European & Russian History

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 13200  History of Western Civilization II  (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 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 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 23407  Comparative Kingship: Rulers in 12th-Century Europe  (J. Lyon)  The purpose of this course is to examine the different forms that kingship took in the Latin Christian kingdoms of Europe during the twelfth century. In the first half of the course, we will read and discuss a broad range of primary and secondary sources that will give us the opportunity to analyze critically kingship in England, France, and Germany (the Holy Roman Empire). In the second half of the course, we will broaden our discussion to consider how other kingdoms in Europe—including Scotland, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Sicily, Aragon, and Castile—do and do not conform to more general models of twelfth-century European kingship.

HIST 24905  Darwin's On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man  (R. Richards)  This lecture-discussion class will focus on a close reading of Darwin's two classic texts. An initial class or two will explore the state of biology prior to Darwin's Beagle voyage, and then consider the development of his theories before 1859. Then we will turn to his two books. Among the topics of central concern will be the logical, epistemological, and rhetorical status of Darwin's several theories, especially his evolutionary ethics; the religious foundations of his ideas and the religious reaction to them; and the social-political consequences of his accomplishment. The year 2019 was the 210th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 160th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

HIST 29318  Modern Disability Histories: Gender, Race, and Disability  (M. Appeltová, Teaching Fellow)  This course introduces students to the conceptual apparatus of disability studies and major developments in disability history since the late nineteenth century. The course will consider disability beyond physical impairment, centering the ways in which notions of gender, race, class, sexuality, and ability interact and shape subjects, and how these subject positions shift across political watersheds. Students will engage a variety of sources, such as autobiographies, pamphlets, visual material, laws, and medical texts, as well as historiographical sources. Topics will include late nineteenth-century female "hysteria," evolutionary approaches to sign language and orality, and the effects of industrialization on new impairments; early twentieth-century eugenics and the Nazi T4 program; postwar developments in prosthetics and discursive intersections between psychosis and civil rights movement. Students are encouraged to work on creative collective projects (e.g., an exhibit or a short video) in addition to written assignments.

HIST 44003  Colloquium: Lost Histories of the Left  (F. Hillis)  When most Americans think about "the left," Marxism, Soviet state socialism, or European social democracy spring to mind. This class will explore alternative—but now largely forgotten—blueprints for revolutionizing the political and social order that emerged in the nineteenth century. We will pay special attention to utopian socialism, early anticolonial movements, the Jewish Labor Bund, and anarchism. Examining the intellectual underpinnings of these movements, their influence on the modern world, and the factors that led to their demise, we will also consider what lessons they can teach to those committed to realizing a better future today.