Lecture

Modern China

HIEA
2031
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

At the turn of the 20th century, China was one of the poorest nations in the world. Its 2,000 year old system of government was crumbling, large segments of its population were impoverished or starving, and the country seemed powerless to defend itself against repeated foreign intrusion. Once known as the “sick man of Asia,” China today is a global power with world-wide strategic, economic and political influence.

This course is about the people, personalities, and events that have given this remarkable transformation its dramatic and sometimes tragic tone. It is also about the social, political, and cultural currents that lay beneath these more visible manifestations of change and the profound effect these forces have had on the Chinese people. Following a brief consideration of the political and social institutions of the last imperial dynasty (the Qing, 1644-1911), we will examine the interaction of foreign aggression and domestic social crises that led first to the fall of the imperial order and the establishment of a Republic in 1911 and then to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. From here we move on to the post-'49 period under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a period that has been described as the greatest attempt at revolutionary social transformation in world history. In the final weeks of the course, we will look at the post-Mao reform era and the issues facing China today after nearly a century of revolution.

Reading assignments, drawn from a survey textbook (R. Keith Schoppa, Revolution and its Past) as well as other secondary and translated primary sources, will average about 125 pages per week. Grades for the course will be based on a mid-term exam (25%), a final exam (30%), an eight-page essay (30%) and attendance and participation in discussion sections (15%).

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
180
Course Type: 
Discussion Sections: 
9

Reformation Europe

HIEU
3231
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This course explores the history of Christianity in Europe from c. 1450 to c. 1650.  At the beginning of this period, the overwhelming majority of Europeans were bound together by a commonly-held Christian culture.  In the sixteenth century, these bonds were shattered as Europeans debated what “Christianity” meant.  In order to defend their answers, children disowned their parents, princes waged wars, and martyrs faced violent deaths.  By the seventeenth century, Europeans lived in a world divided by religion.  How did these divisions take shape?  And how did they shape the lives of early modern European individuals, families, and communities?  Throughout the semester, we will explore these questions through a combination of lectures and discussions. Most importantly, we will read primary sources from the sixteenth century.  Central themes include the formation of divergent Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Catholic communities; persecution and toleration; the effects of religious reform on art and culture; and the interplay between Reformations in Europe and the exploration of the wider world. For 2017, recognize as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we will also explore its legacy in the modern world.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
30
Course Type: 

The Holocaust

HIEU
3692
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

In this course we study the encounter between the Third Reich and Europe’s Jews between 1933 and 1945. This encounter resulted in the deaths of almost 6 million Jews.  The course aims to clarify basic facts and explore competing explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust—in Hebrew, Shoah. We also explore survivors’ memories after the Holocaust, postwar Holocaust-related trials, and the universal implications of the Holocaust.

 

This course is intended to acquaint students with the historical study of the Holocaust and assumes no prior training in the subject.  We will read studies by important historians, including Saul Friedländer, Christopher Browning, and Alon Confino, contemporary documents, and memoirs. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements include three written assignments and conscientious participation in class discussion.

 

**There are two sections of this class 001 has an enrollment of 20 and 002 has an enrollment of 20.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
20
Course Type: 

America and War Since 1900

HIUS
2052
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This is a survey of modern American military history, but in the modern era it is more than that.  Since 1900, war has reshaped the way America is governed.  It has shaped industry and innovation.  It has spawned a vast intelligence establishment with military capabilities of its own.  The experience of war and narratives about it have colored popular culture in every generation for more than a hundred years.  

The course will concentrate on the major episodes and, for each, address four basic questions.  Why did the United States go to war?  How did the United States choose to wage war?  Why did the war turn out the way it did?  What impact did the war have?

This course is also a kind of sequel to HIUS 2051, Gary Gallagher's fine course on "U.S. Military History, 1600 to 1900."

This is a lecture course with discussion sections.  Class size will be limited to 60 students.  There will be a midterm and a final exam.

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

The Modern World: Global History since 1760

HIST
2002
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This is a survey of modern world history for students, beginning or advanced, who wish to understand how the world got to be the way it is today. In order to understand modern history, a global perspective is essential. This is true whether you are interested in economics, warfare, philosophy, politics, or even pop culture.

This course can be essential for students in many fields.  It is one of the four core required courses for students who are pursuing the interdisciplinary major in Global Studies in any of its tracks. 

This course is a broad survey. Therefore it is classified as a 2000-level course with no prerequisites. That does not mean it is easier than more tightly focused courses offered at the 3000 or 4000-level. You will have to juggle many different narratives and topics.

Class size is relatively small.  The course blends both video presentations from the instructor (on the Coursera platform) and then review and further discussion of the course material, including the readings, with the instructor in class.  Grades are determined by performance on weekly online quizzes, in-class reading quizzes, class participation, and two exams.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 

Origins of Contemporary Thought

HIEU
3802
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This course examines the work of four thinkers who have been massively important in modern thought: Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Heidegger. The span is from Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) to Heidegger’s philosophically path-breaking Being and Time (1927), but issues of contemporary relevance will be kept firmly in mind, and these thinkers will all be connected to the wider intellectual and cultural contexts that they reflected and in part also created.

There is heavy emphasis in the course on students’ own reading of the material. After students attempt to grasp the reading (which is sometimes fairly difficult), the instructor explicates it in class. By the end of the semester, students will have a quite good idea what the central views articulated by Darwin et al. actually were. They will also be more skilled at reading complex texts.

Goals (in brief)(i) to model skill at reading theoretical texts and at thinking conceptually; (ii) to impart knowledge of some theories, and the assumptions underlying them, advanced by Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger; these theories are of continuing relevance and, in some cases, use; and (iii) to impart knowledge of the place of these theories, concepts, and assumptions in modern and contemporary thought.  

Requirements (in brief): The crucial requirement is to do the reading alertly and on time. More specifically, students will (i) answer ca. 8-10 short “think questions,” on time; (ii) take a 50-minute midterm; (iii) write a term paper of six single-spaced pages, based on assigned class reading (not additional outside reading); (iv) write the final exam (2½ hrs.); and (v) complete online evaluations of the class and sections. Items (iii) and (iv) count highest in the grade: they each generate close to half the final grade. The other exercises can move the grade slightly up or down. In short, the term paper and the final exam are very important.

BOOK LIST: We read crucial parts, and sometimes all, of the following: Darwin, The Origin of Species; Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of TragedyGenealogy of Morality, Portable Nietzsche; Freud,  Interpretation of Dreams and Civilization and Its Discontents; and Heidegger, Being and Time. A secondary reading is Allan Megill, Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida. There is also a course packet, from N. K. Print and Design (7 Elliewood Ave.), which costs around $12. 

By early April, I shall update this document on my academia.edu site, providing information about book editions and prices, midterm date, term paper deadline, and final exam date. See https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill/Teaching-Documents

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 

The Fall of Communism: How the Soviet Empire Lost the Cold War

HIEU
3670
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

Twenty-eight years ago, on November 9, 1989, a bureaucratic mix-up allowed crowds of East Germans to cross the Berlin Wall. The subsequent scenes of dancing and celebration have become familiar, but how did they come about? Why did the Wall fall when it did – and did it have to fall at all? This course will examine the roots, causes, and aftermath of communism’s collapse in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. We will consider economic stagnation and abortive attempts at reform; political crises and the rise of dissident movements; cultural exchange and the influence of mass media; and the role of social and nationalist activism.

 

Throughout, we will pay particular attention to the meaning and impact of the Cold War. Communism aspired to be a systematic alternative to the capitalist world, with its own principles of morality, work, and leisure. For this reason, communist regimes were constantly engaged in competition with the West, from the Russian Revolution through the fall of the USSR. We will explore how this competition drove policies at home and abroad; how communist leaders tried to respond to Western influences; and how the Cold War framework continues to shape Russian politics today.

 

Class meetings will be a mix of lectures and discussion. Students should expect to read 50-70 pages a week, and to attend four movie screenings over the course of the semester. Assignments include a midterm, a final exam, and two creative five-page papers, written from the perspective of a fictional character.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
40
Course Type: 

Global Environmental History

HIST
2150
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This course studies the making of the modern world through the lens of environment, climate, and ecology. We explore ecological connections between different world regions throughout history, focusing especially on Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Our survey begins with the earliest periods of recorded history and continues to the present, placing particular emphasis on the past century of environmental change.

Maximum Enrollment: 
40
Course Type: 

History of Chinese Civilization

HIEA
2011
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This is an introductory course to Chinese history. The first half of the class deals with the formation of the country’s intellectual traditions, efforts of empire-building, and the characteristic orientation of Chinese society to family, locality, and education. We will also look at how the successive government of late imperial China dealt with the strains of a growing and changing society. The second half of the course will consider how China met and mastered the challenges of the 19th century, and what the particular challenges of the 20th century were. We will conclude the class by discussing the government and society of the People’s Republic of China against the background of these challenges. Required reading for the class includes Patricia Ebrey’s China: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, and selected articles and book chapters. Final grades for the class will be based on mini-quizzes, exams, and one term paper. This course fulfills the College’s historical and non-Western perspective requirements. No previous knowledge of Chinese history is required.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
40
Course Type: 

Colloquium in Pre-1700 European History

Greece in the 5th Century
HIEU
4511
Fall
2017

Prerequisite:  HIEU 2031, HIEU 3559 (Hellenistic) or equivalent; or instructor permission.

This course examines the political, military, and social history of Greece from the end of the Persian Wars (479 BC) to the end of the Peloponnesian War (404 BC).  This is the age of the creation of Athenian democracy and Athenian Empire, as well as of the growing tensions with Sparta that eventually resulted in the Peloponnesian War.  Understanding these developments is crucial to understanding all Greek history.  This class will proceed by discussion, including discussion of four five-page papers written by each student (due variously throughout the term) distributed before the class in which they will be discussed.  There will also be two-three exercises (on working with ancient evidence) and a final exam. 

Undergraduates are permitted to take this class as a graduate class or for 4511 credit.

Reading is substantial, averaging approximately 200 pages/week, and will be drawn from the following:

 

The Landmark Thucydides (R. Strassler, ed.; Free Press)

Plutarch, Greek Lives (Oxford World Classics)

J. M. Moore, Aristotle and Xenophon on Democracy and Oligarchy (California)

Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History vols. 4-5 (Loeb/Harvard)

Xenophon, Hellenica (Penguin)

C. Fornara, Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War (Cambridge)

and readings on the Collab course website

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
6
Course Type: 

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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
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