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HIST 490B Seminar for Majors in History - USES OF PAST

Selected problems in the theory and practice of historical work. Check with the department for course offerings. Restricted to fourth year students majoring in History or in the History and Philosophy of Science. Also open to History Honours students.

This course is not eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading.

Credits: 3

Status Section Activity Term Interval Days Start Time End Time Comments
HIST 490B 101Seminar1 Thu11:0013:00

(HIST 490 is intended for History majors, History honours students, and students majoring in the history and philosophy of science, but students from other departments may register if they obtain the instructor's permission.) In 2020W, this seminar will be held online. The instructor for HIST 490B is J. Timmermann, . The topic is Uses of the Past and the Perception of Golden Ages. Recent movements calling to "make America great again", to restore Britain's national sovereignty and former glory, and to recreate the original cultural conditions of early Islam by groups like ISIS have vividly demonstrated how effective and malleable conceptions of the past can be for catalyzing action and thought in the present. This course will examine various earlier attempts-from anc and ~

ient up to modern times-to harness intellectual and material resources of perceived "golden ages" and the famous figures associated with them. We will consider the contexts, and consequences, of these uses of the past. Cases include the Roman takeover of Hellenistic culture; conceptions of the Roman Empire and "ancient Christianity" in the time of Charlemagne; representations of Charlemagne and his early medieval world in the later medieval and early modern periods; the quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns in early modern France and England; and the use of Roman and medieval history in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. These uses of the past form an important part of the long history of political ideology and trans-temporal discourse in the West across two millennia.