Know Your History: Slavery, Capitalism, and Imperialism

Its winter break and with Christmas only but a few days away, this should be a time for everyone to curl up by the fire and take a moment to enjoy life with your loved ones.

 

Goodbye cold library—at least for now. I was one of the few students left on campus Monday, having my last final then, but at least the spaced out finals schedule allowed me ample time to prepare. And now I can relax (somewhat, there is still thesis writing to be done) for the next few weeks.

 

Speaking of classes, this is also my last blog post featuring my fall semester classes: the class this week is my “core” history course, “Slavery, Capitalism, and Imperialism” and actually was the last final I took.  “Core” is just the older version of Harvard’s now “General Education” system, where students have to opt to take a class from a certain number of general departmental requirements (history, physical science, literature, etc). The pictures inserted for this week are a sampling from all the documents we read through-out the semester.

For my History B Core I choose this class mostly because the material was very appealing to me as a Government concentrator, but also because the format of the class was quite unique. Don’t expect any white board outlines or fancy power-point presentations—Professor Walter Johnson has only himself and his voice as he lectures twice a week to his students on the imperial expansion of the U.S. against Native Americans, or the way slavery and anti-slavery movements were often more about class than sectionalism (Northern U.S. v. Southern U.S.).

 

You may be surprised for me to say, though, that there was never a dull moment in lectures. Never have I been so captivated before by a raw telling of history and unique appeal to historical documents—it really highlights the multitude of ways in which history can be understood and how we can even, hopefully, learn from it.

Like many Harvard classes though, it seems we were often assigned an untenable amount of reading each week.  However, one thing you learn is how to read “efficiently”, whether that be skimming or just knowing what to read for.

 

All that said, the joy of the class and format considered, I am more than happy for the semester to be over. I am very much looking forward to applications for summer and careering opportunities coming up, as well as spending quality time with family and friends.

 

I look forward to checking in with you as winter break continues, even if I’m at now is warm and sunny rather than snowy.

 

~Natalie

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1 comment

  1. Jacob Black’s avatar

    I love these blogs. Can you post a blog about how not to procrastinate? I hope to attend Harvard one day 🙂

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