General Education

AP/HIST 1030 6.0A: Imperialism and Nationalism in Modern Asia

Course Director: J. Kim,706 Kaneff Tower, 416-736-2100 ext. 30402, jkim@yorku.ca

Course Calendar Description:

This course examines the modern evolution of Asian countries with special emphasis on imperialism and the rise of nationalism. With distinctive political, cultural and socio-economic traditions, Asian countries shared the experience of western imperialism's expansionist pressures. Those traditions helped mold the varieties of nationalistic responses to that intrusion, culminating in the independence struggles which, in the post-1945 era, created the modern nation states of today's Asia.

The first half of the course focuses on European imperial expansion into Asia. The various phases and characteristics of colonialism (Spanish and Portuguese; Dutch and English; American and Japanese) are reviewed. Simultaneously, students learn about the rise of colonial nationalism as a response to foreign occupation. Assignments on the ‘1857 Indian War of Independence,’ the ‘Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95,’ and the Boxer Rebellion, address and reveal the complications in the transformations of regional and local power that resulted from competitive colonialism.

The second half of the course emphasizes developments that were caused by or follow WWII: the formation of nation states, civil wars, the rise of developmentalist versus socialist regimes, and the Asian diaspora.

This course is interregional, international, and interdisciplinary. Students critically read and analyze a variety of primary sources including personal letters, newspaper articles, declarations of war, and treaties of peace. These readings are supplemented by a variety of secondary sources written by anthropologists, economists, historians, journalists, literary critics, political scientists, religious scholars, and sociologists.

Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course: Humanities
Note: LAPS History majors and minors cannot take this course to satisfy the 6 credits required at the 1000 level in History for major or minor credit.

AP/HIST 1180 6.0A: Making Money

Course Director: D. Koffman,757 Kaneff Tower, 416-736-2100 ext. 77395, koffman@yorku.ca

Special Features: Come spend a wonderful year learning and thinking about how we human beings make money meaningful. What is money?  How does it make us?  How does it make our world? “Making Money” is a General Education course.  It is open to all students; it requires no math skills, no prior experience (or even interest) in banking, economics or business.

Course Calendar Description:

This course explores 12 distinct but interrelated questions about money, that elusive substance with which all of us are preoccupied, but to which few us have brought great amounts of critical intellectual attention. The course examines money from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including anthropology, archaeology, economics, history, literature, political science, psychology, religious studies, and sociology, devoting two weeks to each enduring and apparently simple question. As an introduction to one of the fundamental ideas/substances of human life, the course brings interdisciplinary knowledge, breadth, and a range of scholarly approaches to a particular subject.

Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course: Humanities
Note: This course will not fulfill a History majors 1000 level requirement
Note: LAPS History Majors and Minors cannot take this course to satisfy the 6 credits required at the 1000 level in History for major or minor credit.

Expanded Course Description:

What You Will Learn:

How and why is money meaningful?  This course examines money, the "stuff" with which all of us are preoccupied, but about which few have spent much time thinking critically. As an introduction to one of the core substances of human life, the course conveys the powerful and mind-bending notion that money is not a single “thing” but a construct that changes enormously over time, across cultures, and on account of the questions we ask about it. It explores a set of dazzling issues, problems, and themes from the dawn of human life to the digital age, including the tensions between risk & reward, freedom & security, individuals & systems, power & value.

How You Will Learn:

The course aims to develop some of the skills that are necessary for successful university careers: critical thinking, engaged reading, clear speech, and polished writing.  You will not need a calculator. The year of learning is divided into 12 distinct two-week units, each of which asks a deceptively simple question.  In order to answer these questions, the course draws on readings from a variety of print media and scholarly fields, as well as film clips, music lyrics, sources from far and wide, past and present.

The questions we’ll explore, two weeks at a time, include:

  1. Do I make money or does money make me?
  2. Why did money begin?
  3. How did time become money?
  4. Goes God hate money?
  5. Is there anything that money can’t buy?
  6. What’s the price of nature?
  7. More money, more happiness?
  8. Is there democracy without capitalism?
  9. How beautiful is money?
  10. How sick is gambling?
  11. When I think about money, what’s happening in my brain?
  12. Is digital money safe?

The readings for the course are diverse: there are articles and book chapters from popular books and magazines (like the New Yorker), as well as specialized but readable articles by research specialists, published in peer reviewed scholarly journals.  All of the readings are easily available, and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Improved your scholarly skills so as to:
    • Sharpen your critical thinking
    • Successfully write with a small set of distinct “voices”
    • Engage in various scholarly disciplines’ conversations
  • Acquired knowledge and insight so as to:
    • Be an active discussant in any non-technical discussion about money
    • Be able to apply what you know about money to new questions that arise about it in the future

Tentative Grade Breakdown/Overview of Assessment:

Fall Term:
Childhood Memories of Money Reflection (3pgs): 10%
One Unit, In Depth (4 pgs): 10%
Revisions of “One Unit”: 10%
Participation: 8%
Quizzes x6 (in tutorial): 6%
Skills Workshops x6 (in tutorial): 6%

Winter Term:
Image of Money Analysis (3pgs): 10%
Create a Unit (4 pgs): 10%
Revisions (4pgs): 10%
Participation: 8%
Quizzes x6 (in tutorial): 6%
Skills Workshops x6 (in tutorial): 6%

NOTE: Prior to buying textbooks, students should consult the detailed course outline which will give the final versions of the weekly syllabus and the detailed breakdown of assignments with weighting and due dates.  The course outline will be posted in Moodle and discussed on the first day of class.

More information:  http://history.laps.yorku.ca/

AP/HIST 1777 6.0A: Disasters and History: How Humans and Nature Make Disasters

Course Director: E. Jones-Imhotep, 2164 Vari Hall, 416-736-2100 ext. 30430, imhotep@yorku.ca

Special Features: Disasters have shaped history. They have demolished cities and infrastructure, shaken religious and philosophical beliefs, and transformed societies and landscapes. But history has also shaped disasters – creating the conditions that made them possible, and molding people’s understandings and reactions to them. Come see how humans, technologies, and natures have made catastrophes and their changing historical meanings.

Course Calendar Description: Volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, and droughts have the capacity to uproot and disrupt human lives. So too do financial crises, engineering failures, and disease outbreaks. Disasters are as much a product of culture as they are of nature. They are shaped by political, social, economic, and environmental context. This course uses historical perspectives to explore the reciprocal relationship between people and nature in the production of disasters.
Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course: Humanities

Expanded Course Description:  Volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, and droughts have the capacity to uproot and disrupt human lives. So too do financial crises, engineering failures, and disease outbreaks. Disasters are as much a product of culture as they are of nature. This course uses historical perspectives to explore the reciprocal relationship between people and nature in the production of disasters.

Students will explore a series of historical case studies of disasters to better understand how social, environmental, economic, and political contexts influenced reactions and responses. The course will also consider how disasters have influenced the development of societies and cultures.

This course takes a broad approach to the study of disaster, analyzing natural events (weather, geophysics, hydrology, climate, disease), technical and engineering failures (bridge collapses, railway accidents), and economic crises. It also considers the social dynamics and inequities of crises with a focus on issues of environmental and economic justice.

Topics include:

  1. Introduction to Disasters in Historical Perspective
  2. Thinking about Natural Disasters
  3. Earthquakes in the Age of Reason: Lisbon
  4. Disasters in American Culture: San Francisco
  5. Floods in the French Capital: Paris
  6. Tropical Cyclones and the City: Hurricane Katrina
  7. Ice Storms and Infrastructure: Quebec
  8. Natural Disasters as Cultural Spectacle
  9. Thinking about Technological Disasters
  10. The Dangers of Systems: Victorian Railway Accidents
  11. Aircraft Disasters: The Hindenburg
  12. Bridge Collapses: The Second Narrows Bridge, British Columbia
  13. Electromagnetic Interference: TWA 800
  14. Apocalypse: Imagining Nuclear Disaster in the Cold War
  15. The Bureaucracy of Disaster: The Space Shuttle
  16. Modern Technology and the Rise of Normal Accidents
  17. The Age of Blurred Boundaries: Twentieth Century Disasters
  18. Blurring the Natural and the Artificial: Halifax
  19. Health and Environmental Disasters
  20. Health and Environment of Indian Reserves: The TB Crisis
  21. Oil Spills
  22. Toxic Exposure: Bhopal
  23. Nuclear Risks I: Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima
  24. Conclusion: Lessons from the Past

Tentative Grade Breakdown/Overview of assessment:

Disaster Assessment Report: Historical Case Study #1 – 10%
Disaster Assessment Report: Historical Case Study #2 – 15%
Disaster Assessment Report: Historical Case Study #3 – 15%
Disaster Assessment Report: Historical Case Study #4 – 15%
Disaster Assessment Report: Research Case Study – 20%
Participation – 15%
Weekly Quizzes – 10%

NOTE: Prior to buying textbooks, students should consult the detailed course outline which will give the final versions of the weekly syllabus and the detailed breakdown of assignments with weighting and due dates.  The course outline will be posted in Moodle and discussed on the first day of class.

More information:  http://history.laps.yorku.ca/