The Metaphor of Plague (Spring 2015)

This course explores the metaphor of plague as described in various historical sources with a focus on medical literature, literary texts, and popular media. We are concerned not only with the scientific disease known as plague, but also how various other epidemic diseases (like syphilis, tuberculosis, AIDS, and ebola) have been labeled as plagues. How and why does the label of “plague" become applied to certain disease and not others? How does such a construction shape the way we understand and respond to them? How do various “plagues" grow out of their particular cultural circumstances and inform the next one?

Historiography (Spring 2015)

This course introduces some of the most prominent and influential approaches that historians have taken in crafting their interpretations of the past. It addresses various philosophies of history (the underlying assumptions of how we can access and understand the past), as well as various historical interpretive frameworks that have shaped the professional practice of history (ways of considering place, culture, labor, communities, identity, etc). The course begins with a survey of the historical mythology of the ancient world and examines various constructions of history throughout the medieval and early modern periods, but focuses on developments after the nineteenth-century professionalization of history.


Digital Methods for the Humanities (Fall 2014)

This course explores the theoretical and methodological issues now facing humanists working in a digital age. Combining provocative readings from the field of Digital Humanities and gentle technical tutorials, we’ll talk about and experiment with powerful new research methodologies that now allow humanists to ask and answer fundamentally different kinds of questions, and use new media to communicate them in innovative ways. With an emphasis on collaborative teaching and learning, we’ll explore topics such as digital workflows for organizing, accessing, and analyzing sources, data visualization, geospatial analysis, text mining, web publishing, and a bit of programming.

Food, Diet, and Health (Fall 2014)

What constitutes healthy food? Or a healthy diet? Or a healthy body? Needless to say, dietary regimens to restore or maintain health&em;as well as what it means to be healthy&em;have remained preeminent questions throughout Western medical history. Yet even today, medical understandings of diet and official dietary advice seems to change almost daily. This course explores how various cultural, scientific, and medical values have continually shaped our relationship to food, health, and diet from the Renaissance until now.

Some guiding questions: Why have fad diets come in and gone out of fashion? How has modern medicine continually redefined what it means to be healthy and to eat a healthy diet? How have changing attitudes about the body, health, and technology shaped our dietary preferences?

Digital Mapping (Summer 2014)

We are in the midst of a major paradigm shift in human consciousness and society caused by our ubiquitous connectedness via the internet and smartphones. These globalizing forces have telescoped space and time to an unprecedented degree, while paradoxically heightening the importance of local places.

The course explores the technologies, tools, and workflows that can help collect, connect, and present online interpretations of the spaces around us. Throughout the week, we'll discuss the theoretical and practical challenges of deep mapping (producing rich, interactive maps with multiple layers of information). Woven into our discussions will be numerous technical tutorials that will allow us to tell map-based stories about Albuquerque's fascinating past.

This course differs from introductory cartography, geography, and GIS courses in fundamental ways. While we cover some of the basics of each of these, the course focuses on their intersection with each other, history, sociology, anthropology, web and interface design, web programming, and the technical string that allows you to tie them all together as limited by your imagination, not technical aptitude.

We'll move from creating simple maps with Google Maps/Earth to creating your own custom, interactive online maps with various open source tools like QGIS, Open Street Map, and D3 that leverage the power of open data from local and national repositories to provide new perspectives on the built environment. We'll also use various mobile apps for data collection, online exhibit software, (physical and digital) historical archives at the Center for Southwest Research. Along the way we'll cover the various data formats (KML, XML, GeoJSON, TopoJSON) used by different tools and how to move between them, allowing you to craft the most efficient workflow for your mapping purposes.

Medieval Science & Medicine (HIST 300-001)

This course explores the nature of science and medicine in Western Europe roughly spanning 400–1400. After a brief introduction to the crucial contributions in natural philosophy and medicine from the classical world, we’ll examine how various social, cultural, and institutional structures influenced medieval understandings of the world. In terms of specific topics, we’ll look at cosmology, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, chemistry, natural history, physics, and philosophy. We’ll also investigate broader themes, such as the theoretical and practical sides of medieval medicine, the contributions of Islamic culture to Western science, interactions between science and religion (especially natural philosophy and theology), and the university’s rise and influence on the Western intellectual tradition. While surveying the context of medieval frameworks for investigating and explaining the natural world, we’ll also reflect on the nature and utility of the term “science,” the extent to which the origins of modern science can be located in the Middle Ages, and the importance of putting the modern scientific enterprise in historical perspective.