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 2018 Seminar Descriptions

For course locations and times, please refer to the Berkeley Academic Guide.

Ancient

103A.001: Between History and Political Theory: The Roman Republic in Western Thought

Details

Instructor: Christopher Blunda

Units: 4

Class Number: 21639


Description

As a political system that endured for nearly five hundred years, the Roman Republic has been the object of intense study by historians and political theorists alike. The results of these various inquiries have shaped not only subsequent scholarly perspectives on the subject but also political events as diverse as the drafting of the American constitution and the unification of the German nation state. Consequently, these inquiries, like the sources from which they were produced, must be placed in their respective historical contexts. This seminar surveys the legacy of the Roman Republic in western thought from antiquity to the present. Readings include selections from a wide variety of well known authors from the ancient world , the early modern period, and the late modern period , as well as a number of lesser, but nevertheless significant, figures. All readings are in translation. Due to its chronological breadth and the variety of readings, this seminar will appeal to students of several periods.

Asia

103F.001: The Sea in Modern Chinese History

Details

Instructor: Wen-hsin Yeh

Units: 4

Class Number: 32393


Description

Between the Opium War (1839-1842) and the opening of the 21st century China emerged to become a maritime power out of its historical past as a continental empire. How did this transformation come about? What is the significance of the maritime world in the making and remaking of late imperial and modern China? How does a focus on the sea inspire historians to rethink the nature of modern Chinese transformation? This seminar examines Chinese engagement with the sea and asks questions about how such engagement might have generated norms and alternatives to the institutions and practices of the land.Topics for discussion will include (but not be limited to) the following: maritime relationships under the tributary system, coastal economies of piracy and smuggling, maritime networks across East and Southeast Asia, Chinese cultural constructions of the South and the sea, intellectual remapping of the maritime space in the 19th century, state-building and the institutionalization of maritime governance, knowledge production about the sea, reconfigurations of China’s maritime strategies, Chinese engagement with an international discourse of maritime norms, and Chinese engagement with the Pacific and the trans-Pacific as arenas of activities.

Readings will include materials about China, Asia, and the Pacific.

103F.002: Samurai and Soldiers: Violence in Japanese History

Details

Instructor: Christoffer Bovbjerg

Units: 4

Class Number: 32918


Description

This course will survey the changing ideals and diverse realities of soldiers and violence in Japanese history. From the creation of the first national army in 645, to the rise, heyday, and fall of the samurai, the wars and empire of modern Japan, and the constitutional pacifism of the present, Japan has been home to one of the most peaceful societies on earth. Yet it experienced some of the most violent periods in world history. This course tracks the relationship between violence (and its absence) and the state, as well as the role of soldiers and armies in Japanese society. Was violence necessary to maintain the peace, or to affect political or social change? What were the consequences of warfare? Who were these soldiers and why did they fight? We will explore these questions across historical eras as well as shifts in combat, technology, and ideology. Readings will include a variety of contemporary accounts written about and by warriors, complemented by modern academic research.

Comparative

103U.001: The Holocaust in North Africa

Details

Instructor: Ethan Katz

Units: 4

Class Number: 34113


Description

While the Holocaust's center and worst atrocities occurred in Europe, the event had an immense impact as well on Jewish and non-Jewish populations far beyond the continent, especially in North Africa and its surrounding regions. Allied and Axis armies fought across North Africa for extensive portions of World War II. The area was eventually home to more than 100 wartime labor camps, in which Jews were often singled out for particularly harsh treatment. Jews in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya faced severe restrictions on employment, property, and education comparable to those imposed in parts of Western Europe. In Algeria, all Jews were stripped of their French citizenship, and in small numbers helped lead an underground movement that played a critical role in the success of the November 1942 Allied Landing. After the war, the memory of fascism and the Holocaust played a major role in North African and Middle Eastern society, in debates over decolonization, the question of Israel-Palestine, and the broader future of Jewish-Muslim relations.

This course examines all of these aspects of the crucial importance of the Holocaust to North Africa and its surrounding areas. How, we will ask, might expanding the geographical boundaries of the Holocaust force us to rethink concepts like perpetrators, victims, and collaboration? What choices, challenges, and opportunities existed for Jews in Vichy, Italian, and Nazi-occupied North Africa that mirrored or diverged from those in Europe? We will also interrogate more broadly the significance, impact, and memory of the Holocaust in the Muslim world, as our readings take us well beyond North Africa into the Arab Middle East and even into Central Asia. Another fundamental question that we tackle from several angles is the complex relationship between colonialism and the Holocaust, both as historical phenomena and in the collective memories of various nations and groups.

Europe

103B.001: Nazis and Anti-Nazis in the Third Reich

Details

Instructor: Isabel Richter

Units: 4

Class Number: 25182


Description

This seminar will focus on central actors for the rise of Nazism in Germany and will introduce contexts and historical developments in which the National Socialists abolished the civil rights of the 1920s in the Weimar Republic and created a political system of repression and violence against all those who did not share their fascist ideology or did not fit into their racist people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft). We will explore different notions and concepts of nonconformist behavior during the NS era such as resistance, protest, opposition, Eigensinn, civil courage, and Resistenz : The course will introduce different milieus, groups and individuals, their background, motifs and forms of agency. At the end of the seminar we will discuss those who resisted in the occupied territories and the minority of Germans in the resistance (who ultimately did not end the NS regime) and their relevance for German and European contemporary history.

103B.002: The Renaissance, 1340-1700

Details

Instructor: Thomas James Dandelet

Units: 4

Class Number: 25183


Description

This seminar will focus on the long Renaissance in Europe with particular attention to historical literature that has been written in the past 25 years. We will be reading a wide selection of both articles and books that are representative of the different tasks and themes of Renaissance historians. This will allow us to map the shifting contours of the field as it has evolved over the past few decades with the goal of understanding the potential future of the Renaissance in the 21stcentury.

103B.003: Soviet History Through Film and Fiction

Details

Instructor: Yuri Slezkine

Units: 4

Class Number: 25184


Description

We will treat the main themes of Soviet history by focusing on representative films and works of fiction, from canonical Civil War stories to cult movies about the crisis of the 1990s, by way of camp memoirs and World War II melodramas.

103B.004: Faith and Profit in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean: 300-1600

Details

Instructor: Joel Pattison

Units: 4

Class Number: 32292


Description

"In the name of God and good profit." For the 14th century Italian merchant Francesco Datini, faith and profit were two complementary, not conflicting, aims of life. He was far from alone in his thinking, though not unchallenged. Across many historical societies, there have been tensions between the demands of economic and religious life. Who can I marry, what may I sell, what should I do with money, and how shall I interact with strangers? These questions can become especially acute when representatives of two competing belief systems interact with each other. The history of the Mediterranean provides numerous rich examples of societies and individuals facing these questions. In this class, we will examine two crucial aspects of historical development in the pre-modern Mediterranean (from late Antiquity to the sixteenth century): the role of religion and of economic exchange in creating and defining a wide range of communities and cultures. In particular, students will analyze the spread and influence of the major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and will compare how the adherents of these faiths viewed themselves and each other. We will read the normative literature - how religious scholars thought their co-religionists should behave towards each other – and compare it with evidence for how people actually lived and interacted with each other in daily life. We will look at how a range of pre-modern Mediterranean societies accommodated or rejected religious pluralism, and will examine the ways in which religious norms influenced economic behavior and vice versa. A glimpse at today's headlines reminds us that these are far from settled questions, but a deeper understanding of how past societies responded to them will serve us well as citizens in a twenty-first century where religion and trade still divide and unite us.

103B.005: The European Economy between the Great War and the Great Recession: Paths to Prosperity from Laissez-Faire Capitalism to Neoliberalism

Details

Instructor: Andrej Milivojevic

Units: 4

Class Number: 32917


Description

During the twentieth century, a dizzying variety of economic regimes emerged across Europe. The First World War ushered radical communist and fascist solutions for achieving modern economic growth as the classic liberal model, based on international trade and the gold standard lost legitimacy. The Superpowers directed the reconstruction of their respective spheres of influence after the Second World War, giving rise to the welfare states across Western and Northern Europe and transforming Eastern and Southern Europe into urbanized industrial societies. During the 1970s, institutions and policies promulgated during the Great Depression, and economic planning in general, rapidly lost legitimacy across Europe. During the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher epitomized a renewed political commitment to market-based solutions, a commitment that also informed privatization schemes across Eastern Europe in the 1990s. Yet, by the end of the century, the European Union appeared a success story of coordinated capitalism, and not of the invisible hand, while the Great Recession raises serious questions about the Euro's demise and the efficacy of austerity and stimulus spending alike.

In this reading seminar, we will examine the main economic regimes across Europe, and try to understand their successive attempts to achieve, or to maintain, what has proven to be singularly elusive prosperity. In the relentless, often violent, search for sustained economic growth thought be necessary for increasing living standards, how did different regimes see the proper role of the market and the state, of the collectivity (family, class, etc.) and the individual, and how did regimes decide on how much redistribution, and of what, should take place? To trace continuity and change among economic regimes, we will examine recent synthetic historical writing about the European economy as well as country-specific and thematic studies.

Latin America

103E.001: The Latin American Cold War

Details

Instructor: Elizabeth Schwall

Units: 4

Class #: 25193


Description

When did the Latin American Cold War begin and end? Is the label “Cold War” even appropriate for a “hot” era of violent revolution and counterrevolution in Latin America? Using these questions as entry points, we examine recent scholarship on the origins, struggles, and legacies of the Latin American Cold War. Weekly readings include primary and secondary sources, as well as music, memoir, and film. Through diverse media, we analyze how the politics of daily life in twentieth-century Latin America at times intersected with, and at other times disregarded, geopolitical contests over communism and anticommunism.

We move forward chronologically to examine connections between the Mexican and Russian Revolutions in the 1910s, communism and labor movements in the 1920s and 1930s, Latin American antifascism during World War II, revolution and counterrevolution in the 1950s through the 1980s, and ongoing memory struggles (and violence) in the 1980s through the present. Assigned texts cover case studies from Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, Cuba, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. Throughout, we think broadly about how to write political histories about hegemony, violence, revolution, counterrevolution, and memory in twentieth-century Latin America. We also weigh in on debates about the Latin American Cold War as a construct that informs understandings of the region’s past and present.


Elizabeth Schwall earned her Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean History from Columbia University (2016) and held a Mellon Dance Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University (2016-2018). Her book manuscript examines dance and politics in twentieth-century Cuba, and her larger research interests include Cold War Brazil. She values students as co-creators of knowledge and looks forward to learning with them.

Middle East

103M.001: Comparative Middle East Education in the Global Age of Empire

Details

Instructor: Archana Prakash

Units: 4

Class #: 25195


Description

Education is simultaneously an agent of change and a repository of values, revealing a great deal about the belief systems operating in a given society, as well as the shifting constellation of social and political interests at a given time. This course examines the history of "modern" education in the Middle East and North Africa, from the Napoleonic conquest of Egypt in 1798 through the end of World War II, in relation to issues of women and gender, religion, class, state-building, and nationalism.

How do developments in education in the Middle East compare to the evolution of education more globally in the age of colonial empire? To answer this question, we will examine developments in technical higher education in contexts of colonialism as well as defensive modernization, debates over the education of women and the implementation of universal primary education, how Western models of education were both imposed, but also actively taken and refashioned in the region, and how these non-religious modes of education interacted with their counterpart traditional religious institutions. Case studies include examples from the Ottoman Empire, Algeria, Egypt, mandate Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, Iran, and Iraq, with comparative global examples from France and Great Britain, India, China, Russia, and sub-Saharan Africa.


Archana Prakash received her Ph.D. in Middle East History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and previously taught courses on the history of the Middle East and Islam at Stanford University. Her research examines how Egyptians transformed European knowledge by implementing it through modern education in Egypt, as well as how Egyptian ideas about education and knowledge evolved over the course of the nineteenth century.

North America

103D.001: America and the World in 1968

Details

Instructor: Anthony Gregory

Units: 4

Class #: 25187


Description

Fifty years later, the flashpoints and transformations of 1968 continue to captivate historians. For the United States and much of the world, the year was defined by political, social, and cultural upheaval. This seminar will ponder the major events, themes, and trends that many scholars see as evidence of a revolutionary moment. Assigned readings with be divided between sources grounded in the United States and material on other places like Saigon, Paris, Prague, and Mexico City. Discussion will embark on a deep exploration into this pivotal time for American history and pursue the intellectual and institutional threads that connected people across national boundaries. The class aspires to breadth and granularity, empirical understanding and theoretical contemplation. Video and music will complement primary and secondary source readings.

Writing assignments will be an opportunity to produce historiographical critique, a synthetic analytical argument, or original research. Students can choose to write about 1968 in the context of other years and to focus on domestic or transnational subjects.

103D.002: Age in America

Details

Instructor: Jennifer Robin Terry

Units: 4

Class #: 25188


Description

This course uses age as a category of analysis through which to examine United States history from the colonial period through the twentieth-first century. It challenges students to consider age, not as a series of immutable milestones, but as a historically constructed social, cultural, and legal signifier whose meaning has shifted over time. Some of the significant questions this course will address are: How and why have Americans celebrated specific chronological ages? How has the American legal system influenced the setting of certain age milestones? And how do varying values and perspectives influence the perception of childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, and the elderly stage? Students will also consider how age has been used to limit rights, opportunities, and citizenship, and will contemplate how issues of race, gender, and class might complicate how one experiences aging in America. Among others, topics will include: life stages, age of consent laws, suffrage, military service, marriage, age grading, labor laws, and retirement.


Jennifer Robin Terry is a social and cultural historian of United States history. Her research focuses primarily on the intersection of childhood, labor, law, and culture in the twentieth-century. She is currently working on two projects. One examines the ways that culture has influenced agricultural child labor law and practice. The other considers child actors as a class of laborers and interrogates the tension between the rights of children and that of their parents.

103D.003: "The Personal Is Political": U.S. Social History after World War II

Details

Instructor: Daniel M. Robert

Units: 4

Class #: 25189


Description

"The personal is political” declared feminists in the 1960s. They viewed marriage, career, and family as personal choices constrained by political policies. African Americans also sought personal freedoms, such as public access to restaurants, hotels, and schools, which similarly ignited political firestorms. Many other groups, such as Latinos, Native Americans, and gays also recognized the personal as political in the post-War II years. And in many cases, individuals and groups overlapped, sometimes with conflicting claims! Meanwhile, more empowered individuals and groups reacted to these new personal claims with claims of their own, all of which shook political ideologies and reconfigured political alignments. In this course, through an analysis of primary and secondary sources, we will consider the following questions: Why did the personal and the political intersect so strongly at this time? How did the claims and methods of one group influence other groups? How can understanding the combustion of the personal and the political help us understand our own time of Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and Make America Great Again?

103D.004: Making a Modern African American Liberation Struggle: From Civil Rights to Black Power and Beyond

Details

Instructor: Waldo E. Martin

Units: 4

Class Number: 25190


Description

The African American Liberation Struggle, broadly conceived, is the enduring, multi-faceted, and complex freedom struggle waged by Africans in the Americas from the period of enslavement down to the present. Our focus will be a narrow and specific location and time within that broad and centuries-long liberation/freedom struggle: the US from 1940 to 1980. Commonly referred to as the Civil Rights (1940-1966) and Black Power (1966-1980) Eras, the modern African American Freedom Struggle has yielded a rich and stimulating body of work, including works of culture and history. We will critically examine some of the best of that work in an effort to better understand the origins, development, meanings, and consequences of the modern African American Liberation Struggle, or the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement in particular. We will also give special attention to “The Music”: the connection between African American music and the African American Freedom Struggle. At the end, we will critically examine a few works on the more “recent” period in an effort to better understand key continuities and discontinuities earmarking the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement, on one hand, and the “Post”-Civil Rights— “Post”-Black Power Movement of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, on the other.

103D.005: Building the Twentieth-Century American State

Details

Instructor: Brendan Shanahan

Units: 4

Class Number: 25191


Description

How can we make sense of the rise of the modern American state in the twentieth century? As a series of battles over electoral politics and the rules governing access to participation and representation in the polity? As a history of the evolving role and powers of the state – especially the federal government – in the American political economy? Or as a history of changing rights and legal systems that Americans have fought for, encountered, and contested both in court and the court of popular opinion? In this seminar, students will read from each of these approaches and investigate how they overlap to explore the history of major transformations in twentieth-century American governance.

Throughout the semester, we will read monographs in the fields of policy history, legal history, and American political development. We will also examine articles in allied fields – such as law, political science, and sociology – to explore developments in the twentieth-century U.S. state and to understand the many different methodologies and sources that can be employed to study the topic.


Brendan Shanahan is a historian of the 19th- and 20th-century United States. His work focuses on the sociolegal and policy history of immigration and citizenship. Shanahan's dissertation, "Making Modern American Citizenship" explores the transformation of rights tied to U.S. citizenship (increasingly denied to noncitizens) from the time of the Civil War until the Civil Rights era.

103D.006: American Values: Regulating Morality in the United States

Details

Instructor: Ronit Y. Stahl

Units: 4

Class Number: 34120


Description

"Morality" is a devilishly flexible rhetoric, a language invoked to tell people how to act and how to be good, or, conversely, to criticize and to shame. This course uses morality as a lens through which to understand and assess twentieth-century American history. It examines how state and non-state actors have attempted to regulate the lived experiences of Americans and explores the conflicts that ensue over what, exactly, is correct, right, or good for individuals, society, and the state. What are "American values"? Are they religious? How have they changed? Is it possible to hew to moral frames and remain inclusive and tolerant? What role does morality play as a foil for religion in American life—in other words, in a nation that constitutionally separates religion and state, is morality religion by any other name or something else altogether?

The class moves chronologically through twentieth-century America, taking on different tensions each week. It is not comprehensive, but offers a chance to dive into particular moments of moral friction, opprobrium, and anxiety. Topics may include the family, immigration, Prohibition, sex, incarceration, war, disease, and money.

Science

103S.001: Science and Fascism: State, Expertise and Techno-Politics in Interwar Europe and the Two World Wars (1914-1945)

Details

Instructor: Angelo Caglioti

Units: 4

Class Number: 25196


Description

In 1942, the American sociologist Robert Merton described modern science as a democratic enterprise, whose ethical norms were universalism, communalism, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism. Merton's notion that science produces truthful and factual knowledge if inspired by democratic values contrasted starkly with the reality of the interwar period and World War II, at the peak of the clash between liberal democracies and fascist dictatorships. What was the role of science in the global conflict between liberalism and the fascist 'New Order'? What did science and technology look like under fascism?

Centered on the concept of techno-politics, this class examines the relationship between science, state, and political projects of interwar authoritarian dictatorships, such as Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain, and Salazar's Portugal. During the Great War (1914-1918), science and technology were enlisted as critical assets for the war effort and the international scientific community was shattered across national lines. In the mind of political leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler, the Great War proved the importance of the scientific organization of society and state-controlled scientific advancement in order to achieve Fascism's nationalist and imperialist goal: the creation of a new world order.

The course explores how the entanglement between science, technology and fascism shaped a wide range of disciplines, such as physics, medicine, eugenics, statistics, demography, agronomy, and engineering. Focusing in particular on fascism's central themes of race and empire, the course examines the relationship between state power and scientific expertise, the persecution of Jewish scientists in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and scientists' critical competition in World War II ahead of the creation of the atomic bomb, which ushered in the new era of the Cold War.