Encountering the Past

An introduction to history through the study of a special subject in depth. Emphasis on the ways in which historians find and interpret the materials of the past. For students who do not complete the West in Time requirement in the History Department, a gateway to the History major. Topics designated according to the specialties of the faculty.

1 unit — Neel, Ragan, Sanchez

Previously Featured Offering

What is a witch? How is magic defined? Who draws the lines between magic and religion? By examining case studies such as the European witch craze and the Salem witch trials, we will grapple with the myriad ways that witchcraft reveals patterns of belief, structures of power, and social relations in different times and places.
Old drawing of "witch" about to be hung
Fleming, Adrian. “Annotation on Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: .” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 25 Sept. 2017.
What makes a witch? How do societies define magic, and who gets to draw the boundaries between categories like magic and religion? This course will grapple with the myriad ways that witchcraft reveals patterns of belief, structures of power, and social relations in different times and places.
illustration of Salem witch trial
Photo from Library of Congress
The Election as History: Republicans and Democrats since 1912 will delve into the electoral history of the United States since 1912. Students will be challenged to contemplate in more informed and thoughtful ways about the issues related to the topic.
Black and white photo of Inauguration of President Warren G. Harding, March 4, 1921.
This course will explore the electoral history of the United States since 1912. It's a good place to start since that presidential election saw a dramatic split in the Republican Party, a Socialist who garnered 6% of the vote, and victory for a segregationist Democrat. We will cove a period of over 100 years of US history and much happened. Thus it is that such a course is necessarily topical. Many significant issues, persons, and events are left out. There is always more to think about and learn about than what's on the syllabus. But, really, the big matters to think about here are the contemporary issues raised. If this course challenges you to contemplate in more informed and thoughtful ways about such matters as liberalism and conservatism, what is "political," why do people vote the way they do, what coalitions have formed the Democratic and Republican parties, the so-called "culture wars," and religion and politics, then it will have been a success. Actually, it will likely cause creative confusion about these matters.

Offerings

Term Block Title Instructor Location Student Limit/Available Updated
Fall 2021 Block 2 Encountering the Past: Histories of Race and Film Topic Details Jamal Ratchford Palmer Hall 216 25 / 16 05/15/2022
Spring 2022 Block H Encountering the Past: Roundheads, Regicide, and Reaction during the English Civil Wars, 1625-1660 Topic Details Tip Ragan Palmer Hall 223 25 / 12 05/15/2022
Spring 2022 Block 5 Encountering the Past: Reading Graphic Histories Topic Details Danielle Sanchez Palmer Hall 225 25 / 0 05/15/2022
Spring 2022 Block 6 Encountering the Past: World War II in Asia Topic Details John Williams Palmer Hall CommonRoom 25 / 1 05/15/2022
Spring 2022 Block 8 Encountering the Past: The Partition of India Purvi Mehta Cossitt Hall Amphitheat 25 / 4 05/15/2022
Spring 2023 Block 5 Encountering the Past: Animal-Human Boundary Carol Neel TBA 25 / 25 05/15/2022
Spring 2023 Block 7 Encountering the Past: The French Revolution Tip Ragan TBA 25 / 25 05/15/2022
Spring 2023 Block 8 Encountering the Past: World War II In Africa Danielle Sanchez TBA 25 / 25 05/15/2022
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