History 101-102

Justice Ideals and Practices in History


Course Description

A full-year course of inquiry that uses several episodes in European and American history from the middle ages to the present, as well as engagement with contemporary movements and controversies, to ask what "justice" has meant to women and men, how people have tried to achieve and institutionalize their aspirations toward a just world, and how and why both goals and practices have changed over time. Among the most important goals of the first semester is an understanding of how "the rule of law" became a central feature of modern western notions of justice, and how change in law, justice, and the nation state may be connected to transformations in people's work, in the organization of their productive activities, and in relations between women and men. In 1999-2000, episodes for analysis and investigation will include a peasants' revolt in 1381, radical initiatives towards a "constitution" for England of the 1640s, Nat Turner's rebellion against slavery in 1831, and the "Bread and Roses" Strike of 1912 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. During the second semester, students will engage in off-campus projects,, in order to develop historical understanding through participation in and investigation of groups or projects publicly committed to the achievement of "justice" in the Pioneer Valley today. At the end of the academic year, students will be asked to explain (1) how, or whether, historical inquiry and analysis may deepen and clarify understanding of contemporary legal institutions and of movements dedicated to individual rights or social justice, and (2) how, or whether, participation in current struggles over justice may strengthen understanding of the ways that people make history.

Harold Garrett-Goodyear
Skinner 209, ext. 2451
Office Hours (ordinarily): Mondays, 1:15-3:15 and Thursdays, 9:00-10:30

Copyright 2002 Mount Holyoke College. 
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