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Fall 2004

History 18: The World Since 1945:

The Struggle for Change in the Non-western World

Fall 2004
History 18 T-Th 12:30-1:45
William Van Norman
509 Hamilton Hall
Office Hours: Wednesday 10-11:30 (Daily Grind) and 1:30-3 (Hamilton 509)

And by appointment

Introduction and Course Objectives:                

The broad theme of the class will be the struggle against domination and for self-definition. We will examine this process by looking at the lives of non-western peoples as they fought against first colonialism and then neo-colonial globalization. We will also explore the lives of subjugated people as they sought justice in local contexts. The concepts will be presented as a set of tools with which to uncover the interconnected histories of regions and people around the globe and see them in relationship. This will help students to move beyond seeing global history as a jumbled mass of disparate stories to a mosaic.  We will build on Edward Said’s idea that the histories of “the West and the Rest” are interconnected as a result of Imperialism and colonization. To that end we will focus on Britain, France, and the US with a nod to the former Soviet Union as representative of latter-day Imperial powers. We will explore commonalities in approaches and attitudes towards the rest of the world that had serious consequences for the development of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. In addition, we will focus on the social and cultural worlds of the peoples of the non-western world to begin to understand the ways in which they have sought to define themselves.

The class will be organized in 5 units beginning with the Imperial powers, followed by units on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In each section we will trace social and cultural changes during the latter half of the 20th century through a series of questions. The daily work of the class will not consist solely of lectures but rather conversations centered around the readings and finding new questions to consider. Together we will work toward creating a framework of understanding which will come together in the (brief) final unit. The format of the course will require your active participation throughout the semester.

            Through this course students will learn how to begin to see the recent past through the eyes of others and will learn the basic ideas behind post-colonial and gender analysis. They will also see how differing views motivate various types of actions and responses from the perspective of those in the west and others. Students will also improve their skills in writing and oral arguments.

While this class will be about important topics that can be, at times, weighty and even oppresive, it will also involve lighter material such as popular culture. The ways people interact with each other and the things of everday life constitute another legitimate way to get to know  people and places. To that end we will watch some movies, eat some food, listen to some music, and I will leave some time and space to explore some topics you want to look into.

Books for the Course (available in Student Stores Bookstore):

Other readings: (available on the class web site

Student Responsibilities and Grading:

Class work will consist of conversations, small group discussions, and other activities. The readings for this class will average 75 pages a week and you will be required to complete each day’s readings in advance of class as the activities of each day will be centered around the reading assignment. You will write short response papers of 2 to 3 paragraphs (no more than

1-1/2 pages) for the four major reading assignments that will be due during the discussion sections. There will be a Map quiz early in the semester which will consist of a blank map of the world on which the student will label designated locations. The map will be online and can be downloaded and competed anytime up to the due date (Sept 9). There will be a take-home mid-term exam which will require you to demonstrate your grasp of relevent themes. The final will consist of two parts. The first part will be a final paper which be a comparative paper (details below). The second part will be an in-class reflective piece that will be your synthesis of the course.

In addition, you will be required to write 2 movie reviews and 2 commentaries of cultural events you attend. The movies should be feature-length films made in or by persons from one of the countries we will be studying. Cultural events can include art exhibits, talks, restaurant  reviews, etc. These do not have to be long or detailed—just short reflective pieces.

There will be 3 opportunities for extra credit which are worth a possible 2% each. The assignments for the extra credit will be online on the class web site and can be done at any time up to their due dates (1st on Oct 5, and 2nd and 3rd on Nov 23). The extra credit cannot be used to substitute for movie reviews or cultural event responses.

Writing is essential. The official policy of the College of Arts and Sciences specifies that "Instructors should help students realize the integral relationship between thinking clearly and writing clearly . . . . Faculty in all disciplines should require their students to write well."  Here's how I'll evaluate (i.e. grade) your writing:

                        1)   Focus on the issue (does the writing deal with the problem?)

                        2)   Evidence (does it support its position with adequate data?)

                        3)   Coherence (does the argument develop its points systematically?)

                        4)   Scope (does it deal with all aspects of the question?)

The paper assignment:

The paper should analyze some aspect of the history (social, economic, culture, gender, etc.) of the people of two countries from different areas of the world. The first country in the comparison will be one that we have discussed in class and appears in the Documentary Reader. The other should be a country we have not covered (at least extensively). You need to use both primary and secondary sources for the first country and two other sources, either primary or secondary, for the other country. In the case of the first country your primary source should be documents from the Documentary Reader and your secondary source should be an appropriate book or article from the library. You may not use internet-based sources. For the second country you should use similar secondary sources (non-internet based). If you are interested in using primary documents for both countries you should consult with me to identify suitable resources.

The paper should have a clear supported thesis or argument and should be 4 to 6 pages of double-spaced text in length with an accompanying bibliography of sources consulted. Formating should be: double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins.

Grading (Distibution of Points)

Late paper policy

I will not accept late reading responses without prior approval because writing them will prepare you for class activities.


Statement on the Honor Code and plagiarism

            THE HONOR CODE:  It shall be the responsibility of every student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to obey and to support the enforcement of the Honor Code, which prohibits lying, cheating, or stealing when these actions involve academic processes or University, student, or academic personnel acting in an official capacity.

I encourage you to study together; however, you are bound by the Honor Code in taking exams and in writing your papers. As per university guidelines, students must sign the Honor Code on all papers and exams in order to have the grade received officially recorded. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the historical profession, and is unacceptable at this university. Please consult with me if you have any questions about the Honor Code or Plagiarism.

Class Schedule

Unit 1: The West and the Persistence of Imperial Thought