A study of a special topic with an emphasis on discussion and participation. Descriptions of HIST 290 courses offered in a given semester are available on the History department Website or in the History department office prior to registration for that semester. May be repeated for credit with different topics.
Fall Semester informationGlen Kuecker
290A: Tps: Latin American Environmental History
The diversity of people, geography, and ecology in Latin America combine to make it one of the most diverse environments on the planet. Complementing the diversity is a rich history of human interactions with the environment. Knowing this history informs us about indigenous economic and cultural practices that offer alternative ways of thinking about how people relate to their environment. The history of conquest and colonization illustrate the dramatic, if not catastrophic, impact of European environmental practices, which helps us to further understand how modernity attempted to control nature, as well as the consequences of this effort. Learning the history also shows the troubled relationship between capitalism and the planet's resources, and how the troubles were important in shaping Latin America's social, political, economic, and cultural landscapes. The history is important for our thinking about the contemporary and future challenges we face, especially in the areas of climate change, resource extraction, food sovereignty, and disease, and energy.
290B: Tps: Technology and Social Change in the Middle East, 1800-1950
Many observers have commented on the prominent role played by Twitter and other communication technologies in the Arab Spring and Gezi Park movements across North Africa and the Middle East. Many states likewise reacted to the protests with military and communication technologies to exert control over these physical and virtual spaces. This course will focus on how states, communities, and individuals have developed, adopted, and adapted technological innovations, and how these have affected their lives. The technologies focused on include the railroad, photography, printing, radio and movies. We will also explore how various technologies, institutions, and ideas changed state administrators' and subjects' visions of their societies locally and regionally, in fields ranging from politics to education to arts and leisure. Finally, the course will also look at what historians do, how they develop (and change) the questions they ask, and how they find answers to those questions.