Fall 2016 Course Offerings
This is a partial list of courses. For the semester's complete offerings, see the Registrar's website. The IUB Course Bulletin also has full list of History Department courses past, present, and future.
The momentous changes that took place in the first half of the century affected people all over the world and laid the groundwork for much of the human experience today. We will consider themes like industrialism, gender, colonialism, racism, nationalism, fascism, socialism and war. Analyzing these subjects and their impact on everyday life using sources ilke All Quiet on the Western Front will help us understand how the world we live in today came to be, and examining the experiences of people from the past will help us understand our own humanity.
From the Renaissance and the so-called Age of Discovery, through the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the English Revolution, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and finally the rise and fall of Napoleon, this course examines the four-hundred-year sweep of early modern Europe. Along the way we deal with such topics as the European witch-hunts, printing and humanism, the rise of capitalism, the formation of nation-states, popular culture and religion, as well as the development of art, literature, and music.
Has it ever been possible in American history to imagine equality without at the same time excluding some people? We will explore cultural tensions between equality and inequality, freedom and unfreedom, and prosperity and poverty in American history from the era of Columbus's exploration of the New World, up through the era of the American Civil War.
What is "America"? Who is an "American"? By examining diverse experiences, we will explore the different ways Americans have answered these questions and gain a broad knowledge of American history from the pre-contact era through the Civil War.
America changed dramatically from the end of the Civil War to the War on Terror. This class will survey that transformation as it was driven by politics, war, urban growth, civil rights, student protest, popular culture and dynamic leaders like Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Major attention will be given to topics such as the Reconstruction of the nation after the Civil War, World War I, the economic collapse of the 1920s and the Great Depression, Roosevelt's New Deal, World War II and the Cold WAR, Vietnam, the Sixties, the rise of conservatism after the sixties, and the War on Terror.
United States interventions in Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Guatemala had a profound impact on the societies that experienced them. In this course, we will consider the reasons for these important United States policy decisions, and also focus on how the different social, ethnic, and political groups of the "host" countries responded to the interventions, in order to develop a comparative framework for analyzing the interventions and their long-term consequences.
What did the Great Wall represent in Chinese history? In our minds, it separates a rich, beautiful China, a place of high civilization, productivity, and the state, from a China that is poor, marginal, and hardscrabble. Yet throughout Chinese history, ordinary people straddled the line between heartland and frontier: settlers, immigrants, merchants, missionaries, runaways, and nomads. What dynamics defined the historical relations between settled and mobile communities in China? How was everyday life shaped by these dynamics?
Genocide is not the violent clash of professional or volunteer armies, but the extermination by the powerful of the powerless. This course asks what in different times and places has driven leaders, states and groups to pursue such horrific policies. Is there something in the nature of the modern world that makes genocide thinkable, even attractive? What is it like to be the victim of such policies? Is genocide really different from other forms of mass violence, massacres of civilians, violent attacks against social classes and so on?
"People Power": is there such a thing? From the Berlin Wall to Beijing and from Cairo to Cape Town, citizens have risen up to demand democracy. What difference does popular protest make, and what ideas or strategies make some revolutions more successful than others? Examining democratic change all around the world from the 1980s to the Arab Spring, students will explore the ideas and practices of a range of revolutionary moments in the words of participants themselves.
Are heroes born or invented or a bit of both? What does it mean to be a hero? To suffer for God or for one's love? To crush one's enemies or to die heroically? Everyone loves a hero and if they can't find a living human who fits the role, we invent heroes to suit us. But what suits us in a hero? (And who is us?) This semester, we'll be exploring these questions by looking at medieval heroes remembered (Charlemagne) and forgotten (Eustace the Monk, anyone?), secular and holy, historical and fictional, and we'll think about how heroes get invented, recreated, joked about and (sometimes) forgotten. We'll explore how medieval people thought about their world, its politics, its institutions, its social structures, the obligations of individuals, people's dreams and desires. The skills we develop--the ability to see how people's contexts influence their view of the world, to read analytically, and to present your ideas clearly in writing and visual form--will be useful to you no matter where you go and what you do after college.
What's the difference between an "Oriental" and an "Asian American"? If Americans usually think about race in black-white terms, where do "brown" or "yellow" people fit in? Why might asking someone who "appears" Asian, Arab, or Muslim "Where are you from?" be a loaded question? This course digs into these questions by surveying the experiences of Asians in the United States spanning the last 175 years.
When did Islam emerge? How did it spread over the world? What do the Muslims believe in? Who is a Sunni and who is a Shiite? What was the nature of the Muslims and the Christians before and after The Crusades? What was life like in an Islamic city during the medieval period? These and many other questions will be raised and discussed in class. The only thing you have to do is come to the lectures, write a short paper, and take a midterm and a final.
Native people were the first Americans, and their history stretches back over twenty thousand years. Drawing on archaeology, written sources, and oral tradition, this course surveys that deep and ongoing history, providing students with a broad understanding of the Native American past. This course covers topics ranging from pre-contact civilizations to rise of Native casinos, and it enhances students' understanding of American history, colonialism, and globalization.
Winston Churchill. Queen Elizabeth. Manchester United. These are three things that Americans today associate with Modern Britain. They are just part of the story of a nation that witnessed the first industrial revolution and the rise and fall of a worldwide empire. In this course, we will study the dynamic history of the British Isles from the 1700s to the present day.
How would your life change if half of the people around you suddenly dropped dead? The bubonic plague has forced people all over the world to answer this question, and the bacteria is still with us today. This class will explore how people react to crisis in their day-to-day life by looking at cultural artifacts (art, written sources, clothing, even medical theory) created during outbreaks of plague. From the sixth-century medieval Mediterranean world to 19th century China, from Renaissance England to 20th century Hawaii, we'll see how cultural similarities and differences shape plague response, and how these responses shape interactions between different cultures. From ancient primary sources to big-data analysis, we'll use a historian's tool box to explore the limits of what we can understand about the Black Death's past.
From marriage to business regulation, why has law had a powerful role in the development of American society? What are the consequences of Americans' reliance on law to address their most fundamental conflicts and concerns from witchcraft in the seventeenth century to terrorism in the twenty-first? Covering the American legal system from 1776 to the present, topics include murder, business regulation, slavery, legal education, women's rights, constitutionalism, person injury lawyers, privacy, and terrorism.
An offer you can't refuse: 15 weeks of murder, corruption, drug dealing, and occasional successes against organized crime. This course will focus primarily on the Sicilian mafia. While we will look at links to the US mafia, our focus will be Italy. In addition to the mafia, we will look at related areas of Italian "deep politics" (or Italy's mysteries) including: Salvatore Giuliano, right and left wing terror and the strategy of tension, the Vatican banking scandal, and the Tangentopoli scandal and Clean Hands investigation.
Africa was home to numerous civilizations that produced written and oral texts, buildings and monuments, and other cultural expressions. This introductory course examines several examples of African civilizations over the millennia. Topics include: African lifestyles, regional trade and politics, and African cultural expressions in the form of art, oral traditions, literature, music, and other cultural forms.
Complexities and paradoxes have accompanied Israeli society from its beginnings down to today. Some of the major themes of this course will be: the relation between religion and state, the interactions of military and civil life, the place of the kibbutz movement within society, the Israeli family and the place of women in society, and the meaning of war.
Birth, illness, and death are universal human experiences, but they have been conceptualized and managed in a great variety of ways in different times, cultures and societies. This lecture- discussion course surveys the variety of experiences, treatments, understandings and practitioners that have guided people through the bodily experience of life from Ancient Greece and Rome into the twentieth century. We examine the relationship between medical theories and therapies, the roles of various healers, and consider the impact of medical science and public health measures on health and welfare. We explore changing concepts of the structure and function of the body and their relationship to illness and disease. In addition, we consider the experiences, responsibilities, beliefs and perceptions of ordinary people dealing with matters of life and death--health, illness, prevention, and treatment.
To speak of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany is to conjure up images of marching automatons, extreme violence, war and genocide, all at the behest of a charismatic but perverse, brutal, deluded, and crazed dictator. But could this gigantic project really have been summoned into being by one man? What were the promises and goals that persuaded millions of Germans to support and fight for such a regime?
What Is History? delves into the ideas, practices, and joys of history common to the study of all places, time periods, and themes. Emphasis will be on developing the skills historians use in research and writing, including locating and interpreting sources, using scholarly resources, and arguing persuasively. We will engage with stories that offer a fascinating way to think about past worlds as well as our own. Along with short written and in-class assignments, students will develop a semester-long research project on a topic of their own choosing.
Oil is not simply a natural resource, it is a hot-button political issue provoking debate: is oil the savior of countries' GDP, or the curse of political corruption and ecological damage? This course studies the history of oil on the African continent. We will read widely to understand how an historical analysis of a natural resource might change the debate. We will situate African oil in the larger global context and think about historical and current relations of power that shape the idea of 'blessing' and 'curse.'
Often described as the 'cradle of globalization', the Indian Ocean encompasses a vast area of diverse societies whose extensive and deep interactions were crucial in shaping the emergence of a globalizing world by the 12th and 13th centuries. The range of social, economic and cultural networks that these societies created across the ocean wove peoples together and structured the dynamics that allowed the later coexistence of European, Asian and African exchange. This course explores some of the history of the people and societies who have "made" the worlds of the Indian Ocean over more than 5,000 years. We will look closely at the interactions between regions and powers, at commercial exchange and the voluntary and involuntary movement of peoples, ideas and things around the ocean from ancient to modern times.
The art of film and the practice of colonialism started at the same time. In this course we study how film has represented African history and been implicated in it. Hollywood films have played a large role in representing and misrepresenting Africa and African history. More importantly, colonial administrations used film to promote the colonial project and from the 1960s onward film production mattered to independent African governments and artists keen to represent themselves.
This course is designed to introduce students to a range of viewpoints and issues in Australian history and to highlight various debates and controversies that resonate in all settler societies. We begin our exploration with the interactions of Australia's indigenous peoples with early British settlers and ask questions such as: was the continent settled or invaded? Did Aborigines resist colonisation, and if so, how? And, we move on to ask were convicts 'slaves' or was their punishment just? Were explorers and pastoralists heroes or land-grabbers and environmental vandals? And, what role did women and gender play in the way Australian history has been understood? The course will explore historical issues and moments, such as the convict system, the gold rushes, the Anzac myth, the White Australia policy, and the Stolen Generation, in examining the way Australians have constructed, remembered, and denied aspects of their past. We will use novels and film in our analysis of these questions.
Modern political science, the Utopian novel, and the essay are all inventions of the sixteenth century. This class will explore the writings and thinking of the humanists Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas More, and Michel de Montaigne, and the political, religious and cultural world which they both inhabited and, in large part, shaped.
What was it like to be part of a world that distinguished between "civilized" and "uncivilized", between colonizers and colonized? This course draws on an archive of diaries, images, films, cartoons, and novels to explore colonial regimes of terror as well as civilizing missions, notions of masculinity and domesticity, and colonial and postcolonial race relations.
Why should we think that Jews are any different from others? Today Jews identify as an ethnicity, a religion or a culture – yet not as a distinct race. But during the 19th century scientists, physicians and politicians described Jews as a race, and the Jewish body as either deviant, ugly and sick – or as healthy, beautiful and noble. In any case Jews were perceived as different according to "racial science". How did these images influence Jewish self-identity and the perception of Jews in the eyes of non-Jews – up until today? In this course we will deal with images and stereotypes of Jewish bodies in scientific discourse, popular culture, art, literature and propaganda, and the Jewish reaction to them.
What is the history of motherhood? Recent writers' accounts of becoming a mother routinely report entering a state of shock and bewilderment, or complain about grandmothers with incomprehensible and old-fashioned ideas of bringing up a baby. This course seeks to explore the history of motherhood in the last few hundred years - neither as a "how to" guide nor as a sentimental celebration but rather as an analytic and historical examination of the many pasts of mothers and mothering. Such a task involves approaches as diverse as the history of the body, and personal and oral histories, and political history. Casting off the assumption that the arrangement of biological mother as sole and exclusive caretaker is universal, we will ask three kinds of questions: What ideologies have shaped the institution of motherhood? What different experiences have made up mothering? How do we tell the history of mothers, mothering and motherhood?
Much of world history in the last one hundred years has been defined by the rivalry of two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union/Russian Federation. The Cold War embodied rivalry accentuated by ideological difference. History also witnessed the era of US non-recognition of the Soviet government from 1917 to 1933, the era of cooperation from 1933 to 1945, and the period of an uncertain relationship from 1991 to the present. Why did these changes take place and what impact did they have on the world? What is the future of American-Russian relations? These are some of the questions this course addresses.
Have you ever googled "Jews and economy"? If you do so, you will encounter various forms of economic anti-Semitism and world conspiracy theories. Why is that so? What is the historic connection between Jews, economy, capitalism, socialism and communism? Together we will explore the history of Jews and the economy in a global context. Starting in ancient Israel we will follow Jewish merchants along the trade routes to medieval Europe and discuss their role as mediators and money-lenders. Our main focus is the modern era and Jewish participation in the economy of a globalized world. We will also discuss anti-Jewish stereotypes and their cultural representation in the media, art, literature and film.
So you want to be a History Teacher... When you get a job as a social studies teacher, you will very probably have to teach a survey of World History, but you've probably not taken a World History survey since high school and can't remember much about it (mummies, yeah, Confucius, perhaps). How can we make sense of the history of the world in a semester, when we can spend a whole year studying the measly 300-400 years of American history? In this course (call it boot camp for World History Teachers) we're going to concentrate on the traditional first half of a World History Survey (the world to about 1450). However, the purpose of the course is not only to [re]acquaint you with the content of world history, but also to provide you with a greater understanding of historical thinking and some ideas about how to organize this mass of material pedagogically. We'll use multiple textbooks (used ones! cheap!), and work collaboratively in an intense way to build possible understandings of World History; we will also read a little theory about World History and Global History, talk about "Big History," and read some pedagogical literature in Social Studies instruction as well.
For more than 200 years, the British ruled over a truly global empire; an empire that stretched from the Caribbean to South Africa, India, and Australia. The island nation of Britain, with a population of only 35 million people in 1900, nevertheless ruled over of the world's territory. How did this unparalleled imperial state come into existence? How did the British view their empire, and their place in the world? And how did those subjected to imperial rule react, and eventually throw off the yoke of imperialism? This course is intended to provide students with an overview of the so-called "second" British Empire; that is, the empire constructed by Britain, principally in Asia and Africa, in the immediate aftermath of the American War of Independence and examine the ideas and events that were crucial to building and maintaining Britain's empire "at home".
The splendid Russian Empire covered one sixth of the earth's land surface and extended across 11 time zones in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Two thirds of the population were Slavs, but others included Poles, Georgians, Baltic, Jewish, Turkic peoples; those of Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist religious persuasions, speaking over a hundred languages. It had the most powerful land army on earth, was the fifth largest industrial power, produced many of the world's greatest artists, writers, composers and scientists, and boasted a dynamic economy, but it was also riven by conflict, was the site of a growing revolutionary movement, and collapse during World War I. This course examines the paradoxes and contradictions of modern Russian history, the legacies of Imperial Russia to the twentieth century. We look at the choices confronting rulers in the context of global politics, but also at the daily life of the people.
Irrational and often lethal hostility to Jews has a history of over 2000 years. Jew-hatred made its first appearance in the ancient world, later intensifying in waves in Christian Europe and, to a lesser extent, in Islamic countries. A range of antisemitic myths became deeply embedded in Western culture. Racial and genocidal antisemitism rose with 19th century nationalism and culminated in the attempt by Nazi Germany to destroy every member of the Jewish "race." What are the historical roots of antisemitism? What social, cultural, and political factors advanced or contained antisemitism? We will examine the most significant antisemitic myths and events in their historical and social contexts until 1933, including the image of Jews as murderers of God, usurers, and conspirators, as well as the blood libel. We will trace the changes of Jew-hatred from religious forms in the Middle Ages to nationalist and racist forms in modern times. Students will complete the course with an increased grasp of the irrational motives involved in antisemitism. They will also come to see how antisemitism is similar to and different from other prejudices, as well as understand the multiple sources from which antisemitism derives.
Ukraine is at the center of a complex political struggle between Russia and the European Union. Once the breadbasket of the Soviet Union, it is now one of the largest nations in Europe. This course examines issues of national identity and national consciousness and explores the place of Ukraine in Russian and European history.
Brother fighting Brother! Neighbor killing Neighbor! A nation torn apart and reunited. The Civil War was the deadliest war in U.S. history. It also transformed the nation. In the crucible of war, Americans debated essential questions about the nature of the U.S. and what it meant to be an American. Their answers continue to shape our society. Join us as we learn about the men and women--North and South, white and black, rich and poor, soldiers and civilians--who navigated the violence and tumult of the war and the world it created.
For over a thousand years (AD 330-1453), the Byzantine Empire was one of the most powerful and splendid societies in the world, far overshadowing the emerging countries of western Europe. This class surveys the political, cultural, religious, and social life of this medieval empire, and its capital city, Constantinople.
Railways, department stores, white-collar jobs, modern urban lifestyle, globalized economy, political parties, the nation-state, mass politics, continued population growth, mechanized and industrial manufacture, belief in science and technology, colonial and class domination, and the "isms" (socialism, liberalism, nationalism, romanticism, social Darwinism, etc.). We take these for granted (whether we like them or not), and they shaped Europe between 1815 and 1914, and, through European influence, were emulated in or forced upon other parts of the world. We will examine key political, economic, social, and cultural transformations of both Western and Eastern Europe, including but not limited to the features mentioned earlier, from the end of the Napoleonic shock to the eve of the First World War. The rise and fall of the liberal order and the impact of industrialization will be two major threads.
How does the Holocaust live on in American remembrance, and why should the United States be so invested in the memory of a European genocide? We will examine the ever-changing constructions of Holocaust memory in the United States, from the revelations of the horrors of the concentration and death camps in the spring of 1945, through the challenge of Holocaust remembrance in personal testimony, film, and physical memorials. Is it the case that we have "never been able to assimilate the implications" of the Holocaust? What does it mean to "assimilate" these "implications?" What are these implications?
Why have the rich and corporations played a fundamental role in the modern United States? How has the constellation of people and firms known as big business both shaped and been shaped by American society, culture, and politics? This class studies the ways in which Americans have tried to comprehend and control the revolutionary power unleashed by the industrial and information revolutions and by globalization. We will focus particularly on debates about the nature of the rich, executives, and corporate workers.
Why does the history of the United States in the 1960s still matter so much? Why does the decade that tore apart post-World War II America serve as both an inspirational story of democratic empowerment and a dark tale of violence and decline? To answer these questions, we will explore grassroots activism, the African-American freedom struggle, the Great Society, the Vietnam War, advertising and consumerism, student protest, popular music and pop art, hippies and the counter culture, the sexual "revolution," feminism, and environmentalism.
The great migration south, the wars along the Great Wall, the rise of the exam system and family lineages, the printing and commercial revolutions: in this course, we reconstruct the key processes, institutions, and events that defined imperial China in the years 755-1850. What traditions bound imperial China together, and what transformations tore it apart? What were the key turning points, and what were the engines of change? We will answer these questions from multiple vantages, using writings from men and women, Mongols and Manchus, and the rich and the poor.
How did a city of ex-slaves, immigrants and outcasts subdue not only the whole of Italy, but a territory roughly the size of the continental United States and which now includes almost 40 modern nations? What was it like to live, work, vote and practice religion in a world which was surprisingly very different to our own? How do we explain the end of the Roman Empire and its enduring political, religious and cultural legacies. In this class, we study the Romans: their institutions, their society, and the course of their impressive history.
Interracial Sex. This is a topic that has generated and continues to produce intense public debate. Sex lies at the heart of US History, and narratives about interracial sex have been fundamental to the creation of core American beliefs. This course focuses on sex in the American South prior to 1865. Designed to deepen our understanding of the Old South, we will utilize the lens of sex, particularly cross-racial sexual relations, to bring Natives, free blacks, non-slaveholding whites, urban dwellers, and women into conversation with enslaved persons, rural folks, slaveowners, and white men in order to construct a more detailed portrait of life in the antebellum South.
Only rarely do rebellions achieve any kind of immediate or final victory. The often fatal ends of rebels and their causes, however, are made to serve future resistance against oppresive power structures. The apparent permanence of rebellion offers opportunities to ask trans-historical questions: what kinds of material and/or ideological forces generate rebellion? How do rebels define "success"? How do dynamics of power, dominance, ideology and temporality change the way in which rebellions are classified, described and historicized?
Historian Mark M. Smith observed that “there is no compelling reason for historians to fixate on what was seen rather than heard, smelled, tasted, and touched; nor is there a compelling reason to treat the senses as unchanging ‘natural’ endowments. To understand the function of the senses is essentially a historical enterprise.” This course is an opportunity for us to take seriously the history of the senses. In this seminar, we will learn about the function of smell in early Christianity. We will read about the sensory richness of warfare. We will read about the manipulation of the senses in the totalitarian aesthetic of Nazi Germany, and we will appreciate the complex social meanings associated the senses in London and Chicago. We will learn how touch was essential to the formation of American racial categories.
Rome. Brasilia. Abu Dhabi. Chang'an. Accra. Springfield. Even Bloomington! Cities that are designated as centers of political units can be called "capital cities". Some were cities before they became capitals; others were planned from scratch to be the practical and symbolic showpieces of their state, nation, or empire. In this course, we will examine capital cities across time and space, as representative of the intersection of urban history and political identity. From Constantinople to Washington DC, we will consider what functions take place in capital cities, what groups of people live and work there, and how such cities are physically laid out to express the aspirations and ideals of the political unit they control.
The College of Arts + Sciences