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HIST 481 Seminars

FALL 2024

Walter Kamphoefner HIST 481-900: “Becoming American (on their own terms): U.S. Immigration and Ethnicity” Immigration has become a hot political topic in recent decades. It’s not what people know about immigration that concerns me; it’s the things they “know” that simply aren’t true. This seminar presents an opportunity to explore a variety of topics, among them the sources and persistence of ethnic identity across two centuries; its interaction with issues of race, religion, wars and politics, language, education, and social mobility; immigrants’ images of America and Americans or vice versa; various nativist and anti-immigrant movements; contrasts and continuities between contemporary immigration patterns and those of earlier eras. Students can take the opportunity to explore their own ethnic heritage, but this is merely an option. There are sufficient primary sources that have been translated into English that no heritage language competence is necessary. Students will develop an original research paper in this writing-intensive (W) course.

Verity McInnis HIST 481-901: “Nineteenth-Century Women in the U.S. West” During the semester we will examine the experiences of diverse communities of women residing in the U.S. West during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The West was a complex historical space, a landscape of shifting meanings and cultural productions. Indeed, popular culture and mythology of the West focuses, almost exclusively, on male historical actors. This course, however, will examine the female experience. Using primary and secondary sources we will examine intersections of gender, class, race, and ethnicity, to reveal the individual challenges women faced, how they contested the traditional distribution, and accessed avenues, of power to re-negotiate and construct new social realities, identities, and status. In studying different female experiences, a greater understanding emerges that helps to more accurately explain the past. The major project that drives this seminar forward is the completion of a research paper which offers a UNIQUE argument based on primary and secondary sources.

Sarah McNamara HIST 481-902: “Feminism(s) in the United States” In a multi-racial and multi-ethnic nation, what does feminism mean? This course examines the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and gender to explore the multiple meanings of feminisms in the twentieth century United States. Students will investigate how women of different national, ethnic, and racial backgrounds have been included and excluded from feminist action, and, as a result, reinterpreted and defined feminism on their own terms. As an advanced writing and research seminar, this course asks students to critically analyze academic texts, interpret primary documents, and produce a research paper using historical methods.

Miranda Sachs HIST 481-903: “Teenagers in Postwar Europe” When we think of Europe in the decades after World War II, we often think of teenagers. Teenagers swarmed to Beatles concerts and screamed till they were hoarse. Teenagers protested in the streets in 1968 and demanded societal change. In the 1980s, immigrant youths clamored for more rights for their communities and introduced hip hop to Europe. This course surveys the history of European teenagers from the 1950s through the 1990s. Students will read and analyze historical primary and secondary sources to understand how the teenager developed into an important category in postwar Europe. Students will have the opportunity to develop an original research paper related to the history of the teenager.

Takkara Brunson HIST 481-904: “The Cuban Revolution” This course examines the Cuban Revolution of 1953-1959 and its development as a political project since 1959. Focusing on the revolutionary government’s ambitious aim to eradicate socioeconomic inequities on the island, we will explore its economic policies, state socialism, and foreign relations. We will also consider the experiences of everyday citizens from the vantage point of revolutionary allegiance, resistance, and repression; social dynamics and cultural movements; and the evolution of a Cuban diaspora. Finally, students will write an original research paper that draws on primary and secondary sources.