Economic History, Capitalism, and Political Economy
HIST 18804 America in the Nineteenth Century (N. Maor, Teaching Fellow) This lecture course will examine major conflicts that shaped American life during the nineteenth century. Focusing on contemporaries' attempts to seize upon or challenge the nation's commitment to the ideals of liberty and equality, we will examine pivotal moments of contestation, compromise, and community building. Central questions that will frame the course include how were notions of freedom negotiated and reshaped? What were the political and socioeconomic conditions that prompted the emergence of reform movements, including antislavery, women's rights, temperance, and labor? How did individuals mobilize and stake claims on the state? How were the boundaries of American citizenship debated and transformed over the course of the century?
HIST 22310 The Commons: Environment and Economy in Early Modern Europe (O. Cussen, Teaching Fellow) Drawing on case studies from Europe and the Atlantic world, this course will track changes in land use and property rights over the early modern period (ca. 1500–1800), inviting students to reflect on the relationship between natural environments (woodlands, waterways, pasture) and histories of state formation, economic growth, rebellion, and colonialism. Organizing concepts and debates will include the tragedy of the commons, moral economies, sustainability and scarcity, the "organic economy" of the old regime, primitive accumulation, and economic takeoff. Readings will encompass classic works in agrarian, environmental, and social history (i.e., Marc Bloch, E. P. Thompson, Silvia Federici, James Scott, Carolyn Merchant) as well as primary documents and contemporary texts (i.e., More, Bacon, Smith, Paine, Babeuf). We will also reflect on how these histories bear on debates about land use and natural resources in the present day.
HIST 26220 Brazil: Another American History (B. Fischer) Brazil is in many ways a mirror image of the United States: an almost continental democracy, rich in natural resources, populated by the descendants of three continents, shaped by colonialism, slavery, and sui generis liberal capitalism. Why, then, has Brazil's historical path been so distinct? To explore this question, this course will focus on the history of economic development, race, citizenship, urbanization, the environment, popular culture, violence, and the challenge of democracy. Assignments: weekly reading, participation in discussions, weekly journal posts, and a final paper.
HIST 27906 Capitalism, Gender, and Intimate Life (G. Winant) What is the relationship between the capitalist economy and the gendered organization of society and identity of individuals? Are these two systems, or one? This class pursues these questions, seeking to understand capitalism as an everyday and intimate experience. How have markets and production shaped and been shaped by personal identity, and in particular gendered identity? We examine the historical interrelationships among practices of sexuality, marriage, family, reproduction, labor, and consumption and trace the economic dimensions of masculinity and femininity over time, focusing largely but not exclusively on US history. Assignments: midterm paper (8–10 pages) applying a theoretical reading to a secondary text, and a final paper (15 pages) based on secondary research.