Obligatory subjects Obligatory subjects

Recent Trends and Tendencies

This obligatory course is the only course offered in the third trimester. Students take this course while they research and write their final paper. The theme rotates. Each year either a resident or visiting professor chooses a subject that is topical because of its historical relevance to contemporary events (i.e. The Arab Spring, the Economic Crisis, Global Warming) or because it is has generated a particularly lively debate within the field of World History (i.e. the Great Divergence, Imperial Rises and Declines, Inequality).

We will examine relations between Europe, America and Africa based primarily on the phenomenon of Atlantic slave trade and the development of various plantation economies in the Caribbean basin, Brazil and the southern United States of America. We will focus especially on the effects of slave trafficking in Africa, the various forms of resistance shown by slaves themselves, the impact of slave trade and Atlantic slavery on European economies and their industrialisation, as well as on the main players and factors contributing to the abolition of slavery. We will do so on a broad epoch framework covering five centuries (15th-19th) centring on the dynamics and interactions between various societies across the Atlantic Ocean, or to put it another way, between the old African and European worlds and the new American world.

Themes, theories and methods I-II

This core course is divided into two trimester-long modules that explore some of the dominant themes and theories in world history today. Each module is assessed in the trimester in which it is offered. Methodological tools are taught along with the different historiographical approaches. Topics include globalization; convergences and divergences; equalities and inequalities; minorities, race, and ethnicity; gender, power, and identities; biological, cultural, environmental and migratory exchanges; and science, technology and medicine. Theories may include micro-history; history of mentalities; postmodern and postcolonial approaches; economic and business history; historical anthropology; and cultural studies. Methods include comparative and relational approaches; short and long durations; and transnational, translocal and transcontinental spaces. In the second term, specific sessions will also be dedicated to research strategies in order to prepare students for their final project. "Overall, the goal is to work toward a thematic approach that explores the historical origins of the globalized world today, from refugees to inequalities to religious radicalism to the environment. The topics will slightly change from year to year depending on the professors. This course is usually team taught.

Optional Subjects Optional Subjects

Ethnographies and Cultural Encounters

The aim of the course is to analyse the history of the cultural encounters generated by the European colonial expansion in the early modern period (16th-18th centuries), with an emphais on the production of ethnographic knowledge, literary and visual. The course adopts a global comparaive perspective, taking account of the various contexts of such encounters in Africa, Asia, America and the Pacific. The course will emphasize  the overseas empires of Spain and Portugal, but will also include materials generated by the Dutch, French and British commercial and colonial experiences. Each seminar will explore a distinct theme and will involve the contextual analysis of a variety of ethnographic sources. The aim is to reach an understanding  of the historical, geographical, literary and artistic genres that gave expression to European ethnographies, taking account of the European intellectual trajectories on the one hand, but also of the local interactions - social, political, religious and cultural - that conditioned each encounter on the other.  Four key questions will constitute a thread throughout the sessions :  the problem of cultural perception and (mis)translation; the ideals, practices and contradictioms of religious missions ; the complex nature of colonial and imperial power; and the paradoxical development of universalist and cosmopolotian ideas. 

Slavery and Atlantic World

In the subject "Slavery and the Atlantic World" we will examine relations between Europe, America and Africa based primarily on the phenomenon of Atlantic slave trade and the development of various plantation economies in the Caribbean basin, Brazil and the southern United States of America. We will focus especially on the effects of slave trafficking in Africa, the various forms of resistance shown by slaves themselves, the impact of slave trade and Atlantic slavery on European economies and their industrialisation, as well as on the main players and factors contributing to the abolition of slavery. We will do so on a broad epoch framework covering five centuries (15th-19th) centring on the dynamics and interactions between various societies across the Atlantic Ocean, or to put it another way, between the old African and European worlds and the new American world.

Europe and the New Europes

In his book Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (1986), professor Alfred W. Crosby (1931) claims that for a host of reasons Europeans were successful in creating what he calls "New Europes": regions far away from the European continent in Australasia, North America and South America where most of the plant and animal life as well as the people are of European origin. Acknowledging that most of the wealth in the modern period is found in Europe and the new Europes, he sought to investigate their origins. However, the subject Europe and the New Europes will focus on examining the various types of political organisation from the triumph of the North American revolution (the first British colonies giving rise to the USA were founded in New England and faced the inhabitants of New France and New Spain) until the Soviet crisis which, to some extent, was the successor to the Russian empire.

Contemporary Europe Facing Globalization

The 'Europe' of today is the culmination of a set of sophisticated mechanisms of co-operation and integration that have permanently attempted to respond collectively to what might perhaps be the most important challenge that the West has had to face in politico-economic terms in the last 70 years: national governance in a global environment. The course is divided in three parts. The first part analyses the impact of World War II and the period of post-war reconstruction (1944-51) from an international as well as eastern and western European perspectives; the second part focuses on understanding the nature and causes of the European golden age (1951-68) from an economic, political and social perspectives; and the third and last part deals with the problems of definition of the current 'European model' - built around the European Union -- which is, in essence, the failed adaptation to the end of the exceptionally long period of prosperity after the Second World War (1969-2014).

Archaeology of Colonialism: Past and Present

The aim of this course is to present the primary contributions made by archaeology to knowledge of colonialism. The subject reviews the various speeches and depictions made in relation to colonialism―incorporating anti-colonial, post-colonial and decolonial critique―and proposes a comparative perspective between various colonial situations from the ancient past and the modern and contemporary ages. The subject encourages a reflection of the significance of colonial worlds in the construction of modernity and a large part of current imageries. Particular emphasis is placed on analysing social and power-based relations, as well as the new social identities and material depictions arising in these multi-cultural realms.

The subject focuses particularly on studying material culture, which is paramount in gaining a historical knowledge of colonial contexts from ancient history and more recent times, as illustrated in the development of historical archaeology over the past 20 years. For this reason, the course adopts a global approach, examining various historical contexts ranging from the ancient Mediterranean (the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans) to contexts linked to European colonisation, conquest and expansion over various regions of the world following the late Middle Ages.

Ethnic Persecutions and Genocide

The course is an approximation to comparative studies on ethnic persecutions and genocides in the contemporary world. The first part of the course will focus on theoretical and conceptual reflection on the main global phenomena that the research considers have historically acted -and continue to act- as motives for ethnic persecution and genocidal acts: the State (-nation) and nationalism, racism, religion, or ethnicity. The analyzes and controversies around the typologies and character of mass crimes and about the concept of genocide crime will also be presented: constituent acts and elements, role of the State, typologies of perpetrators, motivations, contexts, local and international conditions, character of the victims. In the second part of the subject, the knowledge acquired will be applied to the analysis of some of the most studied cases and discussed by specialists in ethnic persecutions and genocides that occurred in various continents throughout the 20th century in order to acquire a comparative perspective . The main controversies and debates around these studied cases will be presented, including the Holocaust, the most documented and analyzed case of genocide. What is intended with the study of these terrible events is not to present a catalog of horror, but to analyze the how and why they occurred, suspecting the mechanisms, also institutional that can help to ensure that they are not repeated in the future.

 

Europe and the Islamic World

The objective of this subject is to provide an overall analysis of relations between Islam, arising in the 7th century, and Christianity, which began to develop with the Edict of Constantine during the early 4th century. The struggle between these two contenders (if they may be referred to thus) fell in favour of Islam from the 7th century and until 1683 (the time of the second thwarted Ottoman siege of Vienna), when it became implemented from the Moroccan Atlantic to the Indian subcontinent and also developed in European regions (France, Sicily, although largely in Spain and the Balkans). As of the close of the 17th century, the initiative (up to know) fell on Christian Europe. A long road from the Capitulations until the establishment of the Protectorates and Mandates caused most Muslim countries to plummet to the status of colonised peoples. Decolonisation and the subsequent arrival of millions of immigrants in Europe (mostly Muslims from formerly colonised countries) brought about a new period where problems in relations between the two factions would bury their roots in never-ending years of rivalry, even though the problems were indeed new.

This subject studies those relations through the literature, historiography and images produced by either side in relation to their counterparts. We will also address transversal issues (violence, gender, minorities and others).

Disintegration of Empires in the Early Modern and Modern World

Comparative history of European colonial empires and the North American and Japanese empires (15th to 21st centuries). Each year we analyse a specific political and social group along with its inter- and intra-imperial dynamics, focussing particularly on transition processes. The aim of this subject is to examine the decline of the Spanish empire.

The construction of State

The Construction of the StateThis subject examines the foundations of the process of constructing the State in modern Europe (17th and 18th centuries) and analyses how a system of composite monarchies gave way to the embryo of the Nation State that was ultimately imposed.

Colonialism in South Asia

In this course we will deal with the history of pre-British and British India,   with special attention to the period of decomposition of the Mughal   Empire (16th-18th centuries) and the political control of the subcontinent   by the East India Company (EIC). (1760-1857). We will carefully analyze   the mechanisms of transformation of one of the great tax empires of the   Modern Age into a new Asian-dominated political entity - the sum of   diverse and complex word societies - dominated by Europeans. In short,   the inclusion of the Indian world under British sovereignty in a peculiar way, through a privileged company (chartered) that evolved at the same time as the empire as a whole. The subject culminated in that decisive moment when the mass revolt in the subcontinent induced the British to nationalize the Company's domains forever and to organize a new way of governing India until independence in 1947.

Colonial legacy in Latin America

There is no doubt that the terms of power and violence have been present in the Spanish-American imaginary of the colonial era. The first    image of power is the physical force that drags, tortures, humiliates and demands that the blood of enemies be spilled (Scarry, 1985). Beginning  in the 16th century, the colonial power tried to control the use of private  violence (honor, revenge), institutionalizing the monopoly of violence by  the viceregal authorities. Based on this idea, violence would be the  physical expression of force; power, the socio-political affirmation of domination. Between the two terms - power and violence - there are notions that give us new angles to reflect on the complex interactions that involve economic and social agents, public and private, in diverse situations from a historical perspective.

From a methodological point of view, our objective is to explore the origin of violence, relations and power networks in the Spanish-American world (Peru, Mexico, mainly) from 1492 until the formation of the nation-states of the XIX century. Given the belief that the behavior of these peoples is governed by social division and inequality, we propose a retrospective look at the strategies designed by Spanish colonial officials to establish economic, religious, and fiscal control over their subjects (17th-18th centuries) , as well as the ways in which the independent states managed to establish themselves and legitimize themselves (XIX-XX centuries). Thus, the great variety and plasticity of the forms and strategies to subvert that control will be equally fundamental to our analysis.

The course will emphasize the colonial empires of Spain and Portugal, but will also include materials generated by the colonial experiences of the Netherlands, France and Great Britain. Each seminar will revolve around a theme and will interpret various sources - primary; secondary - from a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective. In particular, we will focus on the indigenous roots and realities of Latin America; in the social, economic and political expansion of the western imperial powers (Spain and Portugal, England, the United States) in the Americas; in the disturbances, readjustments and continuities of the main indigenous civilizations (Aztecs, Mayans and Incas) in the course of three centuries of colonization; and its legacy in the independent period regarding the creation of peculiarly American societies in areas such as Mexico, Peru, Brazil, the Caribbean and Central America, in relation to issues related to indigenous societies, races, imperialism, slavery and the independences.

We will follow a chronological-analytical sequence to develop key aspects of Latin American history. We will also be interested in the transformations and events that led to the breakdown of the colonial bond.