Rachael Givens Johnson has won the Pilar Sáenz Student Essay Award from the Ibero-American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies
Incoming Ph.D. candidate among new class of Jefferson Scholars
Evan D. McCormick (Ph.D.' 15), receives Miller Center Fellowship for 2014-15
HIUS 4501 (4)
Seminar in United States History
"Debating Science in Modern America"
This seminar explores how politicians, business people, activists, and everyday Americans have understood and invoked "science" in social debates. We will focus on transfixing moments of political disagreement to ask questions about the role of experts within democracy, how social science came to be defined and used as a guide to policy, and the nature of certainty and uncertainty. Topics include the Scopes "Monkey" Trial, eugenics, the decision to use the atomic bomb, Brown v. Board of Education, debates about overpopulation, tobacco, climate change and intelligent design. Readings include monographs, articles and primary sources.
The course is intended to help students write an article-length (25-30 pp.) essay based on original research. For the first six weeks of the semester, we will meet once weekly to discuss readings. These sessions should help students formulate the question that will frame their research paper. The remainder of the semester will focus on researching and writing on a topic of students own choosing. Students will be assessed based on their in-class participation (15%), the production of a bibliography (15%), a rough draft essay (20%), and the final paper (50%).
This course fulfills the second writing assignment.
HIUS 1501 (3)
Introductory Seminar in United States History
"Disasters in America from Cholera to Katrina"
Disasters play a powerful role in the American imagination, shaping our understanding specific of places ( New Orleans, lower Manhattan), eras (the “atomic age,” a “post-9/11 world”), and concepts (an “act of God”). This seminar explores how Americans have experienced and understood some modern disasters in order to answer an essential question: to what extent should medical, social, economic or environmental disasters be considered natural? To answer this question, discussions will focus on the proximal and deep causes of disastrous events. Readings consist of first-hand and popular accounts of disaster, as well as scholarly writings. Topics include cholera, the San Francisco earthquake, the sinking of the Titanic, financial panics and depressions, the atomic bomb, toxic and industrial accidents, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
At the beginning of the course, students will select a disastrous event in American history. Over the course of the semester, each student will write three 5-page papers, each analyzing “their” disaster from a different perspective. The course culminates in a “conference” in which students will give a fifteen-minute presentation on “their” disaster based on original research. Students are responsible for 100-150pp. of reading per week.