103 Seminars

What is History 103?

The History 103 course is a proseminar on historiography involving close reading and critical discussion. Every history major is required to take at least one History 103, although taking more than one is highly recommended. Multiple 103s are offered each fall and spring term, and the topics are almost never repeated.

  • Students in all majors are welcome to enroll in History 103. Students at all levels are welcome, but some lower division experience in history is expected.
  • Taking more than one 103 in the same semester is not highly recommended, but it is possible. Note that only one seat can be assigned in priority enrollment.
  • Transfer students in their first semester should certainly try a 103 if the topic is of particular interest. Please also have a backup lecture.
  • History 103 is likely to include some research work which can be used later toward a 101 topic.

Fall 2022 Seminars

103B Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Europe

103B 001: Histories of Black Britain  

Class #23486
W 10:00AM–Noon     
Instructor: James Vernon                              

While British practices of slavery and imperialism have shaped the history of Africans and the African diaspora for centuries this class will focus upon the experience of those who have come to identify as Black Britons during the twentieth century. It will be mostly based on scholarship produced by Black Britons that arose after the uprisings of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as that energized by the movement for Black Lives in the past decade. The class will explore the experience of, and struggles against, the structural forms of racism that were as embedded in Britain as they were its Empire. Yet, it will also investigate the complex and rich forms of social, economic, political and cultural life created by Black Britons to navigate and make sense of their lives. Our classes will be organized around discussion of the readings and your final grade will be assessed based upon your discussion posts and engagement in class (30 percent), a bibliography of further reading on an area of research interest (30 percent), and a final paper (8-10 pages) that can either be a short research paper or a reflection on the secondary literature. It may also be possible instead of writing a final paper for students to produce a podcast, or a blog that curates a set or oral or visual materials that speak to their historical interests.

Instructor bio: James Vernon has taught at Cal for 22 years and in Manchester UK before that. He has a broad set of interests in Britain and its global footprint over the past 300 years. This class revisits one of the first classes he taught in Manchester, and the very first class (and only 103) he taught at Berkeley.

103B 002: Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe

Class #23490
W 10:00AM–Noon
Instructor: Alexander Maurits                       

Taking its point of departure the aftermath of the French Revolution, this seminar will discuss the changing role of religion in different European societies—such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries—during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The grand narrative of a continuing process of secularization will provide one major thread, and we’ll consider how the diminishing influence of religion in Europe can be seen from both sociological and historical viewpoints. Another key thread will be the connection between religion and gender. We’ll look at the role of religion in creating, reproducing, and enforcing gender norms, and in particular at how Christian thinking has shaped and continues to influence different constructions of femininity and masculinity. The seminar seeks to account for this process from different structural viewpoints—e.g. political, theological, social, and economic—but will also emphasize the everyday life of religious communities and people in Europe throughout modern history. We will focus mainly on Christianity and its different confessions, but as we trace Europe’s development into a more religiously heterogeneous society, other religions will come into play.

Instructor bio: Alexander Maurits is an Associate Professor of Church History at Lund University, Sweden. In his research, Maurits investigates the connection between secularization, social and religious culture, and gender. He has written on Christian expressions of masculinity during the nineteenth century, religion and sports, the modernization of the clerical household, and the introduction of female pastors within Lutheran churches. During the fall semester of 2022, Maurits will be teaching at UC Berkeley thanks to a cooperation between the university and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education.

103B 003: Inquisition: Power and Faith in the Middle Ages

Class #26167
W 10:00AM–Noon
Instructor: Robert Iafolla

From its origins in thirteenth century France, inquisition as a way of combating unorthodox religious beliefs and customs would become part of many European societies for centuries afterward. This course considers how a variety of agents used this procedure to identify, prosecute and punish heretics, along with other religious or social deviants. While doing so, inquisition also serves as a lens to explore other aspects of medieval society, seeing how inquisition shaped, and was shaped by, the world in which it operated. It begins with basic ideas about heresy and orthodoxy and the historical context of the traditional “founding” of inquisition as a means of combating religious dissent. Then, it looks at the functioning of inquisitorial structures and procedures. Next, it turns to how inquisition was also used to identify saints, not just sinners, yet at the same time it played a key role in facing, and sometimes helping to manufacture, new “threats” to Christian society. Finally, it moves beyond the Middle Ages to look at the Spanish Inquisition, and the enduring influence of inquisition into the modern era.

Instructor bio: Robert Iafolla is a historian of the politics and political culture of late medieval Europe, focusing on the Kingdom of Castile and the Iberian Peninsula. In his recently completed dissertation, Castile serves as a case study for examining how political power possessed, or wielded, by rulers, nobles and other actors was defined amid disputes in the consolidating, yet contested, monarchies of late medieval Europe. While completing his graduate studies at UCLA, he enjoyed sharing the appreciation for the Middle Ages which underlies his research with students in the classroom.

103B 004: Shaping of Modern Warfare: The Crossroads of WWI

Class #33210
Th 1:00–3:00PM
Instructor: Nel de Muelenaere

This seminar explores the origins of twentieth century warfare using Belgium during the First World War as a case study. Between 1914 and 1914, Belgium was the de facto testing ground for modern industrial armed conflict. From the brutal German invasion in August 1914 to the armistice in November 1918, the neutral, small state was the scene of some of the bloodiest innovations in technological warfare such as the introduction of aerial attacks on civilians, chemical weapons, rapid innovation in artillery systems and tanks. With the country split between active frontline and occupied territory, it saw four years of close civil-military interactions, (des)information wars and civilian coping strategies under occupation. It was also the target of what has been called the American ‘humanitarian awakening’, an unseen mobilization of solidarity and support from both public and private sources.

This course considers key evolutions in twentieth century war efforts and how these were first experienced by civilians and military personnel from all over the world who lived, worked and fought in occupied and non-occupied Belgium during the war. The coursework will introduce students to a range of central topics in the historiography of modern warfare, with three categories of sources for each topic: (1) general, theoretical perspectives on twentieth century warfare, (2) historiographical work on Belgium during WWI and (3) written and material primary sources that offer an eye-witness perspective. The combination of these different scales will help the students acquire knowledge on the character of modern warfare, and how it was first experienced in and shaped by the First World War.

Instructor bio: Nel de Mûelenaere is a Belgian historian of 19th and 20th century Europe. She is the current holder of the UC Berkeley Rubens Chair for Flemish Studies and an assistant professor at the Social and Cultural Food Studies (FOST) research group at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She also serves as the academic director of the Brussels Institute for Advanced Studies (BrIAS). Her research focuses on the relation between humanitarian aid, food and gender during and after the First World War. In 2019, she was the BAEF Cabeaux-Jacobs postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University. Prof. de Mûelenaere holds a PhD in political history (2016) from Antwerp University. Her dissertation explored forgotten militarization processes in Belgian society between 1890 and 1914, and was published by Leuven University Press in 2019. She has previously worked as scientific coordinator for NISE—National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe (2015-2018) and CegeSoma—the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (2009-2010)."

103BD Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: U.S.         

103D 001: Gender, Race, and Medicine

Class #23492
Tu 2:00–4:00PM
Instructor: Sandra Eder

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has exposed structural inequities in the American health care system, the racialization of infectious disease, and the gendering of public health practices as reflected in the disproportionate number of cases and deaths among African-Americans and Latinx, the attribution of disease causation to particular ethnic groups, and the depiction of mask wearing as emasculating. These issues have a much longer history in American medicine.

This seminar explores how American medicine, its practitioners and institutions, approached race and gender from the nineteenth century to the present, as well as the response of everyday people to those unequal practices. We will study the history of scientific racism and theories of sexual difference, track the long history of medical experimentation and reproductive restrictions and we will reconstruct how people sought to reform medicine or revolted against its institutions, and developed their own health practices. We will examine the history of distrust of and opposition to medical professionals and explore how patients challenged medical definitions of their bodies. Our discussions will be grounded in a broader understanding of American medical history. We will read primary and secondary sources to build an understanding of the historical relationship between medicine, race, and gender. Students will do a significant amount of reading and writing, complete weekly assignments, conduct online research and engage with one another and the professor throughout the semester. All readings will be available through bCourses.

Faculty bios: https://history.berkeley.edu/people/faculty

103D 002: History of American Immigration Law and Policy

Class #23493
M 10:00AM–Noon
Instructor: Hidetaka Hirota

This seminar introduces students to major themes in the history of American immigration law and policy based on the intensive reading of classic and recent studies in the field. Much of the latest scholarship on American immigration law and policy focuses on the mid- and late twentieth century, but this course covers a broader chronology starting in the colonial period. Themes to be explored in this course include forms of migration regulation in early America; state-level immigration control in the antebellum period; the relationship between immigration and citizenship laws; Chinese exclusion; immigration law enforcement at points of entry; the development of U.S. policies for immigration restriction, border patrol, deportation, refugees, and detention; and the evolution of the concept and category of unauthorized immigration. In addition to expanding students’ knowledge about these subjects, the course is designed to prepare students to undertake their own research projects. For this reason, class discussion pays particular attention to different methodologies and kinds of sources used in historical scholarship on immigration law and policy. No advanced knowledge of U.S. history is required, but students taking this seminar must be ready to read a full monograph each week.

Faculty bios:  https://history.berkeley.edu/people/faculty.

103D 003: Media and Information in U.S. History

Class #26168
W 1:00–3:00PM
Instructor: David Henkin

Twenty-first century Americans are acutely sensitive to the fact that the categories of knowledge that we call news and information are complex and contested. What we think we know about the world we live in is shaped by new technologies, powerful news producers, and distinct media landscapes. This has always been the case throughout the history of the United States. Our reading-heavy seminar explores recent historical scholarship on newspapers, broadcast media, visual media, social media, mass communication, ad the concept of information from the birth of the U.S. nation to the present. Students taking this seminar will be prepared for a thesis seminar the following semester using mass media sources.

Faculty bios: https://history.berkeley.edu/people/faculty

103D 004: Women and War in American Culture

Class #26169
Tu 4:00–6:00PM
Instructor: Bonnie Morris

This course examines the impact of war, militarization, global conflict and peace movements in women's lives. From past American wars to contemporary questions of terrorism, refugee migration, armed hate groups and female Pentagon leadership, we will examine women's historical and ongoing roles as soldiers, revolutionaries, guerrillas, pacifists, spies, sex workers and ""comfort women,"" industrial workers and suicide bombers. Students will analyze women's active roles as participants in combat, nationalism, resistance, diplomacy, weapons manufacture and global peace movements, and also examine the literature opposing women's entry into the military and service academies.

Instructor bio: Bonnie J. Morris is the author of 19 books and has taught women and war for twenty-five years, first at George Washington University and Georgetown, and recently on Semester at Sea, as well as at Cal. She is also a women's history consultant to Disney Animation, the Smithsonian and the State Department.

103E Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: LATIN AMERICA     

103E 001: Latin American Migration to the United States

Class #24426
M 1:00–3:00PM
Instructor: Miles Culpepper

Migration from Latin America into the United States has helped stitch the Americas together, both reflecting and strengthening deep cultural, political, and economic ties across the region. The contemporary United States is a society that has been built in part by generations of immigrants and refugees from Latin America, and many Latin American societies have likewise been influenced by the history of large-scale migration to the United States. This seminar offers an introduction to the scholarship on migration from Latin America to the United States, with an emphasis on migration from Mexico, Central America, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Topics and themes addressed include the varied root causes of migration from Latin America to the United States, the history of the US-Mexico border, US immigration policy and nativist backlash, security crises and refugee populations, and comparative race and ethnicity in the Americas. The class places the history of migration in the Americas in a transnational framework, and is well-suited for students interested in both US history and Latin American history.

Instructor bio: Miles Culpepper holds a PhD in history from UC Berkeley and is currently writing a book on the history of Guatemalan exiles during the Cold War. He has taught history at Chabot College, the University of Nevada, Reno, and UC Berkeley.

103E Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: ASIA           

103F 001: China: Capitalist Present and Socialist Past

Class #23987
W 4:00–6:00PM
Instructor: Puck Engman

Today, historians tend to speak of Chinese socialism in the past tense. The country's incorporation into the global economy, the privatization of state property, and high levels of inequality are just some of the indicators that help drive home the message that twenty-first century China is capitalist. But if China was once socialist and has now become capitalist we should ask ourselves, when did the transition take place? What was socialist about the economy in the days of Mao Zedong? And what species of capitalism has taken its place in the decades after his death? This course is divided into two parts. In the first part, we will consider China's transition to socialism. Guided by social and economic historians, we will visit factories and department stores, asking how socialism changed everyday realities of production and consumption, before turning to the economic strategies born out of the Cold War. The second part will deal with China's transition away from socialism. We will discuss the intellectual origins of China's economic reforms, the dismantling of rural collectives in relation to a broader shift toward market economy, and the economic conflict between China and the United States.

Faculty bios: https://history.berkeley.edu/people/faculty

103E Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Middle East

103M 001: North Africa in Three Worlds: Islamic, Mediterranean, and Saharan

Class #26363
W 1:00–3:00PM
Instructor: Emily Gottreich

In this course we will consider North Africa (modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, with some reference to Mauritania) both as a coherent region and as a facet of the three larger “worlds” in which it is historically and culturally situated, namely the Islamic, Mediterranean, and African. Previous study of one or more of these areas is useful but by no means required; the same goes for knowledge of Arabic or French. Topics will be approached chronologically and thematically through the close study of primary source materials including written documents, films, music, folklore, architecture, personal narratives, and material artifacts, as well as through secondary materials. These texts, as well as the historical contexts within which they emerged, will form the basis for group discussion in seminar each week. Some of the themes we will cover are Amazigh (“Berber”) identity and activism, North African Islam and religious minorities, the Sahara, Ottoman expansion into the area, encounters with Europe, comparative French, Spanish, and Italian colonialism, the Algerian War of Independence, African non-Alignment, migration, and postindependence state/society relations, including the effects of the “Arab Spring,” which, of course, began in Tunisia and reverberated throughout the region and beyond.

Instructor bio: Emily Gottreich is an Adjunct Professor in Global Studies and the Department of History, and Academic Coordinator of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Between 2009-2013 she was the President of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS).  She is also Founding Director (along with Aomar Baum, UCLA and Susan Miller, UC Davis) of the MENA-J (MENA Jewry) Program, a UC-systemwide initiative to study, document, and preserve Jewish history in the Middle East and North Africa. Prof. Gottreich received a Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 1999, an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 1992, and a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley in 1989. Her research focuses on Moroccan Jewish history and Muslim-Jewish relations in broader Arab-Islamic contexts.

103E Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Comparative

103U 001: The Radicalism of American Revolutions

Class #25063
M 2:00–4:00PM
Instructor: Brian DeLay

The first global wave of decolonization erupted in the Americas, between 1775 and 1830. By the end of that period, most of the hemisphere had been divided into twenty newly-independent countries. The North American Revolution (1775-1783), the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), and the many independence wars waged across Spanish America (1810-1830) are usually studied separately, as the origin stories of individual nation-states. This reading seminar will consider them together, comparatively and connectively. After grounding ourselves in the basic history, we will focus our reading and discussion on a single, big question: how radical were these American Revolutions? Answering that question will require us to confront others: What did those revolutions mean for the systems of race, class, and gender inequality that had prevailed in the colonial era? What implications did American Revolutions have for indigenous people, for the enslaved, for free people of color, for poor whites, and for women around the hemisphere? What changed, what stayed the same, and why? And what standards should we use to judge the radicalism or conservatism of eighteenth and nineteenth-century revolutions?

Most of the semester will be devoted to reading and discussing books, articles, and primary sources. The class will culminate with a 10-15 page research paper grounded in digital primary sources that have been curated for our course. Students are encouraged to purchase physical copies of the required books. All required readings will be in English, but students who can read French or Spanish (or both) will have an especially wide range of source material to draw upon for their papers.

Faculty bios: https://history.berkeley.edu/people/faculty

103U 002: Before the Green New Deal: The History of Environmental Thought and Activism

Class #33211
W 3:00–5:00PM
Instructor: Christoph Hermann

With the spike in wildfires, floods and other ecological disasters, along with the continuous loss of biodiversity, the ecological question has become one of the most pressing issues in the early decades of the 21st century. Some have proposed a Green New Deal to improve environmental sustainability. This course takes the accelerating ecological crisis as starting point to explore the history of environmental thought and activism. The survey will start in the 19th century and discuss the writings of conservationists, natural scientists, economists, and philosophers. Correspondingly, we will also look at environmental movements and how their demands have changed throughout the 20th century. The course will end with an assessment of the current situation and possible future scenarios.

Faculty bios: https://history.berkeley.edu/people/faculty/visiting