HST 296: World History since 1945
Dr. Elena Albarran says:
Students of HST 296 World History since 1945 spent the semester looking at a globalized Europe through the lens of travel and mobility through the region. In particular, their final projects brought together the themes presented by historian Richard I. Jobs’ book Backpack Ambassadors: How Youth Travel Integrated Europe with their own astute analyses of past Miami student travels documented in the MUDEC historical archives. We read about the evolving political and social roles of hostels in deescalating heightened wartime nationalism, and then found evidence in the archive of the dynamic cooperative and team-building activities offered to Miami students in a Netherlands hostel. We read about the different impetuses for travel that were informed by the prevailing political climate of each respective historical moment, and then saw these reflected in homework assigned to Miami students on a study tour in Paris. We read about the dramatic restrictions to European mobility imposed by the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, and then found a MUDEC yearbook that documented a student trip to the Berlin Wall within days of its demise. We read about Cold War propaganda that constructed Eastern and Western ideologies as mutually antagonistic, and then witnessed the remarkable dismantling of that binary mindset through the heartfelt reflections of intercultural understandings written by a group of Miami students that traveled to Russia in 1980. We thought about all of these dimensions of travel in the context of our own experiences in an unprecedented COVID-era Europe, when some of the region's much-lauded open borders are being reinscribed by the conditions of the pandemic. It’s been an immersive, experiential ride through history for this class!