WIN 19: Intellectual History Courses
HIST 14701 Human Rights in Chinese History (J. Ransmeier) This Gateway course will introduce students to China's contentious rights environment and both domestic and international ideas of human rights. The course will consider social movements, dissent, the role of the press, environmentalism, and debates over "Asian values." While the course surveys the modern period we will also discuss legacies of China's philosophical traditions. History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to 1st- through 3rd-yr students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
HIST 21903 Medieval Christian Mythology (R. Fulton Brown) Heaven and hell, angels and demons, the Virgin Mary and the devil battling over the state of human souls, the world on the edge of apocalypse awaiting the coming of the Judge and the resurrection of the dead, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into body and blood, the great adventures of the saints. As Rudolf Bultmann put it in his summary of the "world picture" of the New Testament, "all of this is mythological talk," arguably unnecessary for Christian theology. And yet, without its mythology, much of Christianity become incomprehensible as a religious or symbolic system. This course is intended as an introduction to the stories that medieval Christians told about God, his Mother, the angels, and the saints, along with the place of the sacraments and miracles in the world picture of the medieval church. Sources will range from Hugh of St. Victor's summa on the sacraments to Hildegard of Bingen's visionary Scivias, the Pseudo-Bonaventuran Meditations on the Life of Christ, and Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend, along with handbooks on summoning angels and cycles of mystery plays.
HIST 25115 Francis Bacon's Philosophy of Nature (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences) Historians of science have traditionally regarded Francis Bacon (1561–1626) as one of the most prominent seventeenth-century champions of induction, empiricism, and experimental methodology. While these are perhaps his most important contributions to natural philosophy, Bacon and his adherents also exerted a profound influence on Western notions of power over nature and of the possibilities of alteration, manipulation, and exploitation of the natural world. This course will examine some of Bacon's principal works (The New Organon, The Advancement of Learning, The New Atlantis, and The Great Instauration) in order to first develop an understanding of Bacon's philosophical positions and the changing landscape of natural philosophy in the seventeenth century. Then, we will examine the implications of Bacon's philosophy from his lifetime to the present, focusing particularly on the rise of artisanal and craft knowledge; the emergence of civil institutions for cooperative knowledge making; utopian and cornucopian conceptions of the natural economy; science as the manipulation of nature; the competing and complementary notions of dominion over nature versus environmental stewardship; the practical uses of natural materials during European imperial expansion; the origins of industrialization and technological development; and his influence on modern science, politics, economics, and environmentalism.
HIST 25308 Lab, Field, and Clinic: The History and Anthropology of Medicine and the Life Sciences (M. Rossi) In this course we will examine the ways in which different groups of people—in different times and places—have understood the nature of life and living things, bodies and bodily processes, and health and disease, among other notions. We will address these issues principally, though not exclusively, through the lens of the changing sets of methods and practices commonly recognizable as science and medicine. We will also pay close attention to the methods through which scholars in history and anthropology have written about these topics, and how current scientific and medical practice affect historical and anthropological studies of science and medicine.
HIST 27006 Not Just the Facts: Telling about the American South (J. Dailey) Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once observed: "The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live." This course engages the various ways people have tried to make sense of the American South, past and present. Main themes of the course include the difference between historical scholarship and writing history in fictional form; the role of the author in each, and consideration of the interstitial space of autobiography; the question of authorial authenticity; and the tension between contemporary demands for truthfulness and the rejection of "facts" and "truth."
HIST 28103 The American Novel in History and the Historical Novel (A. Rowe, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences) We will read several American novels—some canonical, others largely forgotten—to explore the relationship between literature and history from the early Republic to the present. A novel like Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables is both a historical artifact, a rich and suggestive reflection of the world in which it was written, and a profound meditation on history itself, on the narratives by which a culture acknowledges and denies its inheritance from the past. Indeed, many novelists have explored dimensions of our collective past that historians, tethered to the surface of recorded fact, cannot reach and should not ignore. From the creation of the American republic to the unraveling of the American working class, from the experience of slavery to the experience of industrialized warfare, we will examine some of the most significant issues in American history
HIST 29522 Europe's Intellectual Transformations, Renaissance through Enlightenment (A. Palmer) This course will consider the foundational transformations of Western thought from the end of the Middle Ages to the threshold of modernity. It will provide an overview of the three self-conscious and interlinked intellectual revolutions which reshaped early modern Europe: the Renaissance revival of antiquity, the "new philosophy" of the seventeenth century, and the light and dark faces of the Enlightenment. It will treat scholasticism, humanism, the scientific revolution, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, and Sade.
HIST 29678 History Colloquium: Medicine and Society (M. Rossi) How does medical knowledge change? How do medical practices transform over time? What factors influence the ways in which doctors and patients—and scientists, artists, politicians, legislators, activists, and educators, among others—understand matters of health and disease, of proper and improper interventions, of the rights of individuals and the needs of communities? This course treats these questions as a starting point for exploring the interactions of medicine and society from 1800 to the present. Through a combination of primary and secondary sources we will examine changing causes of morbidity and mortality, the development of new medical technologies and infrastructures, shifting patterns of disease and shifting ideas about bodies, and debates about health care policy, among other topics. Students will be expected to conduct original research and produce an original research paper of fifteen to twenty pages.