HIST-331 The Present and the Past
Fall for 2013-2014
Historein, to relate, histoire, story – these two roots of ‘history’ will serve as the touchstones of our inquiry into the relationship of the present and the past.
This class grows out of my childhood experiences in Hartford, CT, where I learned about life from Irish politicians, basketball lifers, and an assortment of Runyanesque characters. I lived among tale tellers, whose versions of history evaded textbooks everywhere. I watched my native Hartford destroyed by political ineptitude, economic greed, and social disorder, moving to New York just in time to see the City driven to the brink by similar forces. As a citizen, I want to learn how politics, social life, culture, and economics interact with ideas to create the world around us. As an historian, I want to learn how societies manipulate their past to structure the future, a goal apparent in the title of my most recent book, From Tribes to Nation: The Making of France, 500-1799. Special warning: if you are uncomfortable with ambiguity, if you want answers instead of questions, I’m the wrong professor for you.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '13: Collins, J. (description, file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
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