Spring 2021

Spring 2021 Course Descriptions

For the most up-to-date list of courses offered and more information including course times, locations, and enrollments, please see SIS or Lou's List. Faculty information can be viewed in the Faculty Directory.

African History

HIAF 1501: Seeing Africa in the American Century

Introductory Seminar in African History: Seeing Africa in the American Century


Seeing Africa in the American Century is an undergraduate research seminar that blends African history, American history, and the history of photography to explore the ways in which images in popular media shaped the ways that Americans understood Africa during the Cold War era. Photography in popular magazines, such as Ebony, Look, and, especially, Life and National Geographic, played an important role in introducing Americans to African issues.

HIAF 1501: Runaways, Rebels, and Revolutionaries

Introductory Seminar in African History: Runaways, Rebels, and Revolutionaries
La Fleur

Everywhere in the Atlantic world, Africans and their descendants resisted enslavement and then fought to free themselves. This seminar focuses on those people as seen through their most overt actions: from communities of runways (“maroons”) in the 16th-century Gulf of Guinea islands to the eventual rise of free communities in Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America; and also Revolutionary-era enlistees fighting for freedoms; and liberation movements (“slave revolts”) throughout the Americas; and runaways (or “self-emancipators”) generally; and concluding with U.S. Civil War “contrabands” and troops. 

This seminar will fulfill the College’s Second Writing Requirement through the composition (including drafting and revision) of papers written to address the major epochs in the course – altogether four essays of about five pages each, and ultimately presented at the end of the course as a polished portfolio.

HIAF 2002: Modern African History

Modern African History


Studies the history of Africa and its interaction with the western world from the mid-19th century to the present. Emphasizes continuities in African civilization from imperialism to independence that transcend the colonial interlude of the 20th century.

HIAF 3112: African Environmental History

African Environmental History
La Fleur 

This course explores how Africans changed their interactions with the physical environments they inhabited and how the landscapes they helped create in turn shaped human history. Topics covered include the ancient agricultural revolution, the “Columbian exchange” of plants and animals amid slave trading, colonial-era mining and commodity farming, the invention of 20th-century wildlife “conservation,” and the emergent challenges of land ownership, infectious disease, and climate change. These are expansive stories and ones varied and distinctive on the most local scale, so we will develop broad, interpretative themes to understand the sort of case studies we will be engaging. The course’s focus is on Africa, but the issues are global and comparative. Therefore, course learning about History as a discipline and Environmental History as a specialized subfield is applicable to other intellectual endeavors and active citizenship. Specific requirements currently planned (tentatively, as changing situations between now and the first day of class may require some modifications) include homework and participation, three low-stress map exercises, and three exams comprised of a mix of short-answer identification items and your choice among several pre-circulated essay prompts. Class meetings are opportunities to share, collaborate, negotiate, speak in public, and generally enjoy a collegial and intellectually stimulating atmosphere. 

The course uses a broad topic to provide opportunities to  and improve skills – in research, analysis, written and oral communication, as well as project management – broadly applicable to success at the University and beyond. As a course in History, it emphasizes how people (and not just scholars) interested in the past think and how historians do their work with never-straightforward sources (or “evidence”). 

East Asian History

HIEA 1501: Students Protest in Modern China

Introductory Seminar in East Asian History: Students Protest in Modern China

Thirty one years ago, 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 transparency in the country's political system. But although the students captured the support of Beijing residents and the imagination of audiences world wide, 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 Beijing residents and the imprisonment of the country’s foremost advocates of political reform. But if the crackdown succeeded in silencing overt protest, it 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 tradition of political protest by Chinese students in the twentieth century. In doing so, we will concern ourselves with two sets of related issues. The first revolves around the role played by intellectuals and students in the process of political and social transformation in China. Why have students so often been at the forefront of protest and demands for political change? Why have Chinese governments been so wary of dissent on the part of students? The second set of questions turns on the specific forms which political protest has taken. What issues have mobilized students? What symbols, methods, and tactics of protest have they drawn upon to dramatize their demands and gain support? How have governments tended to respond to such protest movements?

As a seminar designed for, and limited to first and second year students, HIEA 1501 is meant to serve as an introduction to the methods and practice of historical writing and inquiry as well as a context within which to develop the skills of critical reading, cogent discussion, and clear writing. As this implies, the stress here is on active rather than passive learning. Our exploration of the topic will unfold along two lines—eleven weekly meetings devoted to discussion of assigned readings (60% including weekly submission of discussion questions) and the completion and presentation of an independent project (40%). This course neither requires nor assumes any previous study of Chinese history.

HIEA 1501: Hiroshima in History and Memory

Introductory Seminar in East Asian History: Hiroshima in History and Memory



[no description]

HIEA 2101: Modern Korean History

Modern Korean History: One Peninsula, Two Paths



This course traces Korea's history from its unified rule under the Choson dynasty (1392-1910) to Japanese colonization (1910-1945) and subsequent division into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Republic of Korea (South Korea). It examines how processes of reform, empire, civil war, revolution, and industrialization shaped both Koreas' development and how ordinary people experienced this tumultuous history.


HIEA 3112: Late Imperial China

Late Imperial China

This course covers the history of China from the tenth century to the final decade of the imperial period in the early twentieth. Although the course provides a survey of social, political, and cultural history, emphasis is placed on the analysis of events and trends in an attempt to come to grips with several basic questions: 1) How can we explain the stability of Chinese political and social relations during this period despite the changes of ruling houses and two periods of foreign conquest? 2) Was late imperial China really static and unchanging, as was so often claimed by Western observers in the 19th and 20th centuries? 3) Given the longevity and apparent soundness of the late imperial political and social systems, how can we account for China’s decline and weakness in the face of foreign aggression and domestic crises in the nineteenth century? 4) Despite this decline, what can we identify as the most enduring features of Chinese civilization as it developed over this millennium?

These and other questions will be considered through a look at several inter-related issues: The philosophical foundations of state and society; the relationship between ideology and authority; the tension between the state and social elites; the interaction of elite and popular culture; the influence of nomadic conquest dynasties; the late imperial judicial system and its relation to local society; and patterns of dissent and popular of rebellion. Although HIEA 3112 is the second in a two-semester sequence on pre-twentieth century China, previous study of Chinese history is neither required nor assumed.


HIEA 3171: Meiji Japan

Meiji Japan


This course will examine the rise of the nation-state form in Japan as a new form of historical subjectivity. It will explore in depth the political, economic, social, and cultural changes in the wake of the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868 to the start of the Tasiho period in 1912.


HIEA 3321: China and the Cold War

China and the Cold War



The class examines China’s entanglement with the Cold War.  Certain peculiar historical conditions made China a participant in as well as an arena of the so-called Cold War international confrontation.  After World War II, two superpowers, the USA and USSR, rivaled in East Asia and helped shape China’s domestic and foreign affairs.  Conversely, China inflicted tremendous impact on the two superpowers as well as its Asian neighbors.  After 1949, for a while the confrontation between the PRC in mainland China and the ROC in Taiwan seemed one of the “divided-country” stories typical of the Cold War era.  The PRC however did not remain under Moscow’s shadow for long.  In the 1960s Beijing split with its Soviet ally and took a confrontational stance against both superpowers; then in the 1970s it forged a partnership with the United States in opposing Moscow.  These developments not only undermined Moscow’s hegemony in the Communist world but also effectively redefined the Cold War in Asia and elsewhere.  In the meantime, the Maoist system within China was eroding gradually before a new era of reforms began. 


This course raises several China-centered questions: Since the Cold War was a “Western” phenomenon in origin, what business did China, a quintessential “Eastern” country, have to do with it?  Exactly at what moments did China become entangled and disentangled with the Cold War?  Why was China, unlike any other major participant of the Cold War, able to switch sides more than once in the Cold War?  For the PRC, was the Cold War an international struggle limited to those wars and crises along China’s eastern borders and the Asian-Pacific coasts (what about those conflicts along the PRC’s western inland frontiers)?  As far as the PRC was concerned, should the Cold War be understood merely as an international struggle (what about those intra-national Maoist “campaigns”)?  When the Cold War ended, was China a “winner” or a “loser”?  And, lastly, how should the Cold War period be positioned in the long historical development of China?  In exploring these questions, the course is not a conventional study of China’s involvement in the international Cold War.  Rather, it treats the Cold War as a “period” of recent Chinese history.  In this period, certain long-term threads of historical development were obscured or arrested, and reshaped or reoriented by those so-called defining conditions of the era.  Throughout the course we try to understand China’s Cold War history in a longer historical timespan and to maintain a healthy suspicion about all the opposing perspectives typical of the Cold War era.


The required weekly readings are about 100 pages.  There are two open-book exams.  In addition, undergraduate students will complete three take-home exercises, and write a one-page report in the form of “document assessment.”  Graduate students, in lieu of the three homework and “document assessment,” will write a 20- to 25-page research essay about a topic pertinent to China’s Cold War experience.  The topic should be the student’s choice with instructor’s approval.


HIEA 3559: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan

Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan


This course studies the history of gender and sexuality in Japan from the 17th century through the present. Scholarly books and articles from a variety of fields, including Gender Studies, LGBTQ Studies, and Japanese Studies will frame our discussions of the history over four sections: Early-Modern Colors (1600-1868); Modernization and the Nation-State (1868-1925); War and Democracy (1925-1970); and The Past in the Present (1970-2021). To delve deeply into the human experience of this history, the course will incorporate a variety of primary sources, including art, legal texts, novels, short stories, and film.


HIEA 4501: North Korea

Seminar in East Asian History: North Korea



North Korea’s brutal resiliency on the international stage makes it increasingly important to understand its unique historical trajectory. Together we will discuss obstacles as well as opportunities related to finding primary sources on North Korean history while completing original research papers that help us better understand the inner workings and outward-facing aspirations of this authoritarian “democratic people’s republic.”


HIEA 4511: China's Borderlands

Colloquium in East Asia: China’s Borderlands


“Frontier China” is a perpetual and perplexing phenomenon.  Ethnopolitical upheavals in China’s borderlands in the 20th century were just acts of Frontier China during the “national” era.  In China’s ancient imperial age, those territorially mobile dynasties often treated their frontiers as “leaves and branches” while seeing China proper as the “trunk and root” of state affairs. In contrast, entering the national era, China’s ethnic peripheries occupied the central stage of the nation’s political life and became key factors in forming the “Chinese nation.”  Yet, standard historical narratives about 20th-century China tend to overlook such continuous frontier character of China; China’s ethnic borderlands have either been ignored or considered marginal to the “mainstream” sociopolitical developments in the eastern half of China. This seminar is designed to expose students to major works in the field and add a frontier dimension to students’ understanding of the Chinese history in the 20th century.  In this class the students read selected titles in clusters that address respectively these issues: (1) frontiers and “historical China,” (2) “centralizing nationalism” vs. “separatist nationalism”, and (3) integration, developments, and rights.  These titles are mainly but not exclusively about three regions that have been most active ethnopolitically: Mongolia (Inner and Outer), Tibet, and Xinjiang.  Aside from grasping the historical processes and issues involved, the students also practice historians’ handicraft and critique scholarly works in the field.  The student’s grade for the class is based on active participation in class discussions, bi-weekly book reviews (one single-spaced page), and a historiographical essay (15 double-spaced pages).  For graduate students taking the class, there are additional requirements about research and the essay.

European History

HIEU 1501: The Berlin Wall

Introductory Seminar in Post-1700 European History: The Berlin Wall: Spies and Lies in a Cold War City



The Berlin Wall is now a global symbol of division. It is invoked in policy debates about US immigration; its fall has become synonymous with the end of the Cold War; its fragments are preserved as monuments to the human spirit – including right here at UVA. But what was the Berlin Wall, exactly? Why did it go up, and how did it work? What did it divide, and what got through? Why did it fall when it did – and what legacy did it leave behind?


This course examines the rise, fall, and afterlives of the Berlin Wall, from the end of the Second World War to the present day. We will consider who built the Berlin Wall; how it divided a united city; and how ordinary people learned to live with the barrier in their midst. We will also explore the shadowy world of spies, lies, and border crossings that sprung up around the Wall, on the front lines of the Cold War. Finally, we examine who, or what, brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989, as well as the many ways in which it still lives on today.


This course will double as an introduction to historical method. We will look at a wide range of sources, including films, novels, memoirs, newspaper reports, and case files kept by the Secret Police. We will also pay particular attention to developing writing skills: over the course of the semester, students will write several types of papers, including a film review, a primary source analysis, a diary entry, and an op-ed.


HIEU 2041: Roman Republic and Empire

Roman Republic and Empire


A survey of the political, social, and institutional growth of the Roman Republic, with close attention given to its downfall and replacement by an imperial form of government; and the subsequent history of that imperial form of government, and of social and economic life in the Roman Empire, up to its own decline and fall.  Readings of ca. 120 pages per week; midterm, final, and one seven-page paper.

Readings will be drawn from the following:
Sinnegan and Boak, A History of Rome (text)
Livy, The Early History of Rome
Plutarch, Makers of Rome
Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars
Tacitus, Annals of Imperial Rome
Apuleius, The Golden Ass
R. MacMullen, Roman Social Relations
and a course packet

In this course, the lectures will be given in person (with a remote option) at the time listed, recorded at that time as well, and posted; students who wish to attend the in-person lectures will do so in rotating groups (if necessary). The discussion sections will be held synchronously over Zoom and not recorded.


HIEU 2721: Supernatural Europe, 1500-1800

Supernatural Europe, 1500-1800



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 explore the reasons why early modern Europeans believed in the forces of witches, demons, comets, and more, and what caused these beliefs to change and ultimately recede over time. For example, how did beliefs about demonic activity frame the interpretation of natural disasters? What do rituals surrounding birth and death reveal about the daily lives of ordinary people? And why did Europeans begin to hunt witches in this period, and why did they stop? As we pursue these questions, we will also gain a broader understanding of European society, culture, religion, and science between 1500 and 1800. In order to understand the reasons behind the witch-hunt, for example, we will examine their judicial systems and their views on women. At the same time, this course introduces students to the skills through which historians analyze sources and draw conclusions about the past. In assignments and class discussions based on primary sources, such as first-hand accounts of possession and the records generated by witchcraft trials, we will learn how to practice those skills ourselves. 


HIEU 3021: Greek and Roman Warfare

Greek and Roman Warfare 


An advanced course for students familiar with the outlines of Greek and Roman History, Greek and Roman Warfare will survey the military history of the classical world from Homeric times to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.  Themes of the course include the influence of social and cultural factors on methods of warfare—and vice versa, the birth and development of tactics and strategy, the relationship of technology to warfare, and the evolution of the art of battle description.  Topics will include the nature of Homeric warfare, the Greek phalanx, Greek trireme warfare, the Macedonian phalanx, the rise and evolution of the Roman legion, the culture of the Roman army, the defense of Roman frontiers, suppression of rebellions, the Roman army and politics, and Roman military decline in late antiquity. 

 Reading of c. 140 pages a week, midterm, final, and two seven-page papers, one of which can be replaced with a construction project.

J. Warry, Warfare in the Classical World (U. Oklahoma Pr.)
J. E. Lendon, Soldiers and Ghosts:  A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity (Yale U.Pr.)
V. D. Hanson, The Western Way of War, 2nd ed. (U. Cal. Pr.)
Aeneas Tacticus, Asclepiodotus, Onasander (trans. Illinois Greek Club; Loeb Classical     Library:  Harvard U. Pr.)
D. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army (U. Cal. Pr.)
Polybius, Rise of the Roman Empire (trans. Scott-Kilvert; Viking/Penguin)          
B. Campbell, The Roman Army, 31 BC - AD 227:  A Sourcebook (Routledge)
Julius Caesar, The Gallic War (trans. Hammond; Oxford U. Pr.)
Josephus, The Jewish War (trans. Williamson; Viking/Penguin)
E. Luttwak, The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (Johns Hopkins U. Pr.)
Ammianus Marcellinus, The Later Roman Empire (trans. Hamilton; Viking/Penguin)

In this course, the lectures will be given in person (with a remote option) at the time listed; students who wish to attend the in-person lectures will do so in rotating groups (if necessary).  Half the discussion sections will be held synchronously over Zoom; half will be held in person (with a remote option).


HIEU 3141: Age of Conquests: Britain from Romans to the Normans

Age of Conquests: Britain from the Romans to the Normans 



This course surveys the history of Britain from the establishment of Roman rule to the Norman invasion of 1066, with particular focus on the social, political and cultural history of the early English kingdoms and their neighbors in what are now Wales and Scotland and the Scandinavian impact of the eighth through eleventh centuries. This is a period defined by conquests: of the late Iron Age tribes of much of Britain by the Romans; of Roman Britain by multiple invaders in the fourth and fifth centuries, of one emerging kingdom by another, by the Vikings in the ninth century, by Knútr  (Canute) of Denmark in 1016, and – more famously – by the Norman Duke William ‘the Bastard’ in 1066.

Topics to be addressed include: the post-Roman ‘Dark Ages’ of AD 400-600; the rise of multiple kingdoms in the course of the seventh and eighth centuries; Christianity and pagan beliefs; historical writing; the gradual emergence of a unified English state over the course of the tenth century; political thought and practice; the varieties of insular culture; manuscript production; social organization; law and dispute settlement; issues of trade and contacts with the wider world.

In Spring 2021 the class will be online, a mix of twice weekly asynchronous lectures and a synchronous discussion section. Students will write three essays. There will be no exams. Readings privilege primary sources in English translation.


HIEU 3312: Europe at War, 1939-45

Europe at War, 1939-45: Occupation, Genocide, Resistance 



This course examines the range of human experience in Europe during the Second World War. Why did Nazi Germany invade and attempt to colonize large parts of Europe? What were the methods of Nazi rule? How did European peoples respond to the Nazi project, whether through forms of resistance or collaboration? Who were the principal victims of the war—and why is this question so difficult to address even today? 


HIEU 3471 / LAW 9286: English Legal History to 1776

English Legal History to 1776


This course surveys English law from the Middle Ages to the late 18th century. In class, we will consider how social and political forces transformed law. Because this is a history course, law will be understood as a variety of social experience and as a manifestation of cultural change as well as an autonomous zone of thought and practice. We will look at competition among jurisdictions and the development of the legal profession. We will examine the development of some of the modern categories of legal practice: property, trespass and contracts, and crime. We will conclude by considering what happened to English law as it moved beyond England’s shores. Assignments include two essays (approximately 2000 words each) and a final exam.

Students will read an array of court cases, treatises, and other sources from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. These readings are dense and difficult but also fascinating. Most students will only grasp their meaning by paying very close attention to language, reading with a dictionary nearby, and re-reading. Assigned books may include:

J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History (5th ed.)

Mary Bilder, The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire

Amy Louise Erickson, Women and Property in Early Modern England

John Langbein, Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial

For Spring 2021, we will convene on Zoom. Circumstances permitting, the instructor will also try to create some in-person sessions or other meet-and-greet opportunities. This course will be taught following the calendar of the College of Arts and Sciences rather than the Law School calendar.


HIEU 3695: The Holocaust and the Law

The Holocaust and the Law



This course explores the pursuit of justice after the Holocaust. We will study legal responses to the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews through the lens of pivotal post-Holocaust trials, including the 1945-1946 Nuremberg Trial, the 1961 Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem, and the 1963-1965 Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial. We will watch films to examine the cinematic representation of Holocaust-related trials. Mindful of the postwar historical context, we will pose the question whether these trials and others served justice on the perpetrators and delivered justice not only to the victims but also to history and memory. In this vein, we will ask how the pursuit of legal justice after the Holocaust affects our understanding of the legal process.


HIEU 4501: The Judio-Claudians

Seminar in Pre-1700 European History: The Julio-Claudians 


The history of the Roman Empire during the first dynasty of Roman emperors, the Julio-Claudians (31 BC-AD 68).  What was an emperor?  How did Roman society and government change during this time?  What difference did the personalities of the emperors make?  Reading assignments for this course will focus on primary sources, including histories, literature, letters, biographies, edicts, inscriptions, coinage, and art; the major goal of the course is to produce a 25-page research paper, to fulfill the thesis requirement for the History major (as well as the second writing requirement).  This course is intended to help teach research methods in ancient history and assist students in writing what is often their first real research paper.

This is an advanced course and assumes a general familiarity with Roman history and institutions.  Classics majors are especially welcome.  Students who have not taken HIEU 2041 ("Roman Republic and Empire"), HIEU 3041 ("Fall of the Roman Republic"), or HIEU 3021 ("Greek and Roman Warfare") should speak with Ms. Meyer.

This course will meet in person at the time listed, with a remote option for those who cannot come to Grounds.


HIEU 5011: Late Archaic Greece

Late Archaic Greece


This course examines the history of Greece in the late archaic age down to the end of the Persian wars (c. 650-479 BC). The course will begin with consideration of Herodotus, our main source for this period, proceed through a set of topics on political, constitutional, social, cultural, and economic history, and end up with systematic reading and discussion of Herodotus’ account of the Persian Wars.  Neglected for the most part are religion, art and archaeology, and literature qua literature.

This is an advanced course; it assumes familiarity with the general outlines of Greek History and institutions. HIEU 2031 Ancient Greece or equivalent, is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for undergraduates.

Reading will average 250 pages/week. Requirements will include participation in discussion, oral reports, papers on scholarly controversies, and a final exam.


Latin American History

HILA 1501: The Great Encounter

Introductory Seminar in Latin American History: The Great Encounter 


The Great Encounter is a history of Latin America from 1492. The “Encounter” refers to the coming together of Indigenous peoples, Europeans, and Africans in the context of the New World. The “Great” refers to the world-historical significance of this convergence. The course is topical and thematic, rather than strictly chronological. Among other topics, we will discuss: the crisis of “knowing” among Europeans occasioned by the Encounter; the ethics of encountering the “other”; how people conceive of their identities and belongings in contexts of uncertainty; the role of Indigenous peoples and Africans in the making of the modern world; race, racial thinking, and racial identities from a Latin American perspective. This first-and-second-year seminar will focus closely on honing the skills necessary for future reading-and-writing intensive courses. We will also practice crafting a conversation and disagreeing productively.


HILA 1501: Race and State in Mexico

Introductory Seminar in Latin American History: Race and State in Mexico 



Who or what defines “race”? How does that change over time, and what does it have to do with politics? In what way have politicians, feminist movements, institutions, communities, artists and schools used popularly held concepts of race to shape efforts towards repression and exclusion of others as well for community empowerment and social reform? If in the colonial period the authorities of what was to be the Mexican Republic attempted to clearly delineate difference by “race” and use those perceived differences to impose physical, legal, and economic categories of personhood, in the national period these differences would have to be erased if the Constitution’s supposed legal equality was to be upheld. Yet movements asserting specifically Indigenous demands took place throughout the nineteenth century, and by the end of that period scientific notions of race were informing oppressive laws targeting the social and political control of predominantly dark-skinned and Indigenous peoples. The Mexican Revolution’s conflicting cultural consequences, praising the “cosmic” mestizo “race” on one hand and an institutionalized “indigenismo” on the other, melded with Mexico’s insertion into an international cultural market in which U.S. imperialism and imported fascisms reinforced anti-Black sentiment even as Afro-influenced musical and dance cultures became more popular. Linking this backdrop to the rise of tourism and academic reconceptualizations of race; to Zapatismo, Indigenous women’s fights for cultural and political rights; Black Mexicans’ struggle with cultural visibility; and race-based demands for environmental rights and sustainability, this class looks at race and politics in Mexico broadly, while highlighting particular case studies. Rather than defining race itself, students are asked to analyze the role the concept of race has played across time and place in Mexican history, with an eye to the constant global flows of ideas, cultures and peoples that shaped Mexico’s history of racial politics.


HILA 2002: Modern Latin America, 1824 to Present

Modern Latin America, 1824 to Present 



This course examines modern Latin American history from independence to the present. It focuses on socioeconomic, cultural, and political changes, and on how different social groups -peasants, indigenous people, workers, and women- have experienced these changes. We will consider a number of key questions about the causes of underdevelopment, the roots of authoritarianism, the nature and causes of revolutionary movements, the question of human rights, the problem of social inequality, United States imperialism, and the role of the Catholic Church in Latin America. Requirements for the course are two in-class midterm exams (20% of final grade each) and a final exam (35% of final grade). The three exams will be closed-book and students will write five paragraph-long analyses of key terms, names, or phrases for the midterms and ten for the final exam. Students will be graded on their mastery of material from the assigned readings, lectures, and discussion sections. In addition, attendance and active participation in section discussions are required and will be factored into the final grade (25% of final grade). Students will read on average 100-125 pages per week. Reading assignments must be completed before discussion sections.


HILA 3559: Human Rights in Latin America

Human Rights in Latin America 


For the past seventy years, the issue of human rights has defined Latin American societies and political cultures. Today, Latin American countries continue to confront the legacies of human rights violations committed during decades of civil war and military dictatorship, as well as in the cradle of neoliberalism and during our current climate crises and backlashes against immigrants.  Many social movements and social sectors have come to define their demands in human rights terms, and much of the art and literature emerging from Latin America speak to the tragic and transformative experiences of torture, disappearance and terror, or its echoes in the experiences of others.  We will also look at the major triumphs of human rights activism, especially on the part of everyday Latin American citizens. This course uses a variety of interdisciplinary sources—film, performance, art and literature, as well as legal documents, testimonies, confessions and memoirs—to explore the implications of generations of trauma and resistance on politics and culture in Latin America and its diaspora today. 

Middle Eastern History

HIME 2002: The Making of the Modern Middle East

The Making of the Modern Middle East



What are the historical processes that have shaped the Middle East of today? This course focuses on the history of a region stretching from Morocco in the West and Afghanistan in the East over the period of roughly 1500 to the present. In doing so, we examine political, social, and cultural history through the lens of "media" in translation, such as manuscripts, memoirs, maps, travel narratives, novels, films, music, internet media, and more.


HIME 3192: The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1700

From Nomads to Sultans: The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1700


A survey of the history of the Ottoman Empire from its obscure origins around 1300 to 1700, this course explores the political, military, social, and cultural history of this massive, multi-confessional, multi-ethnic, inter-continental empire which, at its height, encompassed Central and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and North Africa.

South Asian History

HISA 2559: Gandhi and the Making of Modern Indian Democracy

Gandhi and the Making of Modern Indian Democracy



The history of India’s struggle to elaborate modern political forms, both organizational and ideological, offers a unique perspective on the development of modern mass democracy outside of Europe and North America. Taking the figure of Mohandas K. Gandhi as a lens, this course will examine the crises and trials through which Indian democracy first emerged in the late colonial period, 1917-1947. The course will focus on both Gandhi and his most prominent critics.

HISA 3003: Twentieth-Century South Asia

Twentieth-Century South Asia 



Just as India was once the “jewel in the crown” of the British Empire, upon independence South Asia was in many respects the exemplary postcolonial laboratories, attempting to avoid the either/or terms of the Cold War; to overcome, largely on its own resources, the debilitating legacy of colonialism; and to achieve for itself a place in the modern world commensurate with its size and social dynamism. In India, crucially, it attempted to do this on the basis of universal suffrage democracy, whereas Pakistan has had a checkered record with respect to democracy. This class will trace the history of the most populous region on earth in broad terms—economic, political, social, geopolitical, and cultural. In addition, the course will treat of distinctively South Asia regional politics, one characterized simultaneously by intense military hostility and deep cultural and historical commonality between states.


In taking up this history, we are also interrogating it in a number of ways across a range of registers; and we will do so in a way that is accessible to students uninitiated in the region’s history. To aid in this endeavor, our course will engage not only works of history per se, but also works of historical fiction and non-history nonfiction. Given that this course is intended to provide students with a broad introduction to the chief questions and debates in post-Independence Indian history from the mid-20th century to the present, it concentrates on achievement of independence, the consolidation of Indian democracy and developmental socialism under the predominance of the Indian National Congress, and the unraveling of both the developmental state and Congress Party predominance in the crisis of the 1970s leading ultimately to the neoliberalism that has characterized Indian economic policy since the 1980s. Roughly concurrent with this last transformation of Indian economic policy is the shift whereby, first, the Hindu right replaces the Communist left as the leading political force in opposition to the Congress until, finally, with the last two elections, the Congress itself seems to have entered into terminal decline.


HISA 4511: India's Partition: Politics, Culture, Memory

Colloquium in South Asia: India’s Partition: Politics, Culture, Memory



The Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, and the concomitant processes of decolonization and accession of over five hundred princely states resulted in the creation of two new nation-states - India and Pakistan. Born amid unprecedented levels of violence, the longer-term effects of this Partition continue to unfold: in continuing tensions between India and Pakistan; in insurgencies in Kashmir, Baluchistan and the North-East; on the meaning of secularism in India and the place of Islam in Pakistan, and, in ongoing debates on the citizenship of religious minorities.


As recognition of the longer-term consequences of the partition have grown, new books have filled in the gaps in our knowledge on matters such as Partition’s gender dimensions, the slower but no less consequential migration on the East, the uses of religion in the decades leading up to the Partition, domestic politics after the Partition, and on giving greater space and reflection to stories of violence and pain, thereby enabling the writing of a “people’s history” of the Partition. This course aims to provide students with a more “holistic” view of the Partition: the “high politics” of the event, its short and longer-term causes, and still unfolding consequences. We will also consider the nature of different sources, the challenges and opportunities afforded by literary representations, films, and oral histories, and the importance of being able to distinguish between facts, myths, and history.


Readings will average 200-250 pages a week. The following books will be made available for purchase at the bookstore; they are also easily available in online bookstores.  

Khushwant Singh, Train to Pakistan, any edition

Amitav Ghosh, Shadow Lines, any edition

Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia:

    Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007

All other required readings and films will be made available on collab.


For spring 2021, the class will meet once a week on zoom, synchronously. Active student participation based on close readings of material and focused discussion will count for half the grade; a final research paper of 20 pages forms the other half of the grade. We will also have an online library orientation so that students are in a good position to use the UVa library’s rich repository of online databases and digital resources. Weather depending, I hope to meet with small groups of students outdoors.


HISA 5559: India's Partition: Politics, Culture, Memory

New Course in South Asian History: India’s Partition: Politics, Culture, Memory



The Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, and the concomitant processes of decolonization and accession of over five hundred princely states resulted in the creation of two new nation-states - India and Pakistan. Born amid unprecedented levels of violence, the longer-term effects of this Partition continue to unfold: in continuing tensions between India and Pakistan; in insurgencies in Kashmir, Baluchistan and the North-East; on the meaning of secularism in India and the place of Islam in Pakistan, and, in ongoing debates on the citizenship of religious minorities.


As recognition of the longer-term consequences of the partition have grown, new books have filled in the gaps in our knowledge on matters such as Partition’s gender dimensions, the slower but no less consequential migration on the East, the uses of religion in the decades leading up to the Partition, domestic politics after the Partition, and on giving greater space and reflection to stories of violence and pain, thereby enabling the writing of a “people’s history” of the Partition. This course aims to provide students with a more “holistic” view of the Partition: the “high politics” of the event, its short and longer-term causes, and still unfolding consequences. We will also consider the nature of different sources, the challenges and opportunities afforded by literary representations, films, and oral histories, and the importance of being able to distinguish between facts, myths, and history.


Readings will average 200-250 pages a week. The following books will be made available for purchase at the bookstore; they are also easily available in online bookstores.  

Khushwant Singh, Train to Pakistan, any edition

Amitav Ghosh, Shadow Lines, any edition

Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia:

    Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007

All other required readings and films will be made available on collab.


For spring 2021, the class will meet once a week on zoom, synchronously. Active student participation based on close readings of material and focused discussion will count for half the grade; a final research paper of 25 pages forms the other half of the grade. We will also have an online library orientation so that students are in a good position to use the UVa library’s rich repository of online databases and digital resources. Weather depending, I hope to meet with small groups of students outdoors.

General History

HIST 1501: Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations

Introductory Seminar in History: Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations 



The course is principally devoted to one objective: to read and understand Adam Smith’s An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Over the course of the semester, we will read as much of Smith’s work as we can, taking in some of his Theory of Moral Sentiments and digesting as much of The Wealth of Nations as we possibly can. Alongside Smith’s own writings, we will read writings on Smith, his life, his times, and the reception and later interpretations of his work. By the semester’s end, students will have gained a deep understanding of one of history’s most-cited and least-read texts.

HIST 2152: Climate History

Climate History



Climate change is widely regarded as the most important environmental question of the present. This course equips students to engage with the study of climate change from multiple perspectives. Part 1 surveys how understandings of the climate developed and transformed. Part 2 explores how historical climatology lends new insights to familiar historical questions. Part 3 explores the history of environment and climate as political issues.

HIST 2213: Law and Sovereignty in World History

Law and Sovereignty in World History



This course explores the intertwined discourses and practices of law and sovereignty in world history. Through a series of readings and lectures, the course pushes students to think of an

interlinked world of empire, law, and sovereignty, that came to being over the course of several

hundred years. At the same time, the course introduces pivotal treatises that help us understand how actors in this world actively imagined and constructed the world of law and political economy around them. Throughout the course, we will switch focal points, at times considering questions of sovereignty from the land and at other times looking at how these matters play out at sea. By moving between land and sea, we unpack competing epistemologies of law and power, but also explore how discourses on sovereignty map out differently in aqueous spaces.


HIST 2559: Fascism: A Global History

Fascism: A Global History

Kunakhovich, Achilles 


This class investigates the nature of fascism – as a political movement, an ideology, a culture, a specter, and a way of life. Drawing on examples from Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, and fascist groups around the world, it asks what fascism entails and how it relates to democracy, populism, and nationalism.


HIST 4400: Topics in Economic History

Topics in Economic History 



Comparative study of the historical development of selected advanced economies (e.g., the United States, England, Japan, continental Europe). The nations covered vary with instructor. Cross-listed with ECON 4400.

HIST 4501: Using and Abusing the Medieval Past in the Modern World

Major Seminar: Using and Abusing the Medieval Past in the Modern World 



Representations of the medieval past are a pervasive – and often problematic - presence in the twenty first century. This class explores the nature of that exploitation: the ways in which the Middle Ages have been used and abused from the nineteenth century to the present day, whether placed in the service of a range of political agendas from nineteenth-century nation building, drawn upon in the spheres of entertainment from Victorian novels to films, games and music, to the right-wing extremism of today. Why do the Middle Ages continue to haunt the twenty-first century, why do they remain a focus of contention, and how has academic scholarship interacted with these other currents? 


This course has two components. We will meet for a number of weeks synchronously to discuss a number of set works and major topics. Thereafter, the focus will shift to a program of individual student research conducted in dialogue with me. The ultimate goal of this class, as for all 4500-level history seminars, will be the production of a 25-30 page research paper (approximately 7,500 – 8,000 words). Digital projects  – rather than traditional written work – of comparable substance can also be pursued in this class, should students possess the necessary skills and training. 

Among others, readings will be drawn from:   

Ian Wood, The Modern Origins of the Early Middle Ages (Oxford, 2017) 

Patrick Geary, The Myth of Nations. The Medieval Origins of Europe (Princeton, 2002)  

Nicolas Meylan and Lukas Rosli, Old Norse Myths as Political Ideologies: Critical Studies in the Appropriation of Medieval Narratives, ACTA Scandinavica, 9 (Brepols, 2020) 


HIST 4501: English Laws, Global Empire, 1600-1860

Major Seminar: English Laws, Global Empire, 1600-1860



Empires are made and sustained by law. Students will explore how this worked in the British Empire from its beginnings, around 1600, through the late nineteenth century, and from North America and the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.

We will spend some of our time discussing writing by historians who address various aspects of law and empire to consider a host of questions and the ways they try to answer them. What kinds of jurisdictions (courts and other institutions) appeared from one place to the next? What role did corporations, especially the East India Company, play in developing an empire; how did law shape this process? How did England’s laws affect or interact with indigenous peoples all around the globe; how did those people shape English laws? How were fundamental aspects of law—for instance, the law of property or criminal law—transformed by such encounters? How were penal transportation, slavery, and other kinds of forced labor made and sustained by law? How did imperial leaders use and change law to respond to rebellious subjects?

Every student will prepare and present a research paper on some aspect of law’s empire. Some of our class meetings will focus on various elements of a research project and on the kinds of sources available for researching law and empire. Students will write short responses to our readings and prepare a number of exercises to help them develop their projects.

Preference to students who have previously studied British, imperial, and/or legal history.

For Spring 2021, we will convene in person, with the option to participate remotely. The course format might change if circumstances change. During the first half of the semester, readings will run approximately 200-250 pages per week. Some weeks, especially in the second half of the semester, there will be little or no reading to allow students to work on their projects. Readings may include some of the following:

Stuart Banner, Possessing the Pacific: Land, Settlers, and People from Australia to Alaska

Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford, Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850

Lisa Ford, Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836

Elizabeth Kolsky, Colonial Justice in British India: White Violence and the Rule of Law

Lata Mani, Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India

Hannah Weiss Muller, Subjects and Sovereign: Bonds of Belonging in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire

Bhavani Raman, Document Raj: Writing and Scribes in Early Colonial South Asia

Philip Stern, The Company State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India


HIST 4501: The Cold War, 1945-1990

Major Seminar: The Cold War, 1945-1990



[no description] 


HIST 4501: Antisemitism in Historical Perspective

Major Seminar: Antisemitism in Historical Perspective 


Can hate be transhistorical? Can we speak of anti-Jewish hatred as a unique phenomenon that transcends the limits of time and space? This seminar explores the peculiar history of antisemitism and the puzzle of antisemitism as a historical problem. Through readings and research, students will examine the challenges and opportunities that the study of antisemitism presents for contemporary historical reasoning.


HIST 4991: Distinguished Majors Program - Special Seminar

Distinguished Majors Program - Special Seminar 


Open only to fourth-year students in the Distinguished Majors Program in History. In this seminar, students will write and revise their DMP theses. 


HIST 5000: Introduction to Scholarly Digital Editing

Introduction to Scholarly Digital Editing 


This course will explore all aspects of conceptualizing, planning for, and creating a scholarly digital edition. It provides a basic introduction to the various types of digital editions, the practice of editing in the digital age, and a survey of the many digital tools available to serve project goals.


HIST 8001: Master's Essay Writing

Master’s Essay Writing


Writing of the MA essay (for second-semester History graduate students).


United States History

HIUS 1501: Making History Public

Introductory Seminar in U.S. History: Making History Public



This course will examine where history comes from by looking closely at a variety of forms of U.S. history.  After an introduction that provides an overview of historical sources, different approaches to history and the variety of audiences that consume history, we will turn to historical scholarship.  Scholarship produced primarily by professors with Ph.Ds in history or related fields provides “basic research” and narratives for a variety of historical venues. 

We will then move from the scholarly realm to examine more popular non-fiction venues for history.  The blockbuster book is one such form.  Blockbuster films, (like Lincoln) is another. Two other important forms of nonfiction venues for history are the documentary film and memoirs, written by prominent figures.    In the last section of the class we will examine history that is conveyed to audiences of millions through audio on radio and podcasts, and video on the web and television. 

While traveling from the monograph to the most popular forms of history we will ask who produces history, what form it takes, what sources inform that history and who the audience is for these forms of history.  We will ask how history informs our lives and how history matters.  The overarching question that we will explore over the term is what the tradeoffs are in making history public:  what is lost and what is gained in reaching larger audiences?  We will also explore the boundaries between history and fiction, history and social science, and history and popular culture. Throughout, we will ask how to make authoritative history more accessible.


HIUS 1501: Inequality in America

Introductory Seminar in U.S. History 

Inequality in America 

Hill Edwards 


Is economic inequality inevitable? What is the relationship between inequality and capitalism? Why is economic inequality increasing in American society?  In this seminar, students will interrogate these questions, considering the historical complexities of racial, gender, and socio-economic inequality in America.  At the beginning of the semester, students will select a research topic and at the end of the semester, students will present a web-based project where they will present their research findings. Students will spend the semester cultivating a set of methodological and theoretical tools to interrogate how inequality has become one of the most pervasive and divisive issues in modern America.


HIUS 2002: American History Since 1865

American History Since 1865


This course is an interpretive survey of American History covering the sixteen 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 many challenges 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. 


HIUS 2051: United States Military History, 1600-1900

United States Military History, 1600-1900


This course explores military events and developments from the period of the North American colonial wars through the end of the 19th Century. It combines lectures and discussion sections to address such topics as the debate over the role of military forces in a democracy, the interaction between the military and civilian spheres in American history, and the development of a professional army and navy. Although this is not a course on battles and generals, significant time in class will be devoted to crucial events and leaders in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the war with Mexico, the Civil War, the war with Spain, and conflicts between the United States government and its citizens and Native Americans. Students should emerge from the course with an understanding of the centrality of military affairs to the history of the American nation.


HIUS 2053: American Slavery

American Slavery 

Hill Edwards 

Over a four-hundred-year period, twelve million Africans were forcibly transported to the Americas. Enslaved Africans lived and labored, formed families and suffered through forced separations, in various regions of the Atlantic world, from Brazil to Barbados, South Carolina to St. Domingue. In this course, students will explore how slavery developed in one region of the Atlantic world, a small group of British colonies that would become the United States of America. Broadly, students will be introduced to the history of slavery and emancipation in the United States. Specifically, students will examine the ways in which slavery as an economic, legal, and social institution influenced the lives of the people involved, both directly and tangentially, in slavery’s growth and its ultimate, contentious demise.


HIUS 2559: Technologies of American Life

Technologies of American Life



You might have learned the legends of genius inventors, but in this course we'll explore a different history: how technologies have shaped the lives of most Americans, and how ordinary Americans shaped our common technologies. We’ll explore topics like the amazing capabilities of pre-1492 civilizations, how enslaved people created new species of plants, how photography was like 19th-century time travel, and how Silicon Valley’s innovators may have just copied kids from Minnesota.


HIUS 3011: Colonial British America

Colonial British America 



Before the Declaration of Independence, new beginnings, dynamic encounters, and extraordinary experiences shaped a colonial world. This course tells the story of British America--from shaky beginnings at Jamestown in 1607 through the surrender of British forces at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781--from an Atlantic perspective. The thirteen colonies that formed the United States were once part of a larger empire that spanned eastern North America and the Caribbean islands, from Newfoundland to Barbados. These colonies were embroiled in a global quest for power that pitted Britain against Spain and France, powerful rivals who fought bloody wars to secure territory in the western hemisphere. Violent and productive cross-cultural encounters among Africans, Native Americans, and Europeans shaped early America in distinctive ways. For three centuries, the movement of people, species, goods, and ideas across vast distances transformed everyone who became entangled in the networks of trade and migration that linked this Atlantic world together. We will explore the vital places that made up this world and spend time working with rare original maps at the Small Special Collections Library to visualize it. We will read works of history, rooted in particular places and moments, that model historical analysis. Discussions and papers focus on interpreting original historical texts, in which historical actors speak in their own words. Lecture topics include first colonial foundings, international piracy, plantation slavery, criminal justice, transatlantic trade, agriculture and environment, frontier war, material culture, gender and society, and the origins of the American Revolution.


Our textbook will be D. W. Meinig’s The Shaping of America: A Geographic Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 1, Atlantic America--a masterpiece of historical geography that illustrates Atlantic history with extraordinary maps.  We will also read John Demos’s The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story, Susan Kern’s The Jeffersons at Shadwell, and a Mark Smith’s Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt. Students will write two 6-8 page papers that interpret documents that we will read and discuss in common.  The midterm and final exams feature identifications and short essays. 


HIUS 3031: The Era of the American Revolution

The Era of the American Revolution 


This course examines the transformation of North America wrought by the American Revolution against British rule and in favor of a union of republican states.  We will examine the lives of ordinary people as well as the actions of national leaders. In particular, we will focus on the interplay of freedom and slavery, of prosperity and poverty, and of power and dispossession. By learning the meaning and the limits of the revolution, you will deepen your own perspective on contemporary America. 

This course also means to challenge and develop your abilities to reason critically from diverse evidence and to argue persuasively in support of your conclusions. We will work to develop your writing and analytical skills by emphasizing papers and class participation.


There will be a mid-term and final exam, a brief early version and a longer final version of a paper of about 6-pages in length on primary sources.  Reading amounts to about 100 pages per week.


HIUS 3132: Race, Gender, and Empire: Cultures of U.S. Imperialism

Race, Gender, and Empire: Cultures of U.S. Imperialism 

Von Eschen 


Our inquiry will focus on the intersection of culture and politics as we chart U.S. imperial engagements and shifting U.S. relationship with the world from the late nineteenth century to the present.  Exploring popular culture as a critical space of meaning making, we will pay particular attention to the role of race, gender, and sexuality in constructing power relations.  We will consider cartoons, film, music, and art, and later digital media including video games, as spaces where U.S. foreign relations are imagined, enacted, and contested. 

HIUS 3161: Viewing America, 1940-1980

Viewing America, 1940-1980


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 emerging role of digital media in politics.

I will lecture on Mon and Wed. and discussion sections will meet later in the week 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 Library.


HIUS 3282: Virginia History, 1900-2020

Virginia History, 1900-2020



History is the study of change over time.  This course will examine change in Virginia from about 1900 to the present. The course will study the creation of the great political machines of the 20th century in Virginia, governmental regulation of race relations, progressive regulatory reform, the eugenics movement, and Virginia’s “massive resistance” to school desegregation. The course will study the making of the modern Republican and Democratic parties in Virginia. The course will consider three major themes: (a) which groups have tried to empower which Virginians, at what times and utilizing which strategies, and which groups have tried to disempower which Virginians; (b) how have Virginians used racism to weave the political, social, moral, and economic fabric of modern Virginia; (c) in which respects were the changes in the political, economic, social and racial landscapes of Virginia during the first 45 years of the 20th century similar to such changes in the years following World War II?


Readings will average approximately 120 pages per week, and will be drawn from both primary documents and secondary material.  Among the readings will be selections from Ronald L. Heinemann et al., Old Dominion/New Commonwealth: A History of Virginia, 1607-2005; J. Douglas Smith, Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia; Matthew D. Lassiter and Andrew B. Lewis, The Moderates’ Dilemma: Massive Resistance to School Desegregation in Virginia; and J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, Harry Byrd and the Changing Face of Virginia Politics, 1845-1966. The class meets twice per week.  Approximately 2/3 of each class will be spent in lecture and 1/3 in guided class discussion. There will be a short answer mid-term exam, two short, 2-3 page papers, one 8-10 page term paper requiring the use of primary source materials, and an essay-type final examination.


HIUS 3411: American Business

American Business


This course examines the history of the American business enterprise from the workshop to the multi-national corporation. The trend in recent business history research has been to emphasize the genealogy of the contemporary business organization. In part, we shall follow this trend and examine legal, political, economic, and institutional factors as they have helped to shape business

enterprise. We shall also be discussing the rise of American business in a wider context, looking particularly at the relationship between government and the corporation. American business history is traditionally taught by the case study method; we will operate within tradition to an extent by focusing on the experiences of key individuals and businesses and relating them to

problems and issues inherent in the rise of managerial capitalism.

There are five books assigned for this course:

Alfred D. Chandler. Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, Mass., 1977);

James Willard Hurst, Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the Nineteenth Century United States (Madison, 1955);

Harold Livesay, Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business (New York, 1975);

Alfred P. Sloan, My Years with General Motors (New York, 1990);

Frederick W. Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (New York, 1911).

Other assigned readings are available in a course packet. Readings average 150 pages per week.

The course requirements are a midterm and a final. The first exam sequence will consist of an in-class exam (30% of the final grade) and a take-home essay (20%). The second exam sequence will also have take-home (20% of the final grade) and in-class components (30%).


HIUS 3559: Race, Charlottesville, and the Making of Public Memory

Race, Charlottesville, and Making of Public Memory 

Rosenblith, McBrien 


Over the past several years, Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, and central Virginia more broadly have been at the center of national conversations around race and racism, gender and gender based violence, housing inequality, environmental justice, and more. In this course, we will explore these events and the broader contexts and histories which informed them as well as the consequences of these moments for Charlottesville and beyond. Students will conduct oral history interviews and present them in a public capacity that will be determined in part by the realities of Covid-19.


HIUS 3559: Jefferson's America: Race, Politics, Law

Jefferson’s America: Race, Politics, Law 



This course examines Early America (ca. 1776-1830) in a transatlantic and comparative context through the lens of Thomas Jefferson and his world.  As a slaveowner, revolutionary patriot, diplomat, leading politician, Enlightenment thinker, and author of nearly 20,000 letters, Jefferson was both representative of the revolutionary era as well as uniquely positioned to offer a window into the violence, racism, patriarchy, anxiety, and political upheaval that characterized this period.  During the course of the semester, we will be considering colonial, revolutionary, and early national America chronologically as well as thematically (race and slavery, democracy and aristocracy, women and gender, Native peoples, religion, and education).


HIUS 3611: Gender and Sexuality in America, 1600-1865

Gender and Sexuality in America, 1600-1865



[no description] 


HIUS 3652: Afro-American History since 1865

Afro-American History since 1865


This course surveys the major themes and issues in African American history from emancipation to the present, encompassing Reconstruction, the onset of state-sanctioned Jim Crow segregation, and the modern civil rights movement.  We will examine the presence of African Americans in the American past, and the significance of that past for the present.  In addition to works of historical scholarship, readings will be interdisciplinary, including fiction, poetry, non-fiction essays, and documentary films.


HIUS 3654: Black Fire

Black Fire



What can we learn about the politics of race in the post-Civil Rights era by studying demographic, social, and intellectual transformations at the University of Virginia?  How and to what degree have the individual and collective experiences of African American undergraduates transformed since the late 1960s and early 1970s? And how have those transformations been shaped by larger political developments in higher education, U.S. race relations, etc.?   To what extent can an engagement with the history of African Americans at UVA assist current efforts to make the University a more democratic, equal, and inclusive space for students, faculty, workers, and others?   How do we discuss “difference” within the black community and find ways to more effectively bring the many segments of that community (athletes, black Greeks, second-generation immigrants, Christians, Muslims, etc.) together?  What’s the current relationship between white and black progressive students on grounds and how has that relationship evolved over time? 

To facilitate critical thinking and exchange on these and other important questions, this course grounds contemporary debates on the state of race relations at UVA within the larger history of the “black Wahoo” experience. Though the focus of this course is local, we will explore topics that have and continue to engage college students across the nation: black enrollment trends at flagship public universities, rising tuition rates and college affordability, universities’ impact on local housing markets and wage rates, the political potential of Greek organizations, the status of the black athlete, the vibrancy of African American Studies programs and departments, and the corporatization of the modern university. 


HIUS 3753: The History of Modern American Law

The History of Modern American Law


This course asks two interrelated questions: how has American society shaped law and how has law shaped American society since 1865. Understanding legal history means understanding the passage of laws, the lawsuits and trials that challenge the laws, the effects of the law on society, and the political history of efforts to change laws. If you study these dynamics for any major law in US History—say, for example, the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the Clean Air Act of 1970—you will soon develop a sophisticated understanding of how law shapes politics and social movements, and even the expectations and assumptions that we hold for our own lives. To understand this social life of law will require us to look at a variety of sources—statutes, legal briefs, and Supreme Court opinions, but also reports issued by the government and interest groups, journalism, narrative writing, and historical scholarship. Major themes to be addressed include the legal history of Jim Crow, economic regulation and the rise of the administrative state, labor and immigration, the regulation of speech and political dissent, the Civil Rights Movement, women’s rights, public health and the environment as subjects of regulation, criminal justice and the carceral state, and the role of lawyers in shaping political and social history. This course is intended for undergraduates at all levels: it assumes no knowledge of US history.

HIUS 4501: Slavery and the Founders

Seminar in United States History: Slavery and the Founders 



This seminar examines the attitudes of three Founders—James Madison, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson—toward the system of slavery while paying equal attention to the hundreds of enslaved people that these men owned at their respective plantations: Montpelier, Highland, and Monticello.  Class visits to these sites, as well as an interdisciplinary focus that will include oral history, archaeology, and documentary evidence will help inform students’ research and written work.  A substantial research paper based on primary and secondary sources is the expected outcome of this course.


HIUS 4501: American Democracy

Seminar in United States History: American Democracy 


In this class, we read Tocqueville’s classic Democracy in America (1835, 1840) as starting point to write research papers on American democracy.  This is an exceptionally rich source of ideas.  The young French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville observed America with such brilliance during his American journey of the 1830s that he has helped Americans define themselves.  Tocqueville is recognized as one of the world’s great theorists of democracy and the first to explore the importance of voluntary associations in American life.  Readers of his Democracy in America confront vital issues of political moderation, racial integration, social justice, progress, equality, and the meaning of liberty in democracy.  The class consists of weekly discussions of selected texts and preparation of a substantial seminar paper.  


HIUS 7041: The Early American Republic, 1783-1830

The Early American Republic, 1783-1830



This course examines the historiography on politics, society, and culture in the early American Republic from the 1780s to the 1830s.


HIUS 7131: The Emergence of Modern America, ca. 1870-1930

The Emergence of Modern America, ca. 1870-1930


The class will examine historiography in a number of subdisciplines to consider the evolution of the United States in the period from the end of reconstruction to the 1930s.  We will draw upon works of social (race, class and gender) , cultural, political, and environmental history, as well as the history of capitalism, the history of technology and the history of the U.S. and the World.   Among the themes we will explore are the interplay between national and local life, shifting ideational landscapes, from religion to the emergence of the modern professions, the United States’ impact and responsibilities as an emerging world power, the changing nature of citizenship, especially regarding race, gender and immigration, the decline of political parties and the rise of interest groups as crucial intermediaries between citizens and the state, the impact of war on society, changing attitudes towards nature and technology, and the organization of work, play and governance.


HIUS 7658: Nineteenth-Century American Social and Cultural History

Nineteenth-Century American Social and Cultural History



This readings course surveys modern classics and cutting-edge historiography on the nineteenth century in the United States (especially the period 1830 to 1877), with an emphasis on how social and cultural histories have both promoted inclusiveness and trained our attention on conflict, contingency, experience, identity and language. We will read one monograph per week, supplemented by an occasional article and book review.  The main written assignment is an historiographical essay of 20-25 pages on a topic related to your research interests.  The reading list will be expressly designed to help students with comprehensive exam preparation in US fields.


HIUS 9037: U.S. Urban History

U.S. Urban History


This course will survey scholarship in US urban history. It is intended for graduate students who intend to specialize in this sub-field and/or conduct research that engages themes in urban history and historiography, broadly conceived.