History Department

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, 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 299 (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 299 (.5 unit, Thesis Preparation) and History 300-301 (total of 1.0 unit, 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

101a. Martin Luther King Jr. (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 101a.) This course examines the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. We immediately rethink the image of King who liberals and conservatives construct as a dreamer of better race relations. We engage the complexities of an individual, who articulated a moral compass of the nation, to explore racial justice in post-World War II America. This course gives special attention to King’s post-1965 radicalism when he called for a reordering of American society, an end to the war in Vietnam, and supported sanitation workers striking for better wages and working conditions. Topics include King’s notion of the “beloved community”, the Social Gospel, liberalism, “socially conscious democracy”, militancy, the politics of martyrdom, poverty and racial justice, and compensatory treatment. Primary sources form the core of our readings. Mr. Mills.

Two 75-minute meetings.

Fulfills the Freshman Writing Seminar Requirement.

103a. Hindus and Muslims in South Asia, 712-1857 (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 103a.)

Communalism is a strong identification with ones own religious community over society as a whole, accompanied by discrimination and violence against rival groups. In modern South Asia, it is sometimes viewed as an unprecedented break with a harmonious past or paradoxically, as the natural outcome of contact between Hindus and Muslims. To complicate these extremes, we explore the history of Hindu-Muslim relations from the first Arab conquest in 712, through the Rebellion of 1857. By introducing the historical repertoire commonly cited in modern communal disputes, we place controversial events, individuals, and trends in context to discover how they were understood in their own time. Ms. Hughes.

Two 75-minute periods.

116a. The Dark Ages (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 transformation of late classical society, the growth of Germanic kingdoms, the high point of Byzantium, the rise of the papacy and monasticism, and the birth of Islam. This course examines a rich variety of sources that illuminate the first centuries of Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, and early medieval culture showing moments of both conflict and synthesis that redefined Europe and the Mediterranean. Ms. Bisaha.

Two 75-minute meetings.

120. Japan's American Revolution, 1945-52 (1)

Many Americans are unaware that Japan was ostensibly run by the US for nearly seven years after World War II. The US Occupation of Japan lasted longer than the war itself, and left indelible imprints upon modern Japanese history that remain visible today. As a grandly ambitious and idealistic project that forced people to be free, the Occupation was riddled with contradictory goals and visions. Democratization, demilitarization, the "Peace Constitution," and ideological reform are among its legacies. So, too, are authoritarianism, miscarriage of justice in the Tokyo Trial, conflicts over new social values, and Japan's unlikely transformation into "America's unsinkable aircraft carrier." We use John W. Dower's Pulitzer Prize winner Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (Norton, 1999) as a historiographical springboard to discuss the art and science of writing history. Students focus not on learning Japanese or American history as much as developing historical thinking, critical analysis of textual evidence, and effective writing skills.

Two 75-minute meetings.

Fulfills the Freshman Writing Seminar Requirement.

121a. 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.

122. Encounters in Modern East Asia (1)

(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.

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

Between 1492 and 1789, Europe faced a series of profound challenges and hard choices. Which was more important: individual conscience or religious unity, local or national allegiance, individual enrichment or the welfare of the community? This course explores the way the people of Europe, both rulers and ruled, men and women, responded to the extraordinary changes and challenges of their times. Topics include Spanish unification and the Inquisition, European encounters with the Americas, the Protestant Reformation, the rise of absolutism and republicanism, and the discovery of a new relationship between the earth and the heavens. Ms. Choudhury.

124b. Europe 1945 (1)

On May 8, 1945 the Second World War ended in Europe. After six years of fighting, millions of soldiers and civilians had been killed. The Nazi genocide had led to the brutal murder of millions of Jews and other minorities. Some of Europe's most magnificent cities lay in ruins, while some twenty million refugees, expellees, or displaced persons wandered the highways in search of shelter and security. Readings explore the roots of the war, and how European countries dealt with the destruction, the questions of guilt, collaboration and resistance, and the challenge to create a peaceful Europe in the emerging Cold War order. Ms. Hoehn.

Two 75-minute periods.

132a. 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.

141a. Tradition, History and the African Experience (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 141a.) From ancient stone tools and monuments to oral narratives and colonial documents, the course examines how the African past has been recorded, preserved, and transmitted over the generations. It looks at the challenges faced by the historian in Africa and the multi-disciplinary techniques used to reconstruct and interpret African history. Various texts, artifacts, and oral narratives from ancient times to the present are analyzed to see how conceptions and interpretations of African past have changed over time. Mr. Rashid.

Fulfills the Freshmen Writing Seminar Requirement.

151b. 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.

160a or b. 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.

161a. 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.

162. 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.

163. The Kennedy Years (1)

This course explores U.S. domestic and foreign policy during John F. Kennedy's years in the White House. It also examines major cultural and social attitudes that helped shape one of America's most turbulent decades. Topics may include: the Berlin showdown, the Cuban Missile Crisis, civil rights, domestic reform, formation of the Peace Corps, the Test Ban Treaty, and the war in Vietnam. Mr. Brigham.

Two 75-minute meetings.

Fulfills the Freshman Writing Seminar Requirement.

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.

178. America at Sea (1)

II. Intermediate

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

203. Central Asia and the Caucasus (1)

(Same as International Studies 203) This class explores the region between Russia, China, and Persia with an emphasis on history, politics, and international relations. We focus on four broad time periods: the era of the Khanates (1100-1500s), becoming part of the Russian and Chinese empires (1620s-1917), the period of Communist rule, and the emergence of independent states in 1991. The last part of the course examines aspects of liberalism and tyranny, regional security issues, and the economies of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and the Caucasus (Chechnya, Georgia). The course readings include sources from history and political science, travelers’ accounts, literature and memoirs, as well as sociology and international studies.

208b. Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy Since 1945 (1)

This course examines U.S. National Security issues through the prism of human rights, weaving humanitarian concerns into the fabric of traditional security studies. We survey the most important literature and debates concerning the concepts of human rights and the U.S. national interest. We also use case studies to explore the intersection of human rights, economic aims, strategic concerns, and peace building. In addition, we will test the consistency of U.S. guiding principles, the influence of non-state actors on policy formation, and the strength of the international human rights regime. Mr. Brigham.

Two 75-minute meetings.

210b. International Social Movements and Revolution in the Modern (1)

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

(Same as Jewish Studies 214a) 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.

215. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

216b. History of the Ancient Greeks (1)

(Same as Greek and Roman Studies 216) Ms. Olsen.

217b. History of the Ancient Romans (1)

(Same as Greek and Roman Studies 217b.) Mr. Lott.

220. Medieval/Renaissance Culture (1)

(Same as Medieval Renaissance Studies 220) Topic for 2011/12: Detectives in the Archive: Reading Medieval and Renaissance Texts. Study of medieval manuscripts of various types. The course involves direct work with manuscripts from Vassar’s collection. Mr. Ahern and Mr. Patkus.

Two 75-minute meetings.

224. 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.

225. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

230a. From Tyranny to Terror: The Old Regime and the French Revolution (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.

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.

232b. 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.

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. Höehn.

237. 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 2011/12.

238a. Everyday Life Under Communism: Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 238a.) This course examines everyday life behind the Iron Curtain. Our focus is on the former Eastern Bloc, particularly Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary, from World War II to the present. The goal is to understand both what happened (communist takeovers, Stalinist show trials, the Hungarian Revolution, the Prague Spring, the Velvet Revolution, etc.), and how these events were experienced in everyday life. Political ideology was decided in the meeting halls of the communist party, but communism, as such, was played out in public streets, private homes, and elsewhere. To unravel the complexity of these multiple experiences, we use various texts, including memoirs, novels, plays, films, and dissident tracts. Some of the questions we pose are: How did World War II and the Holocaust shift political sympathies in the postwar era? How did communist regimes respond to religious and ethnic minorities, particularly Jews and Roma? What part did popular culture and leisure play under communism? Did consumerism win out over political ideology? And has post-communism turned out as expected? Ms. Bren.

242. 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 2011/12.

243. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

251. 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.

252b. Modern South Asian History (1)

Topic for 2012/13b: Imagining India: Colonial Experience and the Pathway to India.(Same as Asian Studies 252) This course introduces the major events and figures of modern South Asian history by exploring how Indian identity has been constituted and complicated in the colonial and post-colonial periods. Why have certain peoples, practices, and characteristics been included or excluded at different times? How have some tried to contest the terms of membership? Topics include nationalism, regionalism, gender, and Hindu-Muslim relations. Alongside select scholarship on colonialism, nationalism, and identity, we read original sources in translation including autobiographical and travel accounts, works of fiction, letters and petitions, government documents, and historic speeches. Ms. Hughes.

Two 75-minute periods.

254a. Victorian Britain (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 254a.) 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.

255. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

259b. The History of the Family in Early Modern Europe (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 259b.) This course examines the changing notions of family, marriage, and childhood between 1500 and 1800 and their ties to the larger early modern context. During this period, Europeans came to see the family less as a network of social and political relationships and more as a set of bonds based on intimacy and affection. Major topics include family and politics in the Italian city-state, the Reformation and witchcraft, absolutism, and paternal authority, and the increasing importance of the idea of the nuclear family. Ms. Choudhury.

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

(Same as Women's Studies 260b) 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.

261a. History of Women in the United States Since 1890 (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 261b.) 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.

262. 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.

263b. 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.

264a. 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.

265a. African American History to 1865 (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 265a) 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.

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

(Same as Africana Studies 267b) 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.

271. 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 2011/12.

272b. Modern African History (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 272b) 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.

276b. 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.

277a. The Making of the "American Century": 1890-1945 (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 277a.) 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.

278. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

279a. 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.

285a. Pathways to Vassar:The Rise of Women's Higher Education in Historical Context (1)

(2011 A semester; 150th Anniversary Sesquicentennial Class) (Same as Women's Studies 285) 

This course traces the emergence of women's higher education, focusing primarily on the United States. We consider, first, how writers began to advance new arguments for women's education, inspired by the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, and evangelical religion. We explore domesticity, the role of literacy in bourgeois and working-class female identities, women's participation in reform and politics, and radical arguments for women's rights. We study the creation of Vassar College, amid the upheavals of the Civil War, and explore early students' experiences. We also draw comparisons with female students in other educational settings. The course ends by assessing the dilemmas and achievements of early female college graduates and the place of the "Vassar Girl" in American popular culture. Ms. Edwards and participating History faculty: Ms. Bisaha, Ms. Choudhury, Ms. Cohen, Mr. Merrell, Mr. Mills, Mr. Patkus.

288. Memory and Media (1)

(Same as International Studies 288 and Jewish Studies 288) In this course, we explore the complex relationship between memory and media. Representations of the past encompass competing claims of truth and moral value because the very act of remembering is necessarily mediated—we have no direct access to the past. This makes the medium through which memory and its representations are generated all the more important. For example, it was the film Shoah that prompted the first serious excavation of Holocaust memories; today, in the former Soviet Bloc, multimedia kitsch museums about communism are popular tourist sites; and the violent 1990s Yugoslav Civil War appears to have been as much about its journalists’ experiences as about its victims’. This course spotlights the European stage as a platform for discussing memory-making in relation to fascism, communism, and nationalism, but students are also encouraged to look further afield, as well as explore their own relations to memory. Through film, television, art, comic books, memorials, memoirs, and blogs—as well as student projects—students will examine memory as an active, value-laden process of reconstruction, and media as transmitter and shaper of multiple stories about the past, all contending for recognition, moral judgment, and emotional impact. Ms. Bren

290a or b. 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.

297. Readings In History (1/2 or 1)

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Permission required.

299a. 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.

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. Senior Thesis (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.

Year long course 300-301.

301b. Senior Thesis (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.

Yearlong course 300-301.

302a or b. Senior Thesis (1)

A 1-unit thesis students may elect only in exceptional circumstances. Usually, students will adopt 300-301. The department.

304. Approaching the Taj Mahal (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 304) What lies behind the legendary beauty and romance of the Taj Mahal? To understand the monument from its 17th century construction through modern times, we look beyond the building itself to the wider historical context. The Taj as a mausoleum embodies memory and mourning, so we compare it with other commemorative expressions in India. Its gardens were designed to be paradise on earth, so we learn about ideas of environmental perfection. Many see the Taj as a monument to love, so we investigate changing conceptions of love and gender relations. Finally, the royal site communicates majesty and power, so we consider the foundations of political legitimacy. We read primary sources including selections from travelogues, memoirs, and literature, and look at representative examples of the countless drawings, photographs, and paintings that this “Wonder of the Modern World” has inspired. Throughout, we ask how British colonialism and entrenched understandings of Western rationality and Eastern inferiority have influenced what we see when we look at the Taj Mahal. Ms. Hughes.

305a. People and Animal Histories in Modern India (1)

(Same as Asia 305 and Environmental Studies 305) Topic for 2011-12: Confronting the Beast: India, Animals, and Colonialism. This course examines human interactions with animals in India from the colonial period through the present. How have various groups and important individuals defined the proper relationship between themselves and the animals around them? What challenges and advantages have animals and people met with as a result? As we explore how people have served their social, political, economic, national, and religious interests through animals, we learn how human values and beliefs about animals have in turn helped shape Indian environments. We read a variety of primary sources by Indians and Englishmen in South Asia, ranging from children’s literature through the writings of bird fanciers, big game hunters, and early animal rights advocates. Ms. Hughes.

One 2-hour meeting.

315. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

316a. 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.

317. The Printed Bible (1)

(Same as Media Studies 317)

The Bible has been one of the most influential texts in Western History. Yet there are great differences in how it has been produced, disseminated, read, and discussed across centuries, and across cultures. Drawing from the perspective of the history of the book (rather than theology), this seminar provides an opportunity to examine and consider key editions of the bible produced in Europe, England, and America, from the middle of the 15th Century to the present. Examples include the Gutenberg Bible, translations from Erasmus and Luther, the Geneva Bible, the King James Bible, the Eliot Indian Bible, The Woman's Bible, bibles of missionary societies, bibles of fine presses, family bibles, children's bibles, and recent translations. We discuss current scholarship relating to these and other editions, but our approach is largely empirical; by looking closely at bibles and considering all aspects of their makeup (such is binding and format, typography, illustrations, texts and translations, commentaries and paratexts), we try to gain an understanding of the social, economic, cultural and political factors behind their appearance, and also the nature of their influence in particular places. In order to "go to the source," we rely heavily on examples from the Bible Collection in the Archives and Special Collections Library. Mr. Patkus.

Not offered in 2011/12.

332. Dangerous Ideas: Challenging Authority in Eighteenth-Century France (1)

In the years leading up to the French Revolution, authorities were obsessed with the spread of dangerous ideas that threatened church, state and traditional social values. Seeking to overhaul society completely, a diverse group of thinkers commonly associated with the Enlightenment examined all aspects of human existence, from religion, politics, and science to crime, sex, and art. This course emphasizes primary sources, ranging from The Social Contract to Dangerous Liaisons. We consider the impact of ideas and words by examining the spaces for discussion, the dissemination of books, and reader response. Ultimately, we ask the following: What was the legacy of the various critiques for the French Revolution and, more generally, the modern era? Ms. Choudhury.

335. Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: The Making of Modernity (1)

A poet living in Vienna in 1900 called the city "the little world in which the big one holds its tryouts." We examine this now famous contention: to what extent and why did fin-de-siècle Vienna, the capital of the Habsburg Empire, foreshadow the twentieth century and its calamities? Framed by the 1889 suicide of the Habsburg heir to the throne and the 1914 assassination of his successor (the act that precipitated World War I), we trace Vienna's intellectual and artistic luminaries and their impact on culture and politics. Writer Franz Kafka, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, playwright Arthur Schnitzler, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Vienna's muse Alma Mahler stand at the center of our investigations into alienation, the modern psyche, modernism, imperial dissolution, nationalism, and anti-Semitism. Our sources include various histories and films depicting this place and time, as well as first-hand accounts in the form of memoirs, diaries, and letters. Ms. Bren.

338b. 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.

342a. Stalinism (1)

This seminar explores the transformation of the USSR and its borderlands under Stalin, with special emphasis on the impact of terror, dislocations, and compressed economic change on specific national groups (Russians, Ukraine, Central Asia). Topics include Stalin’s ideology and vision of the Soviet people, the impact of Stalinism on politics in Europe, collectivization and industrialization, the experiences of the “enemies of the people,” resistance and dissent, and achievements and legacies. The course concludes with an examination of post-Soviet public memory and discussions of the Stalinist past.

343. 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.

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; human rights and humanitarian intervention; and democracy promotion. Mr. Brigham.

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

(Same as Women Studies 355b.) 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.

357a. 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 2011/12.

360b. Black Business and Social Movements in the Twentieth Century (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 360b.)

From movies to music, bleaching cream to baseball, black entrepreneurs and consumers have historically negotiated the profits and pleasures of a "black economy" to achieve economic independence as a meaning of freedom. This seminar examines the duality of black businesses as economic and social institutions alongside black consumers' ideas of economic freedom to offer new perspectives on social and political movements in the twentieth-century. We explore black business activity and consumer activism as historical processes of community formation and economic resistance, paying particular attention to black capitalism, consumer boycotts, and the economy of black culture in the age of segregation. Topics include the development of the black beauty industry; black urban film culture; the Negro Baseball League; Motown and the protest music of the 1960s and 1970s; the underground economy; and federal legislation affecting black entrepreneurship. Mr. Mills.

One 2-hour period.

361. 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.

362b. 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.

363. 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.

365. 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.

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

367b. 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.

368. 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.

369b. 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.

373b. Slavery and Abolition in Africa (1)

(Same as African Studies 373b.) The Trans-Saharan and the Atlantic slave trade transformed African communities, social structures, and cultures. The seminar explores the development, abolition, and impact of slavery in Africa from the earliest times to the twentieth century. The major conceptual and historiographical themes include indigenous servitude, female enslavement, family strategies, slave resistance, abolition, and culture. The seminar uses specific case studies as well as a comparative framework to understand slavery in Africa. Mr. Rashid.

Prerequisite: standard department prerequisite or by permission of instructor.

374. The African Diaspora (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 374) This seminar investigates the social origins, philosophical and cultural ideas, and the 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, 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 development of the movement. Readings include the ideas and works of Edward Blyden, Alexander Crummell, W. E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Garvey, C.L.R. James, and Kwame Nkmmah. Mr. Rashid.

Special permission.

Not offered in 2011/12.

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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

382. Marie-Antoinette (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 382) 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 2011/12.

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.

386. 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, travelers' 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

387. Remembering War in East Asia (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 387b) More than a half-century after WWII, pitched battles continue to range 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 grown 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—histographical, 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.

388. Studies in US/Asian Relations (1)

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

Permission required.