Modern History

HIST 15100  Introduction to East Asian Civilization 1  (G. Alitto)  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 16602  Markets Before Capitalism  (A. Bresson)  Is the market system a new invention linked to the recent development of modern European societies? Is the market the hero or the villain of the story? Is everything marketable? Is the market the driver for economic development? We will address these and other questions in a deliberately comparative way, focusing on the cases of ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Greece and Rome, and medieval and early modern Europe. We will read excerpts from Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Weber, Polanyi, Braudel, Wallerstein, Geertz, Horden, and Purcell. We will examine the controversies in which these scholars were involved and the echoes they still have in our own contemporary debates. Assignments: Two papers, two quizzes.

HIST 17105  Race and Racisms in the Americas  (M. Tenorio)  This course seeks to explore the variegated ways the idea, and the consequences, of race has affected the history of the Americas from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. The course emphasis comparisons and different forms of racisms in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Cuba, and Brazil.

HIST 18600  US Labor History  (A. Stanley)  This course will explore the history of labor and laboring people in the United States.  The significance of work will be considered from the vantage points of political economy, culture, and law. Key topics will include working-class life, industrialization and corporate capitalism, slavery and emancipation, the role of the state and trade unions, race and sex difference in the workplace.

HIST 23812  Russia and the West, Eighteenth–Twenty-first Centuries  (E. Gilburd)  There are few problems as enduring and central to Russian history as the question of the West—Russia's most passionate romance and most bitter letdown. In this course we will read and think about Russia from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries through the lens of this obsession. We will study the products of Russian interactions with the West: constitutional projects, paintings, scientific and economic thought, the Westernizer-Slavophile controversy, and revolutions. We will consider the presence of European communities in Russia: German and British migrants who filled important niches in state service, trade, and scholarship; Italian sculptors and architects who designed some of Russia's most famous monuments; French expatriates in the wake of the French Revolution; Communist workers and intellectuals, refugees from Nazi Germany; and Western journalists who, in the late Soviet decades, trafficked illicit ideas, texts, and artworks. In the end, we will follow émigré Russians to Europe and the United States and return to present-day Russia to examine the anti-Western turn in its political and cultural discourse.

HIST 24513  Documentary Chinese  (G. Alitto)  This course guides students through critical readings of primary historical documents from approximately 1800 through 1950. These documents are translated sentence by sentence, and then historiographically analyzed. Most of these documents are from the nineteenth century. Genres include public imperial edicts, secret imperial edicts, secret memorials to the throne from officials, official reports to superiors and from superiors, funereal essays, depositions ("confessions"), local gazetteers (fangzhi), newspapers, and periodicals. To provide an introduction to these genres, the first six weeks of the course will use the Fairbank and Kuhn textbook The Rebellion of Chung Jen-chieh (Harvard-Yanjing Institute). The textbook provides ten different genres of document with vocabulary glosses and grammatical explanations; all documents relate to an 1841–42 rebellion in Hubei province.  Assignments: Each week prior to class students electronically submit a written translation of the document or documents to be read; a day after the class they electronically submit a corrected translation of the document or documents read. A fifteen-page term paper based on original sources in documentary Chinese is also required. A reading knowledge of modern (baihua) Chinese and some familiarity with classical Chinese (wenyan) or Japanese Kanbun. Other students may take the course with permission from the instructor.

HIST 26304  Literature and Society in Brazil  (D. Borges)  This course surveys the relations between literature and society in Brazil, with an emphasis on the institution of the novel in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The nineteenth-century Brazilian novel, like the Russian novel, was an arena in which intellectuals debated, publicized, and perhaps even discovered social questions. We will examine ways in which fiction has been used and misused as a historical document of slavery and the rise of capitalism, of race relations, of patronage and autonomy, and of marriage, sex, and love. We will read works in translation by Manuel Antonio de Almeida, José de Alencar, Machado de Assis, Aluísio de Azevedo, and others. Assignments: Quizzes, class presentations, short papers, and a final paper.

HIST 26500  History of Mexico, 1876–Present  (E. Kourí)  From the Porfiriato and the Revolution to the present, this course is a survey of Mexican society and politics, with emphasis on the connections between economic developments, social justice, and political organization. Topics include fin de siècle modernization and the agrarian problem; causes and consequences of the Revolution of 1910; the making of the modern Mexican state; relations with the United States; industrialism and land reform; urbanization and migration; ethnicity, culture, and nationalism; economic crises, neoliberalism, and social inequality; political reforms and electoral democracy; violence and narco-trafficking; the end of PRI rule; and AMLO's new government. Assignments: Cass presentations, take-home midterm, and final essays.

HIST 29527 The Spatial History of Nineteenth-Century Cities: Tokyo, London, New York  (S. Burns)  The late-nineteenth century saw the transformation of cities around the world as a result of urbanization, industrialization, migration, and the rise of public health. This course will take a spatial history approach; that is, we will explore the transformation of London, Tokyo, and New York over the course of the nineteenth century by focusing on the material "space" of the city. For example, where did new immigrants settle and why? Why were there higher rates of infectious disease in some areas than in others? How did new forms of public transportation shape the ability to move around the city, rendering some areas more central than others? To explore questions such as these, students will be introduced to ArcGIS in four lab sessions and asked to develop an original research project that integrates maps produced in Arc. No prior ArcGIS experience is necessary, although students will be expected to have familiarity with Microsoft Excel and a willingness to experiment with digital methods. Assignments: Discussion posts, homework (mapping), and a final research project.

HIST 29678  Medicine and Society  (M. Rossi)  How does medical knowledge change? How do medical practices transform over time? What factors influence the ways in which doctors and patients—and scientists, artists, politicians, legislators, activists, and educators, among others—understand matters of health and disease, of proper and improper interventions, of the rights of individuals and the needs of communities? This course treats these questions as a starting point for exploring the interactions of medicine and society from 1800 to the present. Through a combination of primary and secondary sources we will examine changing causes of morbidity and mortality, the development of new medical technologies and infrastructures, shifting patterns of disease and shifting ideas about bodies, and debates about health care policy, among other topics. Assignment: Students will be expected to conduct original research and produce an original research paper of fifteen to twenty pages.