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.

Spring 2015

HIUS 7559 (1)

New Course in United States History

"Readings in 20th Century United States History"

Grace Hale

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.

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.

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

tel: (434) 924-7147; fax: (434) 924-7891
office: M-F 8 am to 4:30 pm
contact page