Spring 2012 Graduate Seminar Descriptions (updated 3/6/12)

HIST 209B: The Academic Profession of History, Prof. Cohen, Spring 2012
The class will meet Thursdays from 11 to 1. Listed below are weekly topics as I’ve done them in the past. This time I’d like to devote more time to the current lively debate about broadening our vistas about what PhDs in History can do. The Perspectives of the AHA has been full of this, the AHA had two or three sessions devoted to this, and there have been spinoff articles in the Chronicle of Higher Ed and in Inside Higher Education. I used to have separate sessions on Public History and then the academic market for education jobs, but this year I’d like to ALSO have a joint session with several department members engaging in conversation about what some are billing as an historic turning point in how we think about how we are training students.
I also want to create a session to devote to “assessment”/learning outcomes/ and the very recent AHA move to set up a panel about “tuning” History–ie “tuning” our curriculum to clarity the competencies we expect our teaching to accomplish. The assessment movement is big these days, and our students will be expected to know something about it when they go off for academic job interviews.
History as an academic career
Careers outside academia
The current crisis in higher education: supply or demand?
The job market: how it works
Becoming a new faculty member
On and Off the Tenure Track: adjuncting, lectureships, distance learning
Academic publishing and peer review
Family and life issues in academe
Professional ethics and professional organizations
Back to the present: surviving graduate school.

HIST 200AS: Great Books in East Asian History, Prof. Zheng, Spring 2012

How do historians come to know what they claim to know about the past? The aim of this course is to shine a bright light on the painstaking, highly personal, and sometimes semi-occult work with primary sources that is the fundamental basis of all historical knowledge.

This course proposes that it is helpful to think about this issue in terms of a “golden triangle” of historians’ questions, sources, and methods. Many questions are appropriate to historical inquiry, but not all questions can be answered by sources or through the application of all methodologies. Almost any material trace of the past is a potentially useful historical source, but not all primary sources can be used to address all possible questions. The validity of any given methodology will always depend on the sources to which it is applied and the questions it is used to answer.

This course is also a general examination preparation course, designed to introduce you the key historiography of East Asian History. We will read a series of historical monographs and scholarly articles, which range in areas from China to Japan, and in periods from ancient to contemporary time.

Readings are around a series of key themes: political history, social history via class analysis and demographic reconstruction; microhistory; legal history; gender history, the uses of visual and material artifacts; oral history; and close textual reading and discursive analysis. For each monograph or article, we will analyze the sources the author has chosen to use, the methods he or she has chosen to apply, and the questions he or she intends to answer on the basis of this method applied to these sources. We will also invite professors in History and EALCS to join us to talk about their research.

Hist 201WO, Prof Soto Laveaga, Spring 2012
When we speak of imperialism in the Southern Hemisphere we rarely acknowledge that the spread of Western medicine was crucial to empire-building since it made the world ‘safer’ for invading Europeans or how mosquitoes killed colonial soldiers and administrators more often than rebel bullets did. Given just these two facts we should think further about the role of disease in the spread of empires.

This seminar will encourage students to rethink the world as “healthy” and “unsanitary” geographic zones that did not rely on territorial or “official” boundaries to expand.

Students will explore the historiography of empires beyond the perspective of economics, politics, and military presence and, while not ignoring these crucial phenomena, culture and public health will become the parameters to gauge how empires were built, shaped, and, often, failed on the ground. We will analyze how trade routes shifted and commodities were created by the need to treat the illnesses of explorers. Furthermore, when colonizers discovered that locals had acquired immunity to certain diseases that killed Europeans, race and labor took on new meanings. We will explore these as well.

Finally, we will examine how great civil engineering feats in the colonies were limited, not by technology, but by mosquitoes, germs, and viruses and how everyday life was altered by insects and disease. For example, we will read how malaria, which today still kills more than 1 million people a year and weakens another 3 million, was spread through war, conquest, and migration well beyond its tropical confines.

We will be reading about colonial spheres in Africa, the Americas, and Southeast Asia to compare how different colonial powers fought the unwinnable war against microbes and viruses.

Given that many of the diseases of the nineteenth and twentieth century originated in the displacement and chaos caused by war and invasion this class may be of particular interests to U.S. historians, world historians, Europeanists or anyone interested in colonialism and empire.
Some books that we will be reading:
– J.R. McNeill, “Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914”
– “Death by Migration: Europe’s Encounter with the Tropical World in the Nineteenth Century”
– Judith Bennett, “Natives and Exotics: World War II and Environment in the Southern Pacific”
– Diana Wylie, “Starving on a Full Stomach: Hunger and the Triumph of Cultural Racism in Modern South Africa”
– David Arnold, “Imperial Medicine and Indigenous Societies”
– Philip D. Curtin, Disease and Empire: The Health of European Troops in the Conquest of Africa
-Warwick Anderson, “Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippine”
– The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

Hist 201ME, Prof Humphreys, Spring 2012
This spring I am offering a graduate reading seminar (201ME-Advanced Historical Literature) on recent trends in the biography of the Prophet in Western-language scholarship. We will be looking mostly at work published in the last twenty years. The bibliography is still a work in progress, but it will include work by Uri Rubin, Harald Motzki, Frank Peters, Fred Donner, Herbert Berg, Gregor Schoeler, Alfred de Premare, and Jacqueline Chabbi. Except for Chabbi and Premare (in French), most of this work is available in English (sometimes translated from the original German). Much of this work involves a close analysis of contested source traditions, so I do not promise easy reading. All of it represents a response (explicitly or not) to the daring challenge launched by Wansbrough, Crone, and Cook in the 1970s and early 1980s. The main written work for the course will be a paper assessing the state of the field and defining where you stand in the debate–a serious review article, in short.

Hist 201AM, Prof. Lichtenstein, Winter 2012
“Communism and AntiCommunism in American Politics, Society, and Intellectual Life”
Thursdays, 10am-12:50 pm, HSSB 2202

Over the course of two scholarly generations, the history of the Communist impulse within the United States, and of its multilayered opposition, has generated a rich and contentious historiography. Among the key issues that this course will confront are the following: to what extent was American Communism an authentic heir to the radical, anti-capitalist traditions that had been such an integral part of pre-1917 political culture within the United States; and to what extent did it come to represent a Stalinist distortion of that American tradition? What was the relationship of Communism, in its Popular Front guise, to the character of New Deal politics, trade union activism, African-American civil rights, Jewish assimilation, and the rise of post World War II feminism? To what extent is McCarthyism a reaction to the Cold War and the influence of domestic Communism and to what extent is anti-Communism a phenomenon independent of either the U.S. foreign relations posture or the potency of radical movements within the body politic? And finally, how did the chronic debate over the legitimacy and influence of Communist ideas shape intellectual and cultural life in the United States, in the 1930s, the 1950s, the 1960s and today?

Richard Flacks, Professor of Sociology emeritus, will help lead several of the class discussions. He will be joined on occasion by Professor Joshua Freeman, former chair of the CUNY History Department and author of Working-Class New York, who is a Visiting Fellow for the first half of the Winter Quarter 2012. In addition the Colloquium on Work, Labor, and Political Economy will host three speakers of particular relevance to this class. They are Landon Storrs, of the University of Houston, whose forthcoming book is Hidden Convictions: the Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal, who speaks on Friday, January 13; and Eric Arnesen, of George Washington University, who is writing a biography of A. Philip Randolph. He speaks on Friday, January 27. Finally, on February 17 Richard White of Stanford speaks on the “Antimonopoly Tradition in Gilded Age America.”

We will read the following books, roughly in this order. An additional essay or two will accompany each book.

James Barrett, William Z Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism (2001) READ THIS BOOK for the first class meeting, which is Thursday, January 12. In addition read Michael Kazin, “The Agony and Romance of the American Left,” American Historical Review 100, No. 5 (December 1995): 1488-1512

Hist 201AM, Prof. Spickard, Winter 2012
“Excursions in African American History: Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries”
Tuesdays, 4:00-6:50 p.m.

This seminar is intended to give the student a solid grounding in African American history, from the beginning to the dawn of the twentieth century. We will read many of the major works in the field, and each student will produce a 20-page paper on a subject of her or his choosing, in consultation with the instructor. For those students with limited background, I recommend preparing for the course by reading a general undergraduate textbook like Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine, and Stanley Harrold, The African American Odyssey, 5th ed. (Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2011).

Hist 201AS, Prof. McDonald, Winter 2012
“Theories of Non-Western Modernity” (HIST201AS)
Tuesday, 9-11:50am, Ellison 2816

All historians of the modern non-West must grapple with the question of how to narrate the emergence of modernity in their respective areas. This course will explore the ways in which scholars have approached the problem in the context of East Asia. What does it mean for a society to be both modern and Asian or, more broadly, modern and non-Western? How do we determine whether or not a country or region has achieved modernity? What is the historiographical value of such a project? We will examine several approaches to the description of non-Western modernity, including modernization theory, colonial modernity, alternative modernities, and co-eval modernities. We will also read broader theoretical works on the topic, including those of Dipesh Chakrabarty, Tani Barlow, and Michel de Certeau. Students should leave the course with a better understanding of the theoretical frameworks that have been and are being used to define alterity as well as of the ways in which these received categories of analysis may frame their own research questions.

I encourage students of all regions to participate in this course. In addition to readings on East Asia, the syllabus will also include materials on the history of Africa and South Asia. The seminar will be an excellent vehicle for students looking to make transnational or cross-regional connections. I would appreciate it if interested students would contact me with a brief explanation of their research interests. I will then modify the syllabus to reflect the interests of the seminar members.
Hist 289A, Prof. Barbieri-Low, Winter 2012 (289B in spring)

I will be teaching a graduate research seminar over Winter and Spring on “Ancient Chinese Borderlands.”
The seminar will look at the dynamics of the relationship between the dynastic civilizations of China and the cultures along its peripheral zones, from the Bronze Age up until the Tang.

Some of the themes we will look at include: Chinese views and representations of “barbarians” or other cultural outsiders, foreign relations, warfare, and the “tribute system,” negotiation of identity by foreign enclaves within Chinese society, cultural and material exchange along the frontiers, and Chinese legal and ideological conceptions of borders and frontier-zones.

The course will be designed with all of the shared readings in English, so students outside the field of Chinese History or East Asian Studies are encouraged to enroll. It is currently scheduled for Mondays from 9:00am to 11:50 am, but the time and date may change depending on the constituency.

Hist 290, Prof. Hasegawa, Winter 2012

I am offering a reading seminar on the Cold War (History 290) in the Winter quarter. As you plan your schedule for this academic year, you might consider taking this course. The class is devoted to discussion on one book every week, and the requirement is a short historiographical essay, comparing two or three books you will read for this seminar. This is the first graduate course I teach in three years, and most likely I won’t offer another graduate seminar for some time. Here is a tentative reading list. I may add or subtract later.

1. John Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11, W.W. Norton, 2011, ISBN: 978-0393340686.

2. David Engerman, Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts, Oxford UP, 2011, ISBN: 978-0199832473.

3. Svetlana Sarranskaya, Thomas Blanden, and Vladislav Zubok, eds., Masterpiece of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, Central European University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-6155053405

4. Melvin Leffler and Odd Arne Westad, eds., Cambridge History of the Cold War, vol. 1, Origins, Cambridge, 2010, ISBN 978-0521537194

5. Mary Sarotte, 1989: The Struggle to Create the Post-Cold War Europe, Princeton UP, 2011, ISBN: 978-0691152417

6. Campbell Craig and Serrey Radchenko, The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War, Yale UP 2008, ISBN: 978-0300110289

7. Lorenz Luthi, The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World. Princeton UP, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-691-12934-1

8. Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, ISBN: 978-0-8078-3098-7

9. Melvin Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind: the United States, the Soviet Union and the Cold War, New York: Hill and Wang, 2007, ISBN: 0-8909-9717-6

10. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, ed., The Cold War in East Asia, Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Stanford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0804773317.

hm 9/17/11, 10/24, 10/29, 12/11, 2/12/12,2/22, 2/29, 3/6

Post last modified: November 3, 2015