Undergraduate Africa, Asia, & the Middle East Courses

These are the courses offered by the History Department to fulfill this requirement.

Course No. Course Name Description
HIST 208 History of Africa This course is an introduction to the history of an enormous continent, Africa. Because of the size of the geography, population and time covered, one of the main purposes of this course is to pave the way to the upper division regional and thematic classes. We will move our way through African history both temporally and thematically. Lectures will introduce key themes and ideas and in section you will discuss historical evidence for African communities, cultures and ideas. This course is suitable to those who know nothing of Africa, and to those who are considering taking an upper division lecture classes or seminar in African history or Africana Studies.
HIST 270 Modern East Asia This course explores the formation of modern East Asian nations and of the idea of East Asia itself in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It examines the interrelated histories of China, Japan, and Korea and the forces that forged modernity in East Asia: wars, colonialism, imperialism, Cold War geopolitics, nationalism and socialism. The course presents an overview of large historical processes, but introduces different perspectives by looking at how individuals narrated their experiences in memoirs, diaries, short stories, novels, and films.
HIST 376 Communist China: History and Narrative
This course looks at history of post-1949 China from two different perspectives.  Students will read "proper" historical texts: political and intellectual essays, government documents, social reports, and scholarly historical monographs.  These will be juxtaposed to different forms of narrative construction: movies, novels, and autobiographical accounts.  With this integrated approach, the course examines the history of the People's Republic of China but also the continuous interplay between historiography and politics, history and memory, popular culture and learning.
HIST 383 Religion and the State in Islam Examines the changing relationship between Islam and politics from the time of the Prophet to the present day.
HIST 403B History of the Hellenistic World
By reading and discussing many different ancient texts, including philosophy, Jewish histories and literature, and, especially, papyri from Egypt, you will explore the social and cultural history of the eastern Mediterranean from Alexander the Great until the Roman conquest.
HIST 404C Cleopatra: Power, Passion, Propaganda This course focuses on Cleopatra VII (69-30 BCE), the last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt and one of the best-known women in history and a key powerbroker during a period of important political change, one with enduring repercussions for the western world. She has been, however, deliberately memorialized as a "romantic" agent, a deployer of "feminine wiles", whose gender and political toolbox rightly doomed her efforts to failure. Students will interrogate the process of transforming a historical individual into an object lesson, a trope of femininity, and a cinematic legend, unpacking the messages crafted for a range of audiences and purposes by multiple creators, including Cleopatra herself.  We begin with the historical background of the Hellenistic period, cosmopolitan and multicultural, focusing especially on the dynamism of women in the ideology of royal power and as image-makers in their own right, developing special forms for female authority and female patronage. A number of earlier Cleopatras establish context and particular precedents, creating official personae to engage effective interactions with fundamental groups; these include the resilient Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra II (r. 175-116 BCE) and Cleopatra Thea, token in a dynastic alliance who became Great Queen of Syria, dominating the Seleucid throne for a generation.  Students will then sift through the evidence for Cleopatra VII, both the contentious (and largely hostile) material for her Mediterranean activities as well as the Egyptian record that may represent the specific efforts of the queen herself, utilizing then-ancient symbol and ritual to assert her legitimate imperial authority and structure her collaboration with major stakeholders in the Nile realm. The last section of the course looks to the lingering memory of Cleopatra long after her death, closely examining images in drama, art, and film to explore how the story of Cleopatra has been crafted and recrafted to represent different "truths" about sex, power, and identity
HIST 445 Women in Islamic History Examination of the roles women have played throughout Islamic history and of the changing discourse in the Islamic community about women and their roles.
HIST 471 A History of Migrations in the Modern Middle East,  North Africa, And the Mediterranean World, c. 1800-2010 This course addresses a range of historical problems associated with “people on the move.”  Employing the concepts of migration and mobility as theoretical perspectives, we examine the major forces at work in the region from about 1800 until the present: imperialisms, settler colonialism, capitalism and labor markets, shifting gender norms, changing legal regimes, education, environmental degradation, and debates about cultural/religious authenticity—in short, modernities.
HIST 472 History of Medieval India Survey of Indian history from 7th century to 1750.
HIST 473 History of Modern India and Pakistan: 1750-Present Survey of political, social and economic developments in South Asia from the mid-18th century to the present. Writing emphasis for India-Pakistan specialization.
HIST 476 Modern China Survey of political, social, economic and cultural transformations undergone by China from ca. 1800 to the present. Provides students with a sense of both the major themes and the substance of the last two centuries of history of one of the world's major civilizations, as well as a better understanding of China's prominent position in the world today.
HIST 476U The Chinese City: Comparative Perspectives This course asks how the city was understood and urban space was experienced in China from the late imperial period to the twentieth century, from the walled cities of Ming and Qing to the neoliberal remaking of Beijing and Shanghai, passing through the modernist experiments of the Communist and Republican periods. Examining some of the key social, cultural and political factors that shaped urban life, we will address such questions as: how did changes in media shape conceptions of urban space and one's place within it, what did the Chinese urban landscape look like, what were some of its key features, and how did political changes at the national level affect life and governance in the city? Our investigations will also lead us into the realm of cultural and intellectual history.  We will look at how such notions as cosmopolitanism, nation-mindedness, and scientific rationality developed in and around the city. In more general term, we will use the case of China to investigate how a history of "modern urban life" and urban space can be written, and what its significance might be. This course maintains a focus on the distinctive character of various Chinese cities while attempting to elucidate deeper commonalities and similarities that shape urban experience in China and elsewhere. Comparisons with other national experiences as well as theoretical reflections on issues of urbanism and urban life will then be integral part of the course.
HIST 479 Ottoman Empire to 1800 History of Ottoman Empire from its origins through the direct Western European impact, focusing on the political and social history of the empire in Europe and Asia.
HIST 485A History of the Iranian Plateau: Authority, Religion, and Literature, 633-1501 This course examines the history of the Iranian plateau from the rise and spread of Islam until the establishment of the Safavid Empire (1501). Thematically, it focuses on the impact of geography and the environment on social and political history; the conversion and Islamicization of local populations; the proliferation of communities and institutions of Islamic knowledge; the development of Persian Sufi literature and brotherhoods; state legitimization through the patronage of literature, court chronicles, and art; the rise of Shi`i messianic movements; and the role of women at court and in society
HIST 485B Social, Cultural and Political History of the Iranian Plateau, 7th Century-Present The Iranian plateau in the modern era of western imperialism and nationalistic Islamic responses.
HIST 495E Struggle and Survival: Modern Mid East and North Africa, c.1850-Present The exchange of scholarly information and/or secondary research, usually in a small group setting. Instruction often includes lectures by several different persons. Research projects may/may not be required of course registrants.
HIST 496C The Literature of Identity in the Modern Middle East
The development and exchange of scholarly information, usually in a small group setting. The scope of work shall consist of research by course registrants, with the exchange of the results of such research through discussion, reports, and/or papers.

 

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