Classes

HIST-LIT 10: Introduction to American Studies

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Instructor: Philip Deloria
Meeting time: Monday/Wednesday, 10:30-11:45 am

Introduction to American StudiesAmerican Studies is an interdisciplinary effort to understand the complicated social and cultural lives of people in—and in relation to—the United States, both past and present. The intersections of History and Literature shape much of American Studies, but the field has also been marked by forays into music, arts, ethnic studies, economics, anthropology, journalism, and even forestry and climate science. This course will introduce students to the history and methods of the field, exploring evocative cases with a range of guest faculty.

Students interested in enrolling should submit a petition on my.harvard.

HIST-LIT 90FH: Witchcraft and Magic in the Atlantic World

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Instructor: Arianne Urus
Meeting time: Tuesday, 3:00-5:00 pm

Witchcraft and Magic in the Atlantic WorldMagic had long been an integral part of how people made sense of the world around them, but between 1450 and 1750 some 80 to 100,000 people (mostly women) were executed under charges of witchcraft in western Europe alone. During the same period, a literal witch hunt threatened the lives of elderly or widowed women, peasants, Indigenous healers, and West African Muslims. In this course we will explore what magic and witchcraft meant and how the charge of witchcraft came to be so deadly in western Europe, North America, colonial Latin America, the Caribbean, and West Africa in the world before 1800. Such fears of witchcraft might seem odd or alien to us now, but understanding witch hunts... Read more about HIST-LIT 90FH: Witchcraft and Magic in the Atlantic World

HIST-LIT 90DZ: Too Soon? Comedy in Europe’s Tragic Twentieth Century

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Instructor: Kathryn Brackney
Meeting time: Wednesday, 3:00-5:00 pm

Too Soon?

In the first half the twentieth century, Europe was the site of two wars that depleted the world’s population, dislocated millions, and stripped once diverse regions of the continent of their minority populations. Later, even as Europe managed to rebuild, progress occurred under the shadow of two hegemonic superpowers in possession of weapons capable of incinerating both sides of the Iron Curtain. In a 1966 profile of Bertolt Brecht for The New Yorker, Hannah Arendt wrote of “the terrible freshness of the post-war world”—in which all that poets could do in the rubble was laugh at the sky that remained.... Read more about HIST-LIT 90DZ: Too Soon? Comedy in Europe’s Tragic Twentieth Century

HIST-LIT 90DV: Red Scares

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Instructor: Steve Biel and Lauren Kaminsky
Meeting time: Wednesday, 12:45-2:45 pm

Red ScaresThe specter that haunted Europe when the Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 continues to shape American political discourse to this day. “From the very get-go,” wrote a Mississippi newspaper columnist as the pandemic entered its second year, “COVID was used by the leftists in this country to seize power, fundamentally change our nation and usher in totalitarian socialism.” This course reveals how charges of fealty to radical “foreign” ideologies have operated as rhetorical and political strategies for much of U.S. history.... Read more about HIST-LIT 90DV: Red Scares

HIST-LIT 90FA: Radical Education

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Laura Nelson
Meeting time: Tuesday, 3:00-5:00 pm 

Radical EducationIn this seminar, we will think together about education as a site of radical imagination, turning to learning spaces from the 20th century to the present where people have envisioned and attempted to bring about different worlds. Major topics of the course will include: education and social change, critical pedagogy, the imagination, abolition, and worldbuilding. Beginning in the 1920s, we will look at Black Mountain College, Highlander Folk School, and the Modern Schools alongside thinkers like W.E.B. Du Bois and Ella Baker who connected education to the practice of freedom. We will then turn to educational experiments in the 1950s to 1970s—Freedom Schools, the Black Panthers’ schools, and free universities—that were part of the Civil... Read more about HIST-LIT 90FA: Radical Education

HIST-LIT 90EZ: The Global South Asian Diaspora

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Vikrant Dadawala
Meeting time: Tuesday, 3:00-5:00 pm

The Global South Asian DiasporaOver the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, people of South Asian heritage emigrated out of their ancestral homelands in vast numbers, giving rise to one of the world’s largest and most geographically scattered diasporas. An estimated thirty million people of South Asian heritage live outside the Indian subcontinent today, with significant communities in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East. How and why did South Asians choose to settle in new countries? In what ways did the act of emigration transform their sense of religious, ethnic, caste, and racial identity? How did their lives become bound up with those of other displaced or colonized... Read more about HIST-LIT 90EZ: The Global South Asian Diaspora

HIST-LIT 90EX: Queer Latinx Borderlands

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Thomas Conners
Meeting time: Thursday, 12:45-2:45 pm

Queer Latinx BorderlandsWhat does Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny have to do with 16th century Mexico criminal archives? What does the Netflix series Pose (2018) have to do with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)? They converge in the queer borderlands, Chicana lesbian Gloria Anzaldúa’s spatial framework. Just as border studies has taught us that such encounters and crossroads exist far beyond literal borders, so too does this course delink from any geographical space, instead deploying Anzaldúa’s framework to provide an account for two major arcs while centering gender and sexual non/normativity. First, how the competing Latin American and North American ideas about race have shaped Latinx communities since Spanish colonialism... Read more about HIST-LIT 90EX: Queer Latinx Borderlands

HIST-LIT 90EW: Migrants and Displacement in the Modern Middle East

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Sam Dolbee
Meeting time: Wednesday, 3:00-5:00 pm 

Migrants and DisplacementThis course follows people who moved (or were made to move) in, to, or from the Middle East and North Africa between the late nineteenth century and the present. It brings together a diverse group, including enslaved people, religious pilgrims, nomads, genocide survivors, refugees, experts, migrant laborers, revolutionaries, exiles, and, indeed, no shortage of people who might fall into several of these categories. Through these different forms of mobility and displacement, the course will trace the end of the Ottoman Empire, European colonialism, and national liberation across the region.... Read more about HIST-LIT 90EW: Migrants and Displacement in the Modern Middle East

HIST-LIT 90EU: The Rise of the Far Right in Europe

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: John Boonstra
Meeting time: Monday, 3:00-5:00 pm 

The Rise of the Far Right in EuropeFar-right movements have, in recent years, gained striking momentum across Europe. From France’s anti-immigrant National Front and neo-Nazis in Germany to efforts to rehabilitate Franco and Mussolini in Spain and Italy, forces of extreme nationalism, xenophobia, and imperial nostalgia have increased in prominence as well as popularity. The current moment is not the first time that the continent has experienced a rise in right-wing extremism. Fascism, from the 1920s onward, offered violent, totalitarian solutions to the tensions of mass politics and populist resentment in polarized societies. How do today’s reactionary political formations relate to their fascistic forebears? What social and cultural dynamics is each responding to, and, perhaps just as significantly, what historical legacies... Read more about HIST-LIT 90EU: The Rise of the Far Right in Europe

HIST-LIT 90FG: Dictatorship and Resistance in Latin America

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Jennifer Alpert
Meeting time: Monday, 12:45-2:45 pm

Dictatorship and Resistance in Latin AmericaAs we face resurgent authoritarianism around the world, culture remains a critical tool of resistance against the perils of dictatorship and its legacies. Latin America’s long history of tyranny, repression, and impunity reveals that—in national traditions where fiction has often addressed either explicitly or allegorically what journalism did or could not—culture has mediated moments of historical trauma as countries grapple with the consequences of state terrorism and general instability. In this seminar, we will focus on the military dictatorships that swept the Southern Cone in the 1970s and their aftermaths to reflect on the role of cultural resistance in keeping democracy alive and ensuring human rights abuses... Read more about HIST-LIT 90FG: Dictatorship and Resistance in Latin America

HIST-LIT 90FB: Asian America in Popular Culture

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Karen Huang
Meeting time: Wednesday, 3:00-5:00 pm

Asian America in Popular CultureThe release of Crazy Rich Asians in 2018 was a significant cultural moment for Asian America: the first major Hollywood picture with a predominantly Asian American cast in over twenty years, the film was an immediate box office success, and followed by a proliferation of mainstream Asian American productions, including The Farewell, Indian Matchmaking, and Minari. This recent growth of Asian American media is especially remarkable, given that Asian America has been relatively invisible in the history of American popular culture. Why has there been such a limited range of Asian American representations, and how do we consider the significance of contemporary representations of Asian America... Read more about HIST-LIT 90FB: Asian America in Popular Culture

HIST-LIT 90EY: Human Rights and Humanitarianism in the Modern World

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Yan Slobodkin
Meeting time: Wednesday, 12:45pm - 2:45pm

Human Rights and HumanitarianismHuman rights and humanitarianism are fundamental to modern political ethics. Yet the moral consensus surrounding these terms obscures an often disturbing history. This course is an introduction to human rights and humanitarianism as frameworks for understanding European, imperial, and global history from the enlightenment to the present day. Rather than uncritically accepting a triumphalist narrative, we will explore how these concepts were constructed over time, asking how they were used in practice, whose interests they served, and how they enabled inequality and exclusion along axes of race, gender, class, and nationality even as they promised a more just world. We will consider a variety of theoretical approaches... Read more about HIST-LIT 90EY: Human Rights and Humanitarianism in the Modern World

HIST-LIT 90EV: Sound and Color: Music, Race, and US Cultural Politics

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Lucy Caplan
Meeting time: Thursdays, 12:45pm - 2:45pm

Sound and ColorAlthough race is often presumed to be a visual phenomenon, it is also created and produced through sound. But what does race sound like? What might we learn when we attune our ears to the music and noise that race makes in popular music, on the stage, and in literature? How can texts like songs, films, and novels both reinforce and challenge cultural hierarchies and arrangements of social power? This course explores the sonification of race and the racialization of sound, music, and noise in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present. The first unit will consider examples ranging from blackface minstrel shows (the nineteenth-century nation’s most popular form of entertainment) to the noise ordinances that governed sonic life in... Read more about HIST-LIT 90EV: Sound and Color: Music, Race, and US Cultural Politics

HIST-LIT 90ES: Prison Abolition

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Thomas Dichter
Meeting time: Wednesday, 12:00-2:45 pm

Prison AbolitionIs prison abolition a serious proposal, an aspirational ideal, a trendy slogan, or a blueprint for social transformation? This interdisciplinary and community-engaged course situates the prison abolition movement in deep historical context and explores its current relation to the politics of criminal justice reform. We will study the movement’s connections to slavery abolitionism, anti-lynching activism, Indigenous struggles for sovereignty, and the Black Power movement. We will examine the emergence of the modern prison abolitionist movement in the 1970s, as well as more recent developments concerning immigration detention, Black Lives Matter, and COVID-19. Our readings will include interdisciplinary scholarship on the carceral state in addition to protest... Read more about HIST-LIT 90ES: Prison Abolition

HIST-LIT 90EQ: Nuclear Imperialisms

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Instructor: Rebecca Hogue
Meeting time: Tuesday, 9:45-11:45 am

Nuclear ImperialismsThis course will examine nuclear narratives in global contexts as reminders and remainders of empire. Are nuclear futures only tied to whims of unpredictable world leaders, or are they already part of our daily realities? Whose stories of nuclear proliferation are told, and whose are suppressed? Drawing on government propaganda, activist writing, television, fiction, photography, poetry, and film from 1945 to the present, this course will explore the cultural and material legacies of radiation around the world. From American “atomic culture” of the 1940s and ‘50s to Cold War era peace movements in the Pacific Islands to nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, we will assess whether nuclear cultures have changed over time by using a place-based investigation of nuclear... Read more about HIST-LIT 90EQ: Nuclear Imperialisms

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