Course Descriptions for Spring 2014
History 1304 Topic Courses
HIST 1304 Section 1: Intro to Digital History
Instructor: Benjamin Schmidt
Time: Mondays and Thursdays, 11:45 AM – 1:25 PM
This course explores new ways of practicing history in a digital age, and the ways that historical sources can open up new fields for widespread data analysis. Students will get hands-on experience digitizing historical documents and working with some of the extraordinary digital resources now available about the past. Working with historical sources, we’ll explore a wide range of methods with wide application including statistical and textual analysis; ways of working with maps and geographical information; network analysis; and data visualization. No computer experience is required, but there will be opportunities to leverage what skills students bring in. We’ll also explore some of the new ways historians and others are working on the web to build digital exhibitions, practice interactive storytelling, and reach new audiences online. This is a collaborative, project-oriented class: we’ll be making new historical resources with partners like the Boston Public Library as well as reading, watching, and interacting with some of the best work done online in recent years.
HIST 2304 Section 1: American Views of Russia
Instructor: Harlow Robinson
Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:50PM - 4:30PM
The focus of this course is The Image of Russia in American Culture, and more generally, the representation of one culture by another. During the first half of the course, we will read texts on the representation of Russia in American culture. We will focus on the origins and evolution of the perception and representation of Russia and the USSR in American culture during the period from the 1917 Revolutions to the collapse of the USSR in 1991, with special attention paid to the Cold War period (1945-1991). In investigating this “image” we will examine texts drawn from history, fiction, non-fiction and cinema. The goal is not only to understand better the ideological and historical basis of the American image of Russia (the “other” superpower for most of the twentieth century), but also to reflect upon the mechanisms behind the popular representation of any national and racial stereotypes. We will also attempt to answer the questions: to what extent do these images reflect popular attitudes, to what extent do they shape them, and to what extent do they influence the writing of history?