The Uses of History (HIST*3450)
Code and section: HIST*3450*01
Term: Winter 2021
Instructor: Alan Gordon
Method of Delivery:
This course will be offered in a remote synchronous format (AD-S) using Zoom. There will be a mix of lectures and smaller discussion group meetings. This is subject to change pending COVID-19 safety recommendations.
As an introduction to the use of history outside the classroom, this course discusses public history and memory through the activities of governments, corporations, and voluntary associations. History as political propaganda, marketing strategy, and ideological support in a global and historical context is examined. Discussions will focus on history as presented in films, television, monuments, museums, commemorations, and other public and popular media.
Recent disputes over public presentations of History have been heated and sometimes violent. This course offers an introduction to these uses of History in public life and public debate. The particular focus of this course will be the application of historical context to current debates about the place of the past in public life. We will apply a critical examination of past uses of History to the assessment of present-day uses of History. Our aim is to understand how public history can address historical wrongs, injustices, and atrocities. Our focus will be on monuments, museums, and historic sites.
Methods of Evaluation:
There will be a midterm exam, a short written assignment, and a major assignment. The major assignment will involve collaborating to develop and present a response to a current public debate about how History is used in public.
There is no required textbook. Weekly readings will be assigned through course reserve. Expect to read an average of 3 journal articles or book chapters per week.
*Please note: This is a preliminary website description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.