African History

HIST 10102  Introduction to African Civilization II  (K. Hickerson)  African Civilization introduces students to African history in a three quarter sequence. Part II focuses on Eastern and Southern Africa, including Madagascar. We explore various aspects of how the colonial encounter transformed local societies, even as indigenous African social structures profoundly molded and shaped these diverse processes. Topics include the institution of colonial rule, independence movements, ethnicity and interethnic violence, ritual and the body, and love, marriage, money, and popular culture.

HIST 21403  The British Empire on Trial: Corruption, Scandal, Dissent  (Z. Leonard, Teaching Fellow)  Throughout the long nineteenth century, British empire building remained a contentious pursuit. It threatened to shatter Britons' moral compasses, destabilize social hierarchies, squander tax revenue, and inflict untold miseries upon foreign populations. To legitimize their expansionism, colonial policy makers claimed that they were introducing benighted regions to the benefits of a universal rule of law. This course will examine how this legalistic form of governing actually functioned by probing the trials of three classes of offenders: "insurgent" and nationalist agitators, reformist critics of colonial misrule, and despotic officials themselves. Focusing on cases in England, the Caribbean, India, and Egypt, readings will reveal the shortcomings of the British judicial apparatus and identify the loopholes that enabled a proudly "free" nation to subjugate and silence dissidents with near impunity. By participating in mock trials, students will gain familiarity with historical legal processes and the rhetorical tactics that actors employed both in the courtroom and in the public sphere.

HIST 25216  The History of Alchemy (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow)  This course will examine the history of alchemy in the Greco-Egyptian Mediterranean, the Arab Middle East, the Latin Middle Ages, and the early modern era. Topics will include alchemy's development as a chemical science for understanding physical change in nature, its major goals (e.g., gold making and the discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone), the application of its theories in medicine and pharmacology, religious admonitions and defenses of its practices, its relationship with other contemporary esoteric fields such as natural magic and secrecy, its potential effects on political economy, its intellectual place in the history of the scientific revolution, reasons for its “decline” in the early eighteenth century, and its revival in the spiritualism of Victorian Britain and twentieth-century Jungian psychology. Readings will include major primary source writings in translation by Zosimus, Abū Mūsā Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, George Ripley, Paracelsus, George Starkey, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton, as well as modern histories on the topic. This course may include the examination of manuscripts at Regenstein Special Collections and in-class chemical demonstrations of some simple alchemical experiments.

HIST 25709  Race and Ethnicity in the Modern Middle East  (K. Hickerson)  This seminar examines the ways that race and ethnicity are identified and discussed in Middle Eastern societies from the late-eighteenth century to the contemporary period. This class will analyze debates surrounding Middle Eastern racial and ethnic constructions in order to consider the extent to which these are the products of European colonialism—as some claim—or other legacies including Ottoman slave trade networks. This course addresses the ways these categories have shaped nationalist discourses, anticolonial struggles, US involvement in the Middle East, and contemporary questions of citizenship. Students will examine the role of diaspora encounters in Europe and the Americas in crafting these categories and ask whether new flows of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Philippines to the Middle East are reconfiguring old constructions or creating new ones. Sources will include literature, music, and film and methodologies are cultural, social, and political history. The class comprises case studies from Morocco, the Nile Valley, Turkey, Israel, and the Gulf States.

HIST 27200  African American History to 1883  (T. Holt)  A lecture course discussing selected topics in the African American experience (economic, political, social) from African origins through the Supreme Court decision invalidating Reconstruction Era protections of African American civil rights. Course evaluations via online quizzes and take-home essays.