History 103 Seminars

What is History 103?

The History 103 course is a proseminar on historiography involving close reading and critical discussion, most often with a synthesizing paper due at the end of the semester. Every history major is required to take at least one History 103, though taking more than one over the course of your career is recommended (note: due to the heavy reading load, more than one in any given semester is, however, not recommended). Though priority is given to history majors, non-majors are welcome and encouraged to complete the 103 sign-up form and to enroll in History 103s on a space-available basis. History 103 courses are limited to fifteen (15) students per section.

Spring 2017 Priority Enrollment is Now Closed:

If you completed a 103 preference form during the priority enrollment period, you will receive an email with a Permission Number and full registration instructions by Tuesday, October 18th. Your Permission Number will allow you to register for your one of your preferred 103s on or after your Phase II appointment. You must use your Permission Number to add the class before January 13th or you may lose your reserved seat.

Enrollment procedures after priority enrollments have been assigned:

After the initial distribution of seminar spaces via individual Permission Numbers is completed, many History 103s will still have space(s) available. Enrollment restrictions will be lifted for each seminar by October 18th, at which point you may register in any course available.

For questions or concerns, please contact Leah Flanagan, undergraduate advisor, at leahf@berkeley.edu.


103 Courses

103F.002: Late Imperial and Modern China: Research Seminar on Historical Documents

This seminar offers an overview of selected types of historical documents foundational to research projects in late imperial and modern Chinese history. It also pays attention to those institutions that produced and archived these materials. Included among the topics will be studies of palace memorials, local gazetteers, county archives, Republican municipal archives, official chronological compilations (shilu, shilue), Qing bibliographies, and Nationalist Party materials.  Students are expected to make regular library visits and to familiarize themselves with database collections.  Class assignments will include bibliographical essays and translation exercises. The term paper may be either an essay on a topic of the student’s choice that identifies sources and bibliographies in preparation for a research paper, or a critical evaluation of a historical genre as a source for research.

Wen-hsin Yeh is the Richard H. and Laurie C. Morrison Professor in the Department of History.

Wen-hsin Yeh
341 Starr Library
Class #: #34302
United States
103D.001: Locked Up: The Carceral State in the Twentieth Century

This seminar will explore how incarceration has shaped our past, and uses the prison as an entry point into central questions in twentieth century social, political, and legal history. We will define "incarceration" expansively to travel beyond the penitentiary: to prison labor colonies in the Soviet north, Nazi concentration camps, exile, and the American South. While attentive to state policies administered "from above," we will take care to locate the incarcerated individual in the penal systems they inhabited "from below." Readings are drawn primarily from history and memoir literature, and will be supplemented with social theoretical texts, images, film, and recent journalism.

Yana Skorobogatov is a PhD candidate in history at the University of California, Berkeley. A historian of modern Russia and the Soviet Union, her dissertation explores the Soviet party-state’s embrace and use of the death penalty after World War II. Born in Moscow, USSR, she spends her free time freelance writing, open water swimming, brewing kefir, and brainstorming an article-length think piece about her life as a first-generation Russian-American. She can be reached via email at yanaskor(at)berkeley.edu.

Yana Skorobogatov
2303 Dwinelle
M 4-6
Class #: 16136
103D.002: Making a Modern African American Liberation Struggle: From Civil Rights to Black Power and Beyond

The African American Liberation Struggle, broadly conceived, is the enduring, multi-faceted, and complex freedom struggle waged by Africans in the Americas from the period of enslavement down to the present. Our focus will be a narrow and specific location and time within that broad and centuries-long liberation/freedom struggle: the US from 1940 to 1980. Commonly referred to as the Civil Rights (1940-1966) and Black Power (1966-1980) Eras, the modern African American Freedom Struggle has yielded a rich and stimulating body of work, including works of culture and history. We will critically examine some of the best of that work in an effort to better understand the origins, development, meanings, and consequences of the modern African American Liberation Struggle, or the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement in particular. We will also give special attention to “The Music”: the connection between African American music and the African American Freedom Struggle. At the end, we will critically examine a few works on the more “recent” period in an effort to better understand key continuities and discontinuities earmarking the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement, on one hand, and the “Post”-Civil Rights— “Post”-Black Power Movement of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, on the other. Possible readings include: W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery; Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases; Patricia A. Sullivan, Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Assata; Leigh Raiford, Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle; Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption; and, Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton, Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter.

Waldo Martin is a Professor in the Department of History.

Waldo E. Martin
89 Dwinelle
W 2-4
Class #: 33953
103U.004: Witches, Demons and Sex: Popular Religion in the Early Modern Atlantic World
  • This course has been cancelled.

This seminar explores the intersect between popular culture and the institutions of repression, 1500-1800. We will be reading a variety of primary sources, articles and monographs primarily drawing from evidence in the archives of the Inquisitions of Europe and the New World. Although some readings provide examples from Europe, the bulk of our readings are concerned with the New World including case studies from Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and Mexico. The goal of the course is to uncover some of the mental and emotional horizons of ordinary men and women in the formation of new societies in the New World.

Mark Emerson is a Visiting Professor in the Department of History.

Mark Emerson
2303 Dwinelle
F 12-2
Class #: 33349
103U.003: Frontier History

From Hadrian's Wall and the Roman limites, to the American West in the 19th c., to contemporary Chinese jurisdictional claims in the South China Sea, borders and frontiers are universal phenomena best understood from a broadly comparative perspective. On the basis of case examples from all regions and time periods, this seminar will explore a variety of related topics, including: territorialization as a historical process; frontier law; conflicting military and political needs on the frontier; representations of the frontier in literature and the arts; the nature of borderland societies; and theories and approaches used historically to legitimate boundaries and territorial claims (from natural border theories to modern international law). Because the seminar is partly designed to prepare students to write a senior thesis, we will also discuss research methodologies, techniques of fast reading, etc.

Nicolas Tackett is an Associate Professor in the Department of History.

Nicolas Tackett
2303 Dwinelle
T 2-4
Class #: 33348
103U.001: Comparative Genocides

This senior seminar is an introduction to the field of genocide studies from an interdisciplinary, comparative, and thematic perspective.  Its main characteristics follow.  First, this seminar will not focus on any single genocide; instead, it will try to provide a good understanding of the extreme diversity of this form of mass killing. Second, even though it will emphasize twentieth-century cases, it will also cover earlier occurrences.  Third, it will touch upon the contributions of various disciplines: anthropology, international law, political science, social psychology, and sociology. Fourth, a number of relevant thematic issues will be discussed: "genocide and gender;" "memory, forgetting, and denial"; "justice and truth"; and "intervention and prevention."

The seminar will start with a broad narrative survey of genocides in world history.  We will continue with readings on the concept of genocide and the discontents this concept generates.  We will then focus on case-studies summing up the current state of the historiography. Thereafter, disciplinary approaches and thematic issues will be treated.  Finally, we will conclude the seminar with two acclaimed advanced readings, which require prior knowledge of genocides.

These are some of the case-studies we will discuss: genocide in the Americas, the destruction of the Herero in German South West Africa (1904-08), the Armenian genocide, the mass killings resulting from Stalin's regime, the Holocaust and its historiography, the death of millions of Chinese under Mao, the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, mass murders in Bosnia and Kosovo, and the Rwandan genocide.  

Stephan Astourian is an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of History and the Executive Director of Berkeley's Armenian Studies Program.

Stephan H. Astourian
3205 Dwinelle
F 12-2
Class #: 16149
103U.002: Law and Comparative Empire

This comparative course explores the roles that law played in the development of political communities in the ancient world, with particular focus on Rome and China.   What was the political impact of writing down laws?  In what ways did law facilitate negotiation and settling of disputes between both individuals and communities?  How did legal norms shape ideas about gender, sexuality and family?  We survey recent scholarship on law and empire, complementing these readings with careful study of ancient evidence, primarily but not exclusively epigraphic, and recent scholarship on it, including but not limited to petitions, statutes, case records, inscriptions, and archeological evidence.  All are welcome.  Students with interests in comparative empire, the ancient world, and early China may find this course useful in preparation for a 101 project.

Jesse Watson is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department.  In 2016, he spent an exiting year at Peking University working on newly excavated legal manuscripts on bamboo and wood.   He is very excited to teach this 103 and is looking forward to cross-disciplinary collaborations between students with diverse historical interests. He can be reached via email at jdwatson(at)berkeley.edu.

Jesse Watson
2303 Dwinelle
W 4-6
Class #: 16150
103B.003: The Totalitarian Self: autobiographies, diaries, memoirs, fiction

For many historians, diaries, letters and other first person accounts offer the most reliable conduit into the past. But such accounts vary greatly in style and purpose, not mention author and experience.  In this course we use first hand sources to look behind the facades of among the most dramatic but also troubling events to confront humankind in recent centuries: namely the experiments with fascism, racial war, and Marxian socialism, "tried out" upon millions of human beings in twentieth century Europe, from Germany through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.  Through diaries and autobiographies we explore fundamental questions of identity, solidarity, commitment, and belief that seem unavailable within the strictures of conventional institutional history.

Historians have developed crude categories like resistance, accommodation, collaboration to describe the responses human beings developed to would-be totalitarian rule.  In fact, these and other dimensions of experience overlapped in single lives.  Through perspectives of sensitive observers –poets, but also an architect, worker, school teacher, and several journalists – this course seeks to deepen students' appreciation of the nuances of every day existence in a region renowned for its complexity, but also to awaken an appreciation for first hand accounts as historical sources. What do we in fact learn from such accounts that is otherwise unimaginable? What might memory tell about an event that was invisible to direct observation?

John Connelly is a Professor in the Department of History.

John Connelly
3205 Dwinelle
W 12-2
Class #: 16134
103B.001: African and Asian Immigration to Europe since 1945

Until the end of the Second World War, European colonial empires came to encompass almost all of Africa and Asia. Britain and France ruled the largest of those empires. One of the drivers of colonization was a regular outflow of people from Europe. From 1945, European empires collapsed. In parallel, the migration flows from Europe to Africa and Asia have been replaced by migration flows in the opposite direction. First came European settlers, such as French settlers in Algeria, one million of whom migrated to France in 1961-1963. African and Asian populations, looking for opportunities in the former metropoles, followed them. In this seminar, we will explore recent books dealing with those postcolonial migration flows. The British and French cases will be the subject of most readings. We will investigate how various immigrant groups interacted once arrived in Europe. We will review why they managed or failed to integrate in destination countries. We will try to understand anti-immigration feelings, along with violent episodes, such as riots, surrounding those groups. We will describe the experiences of immigrants through the sociology of Abdelmalek Sayad and the masterpiece La Haine (Hate). We will complete our reflections with a review of immigration policies, along with an analysis of the anti-immigrant French party Front National.

Emmanuel Comte is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of History.

Emmanuel Comte
2231 Dwinelle
M 2-4
Class #: 16132
103B.002: Secularization and Modern European History

Americans have a difficult time making sense of secularism in Europe. Why, for instance, do some French citizens see wearing a burkini or a burqua to be in violation of such cherished secular principles as equality or liberty? Moreover, if Europe is so secular why are religious holidays still observed in most countries and religious symbols tolerated in public schools, such as crosses in Italy? Despite boasting the highest rates of atheism in the world, Secular Europe, according to many critics, remains biased towards its Christian past. How are we to make sense of the paradoxes between church and state in secular Europe? This course attempts to deepen understanding of secularism by looking at how scholars have interpreted its historical develop in Europe. Starting with the Enlightenment, we will examine the experience of secularization for modern thinkers and the theories of secularization produced by them. The hope is that on this basis we will be able to better conceptualize and understand debates involving secularism and Church and State in contemporary Europe. 

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins is the Berkeley Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Theology for the 2016-17 academic year. He recently received his Ph.D. in Modern European History from Columbia University. His work primarily focuses on twentieth-century Western European intellectual, religious, and political history with subsidiary interest in American history and religious studies. His dissertation titled, The Other Intellectuals: Raymond Aron and the United States examines Aron’s critical views of various schools of American thought devoted to modernization theory, neoliberalism, and international relations theory. At BCSR Steinmetz-Jenkins will be working on a manuscript titled, Religion and the Left Since 9/11. He has written for The Nation, Times Literary Supplement, Dissent, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.

Daniel Steinmetz Jenkins
2231 Dwinelle
Tu 2-4
Class #: 16133
103B.004: Crime and Punishment in Medieval Europe

Governments and communities during the middle ages dealt with crime and punishment very differently than we do. Many actions we think of as crimes they did not (e.g., some homicides). Many actions they thought of as crimes we do not (e.g., homosexuality). Many punishments we think of as cruel and barbaric were regarded as normal and beneficial (mutilation). Many actions we seek to deter by the threat of punishment they sought to remedy without any punishments at all (often homicide). And if some medieval societies were notoriously violent (even by their standards), others were surprisingly tranquil and relatively crime-free (even by contemporary American standards). In this class we will try to get at the logic of punishment and redress by closely reading one particular law code (the Saxon Mirror, from 13th- and 14th-century Germany, complete with illustrations). We will build other readings around it covering other aspects of the subject. In particular, we will look at medieval prisons, the use of hanging and corporal mutilation, the widespread acceptance of what is today understood as "jury nullification," and attitudes towards homicide. We will also spend a significant amount of time discussing laws regarding rape and the application of those laws, as well as how married and unmarried women were treated in courts when charging breach of promise or physical abuse. Finally, we will read one provocative account of how medieval Europe came to rationalize institutionalized persecution and one comparative study of crime and punishment in the modern world.

Geoff Koziol is a Professor in the Department of History.

Geoffrey Koziol
3104 Dwinelle
Th 2-4
Class #: 32319
Latin America
103E.001: Slavery, Race, and Revolution

This course provides a comparative approach to the long history of slavery in the Atlantic World and the struggle against the institution and its legacies up to the present day.  We will consider the role of slavery in the development of an international system of capitalist exchange, as well as the impact on the lives of those caught within its bonds.  Though comparisons will be made with the United States, the emphasis will be on Latin America and the Caribbean, where more than 10 million Africans were sold into slavery.  How did this come to be?  What brought slavery to its legal end, and how does the history of slavery continue to impact the way that race structures lives today throughout the region?  Topics include the origins of “race” and racism, slavery in Africa, Indian slavery, the Middle Passage, African cultures in the Americas, resistance and rebellion, the Haitian Revolution, antislavery and antiracism during the Latin American independence wars, the transition to freedom, commemoration, and the transnational debate over rights and reparations in the present day.

Elena Schneider is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History.

Elena A. Schneider
2303 Dwinelle
T 10-12
Class #: 16139
103S.001: Sexing the Body: Medical and Scientific Conceptions of Gender and Sexuality

This seminar will examine how physicians and scientists have sought to explain sex, gender, and sexuality. We will focus on how their concepts of the human body have shaped definitions of masculinity, femininity, and sexual identity over time. Throughout the course, we will use specific examples and case studies to highlight the relationship among medicine, science, and their cultural context. The course focuses on America but takes into account the transnational nature of medical and scientific theories. The seminar starts with less familiar concepts such as the humoral body, influential in Western medicine well into the 1800s, and students will discuss the shift from a one-sex to a two-sex model in eighteenth-century medicine and science. Other topics include sex-specific diseases such as “hysteria,” the medical attention to hermaphroditism and sexual inversion in the late nineteenth-century, the making of male and female sex hormones in endocrinology, explanations of sex determination in terms of chromosomes, and new concepts of sexual orientation, intersexuality, and transsexuality in the twentieth-century. In addition to secondary sources, we will analyze primary sources (texts and images) to explore how bodies were thought, talked about, and imagined. 

Sandra Eder is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History.

Sandra Eder
3205 Dwinelle
W 10-12
Class #: 16145
103F.001: Travels to the Land of the Indians

This course is devoted to the study of the ways in which the lands and peoples of India were encountered, observed and described by visitors from abroad over the sweep of the last two millennia. We will accordingly read excerpts from a large variety of travelers’ accounts of the Indian subcontinent, beginning with Ancient Greek, Roman, and Chinese writings on India. Then we will examine the descriptions of the first Arab conquest of Sindh and subsequent invasions, paying close attention to the accounts of travelers such as Ibn Battuta and al-Biruni. Next we will read from the narratives of visitors from Europe and West Asia, before ending with a few accounts of travelers in the opposite direction, from India to other parts of the world. As we tour these narratives, we will pay close attention to the literary construction of India as region, empire, or nation across the centuries. In particular we will focus on themes of commerce and religion; representations of political and social order; and on questions of exoticism, orientalism and the understanding of difference. Students will develop their skills in textual interpretation and historical analysis by writing regular response papers and a final independent research paper on a theme of their own choice.

Abhishek Kaicker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History.

Abhishek Kaicker
2231 Dwinelle
T 4-6
Class #: 16141
103M.001: Egypt Between Empires

This course analyzes the political, social and cultural history of Egypt between the Ottoman and British Empires from the late eighteenth century through 1956. Between the Ottoman conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt in 1517 and the outbreak of World War I, Egypt was legally part of the Ottoman domains. In 1841 Egypt gained special status within the empire as a “privileged” or autonomous province and had wide control over its internal administration. As a result, for much of the 19th century, historians have viewed Egypt as “quasi-independent” and detached from the Ottoman imperial center in Istanbul. This interpretation was further supported by the British military occupation of Egypt between 1882 and 1914. During this period, Egypt was often referred to as the “veiled protectorate” and viewed as a British colony in all but name. Egypt’s international legal status came under scrutiny once again in the aftermath of World War I. In order to quell an anti-colonial uprising in Egypt against Britain’s “illegal protectorate,” the British High Commissioner in Cairo unilaterally declared Egypt independent in 1922. Yet, much like the period of occupation, Egypt’s economy, security and foreign affairs were determined by London. Britain did not leave Egypt until the last British troops were evacuated from the Canal Zone in 1956. This course examines modern Egyptian history vis-à-vis its relationship to the Ottoman and British Empires. It will consider the ways in which Egypt’s unusual political status between empires shaped politics, culture and society on the ground. What did autonomy mean for the development of state institutions? How did permanent military occupation shape culture and the state?

Aimee Genell is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of History.

Aimee Genell
3104 Dwinelle
F 12-2
Class #: 33350