Fall 2014

HIUS 7041

The Early American Republic, 1783-1830

Alan Taylor

This seminar will introduce graduate students to the historiography of the early American republic, from the consolidation of the revolution to the Jacksonian era.  In addition to exploring the politics of the republic, we will examine social, economic, and cultural aspects to reveal the role of gender, class, and race in American life.  The class will require two short précis papers (1-2 pages each) and two longer review essays (5-6 pages each).  The weekly readings will usually feature two monographs or one monograph and several essays.  Details of the reading list will become available later.



Fall 2014

HIUS 2001

American History, 1600-1865

Alan Taylor

Open to all undergraduates, this introductory survey requires no previous coursework or expertise in American history.  This survey will explore social, economic, religious, and political change as British America became the early United States, culminating in the crisis posed by the Civil War.  The course will feature two 75-minute lectures and a mandatory weekly discussion section.  The secondary texts will include Taylor, Colonial America: A Very Short Introduction and the online resources of Globalyceum, both supplemented by primary source documents.  Readings will average 100 pages per week.  Grades will derive from participation in discussion; a midterm exam; two document evaluations (1-2 pages each); a longer paper (6-7 pages); and a final examination.


George Washington’s Library at Mt. Vernon selects 3 fellows from UVA's graduate program in history




Fall 2014

HIEU 2559 (1)

New Course in Pre-1700 European History

"The Supernatural in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800: Witches, Werewolves, and the Walking Dead"

Erin Lambert

Today, witchcraft and vampires are the stuff of hit movies and bestselling novels.  Five centuries ago, however, few Europeans questioned that magic was real.  This course reconstructs that enchanted world.  Throughout the semester, we will ask why early modern Europeans believed in the supernatural, and what caused these beliefs to change and ultimately recede over time.  For example, how did religious beliefs make demonic activity a logical explanation for disaster?  What do spells and shape-shifting reveal about Europeans’ conceptions of the natural world?  Each lecture will explore the ideas that undergirded a particular manifestation of the supernatural.  As we ask why Europeans hunted witches, for example, we will also examine their judicial systems and their views on women.  Through ghost stories, we will explore the ways in which the Reformation altered the relationship between the living and the dead.  Broadly, this course thus explores transformations in European society, religion, and ideas between 1500 and 1800.

Most of our course readings will be primary sources: firsthand accounts of demonic possession, or the records of witchcraft trials, for example.  These will be the basis for discussion sections each week.  Written work will include short papers (in response to assigned prompts) and two exams (midterm and final).



Fall 2014

HIEU 4501 (1)

Seminar in Pre-1700 European History

"The Body in Early Modern Europe"

Erin Lambert

From saints’ relics to public executions to stories of cannibalism in the Americas, the body was constantly the subject of debate and display in early modern Europe.  In this seminar, we shall follow changing understandings of the human body in Europe from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries.  Historians of science, religion, gender, and culture have demonstrated that we can learn much about the past by exploring the ways in which views of the human body differed over time and from one culture to another.  Debates about whether women were defective men, for example, help us to understand some of early modern Europeans’ most basic assumptions about social order, and their horror at the prospect of dissection speaks to their deepest fears.  Throughout the semester, we explore several approaches to the historical study of the body. First, we will ask how medical practitioners understood the body, and how the conception of a body governed by four humors gave way to new theories of its structure and function.  Second, we shall also explore the significance of the body to religious culture, focusing in particular on relics, the Eucharist, and mysticism. Third, we ask how Europeans’ understanding of the body shaped their views on differences, including gender, race, and disability.  We will also pay attention to how those concepts were transformed as Europeans entered a wider world.

Weekly discussions draw upon readings in primary sources and scholarly literature, as well as the analysis of images.  Throughout the semester, we will focus on developing the skills of the historian, especially the analysis of primary sources and the evaluation of scholarly arguments.  Each student will apply these skills in the development of a major research paper based on primary sources; topics will be devised in consultation with the instructor and reflect each student’s interests.




Fall 2014

HIUS 3131

The Emergence of Modern America, c. 1877- c.1920

Olivier Zunz

The United States changed drastically from a society attached to local forms of life to a society dominated by national institutions, big business, and big government in the period covered in this course. Throughout the course, we will investigate the ways in which Americans have attempted to keep their modern mass society democratic while negotiating the conflicts of region, faith, class, race, and gender.  Among the topics studied in some detail are the rise of corporate America, the simultaneous creation of the regulatory state, the organization of modern knowledge, the creation of the first military-industrial complex of World War I, and the requirements of a consumer culture.  We will focus also on the landscape of large urban and industrial hinterlands in the making of modern America. 



Fall 2014

HIUS 1501 (1)

Introductory Seminar in United States History

"Giving in America -- A History"

Olivier Zunz

As practiced in the United States, philanthropy is a critical means for enlarging democracy and for engaging a very broad portion of the citizenry in ideas and decision making. American philanthropy represents an integral part of America’s daily life, shaping the ways we practice active citizenship, acquire knowledge, solve problems, govern ourselves, and project our image abroad.  For these reasons, philanthropic and nonprofit institutions in the United States have not only been highly visible actors in education, science, social services, the environment, and the arts, they also have helped shape public and foreign policy. Taken together, monies collected from endowments and bequests, large and small, gifts solicited through fundraising campaigns, return on a variety of philanthropic investments, as well as income earned from not-for-profit activities add up to an annual philanthropic budget equal to that of the Pentagon. This course is about their influence and history.  The students will study a part of American life rarely discussed in history books or classes and yet present in their daily routines.



Fall 2014

HIEA 1501 (2)

Introductory Seminar in East Asian History

"Disasters in Japanese History"

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. Grading is based on review papers, discussion, in-class writing, a class presentation and a final take-home exam.

Modern Japan

07 Mar 2014


Fall 2014

HIEA 2072

Modern Japan

Robert Stolz

This lecture-discussion section course is an introduction to the politics, culture, and ideologies of Modern Japan. While still a 2000-level course covering the years 1800-2000s, we will focus on four major “moments” in modern Japanese history: The Meiji Ishin 1850-90, The Crisis of Nation-State-Capital, 1920-45, the formation of postwar capitalist society, 1955-89, and the recent “lost decade(s)," 1995-. We will use Japanese history to explore human thought and action in times of intense change, in the process interrogating the terms “modernity” and “culture.” There will be frequent in-class writing, a film paper, an in-class midterm and an in-class final exam.



Fall 2014

HIEU 3041

The Fall of the Roman Republic

Elizabeth A. Meyer

This upper-level lecture class assumes a basic knowledge of Roman history.  It will cover the most tumultuous period in Roman history, that   which stretches from 133 BC to the establishment of Octavian (Augustus) as the first emperor in 27 BC.  This was the age of the great generals (Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar); of great oratory (Cicero), of amazing changes in the city of Rome itself, in Italy, and in the ever-growing provinces; an age of shifting political alliances, howling crowds, and the eventual transformation of a Republic into a monarchy.  How did this come about?  Could the Republic maintain an empire, or was the dominance of one man unavoidable?  We will read mostly primary sources in translation, averaging about 140 pages a week; there will be sporadic discussions, a midterm, a final, one 5-6 page paper, and one 10-12 page paper.  Reading will be drawn from: 

  • H. H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero (fifth edition, 1982
  •              (note:  textbook may change if the promised new one is published in time)
  • Plutarch, Makers of Rome and The Fall of the Roman Republic (Penguin)
  • Sallust, Jugurthine War and Conspiracy of Catiline (Penguin, transl. Woodman 2007)
  • Julius Caesar, Civil Wars and Gallic War (Oxford)
  • M. Tullius Cicero, On Government and Selected Political Speeches (Penguin)
  • and a course packet


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



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