HIST 100

Historical Encounters

An introduction to historical analysis and argumentation. While individual sections will focus on different topics and time periods, in all sections students will investigate a range of sources, methods and historical approaches to the past. Hist 100 may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Fall Semester information

Max Felker-Kantor

100A: Historical Encounters: Police and Prisons in U.S. History

How do we police and punish citizens in a democratic society? This course will explore how the answer to that question has changed over time. Through a critical exploration of histories of policing and imprisonment we will address how the United States became a society that punishes and imprisons more people than any other country in the world. Topics of study will include police tactics and technologies, convict leasing, prisoner rights movements, juvenile delinquency, drug wars, immigration raids and detention, mass incarceration, and reform and abolition movements and how these topics connect to broader histories of progressivism, urbanization, inequality, and the growth of the American state. We will use a variety of sources to tell this story, including recent journalism, academic writing, political tracts, and documentary film. Through our readings and class discussions, we will not only explore the history of policing and prisons in American society, but also debate the current state of mass incarceration and potential solutions. Studying police and prisons ultimately forces us to interrogate the meaning of justice, citizenship, and equality in our democratic society.


Spring Semester information

Sarah Rowley

100A: Historical Encounters: Sex & Society in Modern America

This course explores the ways that the meanings of sex and sexuality (behaviors and identities) have changed over time in modern America. Sex has a history--in other words, it is not immutable. In investigating the history of sex in 20th-century America, this course introduces the changing social circumstances that affected the meanings of sexuality in the United States. We will also consider the politics of sexuality: how differing interpretations of sexuality have been used to deploy power in American society.


David Gellman

100B: Historical Encounters: Pirates, Slaves, Sailors & Revolutionaries

The Atlantic Ocean and its seaports gave rise to dramatic expressions of liberty and cruel systems of oppression during the age of revolution that birthed the United States and other new world nations. This course puts sea-borne and sea-bound historical actors--pirates and the navies that pursued them, slaves and their captors, sailors and their captains, seaport laborers and their employers--on center stage. Out of conflict and collaboration new nations, economies, and identities formed that shaped the modern world. We will use a variety of sources including autobiography, online data, fiction, film, and scholarly narratives to tell this story. Studying people at sea ultimately forces us to rethink what we mean when we talk about freedom, slavery, and revolution on land--then and now.