HIST 301
Approaching the Past: Economic and Labor Histories in the Making of the U.S. Spring 2024
Division II
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Class Details

This course examines the sources, methods, and theoretical assumptions that have shaped historical practice from the late nineteenth century to the present. We will grapple with foundational questions including: What is “history”? Who makes it, who writes it, and how? From whose perspective and to what end? Focusing on U.S. economic and labor histories, we will examine when and where these histories intersect, as well as where and why they might diverge. To what extent are historical narratives shaped by the time period in which they are written, revealing their embeddedness in the dominant discourses of the era? Or to what extent might historical approaches provide alternatives? We will also consider what the implications of U.S. economic and labor histories are in terms of relationships to the state via policymaking, politics, and activism. Anchoring our own historical analysis in the late nineteenth century and the 1930s, we will then focus on the era between World War II and the present. In our seminar meetings, we will analyze historical writings and debates, considering how their authors define historical themes, subjects/actors, and processes, as well as the meanings of history for different audiences and eras.
The Class: Format: seminar; This is a discussion based seminar.
Limit: 19
Expected: 15
Class#: 3857
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation, short writing assignments of 1-2 pages, and mini-presentations; Mid-term essay, 3-5 pages; Paper proposal and annotated bibliography; Final paper and presentation
Prerequisites: Restricted to History majors and sophomores planning to major in History.
Enrollment Preferences: This course is designed for junior and senior History majors; sophomores may enroll with instructor consent.
Unit Notes: Course, 301, required for History Major
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada

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