Department of History, December 2020
History. Never present. Always with us.
These are challenging times. Our courses help students put them in historical perspective. Jakobi Williams's class on Black Power shows that social movements like Black Lives Matter and contemporary issues like police brutality and voter suppression have histories. Mark Roseman’s When Democracies Fail course was designed for the College’s Fall 2020 Themester on Democracy. As well as exploring the tensions and challenges of democracy from ancient times to the present, Professor Roseman encourages students to find and share present-day media articles that relate class themes to current events.
Kalani Craig’s The Black Death is as much about understanding how people interacted with each other in a pandemic as it is about understanding medieval medical treatment. That focus is more relevant than ever. Professor Craig is using the flexibility online teaching provides to give students space to do history in new ways. Her students will focus on a moment in the semester where they saw social or cultural factors most clearly at work in disease response. They’ll then adapt that moment to the modern format of their choice. Whether that’s artwork, or a series of social media posts, or a short podcast “hosted” by the author of one of our primary sources, it’s a chance for students to really think about historical context by exploring how and where they had to adapt historical primary sources to fit the media forms that have dominated our modern pandemic.
Our Spring 2021 offerings include The Century of Women, Epidemics in History, The Black Panther Party, Revolutionary America, Environmental History, and Democratic Revolutions, and nearly forty additional courses on a wide range of times and topics. Online, hybrid, or (socially distanced) in-person, History courses show how the past helps us to understand the present.