Fall 2013

  • Please note that for the 2013-14 academic year, official course numbers are now four digits. This page only shows the older three-digit course numbers. If you need to see both the old and the new numbers, consult the College Catalogue.
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011. Memoirs and Memory in American History
Connie Chiang T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the ways in which Americans have remembered the past and documented their experiences in individual memoirs. Considers the tensions between memory and history, the value of memoirs as historical documents, and the extent to which memories deepen, complicate, and even convolute our understanding of twentieth-century United States history. The topical focus of the seminar will vary from year to year and may include immigration, labor, gender and race relations, and war. Writing-intensive, including several short papers and a family history research paper.

016. From Montezuma to Bin Laden: Globalization and Its Critics
David Gordon T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the challenge that globalization and imperialism pose for the study of history. How do historians balance the perspectives of victors and victims in past and present processes of globalization? How important are non-European versions of the past that may contradict European Enlightenment historical ideas and ideals? Class discussions interrogate questions about globalization and imperialism raised by proponents and critics, ranging from the Spanish conquest of Mexico to the American conquest of Iraq.

022. “Bad” Women Make Great History: Gender, Identity, and Society in Modern Europe, 1789–1945
Kimberly Herrlinger T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Focuses on the lives and works of path-breaking women who defied the norms of modern European society in order to assume extraordinary and often controversial identities in a range of fields—as writers, scientists, performers, athletes, soldiers, and social and political activists. What does each woman’s “deviance” reveal about cultural constructions of identity and the self in Modern Europe? About contemporary views on issues such as women’s work, gender relations, education, marriage, sexuality, motherhood, health, and the struggle for civil and political rights? And when studied together, what do these women’s experiences tell us about patterns of change and continuity with respect to definitions of masculinity vs. femininity, the public vs. private sphere, and the relationship of the individual to the modern state?

025. The Civil War in Film
Patrick Rael T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Explores the American Civil War through an examination of popular films dedicated to the topic. Students analyze films as a representation of the past, considering not simply their historical subject matter, but also the cultural and political contexts in which they are made. Films include The Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, Glory, and Cold Mountain. Weekly evening film screenings.

110. Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Europe
Dallas Denery M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
Introductory-level lecture. A wide-ranging introduction to pre-modern European history beginning with the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 272–337) and concluding with the Council of Trent (1545–1563). Particular attention is paid to the varying relations between church and state, the birth of urban culture and economy, institutional and popular religious movements, and the early formation of nation states. Not open to students who have credit for History 2049 {206} (Early Modern Europe) or 2048 {207} (Medieval Europe). Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

140. War and Society
Patrick Rael M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Explores the nature of warfare from the fifteenth century to the present. The central premise is that war is a reflection of the societies and cultures that wage it. This notion is tested by examining the development of war-making in Europe and the Americas from the period before the emergence of modern states, through the great period of state formation and nation building, to the present era, when the power of states to wage war in the traditional manner seems seriously undermined. Throughout, emphasis is placed on contact between European and non-European peoples. Students are required to view films every week outside of class.

160. Apartheid's Voices: South African History, 1948 to 1994
David Gordon T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
The study of apartheid in South Africa, the system of racial and ethnic segregation that began in 1948 and ended with the first democratic election of Nelson Mandela in 1994. Explores the many different aspects of apartheid: how and why it emerged; its social and economic impacts; its relationship to other forms of segregation and racial-based governance; and how people lived under, resisted, and collaborated with apartheid. The readings, lectures, and class discussions focus on personal South African voices and explore their diverse gendered, ethnic, and racial perspectives.

201. History of Ancient Greece: Bronze Age to the Death of Alexander
Robert Sobak M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Surveys the history of Greek-speaking peoples from the Bronze Age (c. 3000–1100 B.C.E.) to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E. Traces the political, economic, social, religious, and cultural developments of the Greeks in the broader context of the Mediterranean world. Topics include the institution of the polis (city-state); hoplite warfare; Greek colonization; the origins of Greek “science,” philosophy, and rhetoric; and fifth-century Athenian democracy and imperialism. Necessarily focuses on Athens and Sparta, but attention is also given to the variety of social and political structures found in different Greek communities. Special attention is given to examining and attempting to understand the distinctively Greek outlook in regard to gender, the relationship between human and divine, freedom, and the divisions between Greeks and barbarians (non-Greeks). A variety of sources—literary, epigraphical, archaeological—are presented, and students learn how to use them as historical documents. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

208. Christianity and Islam in West Africa
Olufemi Vaughan T 1:00 - 3:55
Explores how Christianity, Islam, and indigenous African religious beliefs shaped the formation of West African states, from the nineteenth-century Islamic reformist movements and mission Christianity to the formation of modern nation-states in the twentieth century. While the course provides a broad regional West African overview, careful attention is focused on how religious themes shaped the communities of the Nigerian region—a critical West African region where Christianity and Islam converged to transform a modern state and society. Drawing on primary and secondary historical texts as well as Africanist works in sociology and comparative politics, study of this Nigerian experience illuminates broader West African, African, and global perspectives that underscore the historical significance of religion in politics and society, especially in non-Western contexts.

213. Transnational Africa and Globalization
Olufemi Vaughan M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Drawing on key readings on the historical sociology of transnationalism since World War II, examines how postcolonial African migrations transformed African states and their new transnational populations in Western countries. Discusses what concepts such as the nation state, communal identity, global relations, and security mean in the African context to critically explore complex African transnational experiences and globalization. These dynamic African transnational encounters encourage discussions on homeland and diaspora, tradition and modernity, gender and generation.

214. China’s Path to Modernity: 1800 to Present
Leah Zuo M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Introduction to modern and contemporary Chinese history. Covers the period from the nineteenth century, when imperial China encountered the greatest national crisis in its contact with the industrial West, to the present People's Republic of China. Provides historical depth to an understanding of the multiple meanings of Chinese modernity. Major topics include: democratic and socialist revolutions, assimilation of Western knowledge and thought, war, imperialism, the origin, development, and unraveling of the Communist rule.

218. The History of Russia, 1725-1924
Kimberly Herrlinger T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Explores Russian society, culture, and politics during three dramatically different phases of the modern period: the Old Regime under the Tsars in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the violent, revolutionary transformations of 1905 and 1917; and the founding years of socialist rule under Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Readings drawn from a diverse range of primary sources (including petitions, letters, memoirs, official proclamations, ethnographic accounts) as well as secondary works written by leading scholars. Also draws widely on contemporary visual culture (including, but not limited to, painting, photography, and film).

226. The City as American History
Matthew Klingle M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. America is an urban nation today, yet Americans have had deeply ambivalent feelings toward the city over time. Explores the historical origins of that ambivalence by tracing several overarching themes in American urban history from the seventeenth century to the present. Topics include race and class relations, labor, design and planning, gender and sexual identity, immigration, politics and policy, scientific and technological systems, violence and crime, religion and sectarian disputes, and environmental protection. Discussions revolve around these broad themes, as well as regional distinctions between American cities. Students are required to write several short papers and one longer paper based upon primary and secondary sources.

233. American Society in the New Nation, 1763–1840
Sarah McMahon M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
A social history of the United States from the Revolution to the Age of Jackson. Topics include the various social, economic, cultural, and ideological roots of the movement for American independence; the struggle to determine the scope of the Constitution and the political shape of the new republic; the emergence of and contest over a new social and cultural order and the nature of American “identity”; and the diverging social, economic, and political histories of regions (North, South, and trans-Appalachian West) and peoples in the early to mid-nineteenth century. Topics include urbanization, industrialization, and the development of new forms of social organization in the North; religion and the Second Great Awakening; the westward expansion of the nation into areas already occupied; the southern plantation economy and slave communities; and the growth of the reform impulse in Jacksonian America.

251. Conquistadors, Commerce, And Constitutions: States and Empires, 1492-1815
Meghan Roberts T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
Examines the rise of European nation-states and empires from the discovery of the "New World" through the age of Napoleon. Emphasizes the social, cultural, and intellectual origins of nationalism and imperialism as well as the complex interactions between Europeans and indigenous peoples. Takes as particularly important case studies the nations of Spain, the Dutch Republic, Britain, and France.

255. Modern Latin America
Allen Wells T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Traces the principal economic, social, and political transformations from the wars of independence to the present. Topics include colonial legacies and the aftermath of independence; the consolidation of nation-states and their insertion in the world economy; the evolution of land and labor systems, and the politics of reform and revolution, and the emergence of social movements.

261. The Making of Modern India
Nishtha Singh T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Traces the history of India from the rise of British imperial power in the mid-eighteenth century to the present. Topics include the formation of a colonial economy and society; religious and social reform; the emergence of anti-colonial nationalism; the road to independence and partition; and issues of secularism, democracy, and inequality that have shaped post-colonial Indian society.

268. Asian America: History, Society, Literature
Nancy Riley T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Focuses on Asian American experiences from an interdisciplinary perspective, including history, English, Asian Studies, and sociology. Examines major issues in the experience of Asian Americans including immigration, the politics of racial/ethnic formation and identity, the political and economic forces that have shaped the lives of Asians in the U.S., historical experiences and influences on today's situation, and ways that Asian Americans have resisted and accommodated these influences. Uses a variety of lenses to gain critical perspective, including history, social relations and practices, and cultural production.

276. The Foundations of Chinese Thought
Leah Zuo M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Addresses Chinese thought from the time of Confucius, ca. sixth century B.C.E., up to the beginning of the Common Era. The first half of the time period nurtured many renowned thinkers, who devoted themselves to the task of defining and disseminating ideas. The latter half witnessed the canonization of a number of significant traditions, including Confucianism. Major problems that preoccupied the thinkers include order and chaos, human nature, the relationship between man and nature, among others. Students instructed to treat philosophical ideas as historically conditioned constructs and to interrogate them in contexts. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

278. The Politics of Private Life
Meghan Roberts T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Examines how and why "the personal was political" in Europe and the Atlantic World from 1400 to 1800 by analyzing the politics (broadly defined) of marriage, love, and sex. Investigates in particular the effects of religious reform, colonial exchange, philosophy, and political revolution on private life. Readings include correspondence, novels, and memoirs as well as scholarly analyses of divorce, homosexuality, romantic love, and marriage. Students write a research paper based on research in primary sources.

288. The Nuclear Age
David Hecht M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Explores the impact of nuclear energy on American society, politics, and culture. Few aspects of post-World War II United States history were unaffected by the atomic bomb, which decisively shaped the Cold War, helped define the military-industrial complex, and contributed to profound changes in the place of science in American life. This course examines the surprisingly varied effects of the atomic bomb throughout American society: on the Cold War, consumer culture, domestic politics, education, family life, and the arts. It uses a wide range of sources—such as newspaper articles, memoirs, film, and policy debates—to examine the profound effects of nuclear energy in United States history.

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 thirty pages in length).

332. Community in America, in Maine, and at Bowdoin
Sarah McMahon T 1:00 - 3:55
A research seminar that explores ideals and social, economic, political, and cultural realities of community in American history, and examines continuity, change, and socio-economic, racial, and ethnic diversity in community experience. Begins with studies of communities in seventeenth-century Massachusetts and early national upstate New York; then focuses on Maine and on Bowdoin College and its midcoast neighborhood, with readings in both the secondary literature and a wealth of primary sources.

356. The Cuban Revolution
Allen Wells TH 1:00 - 3:55
The Cuban Revolution recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Offers a retrospective of a Revolution entering “middle age” and its prospects for the future. Topics include United States-Cuban relations, economic and social justice versus political liberty, gender and race relations, and literature and film in a socialist society.