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Sample Syllabus: History 643

HST 643 Seminar in Modern Europe
SUNY Brockport  Spring 2007
Tuesday, 6-9 pm, Milne Seminar Room 
Dr. Meredith L. Roman

Office:  125 FOB                                                                Office Hours: Tu, Th, 10:45-11:45
Phone:  x-2010                                                                                           Tu, 3 – 4 
E-mail:                                                           & by appointment


Course Description

This course will introduce students to some of the most influential and controversial scholarship on the history of Europe, covering the period since the late nineteenth century.  It assumes that you already have a basic understanding of modern European history.  If you do not, then you should purchase a textbook like Robert O. Paxton's Europe in the Twentieth Century or monographs like Eric J. Hobsbawm's Age of Empire and Age of Extremes, to peruse together with our weekly reading assignments.  Our readings will allow us to use the lenses of race, class, gender, and sexuality in order to enhance our understanding of European imperialism, the First and Second World Wars, Nazism, the Cold War, migration, nation-building, and the collapse of communism.  Particularly during the second half of the semester, we will interrogate the fluid conceptual divide between western and eastern Europe that predated the Cold War and which historically has rendered the East as the backward, dark, racialized Other on the European continent against which the West has appeared supremely enlightened and civilized. 

Required Readings

  1. Judith Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late Victorian London (University of Chicago 1992).
  2. Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather (Routledge 1999).
  3. Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age (Mariner Books 2000).
  4. Peter Fritzsche, Germans Into Nazis (Harvard University Press, 1999).
  5. Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (MIT Press 1995).
  6. Katherine Verdery, What Was Socialism and What Comes Next? (Princeton University Press, 1996).


The remainder of the required readings for this course consist of various journal articles which you can access on Angel.


Since this is a readings seminar, much of your grade will depend on your ability to master, discuss, and analyze each week's assigned monograph and/or articles.  Moreover, because this class meets only once a week, it is imperative that all students attend class and participate actively and thoughtfully in class discussion on a regular basis.  More than two absences will result in a "0" for a participation grade. 

Students will be evaluated on the basis of the following:

1) Class Participation:  a) performance in class discussions and b) performance as discussion leaders organized on a rotating basis (35%)

2) Critical Review Essays:  During the weeks that you will be leading discussion, you are also required to submit a critical review essay (4-6 pages) which analyzes that week's monograph or articles (25%).  Every student will submit three critical review essays.
3) Final Synthesis Essay:  that will require students to draw on readings from throughout the semester (40%)

Stylistic Reminders
In submitting the critical review essays and final synthesis essay please remember that both must be double-spaced (do not triple or quadruple space between paragraphs) with one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font, and typed page numbers.  Please do not place a heading (i.e. name, date, class, etc.) on the top of every page.

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

*This course outline is tentative and subject to change during the semester.  Students are responsible for all changes announced in class.

Week One (Jan 23):  Introductions and Syllabus

Week Two (Jan 30):  Sexuality in the City

Reading:  Judith Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late
                 Victorian London

Week Three (Feb 6):  Race, Gender, Sexuality & Empire

Reading:  Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather

Week Four (Feb 13):  War of Cultural Values

Reading:  Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age

Week Five (Feb 20):  The Oft-Forgotten Side of War & Its Aftermath

1) Tyler Stovall, “The Color Line behind the Lines: Racial Violence in France during
the Great War,” American Historical Review 103, no. 3 (June 1998): 737-69.
2) Tina Campt, "'Resonant Echoes': The Rhineland Campaign and Converging Specters
of Racial Mixture," Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender,
and Memory in the Third Reich, pp. 31-62.
3) Lucy Bland, "White Women and Men of Colour: Miscegenation Fears in Britain after the Great War," Gender & History 17, No. 1. (Apr 2005): 29-61.

Week Six (Feb 27):  Why was Nazism Appealing?

Reading:  Peter Fritzsche, Germans into Nazis

Week Seven (Mar 6):  Gender, Sexuality & the Second World War

1) Anna Krylova, "Stalinist Identity from the Viewpoint of Gender: Rearing a Generation of Professionally Violent Women-Fighters in 1930s Stalinist Russia," Gender & History 16 no 3 (Nov 2004): 626-653.
2) Sonya O. Rose, "Sex, Citizenship, and the Nation in World War II Britain," American Historical Review, 103, No. 4. (Oct. 1998): 1147-1176.
3) Patricia Szobar, “Telling Sexual Stories in the Nazi Courts of Law: Race Defilement
in Germany, 1933-1945,” Journal of the History of Sexuality, 11, nos. 1-2 (January/
April 2002): 131-63.

Week Eight (Mar 13):  Spring Break

Week Nine (Mar 20):  The Politics of Victimhood

1) Heide Fehrenbach, "Flaccid Fatherland: Rape, Sex, and the Reproductive Consequences of Defeat," Race After Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), pp. 46-73.
2) Elizabeth Heineman, "The Hour of the Woman: Memories of Germany's 'Crisis Years' and West German National Identity," American Historical Review 101 (1996): 354-395.
3) Robert Moeller, "War Stories: The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany," American Historical Review 101, no. 4 (1996): 1008-1048.

Week Ten (Mar 27):  Decolonization & Remaking French Identity  

Reading:  Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering
                  of French Culture

Week Eleven (Apr 3):  Gender & Cold War Culture


1) Uta G. Poiger, "Rock 'n Roll, Female Sexuality and the Cold War Battle over German Identities," Journal of Modern History68 (Sep 1996): 577-616.

2) Susan E. Reid, "Cold War in the Kitchen: Gender and the De-Stalinization of Consumer Taste in the Soviet Union under Khrushchev," Slavic Review 61, no 2 (Summer 2002): 211-252.

3) Mary Neuburger, "The Citizen Behind the Veil: National Imperatives and the Re-dressing Muslim Women," in Style and Socialism, edited by Susan Reid and David Crowley, pp. 169-88.


Week Twelve (Apr 10):  The Emergence of National Minorities in Western Europe


1) Rita C. K. Chin, "Imagining a German Multiculturalism: Aras Oren and the Contested Meanings of the 'Guest Worker,' 1955-1980," Radical History Review 83 (Spring 2002): 44-72.

2) Winston James, "Migration, Racism and Identity Formation: The Caribbean Experience in Britain," Inside Babylon: The Caribbean Diaspora in Britain, edited by Winston James and Clive Harris, pp. 231-287.
3) Marcus Collins, "Pride and Prejudice: West Indian Men in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain," The Journal of Black Studies 40, 3 (July 2001): 391-418.

Week Thirteen (Apr 17):  Societies in Transition

Reading:  Katherine Verdery, What Was Socialism and What Comes Next?

Week Fourteen (Apr 24):  Ancient or Modern Ethnic Hatred?

1) Milica Bakic-Hayden, “Nesting Orientalisms:  The Case of Former Yugoslavia,” Slavic Review 54, no. 4 (Winter 1995): 917-931.
2) Dubravka Zarkov, “Gender, Orientalism and the History of Ethnic Hatred in the Former Yugoslavia,” Crossfires: Nationalism, Racism and Gender in Europe, edited by Helma Lutz, Ann Phoenix and Nira Yuval-Davis, pp. 105-120.
3) Maria Todorova, "The Balkans: From Discovery to Invention," Slavic Review 53, No. 2. (Summer 1994): 453-482.
4) K.E. Fleming, "Orientalism, the Balkans, and Balkan Historiography," American Historical Review 105, No. 4 (Oct 2000): 1218-1233.

Week Fifteen (May 1):  Who is European? Race & the Politics of Belonging

1) Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "A Reporter at Large: Black London," in Black British Culture and Society, edited byKwesi Owuso, pp. 169-180.
2) Laurent Dubois, "Republic at Sea," Transitions 79 (1999): 64-79.
3) Fatima El-Tayeb, "'If You Can't Pronounce My Name, You Can Just Call Me Pride': Afro-German Activism, Gender and Hip Hop," Gender & History 15, no. 3 (Nov 2003): 460-486.

Week Sixteen (May 8):  Synthesis Essays Due by 6 pm.


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Last Updated 7/21/10


Our sincere congratulations to Matty Lynn Kuhar who won the 2016 School of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Award!

Dr. Alison Parker has been invited to be this year's Harriet Jacobs Lecturer at Purdue University. Her talk is entitled Mary Church Terrell, Black Women, and the Rise of the Democratic Party. 

Dr. Nishiyama has been invited to give a talk (title "Kamikaze Technology and Culture for War: Japan and the USA, 1941-2001") at the RIT.

Dr. Alison Parker facilitated significant donation of historical papers to Oberlin College and participates in its celebratory symposium on the life of racial justice advocate Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954).

Congratulations to Dr. Jose R. Torre on winning the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching!


History Forum will host Region 11&12 Meeting of the Association of Public Historians of New York State, on 4/30 (Saturday, from 9am to about 4pm) at McCue Auditorium (LAB104).

History Department Graduation Ceremony will be held in New York Room, Cooper Hall, at 10:30 am, May 14 (Saturday).