Courses

Fall 2024

Introduction to African American History Since Emancipation
Subject associations
AAS 268 / HIS 268 / URB 268

This lecture offers an introduction to the major themes, critical questions, and pivotal moments in post-emancipation African American history. It traces the social, political, cultural, intellectual, and legal contours of the Black experience in the United States from Reconstruction to the rise of Jim Crow, through the World Wars, Depression, and the Great Migrations, to the long civil rights era and the contemporary period of racial politics. Using a wide variety of texts, images, and creative works, the course situates African American history within broader national and international contexts.

Instructors
Joshua B. Guild
Topics in African American Culture & Life: Black Disability Studies, Black Disability Histories
Subject associations
AAS 326 / AMS 388 / HIS 226

This course challenges the racial parameters of disability studies and disability history by asking how persistent conditions of antiblack violence, including mass incarceration, state divestment, medical neglect, and environmental racism, destabilize assumptions about what constitutes an "able body." Surveying scholarship in Black studies, disability studies, African American history, and the history of science and medicine, we will study the construction of disability as a racialized category. Students will also recover disability theories that are already intrinsic to the Black radical tradition, postcolonial studies, and Black feminisms.

Memory, History and the Archive
Subject associations
AAS 426 / HIS 426

Why are some events from the past widely recalled, memorialized, and taught in school, while others are consigned to obscurity? What role do acts of historical erasure play in processes of exclusion? How have acts of remembering figured in struggles for justice? Using historical scholarship, memoirs, visual art, and music, this course examines the relationship between "history" and "memory", focusing on the different ways that race and social power have shaped the relationship in the U.S. and across the African diaspora. We will link representations of the past to debate about issues such as public monuments, legal redress, and reparations.

Instructors
Joshua B. Guild
Indigenous Futures: Health and Wellbeing within Native Nations
Subject associations
ANT 333 / HIS 233 / AMS 432

This course uses historical and anthropological methods to examine the health of Native communities. By investigating the history, social structures, and colonial forces that have shaped and continue to shape contemporary Indigenous nations, we investigate both the causes of contemporary challenges and the ways that Native peoples have ensured the vibrancy, wellness, and survival of their peoples. We will treat health as a holistic category and critically examine the myriad factors that can hinder or enable the wellbeing of Native nations.

Instructors
Elizabeth Ellis
Ikaika Ramones
The Roman Republic
Subject associations
CLA 218 / HIS 218

Which affected Roman history more: Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE, or the massive eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano the following year? This course will study the local and global contexts and consequences of a small republican city-state's rise to imperial domination, through analysis of primary sources in translation and recent archaeological findings. Our emphasis will be on the development of Roman society, the rise and fall of republican government, and the Republic's many afterlives.

Instructors
Dan-El Padilla Peralta
Topics in Ancient History: Athenian Democracy and Its Critics
Subject associations
CLA 326 / HIS 326 / HLS 373 / HUM 324

This course will examine the origins, evolution and organization of the democratic system in Athens, and address some of the most controversial questions about the topic: To what extent was Athens democratic? What were the links between Athenian democracy and its aggressive imperialism? What are the similarities and differences between ancient and modern ideas of democracy?

Instructors
Marc Domingo Gygax
The Origins of Japanese Culture and Civilization: A History of Japan until 1600
Subject associations
EAS 218 / HIS 209 / MED 209

This course is designed to introduce the culture and history of Japan, and to examine how one understands and interprets the past. In addition to considering how a culture, a society, and a state develop, we will try to reconstruct the tenor of life in "ancient" and "medieval" Japan and chart how patterns of Japanese civilization shifted through time.

Instructors
Thomas D. Conlan
Nomadic Empires: From the Scythian Confederation to the Mongol Conquest
Subject associations
EAS 280 / HIS 279

In telling histories of East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, various groups of nomadic people often loomed large in the background and served as the foil to the travail of their sedentary neighbors. In this course we put the nomadic peoples of Inner Asia front and center, and ask how the nomadic way of life and mode of state building served as agents of change in pre-modern Eurasia.

Instructors
Xin Wen
A Monster History of Japan, from Kojiki to Godzilla
Subject associations
EAS 345 / HIS 246

This class introduces students to the tradition of monstrous imagination in Japanese history, from the earlier texts of the 8th century to the most recent films. Students will be exposed to a vast array of sources depicting different monstrous creatures. Monsters will function as the meaning-making devises through which students will understand different aspects of Japanese culture through twelve centuries of its history. Far from being simply figures of imaginations, the vast coterie of monstrous creatures and phenomena 'interacted' in very concrete ways with people, influencing their political, economic, and social life.

Instructors
Federico Marcon
The Byzantine Empire
Subject associations
HIS 205 / MED 205 / HUM 204 / HLS 209

Ruled from Constantinople (ancient Byzantium and present-day Istanbul), the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire by over a millennium. This state on the crossroads of Europe and Asia was Roman in law, civil administration, and military tradition, but predominantly Greek in language, and Eastern Christian in religion. The course explores one of the greatest civilisations the world has known, tracing the experiences of its majority and minority groups through the dramatic centuries of the Islamic conquests, Iconoclasm, and the Crusades, until its final fall to the Ottoman Turks.

Instructors
Teresa Shawcross
British Empire in World History, 1600-2000
Subject associations
HIS 214

Until 1918, empire was the most common form of rule and political organization. This lecture course focuses on England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and the Empire these peoples generated after c.1600, and uses this as a lens through which to examine the phenomenon of empire more broadly. How and how far did this small set of islands establish global predominance and when did this fail? What roles did war, race, religion, economics, culture and migration play in these processes? And how far do the great powers of today retain characteristics of empire?

Instructors
Linda J. Colley
The Mediterranean: From Rome to Fortress Europe
Subject associations
HIS 225 / HLS 224

Africa, Europe and the Middle East meet at the Mediterranean. This course will look at two millennia of Mediterranean history to see how this sea has been both shared and contested. This course is organized around a geographical entity rather than a political framework such as a state. As such, environmental and maritime history will be a theme running throughout the course.

Instructors
Molly Greene
Modern Eastern Europe, 19th to 20th Centuries
Subject associations
HIS 240 / RES 302 / HLS 309 / EPS 240

This course offers a history of Eastern Europe in the modern era, from the age of Enlightenment and the French revolution in the late 18th century through the present. It covers the territory between today's Italy and Russia, including Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Topics include: Enlightenment, Romanticism, nationalism, socialism, Zionism, fascism, Nazism, communism, the Holocaust, genocides, Cold War, and post-1991 Europe. The course will incorporate a variety of primary sources, including novels, memoirs, diaries, and the arts as well as several films.

Instructors
Iryna Vushko
Native American History
Subject associations
HIS 271 / AMS 271

This course is designed to introduce students to the historical processes and issues that have shaped the lives if Indigenous Americans over the past five centuries. We will explore the ways that the diverse peoples who lived in the Americas constructed different kinds of societies and how their goals and political decisions shaped the lives of all those who would come to inhabit the North American continent. The course requires students to read and analyze historical documents and contemporary literature, and includes a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.

Instructors
Elizabeth Ellis
Information Revolutions
Subject associations
HIS 298

Surveying key moments from the 19th century to the present, this course tracks how networked communications, numerical calculation, symbolic reasoning, and information processing converged to create contemporary information technologies. The course introduces students to the major kinds of historical inquiry-philosophical, engineering, labor, material, social, gender, legal, and cultural-needed for studying information technologies in the last 150 years. Topics include Silicon Valley, software engineering, PCs, hacking, artificial intelligence, information, cryptography, outsourcing, privacy, information warfare, social networks, surveillance

Instructors
Matthew L. Jones
Colonial Latin America to 1810
Subject associations
HIS 303 / LAS 305

What is colonization? How does it work? What kind of societies does it create? Come find out through the lens of the Latin America. First we study how the Aztec and Inca empires subdued other peoples, and how Muslim Iberia fell to the Christians. Then, we learn about Spanish and Portuguese conquests and how indigenous resistance, adaptation, and racial mixing shaped the continent. You will see gods clash and meld, cities rise and decline, and insurrections fail or win. Silver mines will boom and bust, slaves will toil and rebel; peasants will fight capitalist encroachments. This is a comprehensive view of how Latin America became what it is.

Instructors
Vera S. Candiani
Colonial and Postcolonial Africa
Subject associations
HIS 315 / AFS 316 / URB 315

This course is an examination of the major political and economic trends in twentieth-century African history. It offers an interpretation of modern African history and the sources of its present predicament. In particular, we study the foundations of the colonial state, the legacy of the late colonial state (the period before independence), the rise and problems of resistance and nationalism, the immediate challenges of the independent states (such as bureaucracy and democracy), the more recent crises (such as debt and civil wars) on the continent, and the latest attempts to address these challenges from within the continent.

Instructors
Jacob S. Dlamini
20th-Century Japan
Subject associations
HIS 322 / EAS 324 / URB 324

Covering 1868 to the present, this course emphasizes Japan's dramatic rise as the modern world's first non-Western power, imperialism, industrialization, social change, gender relations, democracy, World War II, the U. S. Occupation, the postwar "economic miracle" followed by slow growth, and the preoccupation with national identity in a Western-dominated world. We will think about post-1945 developments in terms of continuities with prewar Japan. We will also hold Japan up as a "mirror" for America, comparing how the two capitalist societies have dealt with inequality, urbanization, health and welfare, and intervention in the economy.

Instructors
Sheldon M. Garon
The Formation of the Christian West
Subject associations
HIS 343 / CLA 343 / HLS 343 / MED 343

The course will focus on the formation of the Christian West from Ireland to the Eastern Mediterranean until ca. 1000 CE. We will start with the insignificance of the Fall of Rome in 476 CE, to move on to much more fundamental changes in the Ancient and medieval world: the Christian revolution in the 4th century, the barbarian successor states in the fifth, their transformation into Christian kingdoms, or the emergence of new nations and states whose names are still on the map today and which all came to be held together by a shared culture defined by the Rise of Western Christendom in the first Millennium.

Instructors
Helmut Reimitz
European Intellectual History in the Twentieth Century
Subject associations
HIS 369 / CHV 369

In the twentieth century, Europe underwent a range of wrenching social and political upheavals that brought into question received truths about politics, the role of religion, the relationship between the sexes, and the place of Europe in the wider world. Over the course of the semester, we will study a range of different thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Luce Irigaray, and Jacques Derrida, examining how they responded to these upheavals and offered new ways to thinking about the world and our place in it.

Instructors
Edward G. Baring
Slavery and Democracy in the New Nation
Subject associations
HIS 373

How did the United States emerge as a revolutionary republic built on the principle of human equality at the same time that it produced the wealthiest and mightiest slave society on earth? This course approaches that question in an interpretive history emphasizing the contradictory expansion of racial slavery and political democracy. Topics include the place of slavery in the Federal Constitution and the founding the nation, the spread of the cotton kingdom, Jacksonian democracy and the growth of political parties, the rise of antislavery and proslavery politics, and the growing social and political divisions between North and South.

Instructors
Sean Wilentz
US Intellectual History: The Thinkers and Writers who Shaped America
Subject associations
HIS 375 / AMS 371

This course examines the history of the United States through its intellectuals and major ideas. Starting with the American Revolution and progressing through to the contemporary intellectual scene, it hopes to introduce students to major debates, themes, and intellectual movements in the history of American ideas. We will read a number of famous thinkers and actors in their own words: Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others. Students will leave this class with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the ideas and the thinkers who have shaped the nation's politics and culture.

Instructors
Peter Wirzbicki
The United States, 1920-1974
Subject associations
HIS 383

The history of modern America, with particular focus on domestic political and social changes. Topics include the Roaring 20s; the Great Depression and the New Deal; the homefront of World War II and the Cold War; the civil rights movement and the Great Society; the Vietnam War; the sexual revolution; the Silent Majority, the Nixon administration, and Watergate.

Instructors
Kevin M. Kruse
Historical Consciousness: An Introduction
Subject associations
HIS 385

A course intended as an introduction to the general problem of historical consciousness. How has the past been conceived in different times and places? How has knowledge of the past been sought, expressed, and conveyed? How does the past remain "present" - practically, politically, psychologically? What are the implications (existential, ethical, epistemic) of our being historical creatures? By means of readings in disciplinary history, creative literature, and philosophy, and through select encounters with works of visual art and film, this class will investigate the history (and diversity) of historical reflection.

Instructors
D. Graham Burnett
Formations of Knowledge: Historical Approaches to Science, Technology, and Medicine
Subject associations
HIS 390

In our contemporary world, science, technology, and medicine enjoy tremendous cultural and intellectual authority. This class introduces a set of analytical tools historians use to understand the origins and consequences of these ways of knowing, across space and time. We will discuss a variety of ideas and methods that describe the social, cultural, and intellectual conditions of possibility for creating knowledge about the natural world. In addition, the class materials invite students to reflect on the cultural and intellectual constraints that shape how societies determine which knowledge is worth pursuing and why.

Instructors
Katja Guenther
Junior Seminars
Subject associations
HIS 400

The Junior Seminar serves to introduce departmental majors to the tools, methods, and interpretations employed in historical research and writing. This course is compulsory for departmental majors and is taken in the fall of the junior year. Students may choose from a range of topics. Seminar topics will tend to be cross-national and comparative.

Instructors
Laura F. Edwards
Yonatan Glazer-Eytan
Molly Greene
Igor Khristoforov
Gyan Prakash
Natasha G. Wheatley
Revolution, Violence, and Gender in Modern Arabic Literature
Subject associations
HIS 410 / COM 439 / NES 440

This advanced undergraduate seminar explores themes of revolution, violence, and gender in modern Arabic literature and culture. Our focus will be on close readings and viewings of novels, poetry, and film. We will also read widely in the scholarly literature on modern Middle East and North African history; theories of revolution, violence, and gender and sexuality; and the relationship between aesthetics and politics. All readings are in English, though students who would like to work with materials in Arabic are encouraged to do so in consultation with the instructor.

Instructors
Max D. Weiss
Hindu, Muslim, Untouchable: Exclusion in South Asian History
Subject associations
HIS 422 / SAS 422

Whether as arranged marriage or as untouchability, why does caste persist into the present? And what is the relationship between lived experiences of caste and religion? Caste as an order of hierarchy and inequality exists throughout South Asia and across all religions practiced in this region. This seminar will explore the history of caste and untouchability as well as the history of the effort to annihilate caste. It will travel from the pre-modern period into the present, dwelling along the way on political and autobiographical writings and other compositions of anti-caste thinkers, including Dalits (those formerly deemed "Untouchable").

Instructors
Divya Cherian
The History of Political Propaganda from the French Revolution
Subject associations
HIS 425

This course will explore the history of political propaganda in the context of mass politics, international rivalries, colonialism, the rise of totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century. We will discuss the use (and abuse) of visual images and verbal messages, channels of delivering them to audiences, and their reactions. The topics for comparative and cross-cultural study of mass persuasion will include avant-garde art and propaganda, the cult of political leaders in totalitarian regimes, propaganda of hate and genocide, new media and terrorism, "weaponization" of information in international politics, and more.

Instructors
Igor Khristoforov
History of the American West, 1500-1999
Subject associations
HIS 430 / AMS 430

This course will examine the U.S. West's place, process, idea, cultural memory, conquest, and legacies throughout American history. The American West has been a shifting region, where diverse individuals, languages, cultures, environments, and competing nations came together. We will examine the West's contested rule, economic production, and mythmaking under Native American Empires, Spain, France, England, individual filibusters, Mexico, Canada, and United States.

Instructors
Rhae Lynn Barnes
Environment and War
Subject associations
HIS 432 / ENV 432

Studies of war and society rarely address environmental factors and agency. The relationship between war and environment is often either reduced to a simple environmental determinism or it is depicted as a war against nature and ecosystems, playing down societal dynamics. The seminar explores the different approaches to the war-environment-society nexus and highlights how and why the three spheres should be studied in conjunction. The objective is to assess how and why environmental and societal factors and forces caused and shaped the conflicts and how in turn mass violence shaped societies and how they used and perceived their environments.

Instructors
Emmanuel H. Kreike
Modern Mexican History
Subject associations
HIS 442 / LAS 442

This seminar explores Mexico's history from independence (1821) to the contemporary era. We delve into the contentious process of nation building, the explosive outbreak of the first major social revolution of the 20th century, and the creation of a remarkably durable one-party state that was far from revolutionary. Readings focus on the political, social, and cultural negotiations that shaped these processes. Key themes include indigeneity, political violence and dissent, migration, urbanization, capitalism and the environment, and Mexico's relationship with the U.S. We will also visit the university museum to analyze revolutionary art.

Instructors
Corinna Zeltsman
History: An Introduction to the Discipline
Subject associations
HIS 448

This course, designed for seniors and juniors in the History Department but open to others, will offer an introduction to the discipline of history. Through a series of case studies, students will learn how historians frame problems, ranging in scale from the history of the world to the lives of individuals, and in time from millennia to single years; examine the kinds of evidence and argument that historians employ; study the intellectual and literary problems involved in constructing a substantial piece of historical writing; and investigate the relations between history and memory in the late twentieth century.

Instructors
Anthony T. Grafton
The History of Incarceration in the U.S.
Subject associations
HIS 459 / GSS 459 / AMS 459

This course explores the history of incarceration over the course of more than two centuries. It tracks the emergence of the penitentiary in the early national period and investigates mass incarceration of the late 20th century. Topics include the relationship between the penitentiary and slavery; the prisoners' rights movement; Japanese internment; immigration detention; and the privatization and globalization of prisons.

Instructors
Wendy Warren
History of Coffee in Africa and the Middle East
Subject associations
HIS 461 / NES 461 / AFS 461

Every morning around the world, millions of people wake up and, in some form or another, pour heated water over dark brown soil-like grounds to brew coffee. Yet how many people are aware of the historical processes that spread coffee from the forests of Southwest Ethiopia across the globe? Focusing primarily on Ethiopia and its national and regional networks, this course explores the rise of coffee as a commodity with significant global intersections. During Fall Break, students in this course will travel to Ethiopia and examine the cultural history of coffee in the context of the development of the coffee industry.

Instructors
Lacy N. Feigh
The Vietnam Wars
Subject associations
HIS 478

This course takes up the twentieth-century Vietnam wars as a subject of international history, with a cast of actors ranging from Vietnam and the United States to France, China, and the Soviet Union. It is a subject that sheds light on some of the most significant dynamics of political, economic, and social change at work in the twentieth-century world. Themes include self-determination and imperialism, colonialism and counterinsurgency, social revolution and state control, liberalism and communism, policymaking and diplomacy, memory and legacy, and literature and history.

Instructors
Joseph M. Fronczak
History of the Manchu People and their Culture
Subject associations
HIS 483 / EAS 483

Who were the Manchu people, who once ruled the mighty Qing empire (1636-1911) over China? Alternatively celebrated and villainized in Sinocentric historiography, the Manchus have become a complex symbol for imperial China's last glories and humiliations. This seminar questions the dominant narratives of racialization and cultural assimilation by exploring the formation of Manchu ethnicity over four hundred years. Using revisionist scholarship and primary sources, the course seeks to de-mystify Manchu history and culture by critically examining the ideological scaffolding of ethnic identity and its constitutive human experiences.

Instructors
He Bian
Women and War in Asia/America
Subject associations
HIS 486 / GSS 486 / EAS 486 / ASA 486

How do women in Asia become "gendered" in times of war-as caregivers, as refugees, as sex workers, as war brides? This course offers an introductory survey of American wars in Asia from 1899 to the present, taking the perspectives not of Americans but of the historically marginalized. Students will be challenged to rethink and reimagine war histories through voices on the ground across Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Okinawa, Hawaii, and Guam. foregrounding written testimonies and oral histories of women against the backdrop of war, militarism, and empire, the course will also make broader connections across the Asia pacific.

The Science of Heaven and Hell
Subject associations
HIS 496

In premodern Europe, almost everyone believed in the literal existence of an afterlife. This class asks how thinking about Heaven, Hell, and the apocalypse shaped attitudes towards the physical world from late antiquity to the 18th century. We trace how poets and natural philosophers dealt with these realms, and ask how ideas about nature and the body in turn shaped religious views. Topics include the challenge of squaring scientific texts with Scripture; the spiritual implications of medicine, astrology, alchemy, and magic; the physics of angels; demonic possession and mental health; and whether Heaven and Hell existed in physical space.

Instructors
Anthony T. Grafton
Jennifer M. Rampling
Hellenism: The First 3000 Years
Subject associations
HLS 222 / HIS 222 / CLA 223

Over the past 3,000 years, texts written in Greek played a central role for how people in Western Eurasia understood themselves, their society, their values, and the nature of the universe. Over the same three millennia, the Greek language played a central role in a variety of political communities, including ancient Athens, the empire of Alexander, the Roman empire, Byzantium, and the modern nation state of Greece. In this course, we will trace the history of these two phenomena: the political life and fortunes of Greek speakers and the cultural life of texts written in Greek, seeking to understand the relationship between the two.

Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: Literature, History and Their Entanglements in the Western Tradition
Subject associations
HUM 470 / COM 470 / HIS 287

What is the exact relationship between literature and history? What does it mean to read literature historically and history as a work of art? The course explores these and related questions through texts from antiquity to the present. We will explore the claim that literature is both more and less than "what really happened"; literary works as an escape from, but also remedy for, historical predicaments; modes of interpretation that allow one to read a single text simultaneously both as historical and fictional; and instances when literature followed historical events or, inversely, served as their blueprint.

Instructors
Joel B. Lande
Yair Mintzker
Everyday Writing in Medieval Egypt, 600-1500
Subject associations
NES 389 / MED 389 / JDS 389 / HIS 289

This class explores medieval Islamic history from the bottom up -- through everyday documents from Egypt used by men and women at all levels of society: state decrees, personal letters, business letters, contracts, court records, wills, and accounts. Even the smallest details of these everyday writings tell us big things about the world in which they were written. Each week examines a different topic in medieval Egyptian social history. We'll cover politics, religion among Muslims, Christians, and Jews, social class, trade, family relationships, sex, taxes, and death, among other subjects.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Imperialism and Reform in the Middle East and the Balkans
Subject associations
NES 433 / HIS 433 / HLS 434

The major Near Eastern diplomatic crises and the main developments in internal Near Eastern history. The focus will be upon the possible connections between diplomatic crises and the process of modernization. Oral reports and a short paper.

Instructors
M. Sükrü Hanioglu
Financial History
Subject associations
SPI 466 / HIS 467

The course examines the history of financial innovation and its consequences. It examines the evolution of trading practices, bills of exchange, government bonds, equities, banking activity, derivatives markets, and securitization. How do these evolve in particular state or national settings, how are the practices regulated, how do they relate to broader development? What happens as financial instruments are traded across state boundaries, and how does an international financial order evolve? What are the effects of international capital mobility? How is resulting conflict and instability managed, on both a national and international level?

Instructors
Harold James

Undergraduate Program Administrator

Judie Miller
Office Phone
Office
129 Dickinson Hall

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Yaacob Dweck
Office Phone
Office
228 Dickinson Hall