Spring 2016

HIUS 2052

America and War: 1900 to the Present

Philip Zelikow

This is a survey of modern American military history, but in the modern era it is more than that.  Especially since 1900 war has reshaped the way America is governed.  It has spawned a vast intelligence establishment with military capabilities of its own.  It has shaped industry and innovation.  Directly touching entire generations of Americans, 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 this 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 120 students.  There will be a midterm and a final exam, along with other short papers.


Required readings include book excerpts and articles, especially for some of the recent conflicts, along with the following books:  David Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society; Samuel Hynes, The Soldiers’ Tale: Bearing Witness to Modern War; David Kennedy, The American People in World War II; Ernest May & Philip Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis; and Larry Addington, America’s War in Vietnam: A Short Narrative History.


Spring 2016

HIUS 5559 (2)

History of Capitalism in Modern America

Sarah Milov

This course will investigate the history of capitalism in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present day. We will examine the political, social, legal, environmental, cultural and moral dimensions of economic life in America. We will pay special attention to how questions about work, finance, markets and material goods have served as starting points for broader considerations of “the good life.” We will also pay special attention to the role of crises like wars and depressions in shaping the American economy. Readings will include a mixture of primary and secondary sources and will total approximately 200 pages per week. Enrollment is limited to third and fourth year undergraduates. Assignments include weekly journals on assigned readings, several short essays and a research paper.  

Spring 2016

HISA 3003

Twentieth Century South Asia

Taught by: Nabaparna Ghosh


History has been the unfortunate ground on which many of South Asia’s fiercest political battles have played, and continue to play themselves out. This course considers a few of the key debates that have animated twentieth century South Asia. These include debates on the nature of anti-colonial nationalism; the shape of a free India; the founding principles of the states of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; the independence of Bangladesh; and the legacy of colonialism on democracy, development and militancy in these South Asian countries. We will also consider how recourse to certain interpretations of ‘history’ has influenced the crafting of policy and politics. Structured chronologically, the course begins with a study of colonialism in early twentieth century India and ends by considering the challenges of deepening democratization, and unequal development. 

There is no standard textbook for the course. Chapters from books and journal articles will be made available at collab or placed on reserve. Films will also be used.

Course requirements include active participation in class (15%); a book/film review (20%); a midterm exam (25%); and a final exam (40%).

Sample Reading:

Neelesh Misra, The Absent State

Mohammad Hanif, A Case of Exploding Mangoes 


Spring 2016

HIST 1501

Gender in the Global South, 1900-2000

Taught by: Nabaparna Ghosh



Focusing on the developing countries of the world, this seminar will explore the impacts of globalization, migration, and colonialism on gender and sexuality; sex work and questions of autonomy and agency; feminism and environmental justice; transgender politics in different cultural contexts; women and domestic or reproductive labor; international debates on the hijab; and the use of science to enforce the gender binary.The goal of the seminar is to understand the tension between universal claims about gender and local understandings across regions and cultures. 


Class Participation (40%); Two papers (60%).


Fulfills the second writing requirement.


No textbook required. Readings will be posted on Collab.

Spring 2016

HIST 4511

The Individual in History

Herbert Braun

This seminar is a transnational but not quite global history of the ‘the individualistic revolution’ from the eighteeenth century to the present, and the swirling controversies that have ensued.  It is composed of three chronological parts:  1) a review of the great historical thinkers on the places of the individual within the collective as the rise of the individual is taking place; 2) the twentieth century controversies surrounding the prominent place of the individual in both ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ social orders by liberal, conservative, radical and libertarian thinkers; 3) investigations on the contemporary (since ca 1980) controversies in various parts of the world on this issue.  Students will write a twenty page essay on the places of the individual in history by taking material from the three sections on which the seminar is built. 

Spring 2016

HIEU 4502

Spies, Scholars, Scientists: Empire as Information

Erik Linstrum

Is understanding the world a prerequisite to ruling it?  In the course of expanding across continents and cultures, the British Empire generated a need for knowledge about unfamiliar territories and diverse populations.  This seminar explores the politics of information in the imperial context, asking not only how information conveyed power but also, unexpectedly, how information could undermine and challenge it.  We consider the informants and spies who worked with British authorities, the surveyors and cartographers who mapped the terrain, the anthropologists who crafted ethnic classifications, and the psychologists who tested abilities and probed emotions.  We pay special attention to the fractious relationship between intellectuals and the state; the limits and failures of databases and networks; and the long history of what we now call “data visualization.”

Our texts include primary sources—novels, diaries, photographs, and government publications—as well as secondary works.  Reading assignments average around 150 pages per week.  The skills of historical research are emphasized as each student will write a substantial independent paper on a topic related to the theme of the seminar. 

Spring 2016

HIEU 2112

The Emergence of Modern Britain, 1688-2000

Erik Linstrum

Why does Britain — an island, an empire, a multinational state, and a laboratory of modern life — loom so large in world history?  This course explores the astonishing transformations of British society since the Glorious Revolution: from the state-building and overseas expansion of the Georgian years; through the urbanization, inequality, and increasingly assertive imperialism of the Victorian era; and finally to the ruptures of two world wars, the end of empire, and the decline of industry in the twentieth century.  Themes include the evolving meanings of “Britishness,” the ambiguities of liberalism, the complexities of class, and the impact of imperial rule at home.  We consider the lives of ordinary servants, soldiers, and workers alongside iconic figures like Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin, and Winston Churchill; we also draw on a wide range of primary sources, from diaries, paintings, and films to classic texts by Edmund Burke, Vera Brittain, and George Orwell.

Weekly reading load varies around an average of 150 pages.  Other requirements include an in-class midterm exam; two papers which involve the “close reading” of a primary source; and an in-class final exam.  

Anglo-Saxon England

13 Oct 2015

Spring 2016

HIEU 3141

Anglo-Saxon England

Paul Kershaw

This course traces the social, political and cultural history of early England and its Celtic neighbours across seven hundred years, from the departure of the Roman legions in the late fourth century through to England’s two conquests in the eleventh century, firstly by Knutr (Canute) of Denmark in 1016, and - more famously - that by the Norman Duke William 'the Bastard' in 1066. The centuries between these two dates witnessed rich cultural and political developments, and the emergence, in the form of Old English, of one of Europe’s most extensive post-Roman vernacular literatures.

Subjects addressed by this class include: the gradual emergence of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms from the post-Roman ‘Dark Ages’ of AD 400-600; the rise of several dominant kingdoms in the course of the seventh and eighth centuries, notably Mercia and Wessex; Anglo-Saxon belief; the historical writings of Bede; the reign of Alfred ‘the Great’; the Viking wars; the gradual emergence of a unified English state over the course of the later ninth and tenth centuries and its eventual conquest; varieties of Anglo-Saxon culture; manuscript production; social organization; law and dispute settlement; issues of trade and England's contacts with the wider world.

Students will write two essays of 2000 words. There will be two lectures and a discussion section each week, a mid-term and a final exam. This class cannot be taken for C/NC.

In addition to a course pack of readings set texts will include:


Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People, translated by R. Collins and J. McClure (Oxford University Press, 2000).



Asser's Life of Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources, translated by S. D. Keynes & M. Lapidge (Penguin, 1984).



The Anglo-Saxon World. An Anthology, edited and translated by K. Crossley-Holland (Oxford, 1999).





Spring 2016

HIEU 4501 (2)

Early Medieval Political Cultures. Issues, Approaches and Problems

Paul Kershaw

How did rulers rule and kingdoms function in the centuries after the end of Roman rule in the West? What were the high ideals and hard realities of political life in an age of holy men and women, warlords, and kings?

This four-credit seminar examines the political cultures of the post-Roman western Mediterranean in the period from c. AD 500 to c. 950 - from the age of the earliest successor kingdoms in western Europe through to the terminal phase of Carolingian power. In addition to assessing various aspects of the ideals and the hard realities of early medieval political culture this class is intended to introduce students to a diverse range of primary material from the period and to the analytical methods and scholarly means by which those sources are interpreted and through which the history of the early Middle Ages is written. Material culture and archaeology will concern us as much as the written word.

The class is a balance of collaborative seminar work and individual tutorials. Ultimately, students will write the substantial research paper of approximately 7,500 – 8,000 words using primary sources and secondary studies. Primary sources will be in translation though students will be encouraged to draw upon their respective language training, where relevant.

This class is not intended as a general introduction to the period and it is not suitable for students lacking demonstrable experience of studying the history of the period. Entry is by instructor permission only.

Modern Latin America

13 Oct 2015

Spring 2016

HILA 2002

Modern Latin America

Thomas Klubock

This course examines modern Latin American history from independence to the present.  It focuses on socioeconomic and political changes and on the ways different social actors -peasants, indigenous groups, workers, and women - have confronted and contributed to these changes.  The course covers a number of periods: movements for independence and the early nineteenth century; Liberalism, export-led growth, and the formation of modern nation states;  the Mexican revolution; industrialization, urbanization, and populism; the United States and Cuban revolution; the 1960s, Liberation Theology, and social movements; the crisis of underdevelopment and military regimes; Central American revolutions; and Latin America in the new global order, neoliberal economic restructuring, and transitions to democracy.  The course will consider a number of key questions about the causes of underdevelopment, the roots of authoritarianism, the nature and causes of revolutionary movements, the questi  on of human rights, the problem of social injustice, United States intervention, and the role of the Catholic Church. 

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

tel: (434) 924-7147; fax: (434) 924-7891
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