History Department, Course Descriptions for all Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2018.
Below please find course descriptions (also available in Explore) for all our undergraduate courses for Spring 2018. Please contact the Department for any questions.
HIST 008 Intro Late History: Europe II or World II
For College students, all sections of HIST 007 or HIST 008 fulfill the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
Please note that if you receive AP/IB placement or credit, you cannot take HIST 007 (or 008 or 099) for credit.
The various sections of HIST 008 have different focuses, for which see below; moreover, 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 World II sections consider human history since about 1500 AD, focusing on the dynamics of global interaction. The class seeks to familiarize students with, and help them contextualize, historical processes and phenomena such as colonialism and imperialism, industrialization, modern population growth, nationalism and the rise of the nation-state, great power politics, and the emergence of modern science. Its goal is to explain how the world got to be the way it is, with a particular focus on how social and ethno-cultural identities have been shaped--and have in turn shaped--political, economic, and physical environments.
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 also paid to issues of class, gender, marginality and the relationship of Europe to non-Western cultures.
HIST 099 Hist Focus [various topics]
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.
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 transfered.
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.
HIST 102 Internship Tutorial Spring
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.
HIST 107 Pacific World
For College students all sections of HIST 107 fulfill the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
Please note that until Spring 2015 HIST 107 used to be one of the options within HIST 008; if you took HIST 008 Intro Late Hist: Pacific World, you should NOT take HIST 107.
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.
HIST 111 Africa I
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.
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.
HIST 123 Modern China
This course continues a general history of China from the earliest records of Chinese civilization through the first three decades of the People's Republic. The course is introductory, has no prerequisites, and assumes no prior knowledge of China or its language. 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.
HIST 125 Modern Japan
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.
HIST 129 Modern South Asia
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.
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.
HIST 146-62 Late Renaissance Italy (offered at the Villa in Fiesole, Italy)
The course is conceived as an historical and anthropological survey of the main events and issues that characterized Early Modern Italy. This period, which starts with the Black Death (1348) and goes until the Enlightenment (ca. 1700), will be considered as a consistent and unitary section of history in which the merging of classical heritage and religious creed produced many of the elements which shaped European Civilization. Attention will be broadly focused on culture, politics, and religion in order to grasp the elements of specificity of the Old Regime. Special emphasis will be put on the princely court, and on ideas, manners, and art forms that were codified by this aristocratic environment, as one of the most relevant contribution of Renaissance and Baroque Italy to Western behavioral and cultural codes. Attention will also be put on the analysis of the lower ranks of Italian society, studying how the lower sectors of the Italian population (servants, prostitutes, and the desperately poor) were excluded from political power. In this regard, the course will examine Italian mentality in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and how minorities were commonly persecuted in trial in which judges and courts were commonly legitimized by biased political forces.
HIST 159 Latin America II
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.
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.
HIST 161 Middle East II
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.
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).
HIST 171 Modern Russia
The Old Regime: society, industrialization, revolution, war. The Bolshevik Revolution. The Great Transformation. World communism, World War II, and the Stalinist Empire. Post-Stalinist politics and society. The Gorbachev revolution.
HIST 173 East/Central Europe II
About 1800 to the Present. Nationalism and industrialization. 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.
HIST 181 U.S. History since 1865
This course traces the past 150 or so years of American history, covering the nation’s development from the end of the Civil War through the recent past. Over the past century and a half, the United States has undergone myriad social, political, economic and cultural transformations, and has assumed a decisive role in international affairs. This semester, among other topics, we will examine the United States’ development of an industrial economy, its forays into imperialism, its embrace of reform, its experiences of economic catastrophe and war, and its career as Cold War-era superpower. We will also look at how various groups of Americans have struggled for rights and equal treatment, attempting to get the United States to live up the promise of its founding ideals. The United States has been in many ways defined by Americans’ basic disagreements over the meaning of founding American principles – liberty, equality, freedom – and in this class we will consider the ways in which Americans’ conflicting definitions of these principles have defined the nation’s history.
HIST 205 The Rise of Global Challenges
People across the world are living difficult times of conflict and change. Political, economic, social, cultural-religious, and gender challenges seem everywhere. All are rooted in contested historical process mixing trajectories emerging from past centuries with unprecedented recent innovations. The premise of this 1-credit course is that we must seek to understand the historical processes that have brought us to the world we face today—the only basis for creative and effective thinking about ways forward. In a series of lectures, leading scholars will address the origins of key contemporary challenges—for examples: globalization; climate change; the rise of Asia; migration; power and participation—followed by discussions engaging participating students. The goal is to bring historical visions to stimulate more complex debates about key contemporary challenges.
The course meets five times during the term for 2.5 hours.
HIST 209 The atomic age
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.
HIST 223 History of Pakistan
Though Pakistan’s heritage is ancient, it is one of the world’s youngest countries. Established by the partition of Pakistan in 1947, it is one of only two countries established as a homeland for a specific religious community. And it was established as a progressive democracy. But today it is characterized by conflict and deep conservatism. This course examines the context for Pakistan’s establishment, the impact of global geopolitics on its development, and diverse responses to its contemporary challenges.
HIST 224 Women and Film in Indian History
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.
HIST 226 Korea in North-East Asia
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 Chos?n 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.
HIST 231 From the Millennium to the Black Death
In the period between 1000 and 1450, Europe was transformed from a provincial backwater into one of the most dynamic regions of the world. This course will explore how this transformation took place. It will provide a survey of the second half of the Middle Ages, concentrating on the political, economic, social, ecclesiastical, artistic and intellectual developments of the period. We will examine how some of the most important institutions of western civilization--representative assemblies, universities, and the nation-state, to cite a few examples--developed in this period. Classes will contain a mixture of lecture, discussion, and structured exercises (such as debates and re-creations of historical events), with a focus on analyzing primary sources in their historical context.
HIST 236 Europe in the era of the World Wars
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.
HIST 251 Brazilian Society and Culture
This course investigates the roots of the apparent contradictions that mark modern Brazilian life--between luxury and poverty, between a strong Catholic inheritance and a profusion of new sects, between a rhetoric of racial democracy and a reality of ongoing racism--by tracking their development from colonial foundations through the twentieth century.
HIST 283 The U.S. in the World Since 1945
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.
HIST 287 Baseball and American Society
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.
HIST 290 World War III: A History
The frightening vision of a Third World War has gripped the United States since even before the Second World War ended. When might the next global conflict start? How might it be fought? And what might a post-WWIII world look like? Throughout the Cold War and beyond, politicians, diplomats, military officials, scientists, religious ministers, fiction writers, peace activists, and ordinary citizens have all been struggling to anticipate, plan, survive, or prevent the world war that is yet to come.
One might dismiss the widespread and persistent fear of WWIII as mere fantasy. However, the shadow of yet another global conflict has served as a potent mirror and crucible for U.S. society since 1945. Future war scenarios, both in military plans and science fiction, have closely reflected deep-seated fears – and even hopes – about seismic changes in the United States and the world following WWII. The perceived risk of a global conflagration has also driven concerned U.S. officials, scientists, and citizens alike to act in the real world, whether it is to strengthen the military, seek a negotiated settlement, develop or ban deadly technologies, or stage mass protests for peace and disarmament. And the dominant narratives of a hypothetical worldwide conflict have gradually shifted over time as the United States and the world have undergone political, economic, social, cultural, and technological changes in the last seven decades. In other words, WWIII as a fictional war has a history that is just as rich, complex, and consequential as that of the two world wars.
Using a wide range of scholarly publications and primary sources, ranging from secret war plans to civil defense manuals, from Sci Fi literature to video games, this course will explore the emergence, popularization, and transformation of discourses in the United States about WWIII from the middle of WWII to the present. We will consider a wide variety of popular speculations about a possible cause, development, and consequence of the global conflict. Those include, for example, communists, terrorists, mad scientists, extraterrestrial aliens, killer robots, computer errors, and human mistakes. By discussing each of these scenarios along with its historical context, we will ask ourselves what it tells us about the following key domestic and international issues for the United States since 1945: political ideology, class, race, gender, empire, science and technology, health and safety, and the natural environment. The ultimate goal of this historical inquiry is to contextualize and historicize our own ideas about WWIII today – and to imagine a more peaceful alternative of the future.
HIST 293 Black Politics and Culture
The study of African American culture and its interaction with American and world society as a whole will be the mission of this class. We will look at the syncopated rhythms of the African people transferred to American shores by enslaved Africans, starting with the “Negro Spirituals. Political debates between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, between DuBois and Marcus Garvey and between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Brother Malcolm X will also be demonstrated how history and politics affected the culture of Black people. We will look at white America’s perception of African Americans and analyze how these ideas were formed and why they continue to exist and why they persist. We will look at the major intellectual, cultural, and performance arts during the Harlem Renaissance (performers such as Paul Robeson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Marian Anderson, and Bessie Smith). We will watch films and film clips of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk. We will also listen to the music of people who have been influenced by major Black artists. The role of artists and painters like Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, and stage and theater performers like Lena Horne will also be reviewed. The roles and images of Blacks in films will be analyzed. We will also review poetry, literature, and the sports. Finally, we will take a look at the social and political meanings of Black culture, from the Negro Spirituals to Marvin Gaye, from Nina Simone to Tupac Shakur, from Jack Johnson to Muhammad Ali, from Dick Gregory to Chris Rock, and from Motown to Mos Def.
HIST 305 Global History: [subtitle]
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.
IHIS majors in SFS must take one section of HIST 305, preferably near the beginning of their major program. College History majors and other interested students are welcome. The course will be taught by different instructors with different emphases, and students may take it more than once in different versions.
In Spring 2018, Professor John Tutino will teach the seminar under the title: Global History: Capitalism and Communities: This seminar will explore the long-term evolution of capitalism from its origin as an early modern commercial system integrating Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia through the industrial transformation of the early nineteenth century focused on a North Atlantic Anglo-American Axis, to the recent shifts to more complex integrations we call globalization. Changing ways of production and exchange will be viewed from the perspective of communities living capitalism is diverse regions of the world in different eras—exploring questions of culture and gender as well as politics and popular movements. The goal is a more integrated vision of history. The seminar will focus on weekly readings and discussions, and a series of analytical papers in which students will offer their own integrated visions of the questions of capitalism, communities, and history.
HIST 306 Researching geopolitics of oil
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.
HIST 309 Witches and Witchcraft
This seminar investigates the phenomenon of witchcraft in premodern Europe, especially the witch persecutions of the seventeenth century. To what extent was “witchcraft” the projection of societal anxieties and stereotypes? Even today, after many decades of scholarly research and analysis, perhaps the only point of universal agreement is that no single explanation fully grasps the phenomena of European witch belief and persecution in all their multifaceted diversity. This course is designed to familiarize students with the main contours of witch belief, magical practice, and the prosecution of malefice as they evolved on the European continent from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. It is organized around both themes (including gender, sexuality, psychology, and religion) and geography (mainly central Europe, where the majority of the witch hunts occurred). As we will see, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century persecutions of witchcraft reflected a series of changes in European society, culture, and politics—including changes in relationships between “popular” and “learned” religion; the formation of the modern state and the rise of “social discipline”; changes in assumptions about the nature of gender and the formation of modern patriarchy; and so on.
HIST 329 China’s Boxers: Global Context
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.
HIST 345 Fascism
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.
HIST 347 Science Magic Religion
In this colloquium we will explore the relationship of official religion to magic, approaches to the study of the natural world, and healing practices in Western Europe from late antiquity to the Scientific Revolution in the seventeenth century. Although the course will concentrate on ideas and events in Western Europe, important points of interaction between Christian and Islamic worlds will be taken up (the practice of alchemy, after all, received its name in the Arab world). Relying on historical documents and other evidence, we will place varieties of magic and superstition in historical context. Throughout the course we will examine underlying assumptions about God, the supernatural, the preternatural, and the natural. Because the role of superstition and magic receded -- but did not completely disappear -- by the seventeenth century, the course will address the reasons why much of what was normal and normative from antiquity to the Middle Ages became marginalized by the seventeenth century. At the same time, neither Christianity nor early modern science was intrinsically hostile to forms of magic; instead, both incorporated it in positive ways during their formative years. It is precisely this paradoxical combination of faith and reason on the one hand, and unreason on the other, that we will seek to understand in the course.
HIST 352 Topics in Latin American History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of Latin American history. Students may take more than one of the courses offered under this number. Each course will be announced in the course schedule and receive its own sub-title.
In Fall 2017 the following course is offered:
HIST 352-01: Topic: South American Frontiers: This seminar explores interactions between indigenous and afro-descendant populations and nation-states in 19th and 20th century South America. We will focus on peripheral communities living in frontier territories. How did these communities participate in the formation of nation states through commerce, war, rebellion, and diplomacy? Where did they resist state power? Where and how did they choose to adapt or assimilate? Where and why did they face demographic collapse or annihilation? This course challenges students to think creatively about nation-making from the outside in.
In Spring 2018 the following course is offered:
HIST 352-01: Topic:LA/US:Drugs and development: This course will examine the history of economic development and illicit drugs in U.S.-Latin American relations from the early twentieth century to the present. We will trace the evolution of U.S.-sponsored economic programs and explore their impact on Latin America. We will examine whether these programs fostered improvement in the region or deepened inequality and economic dependency. We will examine how drug trafficking emerged as a response to these conditions and created new trans-regional links between the United States and Latin America that shaped development within both regions.
HIST 365 Modern Turkey
The Republic of Turkey has transformed itself from a remnant of the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire into a nation-state. This course examines the major political, social, and cultural expressions of that transformation, in law, architecture, fiction, film, TV, and music. Readings focus on the First World War and the violence amidst which the Turkish state was first established, the state- and nation-building projects under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and on the struggles for empowerment of women, Kurds, and migrants.
HIST 367 Muslim Women and the West
The seminar is designed to study aspects of the encounter between Muslim women and the West.It is divided into three parts:1. The Western perception characterization and construction of “the Muslim woman,” the historical encounter of European and American travelers, missionaries, journalists and colonial bureaucrats with Muslim societies and cultures, and the construction of of Muslim women as sexual objects, downtrodden and in need of Western “liberation.” 2. The Muslim response to the challenges posited by these images, the impact of modernization and education, the development of women's liberation movements and the appropriation of women's issues by the nation state. Particular attention will be given to Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey and Iran. 3. Experiences of Muslim women in the West and their integration/assimilation into the United States and various cultures of Europe, including France, Britain and Germany, the development of Islamic feminism in the West, as well as Muslim women’s involvement in changing family structures, new forms of media and art, dress and fashion, film and theater, literature and music.
HIST 370 East European Frontiers
Staged on the verge of modern political divides, East Europe, the Balkans, and the Caucasus have long been perceived as a peripheral spaces in the context of major historical narratives. This course stresses the contribution of historical frontiers and borderlands to the endurance of medieval and early modern polities, the creation of empires and eventually modern nations, thus rectifying the major theories of nationalism that relate nation building exclusively to modernity. Students will explore how these spaces hosted multiple coinciding and overlapping frontiers, the perceived existence of which had palpable ramifications for the shared history of the larger region: confessional frontiers, political ideological frontiers, systemic life-ways frontiers, and environmental frontiers. Taken together, the confluence of these human and natural frontiers was both deep and broad and affected the daily lives of local populations as well as the administrative structures of the polities that attempted to rule over them for a millennium. This approach enables us to discern and criticize persistent (especially in post-Cold War Europe) elements of nation-centered and teleological historical narrative depicting pre-nationalist phenomena through the lenses of modern nation(s).
HIST 380 New Orleans
This colloquium will focus on the rich, unique history of New Orleans and its people from the city's founding in the eighteenth century to the present day. We will pay special attention to the intertwined themes of cultural diversity and mixture, class and race inequality, and the changing urban ecology -- concluding with a close look at Hurricane Katrina and its consequences.
HIST 382 Topics in US History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of American history. Students may take more than one of the courses offered under this number. Each course will be announced in the course schedule and receive its own sub-title.
In Fall 2017 the following course is offered:
HIST 382-01: Topic: Free Speech in America: The freedom of speech and the press occupies an ambiguous position in the firmament of U.S. culture, politics, and law. On the one hand, the right to express one’s thoughts and opinions is enshrined not just in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution but in the constitutions of all fifty states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Politicians, journalists, and other commentators of every political and ideological stripe write and speak routinely about the importance of the freedom of speech and the press to U.S. society and politics. On the other hand, Americans have frequently tolerated, sometimes demanded, the introduction and enforcement of restrictions on ideas, texts, or even entire categories of speech that they find offensive or dangerous. This seminar will afford you the opportunity to examine how people in the United States have understood the freedom of speech and the press at key points in their history, including the Colonial and Founding Eras, the Civil War, World War I, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Class meetings will revolve around the discussion of a mixture of primary and secondary sources that for the most part addresses the legal evolution of speech and press rights in the United States. You will also conduct a semester-long research project that will provide you with a guided experience in the creation of an academic paper, which relies on a combination of primary and secondary sources to make an original, well-balanced argument about the history of the freedom of speech and the press in the United States. Your project will consist of a 5-page primary source analysis, a 5-page proposal that outlines your research question and the sources that you will examine in your final paper, a short oral presentation, and a 20- to 25-page research paper.
In Spring 2018 the following course is offered:
HIST 382-01: Making of Latino America delves into the recent history of Latin American immigrants to the United States through a comparative study of urban Latino communities in the Midwest and on the East Coast. We will assess reasons for migration and the evolution of U.S. immigration policy since 1950, trace the journeys of migrants northward, and probe the transnational characteristics of those communities migrants leave and those they form upon arriving in the U.S. The course will seek a deeper understanding of the personal and collective dilemmas faced by immigrants and investigate how they reconcile those tensions, focusing on gender, racial and ethnic identity, civil rights, and labor issues. It will conclude with an examination of Latino immigration to the Washington, D.C. area during the 1980s-1990s, analyzing how that has shaped the District today.
HIST 383 What is Citizenship?
In 1862, U.S. Attorney Edward Bates, prompted by an inquiry from Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, found himself face to face with the question, “Who is a citizen? What constitutes a citizen of the United States?” With the Civil War swirling around him, Bates was forced to admit, “I have often been pained by the fruitless search in our law books and the records of our courts for a clear and satisfactory definition of the phrase citizen of the United States.” Neither Bates nor Chase was a legal slouch; they were in fact two of the best legal minds in the country at the time, but even they realized that no fixed or static meaning of the word “citizen” existed. Instead, to continue borrowing from Edward Bates, “the exact meaning of the word [and] the constituent elements of the thing we prize so highly” has always been a work in progress. Sometimes the meaning of citizenship has expanded. Other times it has contracted. In other words, the meaning of citizenship in the United States has a history.
For the first half of this seminar, we will read about the history of citizenship, particularly in the United States. In the second half of the semester, students will arrive at their own answer to the question posed by the title of this class in one of two ways. Each student may choose to write an original research paper on some aspect of the changing nature of U.S. citizenship at a specific moment in U.S. history. Alternatively, a student may choose to volunteer over the course of the semester with an organization that the student believes calls on him or her to exercise active citizenship (organization and the time and content of the volunteer work to be cleared with the instructor). Students choosing the second option will write a long reflective essay placing t heir experiences with the organization in conversation with books read for class, the history of citizenship, and additional relevant research. Whichever option a student chooses, by the end of the semester, he or she will have produced a substantial piece of written work posing and defending with evidence an answer to the question, “What is U.S. citizenship?”
HIST 401 Once upon a time in the West
Focusing on the American Western as a film genre that continues to breathe new life into Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis”, students will explore the enduring appeal of the frontier model, especially through “Western” films from around the world; we will discuss the global spread, appropriation, and re-imagining of ideas about border peoples, liminal (or border, transitional) spaces, nationhood, and destiny.
HIST 405 Space, Science, and Society
We may be on the verge of a new era in humanity’s expansion into outer space. Space agencies in the United States, China, and Russia have all committed themselves to establishments settlements on or near the Moon, and are building or designing enormous rockets to make that possible. A growing number of space agencies have now dispatched satellites or rovers to the Moon and Mars, which have revealed that both worlds are more dynamic places – with more dynamic histories – than scientists previously imagined. Companies led by ambitious tycoons have introduced revolutionary technologies that may allow them to reach, and perhaps even colonize, the Moon and Mars.
This course will guide you through the long and often surprising history that has led us to this new era. You will discover, among other topics, how the Moon and Mars have helped shape life on Earth; how early astronomers mapped and often misinterpreted environments on the both worlds; and how sudden environmental changes on Earth and on Mars provoked sightings of canals – and fears of alien invasions – across the western world. You will learn about the two “space races” that led humans to the Moon and robots to Mars; the plans to establish military bases on the Moon; the Martian dust storm that inspired the idea of nuclear winter on Earth; and the history of a radical ambition to turn Mars into a world like Earth. You will also study the history of the quest for life on Mars and the Moon, and the schemes to “live off the land” on both worlds.
HIST 409 Senior Honors seminar
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.
HIST 410 Atlantic Africa/African Atlantic
Africa and Africans were essential to creating and shaping the Atlantic world; the circulation of people, goods, and ideas in the Atlantic had a profound impact on Africa. Together, these two concepts enrich our understanding of the emergence of our world, as the consequences of the changing relationships between Africa and the Atlantic continue to reverberate today. This course will examine the history of the connections between pre-colonial Africa—primarily West and West Central Africa—and the Atlantic, and their transformations from the mid-fifteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. We will ground our exploration in the histories of specific regions (e.g. Senegambia, the Kingdom of Kongo, the Gold Coast) and track differences and changes over time between their relative ties with the Atlantic. We will also discuss advances made in the historical study of Africa and the Atlantic over the past twenty years. We will weigh and assess historians’ different interpretations—and methods in developing these interpretations—on complex themes, such as developments of African creole cultures and the impact of the transatlantic slave trade and its long abolition on Africa. Above all, we will examine the lives, migrations, struggles, and ideas of Africans: traders, diplomats, religious leaders, rulers, and slaves, both within Africa and through their voluntary or forced circulation in the Atlantic world.
HIST 418 West Africa and the Atlantic slave trade
This course, which takes as its subject the vast coastal area between Angola and Senegambia, will examine how local and regional economies and cultural frameworks became integrated into a global system and the importance of West Africa in the emergence of the Atlantic World between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. It will explore the changing dynamics of regional and Atlantic trade, clashes between traditional African and emergent Muslim authorities, the slave trade, the emerging European colonial system and the complexity and transformation of ethnic identities.
HIST 435 Americanization of Europe
This colloquium will be a historical inquiry into the following questions: Has Europe been Americanized? Have Europeans in the course of the 20th century been Coca-colonized or McDonaldized? Have Americans and Europeans grown increasingly alike with respect to adopting mass culture, consumer society, and market economies? If so why? What is the explanation for the seemingly irresistible power of Americanization? When did this process begin and what has America's role been in this process? Or, conversely, is Americanization an illusion? Has there been appropriation and resistance so that national identities and diversity have been sustained and even intensified? Has it provoked a search for identity in national or ethnic difference? Above all what does this transformation mean?
HIST 436 Hitler and History
This course will offer an in-depth examination of the Nazi leader’s role in German and European history, and it will pay particularly close attention to the manifold ways in which historians have interpreted the phenomenon of Hitler since the 1920s. We will read biographies and scholarly studies of Hitler, the man, but we will also look at different representations of the Nazi leader to understand the “Hitler myth” in its various facets. Students will gain a deep understanding of the history of the Weimar Republic and Third Reich, and they will learn to think critically about the role of the individual in history.
HIST 449 Food: Rome to the Industrial Age
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.
HIST 457 Making Nations in Latin America
After the United States and Haiti, Spanish and Portuguese America achieved political independence from European powers. In an age where monarchy was the dominant political formation of “civilized” countries, the new nations, with the exception of Brazil, chose a republican form of government. How to organize a country and create a nation from a colony? Who counted as a citizen? Who wanted to count as a citizen and how did they perceive their own roles within the new state? What territories could be included in the new state? All those questions and more were asked in the nineteenth century in Latin America as the different countries emerged from their colonial condition. Many of these issues, especially regarding the full integration of people as citizens into the nation-state persist into the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries. This course will explore many of these questions, based on some of the new exciting research that has been published in the past decade. The course examines these issues through theoretical perspectives, biography, intellectual history, and the new cultural/political history.
HIST 462 The Middle East after World War I
The seminar, using contemporary documents as well as secondary sources, will study the emergence of the "new" Middle East with the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. We will look at the Ottoman Empire during the war; the rise of the Arab national movement\s before, during and after the war; the emergence of Zionism and the Palestinian Arab national movement; the shift from Ottomanism to Turkish nationalism and the Independence War against the French and Greeks that followed the world war; the ethnic cleaning\genocide against the Christian minorities during 1914-1924; and the rise of the secular Turkish Republic.
HIST 484 Inventing the Illegal Alien
This course offers a chance to do original research on the fascinating time period in immigration history from 1880 to 1929. It was during these years that the legal restrictions that ended mass immigration to the United States until the 1950s were put into place. Using both primary and secondary sources, the course will trace the rise of immigration and restrictions placed on it, changing notions of citizenship, and the differentiation by race—or scientific racism—among immigrants of Asian, Mexican, and eastern and southern European background. Topics explored will include the relationship between race and citizenship status; the history of the idea of the “illegal alien”; and the gendered aspects of the immigration experience. Each student will have the opportunity to do original research using both published and archival primary sources. A field trip to the National Archives is part of the course. The first half of the course will focus on common readings to establish themes and background; the second half will be built around developing individual research interests.
HIST 487 The Underground Railroad in History and Culture
This course will explore the history of, as well as our ideas about, the Underground Railroad. Through both historical texts and different forms of cultural production, we will study what has remained one of the most culturally intriguing forms of resistance to slavery. Engaging with the ways in which African Americans sought self-emancipation through their escapes from slavery, we will seek to understand how African American communities understood, imagined, and contested both their enslavement and freedom. In studying the fantastic and harrowing escapes made by African Americans on the UGRR, we will also think about the ways this network of freedom has been portrayed and remembered. While the course will provide students with a firm grasp of both primary and secondary sources in the history of the UGRR and thus the historical study of slavery and abolition, we will also explore contemporary work like Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, the television show Underground, children’s literature, and public history and memory work. We will also ask what the activist traditions of the underground, and our cultural memory of them, can tell us about our current moment. In addition, students will have the opportunity to create non-traditional final projects inspired by their research over the course of the semester.