Spring 2015

HIUS 4591 (3)

Topics in United States History

"The Supreme Court, 1939-1969"

Charles W. McCurdy

This seminar will focus on the work of the Roosevelt Court (1939-1953) and of the Warren Court (1954-1969).  We’ll read a synthetic account, Paul Murphy’s Constitution in Crisis Times, during the first two weeks.  Then each student will become an expert on (and report to others) a Justice, a major case (or two), and a critic of the Roosevelt Court’s work.  Then we’ll do the same thing with the Warren Court. The course will end with a discussion of another synthetic account, Lucas Powe’s The Warren Court and American Politics.

There will be no lectures.  But there will be five or six five-page papers over the course of the term.

Spring 2015

HIEA 4501 (1)

Seminar in East Asian History

"Frontiers of Modern China"

Xiaoyuan Liu

China’s geopolitical and ethnopolitical frontiers and their importance to China’s international and domestic developments in the 20th century have been rediscovered by scholarly and policy communities in the past few decades.  One of the paradoxes of modern China is that when this ancient country of excessive maturity was edging toward modernity, its “frontier” characteristics, a sign of immaturity for a “nation-state,” just became increasingly salient.  This seminar class is designed to allow students to explore various aspects of the paradox, including China’s inland and maritime frontiers of inter-ethnic, inter-state, and inter-systemic connotations.  In the meantime, by completing a research paper on a topic relevant to the thematic concerns of the class, the students learn the fundamentals of historical research.

The course consists of class meetings and individual tutorials.  These are arranged for introducing methods of historical research, discussing major scholarships in the field, and helping the students develop their research plans.  The students are expected to present their papers at the last few sessions of the class.  Evaluation is based on attendance, several brief written assignments such as book reports and research proposals, a research paper about 25 pages, and an oral presentation of the paper.

Spring 2015

HIEA 3559 (1)

New Course in East Asian History

"China and the United States"

Xiaoyuan Liu

The course explores the relationship between China and the United State since the late 18th century.  Starting as an encounter between a young trading state and an ageless empire on the two side of the Pacific Ocean, the Chinese-American relationship has gone through stages characterized by the two countries’ changing identities, such as civilizational, national, ideological, strategic, or global.  By using both recent scholarly works and written records from the past, the course considers the historical contacts between China and the United States broadly and seeks to understand this intricate and profoundly important relationship by learning from insights at individual, communal, societal, state, and international levels. 

The course consists of lectures, occasional in-class discussions, and documentary films.  The student’s grade is based on participation, two in-class exams (midterm and final), a brief research-paper proposal, and a 12- to 15-page (double spaced) research paper.

Spring 2015

HIUS 1501 (2)

Introductory Seminar in United States History

"James Madison and the Making of the Civil War"

J.C.A. Stagg

Spring 2015

HIUS 3072

The Civil War and Reconstruction

Gary W. Gallagher

This course explores the era of the American Civil War with emphasis on the period 1861-1865. It combines lectures, readings, films, and class discussion to address such questions as why the war came, why the North won (or the Confederacy lost), how the war affected various elements of society, what was left unresolved at the end of the fighting, and how subsequent generations of Americans understood the conflict's meanings. Although this is not a course on Civil War battles and generals, about 50 per cent of the time in class will be devoted to military affairs, and we will make a special effort to tie events on the battlefield to life behind the lines.

The course will be organized in two lecture meetings a week. Grades will be based on two geography quizzes (each 5% of the course grade), two take-home examinations (each 35% of the course grade), and a 7-page paper that integrates material from the lectures, readings, and films (20% of the course grade).

Note: This course does not satisfy the second writing requirement.

Required Books:

  •  Jacqueline G. Campbell, When Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front
  •  William J. Cooper. ed., Jefferson Davis: Essential Writings
  • Charles B. Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War
  • Gary W. Gallagher, Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty
  • Joseph T. Glatthaar, Partners in Command: The Relationships between Leaders in the Civil War
  • William E. Gienapp, ed., This Fiery Trial: The Speeches and Writings of Abraham Lincoln
  • E. S. Redkey, A Grand Army of Black Men
  • Robert E. Bonner, ed., The Soldier's Pen: Firsthand Impressions of the Civil War



Spring 2015

HIUS 3282

Virginia History, 1865-2015

George H. Gilliam

History is the study of change over time.  This course will examine change in Virginia from about 1865 to the present.  The course will consider four issues: (a) which groups have tried to empower which Virginians, at what times and utilizing which strategies, and which groups have tried to disempower which Virginians; (b) how have Virginians used racism to weave the political, social, moral, and economic fabric of modern Virginia; (c) the role of sovereign debt and the resolution of the conflict between Funders and Readjusters in constructing Virginia’s “pay-as-you-go” philosophy; (d) in which respects were the changes in the political, economic, social and racial landscapes of Virginia during the sixty years following the Civil War similar to such changes in the sixty years following World War II?

Readings will average approximately 120 pages per week, and will be drawn from both primary documents and secondary material.  Among the readings will be selections from Ronald L. Heinemann et al., Old Dominion/New Commonwealth: A History of Virginia, 1607-2007;as well as: Elizabeth R. Varon, Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War; Jane Dailey, Before Jim Crow: The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia; and J. Douglas Smith, Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia. The class meets twice per week.  Approximately 2/3 of each class will be spent in lecture and 1/3 in guided class discussion. There will be a short answer mid-term exam, one 8-10 page paper requiring the use of primary source materials, one group project, and an essay-type final examination.

Spring 2015

HIUS 4501 (1)

Seminar in United States History

"American Taxation and Political Economy from the Stamp Act to the Fiscal Cliff"

Frank Garmon

In the current debate over the federal budget deficit, politicians and political pundits have invoked a number of historical precedents to justify their policy prescriptions. The founding generations’ understanding of taxation, policymakers’ intent in crafting Social Security during the New Deal, and the origins and legacy of California Proposition 13 each inform our understanding of contemporary fiscal policy. This seminar provides students with the opportunity to research and write a significant paper on the history of American taxation. Course readings emphasize recent historiography, including topics such as the political debates over taxation in the Revolutionary period, the Progressives’ legal struggle for a federal income tax, and the connection between taxation and racial inequality in the twentieth century. This course does not assume any previous exposure to American tax policy, and students may pursue papers that examine any aspect of the taxation in American history, including the political economy, social, political, economic, administrative, or legal history of taxation. Students will be required to meet early in the semester as a class to discuss resources available on grounds and will meet regularly with the instructor to discuss progress on their research and writing. At the end of the semester, students will produce a 25-30 page paper based on original primary source research. This course will fulfill the university’s second writing requirement.

Spring 2015

HIST 9992

General Examination Preparation

Risa Goluboff

In this course, students will prepare for the general examination. The general examination tests the student’s acquaintance with the events and historiography of a given period or topic, grasp of major issues and questions, and the ability to follow, construct, and criticize historical interpretations. During the course, the student will identify relevant readings; complete and review those readings; and explore the larger questions raised by those readings and their fields more generally.

New Course in History

29 Sep 2014

Spring 2015

HIST 5559

New Course in History

"Global Legal History"

Paul D. Halliday

This course considers European legal regimes as they moved around the globe. It examines those regimes’ interactions with one another and with non-European legal cultures from roughly 1500 to the twentieth century. Themes include: empire formation; conflicting ideas of property; interaction of settler and indigenous peoples; the law of nations and the law of war; and piracy and the law of the sea. Readings may include works by early modern legal thinkers such as Vitoria, Grotius, and Vattel. We will also discuss modern scholarship: e.g. Stuart Banner, Possessing the Pacific; Lauren Benton, A Search for Sovereignty; Lisa Ford, Settler Sovereignty; and Assaf Likhovski, Law and Identity in Mandate Palestine. We will also read some shorter works concerned with legal history methods. The course will have multiple short writing assignments and a take-home exam. Undergraduates may take this course only by instructor permission.

Spring 2015

HIUS 3559 / AMST 3559

New Course in United States History

"Local Sites, Global History: Hands-On Public History"


Public History is history that is delivered to a popular audience of non-scholars, often at historic sites, museums, and, more recently, via digital tools and websites. This course will introduce students to the issues and goals that have shaped public history as a scholarly discipline, but the focus of the course will be on the contemporary practice of public history. To that end, students will all be awarded internships at Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of Pres. James Monroe, for the duration of the semester.

Readings and films will provide a foundation for students’ understanding of the work they will do as part of their internships, which will be conducted on site at Ash Lawn-Highland on a weekly basis. Assignments will be discussed at a weekly class meeting, and will span the range of scholarly issues most relevant to the practice of public history today. Those include the challenges of presenting slavery as public history; enlarging the scope of historic sites to include the less powerful, especially women and enslaved workers; and ongoing debates about the difference between history and heritage. Who is the “public” in public history? Whose history gets told, and how?

Students will write one paper and a final reflective essay; there is no midterm or final. Class participation will play a large role in student assessment, as will evaluation by the Ash Lawn-Highland supervisor.

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

tel: (434) 924-7147; fax: (434) 924-7891
office: M-F 8 am to 4:30 pm
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