Empires and Colonialism
HIST 13002 History of European Civilization II The two-quarter sequence may be supplemented by a third quarter, in which students will have the opportunity to explore in greater depth a particular topic in the history of European civilization. As we examine the variety of their experiences, we will often call into question what we mean in the first place by “Europe” and “civilization.” Rather than providing a narrative of high politics, the sequence will emphasize the contested geographic, religious, social, and racial boundaries that have defined and redefined Europe and its people over the centuries. We will read and discuss sources covering the period from the early Middle Ages to the present, from a variety of genres: saga, biography, personal letters, property records, political treatises, memoirs, and government documents, to name only a few. Individual instructors may choose different sources and highlight different aspects of European civilization, but some of the most important readings will be the same in all sections. The two-quarter sequence may also be supplemented by a third quarter, in which students will have the opportunity to explore in greater depth a particular topic in the history of European civilization.
HIST 13300 History of Western Civilization 3 (K. Weintraub) Available as a three-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter-Spring) or as a two-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter or Winter-Spring). This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. The purpose of this sequence is threefold: (1) to introduce students to the principles of historical thought, (2) to acquaint them with some of the more important epochs in the development of Western civilization since the sixth century BC, and (3) to assist them in discovering connections between the various epochs. The purpose of the course is not to present a general survey of Western history. Instruction consists of intensive investigation of a selection of original documents bearing on a number of separate topics, usually two or three a quarter, occasionally supplemented by the work of a modern historian. The treatment of the selected topics varies from section to section. This sequence is currently offered twice a year. The amount of material covered is the same whether the student enrolls in the Autumn-Winter-Spring sequence or the Summer sequence.
HIST 13700 America in World Civilization 3 The American Civ sequence is nothing like your high-school history class, for here we examine America as a contested idea and a contested place by reading and writing about a wide array of primary sources. In the process, students gain a new sense of historical awareness and of the making of America. The course is designed both for history majors and non-majors who want to deepen their understanding of the nation's history, encounter some enlightening and provocative voices from the past, and develop the qualitative methodology of historical thinking. What conditions have shaped inclusion and exclusion from the category "American" in the twentieth century? Who has claimed rights, citizenship, and protection, and under what conditions? The third quarter America in World Civilization focuses on multiple definitions of Americanism in a period characterized by empire, transnational formations, and America's role in the world. We explore the construction of social order in a multicultural society; culture in the shadow of war; the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender; the rise and fall of new social movements on the left and the right; the emergence of the carceral state and militarization of civil space; and the role of climate change and the apocalyptic in shaping imagined futures.
HIST 15300 Introduction to East Asian Civilization 3 (J. Jeon, Teaching Fellow) This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This is a three-quarter sequence on the civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea, with emphasis on major transformation in these cultures and societies from the Middle Ages to the present. Taking these courses in sequence is not required.
HIST 23006 Looting in Modern European History (A. Goff) At the end of the eighteenth century Europeans recognized the seizure of enemy property to be a time-honored practice of warfare and subjugation. At the same time, however, new ideas about human rights, cultural heritage, and international law began to reshape the place of looting in the exercise of power. This course will take up the history of looting in European cultural and political life from the late eighteenth through the twentieth centuries as a tool of nationalism, imperialism, totalitarianism, and scholarship. How was looting defined, who defined it, and what kinds of ethical and legal codes governed its use? How was the seizure of personal property, cultural artifacts, and sacred objects legitimized by its practitioners and experienced by its victims? In what ways did looting change the meaning of objects and why? How do we understand looting in relationship to other forms of violence and destruction in the modern period? While the focus of the course will be on Europe, we will necessarily be concerned with a global frame as we follow cases of looting in colonial contexts, through migration, exploration, and during war. Course materials will including primary texts, images, objects, and historical accounts. Students will be required to write a final historiographical essay.
HIST 24515 Social Outcasts in Late Imperial and Modern China (C. Wang, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) This course considers the often neglected presence of "social outcasts" in Chinese history as a gateway to understanding ideas and practices of discrimination from the late Qing to modern-day China. It traces changes in the intersection of law, custom, and daily social practices, focusing on attempts aimed at legitimizing discrimination across class, territory, ethnicity, religion, gender and disability. Thus a theoretical objective of the course is to analyze legal and social dimensions of exclusion along the axis of empire and state building. Chronologically, this course begins with the collapse of status order in the late Qing and explores how the Republic and the PRC managed transgressive elements of society, from beggars, prostitutes, and the insane to ethnic and religious minorities. We will use legal documents, police records, and visual materials to explore how sociocultural processes shape the experience of discrimination and its resistance. Another focus of this course will be asking how disenfranchised groups might enhance our understanding of mainstream values. Through discussions, in-class presentations, and written assignments, students will develop skills to analyze historical evidence and critically reflect on its implication for cross-cultural issues.
HIST 25217 Decolonizing Science (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow) What does science look like from the perspective of colonized, indigenous, or otherwise marginalized people? How has science been used to justify domination during the age of imperialism? Can science and technology ever be morally neutral? How universal is science? What ways of knowing have existed in the past that provided systematic explanations for natural phenomena? This course will ask these and other questions about the global practice of the sciences from prehistory to the present and, when possible, view the sciences from the perspective of non-Western people. We will examine both the contributions of non-Western cultures to modern science as well the use of the sciences by Western powers as tools of colonization. We will also examine the methodological, epistemological, and ontological assumptions made by modern science and attempt to tease out some of their more problematic aspects. Topics may include the development of Islamic, Chinese, and Indian sciences; pre-Columbian mathematics and botany; indigenous cosmologies and astronomy; practical knowledge (e.g., Papuan taxonomic systems, Polynesian navigational astronomy, and West African botanical medicine); the use of science as a tool of subjugation or resistance; the racialization of medicine; phrenology, eugenics, and social Darwinism; indigenous resistance to nuclear weapons, fossil fuel companies, agribusiness, and climate change.
HIST 29529 Hawai‘i in Global Context, 1778–1959 (C. Kindell, Teaching Fellow) Extinct volcanoes perched behind sun-soaked beaches; hula dancers and cocktails at hotel luaus; something with Spam followed by pineapple Dole whip. Cultural images like these dominate the popular imagination when one considers Hawai‘i in the twenty-first century. Yet less understood, and often unexplored in the classroom, is the Hawaiian Islands' rich, unusual, and disputed past. Adopting a global perspective, this course examines the history of this mid-Pacific "paradise" from its European discovery in 1778 to its acquisition of statehood in 1959. It will employ transnational, comparative, and micro-historical methods to demonstrate how Hawaiian history has been indelibly shaped by global developments, including indigeneity and colonial encounters, mercantilism and environmental exploitation, informal empire and the law, land and agricultural reform, health and depopulation, labor and immigration, commercial growth and urbanization, annexation and militarization, tourism and cultural commodification, and citizenship and statehood. Grades will be based on participation, weekly Canvas posts, peer review, and a series of written assignments— i.e. a research paper proposal and bibliography, primary source analysis, literature review, and rough draft—that culminate in a 10-page final research paper.
HIST 49502 Colloquium: Colonialism, Globalization, and Postcolonialism (R. Austen) This course deals with European overseas expansion from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, the emergence from this process of new colonial territories inhabited by non-Europeans, and the fate of these territories as "postcolonies" in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century global order. The analytic goal is to integrate politics (the formation of colonial regimes and successor nation-states); economics (the dialectics of global capitalism, European overseas expansion, and varieties of development and underdevelopment), and culture (the construction of European and Third World identities via colonialism). The lectures and assigned readings will privilege "northern" Europe (as opposed to Iberia) but will include France. We will focus upon tropical Africa, the British and French Caribbean, and South Asia, but students are welcome to challenge or extend this definition of the topic. I will normally lecture on Wednesdays, and we will normally discuss the readings on Fridays. Assignments: Two short (3–5 pp) critical papers on specialized readings and one longer final essay (10–12 pp) discussing an approved, self-selected topic. The analysis of these readings must take into account the relevant general material in the course. Students may select a take-home final exam based on the required readings as an alternative to the longer paper.