Spring 2018 Featured Courses

I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.

—William Butler Yeats

HIST 4004: Topics in Global and Transnational History since 1400

The first class of its kind at MU, HIST 4004 begins not so much with the subject matter of its title, global and transnational history, but instead with an examination of the method against which this historiographical genre pushed back. Specifically, students will first interrogate how and why national history emerged as the default method of studying the past in the late 19th and 20th centuries, as well this method’s limitations, before shifting their attention to the post-Cold War emergence of global and transnational approaches as potential successors to national history. From here, students will dive into John Darwin’s seminal After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000, spending several weeks using this work to ground themselves in the history of global empires and the development of global history.

While the subject matter of the course is innovative in its own right, what truly separates HIST 4004 from other classes like it at Mizzou is the embedded week that students will spend at University of Oxford’s Corpus Christi College, where they will not only be immersed in the intellectual, pedagogic, and social life of one of the world’s most revered institutions of higher learning but will also study each day with Oxford faculty members whose cutting-edge work on global and transnational history has helped establish the U.K. as a scholarly leader in the field. Though it will be held in Kansas City in 2018, the highlight of the week abroad going forward will be a rekindling of Mizzou’s rivalry with KU, with students  from each university participating in a friendly trivia competition for cross-border bragging rights. More information about the course can be found here, on the University of Missouri International Center website.

From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America?

—W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

POL SC 4810: Modern Political Theory

In many respects, POL SC 4810 picks up where the first course in our Constitutionalism & Democracy Honors College series, Intellectual World of the American Founders, leaves off, with the paradigm shift in political philosophy introduced by Enlightenment-era titans such as Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau. This initial examination of foundations will lead students to Independence Hall and the Bastille, where they will explore how the innovations of the liberal tradition were embraced and re-purposed by late 18th-century thinkers who were framing out new democratic governments on both sides of the Atlantic.

As the inquiry moves forward in time, this central narrative will branch out, as students engage with the intellectual history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Specifically, through the writings of figures ranging from Marx to Du Bois to Mussolini, the course will look at the new systems of thought, the movements for change, and the political atrocities that were born out of the conditions of modernity as well as the practical and philosophical failings of past theoretical models.