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The History of 2023

How can we understand the events, ideas, and conflicts that have featured in the news cycle during the past year? “The History of 2023” offers historically informed reflections on this year’s momentous events, providing an opportunity to understand our world in its historic context. Each week will feature a different History faculty member speaking on a major news topic of the year, showing what we can learn by approaching it from a historical perspective. The course is open to all students (newcomers and history veterans alike) who want to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of 2023, and who are curious to consider how studying history can offer a deeper and richer understanding of tumultuous times.

See HISTORY 1 on ExploreCourses

Course Coordinator:

Professor Steven Press


  • 1 unit, Credit/No Credit
  • One lecture every week
  • Attendance required
  • Short readings may be posted in conjunction with some lectures
  • Tuesdays, 9:30-10:20 AM
  • Lane History Corner (Building 200), Room 002


Speakers and Topics:

September 26     Amir Weiner

Putin's War on Ukraine: Causes, Course, and Consequences


October 3     Gil-li Vardi 

War 2023: Is Conventional War Back?


October 10     Jennifer Burns

Money Matters: Milton Friedman and the Return of Inflation


October 17     Paula Findlen

Hot or Cold:  Climate and Environment in the Early Modern World


October 24     Thomas Mullaney

The Taiwan Crisis: a Century in the Making


October 31      James Campbell 

The Struggle over Voting Rights 


November 7     No Class - Democracy Day: Day of Civic Service


November 14     Robert Crews

The Global Drug Wars


November 21     No Class - Thanksgiving Recess


November 28     Mikael Wolfe 

Was the Global Climate Crisis Inevitable? What the Historical Record of Denial and Delay Can Tell Us


December 5     Jack Rakove

A Scenario of Constitutional Failure: Gloomy Fears, Modest Hopes