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Spring Course Descriptions

Spring 2020

History 218- State and Society in Modern America.  Professor Yellin.  Survey of United States political and social development in the twentieth century. Topics include immigration and ethnicity, the American labor movement, the New Deal, World War II, urban crises and suburbanization, the postwar civil rights movements, the politics of gender and sexuality, the career of the modern American welfare state, and how all of these movements intertwined and connected to form the political and social the ideas of twentieth-century America.

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 to 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 265- Gender & Sexuality in Latin American History. Professor Meyer.  Exploration of the socio-political, cultural and economic processes through which gender, sexuality, class, and ethnic/cultural dynamics are interconnected and constructed in Latin America from the colonial era to the contemporary period. Focus will be on the complicated relationships between historically specific ideologies and socio-economic systems of production and domination, and the respective privileged or unprivileged positions of women and men under the colonialist, capitalist, socialist, and neoliberal states of Latin America.

History 272- Ottoman Empire (1299-1808).  Professor Yanikdağ.  The Ottoman Empire (1299-1922) ruled the Middle East and the Balkans for over six centuries. This is a survey of the rise of the empire from the frontiers of medieval Anatolia and the Balkans, when it was an obscure band of frontier warriors (ghazis), to its emergence as a world-empire, and initial reform and restructuring in the early nineteenth century.

History 299- Medieval England from the Norman Conquest to Bosworth Field.  Professor Routt.  Medieval England traces English history from the arrival of the William the Bastard of Normandy in 1066 through the end of the Wars of the Roses at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.  The course examines in detail the intermingling of Celtic, Germanic, Viking, Norman, Latin, and French influences to create the unique medieval English society and culture.  Among topics addressed are the Norman settlement, the rise of Common Law, the development of Parliament and the English monarchy, church-state conflict, university life, monasticism, women and family, town and country, the Great Famine, the Black Death, the Hundred Years War, and the Wars of the Roses.  The course will also examine depictions of the English Middle Ages in film and other popular culture.

History 299- Japanese Colonialism.  Professor Loo.  Soon after its emergence as a modern nation state in 1868, Japan embarked on its career as a colonial power; by WWII, the Japanese colonial empire covered most of Asia. For Japan, becoming a colonial power was both tied up with the consolidation of its modern geographical borders, and constituted a way for Japan to demonstrate its equality with the Euro-American West. Japanese colonialism was, in other words, about national prestige but it was also intimately linked to Japan’s anxieties about its national sovereignty and its place in the world. This course examines Japan’s career as a colonial power as it took shape in the Meiji period beginning with its “internal” colonization of Hokkaido and Okinawa. It then turns to focus on Japan’s first formal colony, Taiwan, as a lens with which to explore the particularities of Japanese colonial rule.

History 326- Communism.  Professor Brandenberger.  An examination of the historical and philosophical issues surrounding the modern communist experience via the work of nearly two dozen major thinkers. A course in intellectual history, it pays special attention to the changing makeup of this supposedly monolithic ideology.

History 329- Brexit: A History.  Professor Bischof.   What does it mean to be British?  This often nebulous, but critically important question was at the heart of the debates leading up to the “Brexit” referendum.  It has also underpinned historical social, cultural, political, and imperial struggles.  In this course, we will explore how historians have investigated the debates and conflicts which this deceptively simple question engendered from the late eighteenth century through the late twentieth century.

History 398- Historiography.  Professor Loo.  A topical study of the research, writing, and interpretation of history, this course focuses on classical approaches and recent revisions to the fields of Reformation Europe and the French Revolution.