Seminar

HIST231 - TOPICS IN US HISTORY: EARLY AMERICAN STUDIES

Description: 
Nowadays many Early Americanists have turned to cultural history. There have been different reasons for such a shift, which is built on solid empirical foundations laid by demographers and social historians beginning in the early 1960s. One contributing element was surely the history of early American religion, always interested in what sermons and doctrinal reform meant for clergy and laity alike. Another element came from cultural anthropology, with its interest in specific communities and the textual webs of symbolic meaning that tied families to families, and individuals to one another. American art and material culture offered its concern with social aesthetics and questions of exchange value. Still another set of connections came as the walls between early American literature and early American history--disciplinary fences, as it were-- started to crumble. But no matter the perspective taken, these approaches intersect in reconstructing the systems of meaning that held colonial societies together and, on occasion, signaled their transformation. This semester we will be examining key moments in the emergence of the field, works that explore interdisciplinary methods and theoretical approaches as well as offering new models for historical narrative itself. And while most of our readings and discussion will explore changes in early American culture between 1600 and 1785-- or roughly from the period of imperial exploration and initial settlement to the Revolutionary settlement, and native reactions to settlement colonialism-- some aspects of early national and antebellum culture will fall within consideration.
Instructors: 
ST.GEORGE, ROBERT
Day and Time: 
R 0130PM-0430PM
Room: 

COLLEGE HALL 311A

Activity: 
SEM
Cross Listings: 

    HIST231 - JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT

    Description: 
    This research seminar will consist of a review of representative studies on the Japanese American internment, and a discussion of how social scientists and historians have attempted to explain its complex backgrounds and causes. Through the careful reading of academic works, primary source materials, and visualized narratives (film productions), students will learn the basic historiography of internment studies, research methodologies, and the politics of interpretation pertaining to this particular historical subject. Students will also examine how Japanese Americans and others have attempted to reclaim a history of the wartime internment from the realm of “detached” academia in the interest of their lives in the “real” world, and for a goal of “social justice” in general. The class will critically probe the political use of history and memories of selected pasts in both Asian American community and contemporary American society through the controversial issue of the Japanese American internment.
    Instructors: 
    AZUMA, EIICHIRO
    Day and Time: 
    T 0130PM-0430PM
    Room: 
    COLLEGE HALL 217
    Activity: 
    SEM
    Cross Listings: 
      Registration Notes: 
      CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN US

      HIST232 - AFRICAN URBAN HISTORY

      Description: 
      African cities in the past contributed to dynamic and prosperous civilizations. African cities in the present demonstrate the failure of models of development and ideals of industrialization. What happened? This course examines Africans’ aspirations for modernity through the lens of African urban history using fiction, film and current scholarship in several disciplines. Each class will explore two temporalities—the precolonial history of African cities, and the colonial and postcolonial histories of economic, social and political progress which goes by the name of development. Grounded in the case studies of both ancient and modern cities, this course explores the emergence and decline of trading centers, the rise of colonial cities, and the dilemmas of postcolonial economies and politics.
      Instructors: 
      DYER, ELIZABETH
      Day and Time: 
      CANCELED
      Activity: 
      SEM
      Cross Listings: 
        Registration Notes: 
        CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS

        HIST233 - FEMINISM IN THE AMERICAS

        Description: 
        Students in this seminar will choose their own research topic in the history of feminism. With guidance and support each person will produce a twenty-page paper based on intensive work with primary sources. Our shared readings will focus on the sometimes overlapping and sometimes divergent feminist histories that can be traced in the writings and cultural products of people in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. We’ll take a long view, beginning in the sixteenth century, and use an expansive frame. Our purpose will not be to decide who was or wasn’t ‘a feminist’ but instead to try to understand the social life of ideas that included aspects of what more recent activists mean by the term, while also being attentive to the reasons why actions and concepts from past worlds can’t be imported very easily into our own.
        Instructors: 
        FARNSWORTH-ALVEAR, ANN
        Day and Time: 
        M 0200PM-0500PM
        Room: 
        COLLEGE HALL 315A
        Activity: 
        SEM
        Cross Listings: 

          HIST234 - CAPITALISM AND HUMANITARIANISM

          Description: 
          Reviewing David Brion Davis’ Problem of Slavery in Western Culture for the New York Review of Books in 1967, the great ancient historian Moses Finley concluded that Davis’s book was “one of the most important to have been published on the subject of slavery in modern times.” Yet he found the book inconclusive on the “decisive question” of why slavery was finally abolished in the West. “Nothing is more difficult perhaps than to explain how and why, or why not, a new moral perception becomes effective in action,” Finley wrote. Almost 50 years after this statement was made, the complicated processes that are being played out at the heart of capitalism, mobilizing both ethical issues and the pursuit of profit are still imperfectly understood, yet more fascinating than ever. This course’s working hypothesis is that, from a better understanding of the entanglements of capitalism and humanitarianism a better understanding of the nature of the “material civilization” can be achieved. For this purpose, the course does provide a multi-pronged approach including sessions discussing analytical arguments about the reasons for the entanglements of capitalism and humanitarianism, sessions devoted to historical turning points and sessions devoted to case studies and the exploration of specific mechanisms whereby capitalism and humanitarianism connect with one another. I wish in particular to try and make students aware of the problem of “quality” and its social construction, which is found at the heart of both capitalism and humanitarianism. By awakening them to this question, I also hope to provide an engaging way to understand the importance of economics in cultural history. Last, while the course will make verbal references to work on more recent periods, the focus is on a time frame that ends with World War I. This seems warranted given that the purpose is to unpack the entanglements of finance and humanitarianism “as they got intertwined.” Nota Bene, some a few non-mandatory readings in French.
          Instructors: 
          FLANDREAU, MARC
          Day and Time: 
          R 0130PM-0430PM
          Room: 
          MCNEIL CENTER FOR EARLY AMERI 105
          Activity: 
          SEM
          Cross Listings: 

            HIST238 - SPANISH CIVIL WAR & POSTWAR

            Description: 
            This RESEARCH SEMINAR is divided into three parts. Part I centers on the Spanish CIVIL WAR, 1930-1939. The beginnings of the conflict, the main causes and motivations, the debates in the international arena, the main events and ideologies, some of the main characters, personal experiences (men and women) during the war, violence and repression, and also the development of the “national question” during the Second Republic Part II focuses on the consequences of the Civil War (1939-1960), both from internal and international perspectives - the constitution of the Francoist regime and its internal politics; the repression of political dissidence; the situation of the Francoist regime during WWII and during the Cold War, how political and cultural dissidence started under Franco’s regime, the social history of Spain. Part III consists of researching and writing a research paper. Requirements: class attendance and active participation; final research paper (20 pages) Throughout the course we will work with two types of materials. Primary Sources - the vast range of contemporary evidence. Primary sources will constitute the core of the required readings. Secondary Sources: interpretative essays (or chapters from books) by historians. In addition, we will read methodological essays to learn how historians from various fields (social history, cultural history, political history, et cetera) analyze primary sources.
            Instructors: 
            FEROS, ANTONIO
            Day and Time: 
            M 0200PM-0500PM
            Room: 
            VAN PELT LIBRARY 626
            Activity: 
            SEM
            Cross Listings: 

              HIST210 - THE CITY

              Instructors: 
              NAIRN, MICHAEL
              JOHNSON, NINA
              Day and Time: 
              M 0200PM-0500PM
              Room: 
              MCNEIL BUILDING 167-8
              Activity: 
              SEM
              Cross Listings: 
                Registration Notes: 
                HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR; PERMISSION NEEDED FROM INSTRUCTOR

                HIST202 - POWER, POLITICS & ARTS FROM FRENCH REVOLUTION TO REVOLUTION OF 1848

                Instructors: 
                STEINBERG, JONATHAN
                KANT, MARION
                Day and Time: 
                T 0130PM-0430PM
                Room: 

                MCNEIL CENTER FOR EARLY AMERI 105

                Activity: 
                SEM
                Cross Listings: 

                  HIST204 - IMMIGRATION, RELIGION AND ETHNICITY IN U.S. HISTORY

                  Description: 
                  In his classic The Uprooted, historian Oscar Handlin said: “Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.” Among all the concerns of every new immigrant group, establishing a place of worship is often of primary importance so that it may sustain and nurture the transplanted community. As successive waves of different immigrant groups brought different traditions to America, the increasing diversity would have certain consequences and directly affect ethnic relations around the country. As obvious as these three points may seem, however, they are rarely treated effectively in connection with one another — a fact that has distorted perception of the past and present. Recent hysteria over illegal immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11 is nothing new: reexamining different periods of immigration, we may discern certain patterns of nativism in American history. Intended as an introduction to American immigration history and American religious history, this interdisciplinary course aims to clarify and stress the linkage of these themes and, further, to address the factors and issues involved with living in a pluralist society that, to some extent, has been defined literally by immigration and religious freedom. We will focus on the history of immigration and religion in America from the pre-Colonial era to the present and explore the history of Native American religious traditions, the Spanish and French Catholic missions, the rise of Protestantism, Judaism, and African American religious experience in the colonies and subsequent change over the centuries, as well as new religious movements and the more recent arrival of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam in the U.S. We will also explore various themes and topics in American religious history including religion and politics, religion and science, and religious pluralism.
                  Instructors: 
                  HANSON, RICHARD
                  Day and Time: 
                  R 0130PM-0430PM
                  Room: 

                  EDUCATION BUILDING 121

                  Activity: 
                  SEM
                  Cross Listings: 
                    Registration Notes: 
                    CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN US

                    HIST236 - GENDER, VIOLENCE AND WWII: EUROPE 1933-1950

                    Description: 
                    This seminar explores World War II-era Europe through the lens of evolving gender norms and relations. This turbulent period in European history magnified the so-called “gender troubles” that emerged in the wake of the First World War. From the question of equality between the sexes to the liberalization of sexual mores and divergence from the proscribed roles of men and women, gender had a profound impact on the prewar, wartime, and immediate postwar European landscape. Drawing on primary and secondary sources, we will consider the following questions: How did gender and violence shape the course of World War II and the immediate postwar from Britain to the Soviet Union? How can gender and sexuality help us to understand militarization, violence, and war? How did war and occupation impact relations between and among men and women on the home- and war fronts? We will complicate these questions by probing topics such as women’s support for war, masculinity in combat, everyday racial discrimination, eugenics, sexual violence and genocide and the ways in which they infiltrated the every aspect of Europeans’ public and private lives. Finally, we will discuss scholarly debates and historiographies on gender during World War II that have emerged since the early-1970s. **The instructor, Dr. Jennifer Rodgers, received her PhD in History from Penn in 2014 with a dissertation that investigates humanitarianism in post-World War II Europe. Since 1997, Dr. Rodgers has worked with government agencies and non-governmental organizations on issues related to World War II including the Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations, the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Department of State, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. She is currently finishing a monograph titled The Archives of Humanity: The International Tracing Service, The Holocaust, and Postwar Order. Dr. Rodgers has taught classes on German history, the Holocaust, WWII, and historical methods at the University of South Florida as well as Penn.**
                    Instructors: 

                    RODGERS, JENNIFER

                    Day and Time: 
                    R 0300PM-0600PM
                    Room: 

                    COLLEGE HALL 315A

                    Activity: 
                    SEM
                    Cross Listings: 
                      Syndicate content