Bruce W Hevly
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, Technology, and the Military. This undergraduate research seminar is meant to introduce students to some of the problems and literature associated with the interpenetration of science, technology and the use of force by states since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Case studies will come from France, Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States. We will also consider whether or not historians and philosophers of science, in particular, can act in an evaluative fashion with respect to these histories, or whether we can only aim for reliable descriptions in the course of our interpretations. Students will undertake an individual research project as well as considering and discussing a group of common readings.
Student learning goals
Learn to compare and contrast different construals of appropriate and problematic relationships between science and the state since Napolean.
Learn to put contemporary concerns about the military-industrial-academic complex in historical perspective, and learn to debate the values of such an effort.
Learn to think critically about the role of the American university, in particular, in the national security state.
Learn to define and undertake an independent research project in history: formuating a problem, developing and interpreting a list of primary and secondary sources, making an argument based on them and arguing for its significance to a broader set of concerns.
Learn how historians and others have put science and technology into the context of state military commitments.
General method of instruction
Weekly meetings for discussion of assigned readings, sessions to be led by the instructor and by other class members. Individual research projects, undertaken by students with the advice of the instructor and support of classmates working on related topics.
Strong background in history. Formal background in science not required but welcome. Non-history majors welcome on a space-available basis.
Class assignments and grading
As a seminar, the premium will be placed on discussions during weekly meetings, and on individual research culminating in a research essay.
Students will receive guidelines and a summary of criteria for the research paper to be employed in grading at the beginning of the quarter.
Research Paper 50% Class Participation and 25% Preparatory Assignments Two short writing assignments on common readings 25%