History 101.008

Fall 2005
Instructor (text): 
125 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MW 5:30-7p.m.
New Time and Room!

From the two world wars to the revolutions that toppled communist regimes, the people of 20th-century Europe and Russia were more likely than not to find political and social upheaval somewhere on their continent. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, and terror spawned violence on an unprecedented scale, but change could also come with less blood, as in the revolutions of 1968 and 1989/91.

Many political leaders as well as "ordinary" people recorded their experiences of these upheavals. Each student in this seminar will locate, select, and analyze two or more of these diaries or memoirs. In some cases, oral histories may be available, or students may wish to conduct interviews themselves. In class we will discuss the types of research questions, analytical approaches, additional sources, and challenges that accompany the use of autobiography as a historical source.

Interested students are strongly encouraged to think about thesis topics before the semester begins, and to contact the instructor with their ideas. Over the course of the semester, a series of individual and collaborative assignments will lead to completion of the final thesis.