Empires and Colonialism
HIST 10102 Introduction to African Civilization II (K. Hickerson) African Civilization introduces students to African history in a three-quarter sequence. Part two examines the transformations of African societies in the long nineteenth century. At the beginning of the era, European economic and political presence was mainly coastal, but by the end, nearly the entire continent was colonized. This course examines how and why this occurred, highlighting the struggles of African societies to manage internal reforms and external political, military, and economic pressures. Topics include the Egyptian conquest of Sudan, Omani colonialism on the Swahili coast, Islamic reform movements across the Sahara, and connections between the end of the transatlantic slave trade and the formal colonization of the African continent. Students will examine memoirs of African soldiers, religious texts, colonial handbooks, and visual and material sources, including ethnographic artifacts, photographs, and textiles. Assignments: team projects, document and material analyses, response papers, essays, and written exams. The course will equip students with a working knowledge of the struggles that created many of the political and social boundaries of modern Africa.
HIST 13001 History of European Civilization I European Civilization is a two-quarter sequence designed to use close readings of primary sources to enrich our understanding of Europeans of the past. 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 13002 History of European Civilization II European Civilization is a two-quarter sequence designed to use close readings of primary sources to enrich our understanding of Europeans of the past. 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 14000 Introduction to Russian Civilization II (E. Gilburd) This two-quarter sequence, which meets the general education requirement in civilization studies, provides an interdisciplinary introduction to Russian civilization. The first quarter covers the ninth century to the 1870s; the second quarter continues on through the post-Soviet period. Working closely with a variety of primary sources—from oral legends to film and music, from political treatises to literary masterpieces—we will track the evolution of Russian civilization over the centuries and through radically different political regimes. Topics to be discussed include the influence of Byzantine, Mongol-Tataric, and Western culture in Russian civilization; forces of change and continuity in political, intellectual and cultural life; the relationship between center and periphery; systems of social and political legitimization; and symbols and practices of collective identity.
HIST 15200 Introduction to East Asian Civilization II (J. Ketelaar) 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 14303 Modern Korean History (J. Jeon, Teaching Fellow) This course focuses on the modern history of a country that is well known for shifting its course at dizzying speed. Beginning with the last monarchic dynasty's "opening" to the world in the late nineteenth century, the course will move on to deal with radical transformations such as Japanese colonization and Korea's subsequent liberation in 1945; the civil war, national division, and dictatorship in the two Koreas; and the economic miracle and democratization in the South and nuclear development in the North. How do we understand recent events, such as the South Korean president's impeachment in 2017 and the North Korean leader's high-profile diplomatic détentes in 2018? Do they come out of nowhere, or can we find an underlying consistency based on an understanding of the long twentieth century? Through a careful study of Korea's modern history, this course is designed to reveal the longer trajectories of Korea's historical development, showing how the study of this contentious peninsula becomes a study of modern world history.
HIST 17606 American Revolutions (M. Kruer) In 1750, "British America" was a diverse and fractious collection of colonies huddled along the eastern seaboard, on the margins of the churning waters of the Atlantic world. Forty years later, thirteen of those remote American settlements had become, through rebellion and war, into a revolutionary nation. The traumatic passage of this transformation established the world's first modern republic and set in motion an age of democratic revolutions that reverberated in Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and western North America. This course explores this remarkable epoch in early American history. Topics include the first global military struggle (the Seven Years War); the transformation from scattered urban riots against taxes into a rebellion against the world's strongest imperial power; the everyday experience of occupation, insurgency, and civil war; Black and Native American struggles for independence; experiments in women's rights, radical democracy, and religious freedom; the fragility of the new union and the ragged road toward a federal nation-state; and the revolutionary idealism that inspired revolutions in France, Haiti, and the Americas, with consequences that shaped the early United States and all its diverse peoples. Grades will be based on three short papers and one final paper. This lecture course is open to non-History majors and does not presume any previous history coursework.
HIST 22310 The Commons: Environment and Economy in Early Modern Europe (O. Cussen, Teaching Fellow) Drawing on case studies from Europe and the Atlantic world, this course will track changes in land use and property rights over the early modern period (ca. 1500–1800), inviting students to reflect on the relationship between natural environments (woodlands, waterways, pasture) and histories of state formation, economic growth, rebellion, and colonialism. Organizing concepts and debates will include the tragedy of the commons, moral economies, sustainability and scarcity, the "organic economy" of the old regime, primitive accumulation, and economic takeoff. Readings will encompass classic works in agrarian, environmental, and social history (i.e., Marc Bloch, E. P. Thompson, Silvia Federici, James Scott, Carolyn Merchant) as well as primary documents and contemporary texts (i.e., More, Bacon, Smith, Paine, Babeuf). We will also reflect on how these histories bear on debates about land use and natural resources in the present day.
HIST 23103 East Central Europe, 1880–Present (T. Zahra) The past 150 years have brought democratization, mass politics, two violent world wars, and no less than four different political regimes to the lands between Germany and the Soviet Union. The focus of this course will be on the forces that have shaped Eastern European politics and society since the 1880s. How and why was a multinational and multilingual empire transformed into self-declared nation states? How has mass migration reshaped East European societies? What were the causes and consequences of ethnic cleansing in East Central Europe? How did the experience of total war transform the states and societies? How did citizens respond to and participate in the construction of socialist societies after the Second World War? And finally, what changes and challenges has the transition from socialism to capitalism brought to the region since 1989? The course will focus on the Habsburg Monarchy and its successor states, particularly Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary, with occasional discussion of the former Yugoslavia and Romania. Assignments: three short papers (5–6 pages).
HIST 24508 Human Rights in Japanese History (K. Pan, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) This course examines how the modern concept of "rights" and "human rights" localized in Japan and how different parties in Japan have used the language of human rights in attempts to remake Japan's social, cultural, and legal landscape. We will explore a wide range of topics including the translation of Eurocentric rights talk in East Asia, colonization and decolonization, statelessness and migration, transitional justice and reconciliation, biopolitical rights and bio-citizenship, indigenous rights, and women and gender-specific rights. Throughout the course we pay special attention to the ways in which rights talk and human-rights politics in Japan intertwine with the country's efforts to modernize and build the "nation within the empire" and, after its defeat in WWII, to close off its "long postwar" and reconcile with its neighbors. This is an introductory course, and no previous knowledge of Japanese history or the international history of human rights is required. However, you should be prepared to read (and watch, browse, and listen to) a wide array of primary and secondary sources that destabilize the most common vocabulary and concepts we take for granted in contemporary human-rights talk such as race, state responsibility, and the very notion of universalism so central to the idea of human rights.
HIST 26220 Brazil: Another American History (B. Fischer) Brazil is in many ways a mirror image of the United States: an almost continental democracy, rich in natural resources, populated by the descendants of three continents, shaped by colonialism, slavery, and sui generis liberal capitalism. Why, then, has Brazil's historical path been so distinct? To explore this question, this course will focus on the history of economic development, race, citizenship, urbanization, the environment, popular culture, violence, and the challenge of democracy. Assignments: weekly reading, participation in discussions, weekly journal posts, and a final paper.
HIST 29201 Puerto Rico (D. Borges) An examination of the current situation of Puerto Rico in historical perspective. Assignments: short papers, quizzes, midterm exam, final paper.
HIST 49200 Colloquium: Approaches to Atlantic Slavery Studies (R. Johnson) We are witnessing an outpouring of scholarship on Atlantic slavery even as some historians are increasingly critical of the archival method. This course uses select theoretical readings and recent monographs and articles to examine this conceptual and methodological debate. Topics to be examined include histories of women, gender, and sexuality; dispossession and resistance; urban and migration history; and interdisciplinary and speculative techniques.