Undergraduate Level Courses

Spring 2020

In this course, we will explore one of the greatest of climate changes: the global cooling that lingered from the thirteenth through the nineteenth centuries, and is today called the “Little Ice Age.” We will discuss how volcanic eruptions and fluctuations in solar activity lowered Earth’s average temperature, and how scholars have reconstructed these changes through time. We will investigate the human consequences of the Little Ice Age, and find lessons for our warmer future. In the process, we will learn about the discipline of environmental history, which draws from both the sciences and the humanities to explore how humanity has altered, and been altered by, the nonhuman world. NOTE: This course is one of many courses in the yearlong Core Pathway on Climate Change, open to all students. Each semester in the pathway consists of pairing two 1.5 credit 7-week courses focused on the complex problem of Climate Change. The other courses for this semester are as follows: CHEM-015, FMST-230, HIST-008-13, THEO-074, PHIL-127, and TPST-126. All courses in the Core Pathway on Climate Change are offered during the same timeslot TR: 2:00-3:15PM so that students can enroll in two over the course of the semester. To learn more about the courses and Core Pathways, visit www.corepathways.georgetown.edu.

The various sections of HIST 008 (Europe or World) have different themes, where each instructor may develop or stress particular themes within her/his focus. Students are urged to consult syllabi available on line or at the History Department. The Europe II sections offer an analysis of the significant political, social, economic, diplomatic, religious, intellectual, and scientific developments in European Civilization since the eruption of the French Revolution. Special attention is often paid to issues of class, gender, marginality and the relationship of Europe to non-Western cultures. For College students, HIST 008 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099. Note that students who receive AP or IB credit for History CANNOT take HIST 007, 008, or 099 for credit.

HIST 099 is one of the required core classes in History.  All sections of HIST 099 fulfill the same role, though each instructor will develop a specific topic.  Students are urged to consult syllabi available on line or at the History Department.

The general aim of HIST 099 is to introduce students to various elements of historical work and thinking, within the context of looking at a particular historical period, event, or theme in some depth. Though lectures and discussion will focus on particular topics, there will also be class exercises, assignments, and readings that will allow instructors and students to explore how historians identify, define, and employ primary sources of all types, how historians analyze those sources, how they formulate questions, how they engage with the work of prior historians, and how they aim to reconstruct various elements of the human experience in particular times and places.

Offerings for Spring 2020:
Voting and Elections – Michael Kazin
Machiavelli and the Medici – Jo Ann Moran Cruz
Women and Gender in the Middle East – Judith Tucker
World War III – Toshihiro Higuchi
Global History of World War I – Jamie Martin
HyperHistory – Dagomar Degroot; John McNeill
Black Internationalism in the US – Ben Feldman (at CALL Campus)

Please note that if you receive AP/IB placement or credit, you cannot take HIST 099 (or 007 or 008) for credit.

Please note that HIST 099 must be taken at GU and cannot be transferred.

Enrollment by tutorial form and permission of Department only Majors may petition to attach a 3-credit tutorial to an outside internship during the Fall or Spring semester. Eligible internships will require at least 10 hours a week, and include substantial research and writing, in an area at least somewhat related to historical work. The petition should include a description of the internship and a statement of how the student sees the internship fit with the student’s academic progress. The internship tutorial will consist primarily of meetings with a faculty supervisor to discuss the progress of the internship research and work and to review work written for the internship, and of writing a reflection paper that, among other things, connects the internship experience with the student’s academic work.

Pacific World focuses on the Pacific Ocean world, which has historically been regarded as a vast and prohibitive void rather than an avenue for integration. Yet over the last five centuries motions of people, commodities, and capital have created important relationships between the diverse societies situated on the “Pacific Rim.” This course examines the history of trans-Pacific interactions from 1500 to the present. It takes the ocean itself as the principal framework of analysis in order to bring into focus large-scale processes–migration, imperial expansion, cross-cultural trade, transfers of technology, cultural and religious exchange, and warfare and diplomacy. This “oceans connect” approach to world history brings these processes into sharp relief while also allowing for attention to the extraordinary diversity of cultures located within and around the Pacific.

For College students, HIST 107 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.

This course is a general survey and explores the rich history of people living in Africa from very early times through the 19th century. We will focus our attention on several regional case studies, including the early urbanism and medieval states of the West African Sahel, equatorial societies and kingdoms of the southern savannas, the Swahili coast and its hinterland in eastern and central Africa, and the Kongo Kingdom and Atlantic slave trade. We seek to understand transformations common to early human histories, such as the emergence of food production or the rise of centralized states, as well as the situational and contingent nature of ethnicity, slavery, gender, and wealth and poverty in the African context. We will also consider social achievements particular to Africans’ history, such as the multiple inventions of heterarchical forms of governance. We will study how persistent ideas from western cultures shaped what outsiders thought they knew about Africans and their histories at the same time that we try to understand what Africans themselves thought about their own actions and those of their ancestors. We will access these histories by analyzing a range of primary historical sources: archaeological artifacts and site reports, travelers’ accounts, art, oral traditions, photographs, the reconstructed vocabulary of dead languages, and many others.

For College students, HIST 111 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.

Nineteenth century Africa was the site of continued and intensifying engagement with both the East and the West as well as a host of in situ changes and episodes. For example, towards the middle of that century, the Sultan of Muscat and Oman moved his capital from the Middle East to the East African coast to expand and consolidate his control over the region’s commercial activities. France, Britain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and Spain intensified their activities on the continent which by the end of the century they had formalised at a conference in Berlin (1884 – 1885). It was also the site of internal events of great socio-political and economic repercussions. In Southern Africa, a variety of environmental and socio-political pressures combined to produce a period of upheaval whose repercussions were felt as far north as the Great Lakes region of East Central Africa, the gradual abolition of the slave trade was changing socio-economics and politics along huge swathes of the continent while in West Africa the revival of Islam in the western Sudan was accompanied by jihads. In this course, we shall delve into these events in different parts of the continent. As we do so we shall also have the opportunity to analyse critically related primary sources. Amongst other things, we shall study the authors, query their motivations and the circumstances in which they wrote

This introductory course continues from the first part of the Chinese history survey. The organization of the course is basically chronological, but within that framework we will be approaching China from a wide range of viewpoints, taking up political, economic, social, religious, philosophical, and artistic developments. In the fall semester, we covered the formation of China’s social, political, and philosophical culture(s), going as far as the consolidation of imperial autocracy in the Ming dynasty (14th-16th centuries). This term we will cover roughly four centuries: 1580-1990. We start with both the resilience and weaknesses of China’s imperial system during its final quarter-millennium, including the tensions between a “Middle Kingdom” vision of China as a unitary, advanced, and self-sufficient civilization and the realities of the Manchu Qing state as a multi-ethnic empire in growing competition with others. We then take up the challenge to China’s traditions and stability posed by internal developments as well as external economic and cultural penetration by a number of “outsiders” in the 19th century. We conclude with China’s 20th century experiments in forms of government and search for new directions in social and cultural development, so as to survive, and later thrive, in an increasingly interconnected global environment. Please note that HIST 123 is taught with a somewhat different time frame on the main campus and in Doha at SFS-Q.

The history of modern Japan, from the 1850s to the present. The course is built around thematic readings in a wide range of topics, with emphasis on political and economic as well as social history. We will explore the universal and particular aspects of Japanese nation-state formation, imperialism, industrialization, and postwar democratization.

This is an introductory course on the history of modern South Asia, tracing its history through the colonial nineteenth to the post-colonial twentieth century. From the Partition onwards, South Asian nations have wrestled with their identity and destiny as post-colonial nation-states in the face of various sub-nationalisms, whether ethnic, religious or linguistic. Moreover, these competing nationalisms have not only created violent conflict in the region, but have also raised difficult questions regarding the nature of liberal citizenship and democratic statehood in general. How does a democratic state justify violence against its own citizens? How does a “secular” state negotiate a religious citizenry? What constitutes the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist insurgent? Do democratic states have certain advantages in managing difference compared to non-democratic states? This course will explore these questions through a survey of modern South Asian history, focusing particularly on India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Readings with include ethnographic and historical accounts, theoretical texts, film and literature and primary sources, including speeches and legal judgments. For College students, HIST 129 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.

In this course, we will examine various aspects of the Empire’s history and culture. This will include investigation of individual figures, such as Charlemagne and Martin Luther, exploration of specific conflicts, such as the Investiture Controversy and the Thirty Years’ War, and a look at more general questions, such as German identity and its supposed “Special Path” that some say led to Hitler and the Nazis. We will look at religious belief and change, warfare, and witchcraft. As part of this exploration, we will also engage with a variety of themes and different types of historical writing, both primary and secondary. By the end of the semester, you will not only know more about the Holy Roman Empire and its long, complicated history, you will also know more about the craft of writing history and working with a variety of historical sources.

This course offers an overview of the history of the Iberian peninsula from the late Middle Ages through the early nineteenth century. We will cover the histories of Spain and Portugal, and also devote considerable attention to the development and evolution of their colonial empires. We will concentrate on the period from the union of Castile and Aragon (1469) to the end of Habsburg rule in Spain (1700), but we will also survey the background to this period, and the eighteenth-century era of reform and revolution until most colonies achieved independence after the Napoleonic period. We will cover the basic political and economic history, but also discuss social, religious, artistic, and cultural developments. One of our main themes will be the interaction between European and imperial agendas, forces, and concerns throughout the history of the Iberian colonial empires. The course aims thus to offer a broad introduction to a complex period of history; to lead us to reflect on cultural interactions, differences, and similarities across wide geographical areas; and to allow students to further their understanding of historical thinking and analysis. The latter goal will especially be the focus both of our readings and of the writing assignments. The readings will consist of primary sources, works of many genres and origins. They will allow discussion of many diverse issues and themes of Iberian history, and we will examine how different types of sources shed light on various elements of that history. Writing assignments will push students to develop their critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. There will also be regular discussions, and a final examination.

This course explores the period from independence to the present. The course is divided into three sections. First, it discusses some of the salient issues of the nineteenth century in a thematic format, such as frontier societies, the role of the peasants, and the phenomenon of caudillismo. The second section provides an overview of the national political histories of most Latin American countries, whereas the third section returns to a thematic forma, providing analysis of important topics such as the role of women, U.S.-Latin American relations, structural adjustment policies, and the drug trade. The course uses as examples the lives of ordinary and extraordinary Latin Americans to illustrate the analysis. For College students, HIST 159 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.

The course outlines the factors that have shaped the political and social features of the modern Middle East from 1500 to the present. Its geographic scope comprises the central provinces and territories of the former Ottoman and Safavid empires: Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Arabia, and Iran. The syllabus emphasizes three analytical themes: first, the historical evolution of “Middle Eastern” polities from dynastic and religious empires in the 16th century to modern “nation-states” in the 20th; second, the impact of industrial capitalism and European imperial expansion on local societies and their modes of production; and third, the socio-cultural and ideological dimensions of these large-scale transformations, specifically the rise of mass ideologies of liberation and development (nationalism, socialism, rights movements, political Islam), and the emergence of structural and social imbalances (economic polarization, cultural/ethnic conflicts, demographic growth, urbanization). For College students, HIST 161 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.

This lecture- and discussion-based course is a survey of Russian and Eurasian history from the post-Napoleonic era to the present, covering the Russian Revolution, Stalinism, the Cold War, and the collapse of communism. It emphasizes the global connections of Imperial Russian history as well as the role of women, sexuality, and national minorities.

This survey covers from about 1800 to the Present. Topics include nineteenth-century nationalism, industralization, the euphoria of independence. Parliamentarism and democracy. Attempts at industrialization. Decline of democracy and resurgence of traditional conservatism and native fascism. The cauldron of World War II. The fate of the Jews. Sovietization. Titoism. Socialist society in Eastern Europe. The unraveling of Communism.

The Atomic Age refers to the era of human history that began with the detonation of the first atomic bomb weapon in 1945 and is still with us today. Early on the era shaped a generation trained in the art of civil defense, spawned a culture now regarded as kitsch, and reconfigured the globe according to who possessed nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how, nuclear materials, nuclear energy, and nuclear radiation. The course will begin with the Manhattan Project and the detonation of the first atomic weapons over Japan. It will then turn to the multifarious dimensions of the culture of the Atomic Age.

In 2012, following the brutal gang rape and murder of the woman who came to be known as “Nirbhaya” in New Delhi, a wave of public protests engulfed India, as women demanded their constitutional right to access and occupy public space without threat of violence. In that moment, many strands of the history of women in South Asia were shown into sharp relief: their struggles against patriarchal state and private institutions and the violence to which it routinely subjects women, but also the maturation of the feminist movement in India and its visibility in the public sphere. This course will explore women’s history in South Asia through the lens of film, one of the most important technologies in modern South Asia in creating publics. South Asia’s early enthusiasm and adoption of film as a medium, the enormous scale of production and consumption of film in the region, and the crucial role women played in film makes the medium a fascinating lens with which to trace women’s struggles in the subcontinent. Students will be introduced to a women’s history of South Asia from the colonial period to the present, basic elements of feminist and film theory and some aspects of South Asian film history. The course will require students to watch one film a week, apart from assigned readings.

The aim of this course is to introduce Korean history to those students with little or no exposure to Korea and to challenge commonly held assumptions by those who do. The course will explore the cultural, political, and social impact of Korea’s internationalization from early modern times to the contemporary period. The first part of the course will explore the turbulent interplay between Choson Korea, dynastic overthrow in China, civil war in Japan, and the threat of Western imperialism. The second part of the course will focus on twentieth century Korea – the colonial experience, division, war, and relations between the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States.

This course looks at the wide sweep of British history through legend; it also asks questions as to why some figures become legendary and others do not. The semester begins with the Druids and their legends and ends with King Richard III (his life, legend and the recent discovery of his remains). It focuses on modern and medieval views of legendary figures while also tracing whatever contemporary historical evidence there is for the person behind the legend. The legends examined in this course include King Arthur, King Alfred, Thomas Becket and legends of saints, Robin Hood and outlaw legends, Braveheart (William Wallace) and Richard III. Final papers can focus on legends from other cultures, depending on one’s interest.

History 236 explores Europe in the era of the two world wars, from 1914 to 1945. Rather than highlighting military history in the narrow sense of the term, the course focuses on the relationship between war and society. Why did European civilization virtually self-destruct during this period? Were the calamities of these years an outgrowth of fundamental structural problems or of highly contingent events? How did this era’s convulsive violence transform societies, cultures, values, and institutions? How did societies respond to the ordeal of military occupation, to the illusions of victory, and to the traumas of defeat? In what ways was the continent’s crisis related to broader global trends and how did it transform Europe’s role in the world? These are among the core issues that we will explore through a blend of lectures and discussions.

What factors have influenced the U.S. government’s and Americans’ interactions with the rest of world? Who has shaped these encounters? What has the relationship been between these relations and U.S. domestic affairs? How have foreigners responded to U.S. actors and influence? We will analyze U.S. foreign relations, a broader category than simply foreign policy by examining the political, military, economic, religious, and cultural influence of the U.S. In particular, we will discuss the U.S. as a global power following World War II through topics such as the Cold War, the Vietnam Wars, human rights, and globalization. We will also consider the different ways historians have sought to explain U.S. foreign relations. This course focuses on trends and ideas, focusing on critical thinking and events rather than attempting a comprehensive account of U.S. foreign relations.

This course will explore some major themes in the history of slavery in North America. How did slavery emerge in colonial North America? What was the relationship between the rise of slavery and the emergence of race ideology? How did the slave system change over time? How did slavery shape the lives of free people and slaves in North America? How and why did slavery finally end, and what were the consequences of its abolition? Drawing from secondary literature and primary sources, we will also investigate the techniques that historians have used to understand American slavery.

This course will use baseball as a lens through which to examine developments in American society and culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. In particular, the class will consider baseball as the creation of the United States’ transformation from an agrarian republic to an urbanized, industrial nation. The class will begin with the development of the game in the 19th century, and trace the game’s rise to prominence as the “national pastime” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The course will conclude with examination of the relationship between baseball and major cultural shifts of the 20th century. The course will not focus on individual players or teams, and is not a sports course, but rather a history course about the relationship between baseball as a social and cultural phenomenon, and historical change.

This course explores the remarkable history of women in the United States from 1865 to the present. It explores women’s ordinary lives as well as their activism; their diversity of class, race, region, politics, and sexuality; and their social movements like suffrage and women’s liberation. With a lively mix of both primary and secondary sources, the course includes some lecture, but much discussion. We will emphasize the changing historical context of women’s lives and their commonalities and differences with women today.

This course, taught by Jorge Enrique Salcedo Martínez S.J., will look at populism and mass eruption in the political life in Latin America, including the 60s and the revolutionary culture; counter-revolution, repression and dictatorship; the return of democracy, fighting for justice and memory; and neoliberalism and transformation of Populism in the Andes Region. Case studies include Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Technological innovation and failure have played major roles in the historical changes of the 20th and 21st centuries. Our social and political relationships, cultural practices, and interactions with the material and natural world are mediated through rapidly evolving technologies. Technology does not conform neatly to timelines framed by decades and centuries, but the turn of the 20th century, which witnessed the discovery of the atom and the birth of radio, the airplane, and the automobile, is a worthy demarcation. Over the semester we will examine key developments in transportation, communications, space and ocean exploration, the production of weapons, medical advancements, virtual realities, and many other areas of innovation. This course considers the ways technology, broadly defined, has contributed to the modernization of global society since 1900. It will also demonstrate that technology at times can lead to stagnation and challenges to progress. Three primary goals guide this course: to train you to ask critical questions of both technology and the broader cultures of which it is a part; to provide an historical perspective with which to frame and address such questions; and to encourage you to be neither blind critics of new technologies, nor uncritical advocates for technologies in general, but rather informed participants in the public debate over innovation.

Landscapes, clothing, art, and historical technologies are all tools historians can use to understand the past. This upper-level undergraduate seminar encourages students to think about the physical and material realities of the historical Atlantic. The vast majority of the sources undergraduate history students encounter are written documents. This course is designed to expose students to the ways in which historians use non-text-based sources such as images, objects, and buildings and provides students with the opportunity to perform this kind of analysis. Course readings and discussions will emphasize methodologies—giving students the tools to do history both inside and outside the classroom.

Processes of historical change have become increasingly global during recent centuries. This seminar explores diverse approaches to historical globalization: political, diplomatic, economic, ecological, cultural. In addition, it examines the relations between globalizing processes and history as it is experienced, discussed, and debated in nations and communities. It asks why historical understandings have focused on national developments, while the forces of change have operated on ever larger scales.

Oil has been central to geopolitics since the early 20th century. This class will introduce students to the students to the process of choosing, conceptualizing, organizing, and executing a research project and to the primary and secondary sources needed for conducting research into the geopolitics of oil. The focus of the class will be preparation of a research paper utilizing the best available sources.

This course uses China’s anti-foreign/anti-Christian “popular” Boxer Movement (1898-1901) as a platform for investigating the tumultuous decade of 1895 to 1905 in East Asia, the site of two wars (both won by newly-emerging Japan) which signaled a major shift in the global balance of power. On the pretext of suppressing the Boxers, an ad hoc “Eight-Nation Alliance” occupied Beijing in August 1900 and imposed the onerous “Boxer Protocol” of 1901 on China. Six of the Alliance members (Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, and France) had multiple, embedded, and competing interests in influencing China’s future. Our investigation will proceed at two levels. First, we will look at the deteriorating domestic conditions in China which facilitated the rise of Boxers, exploring the tensions among the central and provincial governments and an increasingly frustrated and resentful population. Focal points include the adaptation of popular culture and folk religion, the role of women, and the impact of extreme climate events. At a second level, we will look at the rise of Japan as a regional power, the growing competition among imperialists for influence in China, the origins and effectiveness of the “Open Door Policy”, the impact of technical change on both warfare and communications, the use of new media in shaping public opinion, and the role of the Boxer Movement in facilitating the collapse of China’s Qing Dynasty in 1911. The course meets as a colloquium/seminar twice a week in small-group discussion format.

This seminar class focuses on the history of the city of Rome, from its foundation in ancient times through its contemporary role as the capital of Italy. Each week we will focus on a different period, and examine the history of the city, in terms of both the life of its population and the development of city buildings, neighborhoods, and structures. We will discuss political, economic, social, cultural, religious, intellectual, and other changes, with a special focus on the architecture and urban structures of the physical city itself. Rome is a place, but it is also an idea. Therefore, though the history of the city and its people will be our main focus, we will also discuss the image of Rome, the perception of the city by outsiders, its broader role in European and western culture, and the legacy of its history as the seat of antiquity’s greatest empire, the main center of western Christianity and of global Catholicism, and the capital of a modern European nation state. Please note however that this class will not offer an overall history of antiquity, of the papacy, or of the Christian church in general (or of modern Italy per se). The course aims thus to allow for a close analysis of specific themes and topics and of how they developed over a significant span of time. The course also has a methodological aim: to introduce students to the advanced use of primary sources and to further their understanding of historical thinking and analysis. Both class discussion and writing assignments will push students to hone their critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. In particular, we will try to understand how to read textual, visual, and other sources with an awareness of historical context and with attention to the specifics of genre, authorship, and audience.

Major Themes: Martyrdom: Dying for the Faith, Desert Fathers and Mothers: Being Countercultural, Monasticism: Institutionalized Counterculture, Royalty: Paying for Holiness, the Crusades: Killing for the Faith, Blood Libel: Jews and Medieval Christianity, Relics: Trading in Body Parts, Pilgrimage: Rituals and the Saints, Sanctity and Insanity, Canonization and Law, Transformations: Renaissance/Reformation/Counterreformation, Contemporary Issues

This course will look at the origins, practice, and nature of Fascism as it developed in Europe between the world wars. To that end, readings by Fascist theorists such as Mussolini and Hitler, as well as by historians who analyze and describe the phenomenon will be used. Films from and about the era will also be part of the material for the course. In addition to discussing historical Fascism, the course will also take a look at what, if anything, connects the meaning of Fascism as it existed in the past and how that term is used today.

The course will analyze the traditions of insurrection in the Andean countries, from the Túpac Amaru/Túpac Katari rebellions of the late eighteenth century to the modern-day indigenous movements in Ecuador and Bolivia. Other major movements, such as the role of indigenous peoples in the construction of the Peruvian nation, the 1952 Bolivian Revolution, and the Peruvian Shining Path guerrilla movements will be studied in comparative perspective. Each student will prepare a research paper on an Andean indigenous movement and present it to the class.

The course examines the relationship between Islam and the West under three subheadings: 1) Encounters, 2) Diplomacy and Espionage, and 3) Soldiers, Pirates and Slaves. The course seeks to explore some of the big questions about the “rise of the West” and the “decline of the East,” and to challenge Eurocentric and Orientalist approaches. Our focus will be on the multi-layered encounters and relations (diplomacy, intelligence gathering, commerce, wars etc.) between the Ottoman Empire and its main European neighbors and adversaries (Venice, Habsburg Spain and Austria) in the early modern period. While discussing trans-cultural violence the course studies competing ideologies (jihad/ghaza and crusade) and practices such as raids, piracy, imperial campaigns, and frontier warfare.

NOTE: This seminar is Immigration in US History, taught by Professor Benton-Cohen, NOT Work in America. The seminar offers a hands-on approach to US immigration history from the colonial era to the present. In addition to learning the contours of the surprising history of immigration to the United States from all corners of the world, including the impact of questions of legal status, gender, and race, students will strive to develop a sophisticated sense of the historical context of today’s immigration debates and issues. The course will require significant writing on a topic of the student’s choosing.

This course will examine the development of the U.S. economy, economic policy, and economic politics since World War II. Among the topics it will engage are: the roots of postwar prosperity; the economic crisis of the 1970s; the Reagan Revolution; the impact of globalization; the emergence of neoliberalism; and the growing problem of economic inequality. The course will examine the intersection of politics and the economy in order to provide a historical context that can clarify contemporary problems and debates.

This course considers the global history of Yersinia pestis, the zoonotic bacterium (a microorganism causing disease in people and other animals) that causes plague. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach to both tease out macro- and micro-histories of the three pandemics associated with the pathogen –the Justinianic Plague, Black Death, and Third Pandemic– and also to pin down transitions in plague’s past biological, cultural, and ecological– fundamental for understanding the bacterium’s inconstant pandemicity. Students will travel considerable time and space –the sixth century to the present, Alexandria to Buenos Aires– and draw on diverse sources –like Byzantine hagiography, the New York Times, and plague-victim teeth– to engage scholarly debates, unravel plague’s complexity, and assess plague’s impact.

This course examines the history of the city comparatively and thematically. Each student will research one city for the entire semester. Class time will be used to discuss common readings and to present research findings. In order to overcome the Eurocentricism of much of the urban studies scholarship in English, roughly half of the material for the class will be related to Asia. One of the goals of the course will be to rewrite the history of modern cities from the ground level and from new sites and perspectives. Tools and methods for oral history and ethnographic fieldwork will also be introduced.

HIST 408-409 form a two-semester study of History as an intellectual discipline. Enrollment is by invitation of the Department. Fall: Readings and discussions with departmental faculty on the various methods, concepts, and philosophies of history, and the development of a research prospectus with a faculty mentor. Spring: Research seminar under the guidance of the mentor and Seminar Director. (Enrollment only by permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies). Students must commit themselves for the full two semesters.

In 1948, South African voters – a minority of the country’s population – elected a government on the platform of apartheid, a radical form of racial segregation. For much of the next half century, apartheid was official government policy in South Africa and a symbol of unreconstructed evil in much of the rest of the world. This seminar delves into the historical roots of apartheid and its effects on South African life. We also will examine the resistance of South Africans of all races to apartheid, as well as the international anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s. We conclude by exploring what might be called “apartheid’s afterlives” – the persistence of its social and economic structures in contemporary South Africa. Class readings will include a variety of historical documents, novels, and memoirs, and students will write an original research paper for their final assignment. NOTE: Students who took HIST 318 in 2017 cannot enroll in this seminar.

This course is aimed at establishing literacy in the Pacific Islands, their storied histories and their complex presents. It will take students through the Indigenous human geographies in the Pacific, the coming of Europeans and the establishment of spheres of influence through various economies and imperial activities. It will pay close attention to the causes and consequences of power shifts, the imposition of imperial powers and resistance to it as well as the movement of Asian people into the island Pacific as indentured plantation laborers from the mid-C19th. It will investigate the building of tensions that led to World War Two and what happened in its aftermath. From here the course looks at the reasons the Pacific Islands have returned to western focus as the frontline of climate change and more urgently still, driven by massive and recent Chinese attention as an extension of its Belt and Road Initiative. As well as paying close attention to perspectives from Washington, Canberra, Wellington, Paris and Beijing, this course will be Pacific focused, giving much attention to Pacific island actors, voices and perspectives, and framed around the urgent situation of the present.

This course will focus on selected themes in the study of European popular culture(s) during the late medieval and early modern period. We will begin with the methodological problem of defining and studying culture before focusing on these particular topics: folklore; witchcraft and popular religion; the Reformation and religious change; literacy and reading (including oral history and traditions); gender roles; science; the state and resistance. There will be a particular emphasis on microhistories and what they can tell us about the past and different, often ignored, cultures and stories.

This course will focus on selected themes in the study of European popular culture(s) during the late medieval and early modern period. We will begin with the methodological problem of defining and studying culture before focusing on these particular topics: folklore; witchcraft and popular religion; the Reformation and religious change; literacy and reading (including oral history and traditions); gender roles; science; the state and resistance. There will be a particular emphasis on microhistories and what they can tell us about the past and different, often ignored, cultures and stories.

This colloquium will examine selected issues in the history of modern nationalism, combining theoretical readings with case-studies. The focus will be on European case studies, but we will also broaden our scope to examine the relationships among nationalism, internationalism, and decolonization during the second half of the semester. The approach will be broadly comparative, and we will be discussing classic problems such as: Is nationalism a function, or even an essential feature of, modernization? What is the relationship between politics and culture in the formation and development of nationhood? How have global forces and transnational connections shaped the development of modern nationalism (and vice versa)?

Many worry today that the rules-based “liberal international order” is under threat from rising authoritarian powers and nationalist movements around the world. But what exactly is this international order, how did it arise, and what has made its existence possible? This course will examine the origins and transformations of the liberal international order from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, focusing on the history of international law; global capitalism; international organizations like the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the European Union; and the collapse of empires and rise of global movements for decolonization. It will seek to explain how the rise of the United States to global dominance in the twentieth century shaped and was shaped by new international institutions and rules, and will conclude by speculating what this history might tell us about the future of global politics and conflict.

Before the middle of the 19th century, all food consumed by humans was organic and most of it was local, too. Crops were grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides according to traditional techniques that became increasingly refined over time. Animals were raised on pasture or roamed free in forests eating diets they had evolved to digest. Wild harvests of foraged plants, game, and fish were crucial to diets. Due to the costs and difficulties of transportation most foodstuffs were consumed in the vicinity where they were produced. Despite these circumstances—and in some cases because of them—European foodways between late antiquity and the Industrial Revolution were full of diversity and innovation. The migrations of peoples, the obligations imposed by different religious traditions, evolving theories of diet, health, and disease, and the global exchange of plants and animals spread new ideas about what to eat and how to cook. The decline and subsequent rebirth of urban life encouraged new habits and patterns of consumption. The hierarchical pomp of court society provoked a reaction that valued simplicity in cooking and convivial informality at mealtimes. By the beginning of the 19th century, the work schedules, living arrangements, and class divisions characteristic of industrial society were beginning to redefine habits of cooking, eating, and drinking in Europe and in North America, too. Please note that the timeframe for History 449 ends in 1860, the point at which the fundamental systems for producing, distributing, and consuming food began a profound transformation thanks to the development of industrial technology. The story of that transformation from 1860 to the present is the subject of a companion course, History 335, Food: The Industrial Age, which is offered in alternate years with History 449. NOTE: Students have to have completed the core hist requirements before taking this class.

In the period from roughly 1750 to 1940, travel between the Middle East and Europe was a primary site of cultural encounter. People travelled for reasons of business, both official and private, health, curiosity, pilgrimage, or simply pleasure, and they observed, fantasized about, reported on, and otherwise interacted with others whom they regarded as different. This course studies two-way travel literature, European writing on travel to the Middle East and Middle Eastern writing on travel to Europe, with an eye to placing this series of encounters in historical context, a context of a shifting balance of power, the development of imperial ambitions and agendas, and the emergence of new kinds of nationalist aspirations. We read a number of travel narratives as journeys that both reflected and shaped relations between the two regions at a personal, perceptual, and cultural level.

This course explores Russian history through the life and work of Fedor Dostoevsky. In his lifetime, the great Russian writer witnessed political reform and revolutionary agitation, terrorism and political assassination, occultism and scientific positivism, mass migration and urban growth, and all of these events informed Dostoevsky’s novels, short stories, journalism, and his life more broadly. In this course, we shall read Dostoevsky and his contemporaries selectively and examine recent historical scholarship on 19th-century Russia. We shall focus specifically on intelligentsia debates, revolutionary circles, mass incarceration, political exile, mental illness, urban environments, and the sex trade. In short, this course explores the history of Dostoevsky’s Russia.