200 Level Courses

Spring 2012: 200 Level Courses

All information on this page subject to change without advanced notice.


HIST 241 Civilizations of Asia (3) (X-list as ASAN 241)

MWF 9:30-10:20pm Wang, Wensheng


Course Description: This is an introductory course on the civilizations of East and South Asia from the earliest times to 1500 AD. It includes a broad survey of major historical developments in India, China, Korea, and Japan. We will look at several interrelated processes—origins of civilizations, formation and disintegration of great empires, evolution of ruling classes, growth and spread of religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam), as well as nomadic-sedentary relations. Students will use these problems as a prism through which to view three crucial and intertwined themes in Asian history: state, society and ideology.


Course Requirements: To be announced in class.


Required Texts: Murphey, A History of Asia, 6th ed.


HIST 282 Introduction to American History (3)

TR 10:30-11:45a Njoroge, Njoroge


Content: This course is an introductory survey course of United States history from the end of the Civil War to the present. Focusing in particular on the interplay between economic and cultural transformations, we will examine the shifting, and often divergent, conceptions of an “American” national identity and the attendant political struggles over citizenship, the market economy and distinctions based on race, class, gender and national origin. The course seeks to broaden students’ conception of US history through a rigorous engagement with primary documents and a particular attentiveness to interpretations and perspectives that challenge conventional wisdom and demonstrate the diversity of experiences in the nation’s history.


Topics will include: Indian wars and imperial expansion, the transition from slave to free labor, corporate consolidation and the rise of consumer capitalism, the politics of immigration, and the interplay between domestic struggles for civil and economic rights and international relations.


Requirements: To be announced.


Required Texts: Nelson, Steel Drivin’ Man; Hersey, Hiroshima; Baldwin, The Fire Next Time; Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America; Zinn, The Twentieth Century: A People’s History


HIST 296 Topics in History

Reacting to the Past: Democratic Athens & Imperial China (3) (WI Focus)

TR 9:00-10:15a Schwartz, Saundra


Content: This course will focus on the comparison of two historic moments of political crisis: the defeat of the Athenian democracy in the aftermath of the Peloponnesian Wars in 403 BCE, and the reign of the Wanli emperor in the waning years of the Ming dynasty in China. Plato’s Republic and Confucius’ Analects will serve as primary historical sources for understanding these periods by means of two elaborate, historical simulations from the innovative and engaging “Reacting to the Past” series (http://www.barnard.edu/reacting). Students will work individually and in teams to research aspects of democratic Athens and imperial China in order to propose and debate policy within the contexts of the Athenian assembly and the Grand Secretariat of the Chinese emperor.


Requirements: Four papers (4 pages each); two quizzes; open book final; class participation.


Required Texts: Carnes and Ober, The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.; Carnes and Gardner, Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor; Huang, 1587, A Year of No Significance; Plato, The Republic; Confucius, The Analects.


HIST 296 Topics in History

A Brief History of Hearing (3)

TR 10:30-11:45a Rath, Richard


Content: In this writing intensive course, we will explore two interconnected ways of doing history. First, does our interpretation of history change if we use our ears as well as our eyes to understand it? And second, how are our own habits of hearing situated in history? How have people heard in the past, and how have those habits differed from our own. On a broader level, this course serves as an introduction to the burgeoning field of sensory history, which explores how our perceptions have changed and stayed the same through time. The course will begin with the big bang, range through pre-history and ancient times through the rise of the supposed dominance of vision from the Enlightenment onward to the modern era with its new sonic media of recording, broadcast, and amplification of sound. Throughout the course we will be concerned with the role of hearing – both rhetorically and historically – in the onset of modernization. Because we are situated within our own present day habits of hearing, our method will be to put the past and present in dialog with each other to better understand both. Sensory history is interdisciplinary. We will study acoustic spaces from the infinitely large to the microscopic, musical practices, acoustic ethnography, natural phenomena, oral culture and history, and media history.


Requirements: To be announced.


Required Texts: All reading material will be available online either through Amazon (there are Kindle apps available for all platforms, no kindle required) or electronically from professor. We will be reading the pre-print of Rath, Hearing History/History of Hearing (Forthcoming, University of Illinois Press and other online materials provided by the professor.