Spring 2016

HIEU 2162

History of Russia Since 1917

Jeffrey Rossman

This is an introductory survey of the history of Russia (broadly defined) from 1917 to the present.  Briefly, 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 social and cultural as well as the political history of the region.  Major topics include:  the revolutions of 1917; the Russian Civil War; Lenin’s New Economic Policy; Stalinism; the Great Fatherland War and post-war reconstruction; the origins and phases of the Cold War; de-Stalinization and the limits of reform (Khrushchev to Gorbachev); varieties of Communism within Europe and beyond; the quest for stability and the crisis of late Communism (the Brezhnev years); the disintegration of the USSR and the emergence of the Russian Federation and other successor states; and post-Soviet Russia’s transition to oligarch/crony capitalism and “sovereign democracy” (Yeltsin to Putin).

            The course assumes no prior training in Russian history.  Requirements include active participation in weekly discussion sections, a midterm exam, a final exam and three 600-word papers on required course readings.  Readings (in English) of about 150 pages per week will include primary and secondary sources. Assigned texts include:  Lydia Chukovskaya, Sofia Petrovna; Friedrich Engels & Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto; Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; and Ronald Suny, The Soviet Experiment. Two required class packets will be available for purchase at N.K Print & Design on Elliewood Avenue.

Spring 2016

HIUS 3753

The History of Modern American Law

Michael Caires

Studies the major developments in American law, politics, and society from the era of Reconstruction to the recent past. Focuses on legal change as well as constitutional law, legislation, and the common law.

Spring 2016

HIME 1501

Nationalism and Identity in the Modern Middle East

This course is taught by: Harrison Guthorn


The nation-state has been the defining political, economic, and cultural entity of the last 100 years. The seeming permanence of nation-states has convinced most that the institution had always existed and that it is a “natural” entity. This seminar course will explore the development of nationalism and nation-states throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Over the course of the semester, we will discuss the impact of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the repercussions of the colonial inter-war period, and the emergence of post-colonial nation states throughout the Middle East. We will pay special attention to the political, social, religious, legal, and economic ramifications of nationalism. Although nationalism’s hold on the Middle East remains strong, numerous transnational movements like the Islamic modernism, Arab Nationalism, Communism, and Islamism have begun to undermine the hold of the nation-state.

This is a writing-intensive course. Beyond familiarizing you with the history of nationalism in the Middle East and North Africa, our goal in this class is to develop your ability to read, write, and think critically, to analyze sources, and to deploy evidence to back up your arguments. You will be expected to read an average of 100 pages a week. This seminar course will have three major paper assignments: a 4-5 page response paper, a 6-8 page midterm paper, and a 10-page final research paper. In addition to your papers, class participation in seminar will be exceptionally important and comprise 20% of your total grade. Most readings will be posted on Collab. We will rely on William Cleveland’s History of the Modern Middle East as our textbook.

Spring 2016

HIEU 2721

Supernatural 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 about demonic activity frame the occurrence of natural disasters?  What do spells and shape-shifting reveal about Europeans’ conceptions of the universe?  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 people understood 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). 

Spring 2016

HIEU 4501 (1)

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 a major research paper based on primary sources, developed through a series of preparatory assignments over the course of the semester. Topics will be devised in consultation with the instructor and reflect each student’s interests.


Spring 2016

HIEU 3111

Late Medieval Civilization.

Jolanta Komornicka

This course is designed for the intelligent, motivated student interested in history, society, and/or medieval Europe. The topics are organized as something of a late medieval sampler platter, providing students with both some of the greatest hits and, in culinary terms, amuse-bouches to spark interest in the Middle Ages. The selections are meant to intrigue, amuse, and delight, while still being a representative entry into European culture and society between 1200 and 1500. By the end of the course, students will come away not only with anecdotes, but a sense of the trajectory of life and society in Western Christendom, covering Daily Life, Beliefs, Interpersonal Interactions, Economics, Arts and Entertainment, and Reactions to Current Events (including wars and protests). The course is offered as a lecture class and readings will consist of monographs, articles, and primary source materials. Assessment is based on written exams, reading reflection papers, a research paper, and a final oral exam.


Spring 2016

HIUS 3161

Viewing America, 1940 – 1980

Brian Balogh

This course will examine how Americans experienced some of the major events that shaped their lives. We will view what millions of Americans did by watching feature films, news reels, and footage from popular television shows and news broadcasts. We will also read primary and secondary texts that explore among other topics, the domestic impact of World War II, America's reaction to the atomic bomb, the rise of the military-industrial-university complex, the emergence of the Cold War, the culture of anxiety that accompanied it, suburbanization, the "New Class" of experts, the Civil Rights movement, changing gender roles in the work place and at home, the origins and implications of community action and affirmative action, the War in Vietnam, the Great Society, the counterculture, Watergate, the environmental movement, challenges to the authority of expertise, the decline of political parties, structural changes in the economy, the mobilization of interest groups from labor to religious organizations, the emergence of the New Right, challenge to big government, and the role of the electronic media in politics.

I will lecture on Mon and Wed. and discussion sections will meet on Thursdays to review assigned readings, films, and other materials.  There will be a mid-term and final exam, one five to seven page paper and a group project.  You will also be quizzed on the readings at the start of each discussion section.

Readings will average about 125 pages a week.  There will also be a required film each week that can be viewed through on-line subscription services or at the Robertson Media Center.

Spring 2016

HIUS 1501 (3)

Introductory Seminar: Making History Public

Brian Balogh- Professor of History and co-host of Backstory with the American History Guys

Brian Balogh

               This course will examine where history comes from by looking closely at a variety of forms of U.S. history.  We will begin with scholarship – which provides what might be called the “basic research” that a great deal of history ultimately draws upon.  Over the course of the first four weeks, we will read a dissertation, a monograph (the first book that most history professors publish that comes out of the dissertation) and synthetic work by a more senior historian farther on their career, and finally, a book written by a preeminent historian that has broad popular appeal – the kind you might even give to your parents as a birthday gift and they might even read!

               In the middle portion of the course we will read and view material that draws upon scholarship to teach history and to display history at public sites to an audience (captive and voluntary) that need or wants to learn more about history, and we will read popular history written by non-scholars – often journalists.  In the last portion of the class, we will discuss popular historical films, radio shows, podcasts, historical fiction, video games, and comedy, most likely ending with an episode of Drunk History.  We will invite scholars and public historians to visit the class on occasion, to discuss their work.

               The overarching question that we will explore over the term is what is lost and what is gained as history is made public?  We will also explore the boundaries between history and fiction, history and social science, and history and popular culture. Throughout, we will seek ways to make authoritative history more accessible.  Students will be required to write an eight hundred word essay every week that responds to a prompt about the reading/viewing assignment.  In addition to these weekly assignments, students will write a ten to fifteen page paper that suggests ways effectively to make history public, or design and produce a project or exhibit that achieves this end.

               The class will be a discussion class and participation will be highly valued (and rewarded.)  Participation will account for 50 percent of the final grade.  The term paper will count for another 25 percent, and the weekly essays will count for the final 25 percent.

Spring 2016

HIST 9962

General Examination Preparation

Risa Goluboff

In this course, students will prepare for the general examination. The general examination tests the student’s acquaintance with the events and historiography of a given period or topic, grasp of major issues and questions, and the ability to follow, construct, and criticize historical interpretations. During the course, the student will identify relevant readings; complete and review those readings; and explore the larger questions raised by those readings and their fields more generally.


12 Oct 2015

Spring 2016

HIEU 5051


Elizabeth A. Meyer

Prerequisites for undergraduates:  HIEU 2041 OR HIEU 3041; or instructor permission


This course will examine the Principate from its founding (27 B.C.) to the beginning of the third-century crisis (A.D. 235).  It will proceed by an examination of themes and topics rather than as a narrative:  these themes and topics will include emperor and administration, local municipalities, slavery and varying gradations of freed status and citizenship, patronage, social mobility, economy, romanization, the courts, emperor-cult, and resistance to Rome.  Students are expected to write five exercises based on ancient sources; to write one five-to-seven-page paper; and to take a final exam.  Readings will be drawn from the following:

            C. Wells, The Roman Empire

            Tacitus, Annals and Histories

            Josephus, Jewish War

            Pliny, Letters

            Apuleius, Apology

            M. Goodman, The Ruling Class of Judaea.  The Origins of the Jewish

  Revolt Against Rome A.D. 66-70 (Cambridge U. P., 1987)

            R. MacMullen, Paganism in the Roman Empire (Yale)

            R. MacMullen, Romanization in the Time of Augustus (Yale)

            S. Price, Rituals and Power.  The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia

  Minor (Cambridge U.P., 1984)

and additional readings on Collab

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
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