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History and Culture

  • Explores Varying Interpretations of Historic Events
  • Identifies Patterns and Trends
  • Provides Lively Discussion and Debate

To understand the present, we first must know the past. These courses focus on the origins of civilization, explore the causes and effects of world events, and debate conflicting interpretations of past events. From the world stage to New York City’s five boroughs, examine how history impacts our lives today.

1968: The Year That Shook Our History

Revisit 1968, the most tumultuous year in recent history, which alternated passionate hopes and searing tragedies on an almost daily basis.

2019 Spring
1 section

A Nation of Immigrants?

Explore the history of the United States with a focus on immigrants, including how they have shaped the history and meaning of the nation.

2019 Spring
1 section

Development of the Modern European State, Part I: 1815-1914

Learn about the developments in 19th-century Europe that culminated in a new relationship between the individual and the state.

2019 Spring
1 section

England's Cathedral Cities: From Exeter to York

Explore the influence of the church and its monastic foundation on English society from the 11th century onward.

2019 Spring
1 section

Georgian England: Heroes, Heroines, and Scandals

Learn about the achievements, influence, and controversies of major Georgian England figures to gain a vivid perspective on 18th-century England.

2019 Spring
1 section

Justice and the American Way

Examine the concept of social justice, and determine how social justice is—and is not—represented in contemporary American society.

2019 Spring
1 section

Lost New York

Through a series of lectures and walking tours, explore what has been lost in the quest to build New York City’s constantly changing skyline.

2019 Spring
1 section

Race, Criminal Justice, and the Constitution

Explore the major constitutional issues that are involved in the administration of criminal justice, and examine how race pervades them.

2019 Spring
1 section

The American Presidency: Its Powers and Limitations

Examine the uniquely American institution of the presidency through presidential administrations past and present.

2019 Spring
1 section

The Jews of Italy: Past and Present

Learn about the Jewish community in Italy since Roman times and its many important contributions in literature, journalism, the arts, and more.

2019 Spring
1 section

A Holistic Look at Iran: Economics, Religion, Politics, and More

Take a holistic look at the various aspects of Iran: environment, ethnolinguistic composition, religious proclivities, economics, and politics.

2018 Fall
+ 1 more semester
2 sections

England: Five Centuries of Royal Fashion

Explore the global fascination with royal fashion from Elizabeth I and Tudor court fashion to Princess Diana and Meghan Markle.

2019 Spring
1 section

International Relations

Gain an in-depth understanding of the post-Cold War world order and the Cold War’s impact on current geopolitical and economic landscapes.

2018 Fall
+ 1 more semester
2 sections

World Politics: The Coming Rise and Fall of Great Powers

Discuss the possibility of a new shake-up of the global power structure and the resulting fateful consequences for the coming decades.

2019 Spring
4 sections

1914: The History of the Descent into World War I

This full-day course will trace the origins of World War I, from its beginnings in the French Revolution to its volcanic eruption in 1914.

2019 Spring
1 section

A History of New York City

Gain an understanding of the history of New York City, including politics, finance, architecture, and arts, from its Native American roots to today.

2019 Spring
2 sections

Crime and Punishment in the Ancient Near East

Examine law and the judicial process in the ancient Near East.

2019 Spring
1 section

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo: Icons of Modern Mexican Art

Track the lives and works of this most extraordinary couple, as well as their intense engagement in art, politics, and personal exploration.

2019 Spring
1 section

Exploring Italian Through Timely Topics

This dynamic and interactive course takes the Italian language off the page through lively classroom discussion and cultural outings.

2019 Spring
1 section

Italian I

Acquire the basic pronunciation, vocabulary, useful expressions, and fundamental grammatical notions for effective communication in Italian.

2018 Fall
+ 1 more semester
2 sections

Manhattan History: Post-Revolutionary War to World War I

Catch the excitement of 19th-century New York City in this course, which features four illustrated lectures and four walking tours.

2019 Spring
1 section

New York's Great Structures: Buildings, Bridges, Tunnels, and More

Through lectures and at least two walking tours, take a look at the best—and worst—of some quintessentially New York structures.

2019 Spring
1 section

Reading Ancient Greek

If you have a basic knowledge of ancient Greek, then use your skills to read and discuss an ancient Greek work that changes each semester.

2018 Fall
+ 1 more semester
2 sections

Seeing Things Our Way: Art as Propaganda

Explore how art has been used as propaganda from early Greece to the United States in the 20th century.

2019 Spring
1 section

Jewish History and Experience on Film

Explore the rich history of Jewish cinema and uncover a diverse array of experiences and emotions.

2019 Spring
1 section

A Guide to the 21st-Century Universe: Particles, Quarks, and Strings

Explore the groundbreaking scientific discoveries of the 21st century that have extended and complicated our understanding of nature.

2018 Fall
1 section

Capital Cities of Ancient Mexico: Teotihuacan, Tula, and Tenochtitlan

Explore the three successive capitals of ancient Mexico through the lenses of archaeology, history, art, literature, and religion.

2018 Fall
1 section

City-States of Ancient North America: Chaco and Cahokia

Explore arguments and evidence about two intriguing city-states of ancient North America.

2018 Fall
1 section

Democracy: Past and Future

Explore the history of democracy, from the Vikings to ancient Athens, and discover what it might reveal about democracy’s future.

2018 Fall
1 section

Manhattan History: Pre-European to Post-Revolutionary War

Discover how New York City’s fascinating past illuminates its vibrant life today.

2018 Fall
1 section

New York Behind the Scenes

Gain valuable insights from New York’s movers and shakers, who will help you to take full advantage of the City’s cultural resources.

2018 Fall
1 section

Rewriting the War: The Civil War and Its Aftermath in American Cultural Memory

Examine the cultural impact of the Civil War, including how it is remembered and interpreted today.

2018 Fall
1 section

Southern Italy: The Roads Less Traveled

Learn about the historically and culturally rich regions of southern Italy, from Amalfi to Matera, the 2019 European Capital of Culture.

2018 Fall
1 section

Splendors of the Royal Courts of the Classic Maya: Copan, Tikal, and Palenque

Engage in an in-depth exploration of the sophisticated courts of the classic Maya and their city-states.

2018 Fall
1 section

The American White Working Class and Modern Conservatism

Gain a historical perspective on the white working class, a demographic whose members and political power have seen great change since WWII.

2018 Fall
1 section

The City and the Book: A History of New York Book Culture

Trace the history of book publishing in New York City from 1800 to today.

2018 Fall
2 sections

The Evolution of the Right to Privacy

Explore what privacy means today and how the right to privacy has varied over the course of American history.

2018 Fall
1 section

The Historical Background of Current Major Supreme Court Cases

Explore current cases before the Supreme Court, and discuss the landmark decisions and historic events that led to them.

2018 Fall
1 section

US Religion and Politics

Examine the historical narratives necessary to understanding the relationship between religion and politics in the United States.

2018 Fall
1 section

Virginia Woolf's London

See the people, neighborhoods, and culture of London through the eyes of Virginia Woolf, a visionary of literary style.

2018 Fall
1 section

World Cities: Paris, London, and New York in the 19th Century

Explore the emergence of Paris, London, and New York into modernity in the 19th century.

2018 Fall
2 sections

New York City Real Estate: A Social and Architectural History

Learn about the best and the meanest of New York City housing history, from tenements to Billionaires’ Row.

2018 Fall
1 section

Religion and Architecture in New York City

Explore how religion has impacted the history of New York City and the role of religion in the City today.

2019 Spring
1 section

A History of Rome: From the Founding of the City to the Death of Emperor Justinian

Explore ancient Roman history and trace its evolution from a city-state monarchy to a republic and then to an empire.

2018 Fall
1 section

Anti-Intellectualism in the United States

Explore the roots of anti-intellectual sentiment in the US, and evaluate how it relates to the country’s first principles and self-image.

2018 Fall
1 section

England's Lake District: Poets, Painters, and an Idyllic Paradise

Discover the history and beauty of the Lake District, home to some of England’s most renowned artists, poets, and thinkers.

2018 Fall
1 section

Fighting for the Right to Vote

This one-day seminar focuses on voting rights and the battles over the right to vote in American history.

2018 Fall
1 section

Discovering French Language and Culture

Gain the French language skills to understand conversations about basic topics, share information, and engage in brief exchanges.

2018 Fall
1 section

Discovering Spanish Language and Culture

If you have never studied Spanish, then take this course to develop basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in the language.

2018 Fall
1 section

Belle Epoque Paris

Explore how the aesthetics, technologies, and politics of Paris at the turn of the 20th century transformed the world.

Detroit: Past, Present, and Future

Explore the key issues—including race, labor, urban politics, and law—at the heart of the urban decline of Detroit.

Discovering New York City's Parks, Squares, and Scenic Landmarks

Study the architecture of New York City’s public spaces and examine how their designs help New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors.

Elena Ferrante's Naples

Discover the history and culture of Naples, Italy, through Elena Ferrante’s bestselling Neapolitan novels.

Imperial London

Examine London around 1900—a period of time whose implications resounded around the world and throughout the 20th century.

Italy's Southern Question: From Luigi Pirandello to Elena Ferrante

Read and discuss Italian writers who grapple with the “Southern Question” and the South’s highly disputed place in Italy.

Los Angeles: Past, Present, and Future

Explore the political, legal, economic, cultural, and spatial issues that animated Los Angeles’s rise, and delve into what the future holds.

Manhattan's Great Neighborhoods

Join us for an introductory illustrated lecture about and then five walks through some of Manhattan’s great neighborhoods.

NYUSPS Curated Lectures

Sample from a breadth of interesting topics that will be showcased, over the course of a day, by featured faculty and other renowned guest lecturers.

New York Behind the Scenes: A Walk on the Wild Side

Take a walk on the wild side with a visit to New York City’s only bird and wildlife rehabilitation facility.

The European Balance of Power: Diplomacy in the Modern Age, 1900-1945

Learn about the diplomatic events that lead up to the collapse of the pre-1914 European system, the consequences of which resulted in WWI and WWII.

The European Middle Ages: The Rise and Demise of a Civilization, 400-1500

Explore the history of Europe, from the end of the western half of the Roman Empire to the eve of the Reformation.

The Evolution of American Free Speech

Explore the key free speech debates that have demarcated the boundaries of what can—and cannot—be said in the United States.

The New York of Edith Wharton and Theodore Dreiser

Discover New York City of the 19th and early 20th centuries through the novels of Edith Wharton and Theodore Dreiser.

Two Nations Entwined: England and France

Explore the shared culture of England and France, and analyze how each country adopted and made these cultural traits its own.

Walking and Talking New York

Gain familiarity with major events and figures in New York City history through four walking tours and four lively slide-illustrated talks.

Ancient Near East: Religion and Culture

Explore the history and culture of the ancient Near East, including its cultural legacy as birthplace of the Judeo-Christian religious traditions.

Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture, and Turn-of-the-20th-Century Culture

Become familiar with the spirit of the Secession Movement and explore the culture of fin-de-siècle Vienna.