History 400 Jr. Seminars: History Concentrators Only

Fall 2022

HIS 400 S01: George III: American Revolution and Global Histories

The American Revolution was in reality multiple conflicts. A struggle for independence against the British, it was also a civil war between different factions in America, a war between the European powers sweeping into four continents, a rebellion on the part of black slaves, struggles for identity and survival on the part of Native Americans, and a conflict that created new empires as well as destabilizing old ones. This seminar uses different angles and the rich resources of the Firestone Library to re-appraise a world-changing conflict.

Instructor: Linda Colley
Monday, 1:30 to 4:20pm


HIS 400 S02: The Ghetto

This course will examine the history of the ghetto as a space and a concept. The inquiry will begin with ghetto as a forced enclosure for Jews in the cities of early modern Europe. It will continue to examine the ghetto in the twentieth century, when it served as a forced enclosure for Jews in Nazi occupied Europe and blacks in the cities of the United States. Readings will draw on a range of primary and secondary readings including but not limited to works by Leone Modena, Salo Baron, Mitch Duneier, Louis Wirth, Allan Spear, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and others.

Instructor: Yaacob Dweck
Monday, 1:30 to 4:20pm


HIS 400 S03: A Century of Fascism

This fall marks one hundred years since the March on Rome, one hundred years since fascism first took power. After World War II, a complacency set in for some that fascism had been defeated entirely. And yet “neo-Nazi” and “neofascist” groups continued to organize and experiment in forms of fascism. Even though students in this seminar will pick one particular historical subject to research in great depth, one of the aims of the course is to give students a proper sense of fascism’s historiography so that, in their own writing, students can connect their chosen subject to the broader history of fascism—from the March on Rome all the way through contemporary events such as the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will read significant works of scholarship on fascism, and we will also study primary documents to think through the research process. In class, I will put an emphasis on introducing research material that will help those students who are looking to write a paper based on English-language sources. For example, we will examine the FBI files of the Black Legion of Michigan and those of the Christian Front of New York; we’ll also study the propaganda of the British Union of Fascists.

Instructor: Joseph Fronczak
Monday, 1:30 to 4:20pm


HIS 400 S04: Islands

This course will use the history of the Cocos Keeling Islands, a small atoll in the Indian Ocean, to interrogate questions of claiming, colonialism, international law, race, class, gender and geopolitics across the 19th and 20th centuries. While examining primary and secondary documents on the Cocos, students will explore islands of their own choosing for their junior papers. They will further be encouraged to make use of any additional languages in their respective competencies, and to think as laterally as they can before being eaten by a very large crocodile on Dean’s Date.

Instructor: Michael Laffan
Wednesday, 1:30 to 4:20pm


HIS 400 S05: Early Native American History

Until the mid-nineteenth century, most of the North American continent was controlled by powerful Native American nations. This course examines two centuries of Native American experiences, and investigates the societies, politics, and diplomacy that shaped the creation of modern Native nations. Beginning in the seventeenth century, we will explore histories from across the continent and look at how different Nations forged communities, developed relationships with their Native and non-Native neighbors, and re-built their societies in the wake of imperial invasions. We will analyze how diverse Indigenous peoples, including Haudenosaunee, Diné, Dakota, Lenapes, Muscogee, and Anishinaabeg created enduring communities and how these powerful political entities shaped, stymied, and resisted British, Dutch, French, Spanish, and U.S. colonization between 1650 and 1850. To examine and tell these stories, we will need to engage with Indigenous languages, sources, perspectives, and politics. Early Native American History therefore will also teach students how to use Native American studies approaches and ethnohistorical methodologies to examine the past. Students will employ these sources and methods to craft an original research paper on a topic of their choosing in early Native American history.

Instructor: Elizabeth Ellis
Wednesday, 1:30 to 4:20pm


HIS 400 S06: Media & Politics in Modern Latin America

Historians depend upon media artifacts to reconstruct and interpret the past. Yet we often look through these sources, mining them for information that supports our arguments. What happens when we shift our focus to consider how media was made and used in the first place? This course proposes that the history of media in Latin America invites new ways of thinking about the region’s politics and the relationship among journalists, intellectuals, media makers, artists, governments, and societies—questions that have assumed urgency as we debate the power and influence of social media giants today. By investigating the local histories of global media technologies/practices (printing, radio, photography, film, and street art, for example) we explore how individuals and groups in Latin America used these technologies to assert power, claim status, launch protests, or reimagine identities and societies. Course readings introduce students to a range of approaches to Latin America’s post-independence media history. Students will use Firestone Library’s rich collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century media artifacts for their research projects, and are encouraged to make use of relevant language skills.

Instructor: Corinna Zeltsman
Wednesday, 1:30 to 4:20pm