Maymester & Summer 2021 Courses

Course Descriptions

115.02, 30339 MTWRF 8:30-12:00 and ONLINE, Boucher - MAYMESTER
Pre-Modern History: Imagining and Describing the Edge of the Known World. This course will survey the history of various societies from Antiquity to 1492.  While the material will help you develop a basic understanding of the pre-modern world and its history, the course will focus on the following question: How did various societies at the time imagine and describe regions located on their geographic periphery? As this class will show, pre-modern descriptions of distant lands often reveal more about the societies that produced them than about the places they intended to describe.  Whether they were Ancient Greek poets or Medieval Irish monks, for instance, authors injected in these descriptions the values, anxieties, and fantasies that were common in their cultures of origin. As such, these texts provide revealing insights about past societies and the only means to appreciate them is to understand them in the historical and cultural context in which they were written.

115.03, 30132 ONLINE, Mikati - SUMMER I
Intertwined Histories: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This course presents an historical survey of pre-modern civilizations and cultures through a study of the role played by religion in the rise and shaping of cultures and societies. The primary focus will be on the historical environment and central traditions of three of the main world religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their near eastern environment from their inception to circa 1500 C.E.

115.04, 30141 MTWRF 8:30-12:00 and ONLINE, Piccione - MAYMESTER
History, Legend and Mythology. This course surveys the major civilizations of the ancient world through the lens of legend and mythology. Beginning with Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, it continues through the Minoans, Greeks and Romans (up to. AD 476). It focuseson the major myths and legends of these societies, including early creation mythologies, Egyptian and Mesopotamian legends of the gods and heroes, and legendary tales from Greece and Rome. Topics include the historical foundations of many of these legends, and the extent to which later legends of the Greeks and Romans were influenced by–or adapted from–earlier myths and legends of Egypt and the East. In this manner, the course explores not only what legends and mythology reveal about these historical civilizations, but also how those societies viewed themselves.

116.01, 30003 MTWRF 8:30-12:00 and ONLINE, Cropper - MAYMESTER
The History of Stuff: A Global History of Consumption and Waste. Every day, Americans consume and discard goods they purchased from the supermarket, the local café down the street, large retailers like Walmart and Home Depot, and upscale electronic stores that offer the newest Apple or Google products. While these commodities—from smartphones and televisions to plastic bottles and snack food—have become commonplace in our culture, we rarely take the time to step back and think about where all this “stuff” actually comes from, let alone the deep historical processes that have made these products so ubiquitous in contemporary society. This course takes up this task by conducting a global history of consumption and waste from 1600 to the present, and it will examine how the diffusion of “stuff” throughout the globe has long shaped processes of cultural, social, economic, and environmental change over time. 

116.02, 30004 ONLINE, Ingram - SUMMER I
The U.S. and the World in the American Century. Why did American automaker Henry Ford spend millions to build a town in the Amazon rainforest? How did the U.S. and the Soviet Union go from being allies to enemies in the span of just a few short years? What was African decolonization and how can it help us to better understand the U.S.'s role in the Vietnam War? Each week in this course, we will tackle questions like these. Using lectures, books, archival materials, and active discussion sessions, we'll learn to think critically about the U.S.'s role as a global power from the late nineteenth century to the present. 

116.03, 30164 ONLINE, Ingram - SUMMER II
The U.S. and the World in the American Century. Why did American automaker Henry Ford spend millions to build a town in the Amazon rainforest? How did the U.S. and the Soviet Union go from being allies to enemies in the span of just a few short years? What was African decolonization and how can it help us to better understand the U.S.'s role in the Vietnam War? Each week in this course, we will tackle questions like these. Using lectures, books, archival materials, and active discussion sessions, we'll learn to think critically about the U.S.'s role as a global power from the late nineteenth century to the present. 

116.04, 30207 ONLINE, Steere-Williams - SUMMER I
Epidemics and Revolutions: Disease in Modern Society. In this introductory course we will ask the fascinating historical question of how the social experience and cultural understanding of disease has shaped modern global history. We will explore how both chronic and infectious diseases have played a fundamental role in the development of modern modes of governance, public health, modern technologies, and a global economy. We will also examine how disease illuminates social attitudes about class, race, and colonialism in the period from the Enlightenment to the present. Using diverse examples such as cholera outbreaks in Europe, bubonic plague in India, syphilis in Africa, yellow fever in North America and the Caribbean, and HIV/AIDS across the globe, this course demonstrates that the historical analysis of disease is integral to understanding both ‘modernity’ and ‘globalization’.

116.05, 20219 MTWRF 12:00-1:45 and ONLINE, Slater - SUMMER II
Gender, Race, and Sexualities in the Modern West. Over the course of the semester we as a class will be discussing the role of women, gender, race, and sexualities in relation to the rise of the Enlightenment and ideas of equity. The focus will be on gendered and racial liberties. Studying the various roles of women and their relationships to men provide a unique lens through which to understand the application of Enlightenment philosophy on Europe and North America.  The breadth of this course prohibits depth in all areas, but we will specifically engage questions related to politics, society, culture, the arts, and war, as well as the history of modern sexualities. This class is intersectional, so we will also be addressing issues of class and race consistently. There will be graphic and sensitive material.  You will be expected to engage a variety of works and ideas, contributing your own ideas and observations.

210.01, 30541 MTWRF 12:00-1:45 and ONLINE, Slater - SUMMER I
Special Topics: Colonial America, History of American Sexualities. The increase of studies and activism related to gender and sexualities in America prompts questions about situating sexuality historically. This course is designed to offer an overview of how politics and society have (mis)understood variant sexualities over the course of history from the colonial period to the present.  We will survey the development of themes such as prostitution, “deviance,” reproductive choices, scientific understandings of sexualities, interactions between gendered cultures, and the role of sexual identities in the modern world.  The incorporation of a variety of Medias including print, memoir, letter, advertisement, film, literature provides an interdisciplinary approach to historical context.

211.01, 30544 MTWRF 8:30-12:00 and ONLINE, Donaldson - MAYMESTER
American Urban HistoryAs a historical study of the urban experience in the US from the era of industrialization to the post-industrial present, we will examine what living and working in American cities entailed. Through oral history, art, music, literature, and the built environment, we will explore the intersections of race, class, and gender, and how these identities shaped the experiences of urban Americans. This synchronous online class counts as a core course in the Urban Studies Program, satisfies a Humanities Gen Ed requirement, and satisfies the requirements of a Race, Equity, and Inclusion course.

226.01, 30542 ONLINE, Poole - MAYMESTER
American Monsters: The History of American Horror Narratives
Why do we need monster stories to understand American history? The class explores American history from the colonial period to the present. We will examine how narratives of monstrosity and horror in film, folklore, and pseudo-science have intersected with important historical events, cultural beliefs, and moral panics in the American historical experience. This will help us to think about some of the concepts, some of them innocuous and some dangerous, that inform class identity, systemic racism, and ideas about gender. 

232.01, 30540 2:00-3:45 and ONLINE, Gerrish - SUMMER II
Ancient Rome. The city of Rome grew from a tiny settlement on the Palatine Hill to a mighty empire stretching from Britain to Babylon.  In this course we will follow Rome's great generals, statesmen, and enemies from Rome's foundation by Romulus in 753 BCE to the death of Rome's first Christian emperor in 337 CE.  We will focus primarily on the political, military, and economic history of Rome; we will discuss its rich literary and artistic culture, as well. This course examines not just the history of Rome, but also its historiography: that is, how do we know what we think we know about Rome? Can - and should - we separate “history” from “myth”?  And how did ancient authors' conception of “truth” and “fact” differ from our own?

241.01, 30651 8:30-12:00 and ONLINE, Jestice - MAYMESTER
Special Topics: The British Civil War. In the 1640s and 1650s the British Isles were convulsed by massive social, religious, economic, and political disruptions—not to mention several straight-up military conflicts.  The Scots declared war on the English, Parliament declared war on King Charles I, and everyone declared war on the Irish.  As social controls dissolved, religious dissidents emerged, ranging from moderate puritans to folk who thought all property should be divided and (gasp!) even that women should be allowed to preach.  The king ended up publicly executed and the monarchy itself was abolished, only to find that republican rule was so problematic that a “lord protector” was given semi-regal powers to establish order.  And then, in 1660, the monarchy was restored under Charles I’s son (Charles II, the guy who gave the Carolinas to nobles as a way to pay off his debts).  Why study this topic?  It’s a fascinating examination of a political and social world in turmoil, as political and religious ideologies struggled against each other.  It’s a great way to look at seventeenth-century warfare.  And, as we delve into the conspiracy theories and “fake news” that fanned the conflict, much will seem astonishingly current.