*A significant portion of this course will be conducted in English including lectures, discussions, readings, presentations, and written work.
What does it mean to “study history”? How does “studying history” relate to our twenty-first century society? How is “studying history” useful? In the last few years, the humanities, including the discipline of history, have faced questions about their relevance. These concerns become even more immediate as economies undergo transformation including de-industrialization, income stagnation, and youth underemployment. And yet as new economies emerge based on services, knowledge, and technology the humanities and history have roles to play. Technology platforms including traditional media, social media, and entertainment need content. Even more, an interdisciplinary education in the humanities trains students in vital contemporary skills including information literacy; critical analysis; creativity; textual, oral, and visual presentation; collaboration; and leadership. In a fast-paced economy characterized by constant change and “disruption,” these skills prepare students for future jobs that have not yet been invented.
The study of history has a particular advantage. Every person has a past and every person’s development links to a past. Most individuals, therefore, have an intuitive understanding of the importance of the past. Likewise, history is all around us: in our physical surroundings, the consumer products that shape our daily lives, the entertainment we enjoy, the fashion we put on, the tastes we cultivate, etc. Ultimately the lives and livestyles we lead all have pasts. History has immediate relevance. The challenge, then, is to understand how the “study of history” is useful; find a way to transform the “study of history” to the “practice of history;” and articulate the value of this practice to a market.
There are three components to this coures:
1) Through course readings on history, historical theory, and historical concept, students think about what it means to “study history.” We will analyze methods of studying history, how history is related to contemporary society, and how history is presented to different audiences.
2) Another set of readings will introduce students to basic concepts of business and business skills such as competitive strategy, leadership, networking, collaboration, etc.
3) Most of all, this course guides students to “produce” a historical project such as a museum, a site, a film, etc. Students will research the subject of the project, create content to share with a public, design instruments to deliver the content and product to the public, formulate a business, draft a marketing strategy, outline a management team. To do this, students will apply their understanding of how history is useful in the twenty-first century learned in 1). They will also apply the principles of competitve strategy, leadership, networking, collaboration, etc. learned in 2).
Throughout this course, students are encouraged to be creative, expressive, and think outside of the box about history, historical practice, and their uses for the public and in the market.