12 Spring 2014 The Middle East

The current popular uprisings in the Middle East underscore the dynamism and vitality of a region that has played a central role in human history since ancient times. This course introduces students to the major historical developments in this region from the rise of Islam to the present. It is designed to help you contextualize current developments and to give you the tools to educate yourself on your own. It also prepares you for more advanced courses in the Dept. of History (such as 109C) or courses in other departments that require some background in the history of the Middle East.

100.005 Fall 2013 The Japanese Empire

The Empire of Japan was one of the largest maritime empires in modern history. By the 1940s, it ruled over some 200 million subjects and encompassed an area of nearly three million square miles, stretching from the island of Sakhalin off the Russian coast to the Indonesian archipelago. This class traces the rise, fall, and aftermath of the Japanese Empire from the late nineteenth century through the post-World War II period.

103F.004 Fall 2013 Politics of Postcolonial Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

The “Arab Spring” has brought the writing and telling of histories of postcolonial violence in the Middle East—one (arguably the) key means of political contestation in the region in recent decades—ever more center-stage. This course introduces students to the wide variety of discourses that emerged in the region in the last three decades, often under the rubric, often of “truth and reconciliation,” in the broad sense of the public narration of political violence.

103F.003 Fall 2013 The Vietnam War

This seminar examines some of the many scholarly controversies surrounding the Vietnam War. Was the conflict a “civil war” or a “war against foreign aggression?” Was the “domino theory” a shibboleth or a reasonable cold-war paradigm?  Was the National Liberation Front an independent organization allied with Hanoi or merely a front organization created by Hanoi to camouflage the Communist Party’s control over the insurgency in the South? Was Ho Chi Minh a radical or a moderate? Which scholars make the best case?

103F.002 Fall 2013 Capitalism in China and Japan

In 1978, Japan became the world’s second largest economy amid heated debates about whether “Japanese Capitalism” was a model or a menace. Also in 1978, the People’s Republic of China began experimenting with free-market economic policies and, as a result, overtook Japan as the world’s second largest economy in 2010. Debate now rages about the virtues and vices of “Chinese Capitalism,” while Japan flounders in stagnation.


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