Spring 2015 Courses

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HIST 1420. China’s Path to Modernity: 1800 to Present.
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; and the origin, development, and unraveling of Communist rule. Not open to students with credit in Asian Studies 2012 or History 2322.
HIST 2008. The Republic of Rome and the Evolution of Executive Power.
Examines in depth the approaches to leadership within the governmental system that enabled a small, Italian city-state to take eventual control of the Mediterranean world and how this state was affected by its unprecedented military, economic, and territorial growth. Investigates and re-imagines the political maneuverings of the most famous pre-Imperial Romans, such as Scipio Africanus, the Gracchi, and Cicero, and how political institutions such as the Roman Senate and assemblies reacted to and dealt with military, economic, and revolutionary crises. Looks at the relationship of the Roman state to class warfare, the nature of electoral politics, and the power of precedent and tradition. While examining whether the ultimate fall precipitated by Caesar's ambition and vision was inevitable, also reveals what lessons, if any, modern politicians can learn about statesmanship from the transformation of the hyper-competitive atmosphere of the Republic into the monarchical principate of Augustus. All sources, such as Livy's history of Rome, Plutarch's Lives, letters and speeches of Cicero, and Caesar's Civil War, are in English, and no prior knowledge of Roman antiquity is required. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 2017. Postwar Europe: 1945-2014.
Until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, historians had treated the history of postwar Europe as permanently divided and dominated by an inevitable ideological clash. Collapse, however, required a dramatic re-examination, as the once immutable Cold War now appeared more as a post-war parenthesis. Examines Europe since “zero hour” 1945 as a singular space—one dominated by Superpowers, riven by cultural and economic competition, yet also struggling with its past and re-imagining its future. Topics to discuss: origins of the Cold War, uprisings and revolutions, détente, youth in revolt, energy crises, the “Greens,” the Warsaw Pact and European Union, 1989, Euro Crisis, and Ukraine.
HIST 2040. Science, Magic, and Religion.
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. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 2085. Modern Britain, 1837 to the 1990s.
A social history of modern Britain from the rise of urban industrial society in the early nineteenth century to the present. Topics include the impact of the industrial revolution, acculturation of the working classes, the impact of liberalism, the reform movement, and Victorian society. Concludes with an analysis of the domestic impact of the world wars and of contemporary society.
HIST 2103. Gender, Class, and Citizenship in (West) European History.
Examines the ways in which normative ideas about gender difference and class divisions shaped women’s and men’s political citizenship in western Europe since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. By analyzing primary sources as well as current scholarship focusing on England, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, explores issues such as motherhood and parental rights, gendered constructions of the private and public spheres, women’s access to education, and the evolution of legal entitlements and political agency. Ample attention devoted to the emergence of the first feminist (suffragist) movement beginning in the 1860s and the evolution of second-wave feminism during the late 1960s. A final topic to be explored is immigration into Western Europe since World War II and the controversies generated by multiculturalism, Islam, and the “politics of the veil.”
HIST 2121. Colonial America and the Atlantic World, 1607-1763.
A social history of the emigration to and founding and growth of the colonies in British North America. Explores the difficulties of creating a new society, economy, polity, and culture in an unfamiliar and already inhabited environment; the effects of diverse regional and national origins and often conflicting goals and expectations on the early settlement and development of the colonies; the gradual adaptations and changes in European, Native American, and African cultures, and their separate, combined, and often contested contributions to a new “provincial,” increasingly stratified (socially, economically, and politically), and regionally disparate culture; and the later problems of maturity and stability as the thirteen colonies began to outgrow the British imperial system and become a new “American” society. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 2140. The History of African Americans, 1619-1865.
Examines the history of African Americans from the origins of slavery in America through the death of slavery during the Civil War. Explores a wide range of topics, including the establishment of slavery in colonial America, the emergence of plantation society, control and resistance on the plantation, the culture and family structure of enslaved African Americans, free black communities, and the coming of the Civil War and the death of slavery.
HIST 2142. Reconstruction and Reunion.
An interdisciplinary introduction from the perspectives of art history, literary history, and history to the political, economic, and social questions arising from American Reconstruction (1866-1877) and Reunion (1878-1900) following the Civil War between the North and South. Readings will delve into a wide array of primary and secondary sources, including photographs, novels, poetry, and government documents as we seek to understand the fierce political debates rooted in Reconstruction that continue to occupy conceptions of America today.
HIST 2182. Environment and Culture in North American History.
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.
HIST 2291. Architecture and Power in Japanese History.
Examines how the built environment was deployed as an instrument of power throughout Japanese history. Focuses on four important historical urban settlements—Makimuku, Nara, Osaka, and Tokyo—to chart how cities and architecture were used to project power. Major emphasis on how Japanese urbanism and architecture was shaped by interactions with outside influences. Assigned literary readings and films draw on the urban experience, considering the experience of city life in Japan.
HIST 2343. Politics and Popular Culture in Modern India.
Examines the new forms of politics and of popular culture that have shaped modernity in India. Topics include the emergence of mass politics, urbanization, modern visual culture, new media technologies, and contemporary media and democracy.
HIST 2364. Conquest, Colonialism, and Independence: Africa since 1880.
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.
HIST 2403. Latin American Revolutions.
Examines revolutionary change in Latin America from a historical perspective, concentrating on four cases of attempted revolutionary change—Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. 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.
HIST 2405. The Maya.
Examines the historical and contemporary Maya from pre-Columbian times to the present, with special attention paid to the Maya of Guatemala and the Yucatán peninsula. Readings include Spanish chronicles, Maya testimonies, travelers’ accounts, scholarly monographs, and ethnographies. Among the topics explored are: the importance of family, community, and spirituality; resistance and adaptation to the conquest; the challenges of acculturation; and the importance of the environment in shaping material life.
HIST 2502. Socialist Societies in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Europe.
Seminar. Examines the diverse history of socialist ideology as lived-experience across Europe. Places the ideas of its first theorists—like Robert Owen and Karl Marx—into motion as they gave rise to Utopian settlements, like New Harmony, Indiana, and larger experiments, like the Paris Commune. In the twentieth century, it explores the U.S.S.R. and the eastern bloc as experiments in non-capitalist modernity. Asks how they were ruled and why they failed? How did their leaders and citizens imagine democracy and economics? What was the every-day lived-experience of secret police and state surveillance, but also of food, fashion, music, literature, and film?
HIST 2522. History: What, How, Why.
Seminar. History studies the past, but what does it teach us about the past? What is the nature of historical knowledge? How does the historian go about their work? Why do we care about the past? This seminar will investigate the craft of history through an examination of both classic historical works and theoretical and philosophical reflections of the discipline of history itself.
HIST 2560. Only a Game? Sport and Leisure in Europe and America.
Seminar. Uses the lens of sport and leisure to analyze cultural and historical trends in modern Europe and the United States. Students read a range of primary and secondary texts exploring race, class, and gender and complete a significant research paper.
HIST 2609. History of Women's Voices in America.
Seminar. Examines women’s voices in America from 1650 to the twentieth century, as these emerged in private letters, journals, and autobiographies; poetry, short stories, and novels; essays, addresses, and prescriptive literature. Readings from the secondary literature provide a historical framework for examining women’s writings. Research projects focus on the form and content of women’s literature and the ways that it illuminates women’s understandings, reactions, and responses to their historical situation.
HIST 2640. California Dreamin': A History of the Golden State.
Seminar. Sunshine, beaches, shopping malls, and movie stars are the popular stereotypes of California, but social conflicts and environmental degradation have long tarnished the state’s golden image. Unravels the myth of the California dream by examining the state’s social and environmental history from the end of Mexican rule and the discovery of gold in 1848 to the early twenty-first century. Major topics include immigration and racial violence; radical and conservative politics; extractive and high-tech industries; environmental disasters; urban, suburban, and rural divides; and California in American popular culture.
HIST 2700. Martin, Malcolm and America.
Seminar. Examines the lives and thoughts of Martin L. King Jr. and Malcolm X. Traces the development in their thinking and examines the similarities and differences between them. Evaluates their contribution to the African American freedom struggle, American society, and the world. Emphasizes very close reading of primary and secondary material, use of audio and videocassettes, lecture presentations, and class discussions. In addition to being an academic study of these two men’s political and religious commitment, also concerns how they inform our own political and social lives.
HIST 2744. Japan's Pacific Wars.
Seminar. Examines the history, presentation, and memory of Japan’s twentieth century wars in the Pacific in order to contemplate how Japan’s past and present has been shaped by war. Discussions focus on themes of state-formation and empire-building, tensions between tradition and modernity, cosmopolitanism and militarism, expansion and the quest for economic independence, battlefield conduct, race and propaganda, life on the homefront, defeat and occupation, postwar economic revival, and contemporary diplomatic issues and accusations of resurgent militarism. Students produce a term paper on a topic of their choosing.
HIST 2800. From Gandhi to the Taliban: Secularism and Its Critics in Modern South Asia.
Seminar. Explores modern social and political movements that have sought to redefine the relationship between religion and the state. Focusing on India and Pakistan, questions considered include: What is secularism? How have modern states sought to define their relationship with “religion?” Why and how have various political movements rejected the idea of secularism? What historical effects have these diverse movements had? Students write a research paper utilizing primary and secondary sources.
HIST 3082. Only a Game? Sports and Leisure in Europe and America.
This advanced seminar will use the lens of sport and leisure to analyze cultural and historical trends in modern Europe and the United States. Students read a range of primary and secondary texts exploring race, class, and gender and complete a significant research paper using primary sources and lead a class session. Offered concurrently with History 2560.
HIST 3180. Nature and Health in America.
Explores relationships between humans, environment, and health in North American history from the sixteenth century to the present day. Topics may include the evolution of public health, biomedical research, and clinical practice; folk remedies and popular understandings of health; infectious and chronic diseases; links between landscape, health, and inequality; gender and reproductive health; occupational health and safety; the effects of agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization on human and ecological health; state and federal policies; and the colonial and global dimensions of public health and medicine. Students write a major research paper based on primary sources. Environmental Studies 1101 {101}, 2403 {203}, and at least one history course numbered 2000–2969 {200–289} recommended.
HIST 3320. Revolutionary China.
China’s twentieth-century destiny boils down to one word: revolution. Through analysis of historical and literary sources, provides insight into the turbulent course China has followed: from imperial monarchy to republic, from bureaucratic capitalism to command economy, from Communism to Socialism with "Chinese characteristics." Focal topics vary from year to year and each time include one or two of the following revolutions: the Revolution of 1911 (the overthrow of the last imperial dynasty), the intellectual awakening of May Fourth, the Communist Revolution in 1949, the Cultural Revolution under Mao, and the most recent capitalist reforms. Each student writes an original research paper.
HIST 3385. Research in African and African Diaspora History.
This research seminar will focus on the following major issues in African and African diaspora history: Africa and Atlantic slavery, colonialism in Africa, modern state formation in Africa, and Africa and globalization.