In my exchange with Tom in the comments to the previous post, “A manifesto against ‘coverage,’” I said fliply, “I have an idea: let’s just pick dates out of a hat, and design courses that way. How much more random could it get?” There must be a better way, right? So, mad genius that I am, I went to random.org, and used their random sequence generator. I plugged in the dates of recorded human history: -7,000 for 7,000 B.C.E., and +2009 for the end point of our common era (so far). I then went down the list (starting with the first number, 687), and found the next number on the list that was higher than that number (in this case, 1855).
So, herewith are some randomly generated timespans for possible future history courses:
Course #1: 687-1855
Course #2: 788-1786
Course #3: 3470 B.C.E.-1751
Now, realistically, most university-level history courses don’t spend too much time on the years before 3,000 B.C.E., and since most departments have only one ancient historian (if that) and one or two medievalists, most faculty specialize in post-1400 history. So let’s plug in the dates where we’ll find the majority of undergraduate history courses right now, 1400-2009, and see what we get:
Course #4: 1917-1940 (I think there’s a course at Baa Ram U. with almost these exact dates!)
Courses #6 and #7, a two-semester sequence: 1824-1964 and 1964-1970
Readers, the rest is up to you. You must select one of the random time spans above and craft a title and a short course description for what that course would cover (geographically, thematically, topically, etc.) Bonus points for offering a sample short bilbiography of primary and secondary sources, films, artifacts, etc.! If you really outdo yourselves, I’ll do a follow-up post to highlight the best answers.
Friends, I smell a revolution coming. Can you smell it too? (Or is that just the toast burning?)