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HISTORY 90f: International History (Prof. E.R.

May) 1

History 90f introduces several major themes in modern international history. The
course has six two-week units, In the first week of each unit, all students meet together in
seminar to discuss a broad interpretive work. In the second week, students break out into
four- or five-person sections to discuss either a case-study or a contrasting interpretive

Note that there are no lectures. Seminars and sections go almost entirely to
discussion of the assigned texts. It is crucial therefore for students to read those texts and
think about them in advance of class meetings. Consider: What were the questions the
author or authors tried to answer? What methods of analysis were applied to what types
of sources? What are the strengths and shortcomings of the writings under consideration?
The quality of each student’s contribution to discussion of such questions will account for
about 25 % of the final grade.

1) At least 24 hours before meetings of the smaller sections (i.e., on or before 2 PM on
Tuesdays preceding Wednesday section meetings), students should give their teaching
fellows papers of about 1,000 words addressing a particular question announced at the
end of the previous week’s seminar. Cumulatively, these short papers will account for 35
% of the final grade.

2) On or before 5 PM on Wed., May 16, each student should turn in an essay of 3,000 to
5,000 words. The essay may deal with almost any aspect of international history—any
subject, any region, any period (after, say, 1500 AD). The particular topic should be
decided in consultation with a teaching fellow or Professor May or both. A final choice of
topic, with a paragraph of explanation, should be submitted on or before Apr. 4 (the first
class meeting after Spring Break). These longer papers will account for the remaining 40
% of the final grade.

Assigned books should all be on reserve in at least one copy at Lamont and Hilles. Some
can also be found in other libraries. (Consult HOLLIS.) Except for one book noted as
“Out of Print,” copies can be bought at the COOP or other bookstores or ordered on-line.
Though students are asked to read these texts thoughtfully, they are not expected
necessarily to read every word. Part of the art of studying history involves tracing an
author’s argument and appraising its quality without inspecting every detail. Sometimes a
work that seems forbiddingly long can actually yield up its essence in a quick reading.
Sometimes, by contrast, a very short work may be so tightly reasoned as to require more
than one reading. One function of the seminar is to provide practice in discriminating
among works of history.
HISTORY 90f: International History (Prof. E.R. May) 2


Jan. 31: No reading required for the first class meeting.

Topic One: Statecraft—Strategy, Politics, Both?

Feb. 7: Paul Gordon Lauren, Gordon A. Craig, and Alexander L. George, Force and
Statecraft (4th ed.: Oxford University Press, 2005), chapters 1-4, 7, 9, and 11 [145 pp.];
Yongjin Zhang, “System, empire and state in Chinese international relations,” Review of
International Studies v. 27 (2001), pp. 43–63; Paul Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs.
Neo-Realist Theory,” International Security, v. 19, No. 1. (Summer, 1994), pp. 108-148;
Colin Elman, Miriam Fendius Elman, and Paul W. Schroeder, “History vs. Neo-realism:
A Second Look,” International Security, v. 20, No. 1. (Summer, 1995), pp. 182-195.

Feb. 14: Henry Kissinger, "The White Revolutionary: Reflections on Bismarck,"

Daedalus (1968), pp. 888-924; Hans-Ulrich Wehler, "Bismarck's Imperialism, 1862-
1890," Past and Present , No. 48 (Aug. 1970), pp. 119-155.

Topic Two: Economic Dimensions

Feb. 21: Jürgen Osterhammel, Niels P. Peterssen, and Dona Geyer, Globalization: A
Short History (Princeton University Press, 2005) [152 pp.] AND Niall Ferguson, The
Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World (Basic Books, 2001), Introduction
and chapters 9 and 10 [82 pp.]
Feb. 28: Eric Rauchway, Blessed among Nations: How the World Made America (Hill
and Wang, 2006) [173 pp.] AND Ferguson, Cash Nexus, chapters 12-14 and Conclusion
[79 pp.]; "What Is the Concept of Globalization Good For? An African Historian's
Perspective," African Affairs 100 (2001): 189-213.

Topic Three: The Great War

Mar. 7: James Joll and Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War (3rd Edition:
Oxford University Press, 2006) [360 pp.]
Mar. 14: Thomas J. Knock, To End All Wars:Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New
World Order (Princeton University Press, 1995) [400 pp.]

Topic Four: The Cold War Era

Mar. 21: John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: a New History (Oxford University Press,
2007) [352 pp.]
(Week of Mar. 28: Spring Break)
Apr. 4: Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the
Making of Our Times (Cambridge University Press, 2006) [498 pp.]

Topic Five: Imperialisms

Apr. 11: Matthew Connelly, A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria's Fight for Independence
and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era (Oxford University Press, 2003) [424 pp.]
Apr. 18: Charles S. Maier, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors
(Harvard University Press, 2006) [384 pp.]
HISTORY 90f: International History (Prof. E.R. May) 3

Topic Six: Clashing Civilizations?

Apr. 25: Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Harvard University Press,
2002) [464 pp.]
May 2: The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on
Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Hardcover: US GPO; paper: W.W. Norton; both
2004) [568 pp.]

Office Hours, etc.:

Prof. May
KSG-NL 352
Tuesdays, 2-4

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