Right now, all over the country, college campuses are the sites of debate and protest over questions of history, identity, privilege, and inclusion. The timing could not be better for a graduate course in the History department which addresses these questions head-on. That is why we are particularly excited to announce that this coming Spring semester Professor Kirsten Swinth will be teaching a new course entitled “Race and Gender in Modern America,” Professor Swinth sat down with us and talked about her ideas for the course, including the book that will be the starting point for the conversation, and her “student-led” approach to the development of the course themes and readings. You can watch her comments below. We found it incredibly inspiring to hear someone speak so passionately and eloquently about the role that history can play in confronting some of the greatest challenges to our society. We bet you will too.
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A new conversation has started within the History Department at Fordham. Under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Paul, graduate students in his Crusader States class are developing podcasts as a means to initiate discussion. The course, “charts the social, political, and cultural history of the feudal principalities (sometimes called “Crusader States” “the Latin East” or the ‘Frankish Levant”) that were established by Latin Christians in the Eastern Mediterranean in the wake of the First Crusade.” The podcasts, in turn, each focus on a specific theme within the current scholarship, from the background to the First Crusade in the Eastern Mediterranean, to the relationships between Latin Europeans and eastern Christians and Muslims, through the cultural, social, and political development of the Crusader States themselves
What are the advantages of the podcast format? Tom Schellhammer, a student in the course, commented that, “Historical scholarship must also embrace the current trend towards technological interaction,” as “Technology allows us to reach a wide audience, and this idea is a fantastic intro to anyone interested in learning more about the Crusader States. A podcast can build interest by succinctly covering the important discussion points on any one topic, and highlighting the importance of the topic and asking intriguing questions that spark even more debate and scholarship.”
For Tom, and all of the students in The Crusader States, further and broader discussion about the aftermath of the First Crusade is the ultimate goal, and they believe that using podcasts promotes that within and beyond their seminar. Tom says, “I think that as a class we have come up with some thought provoking questions which might benefit a larger community studying the Crusader States. I find the material challenging and want to hear outside comments upon the work that we are doing, so I appreciate the opportunity to be heard and receive feedback on our discussions. On a topic that has interest in such widespread and diverse communities, the podcasts truly help reach outside thoughts and opinions and ignite those same thoughts to be shared here at Fordham.”
Check out all the podcasts and listen to Tom address issues faced by the Crusader military and debate whether the creation of new states was inevitable in the aftermath of the First Crusade. History is about so much more than the sources analyzed and papers written– it is about sharing what we learn with others in hopes of creating an atmosphere of inquiry, debate, and ultimately, understanding.
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Among the new course on offer in Fall 2015 will be HIST 5644: Writing Early America with Professor Elaine Crane. This course will focus on the “creation” of early America by historians whose ideas have strongly influenced our conception of Euro-America’s first centuries. We will consider the work of well known authors such as Edmund Morgan, John Demos, Bernard Bailyn, Al Young, Mary Beth Norton, Simon Schama, Laurel Ulrich, Linda Kerber, David Hall, and Paul Boyer/Stephen Nissenbaum. In doing so, the class will obtain a richer understanding of the evolution of American society through a variety of topics: slavery, Native Americans, the Revolutionary movement, gender issues, the invisible world.
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Fall 2015 will see the return of HIST 6078: Crusader States: The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem 1099-1291 Professor Nicholas Paul’s class charts the social, political, and cultural history of the feudal principalities that were established by Latin Christians in the Eastern Mediterranean in the wake of the First Crusade. Students will be introduced to the narrative and documentary sources through which the history of the Latin Kingdom has been constructed, as well as the archaeology and art of the Levant during the period of Frankish occupation and settlement. In addition, we will engage with the major historiographical debates concerning the constitutional organization of the Latin kingdom, the relationship between the Frankish crusaders and the Muslim and eastern Christian populations over whom they ruled, and the “colonial” character of the Latin settlements. For more information about the course, read on… Continue reading →
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