War and Society (HIST*2040) | College of Arts

War and Society (HIST*2040)

Code and section: HIST*2040*DE

Term: Winter 2021

Instructor: David Lawrence


Method of Delivery: 

Online: this course is offered in distance education format. There are no synchronous meetings.

Course Synopsis:

This course is designed to help you think, write, and talk about the history of warfare, its causes, and consequences by exploring how armed conflict has changed over time and across geographic space. It explores that history with special attention to the three elements of technology, financing, and socio-political influences on warfare since the Roman Age. Roughly speaking, the course is divided into thirds by geographic focus in this order: (a) Europe, (b) North America, and (c) Asia and Africa.

This course asks you to read, conduct some online research using the University of Guelph library, the public sphere, and a digital archival database, and do plenty of writing.







Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the historical development of and variation in warfare since the Roman age with respect to political, technological, social and cultural changes that shape warfare and its effects on societies;
  2. Explain thematic interpretations of that history by problematizing various concepts for understanding warfare, including feudalism, military revolution, mercenaries, absolutism, industrialization, total war, guerilla war, Cold War, colonization and decolonization, the CNN effect, humanitarian war;
  3. Write a research essay and discussion posts that demonstrate the ability to isolate and synthesize key historical examples, extract lessons from that history, and make connections to broader themes of the course;
  4. Compare the experiences of historical actors affected by warfare across class, gender, race, time, and in different regions of the globe;
  5. Conduct basic historical research in online archives and other scholarly sources to explain and illustrate the above through short pieces of writing and curation of historical primary sources;
  6. Summarize, critique, and contextualize historical primary sources to better understand the history of warfare, its causes and consequences;
  7. Locate relevant primary and secondary sources from academic and non-academic literature using a traditional library and online archives; and
  8. Engage in a productive (constructive) dialogue with your peers about difficult topics and your learning (e.g., sharing your ideas, knowledge, and techniques).

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Week 1 Introduction & Debate - 5%
Unit Quizzes - 10%
Online Discussions (2 @ 10%) - 20%
Primary Source Presentation - 15%
Week 10 Essay - 20%
Final Exam (Take-home) - 30%

Texts Required:

Geoffrey Parker, ed., The Cambridge History of Warfare, 2nd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2020)
ISBN: 9781316632765

Wallace Terry, Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War, An Oral History (Presidio Press, 1984)
ISBN: 9780345311979

*Please note: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.