HIEU Courses

For the most updated list of courses offered and more information including course times, locations, and enrollments, please see SIS or Lou's List. Faculty information can be viewed in the Faculty Directory.

HIEU 1502: : Intro Seminar in Mod European History


Course Topic: History as Knowledge and Sensibility.

This course has two main purposes. Firstly, it is intended to introduce you to how history is really practiced by the best present-day historians. You will be surprised by how different this history is from the image of history that most students acquire in middle and secondary school. It is also most likely not your parents’ or your grandparents’ conception of history.

Secondly, the course is intended to develop students’ skills in the conventions of good, well-justified, academic thinking and writing. Writing, in this class, is generally not a matter of propounding a thesis. Rather, it is a matter of testing propositions against whatever relevant evidence for and against those propositions that one can discover. But since in history the evidence is almost always either fragmentary or (for recent history) impossibly overwhelming, it is usually impossible to be definitive in the claims one makes. We do know that Gavrilo Princip shot the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but beyond that almost everything is up for grabs in one way or another.

This course is restricted to first- or second-year students, but it is not restricted to people who intend to become history majors. In fact, it is almost more valuable for people who do not intend to become history majors, because it will give you an accurate idea for you to carry with you for the rest of your life of what is really involved in historical research and writing.

This is a “short-writing” intensive course, which requires, most weeks, mini-essays (ca. 400–500 words at most) on the week’s reading to be submitted before class; later in the semester these will morph into slightly longer pieces, to be agglomerated and submitted at the end of classes. There is no final exam. The class of course satisfies the College’s second-writing requirement.

Requirements and Grading:

(a) Attendance and participation will count for 25% of the final grade. Note that participation is not evaluated simply according to the number of times you talk in class. Each week, you are expected to have done the assigned work and to come to class prepared to ask questions, to comment on the readings, and to participate in a lively, focused conversation.

(b) Writing counts for the remaining 75% of your grade. In this course, there will be weekly “Reading Response Papers” (RRPs), as well as two longer “think papers” (of 1,000-1,500 words each). Toward the end of the semester, you will submit a selection of your already-written RRPs (likely revised and improved), plus a revised version of a “think paper.” This revised “pile of stuff” submission will count for the bulk of your writing grade. (There may be minor revisions in the layout of the writing requirement, depending on the contingencies of the semester.)

Books, Required:

All books will be on reserve. I list the books in the likely (but changeable) order that we shall confront them in class. I shall also assign a fair number of theoretical articles for students to read. NOTE: If a book listed below is outrageously expensive, hold off buying it. Note also that it is often possible, if you think ahead, to get books very cheaply via amazon.com or bookfinder.com.

DAVIS, NATALIE / THE RETURN OF MARTIN GUERRE – ISBN 0-674-76691-1 - $26.50/$19.88 [There is a so-so film on the “Martin–Bertrande” story, featuring Gérard Depardieu in his younger days.] Required books will be stocked by the UVA Bookstore, if you decide not to order online.

ARENDT, EICHMANN IN JERUSALEM – ISBN 0-14-303988-1 - $17.00/$13.49. It doesn’t matter much which edition you get—try for a relatively recent one at a low price. This is, by the way, a philosophical rather than a historical work. [There is a reasonably good recent “biopic” on Hannah Arendt, that will give you at least some idea of the context out of which this rather complex book came. A viewing of the film might help you to more quickly make sense of the book. Were the charges against Arendt justified?]

BROWNING, ORDINARY MEN W/NEW AFTERWORD - 0-06-099506-8 - $15.99/$11.99

MIDELFORT, H. C. ERIK. EXORCISM AND ENLIGHTENMENT. ISBN: 0300106696. Unfortunately, Yale University Press sells this book at $50 a shot. Don’t pay that price! If you can find a cheap second-copy, get it.

KUHN, THOMAS S. THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS. Any edition from 1970 onward (excluded is the 1st edition, published in 1962) Q175.K95 1970. University of Chicago Press. Has sold over a million copies—you can find one second-hand.

NIETZSCHE, ON ADVANTAGE & DISADVANTAGE OF HISTORY OF LIFE - 0-915144-94-8 - $10.00/$7.50. The Preuss translation is good, as are some others. Some cheap translations are very bad. Avoid editions published by obscure publishers.



Highly Recommended but not Required:

HACKER, DIANA. THE BEDFORD HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS, 6TH EDITION. ISBN: 0312256329 [the 4th and 5th editions are also acceptable, but get the 6th ed. if you can]. Out of print, but used books are available for as low as $5.00 online. [This book is a crucial reference work for good writing throughout college. Avoid the expensive & fancy newer editions.]

HIEU 2031: Ancient Greece


Course Topic:

Not for CR/NC.

History of Ancient Greece from the Homeric period to the death of Alexander the Great. Development of the city-state, Athenian democracy, and the nature of Greek politics; the conflict between Greece and Persia, and between Sparta and the Athenian naval empire; consequences of the latter conflict--the Peloponnesian War--for subsequent Greek history; finally, the Macedonian conquest of Greece and Persia.

Lecture and weekly discussions; midterm, final, seven-page paper, and occasional quizzes in section. Readings will average between 100 and 125 pages a week, to be taken from the following (students are not responsible--for exam purposes--for the entirety of any of these, although they will have to read all of either Herodotus or Thucydides for the paper): The Landmark Herodotus (R. Strassler, ed.; Free Press); The Landmark Thucydides (R. Strassler, ed.; Free Press); Plutarch, Greek Lives (Oxford); Plato, The Apology of Socrates (Hackett); J. M. Moore, Aristotle and Xenophon on Democracy and Oligarchy (California); S. Pomeroy et al., Ancient Greece (textbook: edition to be determined); a xerox packet (available at NK Print and Design on Elliewood Avenue)

HIEU 2071: Early Modern Europe and the World


Course Topic:

This course explores the history of Europe and its global connections from 1450 to 1789. How did global exploration in this period reconfigure the relationship between Europe and the wider world? How did a world of increasing global connections reshape how Europeans lived and understood their place in the world? Over the course of these three centuries, Europeans experienced changes in virtually every aspect of life, from what they wore and ate to their modes of government, and from what they believed about God and the cosmos to the trade routes they traveled. At the same time, increasing European activity around the world fundamentally reshaped societies, cultures, and economies and ushered in a period of rapid globalization. Throughout the semester, we will reconsider familiar historical narratives in global contexts. How, for example, did attempts to convert indigenous peoples in the Americas both result from and contribute to religious Reformation in Europe? What were the relationships among the slave trade, the emergence of consumer culture, and the development of capitalism? As we explore these questions, we will also develop the skills of the historian by working closely with primary sources in order to construct arguments about the past.

HIEU 2101: Jewish History I: The Premodern Experience


Course Topic:

Jewish civilization is one of the oldest and most influential components of world religion and history. Yet unlike other world civilizations, the Jewish people never possessed a large empire or even a large population. On the contrary, Jews always and everywhere constituted a tiny minority, even in ancient times. In this course, we will seek explanations for this unique history through surveying the narrative of Jewish civilization from biblical antiquity through the ancient and medieval worlds to the edge of the modern period (ca. 1550).

Through lectures, readings, in-class and online discussions, and writing assignments, we will examine the political and religious dimensions of pre-modern Jewish civilization. In the process, we will also explore questions about world history, religion and empire in the medieval Mediterranean and beyond, and the very idea of Western civilization. Special topics will include Israelite origins in the Ancient Near East, Jewish life under Greek and Roman imperial rule, the collapse of the independent Jewish state after 70CE, the growth of the global Jewish Diaspora, the emergence of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, Jewish minority life under medieval Islam and Christianity, medieval Jewish philosophy and mysticism, and anti-Jewish violence in the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition.

Each class will include an instructor lecture, followed by musical social listening or textual social reading interlude, and then an interactive discussion, sometimes in smaller groups, and other times as a whole class, about the primary sources.

This is an introductory course that assumes no prior knowledge of Judaism or Jewish history. We will read and critically analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources, including religious and legal writings, archeological and artistic images, and modern scholarly interpretations. Our goal is to introduce you not only to the study of Jewish history, but the related academic fields of Jewish Studies, European history, and world history. Evaluation will be based on short papers, class participation, and take-home midterm and final exams.

For history majors, HIEU 2101 satisfies the pre-1700 Europe (HIEU) requirement. The course also feels a core requirement for Jewish Studies majors.

HIEU 2111: English History to 1688


Course Topic:

This course surveys the history of England, Britain, and the British Empire up to the 18th century. We shall examine politics and society in the wake of the Norman Conquest in 1066 and life in the later Middle Ages; the Reformation and the catastrophic civil wars of the mid-17th century; and the extension of England as it became Great Britain and a global empire. We will thus be concerned not only with England, but with its place in Europe and the world. Students will write some out-of-class essays and a take-home final exam. Readings may include: Robert Bartlett, The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the Middle Ages; Eamon Duffy, The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village; Alison Games, The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Exploration, 1560-1660; and Mark Kishlansky, A Monarchy Transformed: England, 1603-1714.

HIEU 2162: The History of Russia Since 1917


Course Topic:

This course will survey the politics, society, and culture of Russia during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. A central part of the course will be examining the rise, fall, and legacies of Soviet Communism. In lectures and discussion sections, we will explore the major trends and events of this era, including the Revolutions of 1917, NEP, Stalinism, Khrushchev “Thaw,” Cold War, Collapse of the Soviet Union, and presidencies of Vladimir Putin. Additionally, as multi-ethnic states, the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and Russian Federation extend beyond the boundaries of “Russia” proper. This will push us to examine not only the variety of peoples living in these states but also the imperial policies and ambitions in Moscow that often shaped their lives.

HIEU 3000: Modern European Imperialism


Course Topic:

European empires are back in the headlines. From Brexit to controversies over colonial monuments, Europeans are debating the meanings and legacies of nineteenth- and twentieth-century imperial expansion. In this course, we will explore the history of those empires, from the age of abolition in the early nineteenth century through decolonization after World War II, in order to understand why they have such relevance again today. We will study how the motives and forms of empire changed, and how both colonizers and colonized people experienced and were affected by European imperial rule. We will consider European imperialism as a global phenomenon, but also zoom in more closely on four particular regions: India, Australia, the Congo and Algeria. Major themes in readings, discussions, and lectures will include the reasons for European imperial expansion; strategies of imperial conquest and rule; the economics of empire; race and gender in colonial societies; “civilizing” missions and colonial cultures; violence and decolonization; postcolonial migration and the legacies of empire. Primary and secondary readings, including novels, films, and political texts, will reflect European and non-European perspectives on empire. Texts may include George Orwell, Burmese Days; E.M. Forster, A Passage to India; Mudrooroo/Colin Johnson, Doctor Wooreddy’s Prescription for Enduring the End of the World; Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness; Assia Djebar, Children of the New World; Gillo Pontecorvo, dir., The Battle of Algiers; Gurinder Chadha, dir., Bend It Like Beckham.

Class meetings will be interactive, and combine lecture with discussion. In addition to regular reading (averaging 150 pages per week) and participation in class discussions, course requirements will include two short papers, two hourly exams, and a take-home final exam.

HIEU 3041: Fall of the Roman Republic


Course Topic:

Not for CR/NC

This upper-level lecture class assumes a basic knowledge of Roman history but has no prerequisites. It will cover the most tumultuous period in Roman history, that which stretches from 133 BC to the establishment of Octavian (Augustus) as the first emperor in 27 BC. This was the age of the great generals (Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar); of great oratory (Cicero), of amazing changes in the city of Rome itself, in Italy, and in the ever-growing provinces; an age of shifting political alliances, howling crowds, and the eventual transformation of a Republic into a monarchy. How did this come about? Could the Republic maintain an empire, or was the dominance of one man unavoidable? We will read mostly primary sources in translation, averaging about 140 pages a week; there will be ten in-class discussions, a midterm, a final, one 5-6 page paper, and one 7-10 page paper. Reading will be drawn from: H. H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero (fifth edition, 1982/new foreword 2011); Plutarch, Makers of Rome and The Fall of the Roman Republic (Penguin); Sallust, Jugurthine War and Conspiracy of Catiline (Penguin, transl. Woodman, 2007); Julius Caesar, Gallic War (Oxford); M. Tullius Cicero, On Government and Selected Political Speeches (Penguin); and a course packet

Note: graduate students are welcome to take this class in conjunction with HIEU 9025, a "graduate tutorial" in the History Department. We will have extra meetings and extra readings, and the final paper will be longer and more professional. Meeting times will be geared to everyone's convenience.

HIEU 3352: Modern German History


Course Topic:

Modern German history is a tale of radical reinvention: Imperial Germany, Weimar Germany, Nazi Germany, Cold War Divided Germany, Reunified Germany -- on each transition, the historical shock was sufficiently strong to force the country upon a new path. This course explores the repeated fundamental transformations of the German polity, the appeal of xenophobic populism and fascism, as well as the realities and legacies of dictatorship, war, and genocide. We will also study more recent phenomena in German history, such as the country’s integration into the European Union, its responses to migration, and the mainstreaming of Green policies and ideas. Requirements include two short essays, as well as a midterm and final examination. Fulfills the historical and second writing requirements. No prerequisites.

HIEU 3505, GETR 3505: History and Fiction, Topics


Course Topic: Hitler

Who was Adolf Hitler and what explains our enduring fascination with the Hitler phenomenon? Was his rise to power an aberrant historical accident or a logical outcome of German history? What was more decisive in shaping the catastrophic course of events under Hitler’s regime: his personality or deep structural historical factors? Would history have turned out better (or worse) if Hitler had been accepted into art school or died in infancy? Do melodramatic depictions of his last days normalize or even trivialize the Holocaust? Is it acceptable to laugh about or even empathize with Hitler today?

This course investigates Hitler’s life and afterlife on the basis of a broad variety of sources. Course materials range from scholarly articles to Nazi propaganda, films, novels, counterfactual histories and Hitler representations on the internet. Throughout this course, we will combine an interest in the personal dimensions of Hitler’s rule with the study of power structures, social interests, aesthetic forms, generational shifts, and national frames. We will pay particular attention to the affective logics and representational regimes that shape our understanding of the past (and present). Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, one oral presentation, and short written assignments. There will be no midterm or final examinations. Fulfills the historical and second writing requirements. Counts towards the major.

HIEU 3559: Culture and Conflict: The History of Ireland


Ireland has always been one of the weaker nations of Europe, given its size, population natural resources and location. although there have been notable exceptions, such as when Irish missionaries helped bring religion and learning back to the European continent in the "Dark Ages." Ireland is also unique in that of all the western European nations. she did not experience the Pax Romana. the Germanic invasions or, to any real extent, feudalism. Ireland experienced only two conquests in her history, the first in sixth century BC which established the Celtic culture and the second in 1169 by the Normans (English) and not completed until 1607. As a result, from the introduction of Christianity in the fifth century and its conflict with Gaelic society. through the same society's clash with the English, and Catholicism's contention with the English and Scots and their Protestantism. Ireland has been the subject as consistent cultural conflicts up until the Good Friday accord in 1998. This course will examine all of this.

HIEU 3812: Marx


Course Topic:

Last taught in Spring Semester 2018. Allan Megill megill@virginia.edu. Course meets M-W 2:00-3:15.

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 about the human world generally (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 held. 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, computer science, engineering, or other subjects demanding precision would do just as well, at least if you are not too uncomfortable with reading and writing. I record the lectures, in case students have unavoidable conflicting commitments, but it is foolhardy to miss all but a few lectures.

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.


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.

HIEU 4501: Paris, Capital of the 19th Century


Course Topic:

Paris has famously been called the "capital of the nineteenth century,” the hub of revolutionary politics and avant-garde culture in a Europe at the height of its power. In this seminar, we will explore a range of materials that illuminate the dramatic political revolutions, social transformations, and cultural developments that made Paris the quintessential modern Western metropolis between 1815 and 1914. We’ll read novels and memoirs about the glamorous high society and gritty underbelly of nineteenth-century Paris, examine official records of the revolutions that shook the city in this period, and look at some of the photographs, caricatures, and paintings that defined its visual and material culture. Along the way, we will ask how Parisians experienced and represented their city, why it was so iconic, and what drew so many people there from all over the world.

As a research seminar, the goal of our readings and group discussions is to explore some of the different resources available to historians of nineteenth-century Paris and develop the skills necessary to use them. A series of short research assignments will prepare students for a final, independent research project focused on the experience of a traveler in nineteenth-century Paris. All readings and discussions will be in English.

HIEU 4502: Major Seminar in European History


Course Topic: Stalinism

What was it like to live in Stalin's USSR? One way to answer this question is to study how those who lived through the Stalin era -- workers, peasants, youth, women, national minorities, officials, members of the creative intelligenntsia, Gulag prisoners, etc. -- represented their experiences in letters, diaries, memoirs, and works of the imagination. In this course, students will draw upon these and other primary sources to write a 25-page research paper on everyday life under Stalin. During the first six weeks of the semester, readings of about 200 pages per week will provide students with background on the Stalin era (1928-53) and introduce them to the range of possible topics and available English-language sources. Students will then carry out independent research on a topic to be chosen in consultation with the instructor. A draft of the paper will be due in November, and the final draft will be due several days after the last class meeting, during which students will give an oral presentation of their findings.

IMPORTANT: This capstone seminar fulfills the history thesis and second writing requirements. Enrollment is capped at twelve and restricted to History Majors who have previously taken college-level courses in Russian/Soviet history. Students who enroll in the course must choose a research topic that is directly connected to the theme of the seminar -- viz., everyday life under Stalin. All topic choices are subject to instructor approval. Possible texts for the first six weeks of common reading include: Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution and Everyday Stalinism; Chris Ward, Stalin’s Russia; J. Bardach, Man Is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag; Maurice Hindus, Red Bread; Viktor Kravchenko, I Chose Freedom: The Personal & Political Life of a Soviet Official; N. Novak-Deker, ed., Soviet Youth: Twelve Komsomol Histories; and William K. Storey, Writing History: A Guide for Students.

HIEU 5001: Dark Age Greece


Course Topic:

The rise of Greek civilization through the seventh century B.C. This discussion seminar will stress an interdisciplinary approach to the fragmented study of early Greek history, and use archaeological evidence as well as more traditional literary sources to examine fundamental topics like the rise of the polis; the development of the idea of citizenship; the beginnings of coinage (and the question of how to define value); the importance of purported changes in warfare; writing, literacy, and law-givers; the values and activities of the aristocracy (and how these can be identified and defined); colonization; and the development of sanctuaries. We will read a mix of primary sources and secondary monographs (an established survey such as Jonathan Hall’s A History of the Archaic Greek World; F. de Polignac, Cults, Territories, and the Origins of the Greek City-States; V. Hanson, The Other Greeks; I. Morris, Archaeology as Cultural History, among others); some of the work of the course will be reports on the ever-burgeoning scholarship in this field. Requirements will include: two oral reports, one on an historical monograph and one on an archaeological site; one exercise on evidence; one shorter paper analyzing a scholarly controversy; and one longer paper analyzing approaches to the ‘rise of the polis’ question. Reading will average 250 pages/week.

HIEU 5051: The Roman Empire


Course Topic:

Prerequisites for undergraduates: HIEU 2041 OR HIEU 3041; or instructor permission This course will examine the Principate from its founding (27 B.C.) to the beginning of the third-century crisis (A.D. 235). It will proceed by an examination of themes and topics rather than as a narrative: these themes and topics will include emperor and administration, local municipalities, slavery and varying gradations of freed status and citizenship, patronage, social mobility, economy, Romanization, the courts, emperor-cult, and resistance to Rome. Students are expected to write five exercises based on ancient sources; to write one five-to-seven-page paper; and to take a final exam. Readings will be drawn from the following: C. Wells, The Roman Empire; Tacitus, Annals and Histories; Josephus, Jewish War; Pliny, Letters; Apuleius, Apology; M. Goodman, The Ruling Class of Judaea. The Origins of the Jewish; Revolt Against Rome A.D. 66-70 (Cambridge U. P., 1987); R. MacMullen, Paganism in the Roman Empire (Yale); R. MacMullen, Romanization in the Time of Augustus (Yale); and additional readings on Collab

HIEU 9032: Tutorial in Modern Jewish History


Course Topic:

This tutorial explores the major historiographical literature of modern Jewish history, with an emphasis on core themes of political, cultural, and religious patterns, issues of periodization, and the question of its relationship to other fields of modern history.


Back to Course Listings