Lecture

African Environmental History

HIAF
3112
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This discussion- and writing-intensive course explores how Africans changed their interactions with the physical environments they inhabited and how the landscapes they helped create in turn shaped human history.  Topics covered include the ancient agricultural revolution, the “Columbian exchange” of plants and animals amid slave trading, colonial-era mining and commodity farming, 20th-century wildlife conservation, and the emergent challenges of land ownership, infectious disease, and climate change.

 

Experience studying Africa and/or any of the course themes is welcomed but not required.  The course’s focus is on Africa, but the issues are global and comparative, and therefore course learning is applicable to other places.

 

The course uses a broad topic to provide opportunities to learn and improve skills – in research, analysis, written and oral communication, as well as project management – broadly applicable to success at the University and beyond.  As a course in History, it emphasizes how people (and not just scholars) interested in the past think and how historians do their work with never-straightforward sources (or “evidence”).  To these ends, participants will learn through doing.  Students will identify research interests and possible resources in the early weeks of the course, and then develop their writing through a series of successive stages, including: topic declaration, working bibliography, two-page prospectus, rough draft, and ultimately a final draft of approximately 18 pages.  This progressive architecture is supported through continual feedback from the instructor and from peers designated as “writing partners.”  Class meetings are opportunities to share, collaborate, negotiate, speak in public, and generally enjoy a collegial and intellectually stimulating atmosphere.

 

In recent iterations of the course (as a first-year seminar, as a major seminar, as a lecture and discussion course) students have pursued a wide range of research topics, including:  forest clearance and erosion in Lesotho, mining of coltan (a mineral insulator used in your cellphone) as a contributor to sexual violence in Central Africa, the complicated sources for the earliest camels in northern Africa, (male) circumcision as response to the HIV pandemic, crop changes and childhood malnutrition during the Atlantic slave trade, the role of ecological decline in the rise of Saharan-edge terrorist groups, lung diseases suffered by South African miners, conflict diamonds and “blood oil” from West Africa, conservation and “canned” safari hunts, climate change and emigration, and many more topics driven by individual student interest.

 

The course concludes with a short (three-page) essay on agency in environmental history and an exam.

 

This course fulfills the College’s requirements in “historical studies” and “non-Western perspectives.”   History majors may use HIAF 3112 as a “non-Western” course for their undergraduate program.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
30
Course Type: 

Black Fire

HIUS
3654
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

If you were rating the racial climate at the University of Virginia on a scale of 1-10, what score would you give the University?  Does the idea of a "post-racial society" hold true when we examine the complex nature of social and cultural life at UVA?  How and to what degree have the individual and collective experiences of African American undergraduates transformed since the late 1960's?  Is there still a need for the Black Student Alliance, the Office of African American Affairs, and the Office of Diversity and Equity?  Is Black Studies still an intellectual necessity in the 21st century academy?   Have these entities been successful in bringing about meaningful change in the experiences of underrepresented minorities at UVA?  And if not, how can future efforts to make the University a more equitable democratic institution benefit from a critical engagement with past struggles for social justice and racial equality?

To facilitate critical thinking and exchange on these and other important questions, this course grounds contemporary debates on the state of race relations at UVA within the larger, historical context of the "black Wahoo" experience.  In addition to exploring contemporary issues affecting academic, cultural, and social life on grounds, our classroom and online activities draw attention to an important yet insufficiently explored chapter in the history of "Jefferson's University" by examining the varied ways in which various student-led movements have transformed the intellectual culture and social fabric of everyday life at the University.  How those transformations continue to shape our experiences on grounds will be a topic of frequent discussions.  Over the course of the semester students will explore a wide range of topics, including but not restricted to: black-white student relations, affirmative action, African American Greek life, the black student athlete, the racial politics of major selection, the living wage as both a class and a race issue, the black arts and hip-hop scene on grounds, and ethnic coalitions and conflict between African American, African, and American African students. 

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
160
Course Type: 

Marx

HIEU
3812
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

Marx (I am tempted to say “the unknown Marx”) remains one of the greatest philosophers of the nineteenth century and of the modern world more generally. He is one of a small group of modern philosophers whose work repays sustained and detailed attention, although he is almost never studied in philosophy departments. He is also, arguably, the most rigorous and consistent social thinker who ever lived. It is worth devoting an entire semester to his thought, not least because doing so will give you some insight into how to think. Finally, in some important respects Marx was right about capitalism (and in other respects wrong).

This course carefully surveys Marx's social and economic thought, with special attention to its philosophical underpinnings. Accordingly, we shall devote a bit more than half the semester to his highly interesting early writings, those he wrote up to late 1844 (the year he turned 26). In the final third of the semester we look selectively at Capital, vol. 1.

The main emphasis is on seeing what Marx’s theory was and on how and why he arrived at it. Marx vehemently denied that he was a Marxist, and students in the class will be surprised to find how far so-called “Marxism” is from Marx’s own thinking. By the end of the semester you will be able to say that you actually know what Marx’s theory was. Many people who claim to know what Marx held actually don’t. This includes many academics.

The course presupposes no prior knowledge of the subject, but it does require the ability to read and think carefully, as well as commitment to keeping up with the reading. There is no specific prerequisite, although it may help to have already taken a basic course in political theory or philosophy. But chemistry or engineering would do just as well, at least if you are not too uncomfortable with reading and writing.

Requirements: do the reading ON TIME; 9-10 short "think questions," to be done ON TIME; midterm test; synthesizing term paper (based on the course reading only, to be handed in ON TIME); final exam.

Books: Marx, Early Writings (Penguin or Vintage [introduction by Lucio Colletti]); Marx and Engels, Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed. (Norton); Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (Penguin or Vintage [introduction by Ernest Mandel]); Megill, Karl Marx: The Burden of Reason (Rowman & Littlefield). These specific books are required. Often they can be obtained on-line, second-hand, at lower cost. Do not try to substitute other books for these, and do not rely on Kindle or other non-paper editions.

There is also a small amount of in-copyright material to be downloaded from COLLAB and printed off by students for their individual use.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 

The Era of the American Revolution

HIUS
3031
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This course examines the transformation of North America wrought by the American Revolution against British rule and in favor of a union of republican states.  We will examine the lives of ordinary people as well as the actions of national leaders. In particular, we will focus on the interplay of freedom and slavery, of prosperity and poverty, and of power and dispossession. By learning the meaning and the limits of the revolution, you will deepen your own perspective on contemporary America.  This course also means to challenge and develop your abilities to reason critically from diverse evidence and to argue persuasively in support of your conclusions.

 

The assigned readings will probably consist of the following four books: (1) Cynthia Kierner, ed., Revolutionary America, 1750-1815 (Pearson); (2) Nicholas Creswell, Journal of Nicholas Creswell (Applewood); (3) Alan Taylor, American Revolutions (Norton); (4) James Kirby Martin and Mark Edward Lender, A Respectable Army (Wiley-Blackwell).  All are available in paperback.  There will also be some online documents assigned. 

 

There will be two lectures and one discussion section per week. 

 

The assignments will include (1) participation in discussion sections; (2) a mid-term exam; (3) a pair of short-papers of approximately 2 pages each; (4) a longer paper of approximately 5-6 pages; (5) a final exam. The course will fulfill the second writing requirement.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
120
Course Type: 
Discussion Sections: 
6

American Indian History

HIUS
3641
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

Beginning with the post-Ice Age migrations to the Americas and Native American origin stories, and ending with current developments in tribal sovereignty, this course will introduce students to deep history of Native North America.  Using archeological and anthropological sources, the course will begin with a detailed exploration of the pre-contact world, covering such issues as resource use, trade, diplomacy, and migrations.  The course will then move to the era of contact with Europeans, with particular emphasis on relations with the Spanish, French, and English.  Topics such as disease, diplomacy, intercultural communication, slavery, and trade, among others, will be covered.  By the end of the 17th Century Native America was an entirely different place.  The remainder of the course will explore, over three centuries, the consequences of contact. Using primary and secondary sources, we will cover such topics as mutually beneficial trade and diplomatic relations between Natives and newcomers; the politics of empire; U.S. expansion; treaties and land dispossession; ecological, demographic, and social change; pan-Indian movements; legal and political activism; and many, many others. Students will write 4 papers between varying in length from 4-8 pages. There are no exams. 

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
40
Course Type: 
Discussion Sections: 
3

New Course in Middle Eastern History

Econ Hist of Islamic World
HIME
2559
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

Economic History of the Islamic World. "This course is designed to introduce students to the economic history of the Islamic World - a broad region stretching from West Africa to Indonesia - over the duration of roughly 1300 years of history. We explore the ideologies, institutions, and practices of commerce in Muslim society, paying close attention to the actors, artifacts, and encounters, that gave it shape over the course of a millennium, ending with the rise of Islamic banking in the twentieth century. We will explore the relationship between Islamic law and commerce, Muslim engagement with an expanding world of trade, and how the forces of global capitalism shaped (and  transformed) Muslim society. To do this, we will combine broad sweeps of events in Islamic and world history with fine-grained analyses of primary documents and close readings of secondary sources. No prior knowledge of Islamic history or economic history is assumed.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
40
Course Type: 

From Nomads to Sultans: the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1700

HIME
3192
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

A survey of the history of the Ottoman Empire from its obscure origins around 1300 to 1730, this course explores the political, military, social, and cultural history of this massive, multi-confessional, multi-ethnic, inter-continental empire which, at its height, encompassed Central and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and North Africa. No previous study of history required.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
45
Course Type: 

Late Imperial China

HIEA
3112
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

HIEA 3112 covers the late imperial period of Chinese history, from the founding of the Song dynasty in the tenth century to the final decades of the imperial system in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although the course covers the basic elements of social, political, and cultural history, emphasis is placed on analyzing events and trends in an attempt to come to grips with two rather thorny questions: 1) How can we account for the remarkable stability and longevity of the late imperial system of government as well as its basic patterns of social economic relationships? 2) Given the durability of the late imperial system, how can we account for its fragmentation and ultimate demise when it faced fundamentally new challenges, from both within and without, in the nineteenth century? These and other questions will be considered through an investigation of several inter related issues: The ideological and philosophical foundations of the authoritarian state; the linkage and tension between elite and popular culture and life styles; the cultural relations with non-Chinese peoples; the formation of popular traditions of religious faith, protest and rebellion; and problems of systemic decline.

 

This course neither requires nor assumes previous study of Chinese history. The course is based on lectures combined with occasional discussions. Readings, drawn from a basic text and translated primary materials, average between 100 125 pages per week. Evaluation is based on a mid-term exam (30%), an interpretive essay (35%), and a final exam (35%).

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 

English Legal History to 1776

HIEU
3471
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This course surveys English law from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. In class, we will consider how social and political forces transformed law. Because this is a history course, law will be understood more as a variety of social experience and as a manifestation of cultural change than as an autonomous zone of thought and practice. We will look at competition among jurisdictions and the development of the legal profession. We will examine the development of some of the modern categories of legal practice: property, trespass and contracts, and crime. We will conclude by considering what happened to English law as it moved beyond England’s shores. Assignments include two essays (approximately 2000 words each), a midterm, and a final exam.

Students will read an array of court cases, treatises, and other sources from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. These readings are dense and difficult but also fascinating. Most students will only grasp their meaning by paying very close attention to language, reading with a dictionary, and re-reading.

Assigned books may include:

J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History (4th ed.)


Mary Bilder, The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire

Amy Louise Erickson, Women and Property in Early Modern England


John Langbein, Torture and the Law of Proof: Europe and England in the Ancien Regime

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
30
Course Type: 

Modern Latin America, 1824 to Present

HILA
2002
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

What is a nation? What is progress and how can we measure it? What is the nature of a just society? How can a nation built out of a colonial empire create a such a society? In this course, we seek to answer these questions by exploring the history of Modern Latin America.  In this class, we will examine moments where peoples and governments have sought to make and change the modern world.

 

In Unit I, we will begin by examining the world created by the Independence Wars in Latin America and the Atlantic World. In this period, the new Latin American republics struggled to make liberty, equality, and prosperity possible during a global era of economic imperialism and scientific racism. Using the examples of Venezuela and Argentina, we will explore the problems of integrating diverse populations, generating prosperity, and the promises and pitfalls of democratic participation.

 

In the second unit, we will explore the crises of the late 19th and early 20th centuries using the case studies of Cuban Independence and the Mexican Revolution. We will explore how Afro-Cuban and indigenous Mexican armies demanded full access to social, economic, and political prosperity, and explore how and why these demands were so challenging for elites. In this unit we will also explore how US intervention and foreign capital affected Latin American societies in this period.

 

In the third unit, we will turn to the revolutions and reactions of the twentieth century, emphasizing the role of the Cold War in turning old struggles into new kinds of conflicts. Our two case studies for this period will be Guatemala and Chile. As we explore two would-be revolutions, we will consider issues of gender, sexuality, race, and environmentalism. Studying the reactionary aftermath of revolutions in Guatemala and Chile will also allow us to investigate the role of terror and state violence in creating the neoliberal economic and political order.

 

Requirements for this course include two midterm exams (25% of grade each), and a portfolio of annotated primary sources (25% of your grade) as a final project. The exam format will be closed book short essay, and the portfolio will require using context from lectures, readings, and discussion sections to curate a series of documents provided by the instructor . In addition, attendance and active participation in discussion sections are required and will be 25% of the final grade.

 

Books we will be using for this class include:

Keen’s Latin American Civilization: A Primary Source Reader, Volume 2: The Modern Era (Tenth Edition).

Domingo Sarmiento, Civilization and Barbarism

Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba

Mariano Azuela, The Underdogs

Peter Kornbluh, The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier of Atrocity and Accountability

Daniel Wilkerson, Silence on the Mountain:Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 
Discussion Sections: 
3

Pages

Subscribe to Lecture

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

  

Contact:
(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts