Topics and Crosslisted Courses

HIST 90.03

Nations and Numbers

Examines the intertwined histories of modern nation-states, numbers, and quantification, exploring themes and frameworks including race, gender, identity, discipline, pedagogy, citizenship, science, progress, imperialism, governance, and commerce. Develops contextual understandings of both nations and numbers, analyzing how they have been constructed as timeless points of reference. Designed to be challenging but accessible to those without extensive background in “nations” or “numbers,” as well as those with particular expertise and interests in either topic.

HIST 90.04

The Making of the Modern Middle East

(Identical to AMES 41.15, ARAB 06.01,JWST 044.01)

This panoramic course surveys major developments in Middle East history, politics, and society. Covering more than a two hundred year stretch, we will move across an expansive geography encompassing North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of Central Asia. Throughout this journey, particular attention will be paid to five important themes: imperialism, modernization, nationalism, Islam, and revolution. In the process of navigating these seminal topics, we will develop a more nuanced understanding of the modern Middle East and a greater appreciation for the insights offered by primary sources, from poems and national speeches to songs and motion-pictures, into the region’s dynamic past. We will begin with a basic question – what and where is the Middle East? – prior to exploring the impact, importance, and mechanics of empires (Ottoman, French, British). Once elucidating this imperial backdrop, we will study sweeping reforms, struggles for independence, and the fashioning of nation-states, before examining a series of revolutionary moments, America’s presence in the Middle East, and the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath. Whenever possible, we will strive to illuminate ordinary people, as opposed to only elite actors, who contributed to the making of the modern Middle East.

HIST 90.05; X-list: JWST 11

The Jewish Atlantic

This course will examine the contribution of Jews, crypto-Jews, and Conversos to colonial enterprises in the transatlantic sphere, 15th-19th centuries. Focusing on the Iberian peninsula, we will examine Jewish settlements in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, including Jewish owned plantations in Suriname, Jewish involvement in the triangulated slave trade, and the impact of the Inquisition, the Age of Emancipation, and the Atlantic revolutions.

HIST 91.01

Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Age of the Crusades

This course will focus on the interactions of the three major religious communities of the medieval Mediterranean—Christians, Jewish, and Muslim—beginning with the First Crusade in 1096 and ending with the arrival of the Black Death in 1347. By examining topics such as pilgrimage, crusade, and jihad, the status of minority communities, and intellectual life, we will explore how Christians, Jews, and Muslims clashed, cooperated, influenced, and misunderstood each other. Open to all classes.

HIST 91.02

Christianity and Conversion in the Northern World: Vikings, Celts and Anglo-Saxons

This course will focus on the interactions of the three major religious communities of the medieval Mediterranean—Christians, Jewish, and Muslim—beginning with the First Crusade in 1096 and ending with the arrival of the Black Death in 1347. By examining topics such as pilgrimage, crusade, and jihad, the status of minority communities, and intellectual life, we will explore how Christians, Jews, and Muslims clashed, cooperated, influenced, and misunderstood each other. Open to all classes.

HIST 92.01

Caribbean History, 1898-Present

(Identical to  AAAS 61)

This course surveys the major issues that have shaped Caribbean society from the late 19th-century to the present, including: imperialism, urbanization, migration and globalization, struggles for national independence, the transition from plantation to tourism-based economies, and the global spread of Caribbean popular culture. Our readings and discussions will focus on the historical trajectories of Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and the Dominican Republic using historical scholarship, music, literature, film, and personal narratives.

HIST 92.02

Nationalism and Revolution in the Caribbean

(Identical to AAAS 86 & LACS 54)

The islands of the Caribbean have seen two revolutionary upheavals of the modern era—the Haitian Revolution and the Cuban Revolution and have produced a diverse cadre of anti-colonial activists and intellectuals. Beginning with the uprising of enslaved laborers in Saint Domingue in 1791, the course explores the history of nationalist movements in the Spanish-, English-, and French-speaking Caribbean. We will analyze and compare the ideological underpinnings of nationalist movements, discuss ways in which nationalist leaders have attempted to mobilize popular support, and consider why violent revolutionary struggles erupted in some Caribbean territories but not in others.

HIST 92.03

Slavery and Emancipation in Latin America and the Caribbean

(Identical to AAAS 83.03)

For over 300 years, Africans were transport to Latin America and the Caribbean to work as enslaved laborers. This course will examine the history of African slavery in the region from the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade to the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888. For each class session, students will review primary source documents such as autobiographies, slave codes, plantation journals, visual images, and anti-slavery tracts as well as historical scholarship.

HIST 94.3

Greek History: Archaic and Classical Greece

(Identical to CLST 14)

This course is designed to survey the major events in the history of ancient Greece from c.1600 B.C. (the emergence of palatial culture in the Mycenaean World) to 404 B.C. (the end of the Peloponnesian War). During this period, the Greeks formed individual communities and developed unique political structures, spread their culture, language, and religion throughout the Mediterranean, invented democracy (at Athens) and enshrined these values in their art and literature. This course will cover the physical setting of and the archaic legacy to the classical city-state, its economy, its civic and religious institutions, the waging of war between cities, the occurrence and ancient analysis of conflict within the city, and the public and private lives of its citizens and less well-known classes, such as women, children, slaves, etc. Open to all classes.

HIST 94.4

Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Kings

(Identical to CLST 15)

This course has two aims: (1) to establish a basic understanding of the history of Alexander the Great and of Greek-speaking peoples in the eastern Mediterranean during the fourth through first centuries BCE and (2) to explore the cultural, military, political, and economic innovations of what was a singular age of experimentation. May be taken in partial fulfillment of the major in History. Open to all classes.

HIST 94.5

Roman History: The Republic

(Identical to CLST 17)

This course surveys the history of the Roman people from 753 (traditional date of the founding of Rome) to 44 B.C. (the assassination of Julius Caesar). Topics include the development of Roman law, the conquest of all lands bordering on the Mediterranean, and the civil wars that destroyed Republican government. Particular emphasis is placed on the Roman political community: the political, religious and social factors that influenced the definition of the Roman aristocracy in the fourth century, the institutions that maintained the ascendancy of the elite, the military and political values inherent in the citizenship, the social and political mechanisms that militated against civil dissent, and the role of political values in the eventual destruction of Republican government from within. May be taken in partial fulfillment of the major in History. Open to all classes.

HIST 94.6

History of the Roman Empire

(Identical to cLst 18)

This course is designed to survey the major events in the history of Rome from 31 B.C. (Octavian/Augustus' success at the battle of Actium) through the accession and rule of Septimius Severus. During this period, the Roman empire (signifying the territorial extent conquered by Roman armies and administered by Roman officials) became a political community extending throughout the Mediterranean and northwards into Europe as far as Scotland. This course considers the logic of the Roman system: the mechanisms promoting the political identity of diverse peoples as Roman, and the endurance of local traditions within the Roman world; the reasoning whereby the overarching leadership of a single individual was conceived as necessary and good, and the evolving relationship between the princeps and the Roman senatorial aristocracy with a tradition of competitive participation and self identity in politics at Rome; the definition of the Roman frontiers and the role of the army in the assimilation of non-Roman peoples. May be taken in partial fulfillment of the major in History. Open to all classes.

HIST 94.7

Methods and Theory in Ancient History

(Identical to CLST 19)

This course is designed to introduce the student to the various types of documentary evidence available to the ancient historian and to the various perspectives for framing and answering historical questions. We consider the interpretive methodologies for each type of document (coin, inscription, papyrus) as well as the particular historical context in which these documents were produced. Topics include the function of coinage and economic thinking in the ancient world and the political significance of the publication of law. The final weeks of the term allow for in-depth consideration of a specific problem in ancient history. May be taken in partial fulfillment of the major in History. Open to all classes.

HIST 94.8

History and Culture of The Jews: The Classical Period

(Identical to JWST 10)

A survey of the history and culture of the Jews from the post-Biblical period to the Middle Ages.

HIST 94.9

History and Culture of the Jews: The Modern Period

(Identical to JWST 11)

A continuation of JWST 10, but may be taken independently. This course provides a survey of Jewish history and culture from the European enlightenment to the establishment of the State of Israel.

HIST 94.10

Jews & Arabs in Palestine-Israel: Past and Present

(Identical to JWST 40.04/GOVT 40.18/ AMES 41.11)

This course aims to study the modern history of Jewish-Arab relations in Palestine/Eretz Israel, aka the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is not an easy task, if only because of the wide gap between the national narratives and the contradictory historical views of the conflicting. We will try to take advantage of the existence of these contradictions and gaps, in order to explore the very creation of national narratives, the belief systems and perceptions of justice of both parties, their self-images and the way they try to present themselves to international audiences.