What I’ve taught, am teaching and will teach…

At U of M:

History 497: Wastes of War. A Century of Destruction


This upper level colloquium examines the human and environmental consequences of violent conflict from the Boer War at the beginning of the 20th century to the current War Against Terror. Every war produces different categories of wastes and valuelessness and thus dramatically reorders everyday life and shapes possible futures of participating and affected societies. Since war (often violently) transforms the physical environment, it fundamentally alters environmental processes, which again have social and political ramifications. We approach war as an engine of destruction and transformation rather than as politics gone awry. The wastes of war will serve as our focal point as we examine the new worlds (technological, social and environmental) that war not merely leaves in its wake but systematically generates. We will critically examine the two key the categories – “waste” and “war” –  explore how together they fundamentally restructure our social, cultural and natural worlds.

When: Fall 2015

History / Environ 223: Trashed! A History of Garbage in the Modern World


This course traces the history of waste since roughly the middle of the 19th Century. We will take trash seriously as a historical subject and not merely as a contemporary problem. We examine the actual stuff – garbage – and historicize its definitions and its meanings. We study the conflicts surrounding garbage and how it has structured the very lives of people. We scrutinize the societies that have produced it and the politics that have attempted to govern it by dumping, burying, burning, or shipping it across the ocean blue. Garbage will be an analytic, a heuristic and a source. We will think, read and write. We will touch stuff, ask people and go places. This course meets twice for lecture and once for discussion. Final projects are collaborative, hands-on and as unconventional as your imagination allows.

When: Fall 2014, Fall 2017

If you’d like to get a sense of what’s going on in the class room, follow us on the course blog.

History 240: The World Since 1492


Taking the world we know at the outset, this course traces how our world was imagined, how people connected across time and space, how power differentials have been produced and how various actors (human and non-human) have shaped and coped with global transformations over the last 500 years or so. It introduces students to think about the world as dynamic, interconnected, and interrelated now and in centuries long past. Exploring convergence and difference at varying scales, we will engage multiple perspectives. Rather than covering it all, we will be acutely aware of what is left out and why.

This course meets for lecture twice a week and once for discussion section led by a Graduate Student Instructor.

When: Winter 2014

If you’d like to see how we collectively struggled to make sense of the world, you can browse the course blog http://worldhistory240.com/we contributed to on a weekly basis.

History 322: Origins of Nazism

CourseDescriptionOriginsThis introduces students to the history of Nazism’s origins, practices and aftershocks from the First World War through Allied occupation after World War II.  The first half of the course focuses on history of the Weimar Republic, taking it seriously in its own right rather than relegating it to backdrop against which to project the history of the Third Reich and Holocaust. In the second half of the course we will focus on the History of Nazism, war and the Holocaust.

This course is a huge in all respects: Many students, many graduate student instructors, many complicated questions, many different assignments, and whole host of interesting, diverse and difficult readings.

When: Winter 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

History 328: Representations of Nazism

Representations.CourseFlyerThis course explores the afterimages of the Hitler, Nazism and the Holocaust in popular culture, political discourse and public memory in Germany and beyond. With a particular focus on film, we trace the power of iconic images and tropes from the 1940s to the present and explore their political impact, their cultural currency, and their historical origins and significance.

This course is limited to 30 students, who are expected to complete a substantial research project. We will watch a lot of films, read books, articles, comics, memories and make extensive use of the course blog to collect and share sources, comment on readings and films, engage with each other and collaborate on research projects.This course meets twice a week for 90 minutes of integrated lecture and discussion. In addition, students are required to attend weekly screenings.

When: Fall 2012, the distant future…

At Kalamazoo College

History 255: Unravelled, Unhinged and Reinvented: Europe’s 20th Century

KZooEuropeThis course introduces students to the tumultuous history of Europe from the First World War to the end of the Balkan Crisis in 1999. We will trace major developments that united, divided and reordered Europe. We explore a range of important themes and questions as we revisit the Great Wars, major ideological rifts, important cultural trends, and the manifold social and political conflicts that transformed daily life in different places over the course this “short century.” While we focus on the great watersheds and major developments, we will also pay close attention to the experiences, aspirations, hopes and dreams of regular people and try to understand how they made sense of a changing world and articulated visions for a common future.

(Winter 2011)

History 259:  The Urban Experience in 19th and 20th Century Europe

KzooUrbanIn this course we trace urban experiences from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present across different cities in Europe. Instead of adhering to a rigid chronology we will foreground specific themes and explore them in greater depths while moving across time and space. We will neither provide comprehensive histories of individual cities nor exhaustive coverage of Europe’s urban landscape as a whole. Rather we seek to theorize “the city” and identify common trends and developments that characterize cities from Moscow and Belgrade to London and Paris. We will study ideas about the city, the relationships between politics and culture, the organization of urban space, the city’s infrastructure, and the manifold pleasures (permitted and forbidden) that characterized urban life at different times and in different places.

(Winter 2011)