Summer Session I (May 29 – July 6)
As featured in television shows like “Dirty Jobs” and “Deadliest Catch,” and in current news about clean-up workers exposed to toxic dust at Ground Zero, the interrelationships between work and environment are sometimes exciting, and sometimes downright dangerous and deadly. This is nothing new. Work environments have long been important sites of courage and risk, a stage for performing and proving one’s gender, racial, or national identity. Work environments have also been sites of cooperation and conflict between diverse peoples, and between people and non-human nature.
Child Coal Miners (1908) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
This course examines the relationships between work and environment in United States history from the colonial period to the present day, with emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will use books, articles, films, and students’ own real-world experiences with, and explorations of, work, to arrive at a common understanding of the place of work and environment in United States history. We will also seek to discover the parallels, if any, between the historical events and processes we study, and current issues in American society and politics. Students are expected to complete all readings, write two short papers, and produce a final project.