Location: Bowdoin / History / courses / Spring 2009


Spring 2009

015. Frontier Crossings: The Western Experience in American History
Matthew Klingle M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
What accounts for the persistence of the “frontier myth” in American history, and why do Americans continue to find the idea so attractive? Explores the creation of and disputes over what became of the western United States from 1763 to the present. Topics include Euro-American relations with Native Americans; the creation of borders and national identities; the effect of nature and ideology; the role of labor and gender in the backcountry; and the enduring influence of frontier imagery in popular culture.

019. Bad Girls of the 1950s
Jennifer Scanlon M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Explores the representation and life experiences of women who did not fit the cultural norm of suburban motherhood in 1950s America. Focuses on issues of class, race, sexuality and gender in a decade shaped by fears about nuclear war and communism, and by social and political conformity. Topics include teenage pregnancy, women's grassroots political leadership, single womanhood, civil rights, emergent feminism, and, finally, the enduring cultural resonance of the apron-clad 1950s mom. Engages a variety of primary and secondary sources.

202. Ancient Rome
Robert Sobak M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Surveys the history of Rome from its beginnings to the fourth century A.D. Considers the political, economic, religious, social, and cultural developments of the Romans in the context of Rome’s growth from a small settlement in central Italy to the dominant power in the Mediterranean world. Special attention is given to such topics as urbanism, imperialism, the influence of Greek culture and law, and multi-culturalism. Introduces different types of sources—literary, epigraphical, archaeological, etc.—for use as historical documents.

203. Christianity and Islam in West Africa
Olufemi Vaughan T 1:00 - 3:55
Seminar. Explores how Christianity, Islam, and indigenous religious beliefs shaped the formation of modern West African states and societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Discusses the role of these world and indigenous religious institutions and movements in the transformation of major West African societies in the following important historical themes: (1) religion and state formation in the turbulent nineteenth century; (2) religion and colonialism; (3) religion and decolonization; (4) religion and the post-colonial state; (5) religion and politics in the era of globalization.

205. A History of the Body
Dallas Denery M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
Examines changing conceptions of the body and gender from early Christianity through the Baroque. Special attention is paid to the cult of relics, bodily practices in Catholic and Reformed Christianity, the body of God, and the body as object of scientific investigation.

228. Britain and the World
Aaron Windel M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Explores the history of the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing especially on Africa, South Asia, and the West Indies. Examines the methods of British rule, the consequences of imperialism for those who were subject to British authority, and the movements of national independence that ended colonial rule. Special attention paid to the role of the Empire in shaping the metropolitan experience of the British Isles.

237. The History of African Americans from 1865 to the Present
Patrick Rael T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Explores the history of African Americans from the end of the Civil War to the present. Issues include the promises and failures of Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, black leadership and protest institutions, African American cultural styles, industrialization and urbanization, the world wars, the Civil Rights Movement, and conservative retrenchment.

238. Media, Surveillance, and Freedom in Twentieth-Century Europe
Aaron Windel M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Examines the role of mass media and information technology in shaping the historical experience of Europe in the twentieth century. Examines, among others, the role of radio, television, satellite imaging, marketing, propaganda, and the Internet in shaping European identities and worldviews, altering the way war is waged and peace is maintained, and profoundly changing the ways people are governed and govern themselves. Focus is on Europe, but considers global processes and especially the role of the United States entertainment industry. A prior course in modern European history is strongly recommended.

242. Environment and Culture in North American History
Matthew Klingle M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Explores relationships between ideas of nature, human transformations of the environment, and the effect of the physical environment upon humans through time in North America. Topics include the “Columbian exchange” and colonialism; links between ecological change and race, class, and gender relations; the role of science and technology; literary and artistic perspectives of “nature”; agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization; and the rise of modern environmentalism. Assignments include a research-based service learning term project.

243. The Civil Rights Movement
Daniel Levine T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
The first part of the course will concentrate on studying the converging forces from the 1890s to the 1950s that combined to create the vastly increased activity toward racial justice in the 1950s and 1960s. The second part will concentrate on the tactics, uncertainties, and, ultimately, the significant but incomplete victories of the 1960s. The third part will concentrate on what has been called the “retreat to the ghetto,” and an evaluation of where we are now.

246. Women in American History, 1600-1900
Sarah McMahon T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
A social history of American women from the colonial period through the nineteenth century. Examines women’s changing roles in both public and private spheres; the circumstances of women’s lives as these were shaped by class, ethnic, and racial differences; the recurring conflict between the ideals of womanhood and the realities of women’s experience; and focuses on family responsibilities, paid and unpaid work, religion, education, reform, women’s rights, and feminism.Note: This course counts toward the major and minor in gender and women’s studies.

247. Maine: A Community and Environmental History
Sarah McMahon M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Examines the evolution of various Maine social and ecological communities—inland, hill country, and coastal. Begins with the contact of European and Native American cultures, examines the transfer of English and European agricultural traditions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and explores the development of diverse geographic, economic, ethnic, and cultural communities during the nineteenth and into the early twentieth centuries.

251. United States in the Nineteenth Century
Patrick Rael M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Explores American history through close readings of arguments regarding a variety of topics in the history of the United States in the nineteenth century, including the emergence of the mass political party system, the market revolution, class and racial formation, gender, removal of Native Americans, slavery, Civil War, the Reconstruction, corporatism, the labor movement, and modernism. Explores the nature of historical arguments with an eye toward students’ writing.

256. Environment and Society in Latin America
Allen Wells M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Examines the evolving relationship between the environment, politics, and culture in Central America and the Caribbean. Topics include the environmental impact of economic development; colonialism; the predominance of plantation monoculture, slavery, and other forms of coerced labor; and political instability.

257. Law and Society in Colonial India
Rachel Sturman T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. The British were fond of describing the rule of law as their foremost “gift” to their Indian subjects. What did this law actually entail, both for the colonial rulers and for their colonized subjects? How did the British create a legal system for India, and what was the role of law within colonial Indian society? Draws on primary and secondary sources, examining law as a central arena for understanding colonial governance and political modernity. Topics include key colonial legal campaigns, such as the effort to reform Hindu marriage and the campaign to identify and eradicate “criminal castes and criminal tribes.” Also explores the contentious formation of religious laws of the family administered by the colonial state, the role of race and gender in defining colonial legal subjecthood, and the legacies of colonial law for the post-colonial Indian nation state. Part of the Other Modernities course cluster.

260. Thinking the Nation
Mehmet Dosemeci T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Explores the theoretical and historical dimensions of nationalism, from its emergence as a “revolutionary virus” in Europe at the turn of the eighteenth century, its expansion and consolidation as the primary means of organizing society in the nineteenth century, and the twin problematic associated with its combustion at home (Europe) and exportation abroad (colonial world) during the twentieth century. After laying out the major theoretical formulations of nationalist thought over the last two centuries, discusses how external categories such as race, gender, and post-colonial identity have deconstructed the nation from without and examines how internal critiques have called attention to the existence of different nations within, across, and above the nation state.

264. Conquest, Colonialism, and Independence: Africa since 1880
Olufemi Vaughan M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Focuses on conquest, colonialism, and its legacies in sub-Saharan Africa; the violent process of colonial pacification, examined from European and African perspectives; the different ways of consolidating colonial rule and African resistance to colonial rule, from Maji Maji to Mau Mau; and African nationalism and independence, as experienced by Africa’s nationalist leaders, from Kwame Nkrumah to Jomo Kenyatta, and their critics. Concludes with the limits of independence, mass disenchantment, the rise of the predatory post-colonial state, genocide in the Great Lakes, and the wars of Central Africa.

271. The Modern Girl and Female Citizen in China and Japan
Karen Teoh M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Seminar. With the rise of East Asian nationalisms and global commercialism in the early twentieth century appeared two distinct yet related figures in China and Japan: the Modern Girl, characterized by her physical appearance and consumerism, who broke with social conventions regarding domesticity, sexuality, and politics; and the Female Citizen, idealized for her role in contributing to the establishment of the modern nation in a “scientific” and “progressive” way. These two images offer a comparative perspective on women’s symbolic roles in the nation, and how anxieties over the persons and actions of women reflected larger concerns about the tensions evoked by a rapidly changing world. Discussion themes include globalization and commercialization, changing cultural notions of womanhood, family and labor systems, female education, feminism, and gendered nationalisms.

274. Modern European Intellectual History: The Continental Tradition from Hegel to Heidegger
Mehmet Dosemeci T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Surveys the major currents and impulses that informed continental thought in the century and a half between 1790 and 1960. In some respects, this tradition provided the theoretical underpinnings of the tragic and violent decline of the continent into the catastrophes of fascism, war, state communism, and genocide. This same continental tradition, however, also formulated what were and remain the most critical, nuanced, and informed responses to the convulsions of modernity, responses that continue to challenge our conventional assumptions about interpersonal norms, political organization, or the nature and limits of human knowledge and human agency. What can—and should—be saved from this tradition?

278. The Sixties
David Hecht M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Explores the politics and culture of the 1960s in the United States. Particular topics of focus include civil rights, student activism, the Vietnam War, the counterculture, and the beginnings of the feminist and environmental movements of the 1970s. Also explores the political dynamics of the decade’s various controversies, paying particular attention to the way that such controversies shaped—and continue to shape—United States political culture.

280. Imperialism, Nationalism, Human Rights
Rachel Sturman T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the history of modern global imperialism and colonialism from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. Focuses on the parallel emergence of European nationalism, imperialism, and ideas of universal humanity. Examines the historical development of anti-colonial nationalisms in the regions ruled by European empires, and considers the often-contentious nature of demands for human rights. Emphasis on the history of South Asia, with attention to Latin America and Africa.

284. The Emergence of Modern Japan
Thomas Conlan T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
What constitutes a modern state? How durable are cultures and civilizations? Examines the patterns of culture in a state that managed to expel European missionaries in the seventeenth century, and came to embrace all things Western as being “civilized” in the mid-nineteenth century. Compares the unique and vibrant culture of Tokugawa Japan with the rapid program of late-nineteenth-century industrialization, which resulted in imperialism, international wars, and ultimately, the postwar recovery.

307. Topics in Medieval and Early Modern European History
Dallas Denery M 1:00 - 3:55
A research seminar for majors and interested non-majors focusing on Medieval and Early Modern Europe. After an overview of recent trends in the historical analysis of this period, students pursue research topics of their own choice, culminating in a significant piece of original historical writing (approximately 30 pages in length).

335. Science and Society in Twentieth-Century America
David Hecht M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25
Focuses on twentieth-century science, technology, and medicine. Uses a number of seminal events and ideas—evolution, nuclear weapons, environmentalism, genetics, and public health—to examine changing meanings of “science.” Science is neither as objective nor as detached from society as is commonly assumed; examines the nature of its interaction with broader themes and events in twentieth-century American politics and culture. The second half follows a workshop format, in which students each develop and write a substantial research paper of their own design.

351. The Mexican Revolution
Allen Wells TH 1:00 - 3:55
An examination of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) and its impact on modern Mexican society. Topics include the role of state formation since the revolution, agrarian reform, United States-Mexican relations, immigration, and other border issues.

380. The Warrior Culture of Japan
Thomas Conlan M 1:00 - 3:55
Explores the “rise” of the warrior culture of Japan. In addition to providing a better understanding of the judicial and military underpinnings of Japan’s military “rule” and the nature of medieval Japanese warfare, shows how warriors have been perceived as a dominant force in Japanese history. Culminates in an extended research paper.