Spring 2022 Courses

All courses taught by Robinson Professors are open to anyone meeting department prerequisites.
Spencer CrewSteven Pearlstein | James Trefil | Hakeem Oluseyi

Spencer Crew

HIST 691:001: Museum Studies
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the theory and practice of museums with an emphasis on history institutions.  We will examine the origins of museums and the leaders who helped shape the field.  History and memory, surviving controversy, the changing role of museums, museum learning, creating exhibitions, the future of museums, and museums and innovation are among the issues which will be covered.  In the process the class will gain an understanding of the numerous challenges facing museums as well as the process of proposing, researching, and executing an exhibition.

(T 7:20-10:00 pm)

HIST 499:003: Senior Seminar in History: Slavery, Abolition and the Underground Railroad
This course focuses on researching slavery, abolition, and the Underground Railroad. Your research projects will grow out of your increased understanding of these activities and their operation. Slavery and its abolition were one of the major issues in the United States leading up to the Civil War. The participants of the Underground Railroad took direct action to undermine slavery by seeking freedom as well as aiding enslaved people seeking freedom. Reading the ideas and stories about these topics, investigating how they functioned, and examining how historians have assessed this movement will provide the foundation for the research conducted by class participants.

The Underground Railroad was a complex operation which over the years has had many myths connected to it. Sorting the myths from reality will enable students to better understand how historians assess research material and craft a thesis for their work. They will then apply these insights to the writing of their own well-researched and thoughtfully presented major research paper.

(W 1:30-4:10 pm)

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Steven Pearlstein

GOVT 467:001: Money, Markets and Economic Policy
No prerequisite. Applies basic economic concepts to an examination of fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies. Explores the way markets work, the reasons they sometimes fail and the role of government policy. Topics include productivity and economic growth, taxes, health care, globalization, income distribution and financial crises, with an emphasis on market structure, social institutions and the not-always rational behavior of investors and consumers.

Over the last decade, economics has moved from the periphery of the political conversation to its white hot center. This course will provide a familiarity with the fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies, along with an understanding of the economic principles that underlie them. The course is aimed at non-economics majors seeking the economic literacy necessary to do their jobs, manage their lives and participate intelligently as citizens in a democracy.  It is taught by a prize-winning journalist with a knack for demystifying complex economic ideas and policy choices and translating them into conversational English. There are no prerequisites and the course involves very little math. Critical thinkers with curious minds are strongly encouraged to enroll.

(MW 1:30-2:45 pm)

HNRS 122-001: Reading the Arts: Narrative Journalism
Story-telling has always been at the heart of great journalism. In this course, we’ll explore the last century of American history by reading some of the best examples of narrative—that is, story-telling—journalism as published in books, newspapers and magazines. We will explore how narrative journalism is done, what is the historical and media context in which it is written, what makes it effective and what impact it has had on readers and society. This is not a journalism course as much as it is a literature and history course. The aim is not to teach you how to write great journalism but how to recognize it and get the most out of reading it.

(T-TR 10:30-11:45am)

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James Trefil

HNRS 360:001 : Science of Cities 
What will the Washington area look like in 50 years? This course will focus on the technology and development of cities, using the capitol area as an example. Students will look at present-day Washington from a historical standpoint and learn what we can predict for its future in light of robotics, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering.  Course will use an AI Program called sInvestigator.

(M 4:30-7:10 pm)

HNRS 360:002 : Scientific Revolution
Critically analyzes emergence and impact of specific technologies on contemporary cultures and the core concepts surrounding these technologies, including legal, social, ethical issues and the technology’s relationship to core information security issues. Students develop a significant research project employing multiple disciplinary perspectives. This project will be communicated ethically and with cultural awareness through written, oral and digital means, showing a critical understanding of technologies and their impact.

(T 4:30-7:10 pm)

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Hakeem Oluseyi

HNRS 131:006: Science and Society

Course topic varies by semester and section. Students will pursue a focused question about contemporary social issues. Students consider and apply theories, methods and evidence from the social sciences and humanities. Topics range in focus from global to local issues involving how power and inequality shape social and institutional structures.

(T-TR 9-10:15am)

ASTR 113:009: Stars, Galaxies and Universe

The course introduces our current understanding of the universe. Focusing on stars and galaxies, it is designed to be thought provoking: What are stars and how do they form? How did the universe form and how will it end? What are the most distant objects in the universe and how do we know their distances and properties? These are a few of the questions addressed. In addition, since Astronomy is one of the few sciences for which we cannot directly access the subject of our studies, we will attempt to get an idea of how Astronomers understand the universe through indirect means. We will see that Astronomy is far from an arcane subject and is constantly changing as new observations allow us to understand the universe better, a universe of which we are an integral part.

(T-TR 3-4:15pm)

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