Courses

Clio Wired: The Theory and Practice of Digital History

A panoramic examination of the impact of digital media and technology on the theory and practice of history. Topics include the construction of scholarly websites on historical topics, how research methods and historiography are being transformed by the digitization of primary sources and digital tools, and the significance of new trends such as social and semantic computing for the discipline. Students will investigate the potential advantages and disadvantages of a variety of web technologies and envision their own historical resources that use those technologies.

The Digital Past

This course prepares you to use and understand a wide variety of current and emerging digital technologies in the service of doing history (and beyond). We will also spend time on ethics for historians in the digital age and the importance the challenges posed by the trade-offs between digital access and the need for data security. You will learn both the fundamentals and skills and something about how we as a society became so enamored of and dependent on these knowledge and information tools. Understanding a new technology requires not just knowing its technical aspects, but also understanding how new technologies transform the societies that embrace them.

Themes in European History II

This course surveys major scholarship on European history from the Napoleonic Era to the fall of the Soviet Union. Each week a distinctive recent book or older seminal work will be used both as an entree into a specific topic and to help students understand the different ways historians can approach their subject matter. In addition, works of art will be used to illustrate issues or themes from the week’s topic. These topics include the rise of European democracy and nationalism, significant developments in culture and the arts such as Romanticism and Modernism, urbanization and changing notions of the public and private spheres, the multifaceted impact of the two World Wars, and dominant “isms” such as Fascism, Nazism, Totalitarianism, and Communism. The course is intended for graduate students who may not have majored in history as undergraduates or who wish to reacquaint themselves with the main themes of modern European history.

Science and Modern Life from Frankenstein to Google

This course is an exploration of how science and scientific institutions affected American and European culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Discussions focus on the rise of science as a premiere authority and its impact on intellectual life, politics, literature, and art. Of central concern is the simultaneous fear and euphoria surrounding modern scientific advances. Topics include the transforming technologies of the industrial revolution such as factory innovations and railroads, Positivism, Darwinism and its antagonists, science and notions of race and gender, the professionalization of science, and the technology of warfare.

Western Civilization

Otherwise known as History 100 at George Mason University, an introduction to the history of the West from the Ancient Greeks through World War II.

Information Age Ethics

This course is a broad examination of morality in our digital age, including both the unique ethical issues raised by computerization and the Internet as well as the extension and modification of pre-digital mores. Topics include online identity, anonymity, and privacy;, the collection, centralization, and exchange of information; opinion, free speech, and the marketplace of ideas; copyright and intellectual property; accessibility and the “digital divide”; and specific uses and abuses of information technology, such as spam and file sharing.