The Dustbin of History (HIS4407.01)

Eileen Scully

Let us consider Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky’s October 1917 curse upon moderate socialists resisting the ongoing Bolshevik coup d’etat: “You are pitiful, isolated individuals. You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on—into the dustbin of history!” In this course, we find our own way into the “dustbin of history” in search of things–ideas, artifacts, world orders, utopian experiments, economic blueprints, elusive possibilities, and roads not taken–that might be worth salvaging. We inquire how these bygone phenomena emerged, took shape, gained more or less momentum, and then were crushed underfoot, disappeared, imploded, or exploded. Course work includes weekly write-ups, collaborations, and a culminating project (a podcast or something similar).


Learning Outcomes:
Students will fully engage Bennington's core capacities (Inquire, Research, Create, Engage, and Communicate), as we work to:
1. Identify and describe the historical context of ideas, movements, political systems, and social experiments
2. Develop and pursue targeted research questions
3. Successfully collaborate with others on a range of activities
4. Craft plausible, engaging, fact-driven narratives
5. Transform self-constructed, fact-driven narratives into media-based productions (such as podcasts)


Delivery Method: Remotely accessible
Prerequisites: Interested students, please email the instructor (escully@bennington.edu) beginning two weeks before the start of registration, with a brief statement of interest that includes information about your previous courses, FWTs, and concentration areas.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , History , Remotely Accessible
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