College of Liberal Arts
College of Liberal Arts
BA (history), BA (music), MA, Ohio University; Ph.D., Michigan State University
This course will explore of how the contemporary global order in the 21st century has emerged from the historical events, processes and trends of the past 500-plus years. Since 1500, the world has changed dramatically, from several mostly—or entirely—separate and autonomous regions to a single interconnected system of people and societies. We will consider the political, social, economic, and technological developments as well as the intercultural and transregional contacts and interactions that helped create these changes.
In the midst of the Second World War, under the auspices of the National Socialist regime in Germany, Germans along with their allies and collaborators murdered roughly six million European Jews and countless numbers of other “undesirables, including homosexuals, Slavic peoples, and gypsies. This much is incontrovertible, but only in subsequent decades did this series of events become known as the Holocaust. In this course we will cover not only the historical context and potential causes of the Holocaust—from the long history of European anti-Jewish and antisemitic violence to the specifics of National Socialist racial ideology—and the events themselves—the persecution, ghettoization and eventually extermination of Jewish communities across occupied Europe—but also consider the long afterlife of this historical fact. Why (and how) has the Holocaust become a critical episode in both European and global history? How have the books and films released in the years after 1945 influenced our collective consciousness of that period of European history? Why have the most notable location of mass murder, the camp at Auschwitz in southern Poland, a memorial in the center of the German capital of Berlin, and a museum dedicated to the Holocaust in Washington, DC, become major tourist destinations? How have our contemporary understandings of genocide and human rights emerged from this series of events? Why are there still thousands of people invested in denying that these events ever happened?
This course examines major themes and controversies in European history from 1900 to the present, placing particular emphasis on the early 20th century crisis of liberal democracy and the political alternatives proposed to parliamentary government: right-wing nationalism, communism, and fascism. Topics will include: the impact of World War I on European societies and politics; Popular Front movements in France and Spain; eugenics and the Nazi racial state; the Holocaust; occupation and resistance during World War II; decolonization; student rebellions in 1968; Cold War domestic politics; and the reshaping of post-communist and post-colonial Europe. Special attention will be placed racial politics and immigration, state surveillance regimes, and European debates over the Americanization and globalization of European cultures.
Globalization is a human process, influenced by contemporary and historical issues that are routinely conceived of as affecting or pertaining to the world’s population in its entirety, such as human rights, humanitarianism, environmental degradation, trade, and military power. We use the world and its population as the unit of analysis with an emphasis is placed on issues that appear to be in tension with the role of the nation-state and nationality, and highlight world and global citizenship. We explore critiques of the conceptualization of globality and worldliness as a factor in determining social, cultural, and historical change.