History Department

Professors: Robert Brigham, Miriam Cohen, Rebecca Edwards (Chair), James H. Merrell; Associate Professors: Nancy Bisaha, Mita Choudhuryab, Maria Höhnb, Lydia Murdoch, Leslie Offutt, Michaela Pohla, Ismail Rashid; Assistant Professors: Quincy Millsab, Joshua Schreier, Hiraku Shimoda; Adjunct Associate Professor: Michael Hanagan, Ronald Patkus; Adjunct Assistant Professor: Paulina Bren.

ab Absent on leave full year
a Absent on leave, first semester
b Absent on leave, second semester 

Requirements for Concentration: 11 units, to include the following courses above the introductory level: 1 unit in European history; 1 unit in United States history; 1 unit in Asian, African, Latin American, or Middle Eastern history; 1 unit of pre-1800 history chosen from among History 215, 225, 230, 259, 262, 271, 274, 282, 315, 316, 332, 366, 381, 382; 1 unit from either of the two previous categories (Asian, African, Latin American, or Middle Eastern history; or pre-1800 history); History 303 (Thesis Preparation) and History 300-301 (Thesis); in addition to the Thesis, two 300-level courses. No cross-listed courses originating in another department may be used for distribution requirements. No more than two cross-listed courses originating in another department can count toward the history minimum requirement of 11 units.

No single course can meet two different departmental requirements, except the 300-level course, which can double to fulfill the 300-level course requirement and a distribution requirement.

Senior-Year Requirements: History 303 (Thesis Preparation) and History 300-301 (Thesis) and at least one other 300-level course.

Recommendations: Reading knowledge of at least one foreign language. Students planning to go on to graduate school should find out which language examinations are required for advanced degrees.

Advisers: The department.

Correlate Sequence in History Requirements: No fewer than 6 units in history, normally taken at Vassar. These will include no more than one course at the introductory level, at least three at the intermediate level, and at least one course at the advanced level. AP credit will not be accepted for the correlate sequence. No more than one (1) history course counted toward the correlate may be taken NRO, or outside the department.

Students should apply to the Correlate Sequence Adviser in their sophomore or junior year after discussing their plans with their major advisers. No correlate sequence can be declared after the beginning of the senior year. The courses selected for the sequence should form a coherent course of study. The list of the courses proposed and a brief written proposal articulating the focus of the sequence must be submitted to the Correlate Sequence Adviser for approval prior to declaration.

I. Introductory

In format, these tend to be period courses, but they are not conventional surveys. Their purpose is less merely to “cover” a certain area and era than to provide a general introduction to the historian’s craft. Relying heavily on primary sources that bring us face to face with the past, these courses acquaint students with the complexity, ambiguity, and excitement of that past.

116a. “The Dark Ages,” c. 400-900 (1)

(Same as Medieval and Renaissance Studies 116) Was early medieval Europe really Dark? In reality, this was a period of tremendous vitality and ferment, witnessing the growth of Germanic kingdoms, the high point of the Byzantine Empire, the rise of the papacy and monasticism, and the birth of Islam. This course examines a rich variety of sources that illuminate the unfortunately named “dark ages,” showing moments of both conflict and synthesis that arose from the meeting of Classical, Christian, and “barbarian” cultures. Ms. Bisaha.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

121a or b. Readings in Modern European History (1)

This course explores key developments in European history from the French Revolution in 1789 to the collapse of communism two centuries later. While roughly chronological, the class is not a survey. Readings explore the impact of the French and Industrial revolutions, the rise of nation states, World War I and the Russian revolution, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, and Europe’s Cold War division and continuing, contested integration. The department.

[122b. Encounters in Modern East Asia] (1)

(Formerly History 182) (Same as Asian Studies 122) This course introduces the modern history of China, Japan, and Korea through various “encounters,” not only with each other but also with the world beyond. We compare how each nation answered modernity’s call by examining topics such as imperialism, colonialism, cultural exchange, popular protest and historical remembrance. The course begins in the nineteenth-century with challenges against the dynastic regime of each country, traces how modern nationhood emerges through war, revolution, and imperial expansion and considers some global issues facing the region today. Mr. Shimoda.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[123a. Europe at the Crossroads, 1500-1789] (1)

In 1500 Europe faced a series of profound challenges and hard choices. This course explores how European identity changed dramatically as a result of great religious, political, and social upheaval within Europe as well as the “discovery” of worlds beyond the continent. How did people—rich and poor, men and women—experience such wrenching change? Topics include witchcraft, reformation, encounters with America, Asia, and Africa, and the “revolutions”—political, intellectual, and social—that defined the period. Ms. Choudhury.

Section .01 is open to freshmen only; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2008/09.

132b. Globalization in Historical Perspective, 1850 to the Present (1)

Commentators tell us that we live in “a global age,” but dramatic increases in worldwide contacts—economic and social, political and cultural—are not unique to our time. In the late nineteenth century, for example, steamships, telegraphs, railroads, and even movies fostered an increase of interaction across national boundaries and across oceans that was every bit as remarkable as today’s. Using such sources as novels, maps, and picture postcards from the Aran Islands to Senegal, this course explores the modern roots and historical development of globalization. Mr. Hanagan.

[151a. British History: James I (1603) to the Great War] (1)

This course explores the central developments in Britain from the age of Shakespeare to the age of total war. We study the political and scientific revolutions of the seventeenth century, the eighteenth-century rise of commercial society and the “British” nation, and the effects of industrialization on Britain’s landscape, society, and politics. The course concludes by exploring how the First World War transformed British society. Ms. Murdoch.

Not offered in 2008/09.

160a. American Moments: Readings in U.S. History (1)

This course explores some of the pivotal moments in American history, from the late colonial era to the late twentieth century. While roughly chronological, the course is not a survey. Rather, it focuses on selected events, people, and texts that illuminate particularly crucial periods in America’s past. Topics include the process of nation building, racial and ethnic relations, gender roles, protest movements and the growth of the regulatory state, the Cold War, and the paradox of class formation in a “classless” society. The department.

Sections .01 and .02 open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Other sections are open to all classes.

161b. History, Narrative, Fiction: Telling Stories on America’s Frontier (1)

This course explores narrative strategies for telling about the past, including those used by contemporary participants, professional historians, popular non-fiction writers, and novelists. How do we plot historical events? Where do we mark beginnings and ends, and how does that shape our understanding of what happened? What attention do authors give to environment, setting, and character? Course participants read an array of narratives, conduct research, and practice writing, as we explore key episodes in the history of the Western United States between the 1830s and the 1930s. Major emphasis is on cultural and military conflicts, land and natural resources, and environmental history. Ms. Edwards.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

162a. Latin America: The Aftermath of Encounter (1)

This course adopts a thematic approach to the development of Latin American societies, treating such issues as cultural contact and the development of strategies of survival, the development and regional distribution of African slavery, the quest for national identity in the early nineteenth century, the impact of United States imperialism in Latin America, and the revolutionary struggles of the twentieth century. As an introductory course both to the discipline and to multidisciplinary studies, it draws, among other sources, on chronicles (both European and indigenous), travelers’ accounts, testimonial literature, and literary treatments to provide the student a broad-based preparation for more advanced study of the region. Ms. Offutt.

174b. The Emergence of the Modern Middle East (1)

An exploration of the Middle East over the past three centuries. Beginning with economic and social transformations in the eighteenth century, we follow the transformation of various Ottoman provinces such as Egypt, Syria/Lebanon, and Algeria into modern states, paying careful attention to how European colonialism shaped their development. We then look at independence movements and the post-colonial societies that have emerged since the middle of the twentieth century, concluding with study of colonialism’s lingering power—and the movements that confront it. Mr. Schreier.

II. Intermediate

The prerequisite for courses at the 200-level is ordinarily 1 unit in history.

214a. The Roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict (1)

An examination of the deep historical sources of the Palestine-Israel conflict. The course begins some two centuries ago when changes in the world economy and emerging nationalist ideologies altered the political and economic landscapes of the region. It then traces the development of both Jewish and Arab nationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries before exploring how the Arab and Jewish populations fought—and cooperated—on a variety of economic, political, and ideological fronts. It concludes by considering how this contest led to the development of two separate, hostile national identities. Mr. Schreier.

215a. The High Middle Ages, c. 950-1300 (1)

This course examines medieval Europe at both its cultural and political height. Topics of study include: the first universities; government from feudal lordships to national monarchies; courtly and popular culture; manorial life and town life; the rise of papal monarchy; new religious orders and spirituality among the laity. Relations with religious outsiders are explored in topics on European Jewry, heretics, and the Crusades. Ms. Bisaha.

216b. History of the Ancient Greeks (1)

(Same as Classics 216) Ms. Olsen.

[217a. History of the Ancient Romans] (1)

(Same as Classics 217) Mr. Lott.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[223a. Modern Chinese Revolutions] (1)

From millenarian peasant uprisings in the mid-nineteenth century and the 1911 Revolution to Chairman Mao and the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, modern China has undergone multiple revolutionary transformations. These mass movements helped topple an imperial dynasty, brought about an unprecedented republic, established the world’s largest Communist system, and have subsequently challenged that system. Each successive revolutionary aspiration, however, regarded itself a part of an on-going revolutionary tradition and constantly drew from a repertoire of accumulated knowledge and practices, We explore both continuities and change within this rich tradition of mass political movements that remain powerful today. Mr. Shimoda.

Not offered in 2008/09.

224b. Modern Japan, 1868 - Present (1)

This course examines one of the most dramatic and unlikely national transformations in world history. In less than a century, an isolated, resource-poor country on the edge of East Asia was able to remake itself in the image of a Western nation-state. While Japan shared the experience of modernity with the Western world, its historical circumstances ensured that modern Japan would face distinctive tensions and complications. We examine this transformation not as a linear progression from “traditional” to “modern” but as a negotiation between competing perspectives and possibilities. Course materials include original sources in translation, autobiographies, oral history, film, and literature. Mr. Shimoda.

225b. Renaissance Europe (1)

This course examines the history of Europe in the years between 1300 and 1550. Emphasis is given to Italy, England, and France, but time is also devoted to Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Spain. Intellectual, political, and religious topics are the dominant themes, with considerable attention given to cross-cultural, gender, and social history. Throughout the course, we question the meaning of the term “Renaissance”: is it a distinct period, a cultural movement, or a problematic label that should be challenged and possibly discarded? Ms. Bisaha.

[230a. From Tyranny to Terror: The Old Regime and the Frenc Revolution] h (1)

Eighteenth-century France was a society in transition, a society in which social and cultural ideals and realities were increasingly at odds. The tensions within society and the state finally erupted into the cataclysmic French Revolution, which paved the way for modern political life. Using primary and secondary sources, this course focuses on topics such as the social structure of the Old Regime, the Enlightenment, and the volatile political climate preceding the revolution. We examine different interpretations of what caused the French Revolution as well as the dynamics of the Revolution itself between 1789 and 1799. Ms. Choudhury.

Not offered in 2008/09.

231b. France and its “Others” (1)

Over the last two centuries, France has had a complicated relationship with difference. This course traces modern French history with a particular eye towards the place of various “others” in the nation. Of special interest are Jews, Muslims, women, and Africans. In addition to certain central texts, the course considers writing by French revolutionaries, feminists, colonialists, and racists to get a better idea of how various people have framed debates about difference. We conclude in recent times, using films, novels, and music to sketch the contours of multi-cultural France. Mr. Schreier.

232a. France in the Nineteenth Century: An Age of War and Revolutions (1)

France was the capital of revolutionary Europe between 1789 and 1914; four major revolutions swept the country. However, accelerated industrialization and rapid urbanization shaped France in a variety of ways, not all of them revolutionary. This course examines how the themes of war and revolutions influenced French artistic and intellectual life. Mr. Hanagan.

[235b. The Rise and Fall of the Habsburg Empire, 1740-1918] (1)

This course traces the rich history of the Habsburg Empire from the enlightened rule of Maria Theresa to the calamities of its decline under Emperor Franz Joseph. The Habsburg Empire, spread out over much of Europe, was a melting pot of various ethnicities and religions that finally spilled over under the pressure of nationalism. As we follow this journey from a functional empire to a splintering of national identities, we examine questions that still resonate about citizenship and multi-ethnicity, revolution and political formation, and nationalism and the rise of anti-Semitism. Readings include personal accounts of life in the Habsburg Empire, both by citizens from within and visitors from outside. Ms. Bren.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[236a. Germany, 1740-1918] (1)

This course covers the history of the German lands from 1740 to the end of World War I. Aside from providing a chronological political narrative, assigned readings focus in greater detail on a number of themes to illuminate the specific character of German history. Topics include: the demise of the universalist idea of the Holy Roman Empire; the German Enlightenment and the legacy of enlightened absolutism on state/society relations; the impact of the Napoleonic revolution; the failures of 1848; the Prussian-led unification; the legacy of Bismarck’s domestic policies on German political culture and social life; German imperialism and World War I. Ms. Höhn.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[237a. Germany, 1918-1990] (1)

This course covers German history from the end of World War I to the 1990 unification that ended the post–World War II split of German society into East and West. Aside from familiarizing you with a narrative of German political, social, and cultural history, the readings also explore some of the so-called “peculiarities” of German history. Did Bismarck’s unification from above and the pseudo-constitutional character of the Second Reich create a political culture that set the country on a Sonderweg (special path) of modernization ending in the catastrophe of Auschwitz? Why did Weimar, Germany’s first experiment with democracy, fail, and why is Bonn not Weimar? Finally, what road will the new Germany take within Europe and the world? Ms. Höhn.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[238a. Everyday Life Under Communism: Eastern Europe After 1945] (1)

This course examines everyday life behind the iron curtain. Our focus is on Eastern Europe, particularly Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary, from 1945 to the present. The central tenet we explore in this course is that political ideology might have been decided in the meeting halls of the Communist Party, but communism was played out in the daily lives of ordinary people. To unravel the complexity of this experience, we use a large variety of materials such as memoirs, novels, films, and dissident tracts. Why did so many people embrace communism in the aftermath of World War II? How and why did their views later change? What part did popular culture and leisure play under communism? What was the so-called “Faustian deal” and who signed up? Has life after communism been as expected? Ms. Bren.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[242a. The Russian Empire, 1552-1917] (1)

This course introduces major events and issues in the history of the Russian empire from the conquest of Kazan to the February revolution, 1552-1917. What effect did expansion have on Russia and what role did non-Russians play in this multi-ethnic empire? Why did autocratic rule last so long in Russia and what led to its collapse? Using primary sources—including documents in translation and ethnographic accounts—and drawing on new ways of seeing the imperial experience, we explore not only sources of conflict, but points of contact, encounters, and intersections of state and social institutions. Ms. Pohl.

Not offered in 2008/09.

243b. The Soviet Union and the Rebirth of Russia, 1917-Present (1)

This course examines the history of Russian and non-Russian peoples in the Soviet Union, focusing on the Bolshevik revolution, the Stalin period, and the difficulties of reforming the system under Krushchev and Gorbachev. Using sources including oral history and ethnographic accounts, we explore how Soviet society was shaped by the imperial legacy, Communist ideology, modernization, and war. Special attention is paid to the collapse of the Soviet Union and to the nature of change in the post-Soviet era. Ms. Pohl.

251b. A History of American Foreign Relations (1)

An historical analysis of the foreign relations of the United States, emphasizing the social, cultural, economic, and ideological forces involved in the formulation of foreign policy from 1789 to the present. Mr. Brigham

254b. Victorian Britain (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 254) This course examines some of the key transformations that Victorians experienced, including industrialization, the rise of a class-based society, political reform, and the women’s movement. We explore why people then, and historians since, have characterized the Victorian age as a time of progress and optimism as well as an era of anxiety and doubt. Ms. Murdoch.

255a. The British Empire (1)

This course is an introduction to British imperialism from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, with particular attention to Britain’s involvement in Ireland, the Caribbean, India, and Africa. We examine British motives for imperialism, the transition from trade empires to more formal political control, and the late nineteenth-century “scramble for Africa.” Other main topics include responses to colonialism, the growth of nationalism, decolonization, and the effects of an increasingly multi-cultural domestic population on Britain. Throughout the course we explore the empire as a cultural exchange: the British influenced the lives of colonial subjects, but the empire also shaped British identity at home and abroad. Ms. Murdoch.

[260a. Women in the United States to 1890] (1)

An examination of women’s social, economic, and political roles in colonial America and the eighteenth and nineteenth century U.S. The course emphasizes varieties of experience based on race, ethnicity, class, and region. Major issues include the household and other workplaces, changes in society and family life, slavery and emancipation, and women’s growing influence in public affairs from the Revolution to the Gilded Age. Ms. Edwards.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[261b. History of Women in the United States Since 1890] (1)

Traces the changes in female employment patterns, how women combined work and family responsibilities, how changes in work and family affected women’s leisure lives from the late nineteenth century through the development of postindustrial America. The course also explores the women’s rights movements of the twentieth century, and how class, race, and ethnicity combined with gender to shape women’s lives. Ms. Cohen.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[262a. Early Latin America to 1750] (1)

This course examines the pre-Columbian worlds of Mesoamerica and the Andean region, then turns to a treatment of the consequences of contact between those worlds and the European. Special emphasis is placed on the examination of mindsets and motives of colonizer and colonized and the quest for identity in the American context (both issues intimately related to questions of race and ethnicity), the struggle to balance concerns for social justice against the search for profits, the evolution of systems of labor appropriation, the expansion of the mining sector, and the changing nature of land exploitation and tenure. Ms. Offutt.

Not offered in 2008/09.

263a. From Colony to Nation: Latin America in the Nineteenth Century (1)

This course treats the transition from colony to nation in Spanish and Portuguese America. In part a thematic course treating such topics as the Liberal/Conservative struggles of the early nineteenth century, the consequences of latifundism, the abolition of slavery, and the impact of foreign economic penetration and industrialization, it also adopts a national approach, examining the particular historical experiences of selected nations. Ms. Offutt

264b. The Revolutionary Option? Latin America in the Twentieth Century (1)

This course investigates why certain Latin American nations in the twentieth century opted for revolution and others adopted a more conservative course. It examines the efforts of selected Latin American nations (Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Guatemala) to address the tremendous social and economic cleavages affecting them, with special attention paid to material, political, class, and cultural structures shaping their experiences. Ms. Offutt.

[265. African American History to 1865] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 265) This course provides an introduction to African American history from the Atlantic slave trade through the Civil War. African Americans had a profound effect on the historical development of the nation. The experiences of race and slavery dominate this history and it is the complexities and nuances of slavery that give this course its focus. This course examines key developments and regional differences in the making of race and slavery in North America, resistance movements among slaves and free blacks (such as slave revolts and the abolitionist movement) as they struggled for freedom and citizenship, and the multiple ways race and gender affected the meanings of slavery and freedom. This course is designed to encourage and develop skills in the interpretation of primary and secondary sources. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[267. African American History, 1865-Present] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 267) This course examines some of the key issues in African American history from the end of the civil war to the present by explicating selected primary and secondary sources. Major issues and themes include: Reconstruction and the meaning of freedom, military participation and ideas of citizenship, racial segregation, migration, labor, cultural politics, and black resistance and protest movements. This course is designed to encourage and develop skills in the interpretation of primary sources, such as letters, memoirs, and similar documents. The course format, therefore, consists of close reading and interpretation of selected texts, both assigned readings and handouts. Course readings are supplemented with music and film. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[271a. Perspectives on the African Past: Africa Before 1800] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 271) A thematic survey of African civilizations and societies to 1800. The course examines how demographic and technological changes, warfare, religion, trade, and external relations shaped the evolution of the Nile Valley civilizations, the East African city-states, the empires of the western Sudan, and the forest kingdoms of West Africa. Some attention is devoted to the consequences of the Atlantic slave trade, which developed from Europe’s contact with Africa from the fifteenth century onwards. Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2008/09.

272a. Modern African History (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 272) A study of the major political, economic, social, and intellectual developments in the unfolding of the African experience from the early nineteenth century to the present time. Attention is directed to the broad spectrum of contacts of Africa with the outside world in trade, diplomacy, etc., prior to the advent of full-scale European imperialism and colonialism in the late nineteenth century. The course focuses on the rise of the Pan-African movement, African nationalism, the decolonization process, the emergence of independent African states, and the dilemmas of postcolonialism: neocolonialism, development issues, and post-independence politics. Mr. Rashid.

274a. Colonial America, 1500-1750 (1)

The world colonial Americans—European, African, and Indian—fashioned for themselves and bequeathed to us: their migrations, their religions, their social values and social structures, their political culture, and their rebellions. Mr. Merrell.

275b. Revolutionary America, 1750-1830 (1)

The causes, course, and consequences of the American Revolution. Themes include how thirteen disparate colonies came to challenge, and defeat, Great Britain; the social effects of the War for Independence; the creation of republican governments; the search for stability at home and security abroad; the development of national identity; and the experience of those Americans excluded from the phrase “All Men are Created Equal.” Mr. Merrell.

276a. House Divided: The U.S., 1830-1890 (1)

Beginning with regional economies and social changes in the antebellum years, this course examines the causes and conduct of the Civil War and the aftermath of that conflict in the Gilded Age. Special emphasis is given to slavery and post-Emancipation race relations, conquest of the American West, and the rise of an American industrial order. Ms. Edwards.

277b. The Making of the “American Century”: 1890-1945 (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 277) Focuses on major social, political, and cultural developments during the decades when the United States emerged as the preeminent industrial power. The changes in the social and political institutions which emerged out of the crises of the 1890s, the Great Depression, and World War II. The growth of mass consumption and mass leisure in this very diverse society. Ms. Cohen.

278b. Cold War America (1)

Following the Second World War, many Americans expected the United States to create a better world abroad and a more equitable society at home. We examine those expectations along with the major social, political, cultural, and economic changes in the United States since 1945, including the dawn of the cold war, McCarthyism, surbanization, high-mass consumption, civil rights, the Vietnam War, and the environmental movement. Mr. Brigham.

[279b. The Viet Nam War] (1)

An examination of the origins, course, and impact of America’s involvement in Viet Nam, emphasizing the evolution of American diplomacy, the formulation of military strategy, the domestic impact of the war, and the perspective of Vietnamese revolutionaries. Mr. Brigham.

Not offered in 2008/09.

290. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual or group field projects, especially in local, state, or federal history. May be taken either semester or in summer. The department.

Prerequisite or corequisite: an appropriate course in the department. Permission required.

298. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Permission required.

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for advanced courses is ordinarily 2 units of 200-level work in history, or by permission of the instructor. Specific prerequisites assume the general prerequisite.

300a.-301b. Senior Thesis (1/2, 1/2)

A 1-unit thesis starting in the second half of the fall semester, with 1/2 unit graded provisionally in the fall, and 1/2 unit graded in the spring. The final grade awarded in the spring, shall replace the provisional grade in the fall. The department.

302a or b. Senior Thesis (1)

A I -unit thesis students may elect only in exceptional circumstances. Usually, students will adopt 300-301. The department.

303a. Thesis Preparation (1/2)

A graded 1/2 unit co-requisite of the Senior Thesis, taken in the first half of the fall semester in the senior year.

315b. The World of the Crusades (1)

The Crusades, conceived by Latin Christians as a military enterprise to conquer the Holy Land from its Muslim rulers, created a complex relationship between East and West. It brought Latins, Greeks, Muslims, and Jews together in unprecedented ways, allowing for fruitful exchange and long periods of coexistence between periods of violence. This course examines holy war in the Near East, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire, but it also dwells on related issues including trade and travel, cultural attitudes and relations, religious interactions and conflicts between faiths, and literary and artistic developments. Ms. Bisaha.

Prerequisite: History 215 or 116 or by permission of instructor.

[316b. Constantinople/Istanbul: 1453] (1)

This seminar examines a turning point in history-the end of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. The focus is the siege of Constantinople as seen in primary accounts and modem studies. The course also looks closely at culture and society in late Byzantium and the early Ottoman Empire. Specific topics include the post-1453 Greek refugee community, the transformation of Constantinople into Istanbul, and the role of Western European powers and the papacy as allies and antagonists of both empires. Ms. Bisaha.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[332b. The Enlightenment] (1)

The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement of great power and scope. Seeking to overhaul society completely, a diverse group of thinkers examined all aspects of human existence, from religion, politics, and science to crime, sex, and art. However, the Enlightenment was much more than merely a philosophical exercise. These thinkers did not just articulate new ideas; they redefined “the intellectual” as an active participant in society. To what extent were their ideas truly revolutionary? To what extent were they successful in effecting change? What legacy did they leave for the architects of the French Revolution and, more generally, the modern era? Ms. Choudhury.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[337a. The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany] (1)

This course explores the Third Reich by locating it within the peculiar nature of German political culture resulting from late unification and rapid industrialization. Readings explore how and why the Nazis emerged as a mass party during the troubled Weimar years. The years between 1933 and 1945 are treated by focusing on Nazi domestic, foreign, and racial policies. Ms. Höhn.

Prerequisite: History 236 or 237; or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[338a. America in Europe] (1)

This seminar explores the many ways in which Europeans envisioned, feared, and embraced America in the course of the twentieth century. We start our readings with WWI and its aftermath, when European society was confronted and, as some feared, overwhelmed, by an influx of American soldiers, expatriates, industry, and popular culture. For the period after WWII, when American influence in Europe became ever more pronounced, the German experience is highlighted. We study in depth the U.S. military occupation, and the more than sixty-year lasting military presence in Germany. Readings encourage a comparative approach across Western Europe, and pay particular attention to European encounters with African American culture, African American artists, and African American soldiers. Ms. Höhn.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[343b. Youth in Russia, 1880-Present] (1)

This seminar explores the history of youth culture in Russia. We examine how youth and teenagers were “discovered” and defined as an age group through ethnographies, sociological accounts, and memoirs, and explore the youth experience as depicted in films and documentaries. Topics include experiences of youth during periods of reform, youth legislation, youth institutions, youth and Stalinism, and the experience of girls. The course concludes with an exploration of contemporary Russian teen culture, focusing on music and its role in the 1980s and 1990s. Ms. Pohl.

Not offered in 2008/09.

351a. Problems in U.S. Foreign Policy (1)

Using historical case studies, this seminar examines some of the major foreign affairs dilemmas U.S. policy makers have faced since 1945. Major topics include: containment; modernization; nation building; limited war; détente; the use of soft power; humanitarian intervention; debt relief, and the war on terror. Mr. Brigham

Prerequisite: History 251 or 279; or by permission of instructor.

355a. Childhood and Children in Nineteenth-Century Britain (1)

This course examines both the social constructions of childhood and the experiences of children in Britain during the nineteenth century, a period of immense industrial and social change. We analyze the various understandings of childhood at the beginning of the century (including utilitarian, Romantic, and evangelical approaches to childhood) and explore how, by the end of the century, all social classes shared similar expectations of what it meant to be a child. Main topics include the relationships between children and parents, child labor, sexuality, education, health and welfare, abuse, delinquency, and children as imperial subjects. Ms. Murdoch.

[357b. The First World War] (1)

For many, the First World War marks the beginning of the modern age. After examining the debate about the conflict’s causes, this seminar takes the social and cultural history of the war as its subject. Topics include the methods of mechanized trench warfare, the soldiers’ experience, the effects of total war on the home front, and the memory of the Great War in film and literature. The primary focus is on European combatants, but we also explore the role of colonial troops and the impact of the war on European empires. Ms. Murdoch.

Not offered in 2008/09.

361b. Varieties of the Latin American Indian Experience (1)

This course treats the Indian world of Latin America as it responded to increased European penetration in the post-1500 period. Focusing primarily on Mesoamerica and the Andean region, it examines the variety of ways indigenous peoples dealt with cultural dislocation associated with the imposition of colonial systems and the introduction of the modern state. The course treats as well the Indian policies of the state, and how those policies reflected assumptions about the role of indigenous peoples in the larger society. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the process of negotiation of identity—what it meant to be Indian in an increasingly European society, and how the interpenetration of the two worlds, and the response of one to the other, reshaped each world. Ms. Offutt.

Prerequisite: 200-level Latin American history.

[362a. The Cuban Revolutions] (1)

Questions of sovereignty and issues of inequality have roiled the surface of the Cuban Republic since its founding in 1902; during the past century there were two major upheavals, the revolutions of 1933 and 1959. This course examines the context out of which those revolutions emerged and the manner in which post-revolutionary governments addressed (or failed to address) the concerns that prompted Cubans to choose the “revolutionary option.” We pay particular attention to the relationship between Cuba and the United States, the legacies of slavery and racism, and the shaping of Cuban society after 1959. Ms. Offutt.

Prerequisite: History 264.

Not offered in 2008/09.

363a. Revolution and Conflict in Twentieth-Century Latin America (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 363) Revolution has been a dominant theme in the history of Latin America since 1910. This course examines the revolutionary experiences of three nations—Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua. It examines theories of revolution, then assesses the revolutions themselves—the conditions out of which each revolution developed, the conflicting ideologies at play, the nature of the struggles, and the postrevolutionary societies that emerged from the struggles. Ms. Offutt.

Prerequisite: History 264 or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[365b. Race and the History of Jim Crow Segregation] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 365) This seminar examines the rise of racial segregation sanctioned by law and racial custom from 1865 to 1965. Equally important, we explore the multiple ways African Americans negotiated and resisted segregation in the private and public spheres. This course aims toward an understanding of the work that race does, with or without laws, to order society based on the intersection of race, class and gender. Topics include: disfranchisement, labor and domesticity, urbanization, public space, education, housing, history and memory, and the lasting effects of sanctioned segregation. We focus on historical methods of studying larger questions of politics, resistance, privilege and oppression. We also explore interdisciplinary methods of studying race and segregation, such as critical race theory. Music and film supplement classroom discussions. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[366b. American Encounters] (1)

Moving past Pocahontas and John Smith, Squanto and the Pilgrims, this course explores the native response to the invasion of North America, focusing on peoples living east of the Mississippi River prior to 1800. Topics include sources and methods for understanding the Indian experience, the cultural consequences of contact, the men and women trapped between two worlds, the diplomatic and military contest for the continent, and the beginning of the end of “Indian Country.” Mr. Merrell.

Not offered in 2008/09.

[367a. Peoples and Environments in the American West] (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 367) This course explores the history of the trans-Mississippi West in the nineteenth century and its legacies in modern America. Themes include cultural conflict and accommodation; federal power and Western politics; and humans’ negotiations with their environments. The course considers the history of the frontier as a process; the Western U.S. as a geographic place; and the legendary West and its functions in American mythology. Ms. Edwards.

Not offered in 2008/09.

368b. American Portrait: The United States c.1830 (1)

The election of Andrew Jackson and the “age of the common man”; the deaths of the last Founding Fathers and the beginning of the first railroad; Cherokee Indian Removal and Nat Turner’s slave rebellion; Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous visit and the first magazine edited by a woman; radical abolition and the invention of Davy Crockett—the confluence of these and other events around 1830 makes that historical moment an important American watershed. This course examines the currents and cross-currents of that era. Ranging widely across the country and visiting some of its many inhabitants, we explore the paradoxes of this pivotal era, trying to make sense of how people then, and historians since, tried to understand its character. Mr. Merrell.

[369a. Themes in Twentieth Century Urban History: Social Reform and the Evolution of the Welfare State] (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 369) Examines the growth of labor reform, school reform, and social insurance, beginning with the Progressive Era through the New Deal, the war years after, to the Great Society and the present. Explores how the development of the welfare state affected Americans of different social, racial, ethnic backgrounds, and gender. Focuses on how these various groups acted to shape the evolution of the welfare state as well. Ms. Cohen.

Prerequisite: History 261 or 277 or 278; or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2008/09.

374b. The African Diaspora and the Making of the Pan-African Movement, 1900-2000 (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 374) This seminar investigates the social origins, philosophical and cultural ideas, and political forms of Pan-Africanism from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. It explores how disaffection and resistance against slavery, racism, and colonial domination in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa led to the development of a global movement for the emancipation of peoples of African descent from 1900 onwards. The seminar examines the different ideological, cultural, and organizational manifestations of Pan-Africanism as well as the scholarly debates on the development of the movement. Readings include the ideas and works of Edward Blyden, Alexander Crummell, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Garvey, C.L.R. James, and Kwame Nkrumah. Mr. Rashid.

381a. Love and Death in Tokugawa Japan, 1603-1868 (1)

We reconstruct life in early modern Japan by engaging primary sources in translation, including memoirs, autobiographies, thanatologues, satire, novels, plays, and treatises. Various social group—the samurai (the warrior elite), commoners, intellectuals, and women—are examined. We look at Japan’s past as “lived experience” by focusing on everyday social practices and personal lives. This seminar does not presuppose familiarity with Japanese history but requires a keen and active historical mind. Mr. Shimoda.

[382b. Marie-Antoinette] (1)

More than 200 years after her death, Marie-Antoinette continues to be an object of fascination because of her supposed excesses and her death at the guillotine. For her contemporaries, Marie-Antoinette often symbolized all that was wrong in French body politic. Through the life of Marie-Antoinette, we investigate the changing political and cultural landscape of eighteenth-century France including the French Revolution. Topics include women and power, political scandal and public opinion, fashion and self-representation, motherhood and domesticity, and revolution and gender iconography. Throughout the course, we explore the changing nature of the biographical narrative. The course also considers the legacy of Marie Antoinette as martyr and fetish object in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and her continuing relevance today. Ms. Choudhury.

Not offered in 2008/09.

385a. Colonialism, Resistance, and Knowledge in Modern Middle Eastern History (1)

This course examines the historiography of the modern Middle East. We begin with a number of older, foundational texts in an effort to understand and contextualize Orientalism as it emerged in the nineteenth-century, as well as its intellectual legacy in the United States. The course then turns to the substance and impact of post-colonialist interventions since the 1960s that have thrown many “givens” of the discipline into doubt. The bulk of the course focuses on recent scholarship, allowing us to explore how (or whether) historians of Islam and the Middle East have benefited from the new scholarly perspectives that emerged in the wake of anti-colonialist struggles. The meaning of “modernity” serves as a principal organizing question of the class. Mr. Schreier.

Prerequisite: History 174 or 214 or 255; or by permission of instructor.

386b. The Russian Orient: Central Asia and the Caucasus (1)

(Same as International Studies 386) This seminar explores the Muslim regions of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union during several important transitions: becoming part of the Russian Empire, under Soviet rule, and after independence in 1991. Topics include culture and spiritual life, politics and social transformation, and the challenges facing the transition societies of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The course readings include history and political science, travellers’ accounts, ethnomusicology, and NGO resources, and focus on three distinct regions—the oases of Central Asia, the mountains of the Caucasus, and the Eurasian steppe. Ms. Pohl.

387b. Remembering War in East Asia (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 387) More than a half-century after WWII, pitched battles continue to rage throughout Asia—this time on the field of historical memory. Even as the war itself recedes into the distant past for countries such as China, Japan, and Korea, questions about how to remember their shared experience grow only more complex and politicized. Recent conflicts over war memory have brought down ministers of state, sparked mass protests, and engendered much diplomatic wrangling. How has this devastating tragedy been remembered, forgotten, and contested by all sides involved? This seminar takes a multidisciplinary approach—historiographical, political, literary, and visual—to examine topics including the Nanjing Massacre, “comfort women,” atomic bombs, rehabilitative postwar literature, and cinematic representations of war. Mr. Shimoda.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Permission required.