HIST 289 - Topics in Asian, African, or Islamic History
Credits: 3 in fall or winter; 4 in spring
A course offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, on a selected topic or problem in Asian or African history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2015 topic:
HIST 289: Literacy Past and Present (4). This course explores the course question, “What does literacy mean?” In recent years, the once-accepted concept of literacy has been challenged: no longer is the simple, positive narrative viewed as having a direct, linear causal relation to expected social changes. Taking a historical approach, students gain a general understanding of the history of literacy with China as the main (but not only) case study. Key topics include communications, language, family and demographic behavior, economic development, urbanization, institutions, literacy campaigns, political and personal changes, and the uses of reading and writing. Our overall goal is to obtain a new and critical understanding of the place of literacy and literacies in social development. (HU) Luo.
Winter 2015 topic:
HIST 289-01: Modern China: Revolutions and Their Aftermath (3). This course provides a general but analytical introduction to the development of China during the 20th century. We review key revolutions that transformed China from a dynastic empire to a western-style nation-state—firstly Republic of China in 1912 and then People’s Republic of China in 1949. And we examine the impact on everyday life brought by politico-economic development. With the general empirical information and interpretations about 20th-century China explored in this course, you become capable of making your own judgment about the chief historical themes, trends, and causes of events that have produced China at the beginning of the 21st century. (HU) Luo
Fall 2014 topic:
HIST 289: Seminar: Africa in Western Imagination (3). From benefit concerts to AIDS charities to study abroad literature, Africa is everywhere. And yet it is frequently explained only in absence or in suffering. Rather than being a place that is defined by what it is, often Africa is viewed by what it is not, and the term ‘Afro-pessimism’ has been coined by some to criticize such solely negative depictions of a vast and varied continent. What, then, is ‘Africa’: a location on a map, a geographical boundary? Who are ‘Africans’? What does the idea mean and how is it used? This course draws on literature and popular culture to discuss the very idea of ‘Africa’ and how the concept has been created, redefined, re-imagined, and (de)constructed in differing times and spaces. (HU) Tallie.
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