George K Behlmer
Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.
“Science and Popular Culture in Victorian Britain”
This seminar, designed for advanced undergraduates, will examine the impact of scientific ideas on popular thought during the "Victorian" era (1837-1901). Although the content of scientific debates will receive some attention, this course aims specifically to analyze the processes by which laymen (and laywomen) 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 cruelty to animals, the medical regulation of human sexuality, and the existence of telepathic phenomena--emerged as public concerns. Thus, HIST 498A is present-minded in the sense that students are encouraged to compare the 19th-century origins of such controversies with their early 21st-century forms. Yet at the same time this course is an exercise in historical archaeology: students are urged to study the past on it own terms through the reading of "primary source" material.
Student learning goals
It will be the goal of this seminar to hone students' skills in writing and speaking with precision.
This seminar will also seek to sharpen students' skills in conducting "primary source"-based historical research.
General method of instruction
One must be a History major in order to take this seminar.
Class assignments and grading
Students will write four, primary source-based research papers.
Each of the four research papers will account for 20% of the course grade. The remaining 20% will reflect a student's informed participation during seminar meetings.