Topics in National Security History


This purpose of this course is to introduce first year students in an intimate setting to major topics in national security policy. For that reason, enrollments will be kept small. The goal is to provide insights for students considering a major in history and perhaps even a career in policy. The course structure will rotate topics (intelligence, war, world orders, etc.) each time it is taught. This year's version presents a global history of intelligence over three millennia from the beginning of recorded time to the present. In particular, it examines the significant role that spies and espionage have played in creating intelligence used in the shaping of domestic and foreign security policies that impact political, economic and military outcomes. We will cover the major espionage events and (in)famous spies in the history of intelligence across thirty time periods and topics ranging from God's command to Moses that he send out spies to reconnoiter Canaan after the Jews escaped from captivity in Egypt and had crossed the Red Sea up through to President Biden's directive to the US intelligence community that it identify and interdict ransomware cybercriminals from further attacks on US infrastructure. Along the way, we will ask and seek analytical insights into questions such as what is the nature of intelligence? What makes intelligence a worthy topic of historical inquiry? How has espionage changed/remained the same over time? What challenges does the secret nature of espionage present to the scholar and student of its history? The course will conclude with an assessment of the current state and likely future of spies, espionage and intelligence. This class is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Course Attributes: BU Hum; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; EN H

Section 01

First-Year Seminar: Topics in National Security History - 01
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