Summer 2021 Graduate Courses


History 7650- Studies in World History

Instructor: Roth, R.
Days/Time: Online
Session: 8-wk Ses 2

Description: This section of Studies in World History is an intermediate 8-week course on the scholarship on World History in the “Long” Twentieth Century, from the late 19th century to the present. Students will focus on changes in the quality of life, broadly construed, over the last 150 years, and will engage critically historical and theoretical debates about the causes and consequences of violence, nationalism, revolutions, imperialism, economic development, economic catastrophes (including the Great Depression and the Great Recession), environmental change, inequality, changes in human health and health care, and changes in racial, ethnic, and gender relations and identities. The course will also focus on strategies for critical reading and for questioning the authority of historical texts. The goal is to encourage students to arrive at their own considered interpretations of historical events.

            History 7650 is a hybrid course. It will include one in-person class each week (to be scheduled at a time that works for the students enrolled in the course, perhaps in the evening) and at least two individual meetings the instructor. But it will also include assignments on line, comprised of short readings and written responses to weekly prompts on the readings. The purpose is to keep in-person hours to a minimum during the summer yet offer the same content and contact hours as a typical 3-credit class.

            The course may be repeated for credit. We will cover different books and themes than the course offered last summer. We will read Edward Dickinson’s fascinating new interpretation of the Long Twentieth Century. Among the other themes I’ve been thinking about for Summer 2021 are 1) the new forms that empires have taken since World War II, 2) the fragility of democracy and the threats posed by cyberwarfare, social media, and the modern surveillance state, 3) the challenges of nation building Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia, and 4) the causes and consequences of the Great Recession in the broader context of globalization. Please let me know, however, if there are themes that you would like to cover in the course. I would be happy to tailor the readings to your interests.

Students will be asked to read four or five books in common, which will be announced at a later date. Students will also read several short essays on Carmen, and two books of their choice by arrangement with instructor. The common reading may include (for instance):

Edward Ross Dickinson, The World in the Long Twentieth-Century: An Interpretive History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018.

Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empire in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.

Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States. New York: Picador, 2020.

Kai Strittmatter, We Have Been Harmonized: Life in China’s Surveillance State. New York: Custom House / HarperCollins, 2020.

Nicole Perlroth, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race. New York: Bloomsbury, 2021.

Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2017.

Peter Fritzsche, Hitler’s First Hundred Days: When the Germans Embraced the Third Reich. New York: Basic Books, 2020.

Myint-U, Thant, The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century. New York: W. W. Norton, 2019.

Dan Slater, Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Frederick Cooper, Africa since 1940: The Past of the Present. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm, Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. New York: Penguin, 2010.

Discussion and Attendance
(10% of grade)
Quizzes (15% of grade)
Responses to on-line readings (20% of grade)
Notes (25% of grade): You will be asked to take two or three pages of careful notes (double spaced) on an article or chapters of a book of your choice that is not required reading for the course.
Essay (30% of grade): You will be asked to write a five-page critical paper on one of the historical and theoretical debates we will study in the class.