HISTORY 592 section 3
FALL SEMESTER 2008
Pro-seminar on Modern History
Class meets Thursdays 6-9pm
Philip Jenkins 407 Weaver Building
Please note: I check my e-mail regularly (obsessively?) and this is an excellent way to get in touch with me if you have a quick question or if you want to make an appointment for a more substantial discussion.
This seminar aims to provide a foundation for scholarly work in modern history, which for the purposes of the course I take as meaning c.1890-2000. The course will focus on the development and changing contours of the field, and will obviously not attempt to be an exhaustive overview. Throughout, we will identify the crucial questions and debates that motivate research in this area, the critical issues and methodologies.
Readings will explore changing views of topics like war and social change; the peak and decline of imperialism and colonialism; revolution and dictatorship; nations and nationalism; racial awareness and conflict; reinterpretations of gender, family and sexuality; globalization and technological change; consumerism and mass culture; modernism and post-modernism; and the reassertion of religion, the "revenge of God." As far as possible within the limitations of a single course, we will be striving for the widest possible global coverage.
A glance at this syllabus will indicate my own particular areas of interest in twentieth century history, both themes and geographical areas. I am however very flexible towards accommodating other people's interests and areas of expertise, and would encourage individuals to use their papers to pursue their own particular projects. Ideally, I would like this class to provide a foundation that you can build upon in your dissertation work.
We will also spend time on critical professional issues, especially the process of identifying and preparing work for publication in appropriate outlets. Part of this process involves regular reading and discussion of recent articles published in major academic journals, to try and answer the question: just why were these written and published at the time they were? This “professionalism” theme will run through all class sessions in varying ways.
The course will take the format of a reading and discussion seminar. I expect that each week, students will come to class having read an assigned book or articles. Some weeks, I will be allotting particular books to people, either as individuals or small groups, so that they can be responsible for leading discussion about those particular issues. Each student should come to class with open-ended questions growing out of the general theme, around which the discussion of the readings should be organized. I will expect each student to lead discussion on at least one of the topics listed.
Each student will write a major paper on the historiography of a topic of their choice. The paper should be about 20-25 typed pages, fully referenced. I will be asking each participant to make a presentation based on the paper to the whole group towards the end of term. Each student will have half an hour to present his/her research and the questions raised.
One note about choice of topics. Though this is a history course, that does not mean that people have to apply strictly historical methodologies, still less political history. I am open to a wide range of themes – social, cultural, rhetorical, gender, and so on. Students from disciplines such as English, Political Science, Sociology, and Communication Arts and Sciences are all encouraged to take the course.
Other assignments and deadlines are specified in the following syllabus.
Regular class attendance and participation are of course expected as a necessary element of the final grade.
paper - 70%
attendance and participation - 20%
presentation - 10%
Benedict Anderson, The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World (Verso, 1998)
Elleke Boehmer, ed., Empire Writing (Oxford University Press 1998).
Kate Brown, Biography Of No Place (Harvard University Press, 2005)
Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (Reissue edition Vintage Books, 1992).
Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age (Mariner Books; 1st Marine edition, 2000)
Sheila Fitzpatrick, Tear Off the Masks: Identity and Imposture in 20th Century Russia (Princeton University Press, 2005)
Sabine Fruhstuck, Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2003)
Nikki R. Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (Yale University Press, 2003)
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, The Past Within Us: Media, Memory, History (Verso, 2005)
James C. Scott, Seeing like a State (Yale University Press 1999).
Through the course, I will also be using various readings that I will circulate electronically.
Do check out the web-page for the course at http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/p/jpj1/592.html
SYLLABUS OF CLASSES
Each of the following topic areas represents the general theme around which we will be organizing our discussions. The individual class titles are of course not intended to be exclusive: themes like race, gender, modernity, and so on will appear in virtually every class session, sometimes more centrally than others.
The nineteenth century inheritance; meanings of modernity
Imperialism and colonialism
DISCUSS: Boehmer, Empire Writing
War, social change, and cultural innovation
DISCUSS: Eksteins, Rites of Spring
Revolution and dictatorship
DISCUSS: Fitzpatrick, Tear Off the Masks
DISCUSS: Brown, Biography Of No Place
*I NEED TO KNOW THE TOPICS OF YOUR TERM PAPERS TODAY
Nations and nationalism
DISCUSS: Anderson, The Spectre of Comparisons
Technology and globalization
Getting and spending
DISCUSS: Scott, Seeing like a State
9. October 23
Gender, family and sexuality.
DISCUSS: Fruhstuck, Colonizing Sex
*PLEASE WRITE A TWO PAGE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR PROPOSED PAPER, WITH ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. CIRCULATE COPIES OF THIS TO EVERYONE IN THE SEMINAR (PREFERABLY ELECTRONICALLY) AS A BASIS FOR IN-CLASS DISCUSSION.
10. October 30
Mass culture, popular culture, mass media
DISCUSS: Morris-Suzuki, The Past Within Us
Modern and post-modern
Philip K. Dick, Man in the High Castle
12. November 13
The revenge of God
DISCUSS: Keddie, Modern Iran
*PAPER DRAFTS DUE
Recap and revision of major themes.
14-15. December 4-11
*FINAL PAPER IS DUE FIRST DAY OF FINALS PERIOD
SELECTED UNIVERSITY POLICIES
Academic Integrity Policy
Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution. Academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized prior possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, and tampering with the academic work of other students (see Policies and Rules for Students, Section 49-20). Academically dishonest students may be punished with a minor penalty, typically a zero on a quiz or test, or with a major penalty such as a grade of "F" in a course. Please note that a student may not be forced to withdraw from a course for an academic integrity violation by the teacher alone. Students who are punished with major penalties may appeal the decision. Cases that are sufficiently serious to warrant disciplinary actions beyond academic sanctions may be referred by the faculty member to the Office of Judicial Affairs for further review.
Disability Access Statement
The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in this programs and activities and is committed to the policy that all people shall have equal access to programs, facilities, and admissions without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation in this course or have questions about physical access, please tell the instructor as soon as possible.