Course description

This course describes, discusses, and analyzes a number of controversies that are vexing present-day historical scholarship and generating both emotional heat and intellectual light. Such hot topics motivate scholars to dig deeper for more evidence and better arguments, but they also often expose the weaknesses within scholarship. In the process of studying these controversies, students learn about specific issues in historical study, the nature of historical research in general, and the difference between a historical controversy and a conspiracy theory. Controversies covered include origins of agriculture and the state; the Piltdown hoax and who perpetrated it; what the Harappan civilization was; the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls; the fall of the Roman Empire, the Classical Maya, and Cahokia; reasons for Galileo's recantation and house arrest; the legacy of slavery in the United States; the origins of the French revolution; the rise of National Socialism; and the cold war.


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Learn about Christianity through a study of its sacred scriptures. We will explore how diverse Christians have interpreted these writings and practiced their teachings over a 2000 year, global history.

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