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HISTORY 241C: Histories of Attention and Mind Control

This course follows the history of attention from the Enlightenment and the rise of capitalism to Cold War controversies over mind control and recent debates on the attention economy and the ethics of technology. Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on a discrete aspect of information, which regulates what enters consciousness. In an age of information abundance, digital technologies compete to catch and direct our attention. Offering a historical perspective, the course readings trace how attention has been constructed, studied, commodified, and manipulated throughout the modern period by travelling across various regions including the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and North America. Consideration will be given to the training and altering of attention, to spectacle and the manipulation of attention, and to the shifting economies of attention. We will explore how practices such as mesmerism, hypnotism, and conjure became part of power relationships with more »
This course follows the history of attention from the Enlightenment and the rise of capitalism to Cold War controversies over mind control and recent debates on the attention economy and the ethics of technology. Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on a discrete aspect of information, which regulates what enters consciousness. In an age of information abundance, digital technologies compete to catch and direct our attention. Offering a historical perspective, the course readings trace how attention has been constructed, studied, commodified, and manipulated throughout the modern period by travelling across various regions including the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and North America. Consideration will be given to the training and altering of attention, to spectacle and the manipulation of attention, and to the shifting economies of attention. We will explore how practices such as mesmerism, hypnotism, and conjure became part of power relationships within social, racial, gendered, religious and cultural contexts, and how attention was made to reproduce different relationships of inequality between the industrial revolution and the advent of surveillance capitalism. The course is divided into three parts. It begins with introducing approaches to attention by historians, philosophers, and scholars of visual studies among others. Second is a more empirical analysis of how slavery, industrialism, advertising, cinema, science, and technology came together to shape modern theories of attention. The course then ends with several weeks on the current politics of attention and the attention economy.
Last offered: Spring 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

HISTORY 242J: London Low Life in the Nineteenth Century

( History 242J is an undergraduate course offered for 5 units; History 342J is a graduate course offered for 4-5 units.) London began the nineteenth century as a city of one million, but was home to over six million people by the century¿s end. How did Londoners in the nineteenth century respond to the challenges and temptations of life in a growing metropolis? How did government and reformers try to influence and control city dwellers¿ behavior? This class seeks to answer these questions by exploring life in Britain¿s capital in the nineteenth century, using the digital database ¿London Low Life¿ as a guide. Contemporary street literature, night-life guides, pamphlets, broadsides, images, reformer¿s tracts, and public-interest journalism are some of the sources that will give us a window into vice, virtue, and daily life in London during a period of great uncertainty and change.
Last offered: Autumn 2020 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI

HISTORY 243C: People, Plants, and Medicine: Colonial Science and Medicine (HISTORY 343C)

Explores the global exchange of knowledge, technologies, plants, peoples, disease, and medicines. Considers primarily Africans, Amerindians, and Europeans in the eighteenth-century West but also takes examples from other knowledge traditions. Readings treat science and medicine in relation to voyaging, colonialism, slavery, racism, plants, and environmental exchange. Colonial sciences and medicines were important militarily and strategically for positioning emerging nation states in global struggles for land and resources.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

HISTORY 244F: Innovations in Inclusive Design in Tech (FEMGEN 344F, HISTORY 344F)

This d-school class prototypes concepts and methods for inclusive design and considers intersecting social factors in designing new technologies. Examples of products (including objects, services, and systems) gone awry will serve as prompts for design activities, challenges, and discussions on the challenges designers face when addressing the different needs of consumers. These include, but are not limited to: gender, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, geographic location, sustainability, and other "intersectional" factors. Class sessions mix use case explorations with design methodology, design thinking abilities, and guest speakers from technology, design, and academia. Students will be asked to work in interdisciplinary teams on several design challenges, culminating in the development of a toolkit for inclusive design. Methods will interact in crucial ways to create "intersectional thinking," i.e., to consider how intersectional factors work together to require new soluti more »
This d-school class prototypes concepts and methods for inclusive design and considers intersecting social factors in designing new technologies. Examples of products (including objects, services, and systems) gone awry will serve as prompts for design activities, challenges, and discussions on the challenges designers face when addressing the different needs of consumers. These include, but are not limited to: gender, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, geographic location, sustainability, and other "intersectional" factors. Class sessions mix use case explorations with design methodology, design thinking abilities, and guest speakers from technology, design, and academia. Students will be asked to work in interdisciplinary teams on several design challenges, culminating in the development of a toolkit for inclusive design. Methods will interact in crucial ways to create "intersectional thinking," i.e., to consider how intersectional factors work together to require new solutions in design. Topics include: algorithms, media, virtual assistants, crash test dummies, robotics, health technologies, assistive technologies, tech for developing worlds, urban/rural design, software development. By application only. You can find the application here: https://dschool.stanford.edu/classes/innovations-in-inclusive-design
Terms: Spr | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI

HISTORY 249: The Mamluks: Slave-Soldiers and Sultans of Medieval Egypt (GLOBAL 102, GLOBAL 210, HISTORY 349A)

Known as ghulam or mamluk in Arabic, the slave-soldier was a ubiquitous phenomenon in the world of medieval Islam. Usually pagan steppe nomads, mamluks were purchased in adolescence, converted to Islam, taught Arabic, and trained to lead armies. Sometimes manumitted and sometimes not, in either case mamluks rose to positions of privilege and prominence in numerous regimes in the medieval Middle East.nnNowhere was the mamluk institution so fundamental as it was in Egypt between 1250 and 1517 CE, when Cairo was ruled by these slave-soldiers, their ranks constantly renewed by imports of new mamluks from the Black Sea and Caucuses. Born in the age of the crusades and ultimately conquered by the Ottoman Empire, the Mamluk Sultanate can be understood as a bridge between the worlds of medieval and early modern Islam, as well as between East and West, sitting astride the major Nile-Red Sea route that linked the Mediterranean world to that of the Indian Ocean and beyond. This class will investigate the rise and fall of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt and its key roles in the commercial, diplomatic, and political history both of the medieval Middle East and the wider world.
Last offered: Winter 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

HISTORY 251C: The American Enlightenment (AMSTUD 251C)

The eighteenth century saw the rise of many exciting new political, religious, and scientific theories about human happiness, perfectibility, and progress that today we call "the Enlightenment." Most people associate the Enlightenment with Europe, but in this course we will explore the many ways in which the specific conditions of eighteenth-century North America --such as slavery, the presence of large numbers of indigenous peoples, a colonial political context, and even local animals, rocks, and plants--also shaped the major questions and conversations of the people who strove to become "enlightened." We'll also explore how American Enlightenment ideas have profoundly shaped the way Americans think today about everything from politics to science to race. The class is structured as lecture and discussion, with deep reading in primary sources from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Terms: Sum | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

HISTORY 251J: American Slavery and Its Afterlives (AFRICAAM 251J, AMSTUD 251J, HISTORY 351J)

How did the institution of American slavery come to an end? The story is more complex than most people know. This course examines the rival forces that fostered slavery's simultaneous contraction in the North and expansion in the South between 1776 and 1861. It also illuminates, in detail, the final tortuous path to abolition during the Civil War. Throughout, the course introduces a diverse collection of historical figures, including seemingly paradoxical ones, such as slaveholding southerners who professed opposition to slavery and non-slaveholding northerners who acted in ways that preserved it. During the course's final weeks, we will examine the racialized afterlives of American slavery as they manifested during the late-nineteenth century and beyond.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI, WAY-ED
Instructors: Hammann, A. (PI)

HISTORY 252: Originalism and the American Constitution: History and Interpretation (HISTORY 352)

Except for the Bible no text has been the subject of as much modern interpretive scrutiny as the United States Constitution. This course explores both the historical dimensions of its creation as well as the meaning such knowledge should bring to bear on its subsequent interpretation. In light of the modern obsession with the document's "original meaning," this course will explore the intersections of history, law, and textual meaning to probe what an "original" interpretation of the Constitution looks like.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Gienapp, J. (PI)

HISTORY 252C: The Old South: Culture, Society, and Slavery (AFRICAAM 252C, CSRE 252C)

This course explores the political, social, and cultural history of the antebellum American South, with an emphasis on the history of African-American slavery. Topics include race and race making, slave community and resistance, gender and reproduction, class and immigration, commodity capitalism, technology, disease and climate, indigenous Southerners, white southern honor culture, the Civil War, and the region's place in national mythmaking and memory.
Last offered: Spring 2020 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI

HISTORY 252E: From Gold Rush to Google Bus: History of San Francisco (AMSTUD 150X, URBANST 150)

This class will examine the history of San Francisco from Native American and colonial settlement through the present. Focus is on social, environmental, and political history, with the theme of power in the city. Topics include Native Americans, the Gold Rush, immigration and nativism, railroads and robber barons, earthquake and fire, progressive reform and unionism, gender, race and civil rights, sexuality and politics, counterculture, redevelopment and gentrification. Students write final project in collaboration with ShapingSF, a participatory community history project documenting and archiving overlooked stories and memories of San Francisco. (Cardinal Course certified by the Haas Center)
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
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