History Course Descriptions

UC Irvine Student Center


Winter Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
The Holocaust, the Nazi state’s attempt to murder all European Jews, is a defining moment in modern history. How do we comprehend the incomprehensible? Can we make sense of such a horrifying event? Does it defy explanation? Is it unique or can we compare it with other forms of genocide? In this course, we will explore these questions by learning about the nature of Jewish communities in Germany before the Holocaust; considering other forms of genocide that preceded the Holocaust; and analyzing the Nazi rise to power and the Nazi state’s move toward the “final solution. In the second half of the course, we will look carefully at how the Holocaust has been remembered and commemorated since 1945. Readings will consist primarily of historical primary sources.

Fulfills General Education Category: IV. Arts and Humanities AND VIII. International/Global Studies
It is, by far, the planet’s most popular sport. More than a billion earthlings play the game on a regular basis, and billions more watch it. Its rules are simple, its mode of execution almost infinite. It is a fine art form, and war by other means. Manipulated by rulers, the plaything of tyrants, oligarchs, oil tycoons and myriad capitalists, it remains, nevertheless, the people’s game and the peoples’ game, enjoyed by every nation, race and religion around the globe. This course aims to uncover the broad contours of the history of the game, from its humble beginnings among the industrial working class of Britain to its present global pre- eminence and seemingly constant expansion and growth. What are its origins? How, why and where did it develop? Why the global attraction, expansion and continued popularity? What are its rules and structures of governance? How do we account for the different styles and philosophy of playing the game? This course looks to address these key questions. Furthermore, this course is rooted in the belief that soccer is uniquely poised to analyze some big historical phenomena: empire and methods of colonial control; class and race relations; gender dynamics; national and international politics.
An introduction to various religious traditions in selected areas of the world—including India and South Asia, East Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
How did our world become so globalized and yet so unequal? In the period from 1650 to 1870, people around the world began to interact on a truly global scale for the first time in history. New structures and systems to regulate these interactions arose, creating a level of interdependence never before imagined. But these encounters did not take place on a level playing field.  This class will pose a series of questions about those surprising, rich, but unequal encounters of continents, cultures and peoples as disparate as those of Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, and how they structured today’s world.

We begin with the rise and crisis of pre-industrial empires, the great Muslim empires and China, the European colonization of the Americas, Eurasia and Africa. We will then examine the “age of revolutions” in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, looking at its impact on political culture, trade, labor, slavery, and religion. The last part of the class will investigate the emergence of European domination and the imperial system of the 19th century, along with the growing resistance to imperial rule. The class will conclude with an analysis of the world in 1870, poised at the brink of a capitalist globalization built upon deep inequality, giving rise to powerful anti-capitalist movements that would divide the world for the following century. 

This course fullfills the pre-1800 History major requirement.
The course is a survey of some of the highlights of Roman civilization during the early centuries of the Roman empire (end of the first century BCE to the third century CE). In this period, the Roman world was ruled by emperors who increasingly came to have absolute power. We will look not only at political history, but also at social history, literature, art and architecture and religion. The course will consider a number of questions, including the political and social consequences of living under absolute an absolute ruler - especially when, as was often the case, he was unbalanced. This is the period of "bread and circuses" in which the emperors bought off the lower classes by providing the grain dole and spectacular free entertainment such as chariot races and gladiatorial contests. We will also look at how the emergence of Christianity affected the Roman world, and how complex social systems and entrenched institutions such as slavery evolved over time. The early centuries of the empire were a time of great prosperity in which Roman power reached its zenith; it was a period of relative stability but also, in some respects, a time of decadence, which has been a source of both admiration and loathing for almost all subsequent ages, including our own.
America in the 19th Century evolved from a largely agricultural society to the world’s most influential industrial power, a transformation that required careful consideration and debate about the nature of government and democracy. This course offers an introduction to the events, peoples, ideas, and movements that both created and defined the United States during the Century. It will consider the diverse lives and experiences of “ordinary” Americans and the ways in which gender, race and class have helped to build the foundations of the American republic. The course explores key issues in the nineteenth-century United States, including defining the early republic, the nature of American slavery, market expansion and urbanization, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and important social movements.

Fulfills General Education Category: IV. Arts and Humanities AND VIII. International/Global Studies
European Queens served as models of piety for their people. They also often drew the criticism of religious leaders. Some saved dynasties through their shrewd regencies and some were blamed for leading their countries into destructive civil wars. Sent as vulnerable young girls to be peacemakers in foreign lands, they worked as cultural ambassadors between their birth families and their royal husbands. For many, however, their foreign manners and family connections remained suspect. Only by great fortune and with great care could they ever rule independently and in their own name. As exceptional women, they had access to more power than was available to most of their male contemporaries. At the same time they were forced to work tirelessly to protect their own reputations and to build networks of support and loyalty. By studying several queens, including famous queens (like Elizabeth I of England) and infamous queens (like Catherine de Medici), this class will explore what it meant to occupy such a politically charged and exceptional social position and what the realities of queenship tell us how families, royal institutions, religious ideals, and gender worked together to shape European politics from the early Middle Ages through the early modern period.

Fulfills General Education Category: IV. Arts and Humanities AND VIII. International/Global Studies

This course fullfills the pre-1800 History major requirement.
History 70C: Histories of Violence across the US-Mexico Borderlands introduces students to the diversity of historical actors and moments that have informed the violence framing US border enforcement measures across the US-Mexico Borderlands. Students will investigate and closely read a series of primary sources and learn from interdisciplinary investigative approaches to this history to expand their understanding of the expansiveness of US and Mexican border enforcement priorities in the United States and Mexico.
Judaism and Christianity: Co-Formation and Development
The first few centuries of the Common Era witnessed one of the most important developments in religious history: the formation of both Judaism and Christianity. According to the traditional understanding of the formation of these groups, Judaism was an ancient religion, extending from the time of the Bible, and Christianity was a small upstart that “parted ways” from Judaism and eventually emerged as a major world religion all on its own. After their parting, according to this understanding, Judaism and Christianity were almost exclusively hostile to one another. In recent years, however, the traditional understanding has been challenged and largely dismantled. It is now clear that both groups continued to define and redefine themselves in dialogue and/or competition with the other; that Judaism itself is formed alongside Christianity in this period; that lines between the groups remained blurry for centuries; that the discourse of an early and total “parting” was created in large part by elite men describing and creating the “parting” they hoped for; that Jews and Christians interacted in ways that were not hostile but in fact productive and positive.

In this course, we will study the ways that Judaism and Christianity continued to overlap throughout antiquity, as well as the many discourses that were applied to draw lines between these overlapping groups and to cause them to “part.” While the content of the course will focus on Judaism and Christianity, the implications of our investigation apply to the definition, evolution, growth, and other issues that attend groups and their formation in both antiquity and the present. The course will address larger questions related to how history and rhetoric are fashioned, how identities are shaped in conversation with each other, how orthodoxies are formed and challenged, and more.
In this course, students will attain basic writing skills and learn digital tools for editing and writing through an introduction to the history of cartography.
The 1790s was a time of huge change and disturbance in the world. War, revolution, terror were in the air, and took on new meanings. This wave of change was on a global scale, but like an earthquake, it struck most intensely at certain points. France was the epicentre of revolution. On 14 July 1789, the people of Paris scaled the huge stone walls of the Bastille and seized the royal fortress. Within five years they would transform France, overthrow the monarchy, and set off echoes that changed the world.
This course will explore how the events, ideas and symbols of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era were experienced in France and across the world. We will also look at the way the world shaped the French Revolution. We will think about Europe, the newly formed United States, Haiti, Egypt, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. We will investigate the ways in which this global experience is represented in online sources, and find ways to undertake our own research and integrate it into the sum of available knowledge.
This course examines the history of Russia from the First World War to the present.  We will investigate the radical changes in political, social, and economic life that Russians experienced in the twentieth century, many continuing to this day.  Themes include the revolutions of 1917, the establishment of the Soviet state, the Stalinist purges, World War II, efforts at reform, and the collapse of the Soviet system.
This class addresses the history of the Second World War within the context of its origins in Europe. The course will discuss some of the many wars that made up this global conflict, such as the civil wars between collaborators and resistance movements in Nazi-occupied Europe, the Allied bombing war that targeted civilians, the Nazi war against the European Jews. The course will highlight the moral dimensions of World War II that appeared in the daunting choices faced by both individuals and groups. We will examine the attempts, at the war's end, to administer justice and address questions of memory and of loss.
This course is an introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, a collection or ancient library of fascinating texts produced by dramatically different groups in drastically different places and time periods. The texts in this collection are some of the world’s most enduring works of literature, ideology, theology, and more, and continue to shape our world, just as our world continues to shape how the texts are understood.
Each class will center around the meaning, historical context, and significance of a specific book or portion in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. We will compare the biblical texts with other similar works produced in the Ancient Near East, and situate biblical events in the context of the political, diplomatic, military, economic, and other major issues of the time.
The goal of the course is to acquaint students with the central texts in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and to situate these texts in their historical contexts. Secondary goals of the course include introducing students to the various theoretical and methodological frameworks scholars have used to better understand these text, and well as to introduce students to the reception of these texts by ancient Jews and Christians. Students will leave the course with a firm grasp of the texts in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, as well as the context in which this fascinating library was produced.
This course surveys the history of Armenia and Armenians from ethnogenesis to the early modern period at the end of the 1700s within a regional and global context that takes into account interactions and encounters with the empires and peoples that encompassed their orbit. Itproceeds in chronological order but with a strong thematic approach from ethnogenesis through dynastic rule, relations with Iranian, Byzantine/Roman, Arab states and cultures, and the last Armenian kingdom to the rise and collapse of an Armenian kingdom in Cilicia, imperial rule under the Ottomans and Safavids, and ends with important developments in the early modern period from “trade diaspora” (specifically New Julfan) to print culture and national revival.
This course will introduce students to major themes and debates in the history of madness, psychiatry, and psychology from roughly the eighteenth century to the contemporary period. We will consider questions such as: Why have approaches to treating the insane shifted over time, and how do we evaluate whether one approach is superior to another? How have subsequent generations of “experts” defined madness, and why have their ideas incited debate? What roles have class, gender, and sexuality played in the adjudication of insanity? Through a variety of primary and secondary sources, this course will cover the important actors, institutions (madhouses, asylums, psychopathic hospitals), and approaches to treatment (institutionalization, psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy) that have shaped – and continue to shape – the historical evolution of the disorder known alternately as madness, lunacy, insanity, and mental illness.
California is the “Great Exception.”  California is the “Leading Edge” State.  California is an Island or it’s a center of Global Trends.  The Land of Sunshine.  The Golden State, Gold Mountain, gam saan, Alta California, the Eastern Pacific.  These and many other designations carry great cultural weight in California history.  This course examines the history of California as a state, but it places the state within the broader context of the American West, the nation, and the world.  Lectures, discussions, movies, and other visual material will explore this history, spotlighting pivotal events and issues.
This course will outline the history and development of capitalism and its role in creating the modern world. The first part of the course will examine how capitalism evolved from Mercantile capitalism to industrial capitalism to postindustrial globalization. The course
frames capitalism within the “matrix of modernity”: the historical processes of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, the Atlantic slave system, the enlightenment, and nationalism. The second half of the semester will focus on the role of commodities and the overall environmental consequences of capitalism.
This course will introduce students to the history of the African American intellectual and literary construction of the American experience, focusing on the 18th and 19th centuries – highlighting its early emergence, intensity and breadth – the colonial period through the advent of the Twentieth century. The will focus will be on Phillis Wheatley, Oluadah Equiano, Ottobah Cugoano, David Walker, Maria Stewart, and Frederick Douglass. W. E. B. Du Bois’s reflections on African American intellectual traditions will be of basic reference. In addition to established and recognized literary and intellectual texts, the readings and lectures also include, or consider, inscribed oral texts such as orations and public addresses, sermons, testimonials, songs, especially spirituals, and folklore. Other readings referenced or discussed in the class include published poetry, essays, petitions, legal appeals and declarations, editorials, slave narratives and other autobiographical narratives, fiction, and histories. The student who completes this course will have an understanding of the African American intellectual and literary construction of the American experience and thus the emergence of a modern literature and intellectual tradition, noting its early announcement within the history of the United States and a profound sense of its intensity and breadth.
This class explores how revolution, and reaction to revolution, shaped Latin America during the late 20th century cold war.  While the term “cold war” connotes the absence of direct military confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, in Latin America, the years 1945 to 1990 were times of extraordinary violence, including military coups, civil wars, and prolonged dictatorships.  They were also times of utopian imagination, democratic reform, and socialist revolutionary experiments to end profound inequality.  Events within Latin America always responded to the global stand-off between superpowers, but they were never solely determined by foreign intervention. This course examines Latin American experiences with capitalist development, socialist revolution, military rule, and struggles for democracy.  What did these concepts mean to different Latin Americans? How and why did people become so bitterly divided over competing visions? The class pays particular attention to the political transformations of women, indigenous and peasant communities, factory workers, and students. While the course addresses Latin America as a whole, required readings and films focus on Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.  Assignments include two in-class exams and one paper.
Religion has deeply influenced the course of Latin American society and culture. It has served not only as a source of individual identity, but as a basis for a collective one as well. This course will survey the development of religious thought and practice over five centuries of Latin American history. Lectures will examine the clash of diverse religious traditions beginning with the great “encounter” between Europeans, indigenous peoples, and Africans in the New World. An analysis will follow of the fundamental—and sometimes controversial—role of the Catholic Church in the region as well as non-Christian faiths. Themes will include indigenous religious practice, Christianization efforts, the role of religion in politics and revolution, liberation theology, Afro-Latin American faiths, Judaism, and the recent rise of Pentecostal denominations. Students are expected to attend lectures and complete all assigned readings. Videos and primary source materials will supplement the lectures.
Mexico is an enigma—from tropical rainforests to searing deserts, pinnacles of wealth to depths of despair, it is a land of extremes. On the verge of collapse more than once, Mexico now boasts one of the world’s largest economies. This course introduces students to the story of Mexico’s formation and evolution from colonial times to the present. This will be a broad analysis of the place that history has played in national political structures, economic formations, and social movements. We will examine the indigenous roots of pre-Columbian Mexico, the impact of conquest and colonization, the struggle of nation-building, revolution, reconstruction, and development. Particular attention will focus on the forces—both internal and external—that have contributed to shaping a Mexican identity. These issues will be covered through lectures, videos, and primary/secondary readings.
History 171D surveys the development of Chinese civilization from high antiquity through the eighteenth century.  Lectures will focus on political, intellectual, economic, and socio-cultural changes.  They will be organized chronologically, but emphasize certain important topics and large patterns in traditional Chinese history, including the emergence of a distinctive form of bureaucratic absolutism, the development of Confucian ideology and other classical age philosophies, the introduction and spread of Buddhism, the evolution of a hierarchical but fluid social structure, the great commercial booms in the tenth and sixteenth centuries, the growth of autocracy in the later imperial era, the rise of neo-Confucian orthodoxy, civil service examination culture and the rise of the gentry, the elaboration of the Confucian gender system, the development of folk religion, and the interaction between elite and popular cultures.

This course fullfills the pre-1800 History major requirement.
This course offers the history of an idea and a history of the effects of that idea. Students learn how numerous ancient mythological 'evil entities' in various world cultures contributed to the devil idea. Students then trace the development of devil traditions in ancient Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic texts and contexts. Students then learn of the deadly effects of the devil idea: the devil idea fed centuries-long European anti-Jewish sentiment; it aided in the persecution and killing of European heretics; it was a major factor in a 300-year-long European satanic panic called the witchcraze, which executed some 100,000 'witches'. Next, students examine the uses of the devil in medieval European folklore and modern Western literature. Students then review a 1500-year history of devil iconography in Western art and a 100+ year history of the devil in Western films. Lastly, students survey the relation of the devil idea to very recent sociological phenomena like black metal music, satanism, satanic ritual abuse, and modern witchcraft. Along with lectures, there will be weekly readings (book chapters and/or handouts), weekly writing (short reviews of the reading), and weekly full-class discussions. Since the class meets once a week, any absence has a very ill effect on grades. One final exam (comprehensive). By the way: the class is not an examination of---or a promotion of---the occult.
Description availanle soon.

Specialized courses dealing primarily with close reading and analysis of primary and secondary works; required reports and papers. Each colloquium reflects the instructor's intellectual interests and is conducted as a discussion group.
What are Schools For? A History of American Education
This course will introduce students to the central themes, issues, and controversies in the history of American education. What is the purpose of schooling? How did public schooling begin in the United States and how has it evolved across time? What forces and debates shaped that evolution? Are there lessons that we can learn from educational history as we think about contemporary debates about education reform? Students will consider a set of questions and historiographical debates about K-12 education throughout the course in order to identify the key junctures and changes in the historical development of American public education.
This advanced research seminar for History majors focuses on the close reading of texts, the mechanics of writing various forms of history, archival and online research techniques, research topic development, and how to structure a meaningful research proposal.  By the end of Winter quarter each student will complete a well-grounded project proposal; in Spring quarter (History 194) students will complete their archival research and article-length essay suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed history journal.

To apply to participate in the course, please apply at bit.ly/advancedresearchseminar.
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