This course is open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the Distinguished Majors Program in History (see http://history.virginia.edu/undergraduate/dmp). Through intensive reading, writing, and discussion, students will become familiar with the theoretical and methodological approaches that historians use to study the past. They will also develop their analytical and writing skills. Reading is typically one book per week, with a two-page response to readings due before class. To begin the process of developing an original research project, each student will also write a historiographic essay and prepare a draft of a proposal for research funding.
For nearly a century now, scholars have been positing an antithetical relationship between capitalism and Islam, framing the perceived underdevelopment of the Islamic world in terms of an absence of the rational spirit of capitalism, restrictions put in place by Islamic law, or more fundamentally as a clash between two competing ideologies (“jihad” vs “McWorld”). This course seeks to familiarize students with the debates surrounding the supposed tension between Islam and capitalism, but also explores the development of ideas and practices on capitalism and commercial society within the broader Islamic world, stretching from the Western Mediterranean to the Eastern Indian Ocean. We will look at the scholarship produced on the subject, but will also explore the everyday commercial practices, discourses, and artifacts that animated Muslim commercial society over the course of centuries. Students will leave with a deep appreciation of the contingencies surrounding the history of capitalism in the Islamic world, but also a sense of the genealogies of capitalist societies in the region. Our focus thus isn’t simply on how capitalism has shaped or transformed Muslim society, but how Muslims around the world have domesticated the forces of global capitalism – and perhaps even generated their own visions of a uniquely Islamic brand of capitalism.
This seminar is intended for first- and second-year students who have some interest in history. I welcome both prospective majors and people who may never take another history class. The course focuses on how we think about history. It will introduce you to an interesting set of books, and some articles, that will help you explore this subject.
The course will focus on two aspects of how we try to grasp history. One aspect is its cognitive aspect—history’s production of true knowledge about the past. The other is its production of “feeling” or “sensibility” concerning the past. In recent decades, this latter aspect of history has become newly visible in the attempts of historians and others to deal with traumatic events or situations in the past. This aspect has also become visible in the growing interest, since the late 1970s, in “historical memory.” Earlier, concern with sensibility emerged in the work of some historians of art and culture.
As of March 9, 2017, the book list is not yet definitive. So far, the books include: Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (ISBN 0674766911); Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (multiple editions); possibly Alon Confino, Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust in Historical Understanding (ISBN 0521736323); Berber Bevernage, History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice (ISBN 041582298X); and Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (any edition of 1970 or after).
The books by Davis, Arendt, and Kuhn are classics in their genres. Davis's book ought to be known to every history major, and Arendt's and Kuhn's books to every educated person.
I shall add one or two other books (possibilities include books by Friedrich Nietzsche, Carlo Ginzburg, John Pickstone, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hayden White, and W. G. Sebald). The addition of more than two of these books would force the omission of Confino from the above list, but you can attend Confino's classes and not Pickstone's, Nietzsche's, White's, Ginzburg's, or Sebald's.
The definitive textbook list will await my rethinking, between now and June 21, of the 2017 version of this course.
All “textbooks” will be in Clemons Reserve. Parts of some of them will be available in COLLAB Resources. Most are available used, online, cheaply. We shall also read some articles, and you will need to print them out for attentive reading (not possible on-screen).
Class Procedure, Requirements, Evaluation:
The course combines reading, writing, and discussion. There is no final exam. Almost every week there will be a reading assignment for you to grapple with. Most weeks, you will produce a very short “response paper” dealing with some aspect of the reading (a mini-paper), to be submitted electronically before the class meeting (and most likely to be revised later). You must complete and submit these mini-essays at the required times—this is a participatory class, and participation includes submitting your work and getting feedback and correction in the following week.
Over the course of the semester you will produce a portfolio of writing (which normally allows this course to count as satisfying the Second Writing Requirement). The basis of the portfolio will be your mini-papers, but you will also produce two slightly longer “think papers” (which may in part be built on the basis of a mini-paper). I shall provide intensive editing of and feedback on your writing. The course thus provides an introduction to the norms of literate writing, with an emphasis on the norms governing good academic writing.
Periodically I shall update the information for this course on my academia.edu site: https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill/Teaching-Documents.
This course provides a total of six credits for researching and writing the thesis (three in the fall semester and three in the fall semester) The class meets from four to six times to provide support and assistance in refining the DMP student’s topic and identifying key primary and secondary sources. By early December students will turn in a formal, eight to ten page prospectus of your project.
Europe’s history and culture have been defined by its encounters with the wider world. This course considers some of those encounters, including migration, colonialism, war, tourism, and trade. Rather than focusing on one country, we will examine how such forces have shaped the idea of Europe itself: what it means to be “European,” whether for individuals, cultures, or states. Topics include European imperialism and decolonization; nationalism and regionalism; the Cold War and the Iron Curtain; and the European Union and its discontents.
This course is taught in conjunction with the UVA Masters Program in European Studies (though masters students will receive additional assignments). It is designed to function as an introduction to the emerging field of European Studies. Our readings thus come from a variety of disciplines: besides historical scholarship, we will read works by anthropologists, literary scholars, political scientists, journalists, and others. You should expect to read roughly 150 pages a week.
The goal of this course is to produce an original work of scholarship related to the theme of Europe and the World. Your research paper is due at the end of the semester and should be 18-20 pages in length. All other assignments are designed to help you research and write this paper. They include in-class participation; a preliminary question; a research prospectus; and a paper draft.
This readings course introduces graduate students to the methods of cultural history through a survey of key works and cutting edge new scholarship in twentieth-century US cultural history. Topics to be discussed include critical approaches to study of race, gender, sexuality, and religion; transnational approaches to US history; the relevance of sound studies and visual culture studies for historical work; and the neglect of class in much contemporary US history. Students will also learn to think critically about music, film, photography, and other artifacts as historical sources. Students will read a book a week, write two 12 page papers, lead class discussion one or more times during the semester, and attend 3 relevant lectures across grounds (a list will be provided). Leading class discussion means placing the assigned book in its historiographical and theoretical context and describing its sources, methods, and arguments.
This seminar studies the intersections of environment and politics in the history of the Middle East through readings and discussions aimed at introducing students to historical methods and approaches. We explore both the long and recent history of the Middle East through the lens of ecological questions such as water usage and management and explore new ways of writing about familiar issues such as oil and energy.
This is a discussion- and writing-intensive course. Through an introduction of scholarly works and primary source materials commonly used by historians of China, this course explores the most prominent figures, ideas, and forces that shaped the intellectual thinking and religious beliefs in Chinese history. Major topics include early Chinese worldview, the “Hundred Schools of Thought,” and popular beliefs and practices. Another goal of this class is to introduce students to the historian’s craft of research and writing. Class discussion, presentations, and a variety of written assignments all gear toward developing students’ critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Reading assignments include Philip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van Norden, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (Hackett Publishing, 2005), Bryan W. Van Norden, Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy (Hackett Publishing, 2011,), and selected articles and book chapters. This course fulfills the College’s second writing and historical and non-Western perspective requirements. No previous knowledge of Chinese history is required.
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
This colloquium will survey foundational and cutting-edge scholarship on the social construction of femininity and masculinity in U.S. history, from the colonial era to 1900.
We will explore how gender conventions take shape, and how they are perpetuated and contested. Our readings represent a wide range of topics and methods: they reconsider key events in women’s history such as the Salem witch trials and Seneca Falls convention; historicize such concepts as patriarchy, home, work, public and private; illustrate how gender history has enriched traditional fields such as political and military history; and place American gender conventions in a transnational and comparative perspective.