Professor: Dr. Kristen McCleary.
This course approaches the twentieth century through the prism of social change. How does social change happen? What have been some of the most dramatic social changes over the last century? How do those changes still impact today’s societies? Who or what promotes social change: individuals, groups, governments, new technologies? Personal Narratives or Oral Histories are key ways to learn about small social changes from an individual’s point of view.
Our course begins with the 18th century enlightenment thought that unleashed concepts of equality and freedoms throughout the Western world. We will study the larger historical themes of the twentieth century that correspond to the themes of the interviews you will carry out in our own oral history interviews which each student is required to carryout. These broader themes include transformations in society’s attitudes towards race and gender, attitudes towards and experiences of communism and cold war conflicts, and how political and economic transformations result in an increase of refugees and immigrants around the world.