|History 767: Studies in Military History:
The Role of Armed Coercion in the Rise of Western Dominance
Spring Quarter 2006 Tuesdays 6:30-8:18 p.m. 168 Dulles Hall
Prof. Mark Grimsley Prof. Geoffrey Parker
330 Dulles Hall 167 Dulles Hall
This course examines a number of key military encounters between “the West and the Rest;” i.e., between Europe with its settler societies and the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It begins with the encounter between Persia and Classical Greece and concludes with Desert Storm and 9/11. We will examine each of these encounters from a counterfactual (as well as from a factual) point of view. We will therefore consider what might have happened, as well as what did happen, at key points on the rise of the West to global dominance. The case studies were selected not only on the basis of their intrinsic importance, but also the availability of source material in English that addresses the non-western side of the encounter.
Counterfactual exercises require the same analytical rigor as factual reconstructions of the past. The required readings therefore include chapters from Unmaking the West, a book that examines the “inevitability” of the rise of the West and includes an important statement of the protocols that must be followed in writing counterfactual history. Other textbooks include a survey of world history that suggests that Western dominance may just be a temporary aberration in the long history of Asian dominance of the globe, and an examination of the military reasons for the rise of the West.
We will grade all written work according to your familiarity with the material, the cogency of your presentation and the quality of your writing. You may defend any position you wish: no orthodoxy is required for the successful completion of this course.
All students with disabilities who need accommodations should see one of the instructors privately during office hours to make arrangements.
All students must be officially enrolled in the course by the end of the second full week of the quarter. The department chair will approve no requests to add the course after that time. Enrolling officially and on time is solely the responsibility of each student.
1. Geoffrey Parker, ed., The Cambridge History of Warfare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)
2. A course pack from Zip Publishing containing the common readings for each “encounter” [including chapters from Unmaking the West: "What-If?" Scenarios That Rewrite World History, ed. Philip Tetlock, R. Ned Lebow, Geoffrey Parker (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006).]
Each member of the seminar will
a) prepare the weekly readings for each session;
b) participate in class and online discussions, and chair one session;
c) write a 25-page paper that examines an encounter between “the West and the Rest” not covered in the coursework from both a factual and a counterfactual standpoint. The topic will be chosen in consultation with the instructors. Some examples are appended at the end of this syllabus.
Making and “Unmaking” the West: An Introduction to Counterfactual Historical Analysis
Unmaking the West, introduction (course pack #1)
ReOrientation: Is Western Dominance a Temporary Phase?
Parker, CHW, Intro and Conclusion
Unmaking the West, conclusion (course pack #2)
André Gunder Frank, ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age, Intro and Conclusion (course pack #3)
Victor Davis Hanson, Carnage and Culture, chap 1 (course pack #4)
Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (New York: Doubleday, 1999)
Charles Murray, Human Accomplishments the pursuit of excellence in the arts and sciences (New York: HarperCollins, 2003)
Smothering the West in its Cradle?: A Counterfactual Salamis
Each member of the seminar must secure approval for the topic of their final assignment.
Parker, CHW, chap. 1
Hanson, Carnage and Culture, chap 2 (course pack #5)
Unmaking the West, chapters by Hanson and Strauss (course pack #6-7)
Herodotus, The History, book 8 (course pack #8)
Barry Strauss, The Battle of Salamis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 141-208,
Aeschylus, The Persians (on Salamis – by a participant)
Montezuma’s Revenge: The Spaniards fail to conquer Mexico
Two-page description of final assignment due from each seminar member
Parker, CHW, chap. 8
Hanson, Carnage and Culture, chap. 6 (course pack #9)
Ross Hassig, “Over Cortés’s Dead Body: The Triumph of the Aztec Empire” (course pack #10)
Stuart B. Schwartz, Victors and Vanquished. Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston: Bedford, 2000), 156-181 (course pack #11)
J. F. Guilmartin, “The cutting edge: an analysis if the Spanish overthrow of the Inca Empire, 1532-1549,” in K. J. Andrien and R. Adorno, eds., Transatlantic Encounters (Berkeley, 1991),
William H. McNeill, Plagues and Peoples, 19-34 (Intro), 208-241 (chap. 5)
Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession: Europe's conquest of the New World, 1492-1640 (Cambridge: CUP, 1995)
April 25 [Holocaust Remembrance Day]
Presentation and discussion of projects to be written by seminar members (about 5 minutes each)
Unmaking the “American Holocaust”: North American Indians Achieve Substantial Immunity from European Disease
Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, CT, 1972), 35-63 (course pack #12)
Colin G. Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (Baltimore, 1997), 92-133 (course pack #13)
Daniel K. Richter, "War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience," William and Mary Quarterly 3rd Series, vol. 40 (1983): 528-559 (course pack #14)
Eric Hinderaker, Elusive Empires: Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley, 1673-1800, 1-77.
Wilbur R. Jacobs, "The Fatal Confrontation: Early Native-White Relations on the Frontiers of Australia, New Guinea, and America – A Comparative Study." Pacific Historical Review, vol. 40, no. 3 (August 1971), 283-309.
Adam J. Hirsch, "The Collision of Military Cultures in Seventeenth-Century New England," Journal of American History vol. 74 (1987-1988): 1187-1212.
The Even Longer Peace?: Unmaking and Remaking the First World War
Parker, CHW, chap. 13
Paul W. Schroeder, “Embedded Counterfactuals and World War I as an unavoidable War,” in Paul W. Schroeder, Systems, Stability and Statecraft: Essays on the International History of Modern Europe, eds. David Wetzel, Robert Jervis, and Jack S. Levy (New York: Palgrave, 2004), 158-191 (course pack #15)
R. Ned Lebow, “Franz Ferdinand found alive: World War I unnecessary” (course pack #16)
R. Hamilton and H. Herwig, Decisions for war, 1914-1917 (Cambridge, 2004)
F. C. Iklé, All wars must end (New York, 1991)
Hew Strachan, The First World War, vol. 1 (Oxford, 2001)
By Any Means Necessary: Race War in the American South, 1954-1970
America’s Second Reconstruction during the 1950s and 1960s, when the descendants of African slaves—colonized in their bodies rather than their lands—overthrew the political supremacy of European settlers in the American South.
John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 215-271 (course pack #17)
Lance Hill, The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 1-9, 258-273 (course pack #18)
David Mark Chalmers, Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan 3rd Edition (New York: F. Wats, 1981), 343-396.
Hasan Jeffries, “The Ballot and the Bullet: Armed Self-Defense in the Alabama Black Belt, 1965-66.” Unpublished paper. (available in PDF)
John White, “The White Citizens’ Councils of Orangeburg County, South Carolina.” Unpublished paper. (Available in PDF)
September 11, 2001
Parker, CHW, chap 17
Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993) (course pack #19)
The Report of the 9/11 Commission, chap. 11, “Foresight and Hindsight” (course pack #20)
Peter L. Bergen, Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden (New York: Free Press, 2001)
John Mueller, The Remnants of War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004).
All members of the seminar will pre-circulate and present in class a ten-page paper featuring a counterfactual consideration of ANOTHER encounter between the Rest and the West apart from those already discussed in class.
Final Papers Due by 5 p.m.; electronic submissions are acceptable
April 11 (or before) submit the encounter you select to the instructors for approval
April 18 turn in a two-page report on the materials you will use.
April 25 ten minute presentation of your project to the class and Q & A.
May 30 pre-circulate 10-page paper on the subject
June 8: submission of final paper
Some preliminary reading for a few possible topics for seminar papers
1. The Christians lose at Lepanto
John F. Guilmartin, jr., Gunpowder and Galleys (2nd edn., Cambridge: CUP, 2003).
Hanson, Carnage and Culture, chap. 7
Michel Lesure, Lépante, la crise de l’Empire Ottomane (Paris, 1972: contains Turkish documents in translation)
2. The West fails to invent volley fire
Geoffrey Parker, The Military revolution. Military innovation and the rise of the West, 1500-1800 (2nd edn., Cambridge: CUP, 2001) chaps. 1 and 4
Articles by Günhan Börekçi and Geoffrey Parker available on request.
3. Coxinga defeats the Dutch
Lynn Struve, Voices from the Ming-Qing cataclysm. China in Tiger’s Jaws (New Haven: YUP, 1993), chap 13 (two accounts of the fall of Castle Zeelandia)
Parker, Military Revolution, chap 3
4. Nadir Shah defeats the English East India Company
Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “‘Un grand dérangement’: dreaming an Indo-Persian empire in South Asia, 1740-1800,” Journal of Early Modern History 4 (2001): 337-78,
Parker, Military Revolution, chap. 4.
5. Either Hitler or Japan fail to attack the Western democracies
Unmaking the West, chapter by Herwig
Andrew Roberts, ed., What might have been (London: Weidenfeld, 2004), 134-52 (“Stalin flees Moscow in 1941); and 153-65 (“The Japanese do not attack Pearl Harbor”)
6. “A Perfect Desert Storm” What if the United States had eliminated Saddam Hussein's regime in early 1991?
You’re on your own…
Other alternative histories, good and bad
Gregory Benford and Martin H. Greenberg, eds., Hitler Victorious: Eleven Stories of the German Victory in World War II (New York: Garden, 1988)
Robert Cowley, ed., What If?: The World’s Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (New York: Putnam, 2000)
Robert Cowley, ed., What if II? : eminent historians imagine what might have been (New York: Putnam, 2002)
Robert Cowley, ed., What ifs? of American history : eminent historians imagine what might have been (New York: Putnam, 2003)
Niall Ferguson, ed., Virtual history: Alternatives and counterfactuals (London: Picador, 1997)
John M. Merriman, ed., For Want of a Horse: Chance and Humor in History (Lexington, MA, 1984);
Andrew Roberts, ed., What might have been (London: Weidenfeld, 2004)
Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, The world Hitler never made: alternate history and the memory of Nazism (Cambridge: CUP, 2005)
Daniel Snowman, ed., If I Had Been ... Ten Historical Fantasies (Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield 1979)
J. C. Squire, ed., If, or History rewritten (1931), republished as If It Happened Otherwise: Lapses Into Imaginary History (New York: Viking, 1932);
Contents of Course Pack
1. Unmaking the West, introduction
2. Unmaking the West, conclusion
3. André Gunder Frank, ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age, Intro and Conclusion
4. Victor Davis Hanson, Carnage and Culture, chap 1
5. Hanson, Carnage and Culture, chap 2
6-7 Unmaking the West, chapters by Hanson and Strauss
8. Herodotus, The History, book 8
9. Hanson, Carnage and Culture, chap. 6
10. Ross Hassig, “Over Cortés’s Dead Body: The Triumph of the Aztec Empire”
11. Stuart B. Schwartz, Victors and Vanquished. Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston: Bedford, 2000), 156-181
12. Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, CT, 1972), 35-63
13. Colin G. Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (Baltimore, 1997), 92-133
14. Daniel K. Richter, "War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience," William and Mary Quarterly 3rd Series, vol. 40 (1983): 528-559
15. Paul W. Schroeder, “Embedded Counterfactuals and World War I as an unavoidable War,” in Paul W. Schroeder, Systems, Stability and Statecraft: Essays on the International History of Modern Europe, eds. David Wetzel, Robert Jervis, and Jack S. Levy (New York: Palgrave, 2004), 158-191
16. R. Ned Lebow, “Franz Ferdinand found alive: World War I unnecessary”
17. John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 215-271
18. Lance Hill, The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 1-9, 258-273
19. Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993)
20. The Report of the 9/11 Commission, chap. 11, “Foresight and Hindsight”