Seminar

Seminar in United States History

War of 1812: Past and Present
HIUS
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2016

Between 2012 and 2015 Americans will witness, in varying ways and to differing degrees, celebrations marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  These celebrations, however, will consist of no more than a very limited number of selected historical memories from the war-time years in the history of the early republic.  They will not enable us to fit the War of 1812 into any coherent understanding of its proper place in the nation's past.  This class will help students to understand how this state of selective historical memory-or amnesia-came into being while, at the same time, permit them to see the conflict as the culminating moment of several major themes that shaped the development of the early American nation.  Requirements for the class will include the writing of a research paper (20-30 pp.) based on primary and secondary sources.  Students will be expected to work through more than one draft of this paper.  These requirements will fulfill the second writing requirement for those who need it.  A list of books to be read will be available later.    

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
12
Course Type: 

Introductory Seminar in History

Water
HIST
1501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

Water is our most essential resource. Without it, of course, there is no life. Depending on where in the world one lives water can be abundant or it can be scarce. But no matter where one looks there is a history of human interactions with water—world history, environmental history, legal history and more.  We will explore some of that history.  Topics will include, among others: indigenous water rights; the historical origins of uneven access to clean water around the world; the discovery of water borne diseases in the 19th century; the damming of rivers for irrigation and power; and the emergence of the multi-billion dollar bottled water industry. We will explore many kinds of materials: primary and secondary historical texts; photographs; films; and more. The class will a mixture of lecture and discussion. In addition to readings in common, students will conduct their own independent research.     

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Philosophy and Theory of History

HIEU
5062
Graduate
Spring
2017

This class is intended both for qualified third- and fourth-year undergraduates and for graduate students. In addition, it has often been attended by visiting scholars (graduate students and faculty) from other countries, and this presence has often added much to the course.

 

The class offers an introduction to the currently vibrant field of theory of history. The emphasis will be less on surveying this field than on drawing resources from it to help us think about current problems in the apprehension of “history.” Many philosophers, social scientists, and historians have contributed to this field. A few names: Arthur C. Danto, Hayden White, Frank Ankersmit, Berber Bevernage, Dominick LaCapra, Reinhart Koselleck, Paul Ricoeur, R. G. Collingwood, Benedetto Croce, Maurice Halbwachs, Heinrich Rickert, Wilhelm Windelband, G. W. F. Hegel. Except for Hegel these are not “household names,” but each has something to offer.

 

If you are an undergraduate, it is desirable that you should already have had a minimum of two history classes, ideally from two different instructors. Theory of history will be somewhat opaque unless you have some experience with its object, “history.” Central to the class is the writing of a term paper of somewhat larger dimensions than is possible in most undergraduate classes. The range of possible topics is wide. If you are thinking about the class, you should contact me ahead of time (after Nov. 17), and we can discuss possibilities.

 

If you are a graduate student: Over the years I have learned from the presence of graduate students from anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, religious studies, East Asian studies, art history, and law, as well as from history. A preliminary conversation with me (after Nov. 17) would be helpful.

 

The work you do in this class should contribute to your work within your program.  It is important to craft a paper topic that promises to cast light on—or directly stimulate—writing aimed toward your production of a required program paper, MA thesis, or PhD dissertation.

 

Course Requirements in Brief: 1. Do the assigned reading before class. 2. On occasion, write up a brief [500-word] mini-paper and/or write up a discussion summary (“Protokoll”) (I anticipate a maximum of five such exercises from each student over the course of the semester). 3.Contribute to discussion, sometimes by “introducing” part of the week’s reading. 4. Write a 20–25 double-spaced pages paper on a topic mutually agreed upon by student and instructor.

 

Likely Class Books (asterisked items are absolutely definite; all items will be on reserve, and some have alternative availabilities):

 

*Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984 [1983]). *Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life, trans. Peter Preuss, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1980) NOTE: There are some really bad translations of this work in existence. Preuss’s translation is reasonably good, although nothing can substitute for Nietzsche’s cunningly ambiguous German. *Berber Bevernage, History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice (New York: Routledge, 2013 [2012]). *Allan Megill, Historical Knowledge, Historical Error (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). (I am quite attentive to issues of price.)

 

Possible books: Hayden White, The Practical Past; Jan T. Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland; Alon Confino, Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust as Historical Understanding, and Jouni-Matte Kuukkanen, Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography (dramatically expensive).

 

We shall also read a selection of crucial articles (e.g., Danto 1962, White, 1980, etc.).

 

Syllabus: In a small class such as this, which draws a diversity of students as well as some visiting scholars from abroad, it is difficult to set up an absolutely definitive syllabus in advance. In past teachings of this course the second half of the semester has often been re-invented in response to people’s specific interests and expertise. Also, I characteristically devote the last few sessions to discussion of student presentations of summaries of their draft papers. Further, I expect to be giving the Robert D. Cross Memorial Lecture on Wednesday April 5, most likely starting at 3:30 p.m., and this will substitute for my class of that day (the lecture can be recorded for people with conflicting commitments).

 

I expect to upload a week-by-week syllabus to my academia.edu site by December 10. The syllabus will try to accommodate some alternative possibilities, a bit like the “pick a path” books that some of you may have encountered in childhood.

 

FIRST CLASS SESSION: We meet on the first day of classes, Wed., January 18, 2017. If at all possible, read this short item beforehand: Marcin Moskalewicz et al., “The old Nietzschean Question Raised Again: How much past do we need for having a healthy life?,” Rethinking History 18:4 (2014), 556-568, DOI: 10.1080/13642529.2014.893666, and write up and submit to me a few hours before class a well-considered 300 words responding to MM’s piece.

 

SECOND and possibly THIRD CLASS SESSIONS (Jan. 25, Feb. 1): We shall address Natalie Davis’s The Return of Martin Guerre and the debate about the book that ensued between Davis and Robert Finlay in the Am Hist Rev, in the light of some theoretical literature that we shall also read.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Seminar in Pre-1700 European History

Warfare & Society (CE600-1000)
HIEU
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

This class explores the nature of warfare, its place in, and effects upon, the societies of the post-Roman Mediterranean from c. 600 to 1000 CE. These centuries witnessed the terminal phase of the great struggle of Antiquity between Rome and Persia, the emergence of Islam and its profound reshaping of the post-classical world, as well as the formation of numerous ‘barbarian’ successor kingdoms in the west. Topics to be addressed include: military organization, the ideals and realities of battle, the imagery and literature of warfare and martial values, changing technology.

The major work of the course will be a 25-30 page research paper (approximately 7,500 – 8,000 words) using primary sources (in translation) and drawing upon secondary scholarship. Students will also deliver two oral reports (one on the research underway), produce a research bibliography, and be consistently engaged participants in class discussion.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Seminar in United States History

US and the End of the Cold War
HIUS
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

In this course we will examine several key questions:  What was the Cold War?  When, how, and why did it end?  Who, if anyone, was responsible for its conclusion?  How should we assess the roles of Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, and George H. W. Bush?   Did Reagan’s military buildup win the Cold War?  Did SDI win the Cold War?   Why did Gorbachev make so many concessions?   Alternatively, was the end of the Cold War the result of exogenous developments like globalization, technological change, the communications revolution, the dynamics of free market forces, the human rights revolution, etc.?  

In our weekly meetings, much emphasis will be placed on discussion and on the vetting of one another's seminar papers.

We will look at some of the essays, articles, chapters, and books of leading scholars on the Cold War.  We will also read parts of the memoirs of key policymakers, such as Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, and George H. W. Bush.   We will examine key primary source documents that appear on a variety of websites, including those of the National Security Archive, the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and Ronald Reagan files. 

The focus of the course will be on the preparation of a major research paper based on primary sources.  Students will be expected to examine official government documents that now appear on a variety of websites, including the ones mentioned above.  Students will also be asked to examine  congressional hearings, memoirs, and contemporary newspapers.  Students will need to integrate these findings with insights gleaned from the writings of journalists and scholars.  Early in the semester students will submit a research proposal, a working bibliography, and an outline.  Later in the semester students will discuss drafts of their paper with the entire seminar.  They will then have a chance to revise their drafts and submit a final essay of about 25-30 pages, plus notes and bibliography.  Papers will be graded on the basis of content, research, style, organization, analysis, and clarity.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
12
Course Type: 

Introductory Seminar in East Asian History

Cul & Society: Imperial China
HIEA
1501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

How did ordinary people live their lives in imperial China? What were the ethical demands on men and women of the elite class and the general populace? To what an extent did urban and rural culture differ? How were ideal family relationships and important rites of passage, such as weddings and funerals, articulated and conducted? Who did people turn to when conflicts arose? What was the relationship between local government and local society? This course seeks to answer the above questions and many more through an introduction of scholarly work and a variety of primary sources commonly used by historians of China, ranging from epitaphs to ritual manuals and from legal cases to anecdotal writing. Requirements for the class include active participation in class discussion, a presentation, and four 5-page papers. Assigned reading includes selections from Brian Mcknight and James Liu, The Enlightened Judgements, Jacques Gernet, Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, Patricia Ebrey, Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period, Hong Mai, Record of the Listener, and etc. No prior knowledge of Chinese history is required. This course fulfills the College’s second writing, non-Western, and historical perspective requirements

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

New Course in East Asian History

China & the World in Cold War
HIEA
5559
Graduate
Spring
2017

The seminar is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. It will meet once a week and discuss important issues pertinent to China’s involvement in the Cold

War and relevant major scholarships.  Evaluation of the student's performance is based on biweekly book reviews, participation in class discussions, and a 20-page essay by the end of the semester.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
6
Course Type: 

Colloquium in East Asia

China & the World in Cold War
HIEA
4511
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

The seminar is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. It will meet once a week and discuss important issues pertinent to China’s involvement in the Cold

War and relevant major scholarships.  Evaluation of the student's performance is based on biweekly book reviews, participation in class discussions, and a 20-page essay by the end of the semester.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
6
Course Type: 

Seminar in United States History

Gender Hist. of Civil War Era
HIUS
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

This seminar examines the construction and contestation of gender roles—definitions of womanhood and manhood—during the Civil War era (from the 1830s through the 1870s). We will explore how the gender conventions of the North and South diverged during the antebellum era, and assess how that divergence shaped sectional tensions; re-envision the Civil War as a crisis over gender roles, in which men and women in each section struggled to fulfill—and at times openly rebelled against—the prevailing definitions of women’s sacrifice and of manly heroism; and reveal the gendered dimensions of slave resistance, emancipation and the contest over citizenship during Reconstruction. The course aims to furnish you with the tools to craft an article-length (25 page) research paper, by semester’s end. Students will identify topics, pertaining to our course themes, in consultation with the instructor; in the last four weeks of the course, we will focus on the research and writing process.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
12
Course Type: 

Introductory Seminar in South Asia

Post-Mughal Hyderabad
HISA
1501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

  Description: Hyderabad was the largest, wealthiest, longest-lived, and most complex of all Mughal successor states.  After the death in 1748 of its founder, Nizam ul-Mulk, however, as post-Mughal political and economic behaviors became more prominent, a half-century ensued which historians generally have avoided, seemingly unable to bring themselves to undertake close examination of the strategies and rationales which its elites and regimes adopted and proposed.  This is because post-Mughal political and economic behaviors involved the indigenous reactions to European dominance, intrusion, manipulation, and exploitation that marked the beginnings of the British Indian Empire.  Conventional history has regarded this era as a Dark Century, full of rulers with alleged personal failings, and elites who were self-absorbed, dejected, and indecisive. 

                This course examines Hyderabad’s history in the round, including not only its political and economic, but its cultural, intellectual, environmental, gender, and religious aspects.   Comprehensively treating the context of Mughal fragmentation, European competition for commercial and political dominance, and military threats from surrounding regional powers, we attempt not only to locate beginnings of modernity and their effects, but also reasons for its survival as a viable political entity until 1948, the year after Indian independence.  There is a vast literature on Hyderabad, not only in English but in French, Urdu, Persian, Marathi, and Telugu, but enrollees are not required to learn a new language to join the class.

                First-year seminars were originally designed around current faculty’s research projects under way, but very few have been as immediately connected as this, which is the topic of my next monograph.

 

                Requirements:    No exams.  Evaluation will rest on class discussion (40%),  plus three closely-edited and polished essays of two, three, and six typed pages, at intervals (60%).  No late or handwritten papers will be accepted without a truly superb excuse, such as a life-changing emergency.  I will edit and comment intensely, and you will resubmit revised versions of papers two and three. This course satisfies the second writing requirement.

 

                Readings average 75 pp/week.  Besides a photocopy packet, our texts will be chosen from among these:

 

                Karen Leonard, Hyderabad and Hyderabadis (New Delhi: Manohar, 2014)

                Harriet Ronkin Lynton and Mohini Rajan, The Days of the Beloved (Berkeley: U.C. Press, 1974)

                Omar Khalidi, The British Residency in Hyderabad: an Outpost of the Raj (London: PACSA, 2005)

                Narendra Luther, Hyderabad: a Biography (OUP India, 2005)

                Alison Mackenzie Shah, “Constructing a Capital on the Edge of Empire: Urban Patronage and Politics in the                                               Nizams’ Hyderabad, 1750-1950”  unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, U. of Pennsylvania, 2005

                Benjamin Cohen, Kingship and Colonialism in India’s Deccan 1850–1948 (New York: Palgrave, 2007)       

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

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

  

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(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
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