CSHS 552: Advance Topics in the History of the Modern State and Mass Violence

Spring 2012

Tuesdays,Thursdays, 11:00-12:15, CAS-B12

Instructor: Mark Baker, Ph.D.
Office: SOS-136; phone: 0212-338-1399

email: mbaker@ku.edu.tr
(I am most easily accessible via email, but phone is fine too.)

Office hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 14:00-15:00

Course description: The course will explore the relationship between the modern state and violence, focusing on the various ways in which historians have attempted to explain the mass killings of modern times. The approach will be comparative; we will read about various cases of mass violence in the twentieth century, particular focusing on World War One, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and World War Two, as well as some other pertinent cases. We will examine the subject from the perspective of perpetrators, bystanders, and victims, exploring their competing experiences and claims. Finally, we will look at the ways in which cases of mass violence have been used as political tools after the events. The course's goal will be to familiarize students with the various historical and sociological approaches to these horrific events and to the problems social scientists face in trying to research and write about them.

Course Learning Objectives: By the end of this course, students will (hopefully) be able:

  • To understand and discuss mass killings in the twentieth century and their relationship to the modern state.
  • To research thoroughly a given topic in depth and explain the main issues of that topic.
  • To write a concise, high quality, critical, and clearly presented summary of a chosen book or article.
  • To research and write a graduate-level research paper on a topic of their own choosing.

Reading Requirements: Readings for this course will appear in the course outline below. Students need to do the readings listed for a particular date in advance of that date.

Students who feel themselves not sufficiently familiar with the basic events of twentieth-century European history should consult a survey textbook to provide background and fill in gaps in their knowledge. There are a few such textbooks in the Library, but feel free to ask me for recommendations.

Assignment

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Critical Summaries: (six in total; worth five points each). Students will prepare five 1-2 page critical summaries of a key article or book on a given topic; the summary should clearly explain: (1) the author's thesis, (2) main primary sources used, (3) contribution to the historical debate (relating it specifically to the assigned book in question), and (4) provide critical commentary of the book/article. No two students can write on the same article or book. DUE by 9:00 am of the Tuesday on which we will discuss students' found articles/books.

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Book Critique: One 2-3 page, critical, clearly argued critique of a book of your choosing, but related to the class discussion and with prior approval from the instructor. Critiques will be due on 1 April 2012 by 12 pm. Please submit them to www.turnitin.com (Class ID: 4826175; password: Leviathan).

20

Research Paper: 10-20 pages (Times 12, double-spaced), excluding title page and bibliography; students must use at least 10 sources, including two primary sources. The wide page requirement is a result of my belief that length does not necessarily improve one's argument. Concision is as important. You should write as much as necessary to prove your argument. Students must consult early in the semester with me about their topics and begin research early. Papers will be due on 1 June 2012 by 12:00 pm. Please submit them to www.turnitin.com (Class ID: 4826175; password: Leviathan).

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Participation: Our classes will be mostly discussion, involving a great deal of student participation. Therefore, it is crucial that students do the readings in advance, come prepared to discuss them, and to answer the discussion questions. I will take attendance at each class, but this will not translate directly into a participation grade. Attendance is a minimum requirement; students will be graded on the quality as well as the quantity of their participation.

10

Discussion Questions: Each student must submit two discussion questions for each common reading. DUE by 9:00 am of the day on which we will be discussing this reading.

5

Class format: Classes will alternate weekly: one week we will discuss one commonly assigned reading, employing students' discussion questions; the next week we will discuss the books/articles that students wrote their critiques about, using students' critical summaries and relating those to the assigned reading of the previous week.

Submitting written work: All critical summaries and discussion questions must be submitted via email by the time and date noted in the course outline. Students should also bring a printed, paper copy of these to class on the day they are due. Students must submit the research paper and book critique directly to the www.turnitin.com website (Class ID: 4826175; password: Leviathan).

Very important rules:

  • Late assignments will be accepted, but one-third of a grade per day will be deducted (for example, a "B-" paper that is one day late will become a C+ paper).
  • Make-up examinations will be permitted only with written verification of medical or personal emergencies. I am a historian; I require written evidence.
  • Each student should read Koc University's Student Code of Conduct, especially concerning Academic Dishonesty. Using words from any source without placing them in quotation marks and citing the source is plagiarism. Submitting a paper (in whole or part) that was submitted for any other course is also plagiarism. Looking at another student's exam or using any outside sources during an examination is cheating. A course grade of 'F' will be applied in all proven instances of cheating and plagiarism.
  • Turnitin.com: Students and the instructor will be using www.turnitin.com to learn about and check for plagiarism on the film critique. All students will need to register with www.turnitin.com in the first week of class. (Class ID: 4826175; password: Leviathan)
  • You MUST check your email account on a regular basis in order to do well in this course. I frequently send email messages about upcoming events concerning the course, as well as handouts and other course materials. If you are not in the habit of checking your Koc email regularly, you will need to start, or else have your email forwarded to whatever email address you do use regularly.
  • Be on time for class; if you need to leave class early, please let me know in advance.
  • The classroom is a public forum for dialogue. Hence, all electronic communication devices (especially cell phones and pagers) must be turned off during class.
  • Students unable to comply with any of these guidelines should see me personally and immediately to discuss their reasons.

Course Outline: Readings are to be completed before class on the day on which they are listed below. Students should plan to spend several hours each week outside of class time reading, taking notes, reviewing notes, and posing questions. Please bring all relevant materials to class, especially at least one copy of the book/article that you reviewed in your critical summary, as well as a copy of your summary.

dd.mm.yr

Topics and readings

07.02.12

Introduction to syllabus and course

09.02.12

Some Attempts at Theoretical Explanation:

Readings: James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), pp. 1-8 (introduction), 147-179 (chapter five). [link to e-Book]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

14.02.12

Some Attempts at Theoretical Explanation:

Readings: Daniel Gordon, "Explaining Ethnic Cleansing," Canadian Journal of Sociology Online (May-June 2005), critical review of Michael Mann's The Dark Side of Democracy and Mann's response (14 pages).[link to article]

Mark Mazower, "Violence and the State in the Twentieth Century," The American Historical Review 107 (October 2002): 1158-1178. [link to pdf]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

16.02.12

An alternative view: Steven Pinker

Reading: Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Viking/Penguin Group. Kindle Edition, 2011), Chapter 1.

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

21.02.12

An alternative view: Steven Pinker

Reading: Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Viking/Penguin Group. Kindle Edition, 2011), Chapters 2-3.

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

23.02.12

The Opening of the Age of Mass Violence: The Great War, 1914-1918:

Reading: Annika Mombauer, "The Coming of War, 1914," in A Companion to Europe, 1900-1945, ed. Gordon Martel (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 180-194. [link to pdf] This book is also on reserve in the library for general reference.

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

28.02.12

The Opening of the Age of Mass Violence: The Great War, 1914-1918:

Reading: Ruth B. Henig, The Origins of the First World War (New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 1-54. [link to eBook]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

01.03.12

The Great War, 1914-1918: Incidence of mass violence against civilians:

Readings: To be chosen with students.

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

06.03.12

The Great War, 1914-1918: Incidence of mass violence against civilians:

Students' choose an article to critique.

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

08.03.12

Revolutions and Civil War in the former Romanov Empire:

Peter Holquist, "Violent Russia, Deadly Marxism: Russia in the Epoch of Violence," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 4, no. 3 (Summer 2003): 627-652. [link to article]

Students' discussion questions are due by 5:01 am.

13.03.12

Students' contributions:

Erik C. Landis, "Between Village and Kremlin: Confronting State Food Procurement in Civil War Tambov, 1919-20," Russian Review 63, no.1 (2004): 70-88. [link to article]

 

Discussion of students' articles/books and the critical summaries of them, relating these to the previous week's readings.

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

15.03.10

The Great Turn: Collectivization and the Famine

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

20.03.12

The Great Turn: Collectivization and the Famine

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin's Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village after Collectivization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), Chapter 2: Collectivization, pp. 48-79. [Click here to read.]

Michael Ellman, "The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1934," Europe-Asia Studies 57, no. 6 (September 2005): 823-841. [Click here to read.]

Lynne Viola, "The Other Archipelago: Kulak Deportations to the North in 1930," Slavic Review 60, no. 4 (Winter, 2001): 730-755. [Click here to read.]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

22.03.12

The Great Turn: Collectivization and the Famine

Lecture:

27.03.12

Students' contributions:

Possible readings:

Catherine Merridale, "The 1937 Census and the Limits of Stalinist Rule," The Historical Journal 39, no. 1 (1996): 225-240. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2639947 PDF

Tracy McDonald, "A Peasant Rebellion in Stalin's Russia: The Pitelinskii Uprising, Riazan, 1930," Journal of Social History 35, no. 1 (Fall 2001): 125-146. [Click here to read.]

Andrea Graziosi, "The Soviet 1931-1933 Famines and the Ukrainian Holodomor: Is a New Interpretation Possible, and What Would Its Consequences Be?" [see me for copy.]

Discussion of students' articles/books and the critical summaries of them, relating these to the previous week's readings.

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

29.03.12

The Great Terror, late 1930s

Readings:

J. Arch Getty, Gabor T. Rittersporn, and Viktor N. Zemskov, "Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-War Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence," The American Historical Review 98, no. 4 (October 1993): 1017-1049. [pdf]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

03.04.12

The Great Terror, late 1930s

Readings:

For Robert Conquest's critical letter in response to the Getty article and the authors' response, click here and here.

J. Arch Getty, "'Excesses Are Not Permitted': Mass Terror and Stalinist Governance in the Late 1930s," Russian Review 61, no. 1 (January 2002): 113-138. [pdf]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

05.04.12

The Great Terror, late 1930s

Students' contributions:

Possible readings:

Kevin McDermott, "Stalinist Terror in the Comintern: New Perspectives," Journal of Contemporary History 30, no. 1 (January 1995): 111-130. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/260924

David R. Shearer, "Social Disorder, Mass Repression, and the NKVD during the 1930s," Cahiers du Monde russe 42/2, nos. 3-4 (2001): 505-534. [pdf]

David J. Nordlander, "Origins of a Gulag Capital: Magadan and Stalinist Control in the early 1930s," Slavic Review 57, no. 4 (Winter 1998): 791-812. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2501047

Robert W. Thurston, "Fear and Belief in the USSR's "Great Terror": Response to Arrest, 1935-1939," Slavic Review 45, no. 2 (Summer 1986): 213-234. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2499175

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

10.04.12

Spring Break

No classes

12.04.12

Spring Break

No classes

17.04.12

World War II, 1939-1945: non-Holocaust violence:

George Sanford, "The Katyn Massacre and Polish-Soviet Relations, 1941-43, Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 1 (Jan., 2006): 95-111. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30036372

Timothy Snyder, "The Causes of Ukrainian-Polish Ethnic Cleansing 1943," Past & Present, no. 179 (May, 2003): 197-234. [pdf]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

19.04.12

World War II, 1939-1945: non-Holocaust violence:

Thomas Childers, "'Facilis descensus averni est': The Allied Bombing of Germany and the Issue of German Suffering," Central European History 38, no. 1 (2005): 75-105. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4547498

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

24.04.12

Students' contributions:

Possible readings:

Nanci Adler, "The Future of the Soviet past Remains Unpredictable: The Resurrection of Stalinist Symbols Amidst the Exhumation of Mass Graves," Europe-Asia Studies 57, no. 8 (Dec., 2005): 1093-1119. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30043983

Mary Nolan, "Air Wars, Memory Wars," Central European History 38, no. 1 (2005): 7-40. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4547496

James A. Wood, "Captive Historians, Captivated Audience: The German Military History Program, 1945-1961," The Journal of Military History 69, no. 1 (Jan., 2005): 123-147. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3397045

Ann Rigney, "All This Happened, More or Less: What a Novelist Made of the Bombing of Dresden," History and Theory 48, no. 2, Theme Issue 47: Historical Representation and Historical Truth (May, 2009): 5-24. [pdf]

Discussion of students' articles/books and the critical summaries of them, relating these to the previous week's readings.

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

26.04.12

Students' contributions:

Possible readings:

Nanci Adler, "The Future of the Soviet past Remains Unpredictable: The Resurrection of Stalinist Symbols Amidst the Exhumation of Mass Graves," Europe-Asia Studies 57, no. 8 (Dec., 2005): 1093-1119. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30043983

Mary Nolan, "Air Wars, Memory Wars," Central European History 38, no. 1 (2005): 7-40. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4547496

James A. Wood, "Captive Historians, Captivated Audience: The German Military History Program, 1945-1961," The Journal of Military History 69, no. 1 (Jan., 2005): 123-147. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3397045

Ann Rigney, "All This Happened, More or Less: What a Novelist Made of the Bombing of Dresden," History and Theory 48, no. 2, Theme Issue 47: Historical Representation and Historical Truth (May, 2009): 5-24. [pdf]

Discussion of students' articles/books and the critical summaries of them, relating these to the previous week's readings.

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

01.05.12

Labor and Solidarity Day (Holiday)

No classes

03.05.12

The Holocaust, 1941-1945:

Readings: Vladimir Solonari, "Patterns of Violence: The Local Population and the Mass Murder of Jews in Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, July-August 1941," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 8, no. 4 (Fall 2007): 749-787. [link to article]

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

08.05.12

The Holocaust, 1941-1945:

Readings: Donald Bloxham, "Organized Mass Murder: Structure, Participation, and Motivation in Comparative Perspective," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 22, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 203-245. [link to article]

Ruth Bettina Birn, Volker Riess, "Revising the Holocaust," The Historical Journal 40, no. 1 (March 1997): 195-215. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3020959

Students' discussion questions are due by 12:01 am.

10.05.12

Students' contributions:

Discussion of students' articles/books and the critical summaries of them, relating these to the previous week's readings.

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

15.05.12

Students' contributions:

Discussion of students' articles/books and the critical summaries of them, relating these to the previous week's readings.

Students' Critical Summaries are due by 12:01 am.

17.05.12

Wrap up of the course discussions

01.06.12

Research Paper Due by 12 pm

Please submit to www.turnitin.com (class ID: 4826175; password: Leviathan) by 12 pm

Back to Baker's site