Histories, Societies, Individuals

Histories, Societies, Individuals courses explore the dynamic relationships between individuals and larger social, economic and political structures, both historically and in the present moment. 

In HSI courses, students do one or more of the following:

  • Examine change over time to understand the historical origins of the contemporary world.
  • Analyze the interplay between individuals, groups, and larger social, economic, and political structures in the making of the modern world.
  • Compare societies across time and space to broaden students’ understandings of the complexities of global experiences.

The following courses fulfill the 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: 

2021

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: 

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)

Americans as Occupiers and Nation Builders (Gen Ed 1017)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

How have perceptions of racial difference shaped US military occupations abroad, such as the Philippines, Japan, and most recently Afghanistan and Iraq?

 

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Andrew Gordon and Erez Manela

The United States has launched numerous projects of military occupation and nation-building in foreign lands since the late 19th century. These have been contradictory enterprises, carrying ideals of freedom and self-determination "offered" by force or by fiat.... Read more about Americans as Occupiers and Nation Builders (Gen Ed 1017)

Ancestry: Where do we come from and why do we care? (Gen Ed 1014)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

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

 

Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text Science & Technology in Society icon with text

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: Where do we come from and why do we care? (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

Why do Americans’ sacred texts have a close, frequently fraught relationship with their political history?

 

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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: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

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

 

Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

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: 

2021

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: 

2021

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: 

Fall

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: 

Fall

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

Aesthetics & Culture icon
 

Aesthetics & Culture

Aesthetics & Culture courses foster critical engagement with diverse artistic and creative endeavors and traditions across history and geographical locations, helping students situate themselves and others as participants in and products of art and culture. 

In A&C courses, students do one or more of the following:

  • Explore how aesthetic objects and practices affect our senses, emotions, and thoughts, and invite our interpretations.
  • Engage directly with aesthetic objects, practices, and texts, broadly conceived, to develop students’ skills of close reading, listening, and observation and to support analysis of the production and reception of these objects in their cultural contexts.
  • Engage in critical analysis of artistic and cultural production from a variety of approaches, including art-making, hands-on, or participatory/experiential assignments.
  • Examine the roles that artistic and creative endeavors play in shaping and reshaping societies.

 

Ethics & Civics icon
 

Ethics & Civics

Ethics & Civics courses examine the dilemmas that individuals, communities, and societies face as they explore questions of virtue, justice, equity, inclusion, and the greater good. 

In E&C courses, students do one or more of the following:

  • Analyze the foundations and ramifications of diverse modes of ethical inquiry and practice.
  • Situate ideas about ethics and civic engagement in their historical, cultural, and social contexts.
  • Explore real-world ethical questions, ranging from problems in individual lives to the challenges of meeting civic responsibility at local, national, and global levels.

 

Histories, Societies, Individuals icon
 

Histories, Societies, Individuals

Histories, Societies, Individuals courses explore the dynamic relationships between individuals and larger social, economic and political structures, both historically and in the present moment. 

In HSI courses, students do one or more of the following:

  • Examine change over time to understand the historical origins of the contemporary world.
  • Analyze the interplay between individuals, groups, and larger social, economic, and political structures in the making of the modern world.
  • Compare societies across time and space to broaden students’ understandings of the complexities of global experiences.
Science & Technology in Society icon
 

Science & Technology in Society

Science & Technology in Society courses explore scientific and technological ideas and practices in their social and historical contexts, providing a foundation to assess their promise and perils. STS courses engage students in the practice of science, not just the study of scientific findings.

In STS courses, students  do one or more of the following: 

  • Engage in scientific methods of inquiry, such as theoretical framing, structured observation or experimentation, and quantitative analysis.
  • Examine the influence of social, economic, cultural, and political factors on science and engineering.
  • Analyze the ethical, social, and political implications of scientific and technological ideas and practices, including their potential and risks.

 

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