103 Seminars

The 103 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 one 103; non-majors are welcome on a space available basis.

Special enrollment procedures for priority enrollment are available for History 103 Seminars.  Fall 2014 103 course titles and descriptions will be posted by June 30th and the priority enrollment application will be posted here and open between June 30th and July 14th. 

Enrollment Procedures


Beginning June 30h there will be a full set of course descriptions and an online course application form linked at the top of this page that will allow you to request enrollment into the 103 seminars.  You will be asked to rank you top three seminar choices.  All submissions must be received by July 14th at 5pm in order to be considered for the first round of 103 seminar assignments.  Finalized class assignments and corresponding course control numbers will be emailed the week of July 15th.  AFTER YOU ARE ACCEPTED INTO A SECTION, YOU MUST ENROLL IN THE COURSE ON TELEBEARS.   

Note that ONLY ONE ONLINE APPLICATION FORM WILL BE ACCEPED PER PERSON via the online application system. If you submit multiple entries, only the first submission will be considered. You should receive an e-mail confirmation of your online submission.  However, if you do not receive an email confirmation of your submission, send a message to history@berkeley.edu. Your request is only considered complete once you receive an email confirming all the data you have submitted.

Section assignments are NOT first-come, first-served, so there is no need to submit your preferences during the first days the form is available if you are still waiting for information to be posted to the website. So long as you submit by July 14th, your application will receive full consideration.  All are encouraged to submit application forms, but priority is given to History majors.

Sign-Up Procedure After Priority Enrollments Have Taken Place:

Although initial sign ups for these courses take place in July, spaces are available in many of the sections after the first round of seminar assignments. You may add them directly through Telebears begining the week of the 15th.  Particularly for full sections, make certain that Particularly for full sections, make certain that you attend the 1st class meeting as students who come to class will have priority on the waitlist.      


These courses are limited to 15 students per section.

103 Courses

103B.004: From War to Peace: Europe in the 1940s
  • A complete description is forthcoming. Please check back.

This reading seminar will explore the mid-1940s as a watershed moment in European history. Within only a few years the descent into war and genocide was followed by the return to a stable and, in comparison to prewar Europe, fundamentally different social and political order. The starting point was in 1942-43: German mass killing policies in occupied Europe reached their zenith, Nazi Germany’s defeat became a certainty, and the Allies began to impose their vision for a postwar order. The transition ended in 1947-48 when the postwar settlement turned into a new conflict among the victorious powers, splitting the continent into Communist East and Capitalist West. We will discuss some of the major works of historical synthesis on twentieth-century Europe as well as more specific historical writings on European reconstruction that have appeared over the last decade. Weekly position papers and an in depth literature review (or a prospectus for a possible honors thesis) constitute the principal writing assignments.       

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann
F 10-12P
103B.003: Foodways in Europe, 1500-1950

  • Note New Time.
The history of food as a recognized subfield is relatively young. Sociologists and anthropologists discovered it well before historians did. And yet, food lies at the basis, not only of human survival, but of all political, social, economic and cultural systems. The viability of every state rests on the adequate provisioning of subjects, particularly in the urban metropolis, but also in the military. Grain supplies have always been one of the most basic tests of the mobilizing capacity of the state. Management of dearth in staple goods is no less important in maintaining social cohesion.  But luxury goods and the drive to command their production and exchange have been no less important as a motor of historical change. Trade in spices and sugar was an early causal factor in colonization among early modern European states. Conspicuous consumption luxury foods played a key role in the maintenance of political and social hierarchies.   
This course will provide students with an opportunity to read across the disciplines—social, economic, military, cultural, and intellectual. Assigned authors will include Norbert Elias, Piero Camporesi, Sydney Mintz, EP Thompson, Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Priscilla Ferguson, and Lizzie Collingham. Most particularly, this seminar will train students how to read secondary sources, to distill a research question and an argument. These skills will prove useful to history majors when they come to write a senior thesis.
Students will be assigned one book weekly and will write a review for each book assigned. At the end of the semester, they will have the choice between writing a 10-12 page synthetic essay or a thesis prospectus.  
Victoria Frede
107 Mulford
W 2-4
103B.002: Gender in Early Modern Europe

In Emile, his treatise on education, Jean Jacques Rousseau writes that "the education of women should always be relative to that of men.  To please, to be useful to us, to make us love and esteem them, to educate us when young, to take care of us when grown up, to advise, to console us, to render our lives easy and agreeable Even if she possessed real abilities, it would only debase her to display them."  Women should, in other words, be taught to confine themselves to the private sphere of home and family.  Did this ideal, though, ever reflect reality?  In this course, we will seek to answer this question by exploring how gender constructs impacted the lives of women and men in early modern Europe.  By reading a combination of primary and secondary source material, we will examine how gender ideals developed over time, with particular attention paid to how major historical events (i.e. the Reformation, Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment, etc) did (or did not) affect these ideals.  Though there will be an emphasis on western European countries, I will endeavour to make the course as geographically broad as possible.  

Ashley C. Leyba
Tu 12-2P
103U.003: Precursors of Modern Nationalism

This course will explore both the origins of modern nationalism as a global phenomenon and its historical precursors. We will begin by examining theories proposed by historians of Europe and elsewhere to explain the rise of nationalism. We will then examine (and critique) scholarship describing nation-like phenomena in the pre-modern world. Requirements: diligent reading of all assigned texts, active class participation, weekly short papers or presentations, and brief written assignments in preparation for a final paper.  In order to train students in the construction of historical arguments, when discussing readings, we will pay careful attention to conceptualization, methodology, and sources.
Nicolas Tackett
W 12-2P
103U.002: The Cold War

Each week, this reading seminar will focus on a particular Cold War episode such as the Alger Hiss case, Khrushchev’s “secret speech”, the Hungarian uprising of 1956, the “Cambridge Five” spy ring, Indonesia’s failed Communist coup of 1965, the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive, the reign of the Khmers Rouges in Cambodia, and others. We will examine these episodes with an eye toward investigating two things. The first is the different ways that they were interpreted by people experiencing them in real time, usually operating with a deficiency of information that was exacerbated by the dynamics of the Cold War.  This will be done primarily through an examination of press coverage and early journalistic accounts. The second thing we will investigate is the different ways in which historians, working well after the fact and with access to more sources of information, have interpreted these episodes in subsequent years. These investigations should enable us to assess such things as the role assumption plays in people’s understanding of current events, the relative value of different historical sources, and the impact of contemporary politics on people’s views of the past.  

Alec G. Holcombe
M 12-2P
103S.002: History of Health and Social Movements in the United States

This course addresses the intersection of health and social movements in America from the early 19th century to the present. We will explore the historical role of health movements and social movements, their relationship with medical theory, politics, religion, culture, and economics, how American movements mobilized, co-evolved, and changed over time, and the role of women and minority groups in health and social movements. Students will be introduced to the theories that historians of health and sociologists use to analyze the rise, growth, and decline or change of health and social movements including resource mobilization, abeyance, spillover, and protest cycles. Topics will include feminism in the 19th and 20th century, abolition, utopias, temperance, asylum and hospital reform, the pure food movement, settlement houses, eugenics, birth control and reproductive rights, environmentalism, healthism, and disability rights.

Rebecca Kaplan
Tu 10-12P
Latin America
103E.002: Artists, Intellectuals, and Social Change in Latin America

Latin American history has featured horrific dictatorships and turbulent revolutions.  In spite of this instability, or perhaps because of it, the region has also consistently produced one first-class export: the work of its artists, writers, and intellectuals.  This course looks at the myth and reality of Latin American intellectuals—often said to be more influential politically than in any other region of the world—over the course of the region’s history.  How have Latin American artists and writers used their cultural production to expose injustice?  When have those attempts made things better, and when worse?  By looking at the historical literature—supplemented with poetry, prose, painting, and film—this course will examine the important role of Latin American intellectuals in creating social change in the region.

Patrick Iber
F 2-4P
103E.003: Mexican Popular Culture

This course will examine Mexico’s rich cultural history, focusing on the period after Independence but with some attention paid to the colonial antecedents of cultural production. We will begin with a general overview of what cultural history is, as well as a consideration of the concept of “popular culture” as an indicator of societal attitudes. In a larger sense, however, this course examines the connections between cultural production and politics, or how major political events, like the Mexican Revolution and the 1968 student uprising, are shaped by a society’s attitudes and perspectives. How those attitudes were formed and how they changed over time is also a major concern of this course. We will consider Mexican culture from several thematic perspectives, including religion, visual culture, music, and sport. Through readings, analyses of various visual and musical sources, and a few film screenings, we will consider what makes Mexico “Mexican”—how its national culture formed and developed.

Kinga Novak
M 4-6P
United States
103D.002: Slavery and Freedom in American History

This class will explore the role of bonded and free labor the making of America. The course will focus primarily on the 17th to 19th centuries, exploring the ways labor systems evolved over time and the relationships between forced labor, capitalism and empire. Major topics will include the trans-Atlantic slave trade, indentured servitude, slave markets, plantation work regimes, wage “slavery,” and both the ideology and economics of slavery and freedom.  The course will move thematically through five modules.  The first module, “The Emergence of Slavery in the Atlantic World,” will explore the development of the slave trade and the rise of the Caribbean plantation complex during the 17th and 18th centuries. Here we will situate the rise of American slavery in the broader history of European expansion and Atlantic exchange. The second, third, and fourth modules will be organized thematically. The second, “Daily Lives,” will compare and contrast the working conditions of slaves growing different crops in different geographies. The third, “Culture and Resistance,” will examine the ways enslaved men and women resisted and adapted to the constraints of slavery, developing distinctive cultural practices in the face of incredible violence. The fourth section, “Political Economy,” will explore the economic constraints that both upheld and undermined the system. The final segment of the course “Abolition and Emancipation” will focus on the ideas and economic circumstances that contributed to the end of slavery in the 19th century. We will discuss the simultaneous expansion of slavery and the rise of abolition as well as the coming of the Civil War.

Caitlin C. Rosenthal
M 10-12P
103S.002: History of Health and Social Movements in the United States

See details under Science.

Rebecca Kaplan
Tu 10-12P
103D.003: The Spaces of the United States

With a few clicks of a button we can virtually connect with family, friends, and colleagues across the world. New mapping technologies allow us to visualize our location in space as a pulsing dot, tracking the digital representation of our bodies as we physically move from one point to the next. With Google Earth and maps we zoom with ease from views of the entire globe to the most intimate of spaces - the home. While these technologies and transformations are relatively new, the relationship between humans and space is long-standing and historically contingent. This seminar explores changes in spatial practice and experience in the United States, with some comparative material, from the seventeenth century through the twentieth. In a period of great social and political change, how did different groups of Americans stay connected with family and friends from a distance? How did maps and other technologies allow them to visualize their place in the world and track their movement through space? In what ways did nations, states, racial and ethnic groups, and individuals differentiate between space: as domestic and foreign, public and private, free and slave, and civilized and wild?  

Sarah Keyes
M 2-4P