Richmond Home

History 199 Descriptions: Spring 2020

History 199     Elements of Historical Thinking. The purpose of this course is not to cover a certain amount of ground, but to introduce students to the nature of historical interpretation. To do that, individual instructors will chose a topic that will show students the various ways historians interpret their evidence and allow them to practice interpretation on their own. Whatever the topic, the central aim is for students to come away from the course with a better understanding of the nature and limits of historical evidence, the various legitimate ways of approaching it, and the art of making persuasive claims about it.

The individual course titles for Spring Semester 2020 are:

History 199 Course Descriptions

Spring 2020

  • History 199- The Business of Imperialism.  Professor Bischof.  This course explores the intertwined histories of business and imperialism in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century British world.  In the era of imperialism, business was never “just business.”  Businesses had to confront global developments in social relations, politics, work, consumption, and conceptions of race, gender, class, and ethics.  We will examine how businesses both reacted to and shaped these developments throughout and even beyond the British world.  We will also explore how workers, consumers, journalists, and government officials reacted to the evolution of businesses in the era of imperialism.
  • History 199- The Great War in the Middle East.  Professor Yanikdağ.  An exploration of the social, cultural, political, and medical history and consequences of the Great War (1914-1918) on soldiers and civilians in the Middle East.  The conflict destroyed the Ottoman order; and, while it led to the end of the Caliphate and the emergence of nation-states across the region, it also transformed concepts of identity, notions of religion, and patterns of authority. 
  • History 199- Health in American History.  Professor Checkovich.  An exploration of how historical perspectives on illness and wellness can illuminate such questions as: What is health?  Is American society more or less healthy today than in the past?  Topics will include the social histories of disease; the development of medical institutions; professionalization and its impact upon doctor-patient relationships; the evolution of the relationship between health and social structure; and popular ideas about the body and healing.
  • History 199- Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette. Professor Watts.  An intensive look at the lives of two French female icons: Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette, as a window into the history of early modern women, gender and sexuality. No two women could be more different, but each provides a unique path toward understanding female power and victimization, if not French identity. The biographies of these two women will be situated within a larger history of womanhood, uncovering the ways in which gender and sexuality operated in these eras. The course will then turn to various portrayals of the two over the centuries in film, plays, portraiture, popular and scholarly literature, advertising, and propaganda.
  • History 199- Nazi Germany.  Professor Kahn.  An exploration of the rise and fall of the Nazi regime, World War II, and the Holocaust, emphasizing how Hitler’s rise to power impacted society, culture, and everyday life in Germany. Topics include: political and economic turmoil; international conflict, militarism, and warfare; the persecution of Jews, Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, and other minority groups; the role of women under Nazism; art, architecture, and propaganda; and postwar representations of the Nazi period in museums, monuments, films, and popular culture.
  • History 199- Natives and Newcomers in Early America.  Professor Galgano.  Natives and Newcomers will introduce you to the craft and art of historical detection through an exploration of relations between Native peoples and European newcomers in lands the immigrants called the Americas. We will investigate novel sources of evidence, grapple with the particular difficulties of studying ethnohistory, and evaluate scholarly debates about the cultural negotiation between Indians and colonists from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.  
  • Slavery and Freedom in Early America.  Professor Seeley.  This course will explore the history of slavery and freedom in Early America, from the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade to the eve of the Civil War. We will examine the varied kinds of evidence that historians have used to tell this history—from ships logs and plantation records to slave narratives and material culture. Questions about evidence are particularly important in our class because the archive of slavery is filled with silences. Libraries, universities, and historical societies are places of power and privilege. Many of them long neglected the story of slavery. To that end, we will spend part of this course exploring the University of Richmond’s history and its relationship to slavery and enslaved people. Throughout the course, we will pair primary and secondary sources to ask how historians locate, interpret, and write about slavery’s archive.  
  • History 199- Stalin’s Terror.  Professor Brandenberger. An investigation of one of the most controversial and daunting questions in Soviet history. Of particular interest will be such issues as political, social and cultural history; the role of personality and ideology; and historical questions of contingency, inevitability, intentionalism and structuralism.
  • History 199- Tobacco.  Professor Sackley.  An examination of the rich and varied history of tobacco as a window onto the broader study of history.  Topics include tobacco's central place in the histories of European encounters with America, the American Revolution, slavery, labor and civil rights movements, popular culture, advertising, public health, and international business.
  • History 199- The U.S./Mexico Borderlands. Professor Meyer.  An examination of the socio-political, economic, and cultural history of the U.S.-Mexico border, a site for more than four centuries of peaceful encounters, violent clashes, and episodes that defy simple categorization.  How the border has affected the construction of racial/ethnic, gender and class identities will be investigated for what it can reveal about national and transnational histories.  Themes to be explored include capitalist development, rebellions, transculturation, immigration, narcopolitics, and militarization.