, anthropology, fiction, and primary sources. Its focus is on Indigenous and Colonial Latin America, but it will also explore the extension of other European colonies and nations in North America and the deathways they introduced, including, in the nineteenth century, the institutionalization of archaeology as a field of study (and, possibly, mortuary ritual in its own right). We’ll therefore read on Colonial English America and the early republican United States as well, and meet at sites in Philadelphia important to this latterly history, where the material culture of death from throughout the Americas can be contemplated: Penn’s University Museum, the Mütter Museum, and local cemeteries. Evaluation will be based on class participation, a presentation on one week’s readings, a book review, and a final paper that will ask students to apply their acquired knowledge to a primary source.
Instructors: 
HEANEY, CHRISTOPHER
Day and Time: 
R 0130PM-0430PM
Room: 
EDUCATION BUILDING 008
Activity: 
SEM
Cross Listings: 
    Syllabus: 

    HIST206 - THINKING ABT CAPITALISM

    Description: 
    Throughout the world today, economists are influential policymakers and public intellectuals, and non-economists understand many aspects of their lives in economic terms. But as recently as 1945 in some regions of the world and as distantly as 1776 in others, the concept of the economy, the field of economics, and economists as a professional community did not exist. This class explores non-economic ways of understanding material life that have preceded, challenged, or undergirded economic thinking; the emergence of the economy and economics as naturalized, globally recognizable concepts; the formation of economists as an authoritative professional group; and the rise of economic reasoning in daily life. The class takes a global approach, exploring these developments in societies from eighteenth-century Britain to twentieth-century Egypt in order to understand the local variations, international relationships, and transnational processes at work. It simultaneously takes a social approach to intellectual history, considering how popular and professional ideas developed in relation to one another, and how knowledge related to lived experience.
    Instructors: 
    OFFNER, AMY
    Day and Time: 
    R 0130PM-0430PM
    Room: 
    DAVID RITTENHOUSE LAB 2N36
    Activity: 
    SEM
    Cross Listings: 
      Syllabus: 

      HIST209 - INDUSTRIAL METROPOLIS

      Instructors: 
      VITIELLO, DOMENIC
      Day and Time: 
      T 0130PM-0430PM
      Room: 
      MCNEIL BUILDING 110
      Activity: 
      SEM
      Cross Listings: 
        Registration Notes: 
        HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR

        HIST211 - THE ENLIGHTENMENT

        Instructors: 
        DEJEAN, JOAN
        Day and Time: 
        W 0200PM-0500PM
        Room: 
        VAN PELT LIBRARY 605
        Activity: 
        SEM
        Cross Listings: 
          Registration Notes: 
          CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS; BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINARS

          HIST211 - JEWISH HISTORY & MEMORY

          Description: 
          The seminar will consider Jewish reflections on the meaning of the past from the Bible until the present. It will present a survey of the history of Jewish historical writing including Josephus, medieval chronicles written both in the Moslem and Christian worlds, Jewish histories of the Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, and the rise of the academic study of Judaism in the 19th-century. It will conclude with a consideration of modern and contemporary historical trends. The alleged tension between Jewish notions of memory and the modern writing of history, as articulated in Yosef Yerushalmi's well Known book ZACHOR, will be a consistent theme throughout the course. Considerable reading of primary sources. A reading knowledge of Hebrew is helpful but not required.
          Instructors: 
          RUDERMAN, DAVID
          Day and Time: 
          T 0300PM-0600PM
          Room: 

          COLLEGE HALL 315A

          Activity: 
          SEM
          Cross Listings: 
            Registration Notes: 
            BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINARS

            HIST216 - RELIGION & COLONIAL RULE IN AFRICA

            Description: 
            This course is designed to introduce students to the religious experiences of Africans and to the politics of culture. We will examine how traditional African religious ideas and practices interacted with Christianity and Islam. We will look specifically at religious expressions among the Yoruba, Southern African independent churches and millenarist movements, and the variety of Muslim organizations that developed during the colonial era. The purpose of this course is threefold. First, to develop in students an awareness of the wide range of meanings of conversion and people's motives in creating and adhering to religious institutions; Second, to examine the political, cultural, and psychological dimensions in the expansion of religious social movements; And third, to investigate the role of religion as counterculture and instrument of resistance to European hegemony. Topics include: Mau Mau and Maji Maji movements in Kenya and Tanzania, Chimurenga in Mozambique, Watchtower churches in Southern Africa, anti-colonial Jihads in Sudan and Somalia and mystical Muslim orders in Senegal.
            Instructors: 
            BABOU, CHEIKH
            Day and Time: 
            R 0130PM-0430PM
            Room: 

            COLLEGE HALL 217

            Activity: 
            SEM
            Cross Listings: 
              Registration Notes: 
              BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINARS

              HIST220 - RUSSIA AND THE WEST

              Instructors: 
              PEENEY, MOLLY
              Day and Time: 
              TR 0300PM-0430PM
              Room: 
              WILLIAMS HALL 421
              Activity: 
              SEM
              Cross Listings: 
                Registration Notes: 
                CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS; HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR

                HIST230 - THE CITY OF ROME: FROM CONSTANTINE TO THE BORGIAS

                Description: 
                The great city of Rome outlived its empire and its emperors. What happened to the Eternal City after “the fall of the Roman Empire in the West?” In this course, we will follow the story of this great city, its people, its buildings old and new, and its legacy across Italy, Europe, and beyond. Rome rebuilt and reshaped itself through the Middle Ages: home for popes, destination for pilgrims, power broker for Italy. It became a great Renaissance and early modern city, a center of art and architecture, of religion, and of politics. We will be reading a mix of primary sources and modern scholarship. All required texts are in English, though students who take this course for Italian Studies credit may choose to read some works in Italian.
                Instructors: 
                MOYER, ANN
                Day and Time: 
                T 0130PM-0430PM
                Room: 

                COLLEGE HALL 217

                Activity: 
                SEM
                Cross Listings: 
                  Syllabus: 

                  HIST230 - MACHIAVELLI & MODERN POLITICAL THOUGHT

                  Description: 
                  Niccolò Machiavelli, the Renaissance author best known for The Prince, is frequently regarded as a consummate cynic. Yet he has been not only a provocation but an inspiration throughout the subsequent history of political thought. This was true for the entire twentieth century, which witnessed an ever-growing interest in the Florentine thinker among historians and philosophers alike. One of the most surprising dimensions of this modern engagement with Machiavelli is surely his recurring presence as figure and motif within left-wing philosophical discourse. In light of the failure of the twentieth-century’s revolutionary experiments, as well as its own entanglements with those experiments, how could radical theory understand its past and imagine its future? What vision could supplant the dimming of utopia? Such questions have frequently led recent theorists into melancholic resignation, but they have also provoked innovative and rigorous attempts to rethink the project of radical politics as radical democracy. How is it that Machiavelli, a thinker indelibly associated with the cynical and amoral manipulation of politics, could become an inspiration for theorists of a robust democratic life? This course will examine this curious history of influence and transformation. Starting with an examination of key texts by Machiavelli himself, we will then trace his reception in European intellectual history, focusing upon the twentieth century. Among authors we will consider will be Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss, John Pocock, Quentin Skinner, Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, John McCormick, and Antonio Negri.
                  Instructors: 
                  BRECKMAN, WARREN
                  Day and Time: 
                  W 0200PM-0500PM
                  Room: 

                  MCNEIL CENTER FOR EARLY AMERI 105

                  Activity: 
                  SEM
                  Cross Listings: 

                    HIST230 - THE NAZI REVOLUTION: POWER AND IDEOLOGY

                    Description: 
                    More than seventy years have passed since Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allied Powers on May 8, 1945, but no agreement has emerged on what Nazism was, how Hitler’s regime functioned, how much support it had, why and how it managed the extermination of European Jewry, whether it was ‘a terror state’ or rested on a broad popular consensus. This course will look at Nazism from several angles and focus, in particular, on the power of its ideology and its embodiment and dissemination by the arts. Nazism took the arts very seriously. Hitler always saw himself as an artist and he made certain that the regime expressed the Nazi ‘revolution’ in new and radical forms of art, especially a new culture of the body – strength and beauty combined in a pure, warlike Aryan. The course will investigate the development of the avant-garde arts beyond the first third of the 20th century into the politics of the Nazi regime. We will focus on the relationship between art and politics in the “Age of extremes” (Eric Hobsbawm). The course will also look at the nature of Nazi power and the structure of the Nazi state: how it developed and grew after 1933. The rearmament of Germany and the smashing of the Versailles settlement of 1919, two main aims of Nazi foreign policy, were accomplished by 1936, and the growth of the power of the SS changed the internal politics of the regime. Was ‘terror’ essential to Hitler’s regime and what does the word ‘describe’? Finally, the course will consider the war and Hitler’s aims for world conquest, the extermination of the Jews and the final stage of complete destructiveness at home and abroad. The course will be an active seminar in which students will be expected to read and discuss sources in class. These sources will combine scholarly analyses, works of art and their interpretation, together with political statements and ideological sources. Students will be expected to present one set of literature or class material, connected to one of the themes of the seminar. The course will end with a take-home exam composed of interpretations of selections from the texts we have read and an essay on the issues raised by discussions in class.
                    Instructors: 
                    STEINBERG, JONATHAN
                    KANT, MARION
                    Day and Time: 
                    T 0130PM-0430PM
                    Room: 

                    MCNEIL CENTER FOR EARLY AMERI 105

                    Activity: 
                    SEM
                    Cross Listings: 
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