Fall 2007


Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-17


Peter Czap (Section 01)
Margaret R. Hunt (Section 02)
Sean Redding (Section 03)


This seminar investigates war from prehistory to the present, spending much of the time on the period since 1800 and paying special attention to the consequences of twentieth-century warfare. Topics include: the transformative impact of technology (e.g., more efficient guns, new surveillance capabilities, air power, and weapons of mass destruction) on military tactics and strategy as well as on the concept of a "just" war; war and human rights (particularly the problem of war crimes and of non-combatant deaths); international law and war; the problem of representing and remembering wars past; women and gender in the context of war; war in an era of globalization; war and genocide; and the war on terror. Our scope will be global and a range of conflicts will be considered, if not exhaustively covered. We will draw on a diverse array of sources, including social and military history, literature, movies, war memoirs, and international human rights reportage. This is a discussion-based course with the expectation of active participation by the students. The individual sections of the course will usually meet separately and only come together occasionally (two or three times) for group activities and guest speakers. All three instructors are members of the history department: one is a specialist in Russian history, another in European history, and the third in African history. The course employs a variety of approaches drawn from the humanities and the social sciences. Students will develop critical skills by reading, writing, and discussing the films, histories, images, literature, memoirs, and government documents used in the course. In addition to a couple of brief written exercises, students will write four five-page essays designed to integrate each section of the course. The essays will provide an opportunity to work on analytical writing and will emphasize the importance of constructing a written argument supported by evidence. First semester. Professors Czap, Hunt, and Redding.