Spring 2020 courses

HIS 102 Lipschultz History of the United States, II

MW 1:25-2:15 (note: this course requires a discussion section)

This course covers a survey of United States history from Reconstruction to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on the meaning of American democracy in the face of myriad inequalities.

HIS 132 Miller The Birth of Modernity
MW 11:15-12:05 (note: this course requires a discussion section)

This course covers primarily the history of Europe from the seventeenth century to the present. The course will open with a look at power politics, culture, and society in early modern times, including the creation and impact of a world economy built upon European maritime empires. In particular it will ask how and why the French Revolution was a fundamental turning point in history. Then we will look at the evolving character of Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This history will be punctuated by the influence of another revolution – the Industrial Revolution – and by the increasing power of nationalism. In the nineteenth century we will explore the creation of new states in the heart of Europe (e.g. Bismarck’s unification of Germany) and we will ask whether the prosperity and comfort of middle-class culture allows us to identify a “belle époque” in Europe in the last decades before the First World War. In the last part of the semester we will take up a twentieth-century history of world wars, fascism, collapse, and renewal. The class will meet on Monday and Wednesday for lectures, and on Fridays for discussion.
HIS 200 Merkel The French Empire in Global History

 TR 5:00-6:15

This course looks at the French Empires, the territories that made it up, and the independent nation-states that emerged from it in the Caribbean, North and West Africa, and Southeast Asia. It will use these geographies and peoples as a way of exploring broader themes including race, cultural difference, migration, economic development, and political representation. Students will also work extensively with primary sources, including the UM’s Special Collections on Haiti and writings by anticolonial activists Aimé Césaire, Ho Chi Minh, and more recently Christiane Taubira.

HIS 202 Abaka History of Africa II (since 1800)

MWF 12:20-1:10

This course deals with the emergence of modern Africa from about 1800 until the present.  It examines the European conquest of Africa, African responses to colonialism, the overthrow of colonialism, independence and the post-independence period.  Specific issues to be investigated will include, among others, the scramble and partition of Africa, the political economy of colonialism, the rise of nationalism and the formation of nationalist movements, independence, post-independence problems, the military in African politics, Africa’s perennial problems - drought, famine, migration -  structural adjustment programs and their impact on various African countries, and the search for new socio-economic structures.

HIS 227 Reill Nationalism: Live thy Brother, Hate thy Neighbor? 

TR 12:30-1:45

This lower division lecture course will offer an introductory thematic overview to the ideas and politics of nationalism throughout the globe. Lectures will focus on questions such as: What is a nation? What is a nation’s relationship to a state? Who is part and not part of a nation? How do nations interact? What makes and/or breaks nations? And what is nationalism’s relationship to violence and xenophobia? Lectures  
will focus on case studies from different eras. No prior history background necessary.

HIS 267 Merkel Making History Topical/Method Seminar

TR 12:30-1:45

What are intellectuals and why should we care about them? Do they produce historical change or solely reflect their times? Can they overcome the racial, social, gendered hierarchies that condition their position in a broader social world and the very content of their interventions? This course will take a capacious approach to these questions that includes the perspectives of women, colonial subjects, and less formally-trained “organic” intellectuals. Together we will work with thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci, Rosa Luxemburg, José Vasconcelos, Frantz Fanon, and lesser-known authors from Latin America and elsewhere. We will engage with Marxism, anticolonial politics, and race, constantly drawing texts and social contexts into dialogue and reflecting on the production of history.

HIS 269 Nesvig Homoeroticism
TR 9:30-10:45

A global overview of male same-sex desire, love, sex, and culture. From ancient Greeks to Latin America to the modern gay rights movements, this class examines both behavior and ideology as they concern male homo- and bisexuality. Topics include: Socrates, ideal male love, ancient Romans, medieval and Renaissance Europe, Latin America, machismo, male love without sex, queer esthetics, gay rights movements, urban queer culture, film, literature, HIV/AIDS, same­-sex marriage, and the 21" century moment. Authors and filmmakers examined may include Plato, St. Augustine, Michel Foucault, David Halperin, Jamie O'Neill, Oscar Wilde, Jean Genet, Luis Zapata, Andre Gide, Jack Kerouac, Andrew Holleran, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Rainer Fassbinder, Kenneth Anger, James Baldwin.
HIS 284 Beck The Second World War

TR 3:30-4:45

This lecture course offers a comprehensive history of the Second World War, including a detailed analysis of its diplomatic origins, the military and political course of events, and the consequences of this world-wide conflagration -- the Cold War.  The course begins with an examination of the diplomatic roots of the war and then concentrates on the sequence of military events, as well as the economic, scientific, and psychological dimensions of the conflict.  Topics of discussion include: The first phase of the war from the German attack on Poland to Operation Barbarossa; collaboration and resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe; the war of extermination on the eastern front; the connection between the Holocaust and the war in the East; the conflict in the Far East; D-Day and the dramatic conclusion of the war in Europe; the end of the Grand Coalition and the origins of the Cold War; and the war’s political, social, and cultural impact on subsequent generations.

HIS 300 Bennett Witches and Witchcraft Throughout History

TR 12:30-1:45

Few cultural phenomena have had the widespread impact, or exerted the lasting fascination, of witchcraft and magic. Cultural beliefs in the existence and power of various forms of witchcraft seem to be almost universal across time and place. In premodern Europe, these beliefs led to the persecution of thousands of people—mostly women—as dangerous witches who had to be punished or even executed. Historians have since attempted to understand why this widespread “witch craze” seized early modern Europe repeatedly. But the history of European witchcraft has not only intrigued scholars: popular culture has continued to elevate witchcraft beliefs as both frightening and exciting, a metaphor for societal fears of the unknown, but also an attractive source of power in an uncertain world.

This course analyzes European witchcraft beliefs and the early modern witch craze in a comparative and transatlantic perspective. We will examine the origins of witchcraft beliefs in Europe, the cultural reasons for believing that particular individuals were witches, and the causes and consequences of the waves of trials and executions that disrupted families and villages. Comparing various forms of European witchcraft persecutions with the better-known Salem witch craze and with witchcraft beliefs in the colonial Americas deepens our understanding of witchcraft as a universal phenomenon and our knowledge of the historical particularity of the early modern European witch craze. Later in the semester, we will explore how witchcraft has experienced a modern revival, both in pop culture and in practice.”

HIS 302 Heerman History on Trial: Law and American Society 

TR 11:00pm-12:15

This course asks students to think about the relationship between social history, the law, and politics in American society. This course on American Legal History asks students to confront the "intents of the framers" of U.S. Laws and Constitutional provisions. It requires them to make arguments about how history should inform the outcomes of major legal cases. This is a problem-based, interdisciplinary course that bridges history, political science, legal studies, and sociology to understand the historical context that informs major lawsuits that shaped American jurisprudence.

HIS 310 Abaka Africa in Cuba/Cuba in Africa 
MWF 10:10-11:00

This course examines the relationship between Cuba and Africa from the period of the slave trade to late 1990s.  The course is divided into three sections. Section one deals with Cuba and Africa during the period of the slave trade.  It focuses on the forced migration of Africans to Cuba, the contribution of the enslaved to the growth and development of Cuba and the impact of the African presence on the island.  The next section will deal with the Cuban revolution and the contribution of Cuba’s Black population to the revolution.  It will analyze the impact of the revolution on race relations in Cuba. 

In the final section, we shall emphasize Cuba’s Africa policy from the Cuban revolution to the independence of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and Principé.  This section is designed to answer certain fundamental questions: Why did a small country like Cuba play such a preponderant role in Africa during the decolonization period, a time of heightened antagonism due to the Cold War between the superpowers?

What exactly did Cuban soldiers do in the Congo, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde? Was Cuba a proxy for the Soviet Union or was Fidel Castro pursuing a Cuban agenda? What was the thinking behind Castro’s African policy?  Finally, Cuba trained African youth as doctors, engineers and technicians on the Isle of Youth.  The Cuban-trained African professionals returned to their respective countries in Africa to help rebuild their countries. Their stories have not yet been told and it is our intention to discuss some of their personal stories.
HIS 311 Dutt Gandhi and the Making of Modern India
MW 5:00-6:15

This course will study the rise and significance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, leader of the non-violent nationalist movement against the British Empire in India at the turn of the twentieth century. Through a detailed study of his numerous writings we will explore Gandhi’s theories and praxis of civil disobedience, satyagraha, non-violent protest, moral discipline, critique of modernity as well as his alternative vision of civil society and polity. In the discussion of his philosophical concepts we will focus on the extent and directions to which his ideas and thoughts were adopted as well as rejected in the making of the modern Indian nation state. We will critically examine the widely held perception that “Gandhi brought politics to the masses,” and see the ways in which Gandhian thought was adapted, received and enacted by different actors in the nationalist struggle against the British as well as in independent India. We will explore issues of political mobilization, strategies of “passive” resistance, relations between Hindus and Muslims, Hindu caste society’s ills, the question of “untouchables”, critique of modern science, technology and economic growth, the place of women in society, self reliance, individual and collective responsibilities.

Endearingly often called “Bapu”, or with veneration also known as the “Mahatma”, Gandhi and Gandhian philosophy and praxis have a complex and conflicted relationship with modernity in India in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. In this course the students drawing from Gandhi’s writings, as well as extensive multi-disciplinary scholarship on him and his times, audio-visuals, film and other multi-media, will get a rounded picture of the man, the historical context of his times, primary influences on his thoughts as well as his particular legacy and relevance in contemporary India and the world in general.

This is a writing credit course.
HIS 312 Dutt Femininity, Masculinity, and Sexual Politics in Indian History 

MWF 10:10-11:00

This course is a thematic rather than chronological study of issues relating to gender and sex and the ways in which they have shaped the history of women and men’s lived experiences in India. We will focus on relations between women and men, constructions of the feminine and the masculine, sexual politics in the divergent narratives and contested histories of Indian womanhood as imagined and lived – the “Devi”(Goddess) or the “Dasi” (slave), the changing and dynamic nature of the roles and statuses of women and men in the spheres of politics, law, society, economy, and culture. We will weave a narrative of women and men’s lives by looking at both formal structures (inscribed in religious and legal texts) as well the customary lived experiences that often do not conform closely to formal dictates.

To understand both formal social structure as well as experience and lived customs we will read a variety of multidisciplinary texts – primary historical documents written by both women and men, religious texts (Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist), selections from legal treatises, folktales, fiction, plays, autobiographies, memoirs, visuals, and films. Themes will be selected from ancient, medieval and modern periods of Indian history, with primary focus on modern and contemporary developments.

HIS 326 Thomas High Middle Ages

TR 2:00-3:15

This course covers Western Europe from 1095 to approximately 1500, a period traditionally defined as the High and Late Middle Ages. It will deal with a variety of subjects, including the Crusades, Islamic influence on Western Europe, the cultural revival of the central Middle Ages, economic expansion, warfare, the development of nations, chivalry and courtly love, religious life, and the Black Death. For Game of Thrones lovers, there will be a fair amount of sex and violence too. Readings will include a main textbook and five other books, most of them sources from the period. Grades will be based on participation in discussion, papers, a midterm, and a final.

HIS 327 Ruggiero Italian Renaissance
TR 9:30-10:45

This course will focus on the social and cultural worlds of the Italian Renaissance c. 1250-1550 and is based on a book with a radically new vision of the period that I have written for Cambridge University Press.  Across this span of time five large centers of power won political and economic dominance in Italy: Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome, and the Kingdom of Naples, only to slowly fall under the shadow of larger powers beyond Italy over the course of the sixteenth century.  But perhaps more significantly the period was marked off by the rise and transformation of a new social elite, the popolo grosso and the flourishing of new cultural and social forms in the arts and literature as well as in regards to gender, family and sexuality that reflected their values; all these new changes were consistently conceptualized at the time as not new but old, not innovations but reforms, not births but rebirths (re-naissances).  And at the same time it was a period of unique cultural contact and conflict between the world of everyday life and the elite worlds of Church, State, and Book.  The course will trace the intricate interrelationships of these developments and conflicts focusing on the perhaps leading two cities of the renaissance: Florence and Venice. 

Reading for the Course: [Note: this is a reading intensive course which requires from 50 to 250 pages of reading per week and as many classes are based upon discussion of reading, if this amount of reading will not fit into your schedule, it would be best to find another course.]


Guido Ruggiero, The Renaissance in Italy: A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento (As the university bookstore seldom orders enough books for the course, I have posted on Blackboard the Introduction and first two chapters of this book in the last version of the manuscript before it went to press to serve as a stopgap until members of the class can purchase the book.  To buy the book I recommend Amazon which provides rapid delivery at lower prices than the bookstore [in fact I recommend Amazon or some other online book outlet for all the books required, especially as they offer used books regularly at much lower cost.] The manuscript lacks the very last minimal corrections and maps included in the final version; and obviously the page numbers are different, thus I have listed the manuscript page numbers in parenthesis after the regular page numbers in the syllabus.)

Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron.  Selections.  (A handout with the selections to be read will be handed out in class.)

Five Comedies from the Italian Renaissance, translated and edited by Laura Giannetti and Guido Ruggiero.

 Niccolò  Machiavelli, The Portable Machiavelli.  Selections.
HIS 328 Gunther Reformation Europe

MW 6:25-7:40pm

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church was the oldest and most important institution in Europe.  It owned an enormous amount of property, its clergy and churches covered the entire continent, and its law, doctrines, and rituals fundamentally shaped the lives of Europeans from the cradle to the grave.  Yet in a few short decades, the Reformation would change all of this.  Large swathes of the population and entire regions of Europe would come to see the Catholic Church as evil and antichristian, replacing it with a new form of Christianity we call Protestantism.  

It was the most dramatic rupture in European history since the fall of the western Roman Empire a thousand years earlier.  

What caused this revolution?  How did it gain adherents and win support?  Why did the Protestant movement fracture into competing camps?  What changes did Protestantism bring to people’s everyday lives and are people right to think that Protestantism gave birth to the modern world? 

HIS 339 Lindemann Germany from Luther to Napoleon

TR 11:00-12:15

This course will cover German history (including the history of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburgs) from the late Renaissance and the eve of the Reformation through the reorganization of the German states by Napoleon.   Although early modern German history has often been taught from the perspective of “great men” and figures such as Luther, Charles V, and Frederick the Great will all get their due here, this course will also consider the full range of society, from peasants and paupers, merchants and bankers, alewives and tanners,  to dukes and princes.  We will also depart from what is often called the “Borussian tradition” that focused principally on Prussia and that endowed that state with a “manifest destiny from the seventeenth century onward to lead and unite Germany.”  We will examine, among other topics, the federal character of early modern Germany and the importance of the Holy Roman Empire as a viable political entity.  Religion and the development of confessional differences will play an important role as will the Thirty Years’ War, the “rise of absolutism,” and the Revolutionary/Napoleonic wars of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Just as much attention, however, will be devoted to topics of social and economic change, culture, gender, and urban and rural life.  Class periods will combine lectures with discussions of assigned readings. 

HIS 355 Merkel Modern Brazil

MW 3:35-4:50

Brazil has long been called a “laboratory” of civilization. At once indigenous, European, and African, the continental-sized country provides a useful perspective for thinking through broader phenomena relevant for our times. In this course, we will explore themes ranging from commodity markets, the environment, internal colonization, the transition from slavery to free labor, urbanization, right and left-wing cultural nationalism, and resistance to the military dictatorship. Bringing us into the present, we will analyze the fires raging in the Amazon and the Brazilians of South Florida.

HIS 374 Lipschultz History of Feminism

TR 3:30-4:45

Taking as our presumption that feminism is socially and historically constructed, this course will look at feminism in the United States in order to understand change over time, and what social forces have shaped its theory and practice. We will consider such contexts for feminism as: liberalism, labor movements, radical protest, the nexus of race and feminism, social needs policy, equal rights vs. equal results, and multiculturalism.

HIS 389 Reill Nineteenth-Century Europe: Barricades, Borders, and the Bourgeosie

TR 2:00-3:15

Why study “the long nineteenth century” (from 1789 to 1914)? The short answer is that this is the period in which the shape of the modern world became clear for the first time.  Liberty, equality, fraternity-the great slogan of French Revolution announced an agenda based on democracy, human rights, equality before the law, the career open to talents, and the sovereignty of the people.  But the actual outcome of the Revolution was less encouraging: inflation, terror, dictatorship, imperialism, and twenty years of European wars.  Meanwhile, the industrial revolution in Britain suggested the possibility of exponential economic growth.  But here, too, the actual result, at least in the short term, was alarming: a miserable urban proletariat and poverty in the midst of wealth.  Our course traces the uneven interaction between these two revolutions-the democratic and the industrial-across interaction between these two revolutions-the democratic and the industrial-across a century of rapid social change.  Major stops on our itinerary include the revolutions of 1848; the failures of liberalism in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Russia; the advent of modernism in the arts; the scramble for empire and the impact of imperialism; and the origins of the First World War. 

HIS 538 Ruggiero Microhistory

W 2:00-4:30

In 1991 when Ed Muir and I published Microhistory and the Lost Peoples of Europe little did we realize that with a book that had begun over beers in a sleazy bar in St. Louis that we were touching off a debate on the theory and practice of microhistory that would in many ways usher in a new field of history.  A couple of years ago in yet another sleazy bar reflecting on the literal explosion of microhistorical studies, Ed remarked to me ruefully, “Guido what have we done?”

Indeed!  In this seminar I would like to consider that question, albeit with the obvious caveat that I don’t think we should take all the blame or credit for the explosion of microhistory – we were just at the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) moment.  Still two decades later with microhistory flourishing as perhaps the most important competitor with global history and newer cultural approaches to political and intellectual history, this seminar will examine the way microhistory works more as a strategy for research and writing history than as a discipline.  Eschewing the sound bites of microhistory as “truly dead history” or offering the truth “in the details” it will consider the way in which it offers a fruitful strategy not only for writing a more literate history that features the particular, the individual, and human agency, but also can be seminal for thinking about and reformulating fruitfully the larger structures and themes of not just history, but also the humanities more generally.

The seminar will involve weekly reading and discussion on the theory and practice of the field with short biweekly essays to help build and direct discussion.  After some preliminary fairly straightforward theoretical considerations, it will range widely over the most important (and fun) works published in the field with an emphasis on the pre-modern period, but with significant excursions into the most significant or suggestive works published on the Americas, North and South.  The only real prerequisite for the course is a willingness to read and discuss and non-historians are encouraged to sign up and contribute their point of view to the discussions.

HIS 544 Beck The Nazi Rise to Power, 1928-1934

W 4:30-7:00

This seminar concentrates on the final phase of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazi party and its seizure of power between 1928 and 1934.  We deal in detail with the reasons for the downfall of the Republic and rise of the NSDAP, Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in January 1933, and the period of the Nazi takeover in 1933-1934.  In this context we discuss the different stages of the Nazi takeover: beginning with the Reichstag fire in February 1933, and continuing with the Enabling Act in March, anti-Semitic legislation and attacks, violence against Nazi opponents during the spring of 1933, political repression, and the rise of the NSDAP party-state when the Nazis banned all other political parties.

On the pivotal period of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi seizure of power, we possess several important sets of primary documents, such as reports from the British and American embassies in Berlin (Documents on British Foreign Policy; Foreign Relations of the United States), investigative reports that were published in the United States at the time, and personal accounts dealing with the dramatic events of 1933.  We will examine these primary documents during the course of the semester.

HIS 544 Miller Occupiers and Occupied: The French Empire & Vichy

M 2:00-4:30 

In this class we will look at two French experiences in modern times, that of occupiers or imperial masters over the world’s second largest empire, and that of occupied (Vichy France), following defeat by Germany in 1940.  Both experiences raise important questions that historians continue to debate.  What did it mean, for instance, to be the torchbearer of the French Revolution, even a Republic, and yet to be an imperial master abroad?  In what ways did the French empire become an expression of what the French were seeking in themselves?  Once defeated by Germany, to what extent did France, and French men and women, collaborate with their conquerors, and was collaboration always avoidable or even condemnable?  What was life in the Resistance like, and, faced with alternatives of collaboration and resistance, what did ordinary men and women choose to do? How were the Vichy years experienced in the empire?  And, in both halves of the course, what were the challenges to effective rule?

HIS 559 Heerman Race and Slavery in the Atlantic World 

T 4:30-7:00 

What is the relationship between race and slavery? How did blackness come to be associated with bondage? The class will ask how Europeans developed the power to enslaved and deport Africans to the New World. It will then explore what institutions and practices supported the explosive growth of plantations across the Western Hemisphere. Last, it will ask how people dismantled slavery in the Americas. Spanning centuries, the class will look at the making and remaking of race in Atlantic contexts as a way to understand power in the Americas.

HIS 561 Bachin Introduction to Urban America
 R 2:00-4:30

This course will examine the rise of cities throughout American history, with an emphasis on growth and development in the 19th and 20th centuries.  We will focus on the layout of cities; the role of architectural styles in shaping both national and regional identities; the rise of urban segregation; the growth of suburbs and edge cities; and the impact of urban growth on the environment. The course will address a variety of factors that have helped shape American cities, including landscape, economics, class, race, gender, and public policy.  Thus, we will relate discussions of the built environment with broader concerns about creating democratic public spheres, providing adequate shelter and transportation for residents, promoting capitalist growth, shaping inequity in community development, and establishing a sense of place. 

In addition to providing students with an introduction to American urban history, a major goal of this course is to help students understand how historical understanding can help inform present-day conditions.  Students will learn how many of the urban issues we discuss from a national and historical perspective have manifested themselves locally in South Florida.  Students will then have the opportunity to work on some aspect of planning, urban development, and local history in Miami through the use of primary source documents in Richter Library and collaboration with local community organizations. 
HIS 591 Nesvig Flordia: From Calusa to Cocain Cowboys c. 1000-2049

 T 2:00-4:30

Florida has a complex history:  it was home to a wide range of indigenous groups before 1492; it was, in turn, a Spanish territory, and English possession, a Spanish one, a U.S. territory and slave state; a Jim Crow era southern state; and today, home to a diverse population.  This course is a reading-intensive seminar which spans several centuries of Florida history.  Topics may include: indigenous societies; Spanish exploration and conquest; Catholic missions; Spanish colonial society; the slave trade; indigenous rebellions; the back-and-forth possession of Florida from Spain to England to Spain to the United States; Florida as the Old South; Reconstruction and white supremacist/Jim Crow laws; Miami Beach’ Key West; cocaine cowboys; modern/postmodern Florida; beaches and tourism; civil rights and LBGTQ rights movements.