George K Behlmer
Advanced seminar examining central issues in historiography. Emphasizes reading, discussion, and writing.
This course will examine the impact of scientific ideas on popular thought during the Victorian era (1837-1901). Although the context of scientific debates will receive some attention, this course aims specifically to analyze the process by which laymen and women resisted or accommodated themselves to the prescriptions of science. For it was during the Victorian era that several of our current controversies -- e.g., over cruetly to animals, the medical regulation of human sexuality, and the existence of telepathic phenomena -- emerged as public concerns. Thus HIST 498B is present-minded in the sense that students are encouraged to compare the nineteenth-century origins of such controversies with their late-twentieth-century forms. Yet at the same time this course is an exercise in historical archeology: students are urged to study the past in its own terms through the reading of "primary source" material. This is a reading, writing, and discussion course. In one, two-hour seminar per week students will discuss the assigned reading. Little or no lecturing from the instructor should be expected.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Some college-level exposure to modern European history will prove useful to students.
Class assignments and grading
Class assignments and grading will be outlined in the course syllabus.