Spring 2015

HIEA 3112

Late Imperial China: 1000 to 1900

Bradly W. Reed

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).



Spring 2015

HIEA 1501 (1)

Introductory Seminar in East Asian History

"Students and Politics in Modern China"

Bradly W. Reed

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.



Spring 2015

HIUS 3151

US Society and Politics 1900-1945

Sarah Milov

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. 



Spring 2015

HIUS 1501 (3)

Introductory Seminar in United States History

"The United States through Tobacco"

Sarah Milov

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.



Spring 2015

HIME 5559 (1)

New Course in Middle East History

"Slavery in the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire"

Joshua M. White

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.

New Course in History

03 Oct 2014


Spring 2015

HIST 5559 (1)

New Course in History

"Christianity in the Early Modern World"

Erin Lambert

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.



Spring 2015

HIEU 3311

Social History of Early Modern Europe

Erin Lambert

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

03 Oct 2014


Spring 2015

HIEA 2073

Japan to 1868

Robert Stolz

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.



Spring 2015

HIEA 4501 (2)

Seminar in East Asian History

"Catastrophic Japan"

Robert Stolz

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.



Spring 2015

HIUS 4501 (4)

Seminar in United States History

"Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello"

Christa Dierksheide

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.



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



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