Environmental History

HIST 24612  Chinese Frontier History, circa 1600–Present  (K. Pomeranz)  A study of frontier regions, migration, and border policies in Qing (1644–1912) and twentieth-century China, focusing on selected case studies. Cases will include both actual border regions (where the Qing/China was adjacent to some other polity it recognized), ethnically diverse internal frontiers, and places where migrants moved into previously uninhabited regions (e.g., high mountains). Topics include the political economy and geopolitics of migration and frontier regions, the formation of ethnic and national identities in frontier contexts, borderland society (e.g., marriage, social stratification, and social mobility), and the environmental effects of migration. Assignments for undergraduates are two short papers, a midterm (which can be waived under certain circumstances), a final, and class participation; requirements for graduate students are negotiable, but will include roughly twenty pages of writing (and no in-class exams).

HIST 29430  The Planned Economy: A Global History of Central Planning, from Bismarck to the Green New Deal  (M. Lowenstein, Von Holst Prize Lecturer)  This course will change the way you think about politics. One of the most urgent political questions for any modern society is what economic activity to leave to private actors and what economic activity to place under state control. Today we hear much political debate over whether capitalism or socialism is superior, and what these terms mean. This debate can obscure the historical fact that many different ideological systems around the globe have experimented with highly centralized, state-directed economic organization. In what contexts have these experiments succeeded and failed? What counts as success and failure? To what extent has one experiment in central planning studied and/or learned from examples that preceded it? This course pursues these questions beginning with the origins of modern central planning in Prussia and later during World War I. It goes on to assess other experiments in central planning, including the New Deal, the Soviet Union and Maoist China; the Axis Powers of Italy, the Third Reich, and Imperial Japan; and later in the postcolonial global south from India to Ghana. The class ends by contemplating the Green New Deal and the role of central planning in the future of the United States.

HIST 29681  Radical America  (J. Dailey)  This undergraduate research colloquium explores various sorts of radicalisms (religious, political, sexual, environmental) from the eighteenth century to the present. Students will write a fifteen-page work of original historical research.