[C] This course will explore World War II in global perspective. Historians of Europe, Japan, and the United States will join together to teach the history of the world’s most destructive war. Topics include the rise of militant regimes in Germany and Japan; German and Japanese aggression in the 1930s; the attack on Pearl Harbor; famous battles of the war; the Holocaust; German and Japanese occupation practices; civilian life in the Allied and Axis countries; and the later memory of the war. The course will also address moral controversies raised by the war, including the Anglo-American firebombing of Germany and the decision to drop the atomic bomb. Texts for the course will include film, memoirs, government documents, graphic and other novels, and secondary accounts of the war. Class will consist of two lectures and one discussion section per week.
Spring semester. Professors Epstein, Maxey, and K. Sweeney.2016-17: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 104 [C] and ENST 220.) This course considers the ways that people in various parts of the world thought about and acted upon nature during the nineteenth century. We look historically at issues that continue to have relevance today, including: invasive species, deforestation, soil-nitrogen availability, water use, desertification, and air pollution. Themes include: the relationship of nineteenth-century colonialism and environmental degradation, gender and environmental change, the racial dimensions of ecological issues, and the spatial aspects of human interactions with nature. We will take at least one field trip. In addition, we will watch three films that approach nineteenth-century environmental issues from different vantage points. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Melillo.2016-17: Not offered
[EUP] European Medieval history usually begins with clean-cut Roman legionnaires failing to fight off hairy Germanic warriors. It then follows a meandering storyline featuring castles, bishops, and knights to end with the Fall of Constantinople or Christopher Columbus sailing over the Western horizon. In this course these significant characters and scenes will appear, but in the context of a different story. Our study of a diverse and disparate past will present a case for why the Middle Ages matter by actively framing individuals in their society and in their landscape. In order to do so we will pursue a variety of topics including the rise and fall of literal and metaphorical cities: from Rome to London, and from Augustine’s City of God to Christine de Pizan’s City of Ladies. Our investigation will reveal medieval answers to some of the most basic human questions: where, why, and who, am I (or are we)? Such universal questions will render the Middle Ages accessible, yet also indicate just how very strange, how very far away, and how very long ago the Middle Ages are. Assignments will focus on short critical papers. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Torgerson.
2016-17: Not offered
[EUP] Lasting for over a millennium (330-1453), the Medieval Roman Empire known as Byzantium was the model culture and polity to which neighboring civilizations aspired. However, through the lens of the Italian Renaissance, the post-Enlightenment West tended (and still tends) to perceive Byzantium as a center of decadence and an inhibition to studying the glories of classical-era Greece and Rome. We will shatter this “lens” by gazing out from the walls of Constantinople upon Byzantium as a civilization worth studying for its own values, accomplishments, glories, tragedies, and personalities. We will watch as Byzantium negotiates its place in the ever-changing world around it, always claiming to be unchanging even as it is marked by exchange with, and absorption of, a great variety of cultures (including Persian, Arab, Turkish, Latin, Syrian, and Slavic). Through lecture, discussion, and analysis of an array of source materials students will acquire a basic narrative of the empire, formulate an understanding of how the Byzantines perceived their own culture and history, and engage with the creation and perpetuation of history itself. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Torgerson.2016-17: Not offered
(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.
Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Hunt.2016-17: 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 2013-14. Professor Boucher.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
[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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor K. Sweeney.2016-17: 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. Spring semester. Professor Couvares.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
[US] This course is an introduction to the major trends and developments in U.S. foreign relations from the nation’s rise from a loose coalition of colonies on the Atlantic seaboard to a continental and world power by the beginning of the twentieth century. This course will seek to understand the effect of expansion on the nation’s values, institutions, and history, and examine the methods used to extend the nation’s borders, trade, and influence. It engages “foreign relations” in broad terms to incorporate ideology, race, gender, technology, economics, geopolitics, and culture as important forces in shaping the United States’ understanding of and behavior toward the world. The country’s domestic character critically determined the ways in which the nation’s power took shape on the world stage, even as global interactions shaped nascent U.S. institutions and identities. This course will examine how economic and security needs shaped foreign policy goals, while social norms and domestic values informed the ways Americans interacted with other societies. Three class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Walker.
2016-17: Not offered
[US] This course investigates the United States’ foreign relations in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and seeks to understand why and how it has become increasingly involved in world affairs. Starting with the War of 1898 and closing with the contemporary global war on terrorism, it examines the interplay of domestic and foreign considerations that have defined the “American Century.” This period raises important questions about the nature of American power in relation to traditional empires. The course asks students to think critically about the United States in the context of imperialism, and explore how Americans, both in and out of government, sought to reconcile domestic values and identities with the country’s growing global presence. It investigates the ideological, economic, political, social, racial, and security considerations that shaped America’s emergence as a world power and formed the basis of modern American foreign policy and domestic society. Three class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Walker.
.2016-17: 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.2016-17: 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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor Dennerline.2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
(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 focus on the emergence and flourishing of Islamicate regimes in the sub-continent. Commencing with the growth of Islamic polities in South Asia, the course explores the Delhi Sultanate, various syncretistic and devotional sects and movements, the Vijayanagara Empire, and the Mughal Empire, as well as politics, religion, literature, art, architecture, and trade under these formations. Readings are drawn from a variety of both primary and secondary sources and combine perspectives offered by political, social, and cultural history. The course aims at providing a broad overview of six centuries of the sub-continent’s past, 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 characterizing these centuries of the second millennium. We will lay particular emphasis on the processes of transculturation between the Islamic and Indic through which the South Asian medieval was lived. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor Sen.
2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
(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.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
(Offered as HIST 176 [AS] and ASLC 247 [J].) This course surveys the modern history of the Japanese archipelago, from the late-Tokugawa period through the rise of the modern Meiji nation-state, colonial expansion and total war. We will conclude with the postwar economic recovery and the socio-political challenges facing the Japanese nation-state in the early-2000s. Through primary documents, fiction, and film, we will explore themes including the disestablishment of the samurai class, industrialization, imperialism, feminism, nationalism, war, democracy, and consumerism. Classes will consist of lectures along with close readings and discussions. Requirements include short response papers and topical essays. Three class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Maxey.2016-17: 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.2016-17: Not offered
(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.2016-17: 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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor Ringer.2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
[C] This course introduces students to the history of the Jews from the 16th century to the present. Jews--a small group, lacking a stable geographical or political center for most of modern history--have played a remarkably central role in world events. Jewish history exemplifies questions of tolerance, intolerance, and diversity in the Modern Age. From Europe to the Americas to the Middle East, Jewish history has witnessed constant interchange between the non-Jewish world and its Jewish subcultures. This course investigates Jewish history’s multiple dimensions: developments in Jews’ political status and economic opportunity; dramatic demographic shifts and global migrations; transformations in Jewish cultures, ideologies and identities; and religious adjustments to modernity. We examine a variety of Jewish encounters with the modern world: integration, acculturation, assimilation, anti-Semitism, Jewish dissimilation and nationalism. Finally, the course will use this broad historical lens to explore and contextualize the double watershed of the 1940s—the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel—as well as contemporary Jewish life. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Five College Professor Gordon.
2016-17: Not offered
[C] Disease has always been a part of human experience; doctoring is among our oldest professions. This course surveys the history of Western medicine from antiquity to the modern era. It does so by focusing on the relationship between medical theory and medical practice, giving special attention to Hippocratic medical learning and the methods by which Hippocratic practitioners built a clientele, medieval uses of ancient medical theories in the definition and treatment of disease, the genesis of novel chemical, anatomical, and physiological conceptions of disease in the early modern era, and the transformations of medical practice associated with the influence of clinical and experimental medicine in the nineteenth century. The course concludes by examining some contemporary medical dilemmas in the light of their historical antecedents. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Servos.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
[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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor Servos.2016-17: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 232 [EU] and EUST 242). This class will explore European intellectual history in the twentieth century, focusing on the important trends such as psychoanalysis, phenomenology, structuralism, and post-modernism. While studying thinkers such as Freud, Lacan, Heidegger or Levi-Strauss, we will pay special attention to how world-historical events shaped their thought. How did European intellectuals react to World War I, Communism, Nazism, or de-colonization? How did they imagine a way out of totalitarianism and the assured mutual destruction of the Cold War? How did abstract ideas about the individual, freedom, or beauty develop in response to the historical circumstances in which they were forged? Finally, the class will draw on local archival sources to highlight the thought of several influential European intellectuals who found refuge in the Five Colleges. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Five College Professor Glebov.2016-17: 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.2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
(Offered as HIST 235 [EU] and EUST 245). Joseph Stalin, the infamous Soviet dictator, created a particular type of society in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. Stalinism became a phenomenon that influenced the development of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and North Korea. The course will begin with the exploration of Stalin’s own life, and then focus on what historical forces enabled the emergence of Stalinism. The course will cover the period on the eve of and during the Russian Revolution, Stalinist transformation of the USSR in the 1930s, WWII, and the onset of the Cold War. Among issues to be explored are the extent of popular support for Stalinist-type regimes, the mechanisms of large-scale political terror, the longevity of Stalinist regimes, and historical memory about Stalinism. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Five College Professor Glebov.2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
(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.
Omitted 2013-14. Five College Professor Glebov.2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor K. Sweeney.2016-17: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 231 [US] and HIST 247 [US]; or may be included in AF concentration, but not AF for distribution in the History major.]) This course is a survey of the history of African American men and women from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through the Civil War and Reconstruction. The content is a mixture of the social, cultural, and political history of blacks during two and a half centuries of slavery with the story of the black freedom struggle and its role in America’s national development. Among the major topics addressed: the slave trade in its moral and economic dimensions; African retentions in African American culture; origins of racism in colonial America; how blacks used the rhetoric and reality of the American and Haitian Revolutions to their advancement; antebellum slavery; black religion and family under slavery and freedom; the free black experience in the North and South; the crises of the 1850s; the role of race and slavery in the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War; and the meaning of emancipation and Reconstruction for blacks. Readings include historical monographs, slave narratives by men and women, and one work of fiction.
Combined enrollment limited to 50 students. Fall semester. Professor Moss.2016-17: 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.
Enrollment is limited to ten students per institution. Omitted 2013-14. Professors Couvares and Clinton (HCC).
2016-17: 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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor Saxton.2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professors G. Levin and Machala.2016-17: 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. Fall semester. Professors G. Levin and Machala.2016-17: Not offered
[LAP] This course examines the early history of Latin America, beginning with the major pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished before the arrival of the Spanish in the New World and ending with the maturation of colonial society. The class is thematic, built around an in-depth examination of certain parts of the story. Special attention will be given to the mindset of Europeans on the eve of discovery; the events of the Conquest; the global environmental impact of the “Columbian exchange"; ongoing indigenous resistance to European domination; the rise of African slavery in the Americas; and how categories of gender and ethnicity were formative in defining this society. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Rosenthal.2016-17: Not offered
[LA] Latin Americans began their struggle for democracy during the Independence wars at the start of the 19th century. Their struggle continues today. This course considers the historical meanings of democracy in various Latin American countries, with particular attention to the relationship between liberalism and democracy in the 19th century; the broadening of democracy at the start of the 20th century; the rise and fall of military dictatorships in the 1960s-80s and their impact upon civil society; and the current clashes between neo-Liberal economic programs and the neo-populist resurgence of the left. Readings and discussions will focus on the ways broad economic and political shifts impacted individuals' lives; how each economic class experienced these shifts differently; the way race and gender have shaped peoples' experience with democratization and repression; and the personal processes of radicalization by which individuals became inspired to take risks in their struggle for inclusion and against repression. Because the approach is thematic and chronological, some countries and regions will receive more attention than others. Meetings and readings will draw on secondary studies, historical documents, testimonials, music, images, and film. Two meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor López.2016-17: 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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor López.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
(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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor Sen.
2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
(Offered as HIST 275 [AS] and ASLC 249 [C].) This course is designed as an introduction to local and global themes in the history of modern China. We will focus on the period between the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and the Treaty of Versailles and Chinese May Fourth Movement of 1919, which launched the Communist revolution. The major issues of this period have taken on new significance since the end of the Cold War. They include 1) Chinese responses to and participation in the developing global economy, 2) approaches to political, economic, and cultural reform, 3) problems of national and cultural identity in China and abroad, 4) modern experience and new issues of class, gender, and educational status. Major events include imperial reform movements, the Boxer uprising, the anti-American boycott of 1905, popular resistance movements, the Republican revolution of 1911, and the advent of the New Culture movement after 1915. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Dennerline.2016-17: 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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor Redding.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
(Offered as HIST 284 [AFP] and BLST 211 [A].) The African continent has been called by one historian the social laboratory of humanity. Art, trade, small-scale manufacturing, medical knowledge, religion, state systems, history and legend all flourished before the formal political take-over of the continent by European powers in the late nineteenth century and continue to have a decisive impact on African societies today. It is this varied and sometimes difficult to access history of states and cultures in the period before 1885 that this course will examine. Initially, we will investigate the notion of “tribe” and its relationship to language, political affiliation and identity. The largest segment of the course will examine historical myths and their impact on the research and construction of historical narratives on precolonial Africa while discussing four topics in depth: domestic, local slave-ownership and the impact of the slave trade; the interaction of religion and power on the rise and fall of the kingdom of Kongo and of the states along the southern border of the Sahara (the sahel); the genesis of the Zulu state in southern Africa and the creation of the legend of Tshaka; and the changing roles of women as economic, political and social actors in the period before 1885. We will also discuss some of the differences between oral historical narratives and written ones while we analyze primary documents and histories written by scholars over the past half-century to understand both the history of the people living on the continent as well as the active process of constructing that history. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Redding.2016-17: 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 per week.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 25 students per semester; history majors will be given preference. Fall semester: Professor Sen. Spring semester: Professor Redding.2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
[C] This course will introduce students to major philosophical roots, historical developments, and contemporary debates in human rights politics. The course will begin by examining the global historical evolution of the notion of human rights, stressing the pivotal role of the American and French Revolutions in framing modern conceptions of rights in the late eighteenth century. It will then examine the growth of international laws, institutions, and norms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Finally, the course will explore the human rights dimensions of three major issues in contemporary politics: humanitarian intervention; the war on terror and national security; and global capitalism and working conditions. Considerable weight and attention will be given to human rights issues in the context of the United States and its domestic and international politics. At the same time, the universalizing nature of human rights and their global import compels us to think beyond cultural, political, and historical boundaries to challenge our assumptions about the meaning and form of universal rights. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Walker.
2016-17: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 319 [c] and ASLC 320 [WA].) Conceptions of the religious and the secular that continue to resonate today assumed global significance in the course of the nineteenth century as colonial empires and nascent nation-states negotiated how they would govern heterogeneous populations and interact with each other. Drawing on scholarship from a number of disciplines that historicize the categories of religion and secularity, this course will examine the political function of the religious and the secular as conceptual and regulatory categories in the 19th century. Colonial administrations, for example, employed the conceit of secularism to neutralize religious difference while individuals and communities attempted to reform and modernize local traditions as “religion” in order to navigate global hierarchies. We will begin with a historiographic and theoretical survey, covering topics that include the academic creation of “World Religions,” the politics of conversion within the British Empire, and the discourse of Orientalist spiritualism. The second half of the course will apply these historiographic and theoretical concerns to East Asia and Japan in particular. Requirements will include two topical essays and one longer paper entailing modest research. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professors Maxey and Ringer.2016-17: Not offered
[EUP] Did medieval persons think of themselves as individuals? Medieval historians continue to engage in the long and controversial debate over whether we can oppose the medieval person (who found selfhood only in collective entities) to the modern person (who finds selfhood in the autonomous will). In this course we will work our way through a number of medieval persons who either wrote about their own self (autobiography), another self (biography), or a holy self (hagiography), and apply these texts to the great debate. As we investigate the validity of the distinction between the individual and the collective self, we will use this idea to pry open the history and the historiography of the middle ages itself. This course is writing attentive; students will be trained to write in a number of historical modes, including the production of a final research paper. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Torgerson.2016-17: Not offered
[EUP] Medieval people moved: they traded and sent emissaries, they invaded and migrated, they went on crusade, jihad, and pilgrimage. This topical course will touch upon all of these movements as we pursue a larger question. Can patterns of exchange across the physical and cultural barriers of geography, language, religion, and governance reveal a more global medieval world than we usually envision?
As the Middle Ages passed, patterns and perceptions of movement changed. Itinerancy was institutionalized in certain religious orders while popular heresy and plague rapidly spread out of control. In order to ground our study of such changes the class will first analyze the most consistently preserved sources on medieval movement, accounts of pious travel “for God’s sake and not for pleasure.” Students will then work collaboratively to contextualize such accounts with two other types of movement: the physical journeys of traders and diplomats, and the interiorized journeys of the prophet, the mystic, and the storyteller. Assignments will include critical presentations and a research paper. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Torgerson.2016-17: Not offered
(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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Boucher.2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
(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. Omitted 2013-14. Visiting Lecturer Rabig.2016-17: 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.2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Saxton.2016-17: 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.
Omitted 2013-14. Professor López.2016-17: Not offered
(Offered as History 375 [AS], ANTH 375 and ASLC 375 [SA].) This course explores the intervention made by the Subaltern Studies Collective in the discipline of history-writing, particularly in the context of South Asia. Dissatisfied that previous histories of Indian nationalism were all in some sense “elitist,” this group of historians, anthropologists, and literary theorists sought to investigate how various marginalized communities--women, workers, peasants, adivasis--contributed in their own terms to the making of modern South Asia. Their project thus engaged broader methodological questions and problems about how to write histories of the marginal. Combining theoretical statements with selections from the 12-volume series as well as individual monographs, our readings and discussion will chart the overall trajectory of Subaltern Studies from in its initial moorings in the works of the Italian Marxian theorist Antonio Gramsci, to its later grounding in the critique of colonial discourse. The objective is to understand how this school of history-writing transformed the understanding of modern South Asian history. Our discussion will engage with the critiques and debates generated in response to the project and the life of the analytical category, “subalternity,” outside South Asia. One class meeting per week.
Spring semester. Professors Sen and Chowdhury.
2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Ringer.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
(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.”
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors López and Martini.2016-17: Not offered
[C/AS] In recent decades, historians have begun to study the cultures and environments of the Pacific Ocean Region from a transnational perspective. Participants in this seminar will build upon such approaches when examining the Pacific World from the Spanish American War (1898) to the present. Themes and topics will include: immigration, anti-colonial movements, the emergence of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the recurring idea of a “Pacific Century.” We will also focus on the history of four regional environmental issues: nuclear waste disposal, fisheries regulation, deforestation, and the effects of rising sea levels on coastal communities. Although there is no prerequisite for this seminar, it is the companion course to HIST 208: “Spain in the Pacific World, 1571-1898.” One class meeting per week.
Admission with consent of instructor. Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Melillo.2016-17: Not offered
[C] Participants in this seminar will explore the environmental and social histories of nine commodities: sugar, silver, silk, coffee, tobacco, sneakers, microchips, units of bandwidth, and the human body. Each of these commodities represents a complex array of linkages among producers, consumers, and intermediaries over time and space. Readings draw upon the disciplines of history, ecology, anthropology, and geography to place these commodities in their social, environmental, and spatial contexts. One of our aims is to understand the changing roles of natural systems and the divisions of labor that underlie the long-term processes of globalization. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Melillo.2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Servos.2016-17: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 438 [EU] and EUST 373.) This course will explore the role of historical memory in the politics of twentieth-century Europe. It will examine how evolving memories of major historical events have been articulated and exploited in the political cultures of England, France, Germany, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union/Russia. Topics will include the politics of memory surrounding World Wars I and II, Vichy France, the Holocaust, Soviet Stalinism, and Eastern European communism. Seminar participants will also discuss general issues concerning collective memory: why societies remember and forget historical events, how collective memories resurface, the relationship between memory and authenticity, and the pitfalls of politicizing historical memory. Finally, seminar participants will analyze different sites of memory including film, ritual, monuments, legal proceedings, and state-sponsored cults. One class meeting per week.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Epstein.2016-17: 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.
Omitted 2013-14. Five College Professor Glebov.2016-17: Not offered
[USP] This seminar, focused on the period from 1760 to 1815, examines the origins, development and more immediate consequences of the American Revolution. The course looks at the founding of the American republic as an intellectual debate, a social movement, a military conflict and a political revolution. By offering an overview of these developments and introducing the historiographic debates surrounding them, the seminar provides students with the necessary background to examine in depth a topic of interest by writing a research paper. The course will also provide instruction in writing such a research paper using the rich and readily accessible primary sources from the period. Two class meetings per week.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor K. Sweeney.2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Saxton.2016-17: Not offered
[US] This seminar will trace the path and nature of the United States' involvement in Vietnam from World War II to the fall of Saigon in 1975 and its aftermath. It will examine U.S. policy in the context of Cold War foreign relations and how U.S. policy responded to the decolonizing Third World and the perceived danger of communist expansion and control in Southeast Asia. The seminar will explore the various pressures and influences on American policymakers, the nature of the war, and its effects on Vietnam and the United States. It will also stress Vietnamese perspectives on the conflict and analyze how Vietnamese history and culture shaped interactions with the United States, the Soviet Union and the global community. Finally, the course will spend significant time on the conflict's broad impact on U.S. society and popular culture, as manifested through music, film, and literature. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Walker.
2016-17: Not offered
(Offered as History 474 [AS] and ASLC 474 [SA]). Anti-colonial nationalism in India was one of the first major movements towards the decolonization of the global south. This reading- and writing-intensive seminar examines the story of the Indian nationalist movement and the effort to liberate the subcontinent from British colonial rule. Drawing on both primary and secondary sources, the course attempts to chronologically explore the rise and development of nationalist ideology and practice, as well as introduce students to four broadly conceived historiographical schools and their interpretations of this movement--nationalist, Marxist, Cambridge, and Subaltern Studies. Students will thereby engage with a number of prominent historiographical debates about Indian nationalism and gain an in-depth appreciation of the triumphs, contradictions, and failures that marked the struggle for freedom in India, as well its troubled legacies. Writing assignments are designed to culminate in a substantial research paper. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Sen.2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Dennerline.2016-17: 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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Redding.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
Fall and spring semesters.2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
(Offered as HIST 492 [ME] and ALSC 459 [WA].) This seminar explores contemporary Iran from a historical and interdisciplinary perspective. The aim of the course is both to provide an overall understanding of the history of Iran, as well as those key elements of religion, literature, legend, and politics that together shape Iran's understanding of itself. We will utilize a wide variety of sources, including Islamic and local histories, Persian literature, architecture, painting and ceramics, film, political treatises, Shiite theological writing, foreign travel accounts, and U.S. state department documents, in addition to secondary sources. Two class meetings per week.
Recommended requisite: a survey course on the modern Middle East. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Ringer.2016-17: Not offered
(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. Omitted 2013-14. Professor Ringer.2016-17: 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. Spring semester. The Department.2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017