Intellectual History

HIST 13001  History of European Civilization I  European Civilization is a two-quarter sequence designed to use close readings of primary sources to enrich our understanding of Europeans of the past. As we examine the variety of their experiences, we will often call into question what we mean in the first place by “Europe” and “civilization.” Rather than providing a narrative of high politics, the sequence will emphasize the contested geographic, religious, social, and racial boundaries that have defined and redefined Europe and its people over the centuries. We will read and discuss sources covering the period from the early Middle Ages to the present, from a variety of genres: saga, biography, personal letters, property records, political treatises, memoirs, and government documents, to name only a few. Individual instructors may choose different sources and highlight different aspects of European civilization, but some of the most important readings will be the same in all sections. The two-quarter sequence may also be supplemented by a third quarter, in which students will have the opportunity to explore in greater depth a particular topic in the history of European civilization.

HIST 13200  History of Western Civilization II  (K. Weintraub)  Available as a three-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter-Spring) or as a two-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter or Winter-Spring). This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. The purpose of this sequence is threefold: (1) to introduce students to the principles of historical thought, (2) to acquaint them with some of the more important epochs in the development of Western civilization since the sixth century BC, and (3) to assist them in discovering connections between the various epochs. The purpose of the course is not to present a general survey of Western history. Instruction consists of intensive investigation of a selection of original documents bearing on a number of separate topics, usually two or three a quarter, occasionally supplemented by the work of a modern historian. The treatment of the selected topics varies from section to section. This sequence is currently offered twice a year. The amount of material covered is the same whether the student enrolls in the Autumn-Winter-Spring sequence or the Summer sequence.

HIST 14000  Introduction to Russian Civilization II (E. Gilburd)  This two-quarter sequence, which meets the general education requirement in civilization studies, provides an interdisciplinary introduction to Russian civilization. The first quarter covers the ninth century to the 1870s; the second quarter continues on through the post-Soviet period. Working closely with a variety of primary sources—from oral legends to film and music, from political treatises to literary masterpieces—we will track the evolution of Russian civilization over the centuries and through radically different political regimes. Topics to be discussed include the influence of Byzantine, Mongol-Tataric, and Western culture in Russian civilization; forces of change and continuity in political, intellectual and cultural life; the relationship between center and periphery; systems of social and political legitimization; and symbols and practices of collective identity.

HIST 24806  History of Japanese Philosophy  (J. Ketelaar)  What is philosophy and why does looking at Japanese philosophy make a difference? By examining Buddhist, Confucian, Shinto, and modern academic philosophical traditions, this course will provide a history of ideas found in Japan and central to thinking about being/nonbeing, government, ethics, aesthetics, economics, faith, and practice.

HIST 24905  Darwin's On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man  (R. Richards)  This lecture-discussion class will focus on a close reading of Darwin's two classic texts. An initial class or two will explore the state of biology prior to Darwin's Beagle voyage, and then consider the development of his theories before 1859. Then we will turn to his two books. Among the topics of central concern will be the logical, epistemological, and rhetorical status of Darwin's several theories, especially his evolutionary ethics; the religious foundations of his ideas and the religious reaction to them; and the social-political consequences of his accomplishment. The year 2019 was the 210th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 160th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

HIST 27001  Law and Society in Early America, 1600–1800  (E. Cook)  This colloquium considers law, legal institutions, and legal culture within the lived experience of colonial and revolutionary America. It will emphasize the interaction of social development and legal development and will explore the breadth of everyday experience with legal institutions like the jury, with courts as institutions for resolving disputes, and with the prosecution of crime.

HIST 29678  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. Assignment: students will be expected to conduct original research and produce an original research paper of fifteen to twenty pages.

HIST 44003  Colloquium: Lost Histories of the Left  (F. Hillis)  When most Americans think about "the left," Marxism, Soviet state socialism, or European social democracy spring to mind. This class will explore alternative—but now largely forgotten—blueprints for revolutionizing the political and social order that emerged in the nineteenth century. We will pay special attention to utopian socialism, early anticolonial movements, the Jewish Labor Bund, and anarchism. Examining the intellectual underpinnings of these movements, their influence on the modern world, and the factors that led to their demise, we will also consider what lessons they can teach to those committed to realizing a better future today.