HIEA 3141: Political and Social Thought in Modern China

Bradly W. Reed, Associate Professor

At the beginning of the 20th century, with the 2,000 year old imperial system of government collapsing around them, Chinese intellectuals and political actors began searching for an ideology that would explain the reasons for the country's dire circumstances while at the same time offering a solution and a means of transforming an ancient empire into a modern nation. Socialism, syndicalism, communism, liberal democracy, anarchism, and refurbished Confucianism all had their own vocal adherents who participated in an ongoing debate amidst continuing social crises, poverty, civil war, and foreign invasion. At the end of the 20th century, China's intellectuals and political actors found themselves in much the same situation. Under the influence of capitalist economic reforms, forty years of socialist certitude had given way to questions over the direction in which the country was headed, the relation between state and society, the problems of human rights and free expression, the meaning of globalization, and how China might find its own unique path amidst an overwhelming Western influence. This course will explore these issues by considering intellectual and political debates and conflicts within their historical and cultural contexts. The course will combine lectures, readings of both secondary and primary material, film, and discussions. Course grades will be based on participation in discussion, a mid-term exam, and a final exam.

HIME 2012: Palestine, 1948 [3]

Alon Confino, Professor

This course explores the war of 1948 in Palestine from the UN partition resolution of November 29, 1947 to the cease-fire agreements in early 1949. The narrative thread of the course is the voices of Jewish, Arab, and British contemporaries taken from diaries and letters from the period. We seek to capture the human element in this event, marked by such different outcomes as redemption and catastrophe, while telling a story of commingled Jewish and Arab histories.

While slightly more than half the course will be devoted to the history of 1948 (with its necessary background) the second half of J-Term will be devoted to problems of memory and politics. In the last three days of the course we shall discuss how the consequences of 1948 (the refugee problem, compensation for lost property, borders) impact present-day possible peace negotiations.

HIST 3775: Americans in the Middle East [3]


Elizabeth F. Thompson, Associate Professor

Prerequisite: One course on the Middle East is highly recommended.

This course offers a modern history of Americans' involvement in the Middle East. It draws on new approaches to international history to place recent diplomatic and military interventions into context. The emphasis is less on theory or psychology, and more on the concrete nature of specific encounters over the past 200 years. Broadly, course readings address the question that so many Americans asked after 9/11, "Why do they hate us?" They also help to answer a second common question, “Why did we invade Iraq?”

The first half of the course focuses on reading existing histories of Americans’ various encounters in the Middle East. The readings focus each day on a different group of Americans, in chronological order: 19th-century missionaries, diplomats of the post World War I “Wilsonian Moment,” oil men and spies of the post-World War II era, and non-governmental activists who have helped to shape American policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict and in Iraq. The second half of the course shifts emphasis to the research and writing of new histories. Students will conduct research at the National Archives and Library of Congress and write their own account of one such encounter. To support the research, the course will be held in Washington DC at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, where students will also be introduced to current policymakers and activists involved in the region.

Additional nonrefundable $840 fee required.

Application Required: www.virginia.edu/januaryterm/courses/hist_app_2014.html