Fall 2019 courses

HIS 101 Heerman History of the United States, I

When and where does U.S. History begin? This survey course begins by studying New World colonialism to trace the rise of an “American experience” in North America.  The course will examine how the meeting of European societies, African societies, and Indigenous societies adapted to new environments and merged into a distinctly “American” society. This course will explore how these diverse groups interacted with each other, made new societies, and destroyed old ones. Guiding our inquiry, we will trace how the concept of “a citizen” came to define the early nation, and how conflicts over citizenship rights in time led to sectional conflict and a bloody Civil War. In the end, we will study the connections between a long history of colonialism and the rise of U.S. citizenship to understand how various groups participated in, and were excluded from, the making of the American nation.

MW 2:30pm-3:20pm (note: this course requires a discussion section)

HIS 122 Halsey East Asian History II

Do you want to learn how China and Japan developed the first and third largest economies in the world, respectively?  To understand why China now has a larger population than any other country, including India?  To know why Beijing and Tokyo fought two bitter and bloody wars in the last hundred years and may do so again in the future?   Explore the history of the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region this fall in The Middle Kingdom and the Rising Sun.  We will focus on the fascinating connections between two of the region’s powerful countries, China and Japan, and the ways that this complex relationship has shaped the history of the Asia-Pacific region.  This class is a broad survey, which means that we will discuss topics ranging from geisha and poets to empires and revolutions to samurai warriors and atom bombs.  The Middle Kingdom and the Rising Sun is also an introductory course and assumes no prior knowledge of Asia or coursework in the field of history. 

TR 2:00pm-3:15pm

HIS 131 Gunther Europe from Antiquity to 1600: An Expanding World

In ways that we don't always notice, we live in a world that continues to be profoundly shaped by institutions, ideas, and attitudes that developed in ancient and medieval Europe.  This course will enable you to better understand the world today by telling the story of European history from Ancient Greece to the Protestant Reformation. Topics include: politics, warfare, sex, and philosophy in Ancient Greece; the rise (and fall?) of the Roman Empire; the development of Christianity and Islam and their impact on European history; key medieval developments like the Crusades, the Papacy, cathedrals, universities, and the Black Death; and finally the technological and cultural upheavals brought about by the printing press, European global expansion, new approaches to warfare, and religious revolution at the beginning of the early modern period.  This course counts towards the “Western Civilization: Historical Approaches” and “History of Early Modern Europe” cognates.

MW 3:35-4:25pm (note: this course requires a discussion section)

HIS 162 Merkel History of Modern Latin America (1800-present)

A survey of the national period in Latin American history, emphasizing the political and social issues in the transition from colonialism to nationhood.

MW 5:00-6:15pm

HIS 201 Abaka Africa before 1800

This course is designed to give students a general understanding of the history of pre-colonial Africa (Africa before 1800). It will give prominence to the sources available for the study of African history, the historical geography of Africa, social and economic institutions.  This is designed to facilitate students’ understanding of the different marriage, family, and kinship systems in African countries. African political institutions will also be discussed through an analysis of state systems-Egypt, Kush, Meroe, Ghana, Mali, Songhai etc., and non-state systems.  The course also examines African economic activities to show the connections between trade, state formation, and decline of states. Slavery, the slave trade, and its impact on the continent will be thoroughly explored to delineate the creation of the African Diaspora in Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. The last segment of the course discusses African Religion, Islam, Christianity and European missionary activity in Africa. 

TR 9:30-10:45am

HIS 212 Dutt Empires in India: The Mughals and the British (1526-1947)

India, home to over a billion people is a sub-continent of diverse languages, religions, and peoples. Drawing on multidisciplinary scholarship and primary historical sources, we will explore the rich history, culture, and political economy of this region and its people (focusing on what today are the modern states of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). Straddling broadly the period of the two empires, namely the Mughal and the British, we will look at the formation of social and religious identities, debates around modernity and tradition, “the women’s question” deindustrialization, rise of nationalism, sectarian violence, partition and independence of the sub-continent. With the aid of visual media and textual sources we will explore the diversity and complexity of a people’s history and the making of modern South Asia – through art, architecture, literature, film, intellectual and philosophical treatises.

This introductory course will allow students to see beyond prevailing stereotypes of fanatical religions, backbreaking poverty, spiritual gurus, mysticism, cows, snake charmers and Bollywood extravaganza, to appreciate instead, the complex and often contradictory paths in this region’s history – grappling with modernity and tradition, democracy and authoritarianism, religious sectarianism and secular achievements

TR 6:25-7:40pm

HIS 261 Lipschultz Women's America I

This course looks at the history of American women from the American Revolution to Reconstruction. We will examine mothers and daughters of the revolution, women and the law of slavery, abolition and women’s rights, the first independent women’s movement and the legal status of women throughout the period.

MW 5:00-6:15pm

HIS 290 Nesvig The Beach

This class attempts to understand how different human societies understand beaches as sites of social, cultural, political, and ecological encounters.  While primarily focused on the cultural understanding of beaches, the course will consider beaches from a variety of perspectives.  Taking as a point of departure the encounters between Europeans, Polynesians, Indigenous Americans, and Africans and the debate on culture-contact in noted cases such as Captain Cook in Hawaii and Columbus in the Caribbean, the course branches out to consider beaches as sites of dynamism broadly speaking.  Among the thematic considerations may be included:  surfing, bikinis, suntanning, imperialism and conquest, war, trade, port cities, smuggling, piracy, resorts, the environmental impact of resorts on beaches, real estate prices, economic access to beaches, climate change, sand, sharks, fishing and "saltwater people," the sea as sacred space, sex on the beach, gay beaches, nude beaches, sex tourism, racial segregation, the price of beach attendance.  Case studies may include:  Miami Beach, San Diego, Hawaii, Tahiti, Brisbane, Sydney, Acapulco, Rio de Janeiro, Cancún, Coney Island, Baja California, Goa, the Molucca Straits, the Amalfi Coast, Mallorca, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Phuket, Normandy.

TR 9:30-10:45am

HIS 300 Marques War and Society in the Pre-Modern World

This course examines the link between warfare and society from the start of the first Crusade (1095) to the French Revolution (1789). These years saw dramatic changes in the nature and conduct of war, bringing forth new ideas about warfare, soldiering, and the place of violence in society. This period was also defined by interaction between military cultures, especially in the Americas. At the same time, dramatic shifts in literature, politics, law, and theology occurred off the battlefield which nevertheless impacted the way wars were fought. This course will examine the link between war and society, drawing on primary material and scholarly monographs in order to help students develop skills of textual analysis. The writing assignments, exams, and discussions are designed to help students think critically about ongoing historical debates concerning a controversial subject in world history.

TR 2:00-3:15pm

HIS 309 Abaka Southern Africa from Pre-Settlement to Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela epitomizes the resistance of the people of South Africa against apartheid. This course takes up the theme of resistance to discrimination and apartheid in South Africa. It examines South African history at four critical junctures: the early contact with Europeans, the Mfecane, the introduction of apartheid, and the activities of the African National Congress and the people of Southern Africa in the overthrow of apartheid. First, we shall examine Southern African society before the arrival of the Dutch in 1652. Second we shall analyze the establishment of the Dutch settlement and the relations between Africans and settlers in the context of the settler expansion inland and the appropriation of the lands of various peoples of Southern Africa. The next segment will look at the discovery of gold and diamond at the Witwatersrand and Kimberly respectively and the implications for South Africans, especially in terms of labor and race relations. The final segment of the course will focus on the institutionalization of the apartheid system, the mechanics of the system and African and responses. We shall lay emphasis on the internal struggles and external pressures that helped in the collapse of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela to become the president of a multi-racial South African society.

TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

HIS 313 Dutt Bollywood and Beyond: Religion, Gender and Politics in South Asian Film

This course studies themes in Indian society through the lens of Indian cinema – both Bollywood and the regional film industry. The course consists of five modules each lasting between two to three weeks.  Module one will situate and frame the entire semester’s readings with a discussion of a brief history of Bollywood and regional cinema, their respective reach, influence and limits in framing, valorizing or even critiquing societal and cultural norms.  Each subsequent module will open to lecture and discussion with the screening of a Bollywood film (often an excerpt), regional cinema or a documentary.  The important themes that will be covered in the modules will relate to a) the significance, centrality, fluidity and perversion of caste in Indian society; b) the multiple cinematic and popular representations and framing of the religious epic - the Ramayana.  Using multiple visual and textual narratives of the Ramayana we will discuss the place of myths in the construction of politics and society; c) issues of gender and sexuality  - studying the shaping of celluloid goddesses and real lives of women, consumption of sex, queering of it and its depiction in film and reception in society; d) Colonial and post-colonial engagement with modernity in India – through the lens of the nation state and its women, as well as the nation and its “others”: identity politics based on religious exclusivity, communal and secular anxieties in modern India; and e) Diaspora identities and cultural appropriation of Bollywood cinematic frames and references outside India. Students will earn a writing credit.

MW 6:25-7:40pm

HIS 331 Thomas England to the Accession of the Tudor Dynasty (to 1485)

This course will cover the history of England from the Roman invasions to the seizure of power by Henry Tudor in 1485. It will cover such topics as the creation of English identity, the unification of England, relations with Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, the Norman Conquest, and wars with France. We will also explore various topics concerning culture, religion, economic decline and development, and sex and gender. There will be two very brief textbooks and several books containing primary sources. Grades will be based on exams, participation in discussion, and papers.

TR 12:30-1:45pm

HIS 336 Miller Modern French History

This course covers the history of France since 1870.  It will begin with a series of lectures that consider broad themes in French history over the past 130 years: power and decline; the legacy of the French Revolution; church-state-society relations; and issues of identity.  The remainder of the course will follow French history from the Franco-Prussian War, using a mix of lectures and discussions.  We will focus on major political developments: the Dreyfus Affair; World War I; the Popular Front; World War II and issues of collaboration and resistance; the French Empire and colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria; and the role of Charles de Gaulle.  But we will also devote a fair amount of time to the social and cultural history of modern France, examining the lives of peasants, the bourgeoisie, and workers; looking at issues of honor and opportunity for men and women; considering the historical significance of the Tour de France; and thinking broadly about what is “Frenchness.” 

TR 11:00-12:15pm

HIS 340 Beck German History: 1815-present

This is a lecture course on modern German history beginning from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the end of the Third Reich in 1945.  The course begins with an overview of German history from the Napoleonic occupation, as background to German unification in 1871, and then concentrates on the domestic and foreign policies of the German Empire, with an emphasis on Bismarck's system of alliances and the origins of the First World War.  We then turn to political and military developments in Germany during World War I and, following that, to the Weimar Republic, from its difficult beginnings after Germany's defeat in 1918 and stabilization in the mid-1920s to the renewed instability, violence, and turmoil during the Great Depression.  Weimar’s great cultural achievements formed a strange contrast to the Republic's political disasters, culminating in Hitler's rise to power in January 1933.  The political and social history of Nazi Germany and Germany's role in the Second World War constitute another focal point of the course, which concludes with a brief examination of the period after 1945.

TR 3:30-4:45pm

HIS 346 Goff Imperial Russia

This course is a survey of the Russian Empire from the sixteenth century to the dawn of the 1917 Russian Revolution. How did the Russian Empire become the world’s largest land empire, and how did it stay together for centuries? We will integrate local histories of imperial peripheries (including Siberia, Central Asia, Crimea and the Caucasus) into the major themes that have defined Russian imperial history. Topics covered will include: the politics, technologies, and practices of imperial expansion and rule; debates about “westernization” and Russian identity; serfdom and peasant life; industrialization and modernization; revolutionary and reactionary currents in the nineteenth century; state reforms; and the environment leading up to the Russian Revolution.

TR 5:00-6:15pm

HIS 357 Merkel Social History of Latin America

Demographic changes, race and ethnic relations, immigration, and urbanization.

MW 6:25-7:40pm

HIS 376 Lipschultz American Legal and Constitutional History

The development of legal thought and practice in the context of American politics, economy and ideology during the twentieth century. Special consideration will be given to social movements and their treatment under the rule of law.

TR 5:00-6:15pm

HIS 390 Reill  Europe after Hitler: 1943-today

This course examines the transformation of Europe after its bouts with fascism and world wars, encompassing roughly 1944-today. Through memoirs, novels, films, letters, images, and music we will study the social and political transformations of both eastern and western Europe during the periods of reconstruction, the formation of an “Iron Curtain” continent, the Cold War, the economic boom, recession, the uprisings of the 1960s, third-way socialism of the 1970s, terrorist scares, Thatcherism, anti-Americanism, détente, the fall of the Berlin Wall in ’89, the Yugoslav debacle, and the formation of the European Union in an era of tense multiculturalism.

TR 2:00-3:15pm

HIS 511 Halsey Colonialism, Identity, and Development

This seminar uses works of history and literature to explore the origins, development, and collapse of European colonial empires from 1500 to the present.  We will focus primarily on South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean but also draw comparisons with Latin America, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. The course will develop a grand narrative that links overseas expansion in the early modern period (c. 1500-1800) to global capitalism but rejects economics as central to the creation of formal territorial empires after 1800.  Instead, we will argue that the primary significance of “modern” or territorial imperialism lay in the realm of culture, discourse, and identity formation for both Europeans and their colonial subjects.  The first section of the course will evaluate the growth of plantations and trading posts from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries and examine important changes in consumption, production, and finance that they triggered in European societies.  We will then trace the emergence of formal colonies in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and appraise the linguistic, cultural, and social impact of European rule on indigenous peoples.  During the final part of the course, we will assess the process of decolonization in the 1950s and 60s and conclude with the challenges of economic development and the post-colonial condition since independence.

R 4:30-7:00pm

HIS 538 Lindemann Disasters

This course focuses on a world that well fits Thomas Hobbes’s description of life as “nasty, brutish, and short.”  Although famines, wars, plagues, and other disasters are not limited to early modern Europe, there has been a good deal of historical interest in these subjects for the late medieval and early modern periods, running roughly from 1300-1750.  This rich scholarship has given us important insights into a world we have lost. This course examines the actual unfolding of these events and their impact on European society, culture, politics, and religion.  Among other subjects, we will focus on the Great Famine of 1311-14, the “plague” of 1347-50, the Little Ice Age, the Thirty Years War, volcanic eruptions, and the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. We will devote much attention to understanding how people coped with these admittedly horrible experiences and made sense of them in their own lives.  It is a story of despair and fear but also, perhaps somewhat curiously, of optimism and hope. The class will be devoted to lectures and discussions of assigned materials.  We will read a series of primary sources, historical interpretations, “reportage,” and literary treatments.

M 2:00-4:30pm

HIS 544 Beck World War I

This seminar concentrates on the origins and the course of the First World War.  We begin with a detailed analysis of the diplomatic origins of the war, starting with Bismarck’s system of alliances and its gradual overthrow between 1890 and 1907, as well as an examination of the crises that preceded the outbreak of the conflict in August 1914.  We then turn to the course of military events and the economic, social, and psychological dimensions of the conflict.  The First World War changed the face of the earth forever, resulting not only in the mobilization of 65 million men, the death of ten million, and the destruction of four empires; it also precipitated the Russian Revolution and was instrumental in the emergence of fascism in Italy and National Socialism in Germany.  The “Great War,” as it came to be called in Western Europe, also lay at the root of the second world-wide conflagration.  Historians have come to speak of it as the Urkatastrophe, the foundational catastrophe of the twentieth century that set off a ‘thirty years crisis’ spanning the decades from 1914 to 1945.  

W 4:30-7:00pm

HIS 554 Merkel New Approaches to Latin American and Caribbean History

W 2:00-4:30pm

HIS 561 Heerman Slavery in Fact and Fiction

How can we come to terms with slavery? Scholars, artists, and activists have all produced work that tries to make sense of slavery in the United States. Yet the answers remain elusive, in part because of the difficulties of placing enslaved people at the center of those works. In this class we will explore how historians and novelists have portrayed slavery, and explore how we might better know the history of enslaved people.

MW 12:30-1:45pm

HIS 591 Goff Oral History

This is an advanced seminar that will introduce students to oral history methodology and provide a foundational training in this practice. In exploring this methodology, the course will encourage students to think about the nexus of memory, power, and history. How do historians express and craft historical narratives? How are sources made, selected, and reframed in these narrations? As we investigate these questions, we will work our way through stories “from the field” and through the vast body of meta-commentary about oral historical narratives and practices. TR 12:30-1:45pm

HIS 702 Lindemann Research Seminar II
HIS 714 Reill Historiography
HIS 722 Gunther Dissertation Prospectus Seminar