History

HIEA 3141: Political and Social Thought in Modern China [3]

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.


HIST 4591: Why Did They Kill?: Understanding Perpetrators of Genocide [3]

Jeffrey Rossman, Professor

The twentieth century was characterized by repeated episodes of one-sided, state­sponsored mass killing. When such killing targets ethnic, religious, or national groups- as it did in Anatolia during World War I (the Armenians), in Europe during World War II (the Jews, the Roma and Sinti), and in Rwanda in 1994 (the Tutsis) -it is known under international law as genocide. In this intensive reading and discussion course, we will engage a rich body of primary sources from twentieth-century genocides, key works of scholarship, and relevant documentary f'Llms in an effort to understand the complex but tragically recurring process whereby ordinary people are transformed in specific historical circumstances into genocidal killers.


HIST 3775: Americans in the Middle East [3]

Elizabeth F. Thompson, Associate Professor

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

In this course we study Americans' encounters with the peoples of the Middle East to gain historical perspective on why the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and how Arabs have responded to our interventions since then.  Each day focuses on a different group of Americans. We begin with 19th-century pilgrimages to the Holy Land and missionaries’ establishment of an impressive school network across the region. We then examine the "Wilsonian Moment" after World War I, when the American president raised the hopes of many Middle Eastern peoples with promises of freedom from colonial rule. Then we study the oil men who developed the Saudi oil fields in the 1930s and 1940s and the Cold-War spies of the 1950s, who sponsored coups in Syria, Iran and Iraq.  We next study how civilians have shaped policy, with a look at American Jews who settled in Israel and promoted the American alliance. We conclude by studying the soldiers who deployed to Iraq after 2003 and ask how their experience was shaped by past American encounters with the Middle East.


The course will be held virtually, through Google Chat, for the first three days, from Jan 2 through Jan 5.  We will then gather in Washington DC from January 6 to 10, where we will study current-day encounters with visits to think tanks and government offices. And most importantly, we will spend three full days in the Library of Congress and National Archives, completing our own research into past encounters. Requirements include three short quizzes and a 15-20 page research report.

Additional nonrefundable fee(s) required:

If you are arranging your own accommodations in Washington, D.C., the total course fee is $200.00.

If you will be staying at the Grand Hyatt hotel, your total fee will be $700.00.

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