This team-taught seminar explores the 20th century in global comparative perspective, through the reading, contextualization and analysis of mainly primary source texts and documents. In any given year, the seminar focuses on one of two themes: the post-war world (ca.1945-1989) or the inter-war world (1919-1939). It takes up themes of broad political, economic and social transformations; scientific and technological innovations; and the cultural shifts that occurred throughout these decades preceding and following the Second World War. The seminar sections meet jointly once a week for lectures or films and separately once a week for discussion of primary-source readings. In addition to the rich historical material that the course addresses, students begin to learn the basic skills of the historian: asking questions, finding and analyzing relevant documents or primary sources, and identifying different kinds of interpretations of those sources. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major. Open only to first-year students.
This course is the same as AMST 101D. This course must be taken as HIST 101D to count toward the social science requirement. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to United States history from the 12th century to the mid-19th century. Students gain a more developed understanding of American history by examining the interactions among diverse cultures and people; the formation and use of power structures and institutions throughout the colonial, Revolutionary and antebellum eras; and the processes behind the "Americanization" of the North American continent. Central to this course is a comparison between two interpretations of American history: a Whiggish, or great American history, and the more conflict-centered Progressive interpretation. Students not only gain a general knowledge of this time period, but also understand the ways in which the past can be contextualized. Students are expected to understand both the factual basis of American history and the general interpretive frameworks underlying historical arguments. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite.
This course is the same as AMST 102D. This must be taken as HIST 102D to count toward the social science requirement. This course is a thematic survey of the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Students examine the transformation of the United States from a rural, largely Protestant society into a powerful and culturally diverse urban/industrial nation. Topics include constitutional developments, the formation of a national economy, urbanization and immigration. The course also discusses political changes, the secularization of public culture, the formation of the welfare state, World War I, World War II, the Cold War and the Vietnam War as well as suburbanization, the civil rights movement, women's and gay rights, and the late 20th-century conservative politics movement and religious revival. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite.
What is Latin America’s colonial legacy? How do we amend a history of death and destruction with one of cultural exchange and dynamism? How was colonialism instituted through violent and nonviolent methods? And how do the legacies of colonialism continue to impact the region? This course is an introduction to Latin America’s rich colonial history, emphasizing the roots of the region’s diversity. Using daily life as a lens to study the establishment and maintenance of Iberian colonialism, the course examines the mixed results of the encounter between European, African, Asian and Indigenous groups; the power dynamics between colony and metropole; and how the story of “conquest” has elicited debate. We begin by tracing some of the cultural backgrounds of the men and women who would go on to form the foundation of colonial society. As the course progresses, we explore how colonial subjects lived, worked, married, ate, had sex, worshiped and socialized, and how these daily rituals were influenced by the larger structures of colonial power. Lectures and reading assignments draw upon a variety of sources, including court cases, biography, travel accounts and visual sources. The course concludes with an analysis of the Age of Revolutions, a period of dramatic upheaval that forever changed the continent. Previous study of Latin America or fluency in Spanish, French and/or Portuguese is not needed. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major; and for the Americas, global medieval and early modern, and colonial and imperial fields. No prerequisite.
Are revolutions ever as revolutionary as they promise to be? When is incremental change advocated over large-scale reform? And when is revolution seen as the only option? Are the promises of a charismatic leader just a way to manipulate the masses, or are the masses shaping their leaders? And what happens when things go awry? This course asks these questions in the context of contemporary Latin America. It examines the region’s history from independence at the beginning of the 19th century to redemocratization at the end of the 20th. The central and recurring theme of the course is the narrative of reform versus revolution and the (often unintended) consequences of each. Throughout the course, we encounter debates about nationhood, modernization, imperialism and sovereignty, often from the perspectives of historical figures like Ernesto "Çhe" Guevara and Frida Kahlo. In doing so, we can begin contextualizing the circumstances of men and women’s actions, the various possibilities of freedom they envisioned, and the factors leading to their decision to rebel, accommodate or find a third path. Prior study of Latin America, or study of Spanish, French or Portuguese are not needed. This class counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirement for the major, and the Americas field. No prerequisite.
This course surveys the history of the early Middle Ages. Relying mainly on primary sources, it traces the broad contours of 800 years of European and Mediterranean history. The course covers the gradual merging of Roman and Germanic cultures, the persistence of Roman ideas during the Middle Ages, the slow Christianization of Europe, monasticism, the rise of Islam, and Norse society. Readings include Augustine's "Confessions," a scandalous account of the reign of the Emperor Justinian, the "Rule of St. Benedict," a translation of the Qur'an and Bede's "Ecclesiastical History." This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
This course surveys the history of the later Middle Ages in Europe and the Mediterranean. Relying mainly on primary sources, the course covers the renaissance of the 12th century, mendicant and monastic spiritualities, scholasticism, the rise of universities and the devastation of the Black Death. Readings include Christian, Jewish and Muslim accounts of several crusades; a saga about a hard-drinking, poetry-loving Norseman; and letters written by two ill-fated 12th-century lovers. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
Through lectures and discussions, this course introduces the student to early modern Europe, with special attention to Austria, Britain, France, Prussia and Russia. It treats such topics as the Reformation, the emergence of the French challenge to the European equilibrium, Britain's eccentric constitutional course, the pattern of European contacts with the non-European world, the character of daily life in premodern Europe, the Enlightenment, the appearance of Russia on the European scene, and the origins of German dualism, as well as the impact of the French Revolution on Europe. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
The European continent is incredibly diverse: geographically, culturally, economically, ethnically and politically (to name only the most obvious factors). Throughout the semester we explore this diversity of experiences since the end of the 18th century. We look at issues of race, class and gender, as well as violence, poverty, faith, nationalism, technology and art. We read novels and memoirs, watch films and listen to music as we hone our historical knowledge and sensibilities regarding modern Europe, its peoples and its governments. We examine the fates of a variety of nations, using examples from across the continent. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite
This course is a survey of major events and social changes that occurred on the continent of Africa before 1800, with an emphasis on those that took place after 500. As the continent encompasses hundreds of different societies, each with its own history, this survey is necessarily far from comprehensive, instead focusing on select cases in various regions that illustrate larger trends and issues. Among the main topics are smaller-scale societies, kingdoms that arose in different parts of Africa, the spread of Islam, the arrival of European traders and the impact of the transatlantic slave trade. Recurring themes in the course include state formation, religion, geographic diversity, cultural exchange and the roles of archaeology, linguistics and oral histories in the reconstruction of Africa's early history. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Generally offered every year.
This course examines the history of Africa from 1800 to the present. It employs a range of books, articles, novels and videos to explore 19th-century transformations in Africa, European conquest of the continent, the impact of colonialism, the coming of independence, and recent challenges and achievements in Africa. The influence of Europe on Africa is a dominant theme, but the course emphasizes African perspectives and actions in that troubled relationship. Throughout, we consider issues of resistance, identity and cultural change, paying particular attention to the recent roots of current situations in Africa, such as the democratization of some nations and endemic violence in others. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Generally offered every spring.
This course surveys the history of India from the rise of the Mughal Empire in 1526 to the recent past. The course places the history of India in a regional and global context and explores art, film and fiction as mediums for making sense of the past, alongside analysis of traditional documentary sources. Topics include ecology of the Indian subcontinent; Muslim rule; European trade; British colonialism; anticolonial, Hindu and Muslim nationalism; decolonization and the partition of India and Pakistan; the creation of Bangladesh; communalism and separatism; gender, religion and caste; and democracy and economic development in the context of the Cold War and its aftermath. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite.
The arrival of Portuguese ships off the coasts of China and Japan in the 16th century, followed by other European merchants, turned East Asia into a major theater of events shaping the emerging modern age. This course examines the sources and dynamics of change -- social, economic, geopolitical and cultural -- in the local and intramural arenas of East Asia as its economies and peoples became entangled in the rise and expansion of Euro-American imperial enterprises. The changes were violent and transformative, leaving deep impressions. Local understandings of past events continue to animate domestic politics and regional relations in the global competition for survival today. Focusing on China, Korea and Japan (acknowledging that the Philippines was the first real European colony in East Asia, and Vietnam the second), the class explores the processes of becoming modern for individuals, state and the region, and the diverse interpretations of those processes. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. Offered every or every other year.
This course focuses on China, Korea and Japan before the rise of European maritime dominance (from the 16th century on), and the region's role in the early globalization of world exchange. East Asia emerged as a coherent cultural area in the first millennium C.E., with the introduction and spread of Buddhism, a religion whose faith and associated practices profoundly stamped the physical and human landscape of the region. Significant shifts in the 12th to 18th centuries C.E. highlight the Confucianization of family, gender, politics and kingship during these later centuries. The Mongol and Manchu conquests of the 13th and 17th centuries mark key transition points in this process, as well as in shaping regional and global relationships of exchange. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
In the third decade of the 21st century, China boasts the world's fastest-growing economy and has abandoned its revolutionary communist moorings, though not its authoritarian political structures. Some writers claim that China is the last of the early modern empires. Many Chinese are intent on recovering the pride and prestige that their civilization commanded in Asia and Europe until the 19th century. Many others wonder about China's likely future direction. Any reasonable assessment must begin with the past, with the last great imperial government. This course explores the nature of state and society under the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) and the collision between two empires, the Manchu Qing and the British, which ultimately transformed Asia. It addresses the legacies of both Manchu, Western and Japanese imperialism, and the transformation of Chinese society through the turbulent 20th century to the present. Sources used include memoirs, political documents, fiction, visual art and film. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
This course surveys the history of the Islamic(ate) world from the rise of Islam in the sixth century to the rise of post-Mongol-Muslim empires -- the Ottomans, the Safavids, the Mughals -- in the 16th century. The course especially focuses on the formation and expansion of Islam as a global civilization and the historical development of the social, cultural, religious and commercial networks and institutions that connected the Islamicate world during these centuries. Among the topics to be covered are the life and career of the Prophet Muhammad and the emergence of Islam; the expansion of the Islamicate world through conquests, conversions and commercial networks; the formation of various Islamic polities and empires, such as the Abbasids, the Fatimids, the Seljuks and the Mamluks; and the issues of authority, power and legitimacy that confronted these polities. It also examines the historical development of Islamic institutions such as Sufism and religious law. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
In August 1619, "twenty and odd negars" were traded for food by the crew of a Dutch sailing vessel. That commercial transaction represented the first recorded incident of a permanent African presence in America. Over the next 146 years, this population of Africans would grow to create an African American population of over 4 million. The overwhelming majority of this population was enslaved. This course examines those enslaved millions and their free black fellows -- who they were, how they lived, and how the nation was transformed by their presence and experience. Particular attention is paid to the varieties of African American experience and how slavery and the presence of peoples of African descent shaped American social, political, intellectual and economic systems. Students are presented with a variety of primary and secondary source materials; timely and careful reading of these sources prepares students for class discussions. Students are confronted with conflicting bodies of evidence and challenged to analyze these issues and arrive at conclusions for themselves. This counts toward the premodern and America/Europe requirement for the major. Generally offered every year.
This is an introductory lecture and discussion course in the history of African Americans in the United States. Beginning with Emancipation, the course traces the evolution of black culture and identity and the continuing struggle for freedom and equality. Topics include the tragedies and triumphs of Reconstruction, interracial violence, the Harlem Renaissance, jazz, blues and the civil rights and Black power movements. Students are presented with a variety of primary and secondary sources materials; timely and careful reading of these sources prepares them for class discussions. Students are confronted with conflicting bodies of evidence and challenged to analyze these issues and arrive at conclusions for themselves. Music and film supplement classroom lectures and discussions. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Generally offered every year.
The stock market crash of 1929 is remembered as the beginning of the longest and most severe economic crisis in the history of the United States. With the near collapse of the banking and financial systems, widespread unemployment and crushing poverty, what had started as a crisis morphed into what is known as the Great Depression. The Depression was the result of several historical processes that may be traced as far back as the Gilded Age. The Depression destroyed Herbert Hoover’s political career and gave rise to the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal. In the process, FDR redefined the relationship between government and the people, revolutionized the role of government and ushered in a new era in U.S. politics with the emergence of modern liberalism. Farmers, city people, agrarian conservatives, labor, the unemployed, politicians, demagogues, free market versus national planning, progressive ethos versus conservative ideology, men and women, white, black, Hispanic and Native Americans are some of the themes this course focuses on. Additionally, the course assesses the social, cultural and intellectual currents of the Great Depression era. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
Until the 1960s, historians of the United States largely ignored the experiences and roles of women and other minorities. Gerda Lerner was among the first historians to use gender as a tool of historical analysis and to challenge a narrative that relegated women to the margins. This course traces how, from settlement in the 17th century to the present day, American women have shaped the historical process of the nation and beyond. We examine broad themes including the legal definitions of womanhood, women’s economic status, their work, consumption, sex, sexuality, reproduction and marriage as well as the social and political aspects of clothing. Religion and spirituality as well as women’s role in politics are among other themes this course focuses on. We also analyze the ways in which notions of gender have changed over time and how a wide variety of women have created and responded to changing domestic and global economic, political and social environments. This course counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
This course surveys American Indian experience in North America from pre-Columbian America to the contemporary moment by "facing east from Indian country" in order to situate Indians’ experience within their own worlds, perspectives and values. American Indians were agents of change far more than simply victims of circumstance and oppression. By looking at American Indians as actors, settlers and thinkers, students gain a more nuanced understanding of colonialism, expansion, ethnic diversity, hegemony and violence throughout North America. Topics include cultural diversity in pre-Columbian North America, pre- and postcolonial change, cosmology and creation, language, New World identities, slavery and violence, empires, political and spiritual dimensions of accommodation and resistance, borderlands and frontiers, race and removal, the Plains wars, assimilation, Red Power, self-determination, hunting and fishing rights and gaming. This course highlights the fact that American Indians are intimately intertwined with the histories of various European colonial empires, African peoples and the United States, but also that American Indian peoples have distinct histories of their own that remain vibrant and whole to this day. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite.
From “Birth of A Nation” to “Spartacus,” “Milk,” “Seabiscuit” or “Ali,” films that are “based on actual events” or “based on a true story” attract scores of audiences to the theater. Both art and products of mass consumption, films exert a tremendous influence in shaping popular culture, both in the U.S. and abroad. Films do not just entertain us; their stories shape how we think of ourselves as individuals and convey powerful ideas about race, gender, class, sexuality and nationhood. Films, TV series and documentaries are perhaps the most influential media through which Americans learn about the past, especially the American past. While this course analyzes the birth of cinematography and the rise of the film industry, the goal is to understand the relationship between history, historians and films that represent the past. Our inquiry into this complicated and sometimes conflictual relationship will be guided by questions that include: What are historical films? How are historical films made and why? Are historical films a valid way to learn about the past? Are historical films a valid historical source? What do historical films tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between history, film and propaganda? How do history, film and power intersect? No prerequisite.
In this course we address the formation and evolution of Mexico from approximately 1800 to the near present, noting aspects of its history as a Spanish colony and an independent republic. The course covers issues associated with Mexico's changing, complex identity and how the inhabitants of the region have expressed different sentiments and perceptions about their communities, state and nation. We thus explore questions raised by relations between indigenous peoples and various, predominantly Hispanic, ruling groups, as well as questions about class and gender, and political and economic organization. The class alternates or mixes lectures with discussions. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
This course covers the history of the Jewish communities living in Christian Europe (broadly defined) from the decades before the first crusade to the end of the Enlightenment. The scope of this class deliberately defies traditional boundaries of chronology between the Middle Ages and the early modern period, and this is intended to help frame the themes of progress and prejudice that are so central to the history of European Jewry. Jews were victims of horrible attacks during the crusades and the black death, yet they were active participants in the philosophical and intellectual movements of the 17th and 18th centuries (a period known as Haskalah in Jewish History), achieving emancipation during the French revolution. Jews and Christians lived side by side and interacted on communal, commercial, and intellectual levels all throughout the premodern period, and this presented major theological and political challenges for how to tolerate (and when to exile) a minority religious community living in a majority culture. A central goal of this class, therefore, is to understand how European Jewish identity evolved and responded to events in their Christian surroundings. We will look closely at what Christians thought about Jews and Judaism, but we will especially examine a wide range of Jewish sources attesting to their experiences, their tribulations, and their successes. This counts toward the pre-modern and Europe/America requirements for the major. No prerequisites.
How and why did an island nation rise to political and economic predominance over much of the modern world? This course examines the expansion, development and contraction of the British Empire across the globe. We focus on the circulations of people, power and knowledge that defined the Empire, as well as the interconnections between culture, socio-economics and politics of Britain and the world. Students explore central themes in the history of British colonial rule: the politics of labor, war and imperial economies, the relationship between British liberalism and the violence and coercion of imperialism, the spread of “popular imperialism” in metropolitan British culture, the diasporas wrought out of British colonialism, and the postcolonial legacies of multiculturalism and imperial nostalgia in contemporary Britain. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirement and the Europe and colonial/imperial fields for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
From its beginnings as a state, Britain has been constituted from an amalgamation of different peoples and identities. This course traces the history of Britain from its reconstitution under the Tudor dynasty to its present incarnation as the United Kingdom. We follow a series of important, yet seemingly contradictory, questions: How did a state controlled by powerful monarchs generate a strong and lasting parliamentary government? How did centuries of religious conflict and persecution produce a legacy of tolerance? How did the development of liberalism spur both mass enfranchisement and education, at the same time as it endorsed colonial conquest and fostered deep-seated inequities in the modern state? Throughout, we pay particular attention to the ways in which race, class and gender figured into the lived experience of Britons – questioning the ever-shifting boundaries of ‘Britishness’ itself. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
This course examines the history of the empires and nations of Eastern Europe from the nineteenth century until the present. Eastern Europe encompasses the Balkan Peninsula and East-Central Europe, including the territories of contemporary Greece, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav republics, Albania, Romania, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland (as well as East Germany between 1945-1989). The course will focus on several themes, including war, diplomacy, reform, nationalism, minorities, migrations, ethnic cleansing, gender, and everyday life. First, we will explore the various ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups that inhabited the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires ruling in the region until the end of World War I, mapping the emergence of ideologies and political movements for national emancipation among their inhabitants. Then, we will examine World War I and its immediate aftermath, paying special attention to the minority problems and political crises faced by the newly established nation-states. Next, we will explore World War II and its importance for redrawing the map of Europe, unleashing the most comprehensive ethnic cleansing in the history of the continent, and paving the way for the communist takeovers of Eastern Europe states. We will then turn to the socialist experience behind the Iron Curtain through the study of the party-state and party officialdom (“nomenklatura”), the show trials and the gulag, dissident voices and reform movements, as well as everyday life in socialist society. We will conclude the course with contemporary problems of transition to democracy and market economy after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, scrutinizing the challenges of European Union integration that the new democracies experience today. Students will learn about the political institutions, social relations, cultural trends, and patterns of economic development in the area, and pay special attention to marginalized groups within Eastern European societies, such as the Jews, Muslims, and Roma. This course counts for the modern and Europe/America requirements and the European field, and for the major. No prerequisites. Offered every two to three years.
This course explores the history of one of the more fascinating and misunderstood places in the world. Standing between Europe and Asia, the Russian Empire was a conglomeration of religiously diverse and multi-ethnic populations that came to be ruled by one of the strongest authoritarian governments in history. Topics include the nature of empire and the process of state formation. The course also engages students in understanding the unique aspects of Russian culture. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
The course explores the Renaissance and Reformation eras in continental Europe from the beginning of the 14th century to the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648. This revolutionary period provides important insights into the development of modern Western society. It was a period of dramatic developments in the intellectual, political, economic and social structures of a civilization. The medieval intellectual and political traditions were fired in the crucible of economic, religious and social upheaval. The emergence of clearly defined territorial states, modern capitalism, royal absolutism, humanist scholarship and the rediscovery of ancient sources, the invention of printing, the encounter with the New World, economic and ethnic social stratification, and Christian confessionalism became fixed parts of the landscape of Western culture. The course covers the late medieval intellectual traditions, urban and rural conflicts, the Italian and the Northern Renaissance, the traditionally understood Protestant Reformation and Catholic Reformation, the struggle of empire and kingdoms, religious conflicts and confrontation, capitalism's role in social and political revolution, and the emergence of a new social order. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
As a political entity, the aggregation of central European lands ruled from Vienna for almost four centuries constitutes the strangest major power on the European scene in the past 500 years. Alone among the great states of Europe, the Habsburg realm accepted cultural heterogeneity and actively sought to avoid war. This course assesses the Habsburg experiment in political and cultural multiculturalism, seeking finally to account for the empire's inability to survive the tensions of the 20th century. Among the subjects to be considered are Vienna as the cultural capital of Europe, the role of language in politics, the creative rivalry between Prague and Vienna, the emergence and character of nationalism, the postwar successor states, and the concept of Central Europe. The course involves lectures and discussions. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No knowledge of German is required. No prerequisite.
Through lectures and discussions, we cover European women's history from the Reformation and Enlightenment up through the late 20th century and the questions raised by the end of the Soviet system. We look at women’s participation in the work force and in revolutionary movements, their fight for political emancipation and equality, and their relationship to war and racism, as well as study the changing ideas of womanhood, gender and family throughout modern European history. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the women, gender and sexuality field for the major. No prerequisite.
This survey of the history of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union in the modern era introduces students to the region, familiarizes them with the major periods of modern Russian history and helps them to understand some of the important historical issues and debates. Students should develop an appreciation for the ethnic, social and cultural diversity of both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union as well as for the ways in which political events shaped the personal lives of the country's population. Though focusing on 20th-century history, this course begins with an introduction to the social structures, ethnic composition and political problems of the late Russian Empire. We cover the Russian Revolution and early Soviet history, then turn our attention to Stalinism, collectivization, terror and the Second World War. In the postwar era, we examine the failure of the Khrushchev reforms and the period of stagnation under Brezhnev, before turning to Gorbachev and the reforms of perestroika. At the end of the semester, we approach the end of the Soviet Union and its legacy for the many successor states (not only Russia). Although organized along the lines of political periodization, the class emphasizes the perspectives of social and ethnic diversity as well as culture and gender. We look at art, literature and music, and we attend film screenings outside class. Historical background in modern European history is recommended. Russian and other regional language skills are welcomed. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirement and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite.
This course presents a survey of French history from the 17th century to the present, emphasizing the political/cultural life of France, particularly attempts to secure an elusive stability within a long trajectory of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary tumult. The course covers the reign of Louis XIV, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the renovation of the city of Paris, the modernization of the contryside, the cultural ferment of the fin-de-siècle, the crisis years 1914-1945, and the decolonization of Algeria, France's global connections, from the 17th century to the 20th, receive special attention. The course also explores the various ways (manifest through art, politics and social life) in which France conceived of itself as an exemplary nation or as a practitioner of an exemplary modernity to the rest of the world. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite.
Modern German history is often seen as a tension between the land of the "poets and thinkers" (Dichter und Denker) and the "land of the murderers and executioners" (Mörder und Henker). In this class, we use the perspectives of gender, race and class to explore and illuminate the main themes and topics in modern German history, beginning with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, up to reunification and European Union membership in the present. German language is not required. One unit of history, English or modern languages is recommended. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the women, gender and sexuality field for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
This course explores a period of unprecedented changes in European intellectual culture. Shaken by the encounter with the New World, by a new cosmological perspective, and by the rediscovery of previously unknown ancient sources, European learned society attempted to rethink the very foundations on which its knowledge of the surrounding world rested. The course begins by looking at the medieval universities and the nascent challenges to Aristotelian philosophy that emerged from the rediscovery of ancient schools of thought. We explore debates about the proper sources of knowledge in cosmology and natural philosophy that led to a decoupling of religion and science, giving rise to new types of explanations about the structure and origin of the universe. We see how the transformations in the perception of the natural world impacted political thought and led to the birth of new rationally based political ideologies. In addition to the intellectual transformations, this course explores the changes in sociability and the transition from the Republic of Letters to the growing importance of the public sphere and of public opinion. Finally, we interrogate the very scholarly categories that are so commonly used to define the 17th and 18th centuries. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
This class examines various ways that people and ideas from the United States have influenced Africa during the past two centuries and how Africans have responded. Although much interaction has been at the level of governments and organizations, we focus primarily on the history of U.S.-African relations at the social, personal and local level within Africa, studying specific examples of transatlantic cultural, economic and political influence that changed over time and varied between different parts of Africa. Among the cases to be considered are several involving African Americans, such as the founding of Liberia and the development of Pan-Africanism. Other topics include Christian missionaries; explorers; the Cold War; and recent U.S. political, economic and humanitarian interest in Africa. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
This course explores the role that towns and cities have played in African history, tracing the development of urban areas from early times up to the present. In regarding urban areas as integral features of African societies, the course questions stereotypes of Africa as essentially rural and traditional, examining instead African capacities for cultural synthesis, adaptation and innovation. Among the general themes studied are urban-rural relations, trade, political centralization, industrialization and globalization. Given the immensity of the continent, the course focuses on a select assortment of urban areas as case studies, utilizing a range of sources such as archaeology, memoirs, government documents and literature to understand their histories and current situations. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
The displacement and economic consequences of climate change and the fact that global economic inequality is dramatically increasing are interrelated problems. Furthermore, we thought the spread of democracy would help solve these things. It turns out we have been led astray by policymakers and some of the scientists and social scientists who informed them. This course tackles not only the biggest issues confronting our world today, but also the history of how governments, scientists and policymakers have tried to tackle them. In this class we study different disciplinary approaches to climate change and global economic inequality and how successful they have been in crafting solutions over the past 70 years. The sources for this course include media coverage, economic analysis, scientific studies, novels, films and government reports. Borrowing from the experiences of people across the world, we seek new ideas for approaches to common problems. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
This course introduces the history of one of the great empires of the premodern period. Founded in the late 13th century and lasting until the 1920s, the Ottoman Empire was one of the longest-lasting and most successful polities in history. Although founded and ruled by Muslim Turks, the Ottoman Empire was in reality a multiethnic, multicultural religious entity, which at its height contained territories in the Balkans, "the Middle East" and North Africa. It left a significant political and cultural legacy, which continues up to our time. In this course, we examine the entire span of Ottoman history, from the formation of the empire until its dissolution in the aftermath of World War I. Topics to be covered include the rise of the Ottoman state in the 13th century and how it became an empire; the role of Islam in Ottoman cultural and political life; the problems of governing a religiously and ethnically pluralist empire; the changing nature of Ottoman politics and administration; some aspects of Ottoman cultural and social life; women and gender in the Ottoman empire; Ottoman relations with Europe; Ottoman responses to modernity; the rise of nationalism; and the events leading up to the eventual creation of the modern Turkish republic in the Ottoman heartland. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
This course covers the history of the Islamic world from the rise of the Mongols in the 13th century to the beginning of the modern era. During this period, major Islamic empires such as the Timurids, the Safavids, the Ottomans, the Timurid-Mughals and the Shibanid-Uzbeks were founded by Turko-Mongol Muslims. The period saw the rise of diverse new political institutions; profound transformations of religious thought and practice; and the creation of remarkable literary, artistic and technological achievements. Among the themes we cover are the role of Turko-Mongol nomads in the formation of these empires, the interaction between Islam and local cultural traditions and practices, the nature of economic and social relations, the construction of gender relations and identity, and the varieties of cultural and literary expression associated with the medieval Muslim world. A central focus of the course is an examination of cultural, religious and artistic connections and exchange among different regions of the Islamic world. This course helps students acquire an understanding of the diverse and cosmopolitan nature of premodern Islamicate society. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite.
Why and how did Mongolian and Turkic nomads join together to conquer much of the Eurasian world in the early 13th century? What impact did those conquests have on the civilizations they encountered and ruled, from southern Russia and Anatolia to Persia, central Asia and China? Why do they remain a fertile source for contemporary pop culture? The first part of this course introduces anthropological and historical perspectives on what it meant to be a nomad (focusing on nomads of Eurasia), how sedentary writers (such as Herodotus and Sima Qian) wrote about nomadic neighbors, and how (and why) nomadic societies organized states and interacted with agrarian peoples. Next, we examine in depth the career of Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan) and the empires founded by his descendants, with attention to how Mongol imperial priorities and political culture drove new patterns of trade and consumption; religious patronage; and administrative practices, which fostered new paradigms of political and cultural expression in areas under Mongol control. Students read and discuss arguments made by modern scholars (from the 18th century forward) and dip into the vast body of primary sources generated by the conquests, both textual and visual: chronicles, folklore, travelers’ accounts, inscriptions, art and archaeological findings, etc. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
This course traces the important socioeconomic, political and cultural developments that gave birth to a state and climaxed centuries later in the unification of the Japanese islands under the Tokugawa shoguns in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The Tokugawa "Peace" (ca. 1615-1868) laid the stage for Japan's remarkable transformation in the modern era. We read and discuss a variety of primary and secondary sources, watch some films and become familiar with early Japanese views of their society and modern interpretations of its development. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every two or three years.
This course surveys Chinese society from the origins of empire at the turn of the first millennium to the 18th century, focusing on the later centuries (11th to 18th). We explore the gradual Confucianization of Chinese society and the tensions between ethical ideals and social realities; the economic, technological and demographic expansion that brought China increasingly into global exchange networks and challenged visions of the proper world order; and how those changes shaped relationships between or among individuals, communities and the state. Along with core institutions of the imperial state (throne and bureaucracy), the agrarian economy and the family-centered ancestral lineage, we examine other social and cultural forms that flourished, often in tension or opposition to societal or state-defined ideals. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite.
This course examines the social, economic and political transformation people have experienced in the Middle East, with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics include the impact of the changing world economy and European imperialism, the emergence of nation-states, gender relations, and the role of religion in political and cultural life. The geographical focuses of the course include Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and the central Arab lands. This counts toward the modern and and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every one or two years.
Most of us have never known a world without HIV/AIDS. The potential for seroconversion has been integrated into sexual health education and popular media for over four decades. Yet, at the same time, HIV has often been portrayed in the United States as either an issue of a minority (gay men, intravenous drug users and sex workers) or as existing “over there” in the global South, overlooking the ongoing crisis within the United States. This course tackles the history of HIV/AIDS as a global history of medicine, gender and sexuality. Tracing decades of AIDS history, we consider how moral panics impacted the reactions to the initial discovery of the virus, resulting in the scapegoating of disease (“gay cancer”) and the ways in which medical research and ideas of health have been founded around ideas of sexual “cleanliness.” Drawing on queer theory and science and technology studies, we use data about HIV drawn from the Centers for Disease Control and other sources to consider questions about health policy and the stigmatization of the aberrant sexual subject, highlighting how seroconversion is part of a broader debate of public health and sexual politics. We also consider Black and feminist approaches to the penalization of sexual practices, and performativity in the activism of feminists and sexual minorities through direct-action groups like ACT UP. Throughout the course, we consider major ethical questions regarding disease and control: Who gets to be a victim, and who is labeled a culprit? What actions should be pursued amid an epidemic? And who controls the narrative about disease? Finally, we look at international biopolitical practices by tracing the downward flow of researchers and specialists from the global North to the global South and the upward flow of scientific knowledge and capital. In this way, we see how the global South has played a crucial role in perceptions, treatment and profiting of HIV/AIDS in the United States and the global North through the recent breakthrough in pre-exposure prophylaxis, sold on the market as Truvada/Descovy. This counts toward the modern requirement and the women, gender and sexuality; and the science, environment, technology and health fields for the major. No prerequisite.
This course examines the circumstances and factors leading to World War II and to the U.S. entry into the war. The course focuses on the disruption of the world order through the rise of German, Japanese and Italian imperialism. The course analyzes the effect of the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s. Other topics include the military strategies and conduct of the war, its impact on the home front, and its long-term effects on U.S. foreign policy. This course counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite.
This course is a historical examination of the 20th-century migration of African Americans out of the rural South into American cities, especially outside the South. The seminar looks at the historical causes of migration, how the migration changed through time, and the importance of the route taken. The class reads the seminal scholarship and works written or created by the migrants. Students engage in their own research. This course counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the African American field for the major. Previous enrollment in a college-level 20th-century United States history course is recommended. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
The Civil War is perhaps the defining moment in the history of the United States. When the war ended, slavery had been abolished, 4 million African Americans had been freed, the South had been laid waste and the power of the federal government had been significantly expanded. The war set in motion forces that would change the nature of citizenship and alter the nature of American society, politics and culture forever. This course focuses on the causes of the war; its military campaigns; and its social, political and cultural consequences for Black and white northerners and southerners. The course concludes with an examination of the war's continuing hold on the national imagination. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every three years.
We examine how successive waves of immigrants, from the eve of the Civil War to the present, have shaped cities, markets, suburbs and rural areas, while altering education, labor, politics and foreign policy. The course addresses such questions as: Why do people leave their homelands? Where do they settle in America and why? What kinds of economic activities do they engage in? How do the children adapt? How does assimilation work? What are the effects of immigration on those born in America? This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
One historian has described the years between 1880 and 1920 as the "nadir of black life." During this period, African Americans were politically disenfranchised, forced into debt peonage, excluded from social life through Jim Crow segregation and subjected to historically unprecedented levels of extralegal violence. This course examines how African America was affected by these efforts at racial subjugation and how the community responded socially, politically, economically, intellectually and culturally. Topics include the rise of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois as political leaders; the founding of the NAACP; the birth of jazz and the blues; the impact of the Great Migration; racial ideologies; lynching; and class, gender and political relations within the African American community. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the African American field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every three or four years.
This course examines the emergence of Black intellectual life in the United States from the early 19th century to the present. The course focuses on the changing role of Black intellectuals as individual figures and political and social leaders. The course also focuses on how slavery, racism and gender discrimination have affected black thought. Works of fiction and films are used extensively. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the African American field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course focuses on the major trends of U.S. foreign policy from the Spanish-American War to the present. This seminar examines the actors who have shaped U.S. foreign policy, as well as how such policies are connected to the larger historical forces both at home and abroad. The course emphasizes, in particular, the origins of U.S. foreign policy and its evolution through various time periods and administrations. The course explores themes such as: What is foreign policy? Does the U.S. need a foreign policy? What is the relationship between race and foreign policy? How do conceptions of manhood and of womanhood affect foreign policy? What are the economic and cultural aspects of foreign policy and their effects? This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two to three years.
At the end of the Gilded Age, Pastor Lyman Abbott of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, lamented, “What shall we do with our great cities? What will our great cities do with us? These are the two problems which confront every thoughtful American today.” Yet, in “The Great Gatsby,” looking over New York, Nick Carraway remarked that the most unique possibility the city offered was for reinvention, saying, “‘Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge.’ I thought; ‘anything at all… Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder.’” These words highlight the centrality of the city in American life and culture from the turn of the 19th century to this day and the tensions between proponents of the metropolis – who celebrate its economic dynamism, cultural prominence and diversity – and its detractors, who decry the same. This course traces how New York City became the archetype of the modern American city from its rise as a global economic, cultural and political center to its fall during the desegregation era and its renewal in the last decade of the 20th century. Race, gender and class provide the frameworks of analysis to explore such themes as economic transformation in the industrial age and beyond; urban planning and technological advances; the concept of public space; utilities; welfare policies; immigration; cosmopolitanism; community and identity. This counts toward the modern and Americas/Europe and modern requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course examines the North American West from the early 1800s to the early 20th century. In doing so, it tackles the social, economic and political histories of the American, Canadian and Pacific Wests, as well as the role that the more romanticized American West has played in popular imagination. This course examines traditional historical processes tied to the history of the American West such as the Western in literature and film, the Indian wars, the rise of the cowboy and national parks. This course also takes a transnational approach that examines the history of railroads in North America, policing of the West via the formation of the Canadian Mounties and the Texas Rangers, whaling and cattle ranching in the Pacific West (California and Hawaii), and the environmental histories throughout. This course counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the Americas field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This seminar introduces students to the subject of the Mexican Revolution, which defies easy description. The course examines the major social and political struggles of the revolution, their origins and their implications as the country emerged from civil war in the 1920s and then underwent substantial reform in the 1930s. Further, the seminar considers the meaning(s) of the revolution and how it has been conceived and reimagined in cultural and ideological terms. We examine primary sources in class, but the assignments and reading focus on the historiography concerning the revolution and on the interpretation of its political, social and cultural significance. Students should have some historical knowledge of the late 19th and 20th centuries and be prepared to quickly gain an overview of the main events of modern Mexican history. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirement and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered occasionally.
This seminar examines how human rights have been articulated in distinct historical contexts in Latin America. We first review early notions of human rights and natural law as expressed during the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the Americas. Second, the seminar identifies the main tenets of human rights law and discourse, as comprehended in general terms since the establishment of the United Nations. Then we study how major concepts of human rights have been asserted in recent years in different countries across Latin America. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered occasionally.
This seminar examines how Native Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans, Americans and Mexican Americans have contributed to the shaping of the region encompassing the present border between the U.S. and Mexico. The course considers demographic, economic, social, political and cultural aspects of the peoples who have inhabited and interacted in this area since the 16th century to approximately the present (ca 2010). Transnational themes that we consider include Spanish and American colonization, the Mexican-American War, the 1910 Mexican Revolution, the evolution of frontier societies on each side of the border since the Treaty of Guadalupe (1848), and post-World War II developments. The class thus addresses historical processes relating to migration, economic change and state formation, as discourses concerned with individual and group identities are reviewed. Students should have some knowledge of 19th- and 20th-century American or Mexican history. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
This seminar examines the evolution of capitalism in North America from a historical and comparative perspective. It covers the period from about 1700 to 2010, centers on the U.S., and is especially concerned with economic development across the continent. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
In the late 11th century, Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade by calling on European knights to reconquer the city of Jerusalem. The objectives of the first crusaders may have been fairly circumscribed, but for the next four centuries the crusading movement had complex and varied consequences for the inhabitants of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. In this course, we examine the confluence of religious, political and economic motivations that inspired crusaders; the extension of the notion of crusade to Islamic Spain and parts of northern Europe; and the manifold interreligious and cross-cultural exchanges (peaceful and violent) that resulted. This seminar counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
The 16th and 17th centuries were the golden age of alchemy, astrology and magic in Europe. They were integrated into science and medicine, and they offered tools for humans to achieve power over the workings of their own bodies and over the natural world. Yet, by the end of the 18th century, following the tumult of the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, they had been rejected by learned culture. Consigned to the realm of pseudoscience, folk culture and superstition, they re-emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries as elements of alternative spiritualities. How can we explain this profound transformation?
The main goal of this seminar is to familiarize students with the contours of pre-modern ideas of science, nature and the human body. Following the analysis of primary sources and modern academic discussions, students are invited to formulate their own opinions of the processes by which alchemy, astrology and magic were applied, rejected and transformed. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements and the global Medieval; and science, environment and health fields for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
In 1325, 21-year-old Ibn Battuta left Tangiers for a pilgrimage to Mecca. This pilgrimage became 28 years of ceaseless travel through sub-Saharan Africa, China and India. A careful observer, Battuta left a valuable record of his travels, his disappointments, his enthusiasms and his perplexity at the things he witnessed. This course looks at medieval people who, like Ibn Battuta, undertook ambitious journeys and recorded their experiences. It asks about the motivations (religious, military, economic, scholarly) for such costly and dangerous travel and pays particular attention to how medieval travelers perceived the cultures they encountered. Understanding their experiences is not a simple task, since their reports, like those of all travelers, are admixtures of astute observation, fallible memory and fantastic embellishment. In addition to texts on Ibn Battuta's travels, we read the letters of spice merchants in India; the observations of a cultivated 12th-century Jew as he traveled from Spain throughout the Mediterranean; Marco Polo's descriptions of the courts of China, India and Japan; and the report of a 10th-century ambassador to Constantinople, where he met the Byzantine emperor: "a monstrosity of a man, a dwarf, fatheaded and with tiny mole's eyes." This seminar counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every three or four years.
One hundred years ago, the European powers went to war over dynastic honor after the heir to the Habsburg throne was assassinated in Sarajevo. Four years later, all the European empires had fallen to revolution and defeat and Europe was transformed. The war inspired not only socialist revolutions but also revolutions in technology, art and daily life. We look at the experience of soldiers fighting and new technologies of warfare; civilian suffering, hunger and political radicalization; modernist art and music; postwar experiments in urban architecture; women's emancipation; and political violence and ethnic cleansing. This upper-level seminar examines the war, its causes, course and consequences, with a special emphasis on historiography, the way the war was interpreted at the time and over the century since. Students work with a variety of primary sources and conduct their own research project over the course of the semester. The course is intended for advanced history students, but students from other disciplines with an interest in the time period are welcome. Students without a modern Europe or equivalent history course should contact the professor about their preparedness. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every three years.
This seminar examines the explosion of creativity and radicalism in late Habsburg society, focusing on the capital city, Vienna. In the years before and after 1900, Vienna was a vibrant city, home to many of the most important creators of early 20th-century modern culture, among them not only Freud but also such figures as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Otto Wagner, Karl Kraus, Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Robert Musil, Theodor Herzl, Otto Bauer, Karl Lueger, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg, to name only a few. Taking the multilingual, multireligious, multiethnic Habsburg monarchy as our base, we follow developments in the fields of psychology, medicine, literature, architecture, art and music, putting them into the context of important political and social movements like socialism, nationalism, anti-Semitism and liberalism. This seminar is designed for junior and senior history majors with a background in European history. However, non-majors with knowledge of or interest in music, art history or German literature are strongly encouraged to join. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This seminar examines the mass migrations of people within, to and from modern Europe, with special attention to the plight of refugees from war and violence and the creation of the international legal categories of refugee and asylum. Historical examples begin with the mass emigration of Europeans in the late 19th century and then focus on the two world wars, the Cold War, decolonization and contemporary debates in the European Union over migration, immigration and refugees. Through shared class readings and student research projects, the course investigates the intertwined histories of modern nation-states, border control, citizenship, community, sovereignty and international law, comparing historical and contemporary developments and ideas about human mobility. Throughout the course, we also examine migration as part of the life experiences and identities of people in and from Europe through their own words and life narratives. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the Europe and colonial/imperial fields in the major. No prerequisite, though familiarity with European history is helpful. sophomore standing.
This seminar introduces students to the German National Socialist regime, to major historical debates in the field, and to methods of historical research and writing. We begin with the rise of the NS party and the problems of the Weimar Republic in the late 1920s and end with the defeat of Germany and its military occupation after May 1945, looking at major questions including anti-Semitism; Nazi party support; collaboration; terror; and the roles of gender, class and sexuality. The course uses the perspective of daily life to look at the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust through sources from below, and the work of historians who use these sources. Students become familiar with the major events of the period and explore many historical debates in depth in the seminar. They also explore a topic of their own choosing through progressive assignments, developing their skills in research and analysis. Prior coursework in European history is strongly recommended. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
Major figures in the history of political thought, John Locke, Edmund Burke and J.S. Mill were also deeply engaged with the turbulent political events of their time. The political crisis that gave rise to the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 is fundamental to understanding the composition and publication of Locke's "Two Treatises of Government." Burke, a member of Parliament and leading Whig politician, responded vigorously and memorably to the coming of both the American and French revolutions. Mill, mid-Victorian England's most influential political theorist, was also an active member of Parliament during a time when issues central to the emergence of mass politics pressed hard upon the existing order. This seminar closely examines the intersections of text and context, thought and action, in the political undertakings of these three distinguished thinkers. This counts toward the premodern requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Offered every three years.
This course looks at the history of the Soviet Union and the post-1945 German and East European socialist states with a concentration on films made in these countries, as well as films made elsewhere or later about life under state socialism. We focus on a few key eras and topics, such as World War II films, Stalinism/socialist realism, the Thaw, the position of women in socialist society and generational conflict. Students are required to attend a weekly film screening and participate in class discussion. During the semester, each student may pick a topic for an in-depth research project. Previous coursework in European history recommended. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
Why do people fight for change? What is the difference between a “revolt” or “rebellion” and a “revolution,” and who decides which is remembered as which? In this seminar, we investigate several aspects of revolution and revolutionary ideas in modern Europe, beginning with the era of the French/American/Haitian revolutions, when it seemed Europeans had begun to think of society as an object to be shaped and created through human thought and action rather than passively received or experienced. Revolution is naturally a liminal moment – the old order has been torn down, is in ruins (or so it seems) and the new is still uncertain. In such moments, images of a “topsy-turvy” world fly to the forefront, and it is not primarily the topics of economic or political transformation that serve as fodder for the imagination, but rather the breaking of taboos – gender hierarchies overturned, ritual sacrifices and iconoclasm. Revolutionary archetypes of a world overturned helped to determine the behavior of participants and the perceptions of observers on both sides of the revolutionary divides of 19th- and 20th-century Europe. Along with the inspiration or temptation of revolution came its twin or mirror: fear and the desire to prevent revolution, to protect the social order from radical transformation, leading both opponents and supporters of revolutionary change to political violence. Students will examine the legacy of the revolutionary idea through study of successful and failed revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries and the history of radical and revolutionary political movements, and will conduct research on related topics. This seminar counts toward the modern and Europe/America requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course introduces students to the rich tradition of historical theories and methods from classical antiquity to the late 18th century. Students encounter a variety of historical narratives and reflections on historical writing, and they examine how some of the most renowned historians have attempted to approach the complex study of the past. We focus on the ways in which ancient and more recent historians have addressed issues that continue to preoccupy contemporary scholars: the nature of causal explanations of change; the role of the individual in history; the effects of political, religious, social and economic structures on historical development; the variability and constancy of human nature; and the role of fate, destiny and the supernatural. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course examines the tumultuous age of the Tudors and Stuarts. It investigates the Henrician Reformation, the reign of Elizabeth I, the struggles between court and country associated with the early Stuarts, upheavals of the English Civil War and Interregnum, and the events leading to the so-called Glorious Revolution. Although a large measure of coverage is given to political developments, some attention is also paid to social, economic and cultural issues. This counts toward the premodern and the Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
This course explores social changes that have taken place in Africa during the past century as portrayed in novels and films by and about African women. A variety of works from throughout the continent is considered, but the general focus is on the impact of colonization, urbanization and other recent social changes. Among the topics addressed are polygyny, motherhood, education, religion, employment, political activism and the recent AIDS epidemic. In each case, the emphasis is not on victimization or cultural decline, but – as expressed in their works of art – the resilience and adaptability of African women. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the women, gender and sexuality field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
Is disease a great leveler? Or does it exacerbate social, gendered and raced inequalities? This course takes a global approach to the modern history of public health: its emergence as a profession, its expanding knowledge and the growth of policy around it. Spanning the 16th to 21st century, we investigate changing knowledge and treatments of disease. We critique how the medical and legal frameworks organized around disease shape our experience of it. The course moves through time chronologically, questioning the relationship between humans and the environment, the role of medical technologies and developments, and shifting interpretations of disease causation, ranging from urbanization and industrialization to immigration and globalization. We explore these questions by examining a wide range of subjects, from biomedicine to racial hygiene, population politics to colonial medicine, vaccination and resistance to treatment, quarantine and detention, and the global response to epidemics. By the end of the course, students are able to examine policy, analyze epidemiological data and think critically about the social and political consequences of illness and the state’s response to it. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
“The personal is political” became a rallying cry of feminists in Cold War Western Europe in the late 1960s and ‘70s, but this claim had already been central to the building of new socialist societies from the early USSR to the postwar socialist regimes in Eastern Europe. In this seminar, we look at the way that people on both sides of the Iron Curtain navigated the politics of sex and family in the decades after the Second World War — how they thought about, defended and lived their private lives in the highly politicized context of the Cold War. We begin with the legacies of the totalizing claims Fascism and Communism made in WWII; the demographic and personal effects of mass death, displacement and genocide during the war; the push to rebuild Europe and European economies in the early Cold War context; and the effects of politics, urbanization, migration and evolving claims of political and economic rights in both West and East. We examine in particular changing laws and discourses around youth and youth culture, abortion and birth control, homosexuality, marriage and women’s work. The seminar examines texts, art and films from a variety of European countries, with a focus on gender, race and class. Students have the opportunity to select topics for individual and group research. Some coursework in either European history or women and gender studies is recommended. This seminar counts toward modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the Europe and women, gender and sexuality fields for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
Long before Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean, peoples residing along the shores of the Indian Ocean had already established an extensive maritime network that linked the civilizations of India, China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and East Africa. For centuries, the volume and wealth of Indian Ocean trade exceeded that of any other region, and it was in hopes of gaining access to this commercial zone that Europeans embarked on their voyages of "discovery." This seminar course treats the Indian Ocean region as a site of premodern globalization and explores the wide-ranging cultural and economic exchanges that occurred across it during successive eras of regional, Muslim and European dominance from the 17th to the 19th centuries, before its decline. Toward the end of the course, we explore recent historical scholarship that focuses on modern networks of labor, pilgrimage, kinship and ideas across the Indian Ocean, and questions whether this zone of exchange and interconnection did indeed decline in the era of 19th-century European dominance. Recommended for sophomores and above. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
This course focuses on the diverse ways that historians have understood a period of dramatic political, social and cultural change: the 12th century. We begin by looking at how historians have described the 12th century in the broader context of European history. In the early 20th century, Charles Homer Haskins famously proposed that we should see the 12th century as a renaissance. Over the course of several weeks, we examine different varieties of evidence: law codes, theological tracts, chronicles, letters and poems. We turn from these various types of evidence to explore a set of broadly synthetic questions about the social, political, cultural and economic history of the period. In other words, we move from granular analysis of particular pieces of evidence to thinking about models for understanding change and continuity. In the final weeks of the semester, students share the fruits of individual research projects with the seminar. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
Novels and films are powerful tools of historical projection in modern societies, and Africa is no exception. The sub-Saharan African novel is a recent phenomenon, dating back, for the most part, to the early 20th century. The African film is of even more recent vintage and, to a large extent, remains a marginal form of expression for most of sub-Saharan Africa. However small a group they remain, sub-Saharan novelists and filmmakers have had a considerable impact on the societies that produced them. We examine the influence of African novelists and filmmakers on the political and social realms of their societies and attempt to determine the relationship between novels, films and the historical reality of sub-Saharan Africa from the 1940s to the present. We also focus on how novels and films have in turn been shaped by the historical forces they have attempted to transcend. Finally, we analyze the vision Africans have of their past and their judgment of that vision. This seminar counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course explores major social and political changes that took place in South Africa during the 20th century. From the time of British colonization through the rise and fall of the apartheid state, a variety of competing groups emerged that eventually combined to form the nation of South Africa. That process was accompanied by recurring conflict, but with the end of enforced racial segregation in the 1990s and the introduction of democracy, South Africans have been re-examining their past in search of new narratives that might transcend the legacy of historic divisions. Through study of scholarly works, primary documents, literature and film, this seminar explores the roots of modern South African society and the varying perceptions of that history. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
What is a family, and how has it changed? This course examines the evolution of family and kinship in East Asia; its impact on gender norms and the lives of men, women, and children; and why these things mattered to political authorities (the state). It focuses on the striking variations of family and household structures and dynamics over the last millennium in China, Japan and Korea, mainly. A society’s economic and political underpinnings, religious traditions and legal norms shape and are shaped by practices of sex, marriage, child-rearing and inheritance. Students explore these universal concerns through a rich body of materials, including written texts, art, architecture, artifacts of visual and material culture, and abundant current scholarship that encourages an evaluation of East Asian experience in a global framework. No previous knowledge of East Asia is assumed or required. This counts toward the premodern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomores standing. Offered every two or three years.
Vietnam is a region, a country, a nation, a society and a war, or a series of wars. This seminar explores the place and its people during the 20th century, with special attention to the era from 1945 to 1975. The French and American wars will be situated in the context of the Vietnamese experience of colonialism and nationalism. Through fiction, field studies, memoirs, reportage, official documents, critical essays and films, we consider the issues of memory, race and ideology in the construction of history. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
People make sense of their past by telling stories about it. This course focuses on the rich and exciting traditions of literature in India as a way of studying its past, and as a way of studying history itself. Some Indian writers, such as Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Anita Desai, have, in fact, brought India's history to the world through their fiction. But what different visions of India do they choose to portray? This course examines their work, but also the work of lesser-known Indian writers and filmmakers, as a way of seeing how Indian intellectuals themselves have defined and described India on the one hand and "history" on the other. How have these images changed over time? Among the recent films we may see are "Earth," "Train to Pakistan," "East Is East" and "Hyderabad Blues." Each challenges viewers’ notions of the past as its characters confront it. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course evaluates the ways in which North American peoples (Indigenous and not) have evolved through corn from ancient America to the rise of neoliberal food regimes and agribusinesses such as Cargill and Monsanto. At the core of this class is the study of the varying and evolving knowledge systems and ontological frameworks in play as North Americans interacted with each other and established their societies through the cultivation of corn and plants. As Native peoples domesticated corn, they often abandoned more nomadic traditions for sedentary ones in order to cultivate their crops and to feed their growing communities. Such changes ushered in profound transformations among Native communities as social hierarchies developed, new religious practices and cosmologies evolved, and large urban centers such as Tenochtitlan and Cahokia appeared. Corn’s centrality in the lives of North Americans continued even after Europeans, Africans and Asians arrived during the colonial period. Non-Native newcomers became dependent on the crop as it became central to commercial trade, the enslavement of and trade of African peoples and Black Americans, the production of whiskey culture on the frontier, and eventually the rise of urban centers such as Cincinnati and Chicago. By the turn of the 20th century, Americans were dependent on corn not only as a foodstuff, but also as a key component of their capitalist, agrarian and racial identities. Even today, corn remains (in terms of acreage farmed and grain produced) the most predominant crop on Earth. Although scholars traditionally speak of Indigenous peoples as tying their genesis to corn, they often neglect to engage the ways in which non-Natives did the same. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirement and the women, gender and diversity field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
Both film and fiction have played significant roles in the so-called "Modern Middle East" as means of interpreting the past as well as constructing present realities and issues. This seminar uses novels and film as lenses to explore major historical dynamics and trends in the history of this region in the 20th century. We examine works created by artists from a number of different countries, including Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Palestine, Afghanistan and Algeria, as well as examples of Western imaginings of the region. Themes to be explored will include "Orientalism" and representations of the "Middle East," colonialism, nationalism and resistance, responses to development and globalization, understandings of ethnicity and identity, images of gender relations, and the changing roles of religion. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This seminar examines women's history and the cultural constructions of gender in the so-called Middle East in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Examining a rich variety of historical sources – religious texts, literary writings, women's personal writings, films and images – we explore women's lives in a variety of cultural and historical contexts. The course addresses a variety of topics, including the role of religion in the construction of discourse concerning women, the impact of colonialism and nationalism on gender politics, and the nature of women’s movements. This course also discusses the rise and impact of transnational feminism, particularly in the context of current conflicts in the region. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the women and gender field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
How was the body central to the project of colonialism? This course takes a comparative look at world empires of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to examine how intimate, scientific, anthropological and institutional knowledge of the body was a point of tension in colonial spaces. Focusing on British, French and Dutch imperialism, we track how notions of “difference” – gender, race, caste, class and disability – shaped the development of empires. Colonial regimes cultivated a variety of ways of “knowing” the body – from intimate relationships, domestic work and exhibitionary spectacle to scientific practices like fingerprinting, census-taking and medical care. Yet while categories of difference often served to rationalize and legitimize colonial rule, this course demonstrates how they could also be used to challenge and undermine it. While a knowledge of European imperialism is helpful. This counts toward the modern, Europe, colonial/imperial and women and gender field requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two years.
This seminar offers students a chance to examine sexuality from a historical perspective. We study works by historians who have taken sexuality as their category of analysis, and in the process, have engaged with queer, postmodern and feminist theories of sexuality. We do so to highlight how the history of sexuality can be a pathway to revise broad historical narratives, and also how the field does not have a set of strictly defined methods. Instead, we learn of the variety of research methods and theoretical interventions scholars have used to write the history of sexuality from autoethnography to archival research. By focusing on theoretically informed histories (not limited to those written by professional historians) and reflecting on their methods, we highlight how scholars have used sexuality to catalyze new debates on the creation of subjects, citizens and archives. The semester begins with the classic text in the history of sexuality and queer theory: Michel Foucault’s "The History of Sexuality, Volume One," which developed a critical approach for understanding sexuality from a historical perspective. We then spend time examining how historians have taken up and scrutinized Foucault’s call to historicize sex. In doing so, we highlight the limits and gaps in his chronological and theoretical claims through analyses of race, empire and class. Next, students discuss the development of a colonial and postcolonial historical method, as well as works by scholars who have taken up pleasure – through BDSM and the orgasm – as their method of studying sexuality’s history. The course concludes by discussing critical challenges to the history of sexuality from trans, bisexual and BIPOC scholars. Knowledge of queer theory and archival methods is helpful. This counts toward women, gender and diversity field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course discusses Black women of the Atlantic World, from Africa to the United States, the Caribbean and South America, from the 17th century to the present. We pay particular attention to commonalities among Black women of the Atlantic World. The course examines the impact on Black women of the Atlantic slave trade, enslavement and colonialism. The course also examines the status of black women cross-culturally, as well as social organization, race, class and culture. Last, the course analyzes the role of Black women both in the struggle for freedom and in the women's movement. Works of fiction and films are used extensively. This counts toward the premodern or modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the women, gender and sexuality and colonial/imperial fields for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
As a field of study, the Atlantic World transcends national borders. The Atlantic World is a very large geographical area that encompasses four continents: North and South America, western Europe and western Africa. Atlantic World studies compare how these regions developed intricate and closely linked economic, cultural and political systems on the eve of the 16th century. This course examines the history of the Atlantic World from its beginnings to the present by emphasizing economic, cultural and intellectual exchanges among these four geographical regions and their peoples. Particular attention is paid to European colonization in the Americas and western Africa; the rise of slavery and the plantation economy; religious exchanges; and migrations throughout the Atlantic littoral. This counts toward the Europe/Americas requirement and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This seminar is a study of American Indian activism from the late 19th century to the present in order to understand the broader historical context of Red Power. It is designed to look beyond the myth that American Indian activism rode in on the coattails of the 1960s civil rights movement and show that Native and non-Native activists had been fighting and campaigning on behalf of the Indian peoples throughout the entire century. The course highlights the varying methods, intentions, successes and failures of the many American Indian activists and organizations that fought for Indian sovereignty. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
Novels and movies have had a powerful effect on history, both as media for the transmission of historical information to modern audiences and as reflections of the values and concerns of their creators and audiences over time. This seminar examines a variety of 20th century films and novels to understand African American history from the antebellum period to the present. The goal is to discern how writers and filmmakers have understood and presented the history and images of African Americans to contemporary audiences, and how these representations have reflected and changed understandings of African American history and notions of race. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements and the African American field for the major. No prerequisite. Junior standing. Offered every three or four years.
This course focuses on the conceptual frameworks used by historians and on debates within the profession about the nature of the past and the best way to write about it. The seminar prepares students of history to be productive researchers, insightful readers and effective writers. The seminar is required for history majors and should be completed before the senior year. Open only to sophomores and juniors. This counts toward the practice and theory requirement for the major. Declared history or international studies major only.
This seminar explores the rich and dynamic history of modern Iran from the late 19th century to the present. Paying close attention to broader regional and global contexts, we focus on revolutionary moments and major transformations in Iranian politics, culture and society, such as the Constitutional Revolution of 1908, the 1953 Anglo-American Coup, the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79 and the Green Revolution in 2009. The course involves a close reading and critical analysis of a range of primary sources (such as memoirs, novels and films) produced mostly by Iranian artists, intellectuals and activists. We examine a variety of themes, including the construction of Iranian national identity, meanings and experiences of modernity, revolutions, the discourse surrounding gender roles and sexuality, and the role of Islam in politics and culture. We specifically focus on the revolution of 1978-79, one of the seminal events of the 20th century, and Iran’s post-revolutionary experience as an Islamic republic. Finally, we examine critical dimensions of Iranian political and cultural engagement with the rest of the world. Through this course, students gain a better appreciation for and understanding of the complex and dynamic history of Iran. Along the way, we hone our skills in critical historical thinking and writing. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major, as well as toward the Asian and Middle East studies joint major and Islamic Civilization and Cultures Concentrations. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every three years.
This seminar looks at the formation of the American republic, the prerevolutionary causes of the conflict, the revolution itself, the establishment of a new nation, and the writing and ratification of the federal Constitution. The course focuses on political and constitutional issues but also addresses social change, Native Americans, women and slavery. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This upper-level seminar focuses on manhood in U.S. historical perspective. Although history is often taught and studied from the perspective of men or through a close examination of male actors, only recently have historians begun to analyze the ways in which men express and experience manliness and masculinity. Like women, men also live social lives shaped by gender. Using gender as a category of historical analysis, we explore how maleness has been defined and how those definitions have been protected, challenged, and transformed over time. Students critically examine what it means for gender to operate as a socially constructed, rather than natural, category. Specific areas of focus may include historical constructions of gender binaries, power, imperialism, race/gender intersections, sexuality, sports and fraternal organizations. This course counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. An intro-level history course is recommended. Sophomore standing.
The years between 1954 and 1975 have been variously described by historians as a second Reconstruction and the "fulfillment of the promise of the American Revolution." These years, which constitute the civil rights era, witnessed African Americans and their allies transforming the nation by overturning Jim Crow segregation, challenging racism and expanding the idea and reality of freedom in America. While this period was one in which most African Americans fought for greater inclusion in American society, it also was one which saw the rise of militant nationalist organizations – like the Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party – that sought to separate themselves from an America they saw as hopelessly depraved and racist. This seminar intensely explores of this revolutionary period and its personalities through close examination of a variety of primary and secondary sources, documentaries and motion pictures. This counts towards the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
This seminar examines the impact of race on politics, political parties and public policy in the United States from the 1930s to the present. Race has been a defining feature of American political culture from the country's founding and has had a profound impact on society and culture over the past seven decades. Government action has contributed significantly to the development of the post-World War II middle class, the rise of the suburbs and American economic prosperity, but it also has created the modern ghetto, maintained and increased segregation, hindered black wealth creation and led to the ascendancy of political conservatism, all while putatively pursuing an agenda of racial and social justice. This course explores the evolution of these social, political and economic developments. Topics include federal housing policy, urban renewal, the construction of the highway system, the civil rights and Black power movements, the rise of the Republican Party, busing, affirmative action, congressional redistricting and the war on drugs. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two or three years.
This course examines the history of Blacks in America's criminal justice system from the colonial period to the present. It begins with the creation of separate criminal laws and punishments for Blacks during the colonial and antebellum periods, with particular emphasis on how slavery shaped the system. Students explore how the criminal justice system changed after the end of slavery, during the Reconstruction era; topics include convict leasing and lynching. We discuss criminal justice issues through the mid 20th century with a special focus on disparities in America's implementation of the death penalty. The final section of the course is devoted to the war on drugs, the homicide epidemic among Blacks, urban policing strategies and police shootings of unarmed Black victims. The subject matter is covered through historical monographs and articles, documentaries and memoirs. No prerequisite. Junior standing.
This course examines the contest among various cultural groups for control of the Great Lakes region of North America from the days of Jacques Cartier’s first voyage in 1534 to the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. Native peoples, French and British settlers, and even African slaves played important roles in creating commercial, Native, imperial and national borderlands within the geographic boundaries of the Great Lakes. From the storied voyageurs who explored vast stretches of the Iroquoian and Algonquian worlds to the British and American warships vying for supremacy on Lake Erie, the cultural and political boundaries of the Great Lakes were in continual flux and under constant negotiation. In order to understand this Great Lakes borderland, we look at the power differentials among the various groups, the patterns of cooperation or noncooperation they adopted, the sources of various cultural misunderstandings, and the strategies for coping that they adopted. This counts toward the premodern
and Europe/Americas requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
The French Revolution was a watershed moment in the history of the Western world. Many historians believe it was the beginning of modernity, as the Revolution ushered in seismic transformations in political, social, economic, cultural and intellectual life. Turbulent popular upheavals precipitated the unraveling of the existing social order, the unprecedented beheading of the king, the rapid mutation of political institutions and even the abolition of the Christian calendar. These changes occurred not only in France, but throughout the Western Hemisphere. French armies exported the ideas and institutions of the Revolution into neighboring European countries, while political leaders fighting for independence in Haiti and Latin America appropriated the rhetoric of the French revolutionaries for their own purposes. The Revolution's mythological legacy continued to inspire revolutionaries across the world far into the 19th century and beyond, making it an event of truly global significance. This seminar is structured both thematically and chronologically. We begin by looking back into the mid-18th century at the Old Regime to explore the various factors that brought about the end of the existing order. The Revolution's singular importance has turned it into a minefield of controversial debates across generations of historians, who have attempted to account for its causes and effects. We encounter various historical explanations of the Revolution and reflect on the assumptions and methods of different historical schools that have attempted to interpret it. We then explore the Revolution in its many stages, from its radical republicanism to the Reign of Terror to the eventual rise and fall of Napoleon. We end by considering the Revolution's short- and long-term effects. This counts toward the premodern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
This course introduces students to the history of Ireland, with an emphasis on the centuries after 1600. Through readings, reports and discussions, the seminar examines major topics and themes in modern Irish history. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
This seminar explores the history of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. The history of medieval Spain differed dramatically from that of the rest of Europe. For over 700 years, the peninsula was divided between Muslim and Christian rule. During different periods, many Christians lived under Islamic rule, and many Muslims under Christian rule. Most major cities also had long-established Jewish communities. As a result of multiple superimposed migrations and invasions, Spain was the most ethnically and religiously diverse part of Europe. The interactions among these different groups ranged from fruitful cooperation and tolerance on the one hand to virulent persecution on the other. This course explores the rich but volatile relations between different ethnic and religious groups while placing Spain's history in the context of its relations with other regions. To understand the dynamic and sometimes violent societies of medieval Spain, one must appreciate the shifting patterns of economic, political and cultural ties that linked the peninsula to Europe, North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean and the Americas. This counts toward the premodern Eureope/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
For nearly two millennia, religious belief was a fundamental part of European culture that permeated nearly every aspect of daily experience. The proposition that human beings could not prove God's existence had profound implications for all realms of human experience. Doubts about the rational foundations of Christianity emerged from the ranks of both the faithful and those who challenged the divine origins of all organized religions. This seminar explores the complex transition from a largely theistic worldview to deist, materialist and atheist understandings of the universe. The seminar begins by looking at the origins of religious unbelief in 16th- and 17th-century Europe. We explore the growing popularity of various forms of "irreligious" doctrines in the Enlightenment. Finally, we examine the persistence of religious belief in multiple forms during the 19th and 20th centuries. This course includes readings by Pierre Bayle, Voltaire, David Hume, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Camus, among others. This counts toward the modern and Europe/Americas requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
Throughout Africa’s history, religion and government have been inseparably linked as fundamental elements of society. Authority and achievement, in all spheres of life, are generally based on certain assumptions about the operation of unseen forces and the submission of individuals to a higher power, whether human or divine. Allegiance, civility and justice are as much religious phenomena as they are political. This seminar examines leading cases of religiously inspired politics -- or politically motivated religion -- from different places and times in Africa, studying key aspects of the relationship between faith and power and seeking greater understanding of regional variation and historical change in that relationship. A recurring theme is the role of indigenous African beliefs and their interaction with Christian, Islamic, and modern understandings of power. The seminar culminates with individual research papers by students on topics of particular interest to them. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements and the colonial/imperial field for the major. Prerequisite: HIST 145, 146. Offered every two or three years.
There are so many Tibetans in Dharamsala, India, that people call it Little Lhasa. Ramayana celebrations based on the Hindu epic in Southeast Asia reflect more ancient migrations of Indians, who carried their languages and cultures with them as they migrated. Chinese communities thrive throughout Asia where Chinese traders once settled in the course of commercial enterprise. This seminar examines old and new patterns of Asian migration and the diaspora of various Asian ethnic communities. We use cultural artifacts and products of popular culture that reflect the transit of people from one part of Asia to another. We also tackle some important theoretical questions: What is the relationship between diaspora and assimilation? What does it mean for a community to settle in a place and make it home? The converse of these questions is: Who is indigenous? What effect does colonialism have on the changing meanings of migration and diaspora? The transmission of cultures and religions across Asia raises other complicated questions. For example, the "spread of Buddhism" from India eastward is usually seen through the transmission of texts and ideas. What about people? We are more apt to consider the importance of people in the spread of Islam. But surely in India, if not Malaysia too most Muslims within a few centuries were converts, not immigrants. So how do we separate the diaspora of people from the diaspora of ideas? This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
Nonviolent protests, sit-ins, marches, experience in jail, passive resistance and hunger strikes are all techniques attributable to civil disobedience and to its major 20th-century exponent, Mohandas Gandhi. This seminar examines the changing definitions of civil disobedience across different cultures and societies in the context of Gandhi’s history and philosophy. We begin by studying Gandhi in depth and then branch out to other approaches to civil disobedience. In the process, we look at several political leaders or movements that examined and then revised, rejected or used Gandhian techniques: Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela or Malcolm X and the 1989 student movement in China. Finally, students devise research projects on movements of their choice in order to understand how civil disobedience has developed, functioned or changed in different historical contexts. This counts toward the modern and Asia/Africa requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
The seminar explores the cultural, economic and ecological significance of food in premodern societies. Food serves as a shuttle between the concrete (what do you need to grow an olive?) and the symbolic (what does the Eucharist mean?). Caroline Bynum's work on the religious significance of food to medieval women is one example of the sort of reading that will be included. We also explore the ways in which the great famine of the 14th century altered European social and political structures, how the increased cultivation of legumes fueled economic and demographic expansions (European crusaders were quite literally full of beans) and how leaders used feasting as a political tool. Dietary practices also were markers of religious and ethnic identity. The earliest Christians were, for example, unsure of whether they were still bound by Jewish dietary laws. When Romans disparaged their northern neighbors, one of the most effective ways to express their contempt was to describe how barbarians used animal fat (rather than olive oil) and drank ale (rather than wine). This counts toward the premodern and Europe/America requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.
The goal of this course is to give each history major the experience of a sustained, independent research project, including formulating a historical question, considering methods, devising a research strategy, locating and critically evaluating primary and secondary sources, placing evidence in context, shaping an interpretation and presenting documented results. Research topics are selected by students in consultation with the instructor. Classes involve student presentations on various stages of their work and mutual critiques, as well as discussions of issues of common interest, such as methods and bibliography. Open only to senior history majors. This counts toward the senior research seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: HIST 387. Offered every fall.
Individual study is available to students who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a focused research project on a topic not regularly offered in the curriculum. This option is restricted to history majors and cannot normally be used to fulfill distribution requirements within the major. To qualify, a student must prepare a proposal in consultation with a member of the history faculty who has suitable expertise and is willing to work with the student over the course of a semester. The two- to three-page proposal should include a statement of the questions to be explored, a preliminary bibliography, a schedule of assignments, a schedule of meetings with the supervising faculty member and a description of grading criteria. The student also should briefly describe prior coursework that particularly qualifies him or her to pursue the project independently. The department chair must approve the proposal. The student should meet regularly with the instructor for at least the equivalent of one hour per week. At a minimum, the amount of work submitted for a grade should approximate that required, on average, in 300- or 400-level history courses. Individual projects will vary, but students should plan to read 200 pages or more a week and to write at least 30 pages over the course of the semester. Students are urged to begin discussion of their proposals with the supervising faculty member and the department chair the semester before they hope to undertake the project. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study by the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval. Proposals must be submitted by the third day of classes to the department chair.
The honors candidates enrolled in this course will devote their time to the research and writing of their honors theses under the direct supervision of a history faculty member. This counts toward the senior research seminar requirement for the major. Students enrolled in this course will be automatically added to HIST 498Y for the spring semester. Permission of instructor and department chair required. Prerequisite: HIST 387.
The honors candidates enrolled in this course will devote their time to the research and writing of their honors theses under the direct supervision of a history faculty member. This counts toward the senior research seminar requirement for the major. Permission of instructor and department chair required. Prerequisite: HIST 387.