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Course Descriptions: Spring 2022

History 199  Pirates, Merchants, and Holy Warriors

Professor Baker

The Mediterranean Sea touches Africa, Asia, and Europe. Historians and other scholars have long debated whether the Mediterranean is best understood in terms of difference and separation or similarity and unity. This course examines the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century when three empires divided by faith and culture — the Ottoman, the Spanish, and the Venetian — negotiated conflict and coexistence its contested waters. We will examine primary and secondary sources from all three empires examining how historians have interpreted encounters and exchanges between them, considering the question of how best to understand the Mediterranean.

History 199  Populism in Latin America

Professor Morales Fontanilla

In this course, we delve into how historical scholarship has understood Latin American populism. Our objective is to examine relevant historiography and explore how it approaches the topic, what analytical tools it uses, and what kind of sources it explores. We will also critically engage with different social theories of populism, assessing their importance for historical interpretation from an interdisciplinary perspective. This approach will highlight some of the most fundamental intricacies of historical literature and its production. In Populism in Latin America, we will expose ourselves to primary sources (texts, images, songs, material culture) and historical literature focused on the topics pertinent to the class.

History 199 - Marie Antoinette and Joan of Arc

Professor Watts

This course centers on 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; each provides a unique path toward understanding female power and victimization, if not French identity (for better or for worse). We begin by putting “the virgin warrior” and “the wicked queen” into their respective historical contexts of medieval and revolutionary France, using contemporary memoirs, trial records, diaries, and pamphlet literature to learn what made them such powerful figures in the mind of contemporaries. Alongside this biographical study, we situate these two female figures within a larger history of womanhood, uncovering the ways in which gender and sexuality operated in these eras to bolster and hinder the status and influence of women in relation to men. We then turn to various portrayals of these women over the centuries in film, plays, portraiture, popular and scholarly literature, advertising, and propaganda. Students will become skilled in historical thinking through reading, writing and oral assignments that ask them to be attentive to the use and distortion of historical fact, and to critically examine the range of interpretation, aims of historical revision, and modes of representation as a culturally constituted practice.

History 199  Gilded Ages: The History of American Inequality

Professor Fennessy

This course will examine the paradox of progress and poverty during the “Gilded Age” of the late-nineteenth century; the efforts by reformers to create a more equitable political economy in the mid-twentieth century; and the spike in wealth inequality since the 1970s that has led some historians and economists to describe the present era as a new gilded age. We will use primary sources from industrialists, workers, and policymakers to gain a deeper understanding of the late-nineteenth century as a time both similar to and different from our own. Then we will confront the question of whether the mid-twentieth century was exceptional in terms of economic equality, and, if so, why. Finally, we will read a number of perspectives from historians on how the past is relevant to our present moment.

History 199  Tokyo Trials

Professor Loo

An exploration of the history and the significance of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials after World War II, examining both the proceedings of the trials themselves and the role they play in historical narratives of modern Japan.

History 199  Social History of American Popular Music

Professor Fennessy

This course uses popular music as an entry point for exploring key transformations in American society and culture from the late-19th century to the present. Some issues the class will consider include the role of technology, business, and consumption in driving cultural change; the social dynamic between Black innovators and white popularizers; the extent to which mainstream styles like Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll bridged racial divisions; and the concept of generational conflict as a force in history. We will weigh competing interpretations by historians on all of these issues and more, as well as use original sources (audial, visual, and textual) to craft our own interpretations.

History 199 - History in a Changing World

Professor Lee

This course examines various forms of young peoples’ initiative and resistance across time and space. Their leadership and the movements they inspire have changed institutions and the structures that have defined society. Further, we will survey changes in higher education regarding institutional history. Significant attention will be directed to the research conducted at the University of Richmond as part of the Inclusive History initiative, illuminating the history of slavery, race, and segregation.   

History 201  The American Revolution

Professor Seeley

This class will examine the causes, course, and outcomes of the American Revolution. We will study the revolution both as a struggle over independence from Britain and as an internal conflict over what kind of nation the United States would become. Our conversations will privilege a broad range of perspectives, focusing on the war experiences of Indigenous people and African Americans, women and loyalists, and revolutionary leaders and ordinary people. Throughout the course, we will search for the American Revolution in unexpected places, including the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and the trans-Appalachian West.

History 223  The Roman Empire

Professor Stevenson

Study of how the Romans and their Byzantine followers maintained an empire in the hostile atmosphere of the first five centuries of our era.

History 281  Africa c. 1500 to c. 1900

Professor Summers

Introduction to economic, social, political, and intellectual history of Africa from time of trans-Atlantic slave trade to colonial conquest.

History 291  Histories of Public Health and Biomedicine in the Global South

Professor Summers

Historical examination of modern public health experiences, knowledge, and policy in the Global South. Using case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America in the period from the late 1800s to the present, will examine what biomedicine and public health initiatives have meant to subjects, citizens, physicians, patients, scientists, rulers, and activists.

History 299  20th Century Japan

Professor Loo

Japan in 1900 was a rising power in Asia; by mid-century it had launched — and lost — an aggressive war that inflicted violence and suffering over much of Asia. Following an American occupation that turned it into a stalwart U.S. ally, Japan experienced economic regeneration through the 1980s which made it — for a time — the world’s second-largest economy. The 1990s, however, were dominated by economic stagnation, loss of global standing, and a sense of social fragmentation, and the national ambitions and confidence of 1900 seemed far away. This course studies Japan’s dramatic 20th century, exploring, in particular, how Japan understood its place in the world, its ambitions, and the challenges it faced across this long century.

History 299  Major Court Cases of the 20th Century U.S.

Professor Holloway

This course explores cases dcided by the US Supreme Court in the 20th century. Focus will include free speech, civil rights, gender and sex discrimination, sexual privacy, and national security. In order to think historically about courts and the law, we will consider the social, political, and cultural context in which cases are brought to the court; the court’s opinions on certain issues changed over time due to shifting historical circumstances and developments in legal reasoning; and the impact of court opinions on society. While our focus is on the past, we will also keep an eye on the present, monitoring arguments before the Court and opinions it issues during the remainder of the 2021-2022 term, particularly cases that relate to the thematic areas of this class.

History 329  Brexit: A History

Professor Bischof

Debates about Brexit have focused on such issues as: the future of the National Health Services; immigration, pathways to citizenship, and race relations; agricultural policies; fishing rights; trade deals; the sovereignty and power of Brussels vs. that of Parliament vs. that of the “British people” vs. that of the Prime Minister vs. that of the monarch vs. that of the nation’s constituent kingdoms; the comparative prosperity of the south of England compared to the north; the relationship of Northern Ireland to both the Republic of Ireland and Britain; and many more issues. These debates are, in part, about differing positions on questions of public policy, the law, and the economy. Underpinning and woven into these specific debates, though, is a much larger, more nebulous question: what does it mean to be British? In this course, we will explore the history which so deeply informs the debates which this question inspires in contemporary Britain.

History 398  Historiography

Professor Seeley

This course will examine the approaches and practices that have shaped the discipline of history, focusing on the terms and debates that have dominated the field over the past fifty years. Our goal is to understand the many different methodologies that historians use to understand their subjects and make sense of their archives, ranging from (for example) social history to microhistory to postcolonial studies to the cultural turn. Our course will culminate in an independent project in which students will apply a handful of these methodologies to an archival source of their choosing. This course is a requirement for Honors students, but it is useful for and open to any student hoping for a deeper understanding of the practice of history.

History 399 - Race and Nation in Latin America

Professor Morales Fontanilla

HIST 399 is a seminar-style class that delves into the complex relations between race and nation in Latin America. This course will use archival materials and secondary sources from different epistemological traditions to focus on how racial, ethnic, legal, and social categories intersect throughout the region's history. Our goal is to understand how various social actors created and re-created spatial and cultural imaginaries about races and nations and examine their effects on Latin American society today.