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HIST 481 Seminars

Fall  2020

901 – The War of 1812
MWF 11:30-12:20                                                                                                                                       Dr. Troy Bickham

This course will explore the pivotal, but often overlooked, War of 1812.  Fought as a second revolution by Americans, a postcolonial war by the British, a war of independence against the U.S. by Canadians, and wars of resistance by American Indians, the War of 1812’s outcomes where by no means certain.  The conflict highlights the fragility of the early U.S. republic, the limitations of central governments, and the power of public opinion.  Ultimately, the War of 1812 served as an umbrella for a host of conflicts (armed, political, and cultural) that together laid the foundation of U.S. dominance of North America and reshaped the future of its inhabitants.

902 – The Chicana/o in the American Mind
TR 9:35-10:50                                                                                                                                              Dr. Carlos Blanton      

This course is designed to allow students to think critically about academic discourses in U.S. history as long as they pertain in some way to Mexican Americans or Latinas/os. They can choose (with the professor’s guidance) from Biology to Sociology, from Eugenics to Immigration, from Art to Education, etc. The first quarter of the class is designed to read broadly about academic discourses as well as to identify common themes in the field of Mexican American history.  The second quarter of the class intensively instructs on research and writing skills through workshops and guided library tours.  The third quarter of the course is designed for students to research on their own (with regular consultations) and to then turn in a draft at the end of this period to the professor and to their classmates for peer review.  The fourth quarter of the course is designed for the revision process generated by the instructor and the peer review.

903 – Remembering and Forgetting War
TR 12:45-2:00                                                                                                                                               Dr. Jonathan Brunstedt

This course will examine how societies have “remembered” war – through monuments, public holidays, commemorative rituals, reenactments, popular culture, and so on.  More specifically, we will focus on how collective war memories have shaped and sustained notions of group identity.  In the process, students will produce an original research paper, based on primary and secondary sources, that incorporates the theoretical insights gleaned from class readings and discussions.

904 – See America First- Domestic Tourism, 1880-1970
MWF 12:40-1:30                                                                                                                                           Dr. Joel Kitchens

“See Europe if you must, but see America first!” was the slogan a group of hoteliers, railroad promoters, and Western boosters used to promote the development of a patriotic national identity through tourism. Although a tourist industry had begun in the early nineteenth century, technological advances in travel and promotion opened a vast amount of territory to a wider cross-section of the population. This class will explore the intersections of identity and tourism between the completion of the trans-continental railroads and the post-war economic boom.

905 – History of the Space Exploration
MW 4:10-5:25                                                                                                                                                 Dr. Jonathan Coopersmith

This course will explore the history of the American space programs from the 1940’s to the present from a variety of perspectives.  Our major concerns will be the cultural, economic, social, military, and political factors shaping — and shaped by — humanity’s first step to the stars.  We definitely will not ignore the scientific and technological accomplishments, but place them in context, including the paths not taken and the roles of national security.  A major goal will be to acquaint and equip you with the tools to do research, the historian’s art and science.  The focus of this course will be your research paper.

906 – Civil Rights, Cold War, Politics, and Decolonization, 1940-1975
TR 11:10-12:25                                                                                                                                                Dr. Erin Wood 

This course explores the relationships between the mid-twentieth century civil rights struggles in the United States, the Cold War, and Asian and African decolonization and liberation movements.  While the civil rights movement has typically been historicized as a southern and/or national phenomenon, it can be more fully understood within a transnational context.