War, Violence, and Society

HIST 20404  Troy and Its Legacy  (M. Andrews)  This course will explore the Trojan War through the archaeology, art, and mythology of the Greeks and Romans, as well as through the popular imaginings of it in later cultures. The first half will focus on the actual events of the "Trojan War" at the end of the second millennium BCE. We will study the site of Troy, the cities of the opposing Greeks, and the evidence for contact, cooperation, and conflict between the Greeks and Trojans. Students will be introduced to the history of archaeology and the development of archaeological fieldwork. The second half will trace how the narrative and mythology of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War were adapted and used by later civilizations, from classical Greece to twenty-first-century America, to justify their rises to political and cultural hegemony in the Mediterranean and the West, respectively.

HIST 23006  Looting in Modern European History  (A. Goff)  At the end of the eighteenth century Europeans recognized the seizure of enemy property to be a time-honored practice of warfare and subjugation. At the same time, however, new ideas about human rights, cultural heritage, and international law began to reshape the place of looting in the exercise of power. This course will take up the history of looting in European cultural and political life from the late eighteenth through the twentieth centuries as a tool of nationalism, imperialism, totalitarianism, and scholarship. How was looting defined, who defined it, and what kinds of ethical and legal codes governed its use? How was the seizure of personal property, cultural artifacts, and sacred objects legitimized by its practitioners and experienced by its victims? In what ways did looting change the meaning of objects and why? How do we understand looting in relationship to other forms of violence and destruction in the modern period? While the focus of the course will be on Europe, we will necessarily be concerned with a global frame as we follow cases of looting in colonial contexts, through migration, exploration, and during war. Course materials will including primary texts, images, objects, and historical accounts. Students will be required to write a final historiographical essay.

HIST 27900  Asian Wars of the Twentieth Century  (B. Cumings)  This course examines the political, economic, social, cultural, racial, and military aspects of the major Asian wars of the twentieth century: the Pacific War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. At the beginning of the course we pay particular attention to just war doctrines and then use two to three books for each war (along with several films) to examine alternative approaches to understanding the origins of these wars, their conduct, and their consequences.

HIST 28204  The Civil War and the Transformation of American Democracy  (A. Rowe, Teaching Fellow)  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 29632  The CIA and American Democracy  (B. Cumings)  This colloquium will examine all aspects of American intelligence and its influence on history, politics, society, and academe since the inception of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Particular attention will be paid to how intelligence is gathered and interpreted, intelligence failures and why they happened, the close association between top Ivy League universities and origins of US intelligence, the penetration of the early Central Intelligence Agency by British individuals spying for the Soviets, the wide influence of the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s on major aspects of American life, the crisis of US intelligence in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, the revival of intelligence vigor in the 1980s, and the uses and misuses of intelligence in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assignments: Six or seven books during the course of the colloquium, a few films outside of class time, a paper of roughly fifteen pages in the seventh week of the term, and a final exam, which mixes essay questions with questions on the reading. Outstanding participation in colloquium will merit an increment in the final grade, which otherwise will be determined equally by the outside paper and final exam.