HIST 295 - Seminar: Topics in History
FDR: FDR designation varies with topic.
Credits: 3 in fall or winter; 4 in spring
Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.
A seminar offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, in a selected topic or problem in history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2014 topic:
HIST 295A-01: Roll Over, Darwin: The Non-Darwinian Tradition in Evolutionary Biology (4). No prerequisite. We begin by discussing the discipline of the history of science and its place in historical scholarship generally. One of the most influential scientific theories is the theory of organic evolution. Its history has largely been written by Darwin and his followers. We shall look at the “Darwin industry” but then additionally explore a revisionist history that incorporates the non-Darwinian approach to the origin of life and species. We look at the scientific facts, the different theories and raise the question “Where were these situated?” “What socio-political purposes and religious connotations did they have?” We end by bringing the historical perspective to bear on today’s ongoing controversies about evolution theory. (HU) Rupke.
HIST 295B-01 Rise to World Power, 1776-1920 (4). In the late 18th century, the newly-independent United States was one of the weakest nations in the world. By the early 20th century, it was one of the most powerful. This course, in the history of U.S. foreign relations from 1776 to 1920, explores how and why this dramatic shift occurred. In the process, it emphasizes the interrelationship between domestic and foreign affairs within that history, as well as the origins and evolution of key American diplomatic principles, documents and doctrines. The course also explores the beliefs Americans developed about their place in the world, their expansion across an entire continent, their acquisition of an overseas empire, and the causes and consequences of their participation in armed conflicts from the War for Independence through World War I. Stoler. Spring 2014
Winter 2014 topic:
HIST-295-02: Science and the Supernatural (3). In modern – especially late-modern – times, science has become the adjudicator of truth: truth in terms of fact and law-like rationality. The result has been a retreat of the occult, of many superstitions, and the uncovering of fallacies and frauds. Yet large sectors of modern society have remained enamored of the paranormal. Even scientific practitioners themselves, including Nobel Laureates, have kept alive a belief in telepathy, precognition and such phenomena. Equally persistent, especially in religious circles, has been the conviction that miracles do happen; again, great scientists and medical practitioners have supported such notions. In this course, we explore the fascinating history of the uneasy relationship between science and its contested boundaries where fact and fiction overlap. (HU) Rupke.
Fall 2013 Topic:
HIST 295-01: Seminar: Animal experimentation and animal rights in historical perspective (3). Prerequiste: Open to any senior, junior or sophomore, and first years who have credit in Hist 107 and 108 or Hist 101 and 102. In this course we deal with the place of animals in Western society. More particularly, we trace the history of the use of animals as living objects of laboratory experimentation and explore the controversies that vivisectional practices have engendered. Do animals have rights? What to think of animal liberation activism? To what extent has animal experimentation been essential to the progress of science, especially medical science? We look at these questions in the wider context of humane movements, and of societies that have been established for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Students with sufficient background may engage this course in more depth for credit as HIST 395-02, with instructor consent. Rupke.
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