History | Empire and Imperialism
H680 | 17121 | Dodson


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with CULS-C701

Empire is not only a ubiquitous political form, but also an
overlapping and contested series of cultural, ideological, and
intellectual dynamics.  This course will survey recent trends in the
historiography of the cultural elements of modern empires –
including those of Britain, France, Spain, and America, as well as a
variety of non-European empires, such as China and Japan (and
arguably Russia).  It is expected that such a course of reading in
empire / imperialism (within a broad contextual purview) will be of
benefit to graduate students interested in cultural history
generally, but also specifically in any variety of colonial/imperial
relationships, postcoloniality, and comparative history.

Necessarily some of our readings and discussion on postcolonial
approaches to the cultural history of empire will be introductory in
nature.  The bulk of the course, however, will include recent
literature, and often the topics will be addressed within a
comparative perspective (that is, we will read and discuss each
topic from a variety of national/regional historiographical
traditions).  Thus, one key text we will read will be Ann Laura
Stoler’s recent collection "Imperial Formations," which aims to
bring diverse imperial historiographies into close contact.
Specific topics of study will include cultures of violence
and “otherness”; the role of the “collaborator” in facilitating
imperialism; gender, sexuality, and the body in imperial culture;
citizenship and imperial identities; the art and architecture of the
imperial state; perspectives on the quality and nature of colonial
state power; possibilities for resistance and an imperial counter-
culture; and contested imperial legacies.  It is also envisioned
that student interests will determine the topics and readings for
much of the second half of the course.

Students will be evaluated in equal measure according to the quality
of their participation, short weekly response papers, and a final
essay.