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History and Society Division Course Listings


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Please note begin and end dates - This course will take place during the second half of the semester AMS3605 Water in America 2-credit advanced level course Water has shaped the development of America. America is what it is and Americans are where they are as a result of decisions that have involved water resources. Students in this advanced level Liberal Arts elective course will examine water issues in America and how that resource has shaped our settlement, history, economy, environment, transportation and politics. We will discuss water shortages and water wars in the West; the development and impact of the Erie Canal; the clean-up of Boston Harbor and other dirty stories; and the Bureau of Land Management and how it dammed the West. We will use great non-fiction writing and compelling films to explore the difficult choices America has faced and to examine how water issues have impacted Americans. Last but not least, we will investigate the environmental and sustainability challenges we are facing today and tomorrow. Prerequisites: Three Intermediate liberal arts (HSS, CVA, LVA)

2.00 credits



CVA2002 African American History and Foodways (HIS) 4 credit intermediate liberal arts The course covers the major periods, movements, and events that have shaped African American history and foodways. These include: the African slave trade; antebellum period; the civil war and reconstruction; World War I and the great migration; Harlem Renaissance and Garveyism; Great Depression; Spanish Civil War and World War II; Civil Rights and Black Power movements; industrialization, the growth of the prison industrial complex, and the "war on drugs." The course will also include content on African American foodways from the African slave trade to the Black Power movement. Classes discuss the assigned reading with lively student participation. Out-of-class work includes readings, online exams, attending lectures, artistic presentations, and films, as well as independent research. Prerequisites, RHT I & II and (AH & HS) or AHS

4.00 credits



CVA2408 Cultural Anthropology (Intermediate Liberal Arts) Introduction to Cultural Anthropology is a three-credit intermediate History and Society course. The central focus of this course is the phenomenon of culture, that remarkable accomplishment that makes humans unique among all other species. We will use the concept of culture to investigate the question of what it means to be human. A major area of focus will be upon the ways cultural meanings are generated, shared, symbolized, ritualized, contested and altered in the face of different types of challenges. We will also study the relationship of cultural meaning to different economic, kinship and political systems. Throughout the course, as we study a variety of unfamiliar societies, we will continually refer back to our own societies with the goal of looking at our own ways of doing things with a new frame of mind. This frame of mind, or anthropological perspective, searches for the internal logics and constellations of values and beliefs that underpin all societies and subcultures. Central to this course is a succession of small fieldwork projects. This course will particularly strengthen your multicultural and rhetorical competencies Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Fall

4.00 credits



CVA2009 East Asian Cultures (Intermediate Liberal Arts) Welcome to Cultures and Values 2009, an intermediate level Liberal Arts course which will introduce you to the cultures of East Asia. This course builds on the themes and techniques in the H&S and A&H Foundation courses to analyze our subject using the materials and methodology of history pursued in an interdisciplinary manner. We will focus on the cultures of East Asia, China, Japan, and Korea; with thematic examples from ancient, medieval and modern periods. East Asia is integrated due to location and the influence that China had on the cultures of Japan and Korea. We will begin our study with the major ways of thinking in ancient China-Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, with some consideration of Legalism, and Militarism. The ethical structures, ideas, concepts and vocabulary in part one will inform and be assumed in our study of Japan and Korea. We will next study the uses of Chinese Ethics in Japan and Korea, Shinto in Japan, and Shamanism in Korea. Although these three cultures have elements in common, Japan and Korea developed in unique ways and in no way should be seen as pale imitations of Chinese culture. We begin our study analyzing written (Chinese) classical texts, which became classics throughout East Asia. These are elite cultural documents, but we will also consider their impact on popular culture. The fourth section of the course will consider East Asia as a cultural unit. We will interrogate the cultural constructions of identity and meaning in these cultures and the political and social contexts in which these were found. We will consider the impact of modernization and globalization, and the change and continuity within East Asian cultures. Some attention will be given to the cultural impact from and on the West. We approach this course through readings in philosophy, religion, anthropology, art, literature, film, and music. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Summer

4.00 credits



CVA2010 Gender Studies 4 credit (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to gender studies. Designed as an intermediate course, Introduction to Gender Studies aims to identify and critically examine the interactive relationships among gender, cultural/social institutions, and individuals in contemporary American society. This implies two foci of attention. First, through readings and discussion, we will explore gender roles and resulting power inequities in contexts such as families, the music industry, conceptions of both race and sexuality, and novels. Equally important, we will analyze how the behaviors of individuals reflect, sustain and sometimes alter social conceptions of gender. In concert, these two emphases serve to underline the relationships among gender, culture, and individuals. Prerequisites: RHT I & II and Foundation (H&S and A&H) or AHS This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring, Summer or Fall

4.00 credits



CVA2411 Introduction to Western Culture 4 credit (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This cultural history course explores rational and non-rational ways of knowing in the Western tradition. We look at literature and art to focus upon four moments in the history of the West where these antithetical tendencies are conspicuous: Ancient Greece; the High Middle Ages; Europe during the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution; and the Early 20th Century. We read Greek tragedies by Aeschylus and Euripides, medieval romances such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and contemporary plays about the lives of Galileo and Luther. Essays by Freud and Jung frame our discussions. Prerequisites: RHT I & II and Foundation (H&S and A&H) or AHS This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Fall

4.00 credits



CVA2015 Political Thought (Intermediate Liberal Arts) What is politics, and what does it mean to say that we are political actors, individually and collectively? On what basis might we view politics as a positive and/or negative force in our lives? This course addresses these and other questions about the meaning and practice of politics through close readings of classic political theory works, such as those by Thomas Hobbes, Niccolo Machiavelli and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and readings from more contemporary approaches, such as anarchist political theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. The course will begin with some basic concerns, about the role and meaning of citizenship, political community, and government. Upon this basis, we will read and discuss topics such as inequality, political resistance, the role of violence in politics, and any other pertinent issues discern from the work. This is a reading intensive course, and it will also explore political themes that can be drawn out of popular culture, such as films and television shows. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring

4.00 credits



This course will be delivered via WebEx. CVA2490 Food and the African American Canon 3 credit intermediate liberal arts This 3 credit history and foodways course discusses food and space in restaurants, dining cars, street venders and wherever food is made and sold (by whom), and eaten (by whom) at the center. The course will include readings in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of a Colored Man, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Zora Hurston's Their Eyes Where Watching God, John Washington's The Chaneysville Incident, Paule Marshall's classic essay From The Poets in the Kitchen, and Richard Wright's Man of All Work. Readings on segregated restaurants come from James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, and in No Name in the Street. A chapter on Ntzoake Shange's novel, Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo and her novel Liliane. Prerequisites: RHT and AHF or AHS Foundation

3.00 credits



GDR3610 Topics in Women's Studies (Advanced Liberal Arts) This course provides a forum to examine and discuss contemporary women's and girls' roles and positions. The course will address the following topics: first and second waves of feminism, sexuality, psycho-social influences on gender construction, paid work and structures of inequality, women and social protest and family configurations. At the beginning of the course, we will read some historic documents as background to the women's movement in the United States. Although the main focus will be on women and girls in the United States, we will also discuss women's positions in other countries as well. Because femininity and images of women are balanced, and often countered, by masculinity and images of men, we will spend time discussing men in relation to women. Integral to this course is recognition of how race, class, ethnicity and sexuality converge to influence how women negotiate their political, social and cultural roles. Finally, we will attempt to become "enlightened witnesses" to the social construction of femininity and masculinity, and use our understanding to notice stereotypical portrayals as well as new, liberating images of women and men. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts Courses (CVA, LVA, HSS) This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Fall

4.00 credits



HIS3608 Social Responsibility in Malaysia 4 credit advanced liberal arts (offshore elective) Study of, and opportunity for hands-on contributions to high quality social enterprises and corporate social responsibility programs in the world's most economically developed Muslim community. Malaysia is also a multi-ethnic society with communities of Chinese, Indian, and native peoples for which government, corporations, and social enterprises are developing strategies for social coherence. For over a hundred and fifty years, American management models have dominated the enterprises of the world. Now, as we enter the second decade of what some call the "post-American century," it is vital for Americans and everyone else to open themselves to lessons that can be learned from others. Malaysia's underappreciated economic success, as well as its large challenges in sustainability and social justice, make it a potential teacher for the rest of us. Prerequisites:

4.00 credits



HIS3609 Espionage, Subversion, and Terror: Spy Literature and the Cold War 4 credit Advanced Liberal Arts The 20th century was obsessed with spying, and since WWII it has become institutionalized and professionalized. The clandestine has always been an important part of war, politics and commerce, but during the 20th century it became an end in itself. Spy literature represents intrigue and the clandestine, espionage and subversion, as the human condition. It presents an amoral world characterized by voyeurism, role anxiety, disguise and alienation, and invites an identification with the spy out in the cold; it plays upon our sense of isolation in a bureaucratic world, our lack of control. The spy is us, in an enemy world, always already betrayed. In this class we will read espionage literature that explores these moral issues within the geopolitical and ideological contexts of the Cold War. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts (HSS, LVA, CVA)

4.00 credits



HIS3612 Drugs and Intoxicants in World History 4 credit advanced liberal arts Course Description: This course will examine the role of drugs and intoxicants in World History; their use as spiritual and medicinal tools, as key devices in economic capitalist expansion, and eventually their role as a divisive political and economic issue in contemporary politics. The course begins by examining the importance of stimulants such as tea, sugar, coffee and opium to the expansion of free trade and global capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The course analyzes the shifts to prohibition, particularly the suppression of the global drug trade as justification for the expansion of American empire, and the US-led “War on Drugs” and its relationship with the expansion of the global drug trade. We will also address contemporary issues regarding the war on drugs in Mexico and narco-terrorism in Afghanistan. We will use a variety of books, articles, documents, and films to understand this rich, complex, and often misunderstood history. Prerequisites: Three intermediate liberal Arts (HSS LVA CVA)

4.00 credits



HIS3614 World War One at 100 (1914-2014): History, Literature and Film 4-credit Advanced Liberal Arts “The Great War"; "a war to end all war"; "a war to make the world safe for democracy"; the beginning of "total war"... and then, "a peace to end all peace"!! Or, as others described it: "the great seminal catastrophe of [the 20th] century"; and "the first calamity of the twentieth century... from which all other calamities sprang." Today, 100 years from the outbreak of WWI, most students of history and politics trace directly, or consequentially, the Russian Revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union, Fascism, Nazism and WW II, The Cold War, the beginning of the end of Imperialism, the rise of Asian, African and Middle Eastern independence and nationalist movements, modern Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Israel and Palestine, Islamic fundamentalism, the Arab Spring of 2011, and the present Syrian Civil War to World War One!! Wow! So... how to work to understand such a momentous event and use our understanding to know ourselves and our contemporary world better? We will lean about the origins and process of the war; we will read novels, memoirs and poetry of English, French and German soldiers who fought in the war; we will look at films from across the 20th century that explored the war and will read some modern literature that looks back at WWI to help explore contemporary personal, cultural and political issues. Finally, each student will choose a particular area of interest to explore and share with the class. Prerequisites: Three Intermediate liberal arts (HSS, CVA, LVA)

4.00 credits



HIS3620 RACE AND ETHNICITY IN LATIN AMERICA 4 credit (Advanced Liberal Arts) What did it mean to be "Black" or "Indian" or "White" in Latin America? What is mestizaje and indigenismo? What did it mean to be of mixed descent? What does these mean today? Is "race" a means to political empowerment, or the source of discrimination? This seminar explores these issues and ideas in the context of colonial and postcolonial Latin American history. In answering these questions, we will look at a variety of theoretical and disciplinary approaches to "race." Armed with the history of these changing ideas, we will then consider a variety of case studies from throughout Latin America. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts Courses (CVA, LVA, HSS)

4.00 credits

HIS3630 - C.I.A. IN ASIA


HIS3630 C.I.A In Asia 4 credit advanced liberal arts We will examine the ways in which CIA actions affected the internal and external dynamics of various countries in west, central south, southeastern and east Asia, in order to explore the beneficial and detrimental impact of their operations in Asia during the Cold War. The class will explore how CIA actions during the Cold War shaped the current geo-political and economic dynamics of Asia, in particular; the political unrest in Iran, the lawlessness and violence and Afghanistan, and the debate of CIA complicity in the heroin trade. We will use a variety of books, articles, documents, and films to understand this complex, politically sensitive and volatile history. Prerequisites: 3 intermediate liberal arts (LVA, CVA, HSS)

4.00 credits



HIS3674 The Personal is Political: Gender in Modern US History (Advanced Liberal Arts) Activists in the women’s movement made the personal political, bringing previously “private” issues such as sex, reproduction, birth control, and intimate relationships into the realm of public debates. This course focuses on the changing social and political roles of women and men in twentieth- and twenty-first century America. Using primary and secondary sources, films, and other texts, we will study “womanhood” and “manhood,” femininity and masculinity, and the intersection of these identities with the categories of class, race, ethnicity, religion, ability, and sexuality. We will discuss people in straight and GLBTQ family arrangements, in the diverse, globalized workplace, in the formation of public policy, and in social movements. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts Courses (CVA, LVA, HSS) This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Fall

4.00 credits



HSS2000 The Making of Modern America, 1865-1929 4 credit (Intermediate Liberal Arts) The decade of the 1920s witnessed the birth of much of that we consider "modern" in the United States. Students in this course will examine this decade closely, focusing on several key moments and developments: anti-immigrant hysteria and the Braintree, Massachusetts trial of Sacco and Vanzetti; the rise of queer communities; competing visions of Black Liberation and the art of the Harlem Renaissance; the rise of big business, the decline of small town America, and the mass appeal of the Ku Klux Klan; women and men and their roles in the new economies of sex and work. We will use historical sources, among them film and fiction, to explore the currents of the twenties and draw connections to the social and political debates of the contemporary U.S. Prerequisites: RHT I & II and Foundation (H&S and A&H) or AHS

4.00 credits



HSS2003 Latin American History (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This course will be an introduction to the main themes, actors, and ideas in Latin American history. The central focus will be on Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, with an attempt to develop a comparative understanding of the Latin America's diversity, as well as common patterns, from pre-Columbian times to the present. In other words, this course is not an exhaustive history of Latin America; rather, it intends to develop familiarity with key concepts, developments, and issues in the region's history. Prerequisites: RHT I & II and Foundation (H&S and A&H) or AHS This course is typically offered in the following semester: Fall

4.00 credits



HSS2406 South Asian History 4 credit Intermediate Liberal Arts This course is an introductory survey of the history of South Asia. Together we will explore the origins and encounters of this incredible and dynamic region that includes the present day nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. We will use a variety of methodological lenses to examine this past (environmental, social/cultural, political, etc….) and a wide array of sources (historical analysis, primary texts, literature, film, etc...). We will seek themes in order to draw larger connections, but we will also be careful to avoid generalizations and reductions of this widely variant region. We will explore the rise and fall of many empires, the imagination of many states, and the participation of individuals in crafting a life within those imaginings. Prerequisites: RHT and AHS & HSF

4.00 credits



HSS2013 China Today: The Dragon Rises 4 credit intermediate liberal arts This intermediate history course will introduce you to China’s dynamic present within the context of the complex legacy of the Chinese past. We will examine the historical, cultural, political, and economic development of post 1949 China, with brief introductions to relevant aspects of the imperial past. You will gain a nuanced appreciation for the incredible economic growth of China from 1990 to the present, and the concomitant problems of state-society relations, human rights, minority relations, the environment, and the gaps between the rich and the poor and the urban and rural citizens. We will take advantage of Boston’s resources through site visits to view Chinese art, undertake a scavenger hunt in Chinatown, and enjoy Chinese food. We will explore China through the use of scholarship, fiction, maps, memoir, art, film, and music. Prerequisites: RHT I & II & Foundation (A&H and H&S) or AHS

4.00 credits

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