Location: Bowdoin / History / courses / Spring 2012


Spring 2012

127. Early Modern Europe, from Reformations to Revolutions
Meghan Roberts T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Introductory lecture. Opens with Europe in crisis, reeling from the political, social, and religious implications of the Reformation. Closes with the continent in the grips of yet another seismic shift, that of the French Revolution. Considers how individuals, communities, and nation-states coped with these changes through the study of the Counter-Reformation, the Inquisition, warfare, state-building, absolutism, constitutionalism, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution.

130. North American Indian History, c. 1450-Present
Strother Roberts T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
The indigenous peoples of North America have a long and diverse history (histories, really) stretching back at least 15,000 years. This history continues today, despite narratives that tell of the closing of the frontier and the “disappearance” of native peoples. Since European explorers first united the world’s two hemispheres at the turn of the sixteenth century, native communities have faced numerous challenges and fallen victim to often unimaginable hardship. Their cultures have shown amazing adaptability: embracing the opportunities of new trade networks, incorporating new religious ideas with older practices, and welcoming newcomers from Europe and Africa into their own communities. Through centuries of imperial oppression, American Indians have proven tenacious in fighting for their rights and insisting on their proper place in modern American society. This is a survey of this long and varied history.

204. Science, Magic, and Religion
Dallas Denery M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
Traces the origins of the scientific revolution through the interplay between late-antique and medieval religion, magic, and natural philosophy. Particular attention is paid to the conflict between paganism and Christianity, the meaning and function of religious miracles, the rise and persecution of witchcraft, and Renaissance hermeticism. History 110 or some background in pre-Enlightenment European history, religion or philosophy recommended.

206. War and Society in the Ancient Greek World
Stephen O'Connor M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
Explores the dynamic relationship between the changing ways in which archaic and classical Greek societies were structured, and the ways in which the Greeks organized themselves for and conducted warfare. Examines the specifics of military organization and fighting as well as broader issues such as the causes and goals of Greek warfare, the role of ideology in determining representations of military conflicts, and the economic framework of Greek wars. Focuses especially on the current controversy concerning the origins and development of hoplite (Greek heavy infantry) warfare and its role in shaping the institutions of the Greek polis (city-state), and how we can use our archeological, iconographic, and literary sources to reconstruct the realities of hoplite battle. Concludes by investigating to what extent ancient Greek infantry warfare, with its emphasis on close-order shock combat, has provided a model for Western warfare to this day.

208. The History of History
Dallas Denery M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
What is history and how do we come to know it? Does history follow a plan and, if so, what sort of plan? Examines theories of history from the ancient world until the present, including such figures as Augustine, Vico, Nietzsche and Heidegger. Topics include theories of providence, secularization and post-modernism. Some background in intellectual history, philosophy or theory recommended.

212. Imagining the Perfect Society: Utopian and Revolutionary Thought in Russia, 1789-1917
Kimberly Herrlinger T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Seminar. Explores currents in Russian thought, with special emphasis on Russia’s ongoing dialogue with (and critique of) the West, as well as at the unique role of the intelligentsia in the Russian society. Topics will include individualism, religion and spirituality, national identity, masculinity/femininity, modernity, liberalism, materialism, and varieties of socialism.

216. History of African and African Diasporic Political Thought
Olufemi Vaughan M 1:00 - 3:55
Seminar. Will critically discuss some seminal works in African diaspora and African political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Organized around global and national currents that will allow students to explore intersections in pan-African, African American, and African political thought in the context of Atlantic and global histories. Seminar topics are divided into three major historic moments. The first will explore major themes on Atlantic slavery and Western thought, notably slavery and racial representation; slavery and capitalism; slavery and democracy. The second will focus on the struggle of African Americans, Africans, and West Indians for freedom in post-Abolition and colonial contexts. Topics discussed within twentieth-century national, regional, and global currents include reconstruction and industrialization; pan-Africanism; new negro; negritude; colonialism; nationalism. Finally, explores pan-African and African encounters in the context of dominant postcolonial themes, namely decolonization; Cold War; state formation; imperialism; African diaspora feminist thought; globalism. Discusses these foundational texts and the political thoughts of major African, African American, and Caribbean intellectuals and activists in their appropriate historical context.

221. History of England, 1485-1688
Susan Tananbaum T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
A survey of the political, cultural, religious, social, and economic history of early modern England, from the reign of Henry VII, the first Tudor ruler, to the outbreak of the Glorious Revolution. Topics include the Tudor and Stuart Monarchs, the Elizabethan Settlement, the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell, and the Restoration. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

225. Image, Myth, and Memory
David Hecht M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Which matters more: what happened, or what people think happened? Starts with the assumption that cultural reaction to an event is as consequential—perhaps more so—than what actually happened. Examines the cultural reception and changing historical memory of people, events, and ideas that have been central to modern American History and History of Science. Seeks to answer questions about the nature and construction of public opinion, popular images, and historical memory—and what the consequences of such processes and understandings have been. Introduces the themes and methods of studying popular and cultural history, drawing principally from examples in the history of science and post-World War II American culture. (Possible examples include nuclear weapons, evolution, genetics, climate change, student activism, feminism, abortion, education, and presidential politics.) Then follows a workshop format, in which classes revolve around the reading and writing that students do as part of self-designed research projects—projects that may be on any subject in modern United States history.

229. Science, Sex, and Politics
David Hecht M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the intersection of science, sex, and politics in twentieth-century United States history. Issues of sex and sexuality have been contested terrain over the past hundred years, as varying conceptions of gender, morality, and “proper” sexual behavior have become politically and socially controversial. Explores the way that science has impacted these debates—often as a tool by which activists of varying political and intellectual persuasions have attempted to use notions of scientific objectivity and authority to advance their agendas. Explores debates over issues such as birth control, eugenics, abortion, and the “gay gene.”

242. Environment and Culture in North American History
Connie Chiang M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
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.

253. The United States and Latin America: Tempestuous Neighbors
Allen Wells T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Examines scholarship on the evolution of United States-Latin American relations since Independence. Topics include the Monroe Doctrine, commercial relations, interventionism, Pan Americanism, immigration, and revolutionary movements during the Cold War.

258. Latin American Revolutions
Allen Wells T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines revolutionary change in Latin America from a historical perspective, concentrating on four cases of attempted revolutionary change—Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Popular images and orthodox interpretations are challenged and new propositions about these processes are tested. External and internal dimensions of each of these social movements are analyzed and each revolution is discussed in the full context of the country’s historical development.

259. Sex and the Politics of the Body in Modern India
Rachel Sturman M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Explores changing conceptions of the body, sexuality, and gender in South Asia, with a focus on modern formations since the late eighteenth century. Topics include practices of female seclusion; ideas of purity, pollution, and the care of the self; religious renunciation and asceticism; the erotics of religious devotion; theories of desire; modern conjugality; and the emergence of a contemporary lesbian/gay/queer movement.

260. Labor, Gender, and Immigration in the United States-Mexico Borderlands
Lori Flores M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Explores the history of the United States-Mexico borderlands through the prisms of work, gender, and movements of people. What is the definition of a “borderland” and who or what creates one, physical or imagined? What historical moments and patterns make the United States-Mexico borderlands a unique space, and how has this space shifted and changed over time? Through readings students will analyze how labor and class, articulations and notions of gender, and immigration policies and migrant flows have impacted processes of identity formation, inclusion, and exclusion for this region’s racially and ethnically diverse communities. A critical understanding of place, relations of power, historical memory, and the meanings of transnationalism are major objectives.

264. Conquest, Colonialism, and Independence: Africa since 1880
David Gordon T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
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.

269. After Apartheid: South African History and Historiography
David Gordon T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Seminar. Investigates the diverse representations and uses of the past in South Africa. Begins with the difficulties in developing a critical and conciliatory version of the past in post-apartheid South Africa during and after the much-discussed Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Then turns to diverse historical episodes and sites of memory from the Great Trek to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela to explore issues of identity and memory from the perspectives of South Africa’s various peoples.

278. Marriage and Sexuality in Early Modern Europe and the Atlantic World
Meghan Roberts T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Explores the history of marriage and sexuality in Europe and the Atlantic World, 1400–1800. The family was the context in which most individuals experienced and contested political and cultural changes such as the Reformation and the French Revolution. As such, the history of marriage and the family allows scholars a tantalizing glimpse at how political, religious, and cultural changes affected the everyday lives of ordinary people. Considers how the structure and expression of marriage and romantic love changed in the wake of political and cultural shifts, especially colonialism, religious reform, changing definitions of race, and new political ideologies.

280. Imperialism, Nationalism, Human Rights
Rachel Sturman M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
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, on the historical development of anti-colonial nationalisms in the regions ruled by European empires, and on the often-contentious nature of demands for human rights. Emphasis on the history of South Asia, with significant attention to Latin America and Africa.

322. Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in British and European Society
Susan Tananbaum W 1:00 - 3:55
An analysis of cultural traditions in Britain and Europe. Explores the impact of immigration on Britain and the Continent, notions of cultural pluralism, and the changing definitions and implications of gender in Britain and Europe from the late eighteenth century to the present. Students undertake a major research project utilizing primary sources.

330. The United States Home Front in World War II
Connie Chiang M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25
Examines social and cultural changes on the United States home front during World War II. While some Americans remember World War II as “the good war,” an examination of this period reveals a more complicated history. By analyzing a variety of historical sources—scholarly writings, government documents and propaganda, films, memoirs, fiction, and advertising—investigates how the war shaped and reshaped sexuality, family dynamics, and gender roles; race and ethnic relations; labor conflicts; social reform, civil rights, and citizenship; and popular culture. Also considers the war’s impact on the immediate postwar years and how Americans have remembered the war. Students write a major paper based on primary source research.