(Offered as HIST 125 [EUP] and EUST 125.) This introductory survey covers Western, Central and Eastern Europe and the European parts of the Ottoman Empire during the period from approximately 1500 to 1800. It looks at the main political developments of the period, with special attention to court culture, rebellions and revolutions, colonial expansion and contraction, and the clash of states and empires. It examines new developments in long-distance trade, agriculture, industry, finance, warfare, media and the arts, and their impact on social life, politics and the environment. It looks at the emergent slave systems of Europe and her colonies as well as the Ottoman Empire. And it analyzes religious conflict and accommodation with respect to Catholics, Protestants, the Eastern Orthodox, Jews, Muslims and “non-believers.” The course aims to uncover the political, ethnic and religious diversity of Early Modern Europe as well as to plumb the roots of present-day conflicts and controversies about the historical definition of “Europe” and “Europeans.” Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Hunt.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 130 [EU] and EUST 130). When one thinks of the First World War today, a few stock images tend to come to mind: trenches, mud, the machine gun. Yet this insular vision does not do justice to the immensity and complexity of the twentieth century’s first global conflict. This course aims to move beyond the conventional understanding of World War I by exploring its varied impact on Europe and the world. It examines how the war shaped the lives, beliefs, and emotions of people both on and off the battlefield, from European and colonial soldiers to politicians, civilians, and families. It also explores how the war has been commemorated, remembered, and studied, questioning whether later depictions of the “Great War” sufficiently capture the perspectives of those who lived through it. Through a close examination of the causes, course, and legacy of World War I, this course reflects upon the experience of modern warfare more generally. Readings and materials will be drawn from secondary and primary sources, including letters, diaries, memoirs, short stories, artwork, photographs, and films. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2012-13. Professor Boucher.2019-20: Not offered
[USP] A survey of early American history from the late 1500s to the mid-1700s. The course begins by looking at Native American peoples and their initial contacts with European explorers and settlers. It examines comparatively the establishment of selected colonies and their settlement by diverse European peoples and enslaved Africans. The last half of the course focuses on the social, economic, political, and cultural conditions influencing the rise of the British colonies. Three class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor K. Sweeney.2019-20: Not offered
[US] The course traces United States political, social, and cultural history from 1900 to the present. Among the topics covered are the rise of the modern corporation, class conflict and the Progressive movement; immigration, ethnic pluralism, and the rise of mass culture; the Great Depression and the New Deal; World War II, the Cold War, and McCarthyism; the civil rights, women’s and environmental movements, the New Left, the New Right, and the continuing inequalities of race and class. Films and videos will regularly supplement class readings. Three class meetings per week.
Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2012-13. Professor Couvares.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 160 [LAP/AFP] and BLST 191 [CLA/D].) This course maps the range of black experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean from the emergence of Atlantic slave-based economies in the sixteenth century to the 1844 slave conspiracy of La Escalera in Cuba. It treats the Atlantic Ocean as a crossroads of diverse cultures and as a point of reference for understanding the condition of Africans and people of African descent. Topics of discussion will include the rise of the transatlantic slave trade, slave and free black communities, the meaning of Africa and African culture, changing ideas of freedom, and forms of black activism. We will read Alejo Carpentier’s historical novel The Kingdom of This World (1949), slave narratives and monographic works on the British colony of Demerara (today Guyana), Mexico, Peru, Jamaica, Brazil, Haiti and Cuba. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Castro Alves.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 161 [LA/AF] and BLST 101 [CLA/D].) This course explores the historical roots of contemporary racial formations in Latin America and the Caribbean. It focuses particularly on the black experiences, inter-ethnic conflicts and racial solidarities in Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and Puerto Rico from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Topics of discussion will include the struggles for emancipation from slavery, black notions of sovereignty, forms of black nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and political radicalism. We will examine a multiplicity of historical sources, including novels, music, film, personal testimonies, and historical monographs in order to understand the black diaspora as both an historical process and as a seedbed for various identities, racial cultures and political projects. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2012-13. Professor Castro Alves.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 171 [ASP] and ASLC 124 [C].) A survey of Chinese history from ancient times to the eighteenth century. We will focus on texts and artifacts to explore the classical roots and historical development of Chinese statecraft, philosophy, religion, art, and literature. Using these media for evidence, we will trace the histories of inter-state relations, imperial institutions, global commerce, and family-based society through the ancient Han empire, the great age of Buddhism, the medieval period of global trade, and the Confucian bureaucratic empires that followed the Mongol world conquest. We will also compare these histories to those of European and other civilizations, considering Chinese and non-Chinese views of the past. Readings include the Analects of Confucius and other Confucian and Daoist texts, Buddhist tales and early modern fiction, selections from the classic Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji), and Jonathan Spence’s Emperor of China: Self-portrait of Kangxi. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Dennerline.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 172 [AS] and ASLC 146 [C].) A survey of Chinese history from the Manchu conquest of 1644 to the present. Beginning with the successes and failures of the imperial state as it faced global economic development, expanding European empires, and internal social change, we will study the Opium War, massive nineteenth-century religious rebellions, Republican revolution and state-building, the “New Culture” movement, Communist revolution, the anti-Japanese war, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and the problems of post-Mao reform, all with comparative reference to current events. Readings, which include a wide variety of documents such as religious and revolutionary tracts, eye-witness accounts, memoirs, and letters, are supplemented by interpretive essays and videos. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Dennerline.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as HIST 173 [ASP] and ASLC 173 [SA].) This course presents an introduction to major themes and developments in medieval and early modern South Asian history with a particular emphasis on the emergence and flourishing of Islamic regimes in the sub-continent. Commencing with the rise of Islam in South Asia, the course explores the evolutions of the Delhi Sultanates, syncretistic cults and sects, the Vijayanagara Empire, and the Mughal Empire, as well as the relationships between politics, religion, literature, art, and trade under these formations. Readings are drawn from both primary and secondary sources. The course aims at providing a broad overview of six centuries of sub-continental history, coupled with closer attention to select themes. Challenging both colonialist and early nationalist views of this vast period as one of stagnation and tyranny, the course seeks to demonstrate the vitality and dynamism that characterized these centuries of the second millennium. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Sen.
2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 174 [AS] and ASLC 174 [SA].) This survey course introduces key themes and events in the making of modern South Asia. The objective is to provide a skeletal historical narrative of the various transformations the subcontinent and its peoples experienced through the colonial and post-colonial eras. A variety of primary sources and audio and visual materials will be utilized in conjunction with excerpts from panoramic textbooks as well as portions of monographs, combining perspectives from political, social, cultural and economic history. Commencing with the transitions occurring in the middle to late 18th century, the course explores some of the major historical developments in South Asia until the present moment including the East India Company-state, colonial and imperial rule, social reform, the revolt of 1857, Indian nationalism, caste and communal conflict, and the struggles for post-colonial democracy. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Sen.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 181 [AF] and BLST 221 [A].) This is a history of Africa from the late nineteenth century to the present day. In the first half of the course, we will study the imperial scramble to colonize Africa; the broader integration of African societies into the world economy; the social, political and medical impact of imperial policies; Western popular images of Africa in the colonial period; the nationalist struggles that resulted in the independent African states; and the persistent problems faced by those post-colonial states. In the final half of the course, we will investigate three cases: Congo-Zaire and the state as a source of chaos through the Second Congo War; violence, liberation and memories of childhood in late colonial Rhodesia and postcolonial Zimbabwe; the political history of economic development programs and the advent of “resource conflicts,” particularly those involving diamonds. Three class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Redding.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as HIST 190 [MEP] and ASLC 126 [WA].) This course surveys the history of the Middle East from the outset of the Islamic period to the beginning of the modern period. It is divided into the following segments: the formative period of Islam, the classical caliphates, the classical courts, the Mongols, and the great empires of the Ottomans and the Safavids. The course is organized chronologically and follows the making and breaking of empires and political centers; however, the focus of the course is on the intellectual, social, cultural and religious developments in these periods. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Ringer.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 191 [ME] and ASLC 148 [WA].) This course surveys the history of the Middle East from 1800 to the present. The focus is threefold: following political, social and intellectual trends as they evolve over time, exploring contemporary historical and methodological debates and analysis, and introducing students to important historical literature of the period. The class is divided into modules: “From Subject to Citizen,” “Engineering a Modern Middle East,” “Nationalism and the Quest for Independence,” “Islamist Opposition,” and “Taking Sovereignty: Contemporary Debates and the Post-Modern Era.” The class is discussion-oriented and writing intensive. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Ringer.2019-20: Not offered
[EUP] An introduction to some major issues in the history of science from antiquity to the twentieth century. Topics will include the genesis and decay of a scientific tradition in Greco-Roman antiquity, the reconstitution of that tradition in medieval Europe, the revolution in scientific methods of the seventeenth century, and the emergence of science as a source of power, profit, and cultural authority during the past century. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Servos.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 234 [EU] and EUST 234.) This course will explore the history of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. It will examine the emergence of Hitler and Nazism in Germany, Nazi ideology and aesthetics, Nazi racial policies, daily life in the Third Reich, women under Nazism, resistance to the Nazis, Nazi foreign policy and World War II, the Holocaust, and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. Class participants will also discuss themes that range beyond the Nazi case: How do dictatorships function? What constitutes resistance? How and why do regimes engage in mass murder? Texts will include films, diaries, memoirs, government and other official documents, and classic and recent scholarly accounts of the era. Three class meetings per week.
Limited to 60 students. Fall semester. Professor Epstein.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 236 [EU] and EUST 238.) The Cold War indelibly shaped the second half of the twentieth century. Spies seemed ubiquitous; nuclear annihilation imminent. Films such as Red October and the James Bond series forged a Western image of the Soviet Union. But how were these decades experienced behind the Iron Curtain? This class explores Soviet history between the end of World War II and the collapse of the USSR. We will study the roots of the Cold War; the politics of de-Stalinization in the USSR; the unfolding of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe; and Soviet relations with the West, China, and the developing world. We will also explore the internal dynamics of Soviet society: the rise of the Soviet middle class, consumerism, tourism, the entertainment industry, demographic trends, education, and public health. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Five College Professor Glebov.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 237 [EU] and EUST 239.) From the Beatles to the World Cup, from punk to protest, popular culture flourished in Europe in the fifty years between 1950 and 2000. With the increase of leisure time, expendable income and a "baby boom" that resulted in a youth-heavy population, art, film, fashion, music and sport had an increasingly wide appeal. At the same time, anti-war activism, right-wing nationalism, feminism, gay liberation and anti-racism all used music, art, sport, literature and film to rally support and carve out distinctive cultural idioms. This course looks at the ways in which popular culture and popular movements reflected and responded to broader changes in post-war Europe. Although focused on Western Europe, the course places the history of popular culture in the context of the Cold War world and post-colonial cultural transfer. Topics include: fashion and fascism in the context of post-war immigration; football, class and racism; anti-capitalism and art; punk and popular politics; the Beatles, religion and sexual liberation; feminism and gay rights in art and film; and responses to racism through literature, television and in film. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Gust.
2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 242 [USP], ARCH 242, and AHRA 133) Using architecture, artifacts, visual evidence and documentary sources, the course examines social and cultural forces affecting the design and use of domestic architecture, home furnishings, and domestic technology in the eastern United States from 1600 to 1960. In addition to providing a survey of American domestic architecture, the course provides an introduction to the study of American material culture. Field trips to Historic Deerfield, Old Sturbridge Village, Hartford, Connecticut, and sites in Amherst form an integral part of the course. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor K. Sweeney.2019-20: Not offered
[US] A history of American cities in the industrial era, this course will focus especially on the city of Holyoke as a site of industrialization, immigration, urban development, and deindustrialization. We will begin with a walking tour of Holyoke and an exploration of the making of a planned industrial city. We will then investigate the experience of several key immigrant groups – principally Irish, French Canadian, Polish, and Puerto Rican – using both primary and secondary historical sources, as well as fiction. Students will write several papers on one or another immigrant group, and a final paper that explores in greater depth one of the topics touched upon in the course. In the middle of the course, the class will explore the ARIS historical simulation project, which has been used to construct a “game” based on historical data and set in the city of Holyoke. Students may choose to fulfill the final project requirement by making a contribution to this ARIS historical simulation. The course will include students from Amherst College and Holyoke Community College. The course is open to all students, majors and non-majors, but history majors who wish to satisfy their major research requirement in the context of this course may do so by arrangement with Prof. Couvares. One class meeting per week.
Limited to ten students from each institution. Spring semester. Professors Couvares and Clinton (Holyoke Community College).2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 252 [USP] and WAGS 252.) This course looks at the experiences of Native American, European and African women from the colonial period through the Civil War. The course will explore economic change over time and its impact on women, family structure, and work. It will also consider varieties of Christianity, the First and Second Awakenings and their consequences for various groups of women. Through secondary and primary sources and discussions students will look at changing educational and cultural opportunities for some women, the forces creating antebellum reform movements, especially abolition and feminism, and women’s participation in the Civil War. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Saxton.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 256 [US] and POSC 311 [AP, IR] [G - starting with the Class of 2015].) This course will combine the methods of diplomatic history and political science in examining critical moments and themes in American diplomacy. Our overall aim is to better understand the evolving position of the United States in world politics as well as domestic controversies over the character of America’s global role. Specifically, we will assess the combined influence of racism and ethnicity as well as of religious and secular values and class interest on American diplomacy. We shall also investigate the major domestic political, social, economic and intellectual trends and impulses, (e.g., manifest destiny, isolationism and counter-isolationism, and containment) that have shaped American diplomacy; analyze competing visions for territorial conquests and interventions as advocated by various American elites; examine the methods used to extend the nation’s borders, foreign trade and international influence and leadership; and seek to understand the impact of key foreign policy involvements and controversies on the character of the Presidency, Congress and party politics. Among the topics to be considered are the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debates over the scope of constitutional constraints on foreign policy, the Monroe Doctrine, the Mexican War, the imperialist/anti-imperialist debate, the great power diplomacies of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and FDR, as well as key moments of American diplomacy during the Cold War (e.g., the origins of the Cold War, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the end of the Cold War. To see examples of past syllabi please go to http://www3.amherst.edu/~pmachala/Syllabi/ for more information. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 35 students. Fall semester. Professors G. Levin and Machala.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as POSC 312 and HIST 257 [US].) [G - starting with the Class of 2015] A 1992 still-classified Pentagon Defense Policy Guidance draft asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower be allowed to emerge in world politics. This course will examine American foreign relations from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the present. We will study the similarities and differences in the styles of statecraft of all post-cold war U.S. administrations in producing, managing and sustaining America’s unrivaled international position, which emerged in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. While examining the debates between liberals and neoconservatives about America’s role in the world both preceding and following the 9-11 attack, we will also discuss the extent to which these debates not only have shaped American foreign policy but also how they have influenced our domestic politics and vice versa. Among the other main themes to be examined: the strategic, tactical and humanitarian uses of military and other forms of power by each administration (e.g., towards Somalia, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan); U.S. policy towards NATO and towards the world economy; U.S. policy towards Russia, China, the Middle East and Latin America; human, economic and political costs and benefits of American leadership in this period.
Preference given to students who have taken one of the following courses: POSC 213, 310, 311, 410; HIST 256. Limited to 30 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professors G. Levin and Machala.2019-20: Not offered
[USc] Until recently, American histories of the Vietnam War have focused on the reasons, roles, and results of the American intervention in Vietnam or, as one historian described it, “what Americans did in Vietnam (or even at home in the United States) and what was done to them.” In Vietnam, on the other hand, histories of the war were, until the 1990s, largely collapsed into a linear and nationalist narrative of state development. Transnational methodologies used by scholars in recent years have brought to the forefront new understandings of the conflict including: the complexities of colonialism, nationalism, and communist/socialist internationalism, the diversity of Vietnamese experiences, and the influence of culture on diplomatic policy-making. Drawing from this body of new scholarship, the course will engage multiple approaches to the study of the Vietnam War from accounts of French and U.S. colonialism in Asia, to investigations of the policy-making role of state officials in both Vietnam and the U.S., to micro-histories of village networks in South Vietnam. This course will also consider how “collective memory-making,” i.e., how people with shared experiences remember or retell the past, intersects with the contested histories of the war. Through considerations of film, memoir, and memorial sites, the course not only considers how the Vietnam War unfolded but also how its place in public memory was created and mobilized in its aftermath. Two class meeting per week.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Woods.
2019-20: Not offered
[USc] This course considers the multifaceted ways that the United States (understood as a nation, an idea, a diverse group of people with conflicting interests) has had an economic, cultural, military, and political effect on a range of people and places. This course seeks to place the U.S. in the field of Global History, emphasizing the spatial, cultural and economic distributions of power between global metropoles, such as Western Europe and the U.S., and peripheries, the geographically diverse terrains of colonies or client states. We will also consider how the geographies of "center" and "periphery" shifted over time. Thinking historically about the interaction between the U.S. and global peripheries, this course will investigate how the distribution of global power and resources developed over time. Finally, this course will pay particular attention to the U.S. role in the global historical shifts of the twentieth century including colonization and decolonization, sovereignty and state formation, the rise of global governance structures, the Cold War, globalization, terrorism, and “the Rise of China.” Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Woods.2019-20: Not offered
[LA] In this course we will focus on the links between environmental impacts (such as environmental degradation, desertification, soil “exhaustion,” species extinction, genetic simplification, oil extraction, biotic invasions, deforestation, pesticide contamination, and animal grazing) and human problems (such as colonial and imperial domination, declining subsistence, defense and violation of civil rights, income inequality, scientific racism, regional underdevelopment, incomplete capitalist transformation, social marginalization, and political violence). Questions we will engage include: How have environmental changes contributed to, or otherwise conditioned, processes of conquest and domination? How have these processes of conquest, domination, and resistance, in turn, altered the environmental? In what ways has environmental devastation been a rational response to the challenges people face, and in what ways has it been irrational? Can history guide us in our current efforts to develop a sustainable approach to the environment that helps the land and its fauna, but does so in a way that brings greater justice and self-determination to the people who live there, while at the same time balancing the interests of the state and of investors? The class will introduce students to classic texts in Latin American environmental history (including the foundational studies by Warren Dean and Elinore Melville), as well as some of the newest scholarship. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor López.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 271 [AS] and ASLC 271 [SA].) This course seeks to understand how practices of caste have transformed over the course of modern South Asian history. It focuses on various movements opposed to caste discrimination and inequality as well as the ongoing search for social justice. The course simultaneously provides an overview of the scholarship and debates about understanding this form of social identification. Rather than studying caste in a reified manner, we will be concerned with analyzing how it articulates with various other social phenomena, like gender, class, community, and nationality, amongst others. Based on close readings of primary sources, as well as an engagement with secondary literature in history, political science, anthropology and literary studies, the course explores some of the major interpretations of the experience and practice of caste produced by historical actors and scholars until the present moment. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Sen.
2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 275 [AS] and ASLC 249 [C].) In 1895 the emergent Japanese empire imposed a humiliating defeat on the declining Qing empire in China, began the colonization of Korea and Taiwan, and set in motion the reformist and revolutionary trends that would shape the political culture of the Chinese nation in later times. In 1919, concessions by the Chinese warlord regime in Beijing to Japan at Versailles sparked the student movement that would further radicalize the political culture and ultimately divide the nation politically between Nationalist and Communist regimes. This course focuses on the intellectual, cultural, political, and economic issues of the era in between, when, despite the weakness of the state, the creative visions and efforts of all informed people were in line with those of progressives throughout the world. We will explore these visions and efforts, with special reference to national identities, civil society, and global integration, and we will consider their fate in wartime, Cold War, and post-Cold War Asia. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Dennerline.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 283 [AFP] and BLST 121 [A].) South African history is undergoing radical shifts in the way it is being written, read and interpreted, and this course will explore established and emerging themes in the history of this intriguing country. The time period covered will span the precolonial indigenous cultures and move on to study the initiation and expansion of white settlement and its early dependence on slave labor. The course will also investigate African resistance, both in its political and cultural forms, as well as the social effects of gold-mining and migrant labor. African nationalism, including the ANC, the Black Consciousness Movement, and the United Democratic Front, will be the focus of our study of the responses to apartheid and the ultimate collapse of the apartheid state. The course will end with discussions of recent events in South Africa, particularly the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its aftermath as well as the developing AIDS epidemic and the growing problem of crime. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Redding.2019-20: Not offered
This course offers an opportunity for history majors to reflect upon the practice of history. How do we claim to know anything about the past at all? How do historians construct the stories they tell about the past from the fragmentary remnants of former times? What is the connection of historians’ work to public memory? How do we judge the truth and value of these stories and memories? The course explores questions such as these through readings and case studies drawn from a variety of places and times. Two class meetings a week. Required of all history majors.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 45 students. Spring semester: Professor Epstein.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
(Offered as HIST 335 [EU] and EUST 335). By tracing the journeys of people into, across, and out of Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this course explores the role of migration in forging modern national, regional, and global identities. On one level, it analyzes the factors that have impelled groups of people to cross borders. On another, it examines how these migrations have changed the social landscape of Europe, serving both to forge and to challenge the divides of culture, religion, and nationhood. Topics will include: mass emigration and the rise of European imperialism; debates over “belonging” in the era of nation-building; the development of passports, visa restrictions, and quotas; the emergence of the categories of “refugee” and “asylum seeker”; forced migration and human trafficking; colonial and postcolonial immigration into Europe; and contestations over multiculturalism. Readings will relate to a variety of geographical locations, but with special emphasis on migration into and out of Britain, France, Germany, and their empires. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 35 students. Fall semester. Professor Boucher.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 331 [US] and HIST 353 [AF].) Students will encounter the Black Freedom struggle through the literature, music, art, and political activism of the Black Arts Movement. The artistic corollary to Black Power, the Black Arts Movement flourished in the 1960s and 1970s as artists/activists sought to put a revolutionary cultural politics into practice around the country. The Black Arts Movement had far-reaching consequences for the way artists and writers think about race, gender, history, identity, and the relationship between artist production and political liberation. We'll read work by Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Larry Neal, among others. We'll also trace the movement's extension through local political battles and the emergence of new institutions, including theaters, journals, and Black Studies programs. We'll consider the overlap of the Black Arts Movement with other political currents of the late 1960s and early 1970s, explore its relationship to Black feminism, and trace the influence of the Black Arts Movement in hip-hop and film.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Rabig.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 355 [US; or may be included in AF concentration, but not AF for distribution in the major] and BLST 341 [US].) This seminar is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between race and educational opportunity in American history. Students will gain a historical understanding of the divergent educational experiences of various groups within American society. The course is divided into four units: ethnicity and educational access in early America, education and segregation in Jim Crow America, desegregation (implementation and opposition) after Brown v. Board of Education, and contemporary discussions over race and access to education. In the first section of the course, students will pay special attention to trends including northern and southern resistance to African American education, education as assimilation, and vocational vs. classical education. Next, they will delve into twentieth- and twenty-first-century issues involving race and education. For example, they will examine how specific communities--northern, southern, and western--grappled with the desegregation process. Finally, students will assess the extent to which desegregation has been achieved and the transformative effects of this policy on public schools. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Moss.2019-20: Not offered
[US] This seminar will look at the wars the U.S. has engaged in since the end of World War II, military conflicts as well as the war on poverty and the war on drugs along with the politics creating those wars. We will also read samples of the fiction and nonfiction that have emerged from these events. The course will be taught at the Hampshire County Jail, where twelve incarcerated students will meet weekly with twelve Amherst College students to discuss the week’s readings and to reflect on this recent history that has shaped all of our lives. The course will have a weekly paper as well as a final project on which inside and outside students will collaborate in groups of four. One class meeting per week.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semseter. Professor Saxton.2019-20: Not offered
[LA] A century ago Mexicans were embroiled in a popular revolution that demolished the state and transformed the political landscape all across Latin America. The recent centennial of Mexico’s revolution offers an opportunity to reflect upon the outcomes of that bloody conflict. This course provides a general overview of the dominant narratives of the Mexican revolution and its aftermath, while challenging those narratives through an examination of the experience of subaltern groups (including women, indigenous peoples, peasants, and those from the periphery). We also will grapple with the question of what genuine social revolution looks like, how it unfolds, and to what degree it has been attained in Mexico. Original documents, testimonials, movies, images, music, and art will supplement discussions and secondary readings. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor López.2019-20: Not offered
Fall and spring semesters.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 393 [MEP] and ASLC 355 [WA].) This course examines in depth the formative period of Islam between c. 500-680. Using predominantly primary material, we will chart the emergence, success, and evolution of Islam, the Islamic community, and the Islamic polity. The focus of this course is on understanding the changing nature over time of peoples’ understanding of and conception of what Islam was and what Islam implied socially, religiously, culturally and politically. We concentrate on exploring the growth of the historical tradition of Islam and its continued contestations amongst scholars today. This course will familiarize students with the events, persons, ideas, texts and historical debates concerning this period. It is not a course on the religion or beliefs of Islam, but a historical deconstruction and analysis of the period. This class is writing intensive. Two class meetings per week.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Ringer.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as HIST 402 [c] and ENST 401.) Wine is as old as Western civilization. Its consumption is deeply wedded to leading religious and secular traditions around the world. Its production has transformed landscapes, ecosystems, and economies. In this course we examine how wine has shaped the history of Europe, North Africa, and the Americas. Through readings, scientific study, historical research, and class discussion, students will learn about such issues as: the environmental impact of wine; the politics of taste and class; the organization of labor; the impact of imperialism and global trade; the late nineteenth-century phylloxera outbreak that almost destroyed the European wine industry; and the emergence of claims about terroir (the notion that each wine, like each culture, is uniquely tied to a place) and how such claims are tied to regional and national identity. Through class discussion, focused research and writing workshops, and close mentoring, each student will learn about wine while designing and executing an independent research project. We will also get our hands dirty with soil sampling, learn the basics of sediment analysis in the laboratory, and have a go at fermentation. Two meetings per week.
This is a research seminar open to juniors and seniors. Priority given to history and environmental studies majors. History majors may take this course either as a research seminar or in place of HIST 301 “Writing the Past.”
Fall semester. Limited to 15 students. Professor Hunt. Spring semester. Limited to 20 students. Professors López and Martini.2019-20: Not offered
[C] Physicians often say that medicine became truly effective only in the mid-twentieth century when an avalanche of new remedies became available, first in Europe and North America but soon thereafter around the world. Collectively dubbed "the wonder drugs," these products included sulfa drugs and antibiotics for bacterial infections, cortico-steroids for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, tranquilizers for mental illness, and diuretics for hypertension. The new medicines offered millions of patients relief from dread diseases and physicians long-awaited validation of the effectiveness of scientific medicine. For a generation that came of age in the 1940s and 1950s, they supplied powerful testimony to the creative and beneficent powers of science. The "wonder drugs" also gave pharmaceutical firms lucrative new products and governments complex new regulatory challenges. Many of our current debates over drug development, testing, marketing, and pricing commenced in the 1950s, as newly-introduced drugs helped reshape health care.
This seminar will treat the history of these "wonder drugs"--their origins in biomedical research, their production and distribution, and some of the medical and political issues that are associated with their cost and safety. All participants in the seminar will be required to write a research paper of at least 20 pages involving the use of primary sources. One class meeting per week.
Admission with consent of instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Servos.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 418 [C] and BLST 491 [CLA/D].) The seminar traces in historical perspective the relationship between Black radicalism and Marxist thought. Since the late nineteenth century, Black diasporic intellectuals have found in Western Marxism, particularly its internationalist discourse, theory of class formation, and historical materialist analysis, the recipes for critical inquiry and radical politics. Their engagement with Marxism and socialist theory, however, has not precluded tensions and new theoretical resolutions. Black intellectuals from various generations have questioned “classical” Marxism’s economic reductionism, simplistic understanding of peasant politics, and dismissal of political struggles outside metropolitan regions. For writers such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Frantz Fanon, and C.L.R. James, Western Marxism has failed to account for the racial character of capitalism or to provide a historical narrative of blacks’ emancipatory politics. Students will acquire a basic knowledge of Marxist theory, and a historical understanding of Black Marxism by analyzing the works from two generations of intellectuals: the modernist and Pan-Africanist generation (Du Bois, Wright, James, Oliver Cromwell Cox, and Eric Williams), and the New Left generation (Frantz Fanon, Amiri Baraka, Amilcar Cabral, Walter Rodney, Stuart Hall, Angela Davis, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o). One class meeting per week.
Limited to 15 students. Not open to first year students. Fall semester. Professor Castro Alves.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 439 [EU] and EUST 339) The course will explore a most intense and fascinating period in Russian history: the years 1890-1910. This period witnessed rapid urbanization and industrialization; the rise of professional and mass politics; first instances of modern terrorism and an intensification of nationalist struggles; imperialist ventures in Central Asia, Manchuria, and Korea; several revolutions and wars; and, above all, an unprecedented efflorescence of modernist culture in the late Russian Empire which was readily exported to and consumed in Europe. We will analyze these developments through a range of sources, including resources found at the Mead Art Museum. In addition to acquainting students with major developments in turn-of-the-century Russian Empire, the class will address contemporary scholarly debates that focus on concepts such as “modernity,” “self,” “discipline,” “knowledge,” “civil society,” and “nationalism.” Students will be required to complete an independent research paper. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Five College Professor Glebov.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 454 [US] and WAGS 354.) This research seminar will be focused on the development of family life and law, religion, and literature in the pre-Civil War North and South. Students will read material on childrearing practices and the production of gender; conventions of romantic love; the customs and legalities of marriage, parenthood, and divorce; social and geographic mobility; the emergence of the novel, magazines and newspapers; and the role and shape of violence in the North and South. We will discuss contrasts in these developments, many resulting from the strengthening southern commitment to race-based slavery. We will look at these trends through the growth of a national, white Protestant middle class and at the ways in which members of other groups adopted, rejected, or created alternatives to them. Readings will include secondary and primary sources including memoirs, novels, short stories, essays and diary entries. Students will write one twenty-page essay based on original research.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Saxton.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 401[D] and HIST 468 [LA].) The seminar traces historically the rise and development of black liberation theology across the black diaspora, particularly in the Caribbean, Africa, England and the U.S. Two central questions structure this course: How did disenfranchised and diasporic Christian communities reinterpret the biblical text according to their lived experiences? How did their faith and new theologial formulations inform their political praxis? The dialogical encounters between Marxism and Christianity, black liberation theology and anti-colonial politics, Christian theology and anti-black racism and sexism from the 1960s to the present, will underpin the weekly readings and discussions. Students will read the central texts in the large field of liberation theology, and black liberation theology in particular, from thinkers such as Gustavo Gutierrez, Leonardo Boff, James H. Cone, Delores S. Williams, Jacquelyn Grant, Katie G. Cannon, Desmond Tutu, Alan Boesak, John Mbit, Elgelbert Mvent, and Anthony Reddie.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Castro-Alves.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 478 [AS] and ASLC 470 [C].) Political thinkers and activists inside China and throughout the world today puzzle over the relationship between the people and the state. Where do state functions and state control begin and end? How do the global economy, China’s increasing regional hegemony, internal migration, NGOs, rural protest, and the internet influence the relationship between the people and the state? Fundamental questions about the relationship between the people and the state have occupied thinkers and activists since the beginning of the twentieth century. Reformers in China tried to transform the imperial state into a constitutional monarchy, revolutionaries tried to create a Republic, Nationalists tried to build a “corporatist state,” and Communists tried to create a Socialist one. At each stage, the state-makers “imagined” the people, mobilized them, categorized them, and tried to control them. The people became subjects, citizens, nationals, and “the masses.” They divided themselves by native place, region, language, ethnicity, political party, class, and educational status. Chinese people in Southeast Asia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, have imagined themselves in relation to both “the ancestral land” and the colonial or national states under which they live. The process is by no means over. This seminar will focus on the problem of “imagining” and mobilizing people in China and these other states over the past century. General topics will include the ideas, the intellectual and educational context, and the mobilizations of urban and rural communities, commercial and religious groups, and NGOs. Research topics will depend on the interests of students. Two class meetings per week.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Dennerline.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 488 [AF] and BLST 321 [A].) There were numerous rebellions against the state during the period of European colonial rule, and violent resistance to state authority has continued to characterize political life in many post-colonial African countries. This seminar will examine the development of several outbreaks of violence in Africa in the colonial and post-colonial periods to explore important questions in a comparative context. We will look at the economic, social, religious, and political roots of these disturbances; at the challenges faced both by rebel groups attempting to gain a foothold and by states with a fragile hold on ruling authority; and at the social disruptions caused by the participation of child and youth soldiers in various conflicts. We will also discuss the problems historians face in trying to narrate and analyze revolts whose strength often emerged from their protean character, and the legends and rumors that frequently swirled around violent revolts and their role in the construction of historical narratives. The events studied will include the Maji-maji rebellion in German-controlled Tanganyika in 1906-1907; the first (1896-1897) and second (1960-1980) Chimurengas (revolts) in southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe; the widespread revolt in the 1980s and '90s in South Africa against the apartheid regime; and the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda in the late 1990s. Students will each write a 20- to 25-page research paper on an individually chosen topic as a final project; in addition there will be frequent, shorter writing assignments throughout the semester. There will be one class meeting per week.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Redding.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as HIST 493 [ME] and ASLC 493 [WA].) Turkey has a particularly complex relationship with the Ottoman Empire. On the one hand, the establishment of Turkey as a secular republic following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire after World War I marked a watershed between empire and republic, sultan and president, subject and citizen. On the other hand, significant areas of continuity persisted. This seminar focuses on areas of rupture and continuity in order to shed light on the way that these tensions continue to impact contemporary debates surrounding secularism and the place of religion, nationalism and minority rights, and the tensions between authoritarianism and democracy. We will pay particular attention to the intellectual, social and cultural construction of modernity and to the ongoing contestations over historical memory and the Ottoman past. Students will work in consultation with the instructor on developing, articulating and researching a seminar-length (20 pp) research paper. Two class meetings per week.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Ringer.2019-20: Not offered
Culminating in one or more pieces of historical writing which may be submitted to the Department for a degree with Honors. Normally to be taken as a single course but, with permission of the Department, as a double course as well.
Open to juniors and seniors. Fall semester. The Department.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019