January Term 2015 Course Offerings

For more information, contact the faculty member teaching the course.

History 185: The Journey to China: Traveling Imaginations of Westerners from the 13th Century to the Present
Xiaolin Duan

Pending faculty approval
Description:
This course will explore representations and interpretations of China in Western travel accounts from the 13th century to the present. It will examine the way in which the image of “China,” and by extension any country, is not a fixed and unchanging entity, but rather a set of representations that are constantly shifting and adapting to reflect historical conditions and concerns. Each week we will focus on one piece of travel writing. The readings will include works by the 13th century merchant explorer Marco Polo, the 19th century missionary Evariste-Régis Huc, and the contemporary Dutch-American travel writer J. Maarten Troost. Following in the footsteps of these tourists we will travel through time and space, through China and beyond. We will explore historical changes and geographical variation through their eyes (i.e., through the eyes of foreign cultures and religions).  Students will conduct group research projects on the historical background of the readings and do presentations on tourist destinations that they have either been to or wish to visit. They will gain a foundation in early modern to contemporary Chinese history and China’s changing status vis-a-vis the West. (both Europe and America).

History 185: On Skis and Rafts: Norwegian Explorers and the Building of a National Identity
Anna Peterson

Pending faculty approval
Description:
This course will look at the historical relationship between Norwegian nation building and exploration through the lives of three of Norway's most famous explorers: Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen, and Thor Heyerdahl. We will examine primary source documents, including Nansen, Amundsen and Heyerdahl's diaries, log books and photographs, to understand explorers' varied motivations for venturing across oceans. These sources will inform our study of Norwegian interest in and experiences of exploration alongside social and political developments in Norway.  Our study will take us from the fierce competition to reach the North and South Poles in the nineteenth century to one man's determination to sail a balsam raft from Peru to Polynesia in the wake of World War Two. 

History 239: Special Topics in History
“G-d’s Curse and Hell Fire fall upon them that first discovered the Plot”: Comparing Slave Rebellions in Early America
Edward Tebbenhoff
Pending faculty approval
Description:
In American history, by far the two greatest and most successful slave rebellions were the American Revolution, (where slaves normally fled to the British Army) and the Civil War (where from early on, Union forces harbored escaped contrabands and where later, tens of thousands of ex-slaves traveled in the wake of the Northern armies).  These examples are hugely important but they are exceptions.  More normally slave rebellions were brief spasms of intense drama, often filled with bloodshed and incredible violence, and a notable lack of success for the slaves. But in every case, they inspired intense fear and rumors throughout the white community.  The course examines why these uprisings only periodically erupted, why they broke out  when and where they did, and the reasons for their failure.  The course focuses on three well-documented examples -- the New York Slave Conspiracy of 1741, Gabriel Prosser’s Rebellion in Charleston, South Carolina in 1800 and Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southhampton County Virginia in 1831. (HB, Hist. Same as AFST 239)

History 239: Special Topics in History
Queer Bronzeville:
Intersectional Identities in 20th Century Black Chicago
Lauren Anderson

Description: There are two assumptions alive and well in our current world: that African Americans tend to be more homophobic than other cultures and that the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Rights Movement were two separate entities. This class, by examining the history of Queer Bronzeville, will challenge both of those assumptions by looking at original documents produced by the members of that community. We will have an opportunity, as a class, to travel to Chicago, meet with elders of the community and hear their experiences throughout the momentous 20th century, listen to blues music, research queer stories in the archives, and attend the DuSable Museum of African American History. As a class, we will analyze the urbanization of African Americans in the twentieth century, with a focus on Chicago. In addition, we will consider the intersectional identities that black people forged for themselves, in negotiation with identities imposed upon them by the external society. We will read a novel, essays by sexologists, texts by historians, and articles in the Chicago Defender, Ebony, and Jet. Students will be responsible for two papers and an oral presentation. (Hist, Intercultural). Same as AFST and WGST 239. For WGST, it fits within Culture and Society)

Fees: Class will include a half-week trip to Chicago. Dr. Anderson will update this website with the estimated costs for this trip when it becomes available.