Lecture

History of Russia Since 1917

HIEU
2162
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This is an introductory survey of the history of Russia (broadly defined) from 1917 to the present.  Briefly, our goal in the course is to explore the rise and fall of a distinct form of civilization -- a polity, society, culture and empire -- known as “Soviet Communism.”  Why did that “civilization” arise in Russia, and what is “Russia” now that Soviet Communism is dead?  To answer these questions, lectures and readings will focus on the social and cultural as well as the political history of the region.  Major topics include:  the revolutions of 1917; the Russian Civil War; Lenin’s New Economic Policy; Stalinism; the Great Fatherland War and post-war reconstruction; the origins and phases of the Cold War; de-Stalinization and the limits of reform (Khrushchev to Gorbachev); varieties of Communism within Europe and beyond; the quest for stability and the crisis of late Communism (the Brezhnev years); the disintegration of the USSR and the emergence of the Russian Federation and other successor states; and post-Soviet Russia’s transition to oligarch/crony capitalism and “sovereign democracy” (Yeltsin to Putin).

 

The course assumes no prior training in Russian history.  Requirements include active participation in weekly discussion sections, a midterm exam, a final exam and three 600-word papers on required course readings.  Readings (in English) of about 150 pages per week will include primary and secondary sources. Assigned texts include:  Lydia Chukovskaya, Sofia Petrovna; Friedrich Engels & Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto; Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; and Ronald Suny, The Soviet Experiment. Two required class packets will be available for purchase at N.K Print & Design on Elliewood Avenue.

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

The Holocaust and the Law

HIEU
3695
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This course explores the pursuit of justice after the Holocaust. We will study legal responses to the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews from 1945 to the 1960s through the lens of pivotal post-Holocaust trials, including the 1945-1946 Nuremberg Trial, conducted by the US, the UK, the USSR, and France in Nuremberg; the 1961 Eichmann Trial, conducted by the Israelis in Jerusalem; and the 1963-1965 Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, conducted by the Germans. We will further study recent German attempts to adapt the German legal system to try the last living perpetrators of the Holocaust. We will also discuss how Jewish survivors of the Holocaust helped to bring Nazis and their collaborators before the bar of justice. Mindful of the postwar historical context, we will pose the question whether these trials and others served justice on the perpetrators and delivered justice to not only the victims but also history and memory.  In this vein, we will ask how the pursuit of legal justice after the Holocaust affects our understanding of the legal process.

 

Requirements for this course will include two short response papers and a 15-page research paper. The final grade will be determined on the basis of the written assignments, with substantial weight given to the research paper, and class participation.

 

Books for this course may include Lawrence Douglas, The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in Trials of the Holocaust; Michael Marrus, The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, 1945-46; Deborah Lipstadt, The Eichmann Trial; Devin Pendas, The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963-1965; Lawrence Douglas, The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial; and Laura Jockusch and Gabriel Finder, eds. Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust.

 

This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
10
Course Type: 

German Jewish Culture and History

HIEU
3372
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This course provides a wide-ranging exploration of the history and culture of German (-speaking) Jewry from 1750 to 1945 and beyond.  It focuses especially on the Jewish response to modernity in Central Europe, a response that proved highly productive, giving rise to a range of lasting transformations in Jewish life in Europe and later in North America, in particular, and in European society and culture, more generally.

 

Until the mid-eighteenth century, Jewish self-definition was relatively stable. From that point on, it became increasingly contingent and open-ended.  Before the rise of Nazism in 1933, German Jewish life was characterized by a plethora of emerging possibilities. This course explores this vibrant and dynamic process of change and self-definition. It traces the emergence of new forms of Jewish experience, and it shows their unfolding in a series of lively and poignant dramas of tradition and transformation, division and integration, dreams and nightmares. The course seeks to grasp this world through the lenses of history and culture, and to explore the different ways in which these disciplines illuminate the past and provide potential insights into the present and future.

 

This course is intended to acquaint students with the study of German (-speaking) Jewish history and culture and assumes no prior training in the subject. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements will include two 5-page response papers and a 10-page research paper. Conscientious participation in class discussion is essential.  Readings will be drawn from both primary and secondary literature. Represented in the primary reading will be central figures in the annals of German-speaking Jewry, including Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Heinrich Heine, Arthur Schnitzler, Gershom Scholem, Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Ruth Klüger.

 

This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
20
Course Type: 

Neighbors and Enemies in Germany

HIEU
3462
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

A biblical injunction, first articulated in Leviticus and then elaborated in the Christian teachings, stipulates that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself. This course explores the friend/enemy nexus in German history, literature and culture. Of particular interest is the figure of the neighbor as both an imagined extension of the self, and as an object of fear or even hatred. We will examine the vulnerability and anxiety generated by Germany’s unstable and shifting territorial borders, as well as the role that fantasies of foreign infiltration played in defining German national identity. We will also investigate the racial and sexual politics manifested in Germany’s real or imagined encounters with various foreign “others.” Most importantly, this course will study the tensions in German history and culture between a chauvinist belief in German racial or cultural superiority and moments of genuine openness to strangers. In the concluding part of this course, we will consider the changing meanings of friendship and hospitality in a globalizing world. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, one in-class presentation, and three short essays (5 pages each). There will be no mid-term or final examinations. This course fulfills the second writing requirement; no prerequisites.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Nazi Germany

HIEU
3390
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This course examines the historical origins, political structures, cultural dynamics, and everyday practices of the Nazi Third Reich. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, two five-page essays, mid-term and final examinations. All readings and discussions are in English. No prerequisites. 

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
50
Course Type: 
Discussion Sections: 
3

Historical China and the World

HIEA
3162
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

The course traces the evolution of China’s external relations from antiquity to our own times.  Situated in the geographic environment of the Asian Continent and being the birthplace of one of the world’s oldest living civilizations, China used to be at the center of a “world order” of East Asia and often acted as the hegemon of that region in the millennia prior to the 19th century.  China’s centrality in its own world was lost in the mid-19th century when Western powers brought drastic changes to the Asia-Pacific region.  In the next hundred years many Asian countries came under the Western colonial system; China also went through an arduous process of transformation from a “celestial empire” to a national state.  During the first half of the 20th century, China struggled with its imperial legacies in finding a new national identity while continuously enduring setbacks from domestic divisions and foreign aggressions.  After 1949, China, now under a communist system, reclaimed most of the territorial domain of the Qing Empire and began to challenge the Western world order as a revolutionary power.  In the post-Cold War years a reformed China reentered the international society.  In the meantime, the suspenseful “rise of China” has posed many questions to our times. 

 

This course identifies conceptions, practices, institutions, and relationships that characterized the inter-state relations of the so-called “East Asian world order,” and considers the interactions between “Eastern” and “Western,” and the “revolutionary” and “conventional” modes of China’s international behavior.  The students attend lectures and read major scholarly works on ancient and modern Chinese external affairs.  The student’s grade is based on participation, midterm and final tests, and a short essay (9-12 double-spaced pages).

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
35
Course Type: 

Supernatural Europe, 1500-1800

HIEU
2721
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

Today, witchcraft and vampires are the stuff of hit movies and bestselling novels.  Five centuries ago, however, few Europeans questioned that magic was real.  This course reconstructs that enchanted world.  Throughout the semester, we will explore the reasons why early modern Europeans believed in the forces of witches, demons, comets, and more, and what caused these beliefs to change and ultimately recede over time. For example, how did beliefs about demonic activity frame the interpretation of natural disasters? What do rituals surrounding birth and death reveal about the hopes and fears of ordinary people? Why did Europeans begin to hunt witches in this period, and why did they stop? As we pursue these questions, we will also gain a broader understanding of European society, culture, religion, and science between 1500 and 1800. In order to understand the reasons behind the witch-hunt, for example, we will examine their judicial systems and their views on women. At the same time, this course introduces students to the skills through which historians analyze sources and draw conclusions about the past. In assignments and class discussions based on primary sources, such as first-hand accounts of possession and the records generated by witchcraft trials, we will learn how to practice those skills ourselves. Written work will include short papers (in response to assigned prompts) and two exams (midterm and final). 

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

The Second World War

HIST
3452
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This course provides a survey of the greatest, most destructive war in human history: The Second World War. Perhaps 50 million people were killed in the conflict, and it reached every corner of the globe. Its political, social, and human consequences were vast and shape the world we live in today. Understanding the war – its origins, its course, and its impact – remains one of the great challenges for historians. This class will provide students with a narrative of the war, both in the European and Pacific theaters. It will also ask students to think about a number of broad interpretive questions: why did the war begin? Why was it waged with such ferocity on all sides? What ideas sustained the combatants through so many years of sacrifice? How did the “United Nations” win? Did the victors tarnish their triumph by using certain weapons that killed many innocent people? How have various societies come to remember, and commemorate, the war? Students will read about six books, take two exams and write a 12 page research essay.

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

Maps in World History

HIST
2212
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

The map is a fundamental artifact of human culture.  It documents how individuals understood the spaces in which they lived, the relationships between nature and society, and the shape of the surrounding world.  This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the history of maps and mapping (also known as the history of cartography) that ranges across the globe from oldest surviving images of pre-history to GIS systems of the present day.  It approaches map history from a number of disciplinary perspectives, including the history of science, the history of cartography, literary studies, anthropology, historical geography, and spatial cognition and wayfinding.  A core collection of about 150 maps, available online, will serve as the central resource for this course.

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

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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
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