HIUS 1501 (3)
Introductory Seminar in United States History
"The United States through Tobacco"
Perhaps more than any other single commodity, tobacco has defined the United States. From its cultivation at Jamestown to its ongoing contestation in the courts today, tobacco has been central to the geography, economy, law, politics, culture, and health of the US for more than four hundred years. For this reason, tobacco embodies important themes and tensions within American history: landed independence and enslaved labor; imperialism and the consolidation of the nation; wealth concentration and the rise of the middle class; individual choice and the imperatives of public health.
Students will select their own commodity or object and use it as a window into American history. Several short writing assignments will build toward a 12-15 page research paper that advances an original argument about the role of a particular commodity in American history. The course will culminate in a conference in which students will present their research and interpretation to their peers.
HIME 5559 (1)
New Course in Middle East History
"Slavery in the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire"
This course explores the practice of slavery in its various forms in the Middle East and North Africa, from pre-Islamic times to its abolition in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, and considers its impact on the political, military, social, and economic histories of the wider region. Topics include: the sources of slaves and the slave trade; the regulation of slave markets; the employment of slaves and their economic importance; the social and legal position of slaves in Islamic societies; manumission practices; the slave-soldier phenomenon; captivity and ransom; questions of religion, gender and race; and the movement towards abolition.
This discussion-based class is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have taken at least one HIME course previously. Weekly readings—mostly scholarly books and articles—will average 150-200 pages. Evaluation is based on participation, weekly response papers, and a final research paper.
HIST 5559 (1)
New Course in History
"Christianity in the Early Modern World"
This seminar explores the history of Christianity in a global perspective, c. 1492-1800. Traditionally, historians considered the Reformation as a European phenomenon. Recently, however, scholars have increasingly pointed to the ways in which changes in European Christianity were felt around the globe, and in turn, their studies suggest that exploration inflected religious transformations in Europe. Throughout the semester, we will explore these themes. Selected areas of focus include the interaction of European Christians with members of other world religions, the development of missions in Asia and the Americas, and the ways in which persecution and evangelization drove migration. How, we will ask, did religious conflicts shape the movement of people? What role did religious motives play in claims to territory? And how was the meaning of religious difference transformed in a rapidly widening world? Readings will include a book or several articles per week. Written work will include short book reviews and a longer historiographical essay or research project designed in consultation with the instructor.
Social History of Early Modern Europe
This course explores the ways in which Europeans formed communities and grappled with problems such as poverty, inequality, and social difference between 1500 and 1800. Throughout the semester, we ask how individuals, families, and communities made their way in a world of rapid change. We will explore this question through themes such as urban and rural life, trade, agriculture, and kinship. We shall pay particular attention to changing understandings of human rights, conceptions of gender and race, and responses to economic inequality, from charity to rebellion. Throughout the semester, we consider the experiences of peasants, merchants, nobles, beggars, and criminals, just to name a few. Discussion sections will predominantly focus on the interpretation of primary source documents. Written work includes short papers and two exams (midterm and final).
Japan to 1868
This lecture-discussion section course is an introduction to the history of Japan to 1868. We will focus on major “moments” in modern Japanese history: Early state formation, the Heian court, warrior society, and spend significant time in the Tokugawa period—including an in depth unit on the history and meaning of the 47 ronin. There will be frequent short writing in and for discussion sections, an in-class midterm, and an in-class final exam.
HIEA 4501 (2)
Seminar in East Asian History
This seminar will examine the role of disaster in shaping Japanese society and culture. We will read general texts on the politics, sociology, and aesthetics of disaster as well as take on specific topics such as the 1923 and 1995 Earthquakes, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Aum Shinrikyo, and Fukushima. There will be a thesis option for majors and a second writing requirement option of more frequent papers for those not using the course for their major thesis. We will not meet every week and the majority of grading will be on assigned writing.
HIUS 4501 (4)
Seminar in United States History
"Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello"
During the past decade, historians and writers have most often described Thomas Jefferson in one of two ways: as an “impenetrable” character or as a “hypocritical” slaveowner. But this course will seek to move beyond these paradigms by considering Jefferson in the context of his “autobiography”—his mountaintop plantation at Monticello. Students will examine Jefferson through the lens of Monticello and its hundreds of people, both free and enslaved. After visiting Monticello, students will be encouraged to examine Jefferson through a variety topics—including slavery, architecture, garden/landscape theory, material culture, and gender—that will provide the basis for a research paper.
We will spend the first five weeks of the semester together discussing readings and research methods. During this time, students will write short, persuasive essays in response to the readings. After this period, students will work with me to develop a research topic that reflects their interest(s) in Jefferson and Monticello; this topic will form the basis of a 25-30 page research paper. While students are working on their respective research projects, we will meet sporadically as a group to workshop proposals and drafts.
Grading will be based on class participation, the short reading responses, a rough draft of the research paper, and the final draft of the research paper.
This course examines the history of the Atlantic World, ca. 1450-1815. It considers the “Atlantic World” as a conceptual frame for studying the history of European imperial expansion in the early modern period and emphasizes multilateral exchanges of people, organisms, goods, and ideas linking Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Themes include: migration, the slave trade, slavery and plantation societies, maritime commerce, the Columbian exchange, economic development, Native America, settler colonialism, ideologies of empire, material culture, and comparative revolutions. This course supports Ph.D. students in the History Department undertaking exam fields in Early American History, 1584-1815 and Atlantic History.
Master's Essay Writing
This course is a workshop for first-year Ph.D. students in History as well as M.A./J.D. students who are writing article-length works of original historical scholarship. To make progress toward the master's essay requirement, first-year History graduate students may take this course or work independently with a faculty advisor (by registering for a section of HIST 9961 by permission of the DGS and faculty member) during the spring semester of their first year. Students should come to this course with a research project that is well underway. Class meetings will focus on strategies for effective scholarly writing and will involve reading and critiquing works-in-progress. Before April 30, each first-year History student will present a pre-circulated final draft of his or her master's essay to an ad hoc seminar convened by the faculty advisor and attended by graduate students and faculty in the field.
HIUS 3150 / RELC 3150
Salem Witch Trials
The course will explore the historical scholarship, literary fiction, and primary source materials relating to the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. How and why did the accusations begin? How and why did they stop? Serious theories and wild speculations abound both in 1692 and now. Who were the female and male heroes, victims, and villains in this tragic episode? The most gripping personal stories are to be found in the court records and in the literary portrayals by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Arthur Miller. Explore the impact of this small-scale, 300 year-old event upon America’s cultural heritage -- how and why did "Salem witchcraft" become part of the American cultural imagination? The course will draw upon parts of the following historical works: Entertaining Satan by John Demos, Salem Story by Bernard Rosenthal, and In the Devil’s Snare by Mary Beth Norton, in addition to selected journal articles, documentary films, and Arthur Miller's classic play The Crucible. The class will include short 2 page essays on reading materials and culminates in two short essays to be written on important figures and/or topics related to the witch trials, based entirely on the primary sources. Class discussion sections will be held online at the course's Collab Forum. The class will make extensive use of the online "Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive" <http://salem.lib.virginia.edu> which contains all the original court documents and contemporary accounts.