Histories, Societies, Individuals

Mexico and the Making of Global Cuisine (Gen Ed 1178)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023

What does the food we eat tell us about ourselves—as individuals, communities, and countries—and how has humanity’s relationship with food changed over time?

 

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Jennifer Carballo

We all need to eat and drink each day to nourish our bodies. Yet how often do you pause to think deeply about why you eat what you eat? Your food habits are likely influenced by family traditions, but also by a range of other factors like income, age, ethnicity, religion, politics, and the environment. What does the food we eat tell us about ourselves—as individuals, communities and countries—and how has humanity’s relationship with food changed over time?... Read more about Mexico and the Making of Global Cuisine (Gen Ed 1178)

Rethinking the Darwinian Revolution (Gen Ed 1180)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

How does intellectual change happen and how do diverse communities respond to new ideas such as evolution, paying attention to different historical forces in social, religious, scientific, and cultural context?

 

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Janet Browne

Survival of the fittest, nature red in tooth and claw, trees of life, the ascent of mankind, the biological origin of humankind…. Western culture is loaded with evolutionary metaphors and images.... Read more about Rethinking the Darwinian Revolution (Gen Ed 1180)

The United States and China (Gen Ed 1068)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Are the United States and China destined for conflict or can they lead the world in addressing common challenges?

 

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William C. Kirby

The United States and China are global economic and military powers. They have a rich history of commerce, friendship, alliance, and antagonism. Both countries have been shaped and re-shaped by the nature of their mutual relations. Their relationship is in crisis, the outcome of which will do much to define the world of the 21st century.... Read more about The United States and China (Gen Ed 1068)

American Capitalism (Gen Ed 1159)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

What is capitalism and how has it unfolded in American history?

 

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Sven Beckert

How did capitalism emerge, expand and transform daily life in North America over the past 500 years? In this course, students will gain an in-depth understanding of how North America turned from a minor outpost of the Atlantic economy into the powerhouse of the world economy, how Americans built a capitalist economy and how that capitalism, in turn, changed every aspect of their lives.... Read more about American Capitalism (Gen Ed 1159)

Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

How have borders been formed historically, and what are the ethics of border construction, defense, expansion or transgression?

 

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Mary Lewis

 

As a society, we pay particular attention to borders when incidents such as children separated from their asylum-seeking parents or tear-gas being used to deter entry throw the legal divide between two nation states into sharp relief. But seldom do we stop to think about what a border is, or when and why some borders are defended more aggressively than others. 

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The Two Koreas in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1100)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Why is it that the Two Koreas (North and South Korea), sharing the same small peninsula, have followed such radically divergent paths in the modern world?

 

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Carter Eckert

How and why did there come to be two competing and adversarial states on the Korean peninsula in our contemporary world, one a prosperous capitalist democracy of global reach, and the other an impoverished dictatorship, bordering on theocracy and almost totally estranged from the international community—both claiming exclusive rights to speak for the Korean people and the Korean “nation” as a whole? In this course, we will explore not only the two contemporary Korean societies, North and South, but also to Korea’s pre-modern and colonial periods, and to explore together the roles played by China, Japan, the United States, and Russia (Soviet Union) in shaping modern Korean history.... Read more about The Two Koreas in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1100)

The Crusades and the Making of East and West (Gen Ed 1088)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

How did we come to think of the world as split into East and West?

 

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Dimiter Angelov

The course explores the birth of the civilizational categories of East and West during the era of the Crusades, one of the most significant and deeply symbolic events in human history. A series of wars in the Middle Ages fought between Latin Christians and the perceived enemies of Christendom, the Crusades saw the first experiments of European colonization, the rise of Western commercial capitalism, and the emergence of new cultural identities and boundaries across Europe and the Mediterranean.... Read more about The Crusades and the Making of East and West (Gen Ed 1088)

Political Economy and its Future (Gen Ed 1054)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

What should we make of the market economy?

 

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Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Dani Rodrik

The world’s economic and political order reels under mounting challenges: the global financial crisis, the austerity debacle, a slowdown in economic growth and productivity, the aggravation of inequality and the inadequacy of conventional responses to it, the discrediting of the Washington Consensus, the globalization backlash, the re-emergence of nationalist politics in Europe and the United States, and a contest over the meaning, value, and requirements of democracy. We examine connections among these phenomena and explore alternative ways of thinking about contemporary market economies and their reconstruction.

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Law, Politics, and Trade Policy: Lessons from East Asia (Gen Ed 1119)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Must the East Asian Growth Miracle always lead to trade wars or can international law bring cooperation?

 

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Christina Davis

How do states balance the challenges and opportunities of international markets? Importing ideas and resources while exporting manufactured goods underlies the East Asian growth miracle but also builds conflict with other governments. This course examines the transformative role of trade policy for Japan, Korea, and China. From the “unequal treaties” of the nineteenth century to the World Trade Organization today, trade law binds the interactions between East Asia and the world.... Read more about Law, Politics, and Trade Policy: Lessons from East Asia (Gen Ed 1119)

The Border: Race, Politics and Health in Modern Mexico (Gen Ed 1089)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

What can histories of tension and cooperation at the U.S.-Mexico border tell us about our own nation's public health programs and national racism?

 

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Gabriela Soto Laveaga

Why does the Mexico-U.S. border continue to be a space for debate and controversy? This course examines how the creation of the U.S.-Mexico border in 1848 shaped modern Mexican society from the nineteenth century to our present.... Read more about The Border: Race, Politics and Health in Modern Mexico (Gen Ed 1089)

Race in a Polarized America (Gen Ed 1052)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Is the United States a beacon of liberal, democratic, diverse values and practices, that also has a pattern of racial injustice – or is the US at its core a white supremicist society, in which some people aspire to creating a genuinely tolerant liberal democracy?

 

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Jennifer L. Hochschild

How do we manage issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration in a polarized political era?  What role did race play in the election of President Trump, after eight years of the presidency of Barack Obama? How can we be good citizens of the world when Americans have such mixed views and take such mixed actions in engaging with racial hierarchy, identity, or interaction?... Read more about Race in a Polarized America (Gen Ed 1052)

Race and Caste (Gen Ed 1126)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

What can thinking about race and caste together tell us about identity and inequality?

 

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Ajantha Subramanian

Race and caste are two of the most enduring forms of social stratification. While their histories date well before the advent of political democracy, they have taken on new forms in the context of democratic social transformation and capitalist development. In this course, we will grapple with the meanings, uses, and politics of race and caste historically and in the contemporary moment.... Read more about Race and Caste (Gen Ed 1126)

The Celts: People or Construct? (Gen Ed 1081)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Who and what define an ethnic group?

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Catherine McKenna

We are exposed every day to terms referring to ethnic groups, and we tend to accept these terms uncritically, assuming that we know what they mean and to whom they refer. These labels help to shape our sense of ourselves, of others, and of ourselves in relation to others. Yet the ethnic identities associated with such terms are in fact ambiguous and malleable, constructed of a shifting array of elements, including genetics, shared history, language, religion, economy, political institutions, music, architecture, and foodways.... Read more about The Celts: People or Construct? (Gen Ed 1081)

Pyramid Schemes: What Can Ancient Egyptian Civilization Teach Us? (Gen Ed 1099)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

How does ancient Egypt enlighten our times about what defines a civilization, and were those ancient humans, with their pyramids, hieroglyphs, and pharaohs, exactly like or nothing like us?

 

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Peter Der Manuelian

How much of your impression of the ancient world was put there by Hollywood, music videos, or orientalist musings out of the West? How accurate are these depictions? Does it matter? This course examines the quintessential example of the “exotic, mysterious ancient world” – Ancient Egypt – to interrogate these questions.  Who has “used” ancient Egypt as a construct, and to what purpose? Did you know that pyramids, mummies, King Tut, and Cleopatra represent just the (overhyped) tip of a very rich civilization that holds plenty of life lessons for today?... Read more about Pyramid Schemes: What Can Ancient Egyptian Civilization Teach Us? (Gen Ed 1099)

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