History of Russia Since 1917
HIEU 2162 is an introductory survey of the history of Russia (broadly defined) from 1917 to the present. Our goal in the course is to explore the rise and fall of a distinct form of civilization -- a polity, society, culture and empire -- known as "Soviet Communism." Why did that "civilization" arise in Russia, and what is "Russia" now that Soviet Communism is dead? To answer these questions, lectures and readings will focus on the political, social and cultural history of the region. Major topics include: the revolutions of 1917; the Civil War; Lenin's New Economic Policy; Stalinism; the Second World War and post-war reconstruction; the origins and phases of the Cold War; de-Stalinization and the limits of reform (Khrushchev to Gorbachev); the crisis of late Communism (the Brezhnev years); the disintegration of the USSR and the rise of the Russian Federation (the Yeltsin Presidency); and the quest for stability under Putin. The course includes a comparative dimension in that it explores the varieties of communist experience globally, especially in Eurasia.
The course has no prerequisites. Requirements include active participation in weekly discussion sections, a midterm exam, a final exam and several short papers on required course readings. Readings (in English) of about 150 pages per week will include primary and secondary sources. Possible texts include: Lydia Chukovskaya, Sofia Petrovna; Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto; Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; and Ronald Suny, The Soviet Experiment.
One of the defining features of the twentieth century was the repeated use of genocide and mass terror by states against internal and external populations. In this seminar, we will explore these phenomena from a theoretical and historical point of view, with particular attention to the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the democides that have taken place under Communist regimes (e.g., Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia), and more recent experiences of one-sided mass killing in Africa. While the experience of victims will be of central concern, we will also examine the experience and motivations of perpetrators, the explicit and implicit goals of the terrorizing/genocidal state, the response -- or lack of response -- by members of the international community, and the ethical dilemmas posed by one-sided mass violence. Requirements include readings of 200 to 300 pages per week, active participation in class discussions, two five-page book reviews, and a fifteen-page historiographical essay. This course meets the Second Writing Requirement.
Possible readings for the course include portions of the following books: Eric Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation; Benjamin Valentino, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century; James Waller, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (2nd ed.); Taner Akcam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility; Doris Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2nd ed.); Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland; Stéphane Courtois, ed., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression; Alexander Hinton, Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide; and Scott Straus, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda.
HISA 4501 (1)
Seminar in South Asian History
"The Partition of India: Problems and Perspectives"
The Partition of India has been the defining political misstep in twentieth century South Asia, confounding centuries of fluid identities in one sweeping irreversible decision. In this course we examine the texture of life in pre-Partition Punjab, the United Provinces (UP) and Bengal; detail the denouement in political negotiations that culminated in Partition; consider the violence that became constitutive of Partition; and mark the enormous consequences of the international boundary line separating India from Pakistan and later, Bangladesh.
Films, fiction and a range of primary and secondary sources will be used. The following books will be available for purchase at the bookstore:
Ayesha Jalal, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan, Cambridge University Press, , 1994
Neeti Nair, Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India, Harvard University Press, 2011
Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007
Other readings including book chapters, journal articles and short pieces of fiction will be posted on collab. This research seminar fulfills the second writing requirement. Permission of the instructor is required to register for the course. Prior coursework in South Asian Studies/ History will serve as a prerequisite for this course. The reading load will average 200 pages a week.
Course requirements include active participation in discussions (20%); weekly one-page position papers (20%); a short proposal of 5 pages (10%), the presentation of research (10%) and the final research paper of 18-20 pages (40%). The final essay of 18-20 pages will be a research paper drawing upon a range of primary sources like the Transfer of Power volumes, Constituent Assembly Debates, contemporary newspapers, collections of correspondence, memoirs, Partition literature etc.
Twentieth Century South Asia
This course considers a few of the key debates that have animated twentieth century South Asia: 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. Films will also be used. This course is reading intensive. 200 pages of reading will be the average per week. Prior coursework in South Asian History/ Studies is not a prerequisite, but will be an asset. The following required books will be available for purchase at the bookstore:
Aman Sethi, A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi, 2012.
Ramachandra Guha ed., Makers of Modern India, Harvard University Press, 2011.
Ayesha Jalal, The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics, Harvard University Press, 2014
Course requirements include active participation in class (15%); a book review (20%); a midterm exam (25%); and a final exam (40%).
HIUS 4501 (3)
Seminar in United States History
"Exploring American Democracy, with Alexis de Tocqueville as Guide"
Alexis de Tocqueville has contributed to the idea of America with such brilliance that he has helped Americans define themselves. Despite his own ambivalence toward the individualistic trends he observed during his American journey of the 1830s, the young French aristocrat became one of the first theoreticians of the United States as a society built on voluntary associations. By reading Democracy in America (1835, 1840), we will engage the American and European contexts in which Tocqueville's thoughts evolved and were received on both sides of the Atlantic. We will discuss Tocqueville's conceptualization of civil society and reflection on liberty and equality, and their relevance for our own lives. We will use Tocqueville’s classic text (and other sources all available in English) as starting points to write seminar papers on American democracy.
The History of the United States from 1865 to the Present
This course is an interpretive survey of American History covering the fourteen decades since the end of the Civil War. The main topics are the creation of a huge capitalist market economy, the ascent of the U.S. to world power and engagement in world affairs, and the domestic challenge of keeping a mass society democratic. There are two lectures and a discussion section each week. While a textbook supplies background, documents and iconography selected from primary sources emphasize the diversity of this nation’s past and highlight conflicting viewpoints. The heart of the class is the students’ engagement with the documents and iconography, in light of the lectures, and active participation in weekly discussions.
HIUS 7559 (1)
New Course in United States History
"Readings in 20th Century United States History"
This course examines recent scholarship on the US in the twentieth century. Our readings will explore major historiographical trends including the expansion of mass culture, visual culture and sound studies, the rise and fall of American liberalism, the long-civil rights movement, the new right, and changes in the material and symoblic meaning of class and gender.
Late Imperial China: 1000 to 1900
HIEA 3112 covers the late imperial period of Chinese history, from the founding of the Song dynasty in the tenth century to the final decades of the imperial system in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although the course covers the basic elements of social, political, and cultural history, emphasis is placed on analyzing events and trends in an attempt to come to grips with two rather thorny questions: 1) How can we account for the remarkable stability and longevity of the late imperial system of government as well as its basic patterns of social economic relationships? 2) Given the durability of the late imperial system, how can we account for its fragmentation and ultimate demise when it faced fundamentally new challenges, from both within and without, in the nineteenth century? These and other questions will be considered through an investigation of several inter related issues: The ideological and philosophical foundations of the authoritarian state; the linkage and tension between elite and popular culture and life styles; the cultural assimilation of non-Chinese peoples; the formation of popular traditions of religious faith, protest and rebellion; and problems of systemic decline.
Although HIEA 3112 is the second of a two semester sequence on Imperial China, neither HIEA 3111 nor any previous study of Chinese history is required. The course is based on lectures along with occasional discussions. Readings, drawn from a basic text and translated primary materials, average between 100 150 pages per week. Evaluation is based on a mid-term exam (30%), an interpretive essay (35%), and a final exam (35).
HIEA 1501 (1)
Introductory Seminar in East Asian History
"Students and Politics in Modern China"
In the spring of 1989, students from China's most prestigious universities in Beijing staged a series of public demonstrations in the public square known as Tiananmen demanding an end to governmental corruption and greater democratization of the country's political system. But although the students briefly captured the support of Beijing residents and the imagination of people around the globe,, their movement came to a tragic conclusion in the early morning hours of June 4th, when a military crackdown resulted in the death of hundreds of people and the imprisonment of the country’s foremost advocates of political reform. But if the crackdown succeeded in silencing overt protest, it has also led to a profound questioning of the Communist Party’s legitimacy and the direction in which the country is headed.
In this seminar, we will attempt to understand the meaning and significance of these dramatic events by placing them in a broader historical context. In doing so, we will concern ourselves with two sets of related issues. The first revolves around the role played by intellectuals and students at the forefront of political and social transformation in China during the twentieth century. The second set of questions turns on the specific forms which political protest has taken. What issues have mobilized students and intellectuals? What symbols and methods of protest have they drawn upon to dramatize their demands?
HIEA 1501 is a challenging seminar designed for, and limited to first and second year students. In addition to covering the topic through weekly readings and discussion, it is also introduces students to the concerns, methods, and practice of historical inquiry. Emphasis is placed on developing the skills of critical reading, clear writing, and cogent discussion. Grades will be based on the completion of weekly reading assignments (20%), quality of participation in weekly discussions (40%), and a historiographic essay of between ten to twelve pages. The course neither assumes nor requires any previous study of Chinese history.
US Society and Politics 1900-1945
Between the turn of the century and the end of the Second World War, Americans sought to impose order upon the dizzying demographic, economic and cultural transformations of the period. They did so through various and sometimes contradictory means: the rise of professional organizations, the growth of the state, the enshrining of science as a guide to policy, and the codification of racial boundaries. This course will pay particular attention to the economic, political and social changes that attended the development of an increasingly urban and industrial United States. Topics receiving special attention include the growth of the corporation and mass culture, the evolution of ideas about capitalism, the United States’ ambivalent relationship with empire, and the rise, meaning and contestation of Jim Crow.