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Spring Course Descriptions

Spring 2019

History 111- Ideas and Institutions of Western Civilization II.  Professor Wray.  Topical study of western heritage from rise of modern political concepts in 17th century to present.

History 204- The Civil War and Reconstruction.  Professor Kenzer. An eexamination of slavery, sectional controversy, secession, the war, and the political, economic, and social problems of Reconstruction.

History 225- Medieval Italy.  Professor Drell.  Study of Italy from the formation of the communes to the first stirrings of the Renaissance. Emphasis on the development of the commercial economy, differential development between North and South, the emergence of a strong Papal State, and the causes and effects of the Great Plague.

History 239-  The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era.  Professor Watts.  This course focuses on the revolutionary politics that violently ended legal privileges and monarchical rule to forge a modern nation state. Revolutionaries sought fulfill their pledge to institute liberty and equality in the face of deep social divisions between aristocrats and commoners, traditional Roman Catholics and enlightened secular rationalists, military careerists and wealthy bureaucrats. Of special interest are the parties’ ideologies and alliances that shaped the fight for and against the revolution. 

History 249- Cold War Europe.  Professor Brandenberger.  This course surveys modern European history from the emergence of the Cold War through the fall of Communism (1946-1991). Along the way, it addresses postwar reconstruction and the creation of  state socialism in eastern Europe and Eurosocialism in western Europe. Particular attention is given to geopolitics, ideological competition (the interplay between neoliberalism and state socialism), everyday politics, propaganda, consumer culture, popular movements and mass entertainment.​

History 282- Africa in the 20th Century.  Professor Summers.  An introduction to economic, social, political, and intellectual history of Africa from colonial period to present.

History 299- Vietnam Wars.  Professor Sackley.  The Vietnam Wars were an anticolonial struggle, a civil and regional war, and a global Cold War confrontation.  This course examines the twentieth-century wars that consumed Southeast Asia and remade nations and international politics. While emphasizing the “American War” (1964-1973) and its impact on US politics and foreign policy, the course will also explore the multiple histories, perspectives, and experiences that shaped the conflict. Particular attention will be given to the legacies of war in popular culture and national memory.

History 299- Revolutionary America, 1750-1830.  Professor Merrell.  In 1815 John Adams asked Thomas Jefferson: “Who shall write the history of the American Revolution? Who can write it? Who will ever be able to write it?” “Nobody,” Jefferson replied. As these two men knew, the American Revolution ranks high among history’s mysteries. Why did a prosperous people get so mad about a modest tax increase? How did a scattered, squabbling array of colonies, who felt closer to Great Britain than to one another, unite sufficiently to declare independence from their “mother country” in 1776? How did they then defeat the greatest military power of the age while also contending with dissension in their own ranks, rebellious slaves in their midst, and powerful Indian nations at their backs? How, having won independence, did the victors avoid tyranny, civil war, or re-colonization while other Americans—poor men, white women, Native peoples, the enslaved—busily tested the elasticity of the phrase “all men are created equal”? Exploring these questions, giving due attention not just to "the Founders" but to those "other Americans," we will also keep in mind historian Michael Meranze's observation that this era “bequeathed us many of the values and institutions…that are now sites of important political, social, and ideological conflicts.”

History 299- The Discovery of American Culture, 1820-1860.  Professor Ayers.  How did America come to be the way it is?  This course will explore four crucial decades when critical elements of American culture first took shape.  Nationalism, idealism, racism, reformism, regionalism, evangelicalism, environmentalism, pragmatism, and other enduring traits in our culture were forged in ways that still shape us today.  We will work to understand the defining events and personalities of the era by reading  works of literature, exploring popular culture, reading the newspapers of the era, and mapping the currents through which culture circulated.

History 341- History and Memory: WWII in East Asia.  Professor Loo.  An examination of the lingering controversies surrounding the history of WWII in East Asia. The focus is on the intersections of history and memory, and the politics of remembering and representing difficult historical events associated with the war. Issues include the Nanjing Massacre, comfort women, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Battle of Okinawa.

History 361- Madness & Society in Modern Era.  Professor Meyer.  A historiographical examination of such questions as: What is insanity? How do we define the normal and the pathological? Who in society is best suited to determine psychological health and sickness? Can there be sciences of the emotions and sexuality? How do class, race, religion, and gender influence our views of human mental functioning? Can the human mind know itself? How did the sciences of the mind (i.e. psychiatry, psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychopharmacology, and the cognitive neurosciences) claim tremendous scientific authority and exert enormous cultural influence at the turn of the twentieth century? A variety of settings will be considered, including continental Europe, North America, Latin America, and Africa from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

History 398-Historiography.  Professor Loo.  – the study of how history is written – is a key component to the craft of the historian. Alongside a historian’s biases, points of view, and politics, modes of historical writing also inflect the kinds of historical knowledge she produces. This course examines the craft of historical writing to investigate the mechanics that lie behind the production of historical knowledge. Students will be introduced to a range of theories and modes of historical writing, from classics texts by Ranke and Carr, to the scholarship of leading historians today.

History 399-ST: Sex, Gender & the Family in Modern Europe. Professor Kahn.  An exploration of how ideas about sex, gender, and the family have changed over time, from the 18th through 21st centuries. Topics include: marriage, motherhood, and family life; sexual violence in war and empire; eugenics, biopolitics, and fascism; the policing of prostitution and pornography; the 1960s sexual revolution; the relationship between migration and sexuality; and new approaches to studying gay, lesbian, and queer identities. Focuses on Modern Europe and its global interactions.

History 400- The United States in the Long 1960s.  Professor Sackley.  This research seminar focuses on the United States during the “long 1960s” (1954-1973), one of the most turbulent and consequential eras in US and global history.  Delving into recent scholarship on the period, students will be introduced to a range of approaches and methods, including political, cultural, gender, urban, digital, and diplomatic history.  The seminar will visit local archives and emphasize the use of archival sources.