Spring 2015

HIEU 3462 / GETR 3462

Neighbors and Enemies

Manuela Achilles

A biblical injunction, first articulated in Leviticus and then elaborated in the Christian teachings, stipulates that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself. This course explores the friend/enemy nexus in German history, literature and culture. Of particular interest is the figure of the neighbor as both an imagined extension of the self, and as an object of fear or even hatred. We will examine the vulnerability and anxiety generated by Germany’s unstable and shifting territorial borders, as well as the role that fantasies of foreign infiltration played in defining German national identity. We will also investigate the racial and sexual politics manifested in Germany’s real or imagined encounters with various foreign “others.” Most importantly, this course will study the tensions in German history and culture between a chauvinist belief in German racial or cultural superiority and moments of genuine openness to strangers. In the concluding part of this course, we will cons  ider the changing meanings of friendship and hospitality in a globalizing world. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, one in-class presentation, and three short essays. No mid-term or final examinations.

Spring 2015

HIEU 1502 (1)

Introductory Seminar in Post-1700 European History

"History and Fiction"

Manuela Achilles

Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson has written that “[h]istory is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction.” This course explores the various forms or modes and purposes of historical re-presentation. Is the writing of history a science or an art? Are storywriters or film makers better equipped than the historian to find the human truths behind the mask of facts? How can we ever hope to give an accurate or authentic account of a past that by definition must always remain “before” the present moment of speaking, re-enacting, reading or writing? Course materials range from scholarly articles to historical novels, museum exhibits, feature films, photography, cartoons, and poems.

This course is designed to introduce first and second-year students to reading and writing about history. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, one brief in-class presentation, and three five-page essays. There will be no mid-term or final examinations.

Spring 2015

HIST 1501 (1)

Introductory Seminar in History

"Photography in the '60s: From Civil Rights to Woodstock to Vietnam"

John Edwin Mason

"Photography in the '60s:  From Civil Rights to Woodstock to Vietnam," looks at how photography shaped the ways in which Americans reacted the decade's dynamic social movements.  Our focus will be on magazines, such as Time and Life, which employed some of the finest photographers of the era and reached millions of readers every week.  We will also consider how television news affected American's understanding of the world around them.

The Sixties were a tumultuous decade.  The Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the women's and environmental movements, and the rise of rock & roll and the counter-culture generated both enthusiastic support and fervent opposition.  Few American were directly involved in all of these social movements.  Their attitudes toward the movements were determined, to a large degree, by how they responded to the images that they saw in popular media.  Looking at the photographs and at people's responses to them will help us understand the history of the times.

"Photography in the '60s" is a small introductory seminar that is designed to promote conversations and interactions between students and the instructor.  Students will learn to analyze both primary sources -- for instance, photographs, magazines, interviews, music, and news reports from the era -- and secondary sources -- that is, books and articles that were written later.  Students will use the analytical skills that they develop throughout their years at UVA.

Because students will write short papers (1-2 pages) throughout the semester and a longer research paper (10-12 pages) on a photographic subject of their own choice, this course fulfills the second writing requirement.

No prior classes in American history or the history of photography are required.

Spring 2015

HIAF 2002

Modern African History

John Edwin Mason

Modern African History, explores the history of Africa from the decline of the Atlantic slave trade, in the early nineteenth century, to the present.  Our goal is to examine the historical roots of the continent's present condition.  We will look at the slave trade and its consequences, the growth of African states, the spread of Islam, the European conquest of most of the African continent, African responses to colonial rule, and the reestablishment of African independence.

We will concentrate on three regions: West Africa, especially Nigeria; East Africa, especially Kenya and Ethiopia; and southern Africa, with an emphasis on South Africa.  We will pay particular attention to the ways in which colonialism affected ordinary Africans and to the various strategies that Africans employed to resist, subvert, and accommodate European domination.

HIAF 2002 is an introductory course and assumes no prior knowledge of African history.  There will be two blue book exams -- a mid-term and a final -- and periodic quizzes on the readings.

Spring 2015

HIEU 2162

History of Russia Since 1917

Jeffrey Rossman

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.


06 Oct 2014

Spring 2015

HIST 5621


Jeffrey Rossman

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.

Spring 2015

HISA 4501 (1)

Seminar in South Asian History

"The Partition of India: Problems and Perspectives"

Neeti Nair

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, [1985], 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.

Spring 2015

HISA 3003

Twentieth Century South Asia

Neeti Nair

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%).

Spring 2015

HIUS 4501 (3)

Seminar in United States History

"Exploring American Democracy, with Alexis de Tocqueville as Guide"

Olivier Zunz

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.

Spring 2015

HIUS 2002

The History of the United States from 1865 to the Present

Olivier Zunz

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.

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

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