Recent Topics Courses

Misinformation (Dr. Tracy Campbell)

A new research-intensive course that examines case studies of misinformation in U.S. history since World War II. In essence, we will be examining things that did not happen, but have shaped who we are. 

Hip Hop Generation (Dr. Derrick White)

The Hip Hop Generation, refers to the population that emerged from or born in wake of the violence of 1968. As Jay-Z said, "I arrived on the day Fred Hampton died." This generation was born after the civil rights movement, experienced deindustrialization, endured a War on Drugs, witnessed the election of a Black president, and created a global cultural movement: Hip Hop. This class analyzes the political, socio-economic, and cultural dynamics of African American history in the four decades after 1968. 

War and Memory in World War I on the Eastern and Western Fronts (Dr. Karen Petrone and Dr. Terri Crocker)

This course will examine how the memory of World War I formed, and the implications of that memory today, using official war documents, battalion diaries, fiction, movies, and poetry to bring World War I to life and to provide a window into what front line battles looked like to the soldiers themselves. Taught in conjunction with an optional study abroad opportunity in France and Belgium during Spring break, enabling students to travel to the front lines of the War (A&S 500, 2 credit hour). 

Slavery, Piracy, and Rebellion in the Caribbean (Dr. Joe Clark)

Over the last five centuries, the Caribbean has witnessed conquests, migrations, and revolutions that have changed the course of world history. In readings on slavery and resistance, piracy and smuggling, and rebellion and revolution, this course examines Caribbean history from Columbus's first voyage through the climate crisis of the 21st century. In addition to being exposed to major events and figures--including Toussaint L'Ouverture, Fidel Castro, and Bob Marley—students will study both the qualities that make the Caribbean dynamic and distinctive and the many ways its history, politics, and culture affect life throughout the world. 

Appalachian Spirits: A History of Moonshine

The image of moonshine remains indelibly linked to the people of the Appalachian region, and Americans have maintained this cultural fascination with illicit spirits and Appalachian people ever since white settlers first inhabited the mountains. Various types of moonshine are produced and enjoyed all over the world, but in this course we will ask: Why is moonshine such an Appalachian thing? In Appalachian Spirits we will span the region's history, observing how moonshine production has ebbed and flowed over time veering between our ideas of virtue and vice across generations.

Slavery and Records Practicum (Dr. Kathy Newfont)

This hands-on course allows students to work with primary documents from Fayette County public records and make professional contributions to the Fayette County Deeds Project, a major research and digital history initiative of the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies at UK. Students will study enslavement history in the U.S. and the Commonwealth, learn from scholars and community partners engaged with the Deeds Project, and work collaboratively to read and transcribe digitized nineteenth-century public records held in the Fayette County Clerk’s Office. Students in the course will join fellow undergraduates, members of the Clerk’s Office staff, a wide range of community partners, and a UK team of historians, library professionals, and history graduate students to help develop this extensive digital humanities project focused on slavery in Central Kentucky.

Africa's Borderlands (Dr. Francis Musoni)

This course examines the evolution of Africa's geopolitical borders and borderland communities from the 1880s to the present. In addition to studying how colonial boundary-making processes distorted preexisting notions of borders in the continent and how measures of border control have changed since the nineteenth century, the course will also look at border conflicts, border economies (including prostitution, human trafficking, and smuggling), as well as questions of identity and citizenship in Africa. 

Black Paris: France in the 20th Century (Dr. Hilary Jones)

This course examines the history of modern France through the lens of African American expatriates like Josephine Baker and James Baldwin as well as French speaking African and Caribbean intellectuals, writers, and soldiers who entered Paris as subjects of France's colonial empire.  We will compare French attitudes towards African Americans to the depiction of African and Caribbean people in colonial exhibitions, and we will learn about the emergence of Paris as a multicultural city during the late 20th and early 21st century.

Asians in America (Dr. Akiko Takenaka)

This course highlights the experiences of Asians and Asian Americans in the United States and beyond. We will start with that of the Chinese immigrant laborers working on the transcontinental railroad in the mid-19th century. The course will explore key events such as the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Vietnamese refugees' arrival in the 1970s, and the Korean American riots in Los Angeles in the 1990s. We will also look at representations of Asia in World's Fairs, literature, and popular culture. Throughout, we will contemplate the categories of Asia, Asian, and Asian-American.