280F/285F Spring 2017 China

The graduate seminar (offered at the two levels) discusses the research tools and methods needed to undertake advanced work in primary materials. The seminar is housed in the library, because Web resources, while ever improving, still do not suffice to study China before 1911. Thus the course provides a systematic and hands-on introduction to the available print and electronic resources.

280F.002 Spring 2017 Readings in Vietnamese History and Historiography

This course introduces graduate students to the most important works, scholars and debates in the Western-language field of Vietnamese History.  While we will devote most of our attention to the modern era (late 18th century to the present) several sessions on pre-modern history will explore the significance of Confucianism and regionalism in early Vietnam and the development over time of Sino-Vietnamese relations and a distinctive Vietnamese political culture.  Study of the modern era commences with the Tay Son Rebellion, the rise of the Nguyen Dynast

101.013 Spring 2017 Asian Worldviews

The Asian Worldviews section is intended primarily for thesis writers studying Modern China, but is open to students working on any time or place in Asia. Our approach will be methodological, rather than topical, developing historical papers through close reading and exposition of a key text. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with Professor Cook in the Fall semester to discuss their interests, and ideally should enter the seminar having already identified a primary source (in translation, if necessary) from which to begin their investigation.

103M.001 Spring 2017 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.

103F.001 Spring 2017 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.

100F.001 Fall 2016 Special Topics in Asian History: The Politics of Modern Tibet

For over a hundred years, the political status of Tibet has commanded a level of attention on the international stage – and within China – seemingly disproportionate to the size of its population and economy, and in spite of its reputation as a remote periphery. This course will examine the historical, cultural, and economic assumptions underlying contemporary discourses of Tibetan politics, and relate them to discourses of global power and peripheries more generally.

100M.002 Fall 2016 History of Political Islam

This course is a history of the development of Islamic political and social movements from the late nineteenth century through the present. The course will focus primarily on the Middle East, but will also examine intellectual and political trends in the wider Islamic world including India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The course traces the struggle between post-imperial secularizing states in the Middle East and Islamic social movements.

280F.002 Fall 2016 Self and Society in the Chinese Tradition

The idea that Chinese culture values society at the expense of the individual has become cliché, particularly in the West, where Chinese “collectivism” is almost always contrasted with Western “individualism.” However, for artists, intellectuals, and literati in the Chinese tradition, the individual person possessed important philosophical, social, and political meaning and required constant redefinition and affirmation.

280F.003 Fall 2016 Capitalism in Modern Japan -- Historical Explorations

This seminar will explore the history of capitalism in Japan from a number of different, overlapping perspectives: as a story of purposive national “development” out of something, toward something, and perhaps beyond something; as an episode in an ongoing global process that has included but is more than imperialism; as the “infrastructure” of the time/space of modernity itself.   Readings will range across classic and newer monographic works focused on Japan, literary treatments, and a number of strategic texts chosen to incite comparative discussion.

103F.003 Fall 2016 Sovereignty and Culture in the Middle East (Proseminar in Middle Eastern History)

This course analyzes the political and cultural history of state formation in the Middle East from the late eighteenth century through the early twenty-first century. It considers the transition from a world of multiple overlapping sovereignties to a world of territorialized nation-states. “Sovereignty” will be used a category to examine diverse phenomena in Middle East history including the nature of Ottoman political order, the expansion and collapse of modern empires and the rise of national states.


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