HIST 413
The Big Ideas: Intended and Unintended Consequence of Human Ambition Fall 2022
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ARAB 413 / GBST 413 / HIST 413 / ENVI 413

Class Details

What have been the most consequential ideas of the last 100 years? This course will explore some of the more audacious and ambitious plans to alter natural and urban environments in the late 19th century to the early part of the 21st, specifically those that sought to improve the human condition through science, engineering, and technology. By building big bold things, politicians around the globe sought to bring prosperity to their nation and embark on a path of modernity and independence. Through an intellectual, political and environmental history of major construction projects such as the building of the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam, extensive river valley developments in Iran, Turkey and Iraq, and utopian and futuristic city planning in western Asia, students will consider how, with the benefit of hindsight, to best evaluate the feasibility of such bold schemes. Who has benefitted and who has not, what have been some of the unanticipated consequences, what was sacrificed or neglected, and what do these projects tell us about the larger processes of global capitalism, decolonization, and climate change?
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1404
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: A presentation, shorter writing assignments and a longer research paper (20-25 pages) in the end. Students will submit shorter drafts of final paper in order to receive constructive feedback prior to final submission.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Seniors, especially History, Arabic and Environmental Studies majors.
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARAB 413 Division II GBST 413 Division II HIST 413 Division II ENVI 413 Division II
WS Notes: A 20-25 page research paper will be required at the end of the semester. Prior to getting to that point, students will submit an annotated bibliography, a two page proposal, a five and eventually a 10 page draft. Each draft will receive extensive comments and suggestions from peers and instructor. In this way, the student will think about the process of writing and the best way to set themselves up for success.
DPE Notes: This course examines how a number of different nations in Africa and Asia sought to improve the living conditions of the masses through major construction project. Though ostensibly these schemes were supposed to improve the livelihood of all, often they primarily benefitted the few - the urban elite - and not the general population. This course will therefore explore how certain class, gender and racial lines were solidified and maintained through economic development plans.
Attributes: HIST Group E Electives - Middle East

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