WIN 19: History of Violence
HIST 14701 Human Rights in Chinese History (J. Ransmeier) This Gateway course will introduce students to China's contentious rights environment and both domestic and international ideas of human rights. The course will consider social movements, dissent, the role of the press, environmentalism, and debates over "Asian values." While the course surveys the modern period we will also discuss legacies of China's philosophical traditions. History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to first- through third-year students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
HIST 17204 Thou Shalt Not Kill: Human Rights and War from Napoleon to the War on Terror (P. O'Donnell) This course will consider the intersection between human rights and humans in wars from Napoleon's first forays into a nationalized army, citizen soldiers, and battlefield medicine in the early nineteenth century to the contradictions of the global "war on terror": Abu Ghraib, drone strikes, and Support Our Troops bumper stickers. Along the way, it will consider the evolution of rights alongside the evolution of war, using historical examples as stepping stones, from the horrors produced by European colonial firepower and the global cataclysms of the twentieth century's world wars, to the Cold War's proxy wars and nuclear threats, to failed attempts at peacekeeping in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. History in the World courses use history as a valuable tool to help students critically exam our society, culture, and politics. Preference given to first- and second-year students.
HIST 17704 The Old History of Capitalism (D. Jenkins) What is the relationship between race and capitalism? This course introduces students to the concept of "racial capitalism," which rejects treatments of race as external to a purely economic project and counters the idea that racism is an externality, acultural overflow, or an aberration from the so-called real workings of capitalism. Spanning the colonization of North America to the era of mass incarceration, topics include the slave trade, indigenous dispossession, antebellum slavery, the Mexican-American War, "new imperialism," the welfare state, and civil rights. This course neither presumes a background in economics nor previous coursework in history. History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to first- through third-year students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
HIST 26515 Political and Cultural History of Modern Mexico (M. Tenorio) This course is not a survey of Mexican history but a discussion of the recent contributions to the cultural and political historiography of modern Mexico. It will blend lectures and discussion of such topics as the new meanings of citizenship, peace, war, national culture, violence, avant-garde art, and cinema.
HIST 28204 The Civil War and the Transformation of American Democracy (A. Rowe, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences) The Civil War announced the dramatic failure of American constitutional democracy to resolve or avoid a fundamental conflict over slavery. The costly achievements of the war, however, only replaced one inescapable problem with another: namely, how to incorporate the results of an abrupt, catastrophically violent assertion of military force into an enduring political regime that remained true to the ideal of free government. A national commitment to equal rights was established, but did not resolve, the problem of how to transform a society of slaves and conquered belligerents into equal citizens in a constitutional democracy. It is misleading to separate the abstract and practical dimensions of this essential problem. The moral principles at stake in the conflict ultimately depended on salvaging a bitterly divided nation from the abyss into which it had plunged. In this course, we will examine the history of the Civil War era through the dynamic controversies of high politics, as an entirely new conception of the American republic emerged from the failure of the old.
HIST 28607 War, Diplomacy, and Empire in US History (J. Sparrow) World politics have profoundly shaped the United States from its colonial origins to the war on terror. Yet only recently have US historians made a sustained effort to relate the foreign relations of the country to its domestic history. For a century and a half prior to independence, empire, trade, great-power politics, and violent conflict with Native Americans formed the large structures of power and meaning within which colonists pursued their everyday lives. In violently repudiating the claims of the British Empire, the revolutionaries commenced a political tradition that sought to avoid the perils of great-power statecraft for roughly the next century and a half. Yet even as it lent a distinctive cast to US politics and society, this pursuit of exceptionalism had to reckon with the requirements of state power and geopolitics from the Civil War onward. With its sudden embrace of great-power politics and the "rise to globalism" from WWII onward the United States became increasingly like the European societies it had repudiated at the founding, even as its exceptional military and economic power set it apart as a "unipolar power" by the turn of the millennium. To understand these developments in depth students will write two modest-length "deep-dive" analytical essays and three brief reports on targeted expeditions into primary materials, while reading broadly across the historiography of the new diplomatic and international history.
HIST 29663 History Colloquium: The American Vigilante (K. Belew) From the Regulators to Rambo, the vigilante has played a leading role in the history and culture of the United States. This colloquium traces a long history of the American vigilante as a character, as well as episodes of vigilante violence from early America to the present. We will focus on the questions central to this history: What is the relationship between the vigilante and the state? Where can we draw distinctions between vigilantism, terrorism, and rebellion? How has the vigilante contributed to nation building? We will also explore the predominance of the vigilante in popular culture, focusing on figures such as Jesse James, Dirty Harry, Machete, the Punisher, superheroes, the movies of John Wayne, and the lyrics of Toby Keith. Students will write substantial final papers based on primary sources that explore one element of this discussion.