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Courses

The History Department offers a variety of courses from the introductory (or 100 level) to advanced (300 level) seminars. Some are specific in content, focusing on one person or event; others are broad in scope. What they all share is that each class goes to the source, introducing you to an exciting range of written and visual materials, critical historical theory, and a fresh, hands-on approach. We offer an exciting experience that is a voyage of discovery, not rote learning of facts and dates.

Areas of Interest

To view a list of courses in each area of interest, select from the following:

Course Descriptions

The following information is from the 2018-19 Vassar College Catalogue.

History: I. Introductory

101 Martin Luther King Jr. 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as AFRS 101) This course examines the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. We immediately rethink the image of King who liberals and conservatives construct as a dreamer of better race relations. We engage the complexities of an individual, who articulated a moral compass of the nation, to explore racial justice in post-World War II America. This course gives special attention to King's post-1965 radicalism when he called for a reordering of American society, an end to the war in Vietnam, and supported sanitation workers striking for better wages and working conditions. Topics include King's notion of the "beloved community", the Social Gospel, liberalism, "socially conscious democracy", militancy, the politics of martyrdom, poverty and racial justice, and compensatory treatment. Primary sources form the core of our readings.

Two 75-minute periods.

102 Humanitarian Intervention 1Semester Offered: Fall

The principle that troops should sometimes be sent to prevent the slaughter of innocent foreigners is anything but new. With deep roots in the 19th century, humanitarian intervention has been a relatively familiar practice in international affairs. This seminar examines the history of that practice and principle to the present day. We explore the transnational activists who campaigned against bloodshed abroad, the debates over the efficacy of military intervention in the name of human rights, the theoretical underpinnings of the concept of humanitarianism, specific case studies (Greece, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Libya, and Syria to name a few), and the U.N. Responsibility to Protect doctrine. Robert Brigham

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

116 The Dark Ages 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as MRST 116) Was early medieval Europe really Dark? In reality, this was a period of tremendous vitality and ferment, witnessing the transformation of late classical society, the growth of Germanic kingdoms, the high point of Byzantium, the rise of the papacy and monasticism, and the birth of Islam. This course examines a rich variety of sources that illuminate the first centuries of Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, and early medieval culture showing moments of both conflict and synthesis that redefined Europe and the Mediterranean. Nancy Bisaha.

Two 75-minute periods.

117 High Middle Ages, 950-1300 1

(Same as MRST 117 ) This course examines medieval Europe at both its cultural and political height. Topics of study include: the first universities; government from feudal lordships to national monarchies; courtly and popular culture; manorial life and town life; the rise of papal monarchy; new religious orders and spirituality among the laity. Relations with religious outsiders are explored in topics on European Jewry, heretics, and the Crusades. Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

122 Encounters in Modern East Asia 1

(Same as ASIA 122) This course introduces the modern history of East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) through various "encounters," not only with each other but also with the world beyond. Employing regional and global perspectives, we explore how East Asia entered a historical phase generally known as "modern" by examining topics such as inter-state relations, trade network, the Jesuit missionary, philosophical inquiries, science and technology, colonialism, imperialism and nationalism. The course begins in the seventeenth-century with challenges against the dynastic regime of each country, traces how modern East Asia emerges through war, commerce, cultural exchange, and imperial expansion and considers some global issues facing the region today. Wayne Soon.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

124 Europe 1945 1

On May 8, 1945 the Second World War ended in Europe. After six years of fighting, millions of soldiers and civilians had been killed. The Nazi genocide had led to the brutal murder of millions of Jews and other minorities. Some of Europe's most magnificent cities lay in ruins, while some twenty million refugees, expellees, or displaced persons wandered the highways in search of shelter and security. Readings explore the roots of the war, and how European countries dealt with the destruction, the questions of guilt, collaboration and resistance, and the challenge to create a peaceful Europe in the emerging Cold War order. Maria Höhn.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

125 Infamy on Trial: Famous Trials in Early Modern Europe 1

This course examines several of the most famous trials of Europe's early modern period (1500-1700). Each trial allows us to explore how communities and individuals responded to the changing nature of European society during this period of upheaval. Through cases involving all sorts of people---men and women, peasants and kings, we have access to conflicting understandings of authority, family, religion, and gender. The trial of Galileo challenged contemporary understandings of what it meant to be a Christian while the execution of King Charles I raised questions about kingship. By studying criminal cases, we engage with a rich selection of primary sources, such as trial records, contemporary accounts, and private papers. Through these readings, the class investigates how early modern people interpreted crime and justice during moments of crisis. Sumita Choudhury.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

126 Terrorism in Russia and Eurasia 1Semester Offered: Fall and Spring

Terror is a tactic as old as warfare, and it creates many dangers in the present. Sectarians and revolutionaries, powerful states and small regimes, guerillas and jihadists all have carried out bloody attacks and assassinations in the name of religion, liberation, politics, identity, and empowerment. This course explores the use and legacies of terror starting in 1789. We investigate nihilism, Lenin and the Bolsheviks in Russia, the anti-Nazi resistance and guerilla movements, anti-Soviet Afghanistan, Shamil Basaev and Chechnya, Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, and contemporary global suicide terrorism, taking care to elicit historical connections and breaks between them. We encounter leaders and ordinary people engaged in acts of violence, as well as their victims; we discuss scholarship on the invention of modern terror and state terror, and using their own texts and acts as evidence, we investigate how violent practitioners represent themselves and make claims of transcendence and social transformation. How have they been perceived? What happens when such movements come to power? How do violent campaigns end? Michaela Pohl.

Two 75-minute periods.

128 Europe 1945 - Rethinking History 0.5

On May 8, 1945 the Second World War ended in Europe. After six years of fighting, millions of soldiers and civilians had been killed. The Nazi genocide had led to the brutal murder of millions of Jews, and other minorities. Some of Europe's most magnificent cities lay in ruins, while some twenty million refugees, expellees, or displaced persons wandered the highways in search of shelter and security. Readings for this class explore how European countries dealt with the aftermath of the war, as well as the questions of guilt, collaboration, and resistance. In particular, readings and discussions focus on the tension between history and memory as Europeans tried to come to terms with the war. Maria Höhn.

Second six-week course.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour meeting.

132 Globalization in Historical Perspective, 1850 to the Present 1

Commentators tell us that we live in "a global age," but dramatic increases in worldwide contacts---economic and social, political and cultural---are not unique to our time. In the late nineteenth century, for example, steamships, telegraphs, railroads, and even movies fostered an increase of interaction across national boundaries and across oceans that was every bit as remarkable as today's. Using such sources as novels, maps, and picture postcards from the Aran Islands to Senegal, this course explores the modern roots and historical development of globalization.

Not offered in 2018/19.

141 Tradition, History and the African Experience 1

(Same as AFRS 141) From ancient stone tools and monuments to oral narratives and colonial documents, the course examines how the African past has been recorded, preserved, and transmitted over the generations. It looks at the challenges faced by the historian in Africa and the multi-disciplinary techniques used to reconstruct and interpret African history. Various texts, artifacts, and oral narratives from ancient times to the present are analyzed to see how conceptions and interpretations of African past have changed over time. Ismail Rashid.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2018/19.

143 Russia, Ukraine, and the Steppe 1

This course introduces students to the history of the Russians and their neighbors on the Eurasian Steppe, a vast region that stretches from Ukraine to Kazakhstan. Topics include the relations between Russians and Ukrainians and nomadic and semi-nomadic people (Tatars, Kazakhs, Cossacks), the great steppe empires, the imposition of serfdom, the uprisings of the steppe (1660s and 1916), and the complex mix of violence and development that was unleashed in the Soviet period, including famines, forced cultural change, and industrialization. We will also consider the connections between the cultural and political history of this region and current events, such as the creation of a new Eurasian Union. Course materials include history texts, memoirs, fiction, newspapers, Soviet and post-Soviet films, and maps. Course participants practice writing regularly, with an emphasis on discussing and constructing arguments, finding and using evidence, and comparing perspectives and points of view (American, Russian, Ukrainian, Central Asian). Michaela Pohl.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

150 Revolution, Evolution, and the Global Nineteenth Century 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as CLCS 150 and VICT 150) The world as we know it largely came into being during the nineteenth century. Marked by social, political, cultural, and technological transformations, the nineteenth century witnessed the emergence of modernity out of the instabilities of change. Railways crisscrossed continents; European empires expanded; agricultural laborers flocked into mushrooming urban centers; and the enslaved, the colonized, and the disenfranchised around the world fought for liberty and citizenship. In this course, we consider these and other nineteenth-century transformations in a global context by focusing on the interconnections between North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Our investigations are organized around five core areas: revolutions, emancipations, evolution and progress, popular culture, and the domestic sphere. Students analyze a variety of sources, including novels, plays, short stories, photographs, early films, paintings, periodicals and pamphlets, government documents, letters, music, and scientific works. The course is team taught with occasional guest lectures. Lydia Murdoch and Susan Zlotnick.

Three 50-minute periods.

151 British History: James I (1603) to the Great War 1

This course explores the central developments in Britain from the age of Shakespeare to the age of total war. We study the political and scientific revolutions of the seventeenth century, the eighteenth-century rise of commercial society and the "British" nation, and the effects of industrialization on Britain's landscape, society, and politics. The course concludes by exploring how the First World War transformed British society. Lydia Murdoch.

Not offered in 2018/19.

154 Victorian Women 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as WMST 154) This course introduces students to college writing and historical methodologies through the study of women in Victorian Britain.  We explore how women from various class and social backgrounds responded to debates about "woman's nature" and the female body in their writings and reform campaigns.  Topics include slavery and abolition, industrial labor, women's suffrage, higher education, domestic violence, sexual assault, and medical treatment for such conditions as hysteria.  Students practice writing skills through the close analysis of select texts on the craft of writing along with primary source materials, including memoirs, essays, government documents, and medical records, as well as material culture artifacts: photographs and paintings, crinolines and corsets.  We also examine the politics of the historical archive, exploring possible methods for researching Victorian women—especially working-class women, women of color, young women, and "lesbian like" or queer women—who were less likely to record their experiences and have them preserved, or who self-identified in terms that no longer fit our own.  In addition to short assignments, students complete an independent research paper on a topic of choice. Lydia Murdoch. 

Two 75-minute periods.

159 Blood and Faith: The St. Bartholomew's Massacre in Context 0.5

(Same as MRST 159) On August 24, 1572, Catholic troops slaughtered nearly 3,000 Protestant men and women who had arrived in Paris to attend the marriage between the future Henry IV and Marguerite de Valois, sister of Charles IX. It was the most dramatic episode of the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598) during which 2-4 million Catholics and Protestants died.  This course examines the origins of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre coming out of the Protestant Reformation. Like the larger war, the massacre was not simply initiated by kings and nobles but featured ordinary subjects who sought to defend and define their community. We look at how the war was fought not just with weapons but words, featuring a trip to Special Collections. Throughout the course, we examine the relationship between politics and religion, between faith and community, issues that remain relevant today. Sumita Choudhury.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

160 American Moments: Rediscovering U.S. History 1Semester Offered: Fall or Spring

This is not your parents'---or your high school teacher's---American history course. No textbook: Instead we read memoirs, novels, newspaper articles, letters, speeches, photographs, and films composed by a colorful, diverse cast of characters---famous and forgotten, slaves and masters, workers and bosses. No survey: Instead we pause to look at several illuminating "moments" from the colonial era through the Civil War to civil rights and the Cold War. Traveling from the Great Awakening to the "awakening" that was the 1960s, from an anticolonial rebellion that Americans won (1776) to another that they lost (Vietnam), the course challenges assumptions about America's past---and perhaps also a few about America's present and future. The department.

161 Violent Economies: Rewriting the American West 1

This course considers episodes in the history of the United States and its Western frontiers from the California Gold Rush through the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Themes include economic risk-taking and cycles of boom and bust; racial and interpersonal violence; forced removal of native peoples and their responses; frontier myth-making; and the emergence of a wilderness ethos. As students investigate different strategies for telling about the past, readings include eyewitness accounts, historical narratives, and works of fiction. Rebecca Edwards.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Three 50-minute periods.

162 Envisioning Latin America 1

How have people come to see Latin America since it first entered the European consciousness at the end of the fifteenth century? How have the people of Latin America themselves deflected and recast the "imperial eye"? This course explores Latin America ca. 1500-ca. 2010s through the writings of outside observers--explorers, bureaucrats, Enlightenment scientists, traders and investors, ethnographers---to uncover the process of producing an exoticized vision of a region open to economic expansion and empire. We also explore Latin American self-representations, drawing on colonial-era indigenous and creole letters and reports, post-colonial poetry and novels, government-sponsored pavilions at international expositions, and official tourist campaigns. Along the way, we address several central themes in Latin American history---race and ethnicity, gender, nation building (as both a political and a cultural project)---considered within the conceptual frame of transculturation. Leslie Offutt.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

164 Latin American History 'through the lens' 0.5

(Same as LALS 164) Film can be a source of entertainment, a propaganda tool, a medium of artistic expression, and a shaper and reflector of national identity. This course explores the history of specific moments and themes in twentieth-century Latin America-US perceptions of Latin America; revolution; "Dirty Wars"; the transition from authoritarianism to democracy; and Liberation Theology-that have defined the region's recent history and been the subject of domestic film production and foreign consumption. Course readings include historical studies of the specific themes and primary materials that illuminate critical aspects of each theme. Leslie Offutt.

First and second six-week course.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

174 The Emergence of the Modern Middle East 1Semester Offered: Fall

An exploration of the Middle East over the past three centuries. Beginning with economic and social transformations in the eighteenth century, we follow the transformation of various Ottoman provinces such as Egypt, Syria/Lebanon, and Algeria into modern states, paying careful attention to how European colonialism shaped their development. We then look at independence movements and the post-colonial societies that have emerged since the middle of the twentieth century, concluding with study of colonialism's lingering power---and the movements that confront it. Joshua Schreier.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar.

175 Mandela: Race, Resistance and Renaissance in South Africa 1

(Same as AFRS 175) This course critically explores the history and politics of South Africa in the twentieth century through the prism of the life, politics, and experiences of one of its most iconic figures, Nelson Mandela. After almost three decades of incarceration for resisting Apartheid, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa in 1994. It was an inspirational moment in the global movement and the internal struggle to dismantle Apartheid and to transform South Africa into a democratic, non-racial, and just society. Using Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, as our point of departure, the course discusses some of the complex ideas, people, and developments that shaped South Africa and Mandela's life in the twentieth century, including: indigenous culture, religion, and institutions; colonialism, race, and ethnicity; nationalism, mass resistance, and freedom; and human rights, social justice, and post-conflict reconstruction. Ismail Rashid.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

History: II. Intermediate

202 Business and the State in East Asia 1

(Same as ASIA 202) This course examines the relationship between business, culture, and society in twentieth-century East Asia, with a focus on the ways in which the state has shaped business practices and ideas. We investigate the varying role of governments in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria in enabling and restricting the growth of enterprises in the region, mediated by colonialism, imperialism, Western competition, and globalization. We examine how the development of new business practices changed the interaction between labor and employers in the region. Case studies are drawn from the medical, education, electronics, retail sectors, etc. This class uses historical sources such as memoirs, oral histories, case studies, and newspaper reports to understand the nature of contingencies in doing business in the region. In so doing, students gain the tools to critically examine the notions of the "Developmental State," and "Confucian Capitalism" in explaining the rise and fall of businesses in East Asia.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

208 Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy Since 1945 1

(Same as INTL 208) This course examines U.S. National Security issues through the prism of human rights, weaving humanitarian concerns into the fabric of traditional security studies. We survey the most important literature and debates concerning the concepts of human rights and the U.S. national interest. We also use case studies to explore the intersection of human rights, economic aims, strategic concerns, and peace building. In addition, we test the consistency of U.S. guiding principles, the influence of non-state actors on policy formation, and the strength of the international human rights regime. Robert Brigham.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

214 The Roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as JWST 214) An examination of the deep historical sources of the Palestine-Israel conflict. The course begins some two centuries ago when changes in the world economy and emerging nationalist ideologies altered the political and economic landscapes of the region. It then traces the development of both Jewish and Arab nationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries before exploring how the Arab and Jewish populations fought---and cooperated---on a variety of economic, political, and ideological fronts. It concludes by considering how this contest led to the development of two separate, hostile national identities. Joshua Schreier.

216 History of the Ancient Greeks 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as GRST 216) This course examines the history and culture of the ancient Greeks from the emergence of the city-state in the eighth century BCE to the conquests of Alexander the Great in 335 BCE. In addition to an outline of the political and social history of the Greeks, the course examines several historical, cultural, and methodological topics in depth, including the emergence of writing, Greek colonialism and imperialism, ancient democracy, polytheism, the social structures of Athenian society, and the relationship between Greeks and other Mediterranean cultures. Students both read primary sources (for example, Sappho, Tyrtaios, Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristophanes, and Plato) and examine sites and artifacts recovered through archaeology; the development of students' critical abilities to evaluate and use these sources for the study of history is a primary goal of the class. Barbara Olsen.

217 History of the Ancient Romans 1

(Same as GRST 217) This course examines the history of the ancient Romans from the foundation of their city around the eighth century BCE to the collapse of their Mediterranean Empire in the fifth century CE. The course offers a broad historical outline of Roman history, but focuses on significant topics and moments in Roman history, including the Republican aristocracy, the civil and slave wars of the Late Republic, the foundation of the Empire by Caesar Augustus, urbanism, the place of public entertainments (gladiatorial combats, Roman hunts, chariot races, and theater) in society, the rise of Christianity, the processes of Romanization, and barbarization, and the political decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Students read primary sources such as Plautus, Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, and Suetonius, and secondary accounts dealing with important issues such as slavery, religious persecution and multiculturalism. Students also examine important archaeological sites and artifacts. The development of students' critical abilities to evaluate and use these sources for the study of history is a primary goal of the class. J. Bert Lott.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

225 Renaissance Italy 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as URBS 225) This course examines the history of Italy between 1300 and 1565. Italian intellectual, political, and religious history is emphasized, but some attention is also given to cross-cultural, gender, and social history. Looking beyond Italy, we also consider developments in Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire and their impact on Italy and Europe. Topics to be covered include the Black Death, the rise of humanism, the Renaissance papacy, and the Catholic Reformation. Finally, throughout the course, we question the meaning of the term "Renaissance": is it a distinct period, a cultural movement, or an insufficient label altogether? Nancy Bisaha.

Two 75-minute periods.

226 Northern Europe in the Renaissance, c. 1300-1550 1

As a famous scholar has argued, the north witnessed a long "autumn of the Middle Ages," holding tightly to medieval ideals of chivalry, pageantry, and piety -- precisely at the same time Italy seemed to be forging ahead into modernity. Yet by the end of the period, Northern states overshadowed Italy politically, economically and, increasingly, culturally. This course examines Northern Europe during this remarkable period of transformation. The Hundred Years War, the Black Death, the Tudors, French and German state building and court life, and urban society in Flanders, are addressed along with the poetry of Chaucer, the humanism of More and Erasmus, and the doctrine of Luther. In turn, we examine the complex meanings of the terms "Renaissance" and "Reformation" and the relationship between them. Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

230 From Tyranny to Terror: The Old Regime and the French Revolution 1

Eighteenth-century France was a society in transition, a society in which social and cultural ideals and realities were increasingly at odds. The tensions within society and the state finally erupted into the cataclysmic French Revolution, which paved the way for modern political life. Using primary and secondary sources, this course focuses on topics such as the social structure of the Old Regime, the Enlightenment, and the volatile political climate preceding the revolution. We examine different interpretations of what caused the French Revolution as well as the dynamics of the Revolution itself between 1789 and 1799. Sumita Choudhury.

Not offered in 2018/19.

231 Algeria/France:Race, Religion & Citizenship 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as AFRS 231) Since the early modern era, slavery, colonialism, commerce, piracy, and migration have woven the Mediterranean together in both peace and in horrifying violence. This broad, multipolar web of conflict and communication has served as the context in which multiple French and Algerian identities have careened into modernity. Constant references to local and cross-Mediterranean "others" have shaped the very meanings of such key terms as "emancipation," "republic," "Islam," "progress," and "civilization." Even today, debates on issues ranging from women's clothing to secularism to immigration to anti-Semitism echo with this long and contested history. Joshua Schreier.

Two 75-minute periods.

235 Ending Deadly Conflict 1

(Same as INTL 235) This course uses historical case studies to identify practical ways to end conflict and build sustainable peace. It is concerned with the vulnerability of the weak, failed and collapsed states, with post conflict periods that have reignited into violence, and problems of mediating conflicts that are unusually resistant to resolution. Of particular interest will be the role that third party intermediaries and global governance institutions have played in bringing about a negotiated end to violence. Major topics may include: the Paris Peace Accords, South Africa's truth and reconciliation commissions, the Good Friday Agreement, Israel-Palestine negotiations, the Dayton Peace Accords ending the Balkans wars, and negotiations to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Robert Brigham.

Not offered 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

236 Germany, 1740-1918 1

This course covers the history of the German lands from 1740 to the end of World War I. Aside from providing a chronological political narrative, assigned readings focus in greater detail on a number of themes to illuminate the specific character of German history. Topics include: the demise of the universalist idea of the Holy Roman Empire; the German Enlightenment and the legacy of enlightened absolutism on state/society relations; the impact of the Napoleonic revolution; the failures of 1848; the Prussian-led unification; the legacy of Bismarck's domestic policies on German political culture and social life; German imperialism and World War I. Maria Höhn.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

237 Germany, 1918-1990 1

This course covers German history from the end of World War I to the 1990 unification that ended the post--World War II split of German society into East and West. Aside from familiarizing you with a narrative of German political, social, and cultural history, the readings also explore some of the so-called "peculiarities" of German history. Did Bismarck's unification from above and the pseudo-constitutional character of the Second Reich create a political culture that set the country on a Sonderweg (special path) of modernization ending in the catastrophe of Auschwitz? Why did Weimar, Germany's first experiment with democracy, fail, and why is Bonn not Weimar? Finally, what road will the new Germany take within Europe and the world? Maria Höhn.

Not offered in 2018/19.

241 Topics in the Construction of Gender 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as GRST 241, STS 241, and WMST 241) Topic for 2018/19a: The History of Midwifery.This course examines the history of midwifery from the ancient to the modern world. It considers the traditional roles of midwives as birth attendants, herbal healers, abortionists, therapists and confidants, and members of their communities. Major topics include childbirth practices in the ancient world, the division between gynecological care and obstetrics that occurred in the middle ages, midwives in the medieval Islamic world, the advent and professionalization of male midwives in the early modern period, the technologization of birth in the 20th century, and the modern-day cooperations and schisms between midwives and OBGYNs. Readings include medical manuals and treatises, diaries, fictionalized historical accounts, and legal writings. The course features guest lectures from a homebirth midwife, a nurse midwife, and a doctor. Tara Mulder.

 

 

Prerequisite(s): WMST 130 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

242 The Russian Empire to 1812 1Semester Offered: Fall

This course introduces major events and issues in the history of the Russians and their neighbors to the South and East. The main themes each week include the formation of Russia's autocracy and nobility, Eurasian family/clan politics and cultural practices, and the connection between expansion and repression. Topics include the great steppe empires, Russia as part of the Golden Horde (1240-1480), the era of Ivan the Terrible and his conquest of the Tatars of the Volga, the Time of Troubles, the conquest of Siberia, the imposition of serfdom, westernization and globalization of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great, relations with the Ottoman Empire under Russia's female tsarinas, the conquest of the Caucasus, and the history of the Cossacks. Michaela Pohl.

Two 75-minute periods.

243 Russia and the Soviet Union, 1861-2000 1

This course explores how Russians and their neighbors (Ukrainians, Poles, Kazakhs, and others) collectively encountered the age of revolutions and socialism. The beginning and the end of the Soviet Union in 1917 and in 1991 pitted national dreams against socialist ideology and Western-style shock therapy, and both were followed by decades of economic troubles and political chaos. Topics include the emancipation from serfdom, the Bolshevik revolution, Stalinism, the Communist Party and the purges, the victory over the Nazis in World War II, reforms under Khrushchev and Gorbachev, the fall of communism, oligarchic politics, and the rebirth of Russia and the war in Chechnya under Yeltsin and Putin. Michaela Pohl.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

245 Medicine, Health and Diseases in East Asia 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as ASIA 245 and STS 245) From the globalization of acupuncture to the proliferation of biobanks to the fight against the deadly SARS virus, the history of East Asian medicine and society has been marked by promises and perils. Through examining the ways in which East Asians conceptualized medicine and the body in their fight against diseases from a myriad of sources, this course critically examines the persistence, transformation, and globalization of both "traditional medicine" and biomedicine in East Asia. Topics covered include the knowledge of nature as embedded in the changing categorization of pharmaceuticals, the contestation over vaccination and the definition of diseases, the construction of gender and sexuality in medicine, the importance of religion in healing, the legacies of colonialism in biopolitics and biotechnology, the development of healthcare systems, and the imaginations of Asian medicine in the West. Wayne Soon.

Two 75-minute periods.

246 World War II in East Asia 1

(Same as ASIA 246) The Second World War was transformative for Japan and China. At the height of its conquest, the Japanese Empire ruled over more than 130 million people, even as it struggled to deal with controversies and scarcity. China became one of the Big Four Allied Powers as state building and resistance persisted in unoccupied areas. This class examines how the Second World War shaped the everyday lives of East Asians and foreigners through speeches, memoirs, fiction, oral histories, documents, and films. In addition, this course explores the contexts, contingencies, and legacies of wartime events and issues. This includes the Nanjing massacre, the Chinese, Koreans, and Taiwanese resistance to and collaboration with the Japanese, Japan's wartime mobilization, the internment of Japanese-Americans in the United States, the role of wartime science and technology, the gendered and racial underpinnings of wartime labor, the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, and the U.S. government's decision to release atomic bombs in Japan.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

247 Albert Einstein 1

(Same as STS 247) This course explores the complex life and work of the iconic scientist of the 20th century. Using recent biographical studies and a wide range of original sources (in translation), Einstein's revolutionary contributions to relativity and quantum mechanics, his role in Germany in the opposition to the rise of Nazi ideology and anti-Semitism, and his work as a political and social activist in the United States are examined. Students are encouraged to make use of Vassar's Bergreen Collection of original Einstein manuscripts. José Perillán.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

251 A History of American Foreign Relations 1

This course examines the foreign relations of the United States from the 19th century to the present day emphasizing the motivations, objectives, and tactics of U.S. policy makers. The course will focus on America's role in the Spanish-American War; its embroilment in two world wars; its Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union; its wars in Korea and Vietnam; its response to human rights abuses and mass atrocities; and its leadership in the global war on terror. Robert Brigham.

Not offered in 2018/19.

254 Victorian Britain 1

(Same as URBS 254) This course examines some of the key transformations that Victorians experienced, including industrialization, the rise of a class-based society, political reform, and the women's movement. We explore why people then, and historians since, have characterized the Victorian age as a time of progress and optimism as well as an era of anxiety and doubt. Lydia Murdoch.

Not offered in 2018/19.

255 The British Empire 1

This course is an introduction to British imperialism from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, with particular attention to Britain's involvement in Ireland, the Caribbean, India, and Africa. We examine British motives for imperialism, the transition from trade empires to more formal political control, and the late nineteenth-century "scramble for Africa." Other main topics include responses to colonialism, the growth of nationalism, decolonization, and the effects of an increasingly multi-cultural domestic population on Britain. Throughout the course we explore the empire as a cultural exchange: the British influenced the lives of colonial subjects, but the empire also shaped British identity at home and abroad. Lydia Murdoch.

Not offered in 2018/19.

259 The History of the Family in Early Modern Europe 1

(Same as WMST 259) This course examines the changing notions of family, marriage, and childhood between 1500 and 1800 and their ties to the larger early modern context. During this period, Europeans came to see the family less as a network of social and political relationships and more as a set of bonds based on intimacy and affection. Major topics include family and politics in the Italian city-state, the Reformation and witchcraft, absolutism, and paternal authority, and the increasing importance of the idea of the nuclear family. Sumita Choudhury.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

260 Sex & Reproduction in 19th Century United States: Before Margaret Sanger 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as WMST 260) Focusing on the United States from roughly 1800 to 1900, this course explores sex and reproduction and their relationship to broader transformations in society, politics, and women's rights. Among the issues considered are birth patterns on the frontier and in the slave South; industrialization, urbanization, and falling fertility; the rise of sex radicalism; and the emergence of "heterosexual" and "homosexual" as categories of identity. The course examines public scandals, such as the infamous Beecher-Tilton adultery trial, and the controversy over education and women's health that was prompted by the opening of Vassar College. The course ends by tracing the complex impact of the Comstock law (1873) and the emergence of a modern movement for birth control. Rebecca Edwards.

Two 75-minute periods.

261 Women in 20th Century America 1

(Same as WMST 261) How did class, race, and ethnicity combine with gender to shape women's lives in the twentieth century? Beginning in 1890 and ending at the turn of this century, this course looks at changes in female employment patterns, how women from different backgrounds combined work and family responsibilities and women's leisure lives. We also study women's activism on behalf of political rights, moral reform, racial and economic equality, and reproductive rights. Readings include memoirs, novels, government documents, and feminist political tracts. Miriam Cohen.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

262 Contesting Colonialism: Latin America 1450 - 1750 1Semester Offered: Spring

This course examines the pre-Columbian worlds of Mesoamerica and the Andean region, then turns to a treatment of the consequences of contact between those worlds and the European. Special emphasis is placed on the examination of mindsets and motives of colonizer and colonized and the quest for identity in the American context (both issues intimately related to questions of race and ethnicity), the struggle to balance concerns for social justice against the search for profits, the evolution of systems of labor appropriation, the expansion of the mining sector, and the changing nature of land exploitation and tenure. Leslie Offutt.

Two 75-minute periods.

263 From Colony to Nation: Latin America in the Nineteenth Century 1Semester Offered: Fall

This course treats the transition from colony to nation in Spanish and Portuguese America. In part a thematic course treating such topics as the Liberal/Conservative struggles of the early nineteenth century, the consequences of latifundism, the abolition of slavery, and the impact of foreign economic penetration and industrialization, it also adopts a national approach, examining the particular historical experiences of selected nations. Leslie Offutt.

Two 75-minute periods.

264 The Revolutionary Option? Latin America in the Twentieth Century 1Semester Offered: Spring

This course investigates why certain Latin American nations in the twentieth century opted for revolution and others adopted a more conservative course. It examines the efforts of selected Latin American nations (Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Guatemala) to address the tremendous social and economic cleavages affecting them, with special attention paid to material, political, class, and cultural structures shaping their experiences. Leslie Offutt.

265 Slavery and Freedom in the U.S. 1

(Same as AFRS 265) This course explores the history of American slavery and freedom from the Atlantic slave trade through Reconstruction.  We examine the history of African-descended people to understand key developments and regional differences in the making of race and slavery as a commodity form and foundation of an emerging nation-state in North America, resistance movements among enslaved and free Blacks (such as rebellions and the abolitionist movement), black institutional and economic development, and the multiple ways gender, race, and slavery informed the meanings of freedom. In addition to reading secondary sources, we analyze such primary sources as slave voyage records, legal records, slave narratives, and speeches and essays from free Blacks. Quincy Mills.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two75-minute periods.

267 African American History, 1865-Present 1

(Same as AFRS 267) This course examines some of the key issues in African American history from the end of the civil war to the present by explicating selected primary and secondary sources. Major issues and themes include: Reconstruction and the meaning of freedom, military participation and ideas of citizenship, racial segregation, migration, labor, cultural politics, and black resistance and protest movements. This course is designed to encourage and develop skills in the interpretation of primary sources, such as letters, memoirs, and similar documents. The course format, therefore, consists of close reading and interpretation of selected texts, both assigned readings and handouts. Course readings are supplemented with music and film. Quincy Mills.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

268 Religion, Repression, and Resistance in Latin America 1

(Same as ANTH 268 and LALS 268) What was it like to live in a society where crimes of thought and religious transgressions were prosecuted and punished? How did various populations confront and resist inquisitorial activities? What is the legacy of the Inquisition in the Americas? This course addresses these and other questions through a focus on the Latin American Inquisition and Extirpation (ecclesiastic attempts to reform or destroy Precolumbian indigenous religions). The course tracks the emergence of Inquisition tribunals in Mexico City, Lima, and Cartagena after 1571, and the Catholic Church's prosecution of indigenous idolatry and sorcery. It focuses both on trends in prosecution, torture, and punishment, and on the dynamic responses of those who were either targets or collaborators: indigenous peoples, Jews, Africans, female healers, people of mixed descent, and Protestants. Towards the end of the course, based on students' interests, we also review other select case studies of religious control and resistance in Latin America. Students proficient in Spanish or Portuguese are encouraged to work with primary sources. David Tavárez.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

270 The Black Power Movement 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as AFRS 270) This course examines the Black Power Movement as a burgeoning social movement in the post World War II period, while also placing it in the long traditions of black political thought and radicalism within American democracy. In addition to studying black radicalism in the early twentieth century, the course explores the philosophies and tactics of civil rights activism; questions of feminism and masculinity; radicalism and conservatism; violence, nonviolence, and self-defense; and community control, nationalism, and internationalism. Major sites of inquiry include education, arts and media, police brutality, welfare rights, electoral politics, and economic empowerment. By engaging the ideologies, politics, and culture of the Black Power Movement, we gain a deeper understanding of how people claim their rights and personhood against seemingly insurmountable odds. Quincy Mills.

Two 75-minute periods.

271 Perspectives on the African Past: Africa Before 1800 1

(Same as AFRS 271) A thematic survey of African civilizations and societies to 1800. The course examines how demographic and technological changes, warfare, religion, trade, and external relations shaped the evolution of the Nile Valley civilizations, the East African city-states, the empires of the western Sudan, and the forest kingdoms of West Africa. Some attention is devoted to the consequences of the Atlantic slave trade, which developed from Europe's contact with Africa from the fifteenth century onwards. Ismail Rashid.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

272 Modern African History 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as AFRS 272) Africa has experienced profound transformations over the past two centuries. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Africans lost and regained their independence from different European colonial powers. This course explores the changing African experiences before, during, and after European colonization of their continent. Drawing on primary sources, film, memoirs, and popular novels, we look at the creative responses of African groups and individuals to the contradictory processes and legacies of colonialism. Particular attention will be paid to understanding how these responses shape the trajectories of African as well as global developments. Amongst the major themes covered by the course are: colonial ideologies, African resistance, colonial economies, gender and cultural change, African participation in the two world wars, urbanization, decolonization and African nationalism. We also reflect on some of the contemporary developmental dilemmas as well as opportunities confronting post-colonial Africa. Ismail Rashid.

Two 75-minute periods.

274 Early America, 1500-1750 1

Without ignoring the Pilgrims, Pocahontas, and other popular icons of colonial times, this course puts them into a larger context of what unfolded between 1500 and 1750 when three worlds bordering the Atlantic---western Europe, west Africa, and eastern North America---first came together. The new American world that emerged from this momentous encounter was at once stranger and more interesting than conventional wisdom would have it. Slaves who became free and Indians who became Puritan, con men who tricked gullible colonists and pious folk who heckled learned ministers---these and other forgotten actors join the usual suspects (Saints and witches, John Smith and Benjamin Franklin) on a crowded colonial stage. While keeping in mind that the genesis of America today can be found in that long-ago era---the tangled roots of race relations, the curious blend of materialism and lofty ideals, the boisterous political culture, the freedom for self-fashioning---we take early America as much as possible on its own terms rather than on ours. James Merrell.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

275 Revolutionary America, 1750-1830 1

In 1815 John Adams asked Thomas Jefferson: "Who shall write the history of the American Revolution? Who can write it? Who will ever be able to write it?" "Nobody," Jefferson replied. As these two men knew, the American Revolution ranks high among history's mysteries. Why did a prosperous people get so mad about a modest tax increase? How did a scattered, squabbling array of colonies, who felt closer to Great Britain than to one another, unite sufficiently to declare independence from the "mother country" in 1776? How did they then defeat the greatest military power of the age while also contending with dissension in their own ranks, rebellious slaves in their midst, and powerful Indian nations at their backs? How, having won independence, did the victors avoid tyranny, civil war, or re-colonization while other Americans---poor men, white women, Native peoples, the enslaved---busily tested the elasticity of the phrase "all men are created equal"? Exploring these questions, we also keep in mind a historian's recent observation that this era "bequeathed us many of the values and institutions...that are now sites of important political, social, and ideological conflicts." James Merrell.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

276 Democracy in America? U.S. Politics and Power, 1828-1896 1

Tracing economic and political transformations in the nineteenth century United States, this course explores struggles over industrialization, sectional interests, continental conquest, and nation-building. Key topics include the "white man's democracy" of the Jacksonian era; rise of the Republican Party; the Civil War; Emancipation and national Reconstruction; expansion and conflict in the trans-Mississippi West; the emergence of modern corporate capitalism; and labor and agrarian protest. Particular attention is given to electoral politics and public policy. Comparisons with other nineteenth-century nations and empires are made. Rebecca Edwards.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

277 America 1890-1990 "The Rise and Fall of "The American Century" 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as URBS 277) In 1941, Henry Luce, publisher of Time and Life magazines, proclaimed the twentieth as "America's century." At mid-century, many Americans agreed with Luce's view of the US as the preeminent global power By the 1980s, however, believing their country was in decline, more and more Americans began losing confidence in America's greatness.   

Using primary sources that range from political pamphlets to Hollywood film, presidential speeches to oral interviews, this course looks at America's rise to prominence after 1890 and the nation's so-called decline nearly a century later. We pay particular attention to the social and political changes marking the growth of progressive reform from the 1890s to the 1970s, then trace the rise of conservatism during the final decades of "the American century." Miriam Cohen.

278 Cold War America 1

Following the Second World War, many Americans expected the United States to create a better world abroad and a more equitable society at home. We examine those expectations along with the major social, political, cultural, and economic changes in the United States since 1945, including the dawn of the cold war, McCarthyism, surbanization, high-mass consumption, civil rights, the Vietnam War, and the environmental movement. Robert Brigham.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

279 The Viet Nam War 1

An examination of the origins, course, and impact of America's involvement in Viet Nam, emphasizing the evolution of American diplomacy, the formulation of military strategy, the domestic impact of the war, and the perspective of Vietnamese revolutionaries. Robert Brigham.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

290 Field Work 0.5 to 1Semester Offered: Fall or Spring

Individual or group field projects, especially in local, state, or federal history. May be taken either semester or in summer. The department.

Prerequisite(s): an appropriate course in the department. Corequisite: an appropriate course in the department.

Permission required.

297 Readings In History 0.5 to 1

298 Independent Work 0.5 to 1Semester Offered: Fall or Spring

Permission required.

History: III. Advanced

300 Thesis Preparation: Sources, Methods, and Interpretations 1Semester Offered: Fall

As a yearlong independent research project, a senior history thesis can be an exhilarating but also challenging experience. Many questions must be considered: How do I clearly define my research question? How do I locate my work within the existing scholarship in my field? Where are the most relevant sources? How do I organize and interpret the information that I have uncovered? This seminar provides the opportunity for students to grapple with these questions and to prepare for writing their senior history thesis. Through a common set of readings and workshops, students develop clear research ideas and questions, locate necessary sources, become acquainted with different historical methods, and discuss strategies for different stages of the process. The seminar also provides a community in which students share their experiences, approaches, and ideas about researching and writing their theses. The department.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

301 Senior Thesis 1Semester Offered: Spring

This 1-unit course, which builds on the work done in HIST 300, culminates in the completion and submission of a thesis that is approximately 10,000 words long. The department.

Yearlong course HIST 300-301.

302 Senior Thesis 1Semester Offered: Fall

This 1-unit course, which builds on the work done in HIST 300, culminates in the completion and submission of a thesis that is approximately 10,000 words long. The department.

Same as HIST 301, for students who are completing the thesis out of cycle. Please note that 302 cannot be taken simultaneously with HIST 300.

310 Mao's China in the World: War, Science and Legitimacy 1

(Same as ASIA 310) This class examines the history of China's recent past from 1949 to the present, with an emphasis on the relationship between China and the world. We explore the strategies of Mao Zedong and his comrades in winning and consolidating power, the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party in gaining global legitimacy for the People's Republic of China vis-à-vis the Republic of China in Taiwan, the critical role of science, medicine, and technology in the Chinese economy and society, and the ways in which gender, class, and race underpinned the revolutionary experiences of the Chinese. This class also pays particular attention to Mao's legacies on China and the world. Upon completion of the course, students gain the tools to critically examine the growth of contemporary China in the context of its dynamic past. Wayne Soon.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

315 Crusading and the Holy Land (1095-1204) 1

The First Crusade, called in 1095 by Pope Urban II, heralded profound changes in medieval society. The Crusades affected faith and war for Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and redefined relations in the Mediterranean. Warfare and colonization, however, also fostered productive contacts and cultural exchanges between Europe and Asia with increased trade and travel. Back in Europe it led to new theories of government, papal power, and holy war; a growth in epic poetry and romance; new styles of castle and church building; and increased urbanization. This course focuses on the first century of crusading and the establishment of Latin rule in the Holy Land. It critically engages primary sources written by Franks, Arabs, Jews, and Byzantines, as well as cutting-edge scholarship on the Crusade Era. Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

316 Constantinople/Istanbul: 1453 1

(Same as URBS 316) This seminar examines a turning point in history-the end of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. The focus is the siege of Constantinople as seen in primary accounts and modem studies. The course also looks closely at culture and society in late Byzantium and the early Ottoman Empire. Specific topics include the post-1453 Greek refugee community, the transformation of Constantinople into Istanbul, and the role of Western European powers and the papacy as allies and antagonists of both empires. Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

326 Machiavelli: Power and Politics 1

(Same as URBS 326) This course examines the life and writings of one of the most fascinating and misunderstood thinkers of the early modern era. By situating Machiavelli (1469-1527) against the backdrop of his times, we gain insight into the Florentine Republic, Medici rule, the papacy, and devastating invasions of Italy by French, Spanish, and German armies. We also explore cultural movements like the study of antiquity by humanists and the rise of vernacular writing and bold new forms of popular expression and political discourse. Several of Machiavelli's works are read, including his letters and plays, The Prince, The Discourses, The Art of War, and The Florentine Histories, as well as some of the major modern interpretations of Machiavelli in historiography and political thought. Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

332 Dangerous Ideas: Challenging Authority in Eighteenth-Century France 1

In the years leading up to the French Revolution, authorities were obsessed with the spread of dangerous ideas that threatened church, state and traditional social values. Seeking to overhaul society completely, a diverse group of thinkers commonly associated with the Enlightenment examined all aspects of human existence, from religion, politics, and science to crime, sex, and art. This course emphasizes primary sources, ranging from The Social Contract to Dangerous Liaisons. We consider the impact of ideas and words by examining the spaces for discussion, the dissemination of books, and reader response. Ultimately, we ask the following: What was the legacy of the various critiques for the French Revolution and, more generally, the modern era? Sumita Choudhury.

Not offered in 2018/19.

337 The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany 1

This course explores the Third Reich by locating it within the peculiar nature of German political culture resulting from late unification and rapid industrialization. Readings explore how and why the Nazis emerged as a mass party during the troubled Weimar years. The years between 1933 and 1945 are treated by focusing on Nazi domestic, foreign, and racial policies. Maria Höhn.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 236 or HIST 237; or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

338 German-American Encounters since WW I 1

(Same as AMST 338) This seminar explores the many ways in which Germans envisioned, feared, and embraced America in the course of the twentieth century. We start our readings with WWI and its aftermath, when German society was confronted and, as some feared, overwhelmed, by an influx of American soldiers, expatriates, industry, and popular culture. The Nazi Regime promised to overcome Weimar modernity and the alleged Americanization of German society, but embraced nonetheless aspects of American modernity in its quest to dominate Europe militarily and economically. For the period after WWII, we study in depth the U.S. military occupation (1945-1955), the almost seventy-year lasting military presence in West Germany, and the political, social and cultural implications of this transatlantic relationship. Maria Höhn.

Not offered in 2018/19.

342 Stalinism 1Semester Offered: Spring

This seminar explores the transformation of the USSR and its borderlands under Stalin, with special emphasis on the impact of terror, dislocations, and compressed economic change on specific national groups (Russians, Ukraine, Central Asia). Topics include Stalin's ideology and vision of the Soviet people, the impact of Stalinism on politics in Europe, collectivization and industrialization, the experiences of the "enemies of the people," resistance and dissent, and achievements and legacies. The course concludes with an examination of post-Soviet public memory and discussions of the Stalinist past. Michaela Pohl.

343 Youth in Russia, 1880-Present 1

This seminar explores the history of youth culture in Russia. We examine how youth and teenagers were "discovered" and defined as an age group through ethnographies, sociological accounts, and memoirs, and explore the youth experience as depicted in films and documentaries. Topics include experiences of youth during periods of reform, youth legislation, youth institutions, youth and Stalinism, and the experience of girls. The course concludes with an exploration of contemporary Russian teen culture, focusing on music and its role in the 1980s and 1990s. Michaela Pohl.

Not offered in 2018/19.

351 Problems in U.S. Foreign Policy 1

Using historical case studies, this seminar examines some of the major foreign affairs dilemmas U.S. policy makers have faced since 1945. Major topics include: containment; modernization; nation building; limited war; détente; human rights and humanitarian intervention; and democracy promotion. Robert Brigham.

Not offered in 2018/19.

355 Childhood and Children in Nineteenth-Century Britain 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as WMST 355) This course examines both the social constructions of childhood and the experiences of children in Britain during the nineteenth century, a period of immense industrial and social change. We analyze the various understandings of childhood at the beginning of the century (including utilitarian, Romantic, and evangelical approaches to childhood) and explore how, by the end of the century, all social classes shared similar expectations of what it meant to be a child. Main topics include the relationships between children and parents, child labor, sexuality, education, health and welfare, abuse, delinquency, and children as imperial subjects. Lydia Murdoch.

357 The First World War 1

For many, the First World War marks the beginning of the modern age. After examining the debate about the conflict's causes, this seminar takes the social and cultural history of the war as its subject. Topics include the methods of mechanized trench warfare, the soldiers' experience, the effects of total war on the home front, and the memory of the Great War in film and literature. The primary focus is on European combatants, but we also explore the role of colonial troops and the impact of the war on European empires. Lydia Murdoch.

Not offered in 2018/19.

360 Black Business and Social Movements in the Twentieth Century 1

(Same as AFRS 360) From movies to music, bleaching cream to baseball, black entrepreneurs and consumers have historically negotiated the profits and pleasures of a "black economy" to achieve economic independence as a meaning of freedom. This seminar examines the duality of black businesses as economic and social institutions alongside black consumers' ideas of economic freedom to offer new perspectives on social and political movements in the twentieth-century. We explore black business activity and consumer activism as historical processes of community formation and economic resistance, paying particular attention to black capitalism, consumer boycotts, and the economy of black culture in the age of segregation. Topics include the development of the black beauty industry; black urban film culture; the Negro Baseball League; Motown and the protest music of the 1960s and 1970s; the underground economy; and federal legislation affecting black entrepreneurship. Quincy Mills.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

361 Varieties of the Latin American Indian Experience 1

This course treats the Indian world of Latin America as it responded to increased European penetration in the post-1500 period. Focusing primarily on Mesoamerica and the Andean region, it examines the variety of ways indigenous peoples dealt with cultural dislocation associated with the imposition of colonial systems and the introduction of the modern state. The course treats as well the Indian policies of the state, and how those policies reflected assumptions about the role of indigenous peoples in the larger society. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the process of negotiation of identity---what it meant to be Indian in an increasingly European society, and how the interpenetration of the two worlds, and the response of one to the other, reshaped each world. Leslie Offutt.

Prerequisite(s): 200-level Latin American history.

Not offered in 2018/19.

362 The Cuban Revolutions 1

Questions of sovereignty and issues of inequality have roiled the surface of the Cuban Republic since its founding in 1902; during the past century there were two major upheavals, the revolutions of 1933 and 1959. This course examines the context out of which those revolutions emerged and the manner in which post-revolutionary governments addressed (or failed to address) the concerns that prompted Cubans to choose the "revolutionary option." We pay particular attention to the relationship between Cuba and the United States, the legacies of slavery and racism, and the shaping of Cuban society after 1959. Leslie Offutt.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 264.

Not offered in 2018/19.

363 Revolution and Conflict in Twentieth-Century Latin America 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as LALS 363) Revolution has been a dominant theme in the history of Latin America since 1910. This course examines the revolutionary experiences of three nations---Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua. It examines theories of revolution, then assesses the revolutions themselves---the conditions out of which each revolution developed, the conflicting ideologies at play, the nature of the struggles, and the postrevolutionary societies that emerged from the struggles. Leslie Offutt.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 264 or permission of the instructor.

365 Race and the History of Jim Crow Segregation 1

(Same as AFRS 365) This seminar examines the rise of racial segregation sanctioned by law and racial custom from 1865 to 1965. Equally important, we explore the multiple ways African Americans negotiated and resisted segregation in the private and public spheres. This course aims toward an understanding of the work that race does, with or without laws, to order society based on the intersection of race, class and gender. Topics include: disfranchisement, labor and domesticity, urbanization, public space, education, housing, history and memory, and the lasting effects of sanctioned segregation. We focus on historical methods of studying larger questions of politics, resistance, privilege and oppression. We also explore interdisciplinary methods of studying race and segregation, such as critical race theory. Music and film supplement classroom discussions. Quincy Mills.

Not offered in 2018/19.

366 American Encounters: Natives, Newcomers, and the Contest for a Continent 1Semester Offered: Fall

Moving past today's fixation on Pocahontas and John Smith, Squanto and the Pilgrims, this course will examine the Native response to the invasion of North America, focusing on peoples living east of the Mississippi River before the early 19th century, the era of 'Removal' that marked the beginning of the end of Indian Country. Confronting the challenges in the way of understanding the Native experience (lack of evidence, modern stereotypes, loaded language), we will combine scholarly works with Native writings, explorers' accounts, treaty texts, captivity narratives, and films to consider the central arenas where Indians engaged foreigners from beyond the eastern horizon, from trade and missions through war and diplomacy to ideas of "race" and notions of gender. James Merrell.

One 2-hour period.

368 American Portrait: The United States c. 1830 1

The election of Andrew Jackson and the "age of the common man"; the deaths of the last Founding Fathers and the beginning of the first railroad; Cherokee Indian Removal and Nat Turner's slave rebellion; Alexis de Tocqueville's famous visit and the first magazine edited by a woman; radical abolition and the invention of Davy Crockett---the confluence of these and other events around 1830 makes that historical moment an important American watershed. This course examines the currents and cross-currents of that era. Ranging widely across the country and visiting some of its many inhabitants, we explore the paradoxes of this pivotal era, trying to make sense of how people then, and historians since, tried to understand its character. James Merrell.

Not offered in 2018/19.

369 Social Citizenship in an Urban Age 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as EDUC 369 and URBS 369) During a 1936 campaign speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that in "1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy." Since then "the age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production and mass distribution---all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem . . . . For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality." Therefore, the President concluded, government must do something to "protect the citizen's right to work and right to live." This course looks at how Americans during the twentieth century fought to expand the meaning of citizenship to include social rights. We study efforts on behalf of labor laws, unemployment and old age insurance, and aid to poor mothers and their children. How did these programs affect Americans of different social, racial, and ethnic backgrounds? How did gender shape the ways that people experienced these programs? Because many Americans believed that widening educational opportunities was essential for addressing the problems associated with the "new civilization" that Roosevelt described, we ask to what extent Americans came to believe that access to a good education is a right of citizenship. These issues and the struggles surrounding them are not only, as they say, "history." To help us understand our times, we look at the backlash, in the closing decades of the twentieth century, against campaigns to enlarge the definition of citizenship. Miriam Cohen.

One 2-hour period.

373 Slavery and Abolition in Africa 1

(Same as AFRS 373) The Trans-Saharan and the Atlantic slave trade transformed African communities, social structures, and cultures. The seminar explores the development, abolition, and impact of slavery in Africa from the earliest times to the twentieth century. The major conceptual and historiographical themes include indigenous servitude, female enslavement, family strategies, slave resistance, abolition, and culture. The seminar uses specific case studies as well as a comparative framework to understand slavery in Africa. Ismail Rashid.

Prerequisite(s): standard department prerequisites or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

374 The African Diaspora 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as AFRS 374) This seminar investigates the social origins, philosophical and cultural ideas, and the political forms of Pan-Africanism from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. It explores how disaffection and resistance against slavery, racism and colonial domination in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, and Africa led to the development of a global movement for the emancipation of peoples of African descent from 1900 onwards. The seminar examines the different ideological, cultural, and organizational manifestations of Pan-Africanism as well as the scholarly debates on development of the movement. Readings include the ideas and works of Edward Blyden, Alexander Crummell, W. E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Garvey, C.L.R. James, and Kwame Nkmmah. Ismail Rashid.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instrcutor.

375 Years of Disunion: The U.S. Civil War 1Semester Offered: Spring

This course considers the Civil War as a political, military, social, and cultural watershed in American history. Topics covered include the secession crisis and the political transformation wrought by the Republican Party; events on the battlefield and on the Union and Confederate home fronts; the gradual unfolding of Emancipation as a Union war aim, and its results; human responses to the war's grim toll of death and destruction; and the conflict's long-term legacies. Readings include recent works of scholarship as well as eyewitness accounts and works of fiction. Rebecca Edwards.

382 Marie-Antoinette 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as WMST 382) More than 200 years after her death, Marie-Antoinette continues to be an object of fascination because of her supposed excesses and her death at the guillotine. For her contemporaries, Marie-Antoinette often symbolized all that was wrong in French body politic. Through the life of Marie-Antoinette, we investigate the changing political and cultural landscape of eighteenth-century France including the French Revolution. Topics include women and power, political scandal and public opinion, fashion and self-representation, motherhood and domesticity, and revolution and gender iconography. Throughout the course, we explore the changing nature of the biographical narrative. The course also considers the legacy of Marie Antoinette as martyr and fetish object in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and her continuing relevance today. Sumita Choudhury.

385 Colonialism, Resistance, and Knowledge in Modern Middle Eastern History 1Semester Offered: Fall

This course examines the historiography of the modern Middle East. We begin with a number of older, foundational texts in an effort to understand and contextualize Orientalism as it emerged in the nineteenth-century, as well as its intellectual legacy in the United States. The course then turns to the substance and impact of post-colonialist interventions since the 1960s that have thrown many "givens" of the discipline into doubt. The bulk of the course focuses on recent scholarship, allowing us to explore how (or whether) historians of Islam and the Middle East have benefited from the new scholarly perspectives that emerged in the wake of anti-colonialist struggles. The meaning of "modernity" serves as a principal organizing question of the class. Joshua Schreier.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 174 or HIST 214 or HIST 255; or permission of the instructor.

386 Central Asia and the Caucasus: Nation Building and Human Rights 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as INTL 386) The Muslim regions between Russia and China are becoming more populated, prosperous, and connected. The Caspian Sea region is booming with new oil and gas wealth. A wave of democracy movements swept newly independent states but oligarchs and long-term autocratic presidents dominate politics and business. An Islamic revival after the fall of communism has brought a crisis of political Islam, including problems like terrorism, re-veiling campaigns, and bride-kidnappings. Chechnya and the North Caucasus became magnets for violence, while Tatarstan has seen a quiet renaissance of liberal Russian Islam. This cross-listed seminar explores nation building, human rights, and spiritual life in Central Asia and the Caucasus from a historical perspective. Topics include the legacies of Mongol and Tatar power verticals, the impact of communism on Central Asia, the war in Chechnya and its effect on human rights in the region, the history of Kazakhstan's new capital, Astana, and daily life and politics since independence in 1991. Michaela Pohl.

One 2-hour period.

387 Modern China: Wealth, Power and Revolution 1Semester Offered: Spring

(Same as ASIA 387) The search for wealth and power in China has been profoundly shaped by the country's twentieth-century revolutionary experiences. In contextualizing China's ambitions from its history from the eighteenth century to the present, this seminar critically explores the rise and fall of an expansive Qing Empire, debates the vibrancy of Republican-era Chinese society, and investigates the contingencies and legacies of the communist revolution.  In addition, we explore the multifaceted experiences of intellectuals, cadres, diplomats,politicians, businessmen, scientists, artists, students, workers, and peasants living in the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan through the lens of gender, ethnicity, work, diaspora, and ideology. Students understand the rise of China today within the context of its dynamic recent past.

One 2-hour period.

399 Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1Semester Offered: Fall or Spring

Permission required.