Histories, Societies, Individuals

Histories, Societies, Individuals courses engage questions of identity and social change, helping you understand the histories and traditions that you will encounter in a global context.

The following courses fulfill the Gen Ed Histories, Societies, Individuals requirement

Africa and Africans: The Making of a Continent in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1096)

Semester: 

N/A

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Caroline M. Elkins

There are contradictory reports coming from Africa from news outlets, academics, entrepreneurs and businessmen, artists, and countless ordinary Africans. For some, there is an optimistic “Africa Rising” narrative that gestures to the continent being a trend-setter for the 21st century in the realms of entrepreneurship and investment, arts and culture, and innovation and design, among other things.... Read more about Africa and Africans: The Making of a Continent in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1096)

African Spirituality and the Challenges of Modern Times (Gen Ed 1071)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2020


What can African spiritual traditions contribute to human flourishing in the contemporary age?
 

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Jacob K. Olupona

Taking the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” as a starting point, the course will explore the African spiritual heritage both on the continent and the diaspora communities (Black Atlantic diasporas). We will begin by spelling out the features of African indigenous religious traditions: cosmology, cosmogony, mythology, ritual practices, divination, healing ceremonies, sacred kingship, etc.... Read more about African Spirituality and the Challenges of Modern Times (Gen Ed 1071)

American Capitalism (Gen Ed 1159)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

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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)

American Society and Public Policy (Gen Ed 1092)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2020


How do patterns of American economic, political and social inequality shape our policy responses to working families, immigration, poverty, COVID 19,  and immigration?

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Theda Skocpol and Mary Waters

In a period of contentious politics, Americans are debating fundamental issues about economic wellbeing and social justice.  How can the nation expand opportunity and security for workers and families following years of rising socioeconomic inequalities and shifts in the relationship of families to work?  How do we regulate immigration and citizenship and cope with surges in refugees and asylum seekers?  How have ongoing partisan polarization and rising economic inequalities influenced U.S. responses to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis?  Controversies in these areas are bitter and persistent, and this course will introduce students to the ways the United States has dealt with each of set of challenges.... Read more about American Society and Public Policy (Gen Ed 1092)

Ancestry (Gen Ed 1014)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

How does ancestry affect our opportunities, our rights, and our sense of who we are?

 

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Maya Jasanoff

Everyone comes from somewhere. We carry our ancestries in our DNA, genealogy, family stories, and more. What do these forms of evidence tell us about who we are, as a species, as a social group, or as an individual? This course looks at ancestry from a range of perspectives: biology, anthropology, genealogy, history, law, and memory—from the origins of human populations to the origins of you.... Read more about Ancestry (Gen Ed 1014)

Asia in the Making of the Modern World (Gen Ed 1026)

Semester: 

N/A

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Parimal Patil and Ian J. Miller

How did we come to live as we do? Why do we eat what we eat, wear what we wear, play the games that we play, take the SATs? The roots of a surprisingly large number of things that we now take for granted, as parts of everyday American life, lie deep in the Asian past. In this class you will learn to perceive global history in the American present, and more importantly, to make new historical discoveries yourself.... Read more about Asia in the Making of the Modern World (Gen Ed 1026)

Ballots and Bibles: Why and How Americans Bring Scriptures into Their Politics (Gen Ed 1062)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

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David Holland

In 2018, in a public speech to law enforcement officers, the attorney general of the United States used a scriptural passage to defend tougher implementation of immigration laws. His reference bewildered observers who were unaware of a long tradition of citing Romans 13 in American political controversies, including such formative conflicts as the American Revolution and the sectional crisis over slavery.... Read more about Ballots and Bibles: Why and How Americans Bring Scriptures into Their Politics (Gen Ed 1062)

Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

Semester: 

N/A

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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.... Read more about Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

Can We Know Our Past? (Gen Ed 1105)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2020


In a time when histories are being contested, monuments removed, and alternative facts compete with established orthodoxy, how do we evaluate competing narratives about what really happened in the past?

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Jason Ur and Matthew Liebmann

What happened in the past? How do you know? Even though today we take great pains to document every major event that occurs, more than 99% of human history is not written down.... Read more about Can We Know Our Past? (Gen Ed 1105)

Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems (Gen Ed 1011)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2020

How do you successfully design and implement solutions to intractable social and economic problems in the developing world?

 

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Tarun Khanna and Satchit Balsari

What problems do developing countries face, and how can individuals contribute to solutions rather than awaiting the largesse of the state or other actors? Intractable problems – such as lack of access to education and healthcare, forced reliance on contaminated food, deep-seated corruption – are part of the quotidian existence of the vast majority of five of the world’s seven billion people.... Read more about Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems (Gen Ed 1011)

Dark Satanic Mills: How the Factory Made Our World (Gen Ed 1143)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

How have changes in the way that things are manufactured and made transformed the world beyond the factory and other sites of production?

 

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Victor Seow

From spam to smart phones, much of the stuff we consume in our daily lives are factory-made. In the process of producing for our endless needs and wants, the factory has mobilized and motivated some of the latest advances in science and technology, defined and redefined the nature of work, and, through its polluting presence, pushed against the limits of our planetary boundaries.... Read more about Dark Satanic Mills: How the Factory Made Our World (Gen Ed 1143)

Deep History (Gen Ed 1044)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

Who are we, how did we get here... and how far back in time do we have to go to start asking the question?

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Matthew J. Liebmann and Daniel Lord Smail

When does history begin? To judge by the typical history textbook, the answer is straightforward: six thousand years ago. So what about the tens of thousands of years of human existence described by archaeology and related disciplines? Is that history too?... Read more about Deep History (Gen Ed 1044)

Designing the American City: Civic Aspirations and Urban Form (Gen Ed 1003)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

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Alex Krieger

An interpretive look at the American city in terms of changing attitudes toward urban life. City and suburb are experienced as the product of design and planning decisions informed by cultural and economic forces, and in relationship to utopian and pragmatic efforts to reinterpret urban traditions in search of contemporary alternatives.... Read more about Designing the American City: Civic Aspirations and Urban Form (Gen Ed 1003)

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Gen Ed Categories

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Aesthetics & Culture

Aesthetics and Culture courses engage diverse artistic genres and cultural traditions, helping you situate yourself and others as products of and participants in art and culture.

 

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Ethics & Civics

Ethics and Civics courses engage with large questions about right and wrong, helping you grapple with the nature of civic virtue and the ethical dimensions of what you say and do.

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Histories, Societies, Individuals

Histories, Societies, Individuals courses engage questions of identity and social change, helping you understand the histories and traditions that you will encounter in a global context. 

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Science & Technology in Society

Science and Technology in Society courses engage you in the study of scientific innovations and their social contexts, helping you assess the promise and pitfalls of current and future innovations using methods of scientific inquiry.

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