Spring 2022 Courses

Spring 2022 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 1501-001: Africa and Virginia, 1619 - Now

Instructor: James La Fleur

This course explores changes in relationships between Africa and Virginia in the very long run, from earliest arrivals of Angolans near Jamestown in 1619, through Jefferson’s view of the continent and its people, to mass emigration to Liberia after 1820, through dialogues and commerce during colonial overrule in Africa and after independence, and finally to the resurgence in trans-Atlantic families and experiences in the 21st century.

As an introductory seminar, this course uses a broad topic to provide opportunities to learn and improve skills – in research, analysis, and written and oral communication – broadly applicable towards success at the University and beyond. As a course in History, it emphasizes how people (and not just scholars) interested in the past think, how academic historians do their work with never-straightforward sources (or “evidence”), the contexts in which people have changed their views of the past (“historiography”), and the significance of those new understandings to their audiences. Participants will learn through doing, and this will surely include engagement with the kinds of “primary sources” (e.g., old books and private letters) typical of scholarly history. Depending on student interest and practicalities, it may also include some site visits to places of significance on Grounds and nearby, as well as interaction (or “fieldwork”) with fellow UVa students whose life experiences mock any notion of stark separation between “Africa” and “Virginia.”

No prior experience studying Africa is expected nor is previous college-level study of History required.

HIAF 3051-001: West African History

Instructor: James La Fleur

This course explores the history of West Africans in the wider context of the global past.  Our course begins in very distant times, and traces currents of change from West Africans’ first attempts to make a living in ancient environments through their subsequent challenges and actions in the eras of the slave trades (domestic, trans-Saharan and Atlantic), colonial overrule by outsiders beginning in the 19th century, political independence in the late 20th century, and ever-increasing globalization to 2018.  Though the course focuses primarily on those people living in the region, we will follow a select few to their new places of residence in the Americas in the era of the Atlantic era and to global capitals and their suburbs in our own lifetimes.

Experience studying Africa and/or any of the course themes is welcomed. This may include foundational work in HIAF 2001 or HIAF 2002, or achieved through other courses, including those offered in other departments and disciplines, that approach Africa, Africans, and African diasporas. Other students will bring life experiences or intellectual curiosities about the topics and thereby enrich our work. The course’s focus is on Africa, but the issues are global and comparative, and therefore course learning is broadly applicable to other places and people.

HIAF 3051 qualifies for the College of Arts & Sciences graduation requirements in the traditional curriculum in Non-Western Perspectives and Historical Studies; and in the New College Curriculum as Historical Perspectives and Cultures & Societies of the World. History majors may use HIAF 3051 as a “non-Western” course for their undergraduate program.

HIAF 3501-001: Gender, Law, and Empire in Africa and Middle East

Instructor: Emily Burrill 

Codes of conduct and legal parameters – explicit or implicit – are important cornerstones to all societies. In different historical contexts, legal systems have often been formed by patriarchal systems of governance. These political entities establish access to rights and privileges according to hierarchies defined by gender, as well as other notions of difference and inequality (such as race, age, sexuality, nationality, or religion). Within colonial, imperial and post-colonial contexts, legal systems become even more complex and multi-layered, as they often reflect hybrid and competing notions of justice, rights, and power. With these ideas in mind, this class focuses on case studies of gendered engagement with colonial and post-colonial legal systems in Africa and the Middle East. We will interrogate themes such as customary law, Shari ’a or Islamic law, family law, property rights, transitional justice, and processes of disputation and conflict resolution. Our main goals throughout the course will be to engage with the following questions: how does gender influence the ways in which women and men navigate legal systems? How are “rights” decided within a state, a colony, or an empire? How have people worked to transform laws, legal tools, and legal process? And most of all, what does all of this tell us about gender and social change?

Asian History

HIEA 1501-001: Thought and Religion in Early China

Instructor: Cong Ellen Zhang

This is a discussion- and writing-intensive course. Through an introduction of scholarly works and primary source materials, this course explores the most prominent figures, ideas, and forces that shaped the intellectual life and religious beliefs in Chinese history. Major topics include early Chinese worldview, the “Hundred Schools of Thought,” and popular beliefs and practices. Another goal of this class is to introduce students to the historian’s craft of research and writing. Class discussion, presentations, and a variety of written assignments all gear toward developing students’ critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Reading assignments include Philip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van Norden, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (Hackett Publishing, 2005), Bryan W. Van Norden, Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy (Hackett Publishing, 2011,), and selected articles and book chapters. This course fulfills the College’s second writing, historical perspective, and world societies and cultures requirements. No previous knowledge of Chinese history is required.

HIEA 1501-002: Japan's Fukushima Disaster

Instructor: Robert Stolz

This course has three goals. One, to introduce you to the historical record of the triple disaster of 3/11. Two, to introduce you to the emerging field of disaster studies. Three, to get you to start reading texts of all kinds for the categories and concepts that a given text uses to think through a “disaster.” By the end of the course you not only be familiar with major disasters, and the responses to major disasters, in modern Japanese history. You will also be able to discuss and add to the growing discipline of disaster studies, including the cultural, historical, social, economic, scientific, and even existential nature of what we call a “disaster.”

HIEA 1501-003: The Question of "China"

Instructor: Xiaoyuan Liu

During China’s long history, there were times when “China” became a puzzling and hotly debated phenomenon.  Some recurring questions include: What is the meaning of “China”?  Where are the geopolitical limits of China?  Who are the Chinese?  How do the Chinese perceive the others?  How should the existence and behavior of China be understood?  And, in what direction is China heading?  In view of China’s enormous area, huge population, long history, and rich culture, answers to these questions at such historical junctures are of tremendous significance to the contemporaneous world.  Due to China’s “rise” in our own time, “China” has again been questioned in numerous ways.  This class is not intended to answer all the questions but to find some clues from China’s recent history.

The students will read selected titles helpful to achieve an informed understanding of contemporary China.  They will contribute to class discussions through writing and presenting “commentaries” on historical works and questions of historical significance.  Each student will also write a historical essay on an aspect of the “China question” of her/his own choice. 

HIEA 2101-100: Modern Korean History

Instructor: Joseph Seeley

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 3111-001: China to the Tenth Century

Instructor: Cong Ellen Zhang

This class introduces Chinese history from the beginning through the end of the 10th century. Political, social, cultural, and intellectual history will all be treated, though not equally for all periods. Major themes of the course include intellectual developments, empire-building efforts, religious and popular beliefs, family and social life, and Chinese interaction with other cultures and peoples. Required reading includes a variety of primary sources as well as articles and book chapters. Final grades for the class will be based on daily quizzes, mini-exams, and two short papers. The course fulfills the College’s non-Western and historical perspective requirements. 

HIEA 3172-001: The Japanese Empire

Instructor: Robert Stolz

This course is an exploration of Japan’s imperial project from roughly 1890-1945 culminating in a close reading of three important, recent works on the empire. These books are probably too much to dive into right away so we will start by developing a critical theoretical vocabulary to prepare. At the end of the semester we will also look briefly at anti-imperial and decolonization movements as well as the status of the category of “empire” for analyzing the postwar period.

HIEA 3323-001: China and the United States

Instructor: Xiaoyuan Liu

In this class we explore the relationship between China and the United State since the late 18th century.  Starting as an encounter between a young republic and an ageless empire on the two sides of the Pacific Ocean, the Chinese-American relationship has gone through stages characterized by the two countries’ changing identities and international positions.  By using both recent scholarly works and written records from the past, we consider the historical contacts between China and the United States broadly and seek to understand this intricate and profoundly important relationship by learning from insights at individual, communal, societal, state, and international levels.

The course consists of lectures, occasional in-class discussions, and documentary films.  The student’s grade is based on participation, two exams (midterm and final), and a team project (graduate students in the class should write a research paper instead).

HIEA 4501-001: North Korea

Instructor: Joseph Seeley

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 4501-002: Cultural Revolution in China

Instructor: Bradly Reed

In 1966, Mao Zedong launched his last great mass campaign by calling upon the youth of China to “practice revolution” and rebel against established authority. The tumultuous response to Mao’s summons opened a ten year period in which political and social order were nearly destroyed, over a million people were persecuted, and countless lives were ruined. With the death of Mao in 1976, a movement that had begun as an effort to keep China firmly on the path to socialism thus ended amid fear, apathy and doubt as to the legitimacy of the Communist Party and the revolution which it had led. Today, fifty years after it began, the Cultural Revolution remains one of the most traumatic yet least understood periods of Modern Chinese History.

This seminar attempts to get at the meaning and significance of the Cultural Revolution by examining it as a multi-faceted period that cannot be adequately understood through any single analytic framework. Through the reading and discussion of secondary literature and translated primary sources, we will consider a number of issues: the movement’s political and ideological roots, the role and culpability of Mao, the significance of the Cultural Revolution as a youth movement, the causes of social violence, the impact of the movement on rural areas, and the influence that this “decade of violence” has had on Chinese government, society, and culture since the death of Mao.

For the first ten weeks, seminar participants will read and discuss an average of between 200 to 250 pages of primary and secondary material. The remainder of the semester will be devoted to the completion of a substantial research paper of 20-25 pages. Evaluation will be based on the quality of both the seminar paper (50%) and attendance/participation in weekly discussions (50%). All seminar participants are expected to have had some background study of China in the post-1949 era. Those without such background will need to have read Mao’s China and After, by Maurice Meisner prior to the beginning of the course.  This course satisfies the Second Writing Requirement and may be used as a capstone course for East Asian Studies majors.

HIEA 9021-001: Tutorial in "China in Hot and Cold Wars in Modern Times". . .

Instructor: Xiaoyuan Liu

This tutorial explores three types of conflicts in China modern experiences: civil wars, international conflicts, and Cold War confrontations. Reading materials include major scholarships on these topics. The class meets biweekly, and the students are evaluated on the basis of participation, short book reviews, and a final paper.

European History

HIEU 1502-001: The Berlin Wall: Spies and Lies in a Cold War City

Instructor: Kyrill Kunakhovich

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 2041-100: Roman Republic and Empire

Instructor: J.E. Lendon

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

HIEU 2072-100: Modern Europe and the World

Instructor: Jennifer Sessions

This course offers an introduction to European history since the French Revolution, with an emphasis on the ways that social, cultural, and political change in Europe has been shaped by contact with the wider world. Our goal is to develop a framework for understanding the major developments that transformed a society of peasants, artisans, nobles, kings, and multinational empires into one of industrial economies, liberal democracies, and nation-states. Along the way, we’ll consider how ideas about state power and citizenship, social and class relations, religious and cultural life, ethnic and gender identities, and what “Europe” itself is have changed. Topics for discussion include the political and social legacies of the French Revolution, industrialization, European imperial expansion, the rise of mass culture, the two world wars and the Holocaust, European unification, decolonization, the Cold War, and contemporary crises of liberal democracy.

We will have two weekly lectures and a weekly discussion section led by a graduate teaching assistant that will allow you to deepen your understanding of the course material. Readings, discussions, and assignments are designed to help you develop the skills to identify and analyze historical problems, to evaluate evidence and construct historical arguments, and to move beyond simply repeating answers into a larger conversation about our world and our own place within it. Assignments will include regular participation and in-class activities in section, two short essays, and a midterm and a final exam.

In addition to a textbook (Edward Berensen, Europe in the Modern World), we will read a range of primary documents that illuminate key developments in European history, including the following novels, memoirs, and history books: Voltaire, Candide; Rafe Blaufarb & Liz Clarke, Inhuman Traffick: The International Struggle Against the Transatlantic Slave Trade (A Graphic History); Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South; Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four; Heda Margolius Kovaly, Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague, 1941-1968; and Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance. We’ll also watch some films: Grand Illusion (1937); Dr. No (1962); The Battle of Algiers (1966); and The Spanish Apartment (2002).

HIEU 2102-001: Modern Jewish History

Instructor: James Loeffler

Jewish civilization is one of the oldest and most influential components of world religion and history. Yet the Jewish people never possessed a large empire and always constituted a tiny minority in numerical terms, even in ancient times. In the modern period, Jews experienced an equally dramatic fate, including two pivotal events at the epicenter of the twentieth century: the unprecedented catastrophe of the Holocaust and the improbable rise of the State of Israel. All along, Jews have repeatedly surfaced at key junctures in the political, intellectual, and cultural moments that define our world.

In this course, we will seek explanations for this unique history through surveying the basic narrative of Jewish history from the sixteenth century to the present. We will focus on the political, social, religious, and cultural transformations of Jewish life and identity around the world. Major topics to be discussed include political emancipation and the Hebrew Enlightenment, Zionism and modern Jewish politics, antisemitism and the Holocaust, the divergent paths of American and European Jewries, and post-World War II relations between global Jewry and the State of Israel. We will also examine how Jewish history relates to modern European, American, and Middle Eastern history.

This is an introductory course that assumes no prior knowledge of Judaism or Jewish history. We will read and critically analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources, including religious, political, and legal writings, artistic images and musical recordings, and scholarly studies. Our goal is to introduce you not only to the study of Jewish history, but also the related academic fields of Jewish Studies, European history, and world history. Equally importantly, we aim to provide you with a concrete sense of the methods and questions that professional historians use to engage the past.

HIEU 2162-100: History of Russia Since 1917

Instructor: Jeffrey Rossman

Explores the collapse of the Russian Empire and the rise of the Communist state. Emphasizes the social revolution, Stalinism and subsequent 'de-Stalinization,' national minorities, and the collapse of the Soviet regime.

HIEU 2721-100: Supernatural Europe, 1500-1800

Instructor: 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 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 3471-001: English Legal History to 1776

Instructor: Paul Halliday

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 

HIEU 3559-100: Empires of Faith. Europe and the World, 700-1000

Instructor: Paul Kershaw

Europe and the wider Mediterranean and western Eurasian world were home to multiple cultures, communities and polities in the period from c. 700 to 1000 CE. Some of these polities were ‘empires of faith’ in the fullest sense: the Carolingian and Ottonian empires in western Europe, Byzantium, the eastern Roman empire in the eastern Mediterranean, the Caliphate. Others, however, possessed distinctive forms of their own: the hydrarchies of Viking and Islamic raiders, the nomadic confederations of the Avars and Magyars, the oligarchic rule of effectively independent cities and trading centers such as Rome or Venice. This class explores their distinctive histories and the ways in which those histories were interconnected through warfare, multiple forms of cultural exchange, and an increasingly complex and dynamic set of interlinked economic and environmental systems as well as the ways they connected with a wider world: North Africa, Central Asia, and the Arctic.

We’ll also look at the evidence for how these distinctive societies were impacted by common phenomena, including climatic changes, the so-called ‘Dark Ages Cold Period’ and the subsequent Medieval Climate Anomaly. Other subjects to be addressed are forms of historical writing; early medieval slavery; the ideals and realities of political power; gender and identity; belief; travel and trade; forms of warfare; technological change; the reception of antiquity, and changing scholarly approaches to this peirod.

The course will blend the chronological with a strongly comparative thematic component, as we explore particular issues in cross-cultural perspective.

Format: two lectures and one discussion section each week. Requirements include: regular attendance, active discussion participation, two essays.

HIEU 4502-001: The Holocaust and Law

Instructor: James Loeffler

This course explores the pursuit of justice after the Holocaust. We will study legal responses to the Nazi genocide of Europe's Jews from 1945 to the 1960s through the lens of pivotal post-Holocaust trials, including the 1945-1946 Nuremberg Trial; the 1961 Eichmann Trial, and the 1963-1965 Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial. We will ask how the pursuit of legal justice after the Holocaust affects our understanding of the legal process. 

HIEU 5051-001: Roman Empire

Instructor: J.E. Lendon

Studies the founding and institutions of the Principate, the Dominate, and the decline of antiquity.  Prerequisite: HIEU 2041 or equivalent.

HIEU 5585-001 / HIEU 8585-001: Thinking France in the World

Instructor: Jennifer Sessions

The central goal of this interdisciplinary course is to explore what it means to think about “France in the world” as a framework for French history and culture. First, to understand how scholars have reconceptualized national histories “in the world” as being inherently and reciprocally global, imperial, and transnational, we will examine key theoretical and conceptual statements drawn from a range of fields.

Second, we will examine the particular stakes--intellectual, cultural, and ideological--of this new approach for French studies through the controversy sparked by the publication of the 2017 volume L’Histoire mondiale de la France (France in the World: A New Global History).

Finally, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of how France has been shaped by its global interactions and how we understand the enduring impact of those interactions today. Readings will cover a broad chronological span, focusing on works that place medieval, revolutionary, Third Republic, and postwar France in global, imperial, and transnational contexts. We will have the opportunity to discuss some of these texts with their authors, who will join our seminar in person or virtually.

This seminar will allow graduate students in a variety of fields to develop their understanding of global methodologies, as well as of modern French history, and to think more deeply about how that history intersects with their own research and teaching agendas. It will offer preparation for teaching, research, and other endeavors in French history and culture, European studies, global history, and related fields. Open to advanced undergraduates by permission.

HIEU 9029-001: Tutorial in the History of Reformation Europe

Instructor: Erin Lambert

Surveys the history and historiography of European Christianity c. 1450-1650. 

HIEU 9030-001: Tutorial in the History of Early Modern Europe

Instructor: Erin Lambert

Explores the history and historiography of Europe, c. 1450-1750. It provides a broad introduction to early modern society and culture, with particular emphasis on the transformations that reshaped Europe in this period, such as the emergence of the early modern state, the division of Christendom, and global exploration.

Latin American History

HILA 1501: Gender-Based Violence in Latin America: International Collaborations

Instructor: Lean Sweeney

Violence targeting people because of their gender, based on their perceived violation of gendered norms, or enacted through power inequalities based on gender differentiations is rampant throughout the world, affecting people of all ages, races, abilities, classes, nationalities, sexual orientations and gender identities.  Yet its visibility often remains subsumed by other layers of inequality, contexts of violence, and histories of family-making, nation-formation, and cultural and political processes.  The present seminar aims to use a focus on modern Latin America to highlight the stories of both gender-based violence and the fight against its continued presence within the broader history of the region, culminating in a collective report produced through individual student projects and the mentorship of Dr. Laura Aragon, Director of the Pan-American Development Foundation.  Students will receive a broad-based understanding of the overlapping relationships between gender, race and class in Latin American history, as well as an introduction to intersectional and decolonial approaches to research.  With Dr. Aragon, they will engage in hands-on analyses of databases, court cases, and laws, as well as presidential speeches and popular culture that incorporate forms of violence as well as discursive strategies of defense against this violence.  Class assessments will include two short presentations, a journal, bibliographical entries to Zotero, and a final project incorporating quantitative and qualitative analysis, primary sources, and graphs.  The class’s collective report will be uploaded to UVA’s LibraOpen, for consultation across the university.  

HILA 2002-100: Modern Latin America, 1824 to Present

Instructor: Thomas Klubock

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 3021-001: Human Rights in Latin America

Instructor: Lean Sweeney

Beyond simply discussing a variety of cases of rights violations in Latin America, this course

challenges students to confront some of the grey areas that still vex the search for human rights in Latin America and the worlds of its diaspora. For the past fifty years, the issue of human rights has defined Latin American societies and political cultures. Today, Latin American countries attempting to consolidate their democratic systems and the rule of law 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 in the face of environmental disaster. Yet these are global issues in which we are implicated. Further, they demand that we return to confounding questions like, what is the truth, who decides, and why does it matter? Should human rights violations be treated differently during war than in peace time? Should the obligation to rectify rights abuses fall more on some than others, more on states than on individuals, more on judges than mothers, more on parents than children? What can be done about lasting traumas from centuries of exploitation and repression, or future dystopias of climatic upheaval and environmental destruction?

Middle Eastern History

HIME 2002-100: The Making of the Modern Middle East

Instructor: Caroline Kahlenberg

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 to Afghanistan in the East over the period of roughly 1500 to the present. 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.

South Asian History

HISA 1501-001: Free Speech and Blasphemy

Instructor: Neeti Nair

This course will engage with changing notions of free speech and blasphemy in South Asian history. Major topics include debates on a free press and legislation to curb hate speech in colonial India, and the renewed vigor with which laws restricting free speech are being deployed across the subcontinent today.

HISA 3003-001: Twentieth Century South Asia

Instructor: Neeti Nair

This course considers a few of the key debates that have animated twentieth century South Asia: on the nature of anti-colonial nationalism; the shape of a free India; the founding principles of the states of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; the independence of Bangladesh; and the legacy of colonialism on democracy, development and militancy in these South Asian countries. Structured chronologically, the course begins with a study of colonialism in early twentieth century India and ends by considering the challenges of deepening democratization, and unequal development.

General History

HIST 1501-001: Jews and Humor

Instructor: Caroline Kahlenberg

What makes a joke funny? What is the relationship between humor, tragedy, and power? In this course, we will investigate the role of humor in Jewish history from the Bible to the modern-day United States and Israel. Does a distinct “Jewish humor” exist, and if so, what makes it unique? Sources for this course include literature, films, folklore, religious texts, stand-up comedy, and new forms of online media.

HIST 2152-001: Climate History

Instructor: Chris Gratien

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 2014-100: Fascism: A Global History

Instructors: Manuela Achilles and Kyrill Kunakhovich

This class studies fascism as an ideology, movement, and regime in a global framework. Thematic perspectives include: the origins and theories of fascism, key terms in the fascist lexicon, motives that brought people to fascism, fascism as an aesthetics and lived experience, and the role of women in fascism. We will also study the historical articulations of antifascism, i.e. groups and individuals who have fought against fascism over the years.

HIST 3452-100: The Second World War

Instructor: Philip Zelikow

The significance of the war needs little embellishment.  In many ways, the war formed the world we live in now.                  

The course perspective is broad, encompassing Europe, Asia, and the United States.  At every turning point, we ask why.  In each important episode, we try to comprehend how leaders, societies, and young people saw their choices.

This is a lecture course with discussion sections.  There will be a midterm and a final exam.  Both of these will be take-home exams for which students will write papers drawing on the lectures and the readings.

Required Readings

  • Paul Kennedy, Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who turned the Tide in the Second World War (New York: Random House, ppbk, 2013)
  • Evan Mawdsley, World War II: A New History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ppbk, 2009)
  • Lynne Olson, Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941 (New York: Random House, ppbk, 2013)
  • Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, ppbk, 2012)

A number of shorter, required readings will be posted on the Resources page of the class Collab site.

HIST 3501-001: Microhistory and the Historian’s Craft

Instructor: Fahad Bishara

This course helps students develop the tools of micro-historical analysis, and uses them to ask broader questions about the nature of research and writing in history. We explore how to reduce the scale of analysis; identifying protagonists and other actors; interpreting clues and historical action; mapping the possibilities and limits of the historical record; and crafting historical narratives.

HIST 3559-001: Anti-Imperialism, Decolonization, Post-Colonialism

Instructor: Spencer Leonard

This course examines the opposition to colonialism that existed from at least the time of the British conquest of India, the global impetus toward decolonization and independence beginning post-World War I and realized in the decades following World War II, and, finally and more briefly, the postcolonial condition that has prevailed since the late 1970s. The course seeks to grasp decolonization as ambivalent and contradictory, as simultaneously the realization of both imperialist and anti-imperialist political ambitions. Some basic questions our course will address are: How, when, and by whom did opposition to imperialism first come to be articulated? How was it different from a demand for decolonization? What role(s) did the international left, in particular, play in opposing, first, imperialism and, later, colonialism? As regards earlier liberal, socialist, and communist anti-imperialism, was decolonization after World War II its realization, betrayal, or both? What underlying dynamics shaped the process of decolonization? How are we to make sense of the “post-coloniality” that resulted from decolonization in the mid-20th century? This syllabus, which moves chronologically (with some exceptions), starts with India, privileging it as the first and, in some respects, the exemplary instance of the ideological debates on imperialism, but will also address China, Indochina, the Middle East and Central Asia, Africa, and the West Indies. The class concludes with a brief treatment of the post-colonial condition, with the recognition of the failures of decolonization to secure democratic self-determination and economic independence for billions worldwide.

HIST 4501-001: Using and Abusing the Medieval Past in the Modern World

Instructor: Paul Kershaw

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 4501-002: The Climate Crisis

Instructor: Justin McBrien

This course asks what makes anthropogenic climate change a “crisis” through an exploration of the history of environmental crisis theory from the 1960s to present.

HIST 4991-001: Distinguished Majors Program - Special Seminar

Instructor: Bradly Reed

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 5559-001: The International Economy since 1850

Instructor: Mark Thomas

This seminar will focus on key aspects of the development of the international economy since the mid-nineteenth century. Emphasis will be on the process of change, the impact of policy, and the operation of international institutions. Special focus will be paid to the economics of the Great Depression, the impact of the First and Second World Wars, and the drivers of growth.

HIST 5003-001: Public History: Museums, Monuments, Media

Instructor: Christa Dierksheide

How is history conveyed and consumed outside of the academy? How is the past presented and explained to various audiences—at museums and historic sites and through movies, documentary films, radio, social media, and journalism? From historic house museums to African American preservation sites, this course blends theory and practice by providing an informed and engaging overview of the many aspects of public history.

HIST 5621-001: Genocide

Instructor: Jeffrey Rossman

Readings and discussion of the history of genocide and other forms of one-sided, state-sponsored mass killing in the twentieth century.

HIST 7559-001: Trans-imperial Lives: Decolonization and Empire through Biography

Instructor: Penny Von Eschen

This course focuses on decolonizing projects throughout the twentieth century through the lives, writing, and art of activists and artists who confronted the upheavals of war and colliding imperial projects throughout the 20th century.   Readings include:

Tara Zahra: The Lost Children Reconstructing Europe's Families after World War II Harvard (2015); Gary Wilder, Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World (Duke University Press, 2015; Priya Satia, Time’s Monster: How History Makes History (2020)

C.L.R. James, Beyond a Boundary (1963); Edward Said Out of Place: A Memoir (1999); Mark Mazower: No Enchanted Palace: The Ends of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations, (Princeton University Press, 2013); Susan Williams, Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and his Nation (2006); Deborah Baker, The Convert (2012); Imani Perry, Looking for Lorraine (2018).

HIST 7559-002: Oral History: Theory and Methodology

Instructor: Thomas Klubock

This course is an introduction to the uses of and methodological approaches to oral history.  It introduces students to a variety of historical monographs that employ oral history from different periods and regions, as well as some theoretical literature on oral history and the related field of ethnography.  We will examine contemporary debates among oral historians and anthropologists about the status of oral history and ethnography as a historical source or basis for producing ethnographic knowledge of "the other."  A particular theme of interest will be historians' and anthropologists' efforts to male legible the worlds of what are sometimes referred to as "subaltern" subjects, to "give voice to the voiceless," to construct decolonial forms of knowledge.

HIST 8001-001: MA Essay Writing

Instructor: Chris Gratien

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

United States History

HIUS 1501-001: Pandemics

Instructor: Justin McBrien

This course examines the history of pandemics and their impact on societies from the Black Death to COVID 19. 

HIUS 1501-002: Conspiracy in America

Instructor: Justin McBrien

This course looks at the history of the United States through the lens of conspiracy theories and mass panics from witch-hunts and anti-masonic protests to chemtrails and Q-Anon.

HIUS 2051-100: War and the Making of America to 1900

Instructor: Elizabeth Varon

This course examines warfare and military developments in America from the colonial period to 1900. Major topics include debates over the role of the military in society; the motivations and experiences of soldiers; interaction between the military and civilian spheres; the development of a professional army and navy; and the social and cultural context, impact, and legacies of warfare.

HIUS 2053-100: American Slavery

Instructor: Justene 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 2101-001: Technologies of American Life

Instructor: David Singerman

From Thomas Edison to Elon Musk, we’ve all heard stories of heroic inventors. In this course you’ll explore a different history of technology: how it’s shaped the ordinary lives of Americans, and how ordinary Americans shaped our common technologies. By viewing technology from the bottom-up, you’ll learn how to question and challenge the powerful stories about technology that surround us today.

HIUS 3072-100: Civil War and Reconstruction

Instructor: Caroline Janney

This course will examine the causes, fighting, and outcomes of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. The course combines lectures, readings, films, and discussion to address such questions as why the war came, why the United States won (or the Confederacy lost), and how the war affected various elements of American society.  The principal goal of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the scope and consequences of the bloodiest war in our nation's history--a war that claimed between 620,000 and 700,000 lives, freed nearly 4,000,000 enslaved African Americans, and settled definitively the question of whether states had the right to withdraw from the Union.

HIUS 3162-100: Digitizing America

Instructor: Brian Balogh

This class will explore the history of  the United States from 1980 to the present through the lens of the information revolution that occurred during this period.  We will examine the origins of the technological changes like the mainframe computer, merged media, the emergence of the internet, and the impact that they had on the economy,  politics and social interaction.

HIUS 3232-100: The South in the Twentieth Century

Instructor: Grace Hale

Studies the history of the South from 1900 to the present focusing on class structure, race relations, cultural traditions, and the question of southern identity.

HIUS 3261-100: History of the American West

Instructor: Alan Taylor

This course examines the expansion of the United States beyond the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, from 1800 into the twentieth century.  It also explores the response of, and impact on, the native and Hispanic peoples who possessed that land - as well as the Asian peoples who migrated eastward across the Pacific to settle in the region.  And we will consider the generation of new myths of American nationhood and character from the conquest of this region.

There will be two lectures and one discussion section per week.

The course features two collections of primary sources, and three books by historians.  There will be a paper built through three installments as well as a mid-term and a final exam.

HIUS 3282-001: Virginia History, 1900-2021

Instructor: George Gilliam

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 3411-001: American Business History

Instructor: Mark Thomas

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 3456-100: America in the World since 1914

Instructor: Philip Zelikow

Studies American foreign relations from 1914 to the present.

HIUS 3501-001: Making History Public

Instructor: Brian Balogh

“Making History Public” 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. Because the Civil War and the memory of that war has been sucha compelling topic for scholars and the public alike – just check out the history section of your favorite book store – we will focus on a variety of historical treatments of the Civil War and how it has been remembered, including the debate over Civil War monuments.

As an introductory History Workshop (HIUS 3501) this class will focus on what it means to be a historian, introducing students to the diverse ways in which historians conceive of the past, interpret their sources, and write histories. The course will introduce students to the methods through which historians collect and interpret their evidence and help students develop skills of historical research and analysis that will encourage success in other history courses, particularly the major seminar.

HIUS 3612-100: Gender & Sexuality in America, 1865 to Present

Instructor: Bonnie Hagerman

Studies the evolution of women's roles in American society with particular attention to the experiences of women of different races, classes, and ethnic groups.

HIUS 3654-001: Black Fire

Instructor: Claudrena Harold

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 3752-100: The History of Early American Law

Instructors: Christa Dierksheide and Alyssa Penick

Studies the major developments in American law, politics, and society from the colonial settlements to the Civil War. Focuses on legal change, constitutional law, legislation, and the common law from 1776 to 1860.

HIUS 4501-001: American Capitalism, American Slavery

Instructor: Justene Hill Edwards

One of the most enduring debates among scholars of American slavery is the connection between slavery and capitalism.  In recent years, historians have explored, with renewed interest, the relationship between the profitability of slavery and the rise of capitalist development in the United States and the Atlantic World between the sixteenth to the late-nineteenth centuries.  In this course, students will not only delve into the history of these debates, but students will learn about the interconnected history of American capitalism through the lens of slavery, beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and ending in Reconstruction.  Students will be required to read 1 book per week and will spend the semester researching and writing an original 15-page research paper on a topic relevant to the course theme. 

HIUS 4501-002: Wives, Widows, and Witches: Women’s Lives in Early America

Instructor: Emily Sackett

This course examines the varied experiences of women in early America as they navigated the social systems and gender norms that developed over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. English colonization created new roles for women and new understandings of how gender would function in the “new world” for white, Black, and Indigenous women. In this course, we will study how these women experienced English colonization, beginning with the arrival of the first white women at Jamestown in the early seventeenth century and extending until the conclusion of the American Revolution. Students will engage with primary sources and secondary readings that illustrate the diversity of women’s experiences across different regions of early America. A substantial research paper based on primary and secondary sources is the expected outcome of this course.

HIUS 4501-003: Readings in the Civil Rights/Black Power Movement

Instructor: Kevin Gaines

This seminar on the history of the civil rights and Black Power movement is based largely on historical and autobiographical writings by writers and movement activists, including Julian Bond, James Baldwin, Anne Moody, Maya Angelou, and Angela Davis.

HIUS 6240-001: Constitutional Law II: Poverty

Instructor: Risa Goluboff

This course will explore the Supreme Court’s flirtation with constitutional protection against poverty during the 1960s and 1970s. We will read cases in which the Court considered different doctrinal approaches to protecting against poverty, including wealth as a suspect classification, fundamental rights equal protection, procedural due process, and the right to travel. We will also read both contemporaneous and contemporary law review articles arguing for and against various kinds of constitutional protections for the poor. We will place the Court’s poverty-related doctrines in the context of other types of constitutional protection, including against discrimination on the basis of race and gender. Finally, we will discuss the demise of the Court’s protections against poverty.

This course is cross-listed with the Law School, and follows their calendar. Please see the course website for more details: https://www.law.virginia.edu/courses/view/123218032

HIUS 7011-001: Colloquium in US History to 1877: Teaching the American History Survey

Instructor: Elizabeth Varon

This course is designed to help students craft an undergraduate course on the first half of the US Survey. Through both reading and discussion, we will focus on the big questions of the period and consider the various ways in which one might convey a narrative(s). Attention will be given to pedagogy and content, with emphasis on best practices in the classroom. Students will design their own course with a syllabus, assignments, and lectures.

HIUS 7021-001: Comparative Cultural Encounters in Colonial North America

Instructor: Alan Taylor

This course examines the scholarship on the cultural frontiers between expanding European empires and the diverse native peoples of North America.  It explores the epistemological issues raised by attempting to understand native peoples within a cultural heritage - history - derived from the European colonizers.  We will read about fifteen books and thirty articles to get the full range of the relevant scholarship.  This course seeks to prepare graduate students for comprehensive exams in the early republic.  Each student will prepare six precis of selected readings and one review essays.

HIUS 8559-001: Introduction to Southern Studies

Instructors: Grace Hale and Jennifer Greeson

In this course, we will use literary and historical analysis as well as the interdisciplinary methodologies of American studies to examine the changing meaning of an American region, the South, from the colonial period through the end of the twentieth century.  We will explore how different people in different time periods have created music, literature, and visual art that reflects their understandings of the region.  We will also ask how competing conceptions of the South have functioned in regional, national, and global politics.  Assigned texts will include literature, historical documents, music, and other primary sources as well as more recent work by literary and American studies scholars and historians.