History Department, Course Descriptions for all Undergraduate Courses, Fall 2018.
Below please find course descriptions (also available in Explore) for all our undergraduate courses for Fall 2018. Please contact the Department for any questions.
HIST 007 Intro Early History: World I or Europe I
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 007 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 I sections examine the history of the human experience from a global perspective. The bulk of the semester concerns societies and states from the time of ancient civilizations to about 1500 AD. The course pays particular attention to political, economic, and social changes, but also considers cultural, technological, and ecological history. The evolving relationship between human identities and their social and material environments forms one of the major points of analytical focus for this course. The overarching goal is to provide a general framework for the history of the world to help students understand the big picture, and to help them to contextualize what they will later study about history, politics, religion--in short, about the human experience.
The Europe I sections offer an analysis of the major political, social, economic, diplomatic, religious, intellectual, and scientific developments in European Civilization to 1789.
HIST 099 History 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 101 Internship Tutorial Fall
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 106 Atlantic World
For College students all sections of HIST 106 fulfill the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099. Atlantic World draws together the histories of four continents, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America, to investigate the new Atlantic world created as a consequence of the Columbian encounter in 1492. The class traces the creation of this world from the first European forays in the Atlantic and on the coast of Africa in the fifteenth century to the first wars for colonial independence and the abolition of slavery. Topics include the destruction and reconfiguration of indigenous societies; the crucial labor migrations of Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans; and the various strategies of accommodation, resistance, and rebellion demonstrated by the many different inhabitants of the Americas.
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.
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 108 Central Eurasia: Crossroads of the World
This course offers an introduction to the history of Central Eurasia from prehistoric times to the present, focusing on its key role in phenomena ranging from the rise of Islam to the Mongol Empire and Soviet socialism.
HIST 109 The Islamic World
From humble beginnings nearly 1500 years ago, to enormous power and prestige in the Middle Ages, to political decline and foreign occupation in the modern era, Islam has developed into a highly diverse, global tradition representing nearly one quarter of the world's population. Yet it is most widely known through caricatures of terrorists and despots. This course examines that phenomenon. It focuses on the historical development of Muslim communities and their interactions with European and other powers. It emphasizes the impact of those interactions on Islam’s ideological and political developments. The interaction between religion and politics is a major sub-theme of the course.
HIST 112 Africa II
For College students, HIST 112 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
This course examines the history of modern Africa from c. 1850 to the present. We will explore major political, economic, social, religious and environmental changes over this time, but we will also think about how historical knowledge is created and how historians assess evidence about the past.
The first goal of this course is to give you historical background to contemporary Africa. By looking at general patterns as well as specific places and events, we’ll examine some of the major themes in Africa’s recent history. We’ll study European conquest of the continent and African resistance to European domination; the political and economic impact of colonialism; how independence from colonialism was achieved and what it meant; and major cultural, social and religious changes of the 20th century. Then we’ll turn to the era of independent African nations and explore the historical context of some of the issues facing present-day Africa. Throughout the class, we will consider how Africans have acted to create their own history, within the context of larger global and historical forces they do not control. We also will examine the importance of dynamics of age, gender, class, and ethnicity within African societies themselves.
A second goal of the class is to help you challenge epistemological categories – in essence, to ask how we know what we think we know. What do terms such as “African” and “European” mean in practice, and what do they obscure? How has “the West” created knowledge about “Africa,” and what are the implications of this?
A third goal is to teach you to think and write like historians, asking questions and exploring puzzles about the past. With Africa serving as the context, you will practice the art of historical analysis. Questions we will ask in this class include: Why did something happen when it happened and what were its consequences?
HIST 121 First-year seminar: China since 1949
This seminar course is designed for first-year students with advanced placement in history who have an interest in pursuing the study of history at the upper level.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949 after a century of foreign humiliation and subjugation, and internal turmoil. Today, the PRC is poised to emerge as one of the most dominant and vibrant players in the 21st century world. The intervening six decades of Chinese history is a story of epic proportions.
In 1949, Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), put the world on notice that “the Chinese people, comprising one-quarter of humanity, have now stood up.” That same year, he reminded the Chinese people that the end of the Chinese civil war was “only the first step in a long march of ten thousand li…The Chinese revolution is great, but the road after the revolution will be longer, the work greater and more arduous.”
This purpose of this seminar is to trace that journey. As such, this course will survey the major domestic and international trends, policies, events, and individuals that played a role in shaping the PRC’s path to the present. The format of the course will be twice weekly discussions. Each class will begin with a general review of the historical context of the period being examined, followed by a student-led discussion of the assigned readings.
HIST 122 History of China I
This course forms the first part of the Chinese history survey. It is taught with a somewhat different time frame on the main campus and in Doha at SFSQ.
On the main campus: The course, subtitled “Origins and Imperium,” 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 this fall semester, we will cover the formation of China's social, political, and intellectual culture and its development through various dynastic regimes, up through the end of the Ming Dynasty in the late 16th century.
In addition, in this semester we will explore the historical roots of several claims made by the People's Republic of China in the 21st century, including linkages with Xinjiang, Central Asia, and Tibet; the "Silk Road" origins of the 2013 Belt and Road Initiative, and China's aspirations for a blue-water navy.
The course has two basic goals: (1) to present a basic introduction to the traditions and legacies of the history and culture of China, including conflicting, even contradictory, interpretations of these traditions/legacies; and (2) to use the specific study of China as a means for developing more general skills in the discipline of historical analysis.
On the Doha campus: China I: The History of Late Imperial China
Since 2013, the leading slogan of the People’s Republic of China has been the achievement of the “China Dream.” Xi Jinping has referred to this as the “Great rejuvenation of the Chinese people (Zhonghua minzu de weida fuxing 中华民族的伟大复兴).” The slogan is thoroughly modern (The phrase “Chinese people” didn’t exist until the 1890s)—yet clearly referential to the country’s past. How do we make sense of these tensions? How do people in China understand their past? Who were they? How has this past shaped the present and how might it influence the future (the “dream”)?
This course is an investigation of the history of China from 1200 through the early 20th century in order to understand how the recent “rise” of China has both built upon and diverged from its imperial foundations. We will examine how Confucianism became embedded in a range of social institutions, from the bureaucracy to the family. Special attention will be paid to China’s multiple roles in the development of the economy of the early modern world and the transformation of “China” into a vast, multi-ethnic empire during the seventeenth through eighteenth centuries. We will then examine how during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, people in China grappled with the legacies of the imperial past and its intellectual traditions as they sought to build a rich and powerful state to compete with Europe, the US, and Japan.
HIST 124 History of Japan I
This course begins a two-part sequence offering a general history of Japan from the earliest records of Japanese civilization through to the present. The course is introductory, has no prerequisites, and assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or its language. The organization of the course is basically chronological, but within that framework we will be approaching Japan from a wide range of viewpoints, taking up political, economic, social, religious, philosophical, and artistic developments. In this fall semester, we will cover the formation of Japan's social, political, and intellectual culture, including the formation of Japan's distinctive identity and the tensions between centrifugal and centripetal forces. We will also examine changes in Japan's relationship to East Asia and, by the 16th century, the rest of the planet. The course ends with the collapse of the last of the shogunal/military governments in the 1860s, paving the way for Japan's "modernization" in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The course has two basic goals: (1) to present a basic introduction to the traditions and legacies of the history and culture of Japan, including conflicting, even contradictory, interpretations of these traditions/legacies; and (2) to use the specific study of Japan as a means for developing more general skills in the discipline of historical analysis.
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 131 First-year seminar: Science and Religion in the West: Historical Perspectives
This seminar course is designed for first-year students with advanced placement in history who have an interest in pursuing the study of history at the upper level; some knowledge of European history and any science background will be helpful but is not necessary.
Science and religion have played powerful roles in shaping Western civilization: unparalleled resources – human, financial, and natural – have been invested in each of them, and they can be associated with many of the West’s proudest accomplishments and cruelest wrongdoings. Thought of together, science and religion conventionally conjure up images of conflict. They are envisioned as rival forces associated with contending institutions and serving opposing interests. Historical controversies over the structure of the cosmos and modern-day debates over the science curriculum in U.S. high schools offer support to the conclusion that science and religion exist in an unrelenting state of war. The aim of this seminar is to test that generalization by examining the actual history, focusing on key episodes in which scientific and religious interests have intersected.
HIST 145-62 Medieval and early Renaissance Italy (offered in Fiesole, Italy)
The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 represents a crucial watershed in the history of European civilization. Nevertheless, the patrimony of ideas of pagan antiquity survives and continues to inspire political and religious beliefs. The course starts with a brief survey of the principal events which shaped this complex period in order to introduce some of the key lines of cultural history of the Middle Ages. A great transformation was later represented by the phenomenon of the re-birth of cities. In fact, around the eleventh century, demographic and economic factors produced a real urban revolution in some areas of Europe, and this turning point actually represents the transition from the feudal system to the late Medieval civilization. The course analyzes the society, the politics and the culture of medieval Italy, focusing mainly on cities from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. The structure of the city-state republic, the family, the daily life, the economy, the religious beliefs and practices, the world of the marginal and the mentality of the people will all be discussed in the effort of reconstructing the features of medieval urban civilization. Particular emphasis will be given to the city of Florence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The complex city universe expresses itself through a peculiar art and architecture (cathedrals, fresco cycles, city walls and gates, public palaces, altar-pieces, market squares and monasteries) which will be studied in order to reconstruct the material environment and the ideological aspects of late Medieval and early Renaissance Italian civilization.
Offered in Fall at the Villa in Fiesole, Italy.
HIST 158 Latin America I
Beginning with a survey of the diverse societies of the Americas before 1500, this classes focuses on the coming of Europeans, the deadly impact of the disease they brought, and the integration of the hemisphere into European empires and a new global economy during three subsequent centuries. We will emphasize how the long state-organized peoples of regions subjected to Spanish rule adapted socially and culturally to sustain silver as a key global commodity; we will explore how Africans were dragged in bondage to Atlantic America to labor in booming sugar economies ruled by every European power: Portugal, Britain, France, Spain, and more. The interactions among Europeans and the diverse peoples who produced everything focus much of the analysis—culminating in the rising resistance that challenged Europeans in regions from the Andes to Haiti in the late eighteenth century.
For College students, HIST 158 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
HIST 160 Middle East I
Through lectures, readings, class discussion and audio-visual material, this course examines the history of the Middle East from the late sixth to the late seventeenth centuries. The lectures focus on broader topics, such as the emergence of Islam; the history of major Middle Eastern empires; changing geo-strategic and cultural conditions; and the evolution and functioning of classical and medieval Muslim institutions. Discussion sections will enable students to deepen their knowledge regarding local diversities within the unifying systems of Muslim beliefs, law, and administration; the material and intellectual exchanges and interactions between the Muslim world and non-Muslim communities and polities; and Muslim reactions to the Crusades and the Mongol invasions.
For College students, HIST 160 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
HIST 170 History of Russia I
The Slavs, Origins of Russia, Kiev, the Mongol period, Muscovy, Imperial Russia to 1825 with special attention to autocracy, serfdom, foreign policy, the Orthodox Church, Westernization, society, culture, and the birth of the revolutionary movement.
HIST 172 History of East Central Europe I
A survey of East European peoples and states from the rise of the Medieval Kingdoms to about 1800. The course will trace the influence of the multi-national Jagiellon, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Romanov empires in the region. Topics will include: the formation of ethnically and religiously diverse societies, the role of noble democracy, and the influence of the Enlightenment and Romanticism.
HIST 229 How South Asia Shaped the World
This course will examine the long history of South Asia in a global context. In doing so, it will emphasize the networks and connections through which people, ideas and goods from the subcontinent have circulated globally from the ancient to the modern period. We will consider the development, circulation and appropriation of yoga from ancient India to the modern US. The second unit will trace the history of indigo dye, from its origins as a luxury product in the ancient world, to its role as a cash crop in the global colonial economy to the mass production and consumption of blue jeans. The third section will follow the circulation of South Asian slaves and indentured servants, from the medieval Indian Ocean to the British colonial era. The final section of the class will consider the circulation of notions of racial and caste justice and civil rights between South Asia and the US.
HIST 230 Europe after Rome
Profound political, cultural and environmental transformations occurred in Europe between the fourth and the tenth centuries CE. As the Roman Empire gave way to “Dark Age” kingdoms, the ways of life of ordinary people and elites, within and beyond Rome’s former limits, forever changed. This course draws upon traditional historical sources as well as the material record (bones, buildings, soils and trees) to delve into the human and natural processes that defined the era. Diverse topics are addressed, from saints and popes, to barbarian migrations and recurrent plague, to multiculturalism and Christianization, to climate change and economic fragmentation. Although focused on Europe, the course also considers connections with Rome’s Byzantine and Muslim heirs.
HIST 280 Sex, Love, and Race in American Life and Culture
This course discusses the political and social implications of sex, race and personal relationships in U.S. political and social history. In this class, we examine how ‘emotional’ experiences such as falling in love, having sex, getting married, coming out of the closet, and other deeply personal events in a person’s life are shaped by political, legal and historical forces. This course will examine the history of marriage rights, claims to ethnic identity, multiracial identity, sex education, and debates about marriage in the 20th and 21st centuries.
HIST 282 US Diplomatic History I
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. The course begins with the Declaration of Independence and ends with World War II. In particular, we will discuss how the U.S. became a global power through topics such as the U.S. acquisition of the Philippines, the World Wars, U.S. business intervention in Latin America, and missionary involvement in Asia. We will also consider the different ways historians have sought to explain U.S. foreign relations.
HIST 301 History Tutorial
Special reading tutorials or independent research projects may be proposed by students. The student who wishes to propose such a tutorial of project must gain the approval and consent of a Faculty mentor within the Department. The tutorial has to be on a topic not usually covered in regularly offered courses, and the student must demonstrate his/her need for the course. The Faculty mentor will supervise each project which must result in a substantial historical essay. Approval by the departmental Director of Undergraduate Studies is required.
HIST 304 Topics in Global History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of world 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 2018 the following course is offered:
HIST 304-01: Topic: Radicalism and Terror in the 1960s: This course will offer a detailed examination of the international radicals and self-declared urban guerrillas in the 1960s and 1970s, who believed that armed struggle was the best way to bring about a global revolution. The major focus of the course will be the US-based groups Weatherman and the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the various Japanese Red Armies, the Italian Red Brigades, and the West German Red Army Faction and June 2nd Movement. Students can petition for this course to fulfill area requirements for Europe, Asia, or the United States fields. The course will survey the growing secondary literature on the subject of global revolutionary violence, analyze contemporary documents, sample films, and examine the memory of revolutionary action after 1968. Students will look to answer a number of questions: what was the relationship between activists’ visions of revolution around 1968 and the violent campaigns of the most radical groups that emerged from these years of political and cultural upheaval? Why did some individuals from wealthy nations decide to take up arms against the state while others chose to affect change by decidedly peaceful means? What was the relationship between structural and state violence and revolutionary violence? How did the state both respond to and help radicalize the groups in question? Why did revolutionary groups target particular individuals and institutions? What were the connections between revolutionary groups in the United States, Japan, and Western Europe, and how did they view the world? Does it make sense to use terms such as “terrorist” to describe these young radicals and their activities? The course is split into three sections: the first examines the origins and inspirations of the groups in question; the second takes a closer look at their actions and ideas; and the final section covers the state response, legacies of violence, and memories of violent action after radicals failed to bring about global revolution. History majors may apply this course to various regions, depending on their written work.
HIST 305 Global History: [see below for subtitles]
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 Fall 2018, Professor Carol Benedict will teach the seminar under the title: Empire, Nation, World: What do we make of globalization as a paradigm at a time when resurgent nationalisms appear to be over taking global interdependency? Is globalization at a crossroads? Is the present moment different in kind from past eras or only different in degree? This course is designed not only to enhance student knowledge of themes, concepts, and methods of international and global history but also to help students better understand the forces that govern our world today. Focusing on theories and histories of imperialism (empire), nationalism (nation states), and globalism (world) from 1500 to the present, it explores the tension between historical developments that operated on a global scale, political systems and ideologies that focused on the nation, and social and cultural developments that remained deeply local. Core readings will cover interactions between several major world regions (Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America). Historical eras of fragmentation and de-globalization (e.g. WWI and after) will be studied along with periods of accelerated integration (e.g. European expansion and imperialism; WWII and after; post-Cold War period).
HIST 312 Topics in African History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of African 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 2018 the following course is offered:
HIST 312-01: Topic: Development in Africa from WWII to U2
This course explores the history of development policy and practice in sub-Saharan Africa. We will look at the ways in which different actors—politicians and planners, states and NGOs, world powers and ordinary people—sought to address the yawning gap between rich and poor after World War II. The course begins by tracking the varying uses of the development idea by colonial powers, African nationalists, and international experts from the late colonial era through the end of the Cold War. In the second half of the course, we will look at more recent global development priorities and controversies from a historical perspective. Our potential topics include China in Africa, genetically-modified food, global humanitarianism and Darfur, and the West African Ebola outbreak. At the end of the course, we will turn to contemporary debates among experts and activists on the future of development in Africa. In class, we will also work with diverse media on the politics of development such as nationalist manifestos, Live Aid records, Christian charity ephemera, and documentaries. Our objective is to build a critical historical understanding of development that we can bring to bear on current debates on Africa and the Global South. Taught by Professor Geoffrey Traugh.
HIST 325 Modern China: History and Fiction
This course takes up an investigation of socio-economic problems and political tensions in China from the 18th through the 20th centuries, as seen through the medium of literature. Through a close reading of selected novels and short stories, we will explore how China's intelligentsia has used fiction as a mode of social criticism, to present their perceptions of China's problems and to offer possible solutions. The course meets as a colloquium/seminar twice a week in small-group discussion format. No knowledge of the Chinese language is assumed. Some familiarity with Chinese history of this period is preferred, but not required.
HIST 337 Machiavelli and the Medici
This course will focus on Machiavelli’s writings within the context of the history of Florence from the early fifteenth century to Machiavelli’s death in 1527 with final sessions on the afterlife of Machiavelli’s writings, a round table discussion of various biographies of Machiavelli, and discussion of the debates over his legacy. We will look at the role the Medici played in Florentine politics, humanism, religion and art along with Machiavelli’s interactions with and responses to the Medici. Readings will include Machiavelli’s Florentine History (books 5-8), his Prince and Discourses, The Art of War, his plays and his “Sermon on Penitence,” along with some of his letters, including his diplomatic letters.
HIST 341 The State in Early Modern Europe
We explore the origins of the modern State in Europe (1492-1748). Our class will examine the State a social fact and as a theoretical construct. Some of the dimensions we will investigate include empire-building, gender and the new forms of patriarchal State, the politics of culture, and the relationship between socioeconomic foundations and the political structures built upon them. Several weeks will be devoted to analyzing the emerging theories of the State from the perspective of the social and political environment in which they came about.
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 2018 the following course is offered:
HIST 352-01: Topic: Environmental History of the Americas. This seminar aims to introduce students to a new environmental history of the Americas. For too long, the history of the Western Hemisphere has been told and retold from the perspective of the present-day looking backwards—our knowledge that the “New World” would eventually be divided up into a collection of unequal nation-states has fundamentally shaped (or mis-shaped) our understanding of that long historical process. This is where an environmental perspective becomes so useful. By re-centering our focus on the mutual relations between human beings and the rest of nature, we can begin to shed some of the historical baggage that has limited our understanding of the past. This course seeks to offer a big-picture, transnational perspective on the environmental history of the Americas, from around 1500 CE to the present. Of course, we cannot cover everything that ever happened over 500 years in the span of a single semester. Instead, we will focus on some of the most significant points of intersection and integration—from the arrival of Europeans and the profound consequences it had for indigenous populations and local landscapes; to the development of industrial capitalism and the ecological conditions which sustained (or thwarted) those booming industries; and finally, to the rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, and dramatically changing climate that has come to define our modern era. All along the way, we will examine just how significantly the environment has served as an integrating force in shaping the human history of the Americas.
HIST 359 Resistance and Rebellion in the Andes
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.
HIST 362 Topics in Middle East History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of Middle East 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 2018 the following two courses are offered:
HIST 362-01: Topic: Middle East History through Literature and Film
This undergraduate seminar will focus on how the Middle East has been perceived and represented through works of literature and film. It is taught by Professor Kevin Martin.
HIST 362-02 Topic: Medicine and Power in the Middle East. This course provides an overview of major issues in the history of medicine (disease diagnosis, treatment, and care focused on the individual patient) and public health (institutions, infrastructures, and policies concerned with the health of populations) in the Middle East, from the 7th century to the present. We will consider how medicine and public health have functioned as contested spheres of social, political, and economic power in various communities and historical periods in the Middle East. Through primary and secondary readings, class discussion, written assignments, and a final research paper, this course will develop students’ skills in historical reading, writing, and critical analysis. The broad timespan of this course breaks with conventional understandings that divide “modern” medicine and public health—with their focus on laboratory research, conflicts between “Western” and non-Western medicines, and concerns with institutionalizing the health of populations—from its “premodern” counterpoint—as characterized by a binary between Greek medical theory and folkloric, magical practices. Looking at medicine in the Middle East from the early Islamic period to the present allows us to follow how perspectives on and practices in medicine and public health both change and experience recurring patterns across time and space.
The driving questions of this course are: How do medical and public health practices shape state-society relations? How does medicine reflect and/or create social hierarchies? What is medical knowledge and who has access to it? What are the forms of transmission of medical knowledge and practice and how do they change over time? What are/were "Islamic" medicine or public health institutions? How are medicine and public health gendered in different historical and geographical settings? What is new or distinct about “modern” medicine? What have been the continuities and changes in terms of, for example, institutions of public health, state responsibilities for providing health services, conceptualizing target populations for public health projects, etc.? What are major public health issues facing the Middle East today and how are they connected to the region's history?
HIST 363 Muslims in the West
The seminar will examine the formation and growth of the Muslim communities in North America and Europe with specific focus on France, Germany, UK and the US, It will provide a history of the formation of the various Muslim communities in the west; explore the dynamics of community and identity development of the immigrants in a western context and various government integration policies (multiculturalism, laicite and assimilation); the development of western depictions of Muslims as labor migrants, ethnic enclaves to Muslims and increasingly as terrorists. It will also explore the creation of an Islamic minority perspective particularly among the alienated youth as a response to Islamophobia, and the various Muslim effort to create an authentic Muslim western identity through literature, music, fashion, and art.
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 2018 the following course is offered:
HIST 382-01: Topic:Energy in American history. Throughout American history, the ability to control, harness, exploit, and sell new energy resources has propelled some individuals and communities into great wealth and luxury while condemning others to poverty. Empires in North America have been made and unmade by their ability to exploit new energy sources with profound political, economic, diplomatic, environmental, and cultural implications. In this course we will explore the ways in which access to (or exclusion from) energy resources has shaped American history. Through a series of energy transitions from the colonial period to the present. The abundance and exploitation of energy resources in North America have had significant implications for colonial settlement, first nation civilizations and empires, European wars, the rise of modern capitalism, and a culture of consumption. While thinking broadly about energy in the form of food, wood, coal, petroleum, and other fuels like natural gas, hydroelectric power, wind, solar, and nuclear, we will structure our conversations around three historical energy transitions – from wood to coal, from coal to oil, and from oil to nuclear and “greener” resources. Although societies in North America almost always have drawn from multiple energy sources, certain fuels – coal, oil, nuclear, and renewable energy systems – emerged from transition periods as central to economic, political, environmental, and cultural processes. In studying these historical energy regimes, their origins, and their implications, we will consider what trends and dynamics might continue to shape future energy transitions.
Through the four parts of this course – Before Fossil Fuels, Coal, Oil, and Moving Beyond Hydrocarbons – we will identify themes and trends emerging from our study of humans and energy, energy and political systems, and energy and inequality. We will also think about the implications of energy consumption and production for ideas of citizenship and the relationship between capitalism and the Anthropocene age. Students will have the opportunity to combine the skills and methodologies from their respective disciplines with the historical skills developed and refined in this class to enhance their critical thinking, and analytical and communication skills.
HIST 388 Jazz, Civil Rights, and American Society
Jazz and Human Rights will trace social conflict and social progress through the study of Jazz music. Starting with its antecedents, the Negro spirituals of the mid and late 19th Century, and the development of Blues music at the beginning of the 20th century, we will explore how through lyrics and music, the African American people have expressed their desires for freedom and equality. From Duke Ellington’s Black Brown and Beige to Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, to Charles Mingus’ Fables of Faubus and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, the sweet syncopations, and heartfelt realities of Jazz as music of freedom will be explored. We will look at how the music differed in various cities and areas of the country. We will look at similarities and differences among jazz musicians, black and white musicians. In addition to class readings, we will weekly listen to music; view audio clips of live performances and hear what the musicians themselves have to say. And most importantly, we will have fun as we learn.
HIST 390 Markets and the Making of the U.S.
What do markets do? What do we mean when we say “the market”? To what extent was American history shaped by our nation’s peculiar relationship with a market economy?
In addressing these questions, this course covers themes American history from the late colonial period to the modern day, with focus on voluntary market actions as attempts to solve problems and reshape society. Instead of criticizing or praising markets, this course will provide examples for how markets work and how they affect culture and society. The course is mainly discussion-based, but there will also be lectures and primary source exercises in class.
HIST 391 Race and Racism in the White House
This course examines the relationship between race and the American presidency, as well as American electoral politics by examining the racial ideologies of presidents from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and others. The course will not only look at the perspective of leaders, but also their critics and supporters.
HIST 400 History Portfolio Workshop
This 1-credit workshop course is a new requirement for all senior History majors who are not pursuing the Honors program (and thus are not enrolled in HIST 408). It is offered in the Fall of senior year.
The purposes of this course are to provide a common capstone experience to senior majors; to help them reflect on and highlight what they have learned in the course of their studies; to help them develop and present the skills they have gained; to assist them as they prepare either for further studies or for entering the work force; and to give them a chance to gain essential experiences in the presentation of their own work and accomplishments. Students will not need to prepare much new work for this course, but they will present work they have already done, offer reflections on it, and learn to present it in different ways.
HIST 404 Global History of Plague
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.
HIST 408 History 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 463 The Vanishing Christians of the Modern Middle East
The seminar will examine the transformation of the Eastern churches into Arab-Christians in modern history, their participation in the formation of the nation state, their current decline and the renewed call for their protection. It will provide a brief survey of the early developments of Christian controversies, the encounter with Islam, with European hegemony and Pax Americana post WWII. It will examine the prospects for the survival of Christianity in the Arab world in light of rise of Islamic fundamentalism and Christian emigration to the West. It will introduce students to historical writings on particular periods. The course emphasizes discussion and engagement with assigned readings. Students are expected to engage in original research and articulate conclusions both orally and in writing.
HIST 468 Islamic Modernism
Virtually all modern Muslim thinkers focus on reform of Islamic societies, recovery from colonialism, and facing the challenges of post-colonial development. Some approaches to these issues are hostile to modernity, stressing the importance of returning to traditional norms, for example, or developing innovative but highly conservative social coping mechanisms. This course focuses on a diverse range of efforts by Muslim thinkers over the past 150 years who actually engage with modernity and try to articulate Islam’s place in it.
HIST 475 From the Tsars to Putin
To what extent is Vladimir Putin and today’s Russia a prisoner of the past, and to what extent does the past explain Putin’s Russia? This course examines continuities and discontinuities in Russian political history, engaging comparative, thematic, and theoretical perspectives. It pays particular attention to the imperial Russian autocracy starting in the reign of Nicholas I, Soviet power under Lenin and Stalin, and post-Soviet Russia under Vladimir Putin. In order to more deeply understand the particular dilemmas of autocracy and one-person rule in different authoritarian regimes that have coalesced in the Russian/Eurasian space, the course will first critically examine the most celebrated theories explaining historical continuity from Muscovy on, from Edward Keenan’s work on “Muscovite political folkways” to Alfred Rieber’s work on “persistent factors” in Russian foreign policy. Proceeding chronologically, the course encompasses investigations into such key areas as the effectiveness and organization of central state administration; the relationship between state and society; the governing of rural Russia and the regions; borderlands, non-Russians, and the multinational state; the projection and representations of power; personality cults; the role of ideology; political violence and repression; and relations with great power rivals and the outside world. The goal will be, to paraphrase Marc Bloch, not only to better understand the present in light of the past, but to better understand the past in light of the present.
HIST 480 Lincoln
In 2009, the United States commemorated the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, who remains the most written-about figure in U.S. history. In this class, we will explore why that is, and ask what if anything remains left to say. In the first half of the semester, we will read some classic and some recent important books in order to establish the existing state of the historiographical conversation surrounding Lincoln: what questions have captured historians’ attention, what have the most recent answers to those questions been, and how and why have both questions and answers changed over time? Each student will also give particular thought to identifying questions that have remained unexplored or have not been answered to his or her own satisfaction, in order to prepare for the second half of the semester in which we turn to primary sources and original research. Each student will pose a manageable but significant research question about some aspect of Lincoln or his era, and then delve into the Lincoln Papers and other primary sources to draft, give a presentation on, and revise a research paper. This class is heavy in both reading and writing, and assumes significant prior knowledge of nineteenth century United States history; in return, it will provide students with the opportunity to engage in the work of a historian.