All resources in Virginia Inquiry Collaborative

Five Myths about North Korea: History and (Mis)Perception since the 1950s

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Join us as Professor Sung-Yoon Lee of Tufts University situates the current standoff within historical context and challenges common misconceptions about North Korean politics and society. We’ll unravel the history of U.S. involvement in the Korean Peninsula, analyze potential paths going forward, and discuss how you can help your students better understand the contexts and nuances of U.S.-North Korean relations, past and present.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Sung-Yoon Lee

Post-1990s Developments in China’s Relationship to the World

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Do you find yourself wondering how U.S.-China relations got to the current point? Or thinking that you need a crash course on China's ambitions initiatives on the world stage? This online seminar, led by Professor Xing Hang of Brandeis University, will help to orient you to how China's relationships and priorities have evolved over the last three decades and prompt you to consider the alternative global framework that China has been developing for the future.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Xing Hang

Slavery in the Atlantic World

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The first "20. and odd" Africans to arrive in British North America are generally believed to have landed in the Chesapeake in 1619 aboard a Dutch man of war. Though this watershed marks the beginning of the African slave trade to the lands that would eventually become the United States, its importance to the broader history of slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world is minimal. Prior to 1619, more than 500,000 Africans had already been toiling as slaves in Europe, Latin America, and the Spanish Caribbean. Moreover, thousands of Native Americans served as forced laborers for European colonists in Latin America and the Caribbean. This seminar situates British North American slavery in this broader Atlantic context. It addresses questions crucial to telling this under-explored story. How did slavery, as practiced in African societies, contrast with chattel slavery as it developed first in Europe and then in the Americas? Why did African chattel slavery gradually replace Indian labor in Spanish and Portuguese colonies? How and why were slaves in those colonies treated differently than their counterparts in British North America?

Material Type: Lecture

Author: James H. Sweet

Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks

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Starbucks is everywhere. It is on busy street corners and intersections. It is in the mall, the airport, and supermarket. It is St. Louis and St. Cloud, Paris and Singapore. At one point, there was even a Starbucks in the Forbidden City in China. In the early 2000s, historian and writer Bryant Simon visited more than 400 Starbucks around the world to try to figure out what the company and its outlets told us about us, about what we care about and desire, what we want and what we think we need. In his book, Everything But the Coffee, Simon connects our deepest desires to be good, smart, ethical consumers with our equally strong yearning to consume in authentic and highly individual ways. Our coffee, Simon shows, is us, and we are our coffee. This webinar will look at Starbucks and the landscapes of coffee drinking in the United States and around the world.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Bryant Simon

The New Negro Movement in a Global Perspective

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There is little question that the dynamic outpouring of Black arts and letters, known as the Harlem Renaissance, forever changed the course and shape of the modern world. Yet few have situated the renaissance within its larger context, when the “renaissance” was simply one part of a New Negro movement that spanned the globe. In this webinar we will recover the broader New Negro experience as social movements and popular cultures of Black literature, sport, music, protest, and public behavior stretched from New York to New Orleans, from Paris to the Philippines and beyond.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Davarian Baldwin

Roots, Rock, and Reggae

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This webinar will consider how humanities scholars research and write about popular music, highlighting the unique interdisciplinary methods often employed as part of this process. Generally, popular music is reflective of broader social and political change. Yet at the same time, there are elements of its development that are quite specific to the concerns of its creators. To successfully attend to this balance of the personal and the public and how it shapes creative musical production, the scholar is charged with looking beyond the text of lyrics or interviews in order to explore other factors that influence composition. The webinar takes as its example a current project which studies the social history of Jamaican music from the 1950s to the 1980s. It considers the sources that have been used–both conventional and novel–and discusses how to apply unique analyses to this material in order to better understand the composition, production, and legacy of Jamaican music. The webinar will use case studies of select songs from Bob Marley’s canon to explore the career these songs have had as they moved from their source base in Jamaica to become part of the mainstream pop songbook.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Matthew J. Smith

The Art of Revolution: Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria

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This seminar explores the historical contexts leading to the eruption of the uprisings known as the Arab Spring in early 2011. After a brief introduction to politics in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, we turn to the flowering of music, art, graffiti, poetry, film, and digital media that gave expression to the revolutionary unrest. This seminar looks at how this cultural production functioned as a catalyst for political change, as art flourished as the authoritarian state’s censorship on political and artistic expression broke down. The second part of the seminar turns to the aftermath of the revolutions and the democratic processes and movements that emerged out of the Arab Spring. We focus on the influence of religion, religious parties, and religious movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria—in the post-uprising elections, governments, and constitutions. Although the 2011 uprisings initially seemed to be lit by the same spark, they had very different outcomes in these different cases.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Ellen Anne McLarney

Understanding the Modern Middle East

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Far too often, the Middle East appears as doubly alien: out of place and out of time. A century of popular culture caricatures, at least two centuries of Orientalist representations, and decades of American military interventions, have all fed into the notion of the Middle East as turmoil-laden, sectarian and tribal pre-modern world. In this webinar, we will go beyond these stereotypes to look at the historical forces that shaped the region across the 20th century, and to understand the complexities and familiarity of its peoples and societies.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Akram Khater

The Price of Liberation in World War II

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Americans are justly proud of the role their country played in liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny. But in celebrating the success of United States soldiers, we often forget to consider the human cost of war. The liberation of Europe in 1944-45 provides an opportunity to study the American victory alongside the tragic suffering of civilians who were caught in the crossfire. This webinar is for teachers who want to expose their students to the extraordinary events of the Second World War’s climactic battle—the Battle of Normandy—while also including in our study of war the high price paid by families, women and children, refugees, and humanitarian relief workers who toil in the shadow of powerful armies.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: William Hitchcock

Race, Nation, and Genocide: Terror in the Twentieth-Century

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The study of 20th-century history provides us with an enigmatic contrast. Most casual American observers view the last century as a time of great technological and social progress. And doubtless, technological advances in medicine and transportation, social movements such as decolonization, civil rights and the women’s movement, and communications revolutions resulting in globalization improved human life in a number of ways. Yet, in stark contrast, the 20th century also stands out also as a century of genocide. Most scholars agree that 20th-century genocides cost far more lives than did even such epic conflicts as WWI and WWII. This seminar will examine exactly how genocides came to be such a defining element of the 20th century. In so doing, the discussion will focus on how two of the 20th century’s most influential ideas, the notions of nation and race, played a role in fostering one of the greatest forms of human evil. Specific topics to be addressed will include the legal and scholarly definitions of genocide, the history of genocide prior to the 1900s, an examination of selected case studies of genocide from across the 20th century and around the world, and an analysis of international efforts to eradicate the practice of genocide.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Jonathan Reynolds

Mapping the Holocaust

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The Holocaust was an intensely geographical phenomenon, as it displaced millions of people, created and destroyed thousands of places, rendered social space hostile—or deadly—and resulted in profound changes that reconfigured Europe and led to global diasporas. This webinar will explore the many geographical dimensions of Holocaust places, including concentration and labor camps and Jewish ghettos. We will also explore research and presentation techniques being used to incorporate survivors’ memories of Holocaust experiences into maps, spatial diagrams, and other data visualizations. Mapping the Holocaust is both a vital effort to tell a more integrated history of the Holocaust—placing people in the midst of life-changing events—and a means of telling stories of trauma and escape, hiding and vulnerability, loss and survival.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Anne Knowles

Balnea, Vina, Venus: An Exploration of Roman Daily Life

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Roman daily life deepens our understanding of the ancient Roman world as it was experienced by most of its inhabitants. Our students are excited by social history. They are drawn to understand the everyday activities and interests of ordinary people. In this webinar, we will focus on 3 topics of daily life that are among the most engaging: love and sex, food and dining, and Roman baths.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Matthew Panciera

From Democracy to Authoritarianism: The Death of the Roman Republic

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Comparisons between ancient Rome and the United States are suddenly all around us. Why, and what do they portend? Right around the time Jesus was born, ancient Rome’s 500-year-old republic failed. Its traditions of representative elections, checks and balances, tolerance, and freedoms of movement and expression were swept away, never to recover. In their place rose the Roman Empire, an increasingly authoritarian and Orwellian structure that saw state-sponsored persecutions of minorities, artists, and dissidents at home, endless foreign wars abroad, and, eventually, even the requirement for all citizens to believe certain theological propositions. How did Rome transform in this way, and why did it never go back? In this talk I’ll highlight political institutions, imperial expansion, the breakdown of republican institutions, the civil wars, and a few personalities whose names, 2000 years on, are still familiar to us all.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Michael Fontaine

Breaking the Habit: An Aristotelian Look at Recidivism

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Based on the paper “Breaking the Habit: Aristotle on Recidivism and How a Thoroughly Vicious Person Might Begin to Improve,” this webinar will provide an opportunity to bring moral philosophy to bear on the contemporary criminal justice system by considering how Aristotle might have attempted to solve the problem of criminal recidivism. This problem seems particularly American, as 66% of paroled or released prisoners in the United States of America re-offend within five years. We will apply Aristotelian logic to recidivism, ultimately suggesting that the only way to reform someone entrenched in bad habits requires two seamless steps. First, the habit must be undone. Second, the habit must be replaced. Luckily for us, each goal is achieved in a single program of compelling people with bad habits to act contrary to those habits. Initially, such compulsion will appear punitive and will require incentives and rewards beyond the worth of the initial “good” acts. With time, and once the person is no longer vicious and finally able to see the error of their past ways, the person can begin to inculcate the values the new habits were intended to foster. This webinar will also involve a discussion of how the causes and cures of vicious recidivism have evolved over the last five years.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Audrey L. Anton

John Snow to Johns Hopkins: Using Geoliteracy to Teach about Medical Geography

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Each day we witness the spread of COVID-19 across the globe. How does geography help us understand the movement and impact of this disease? This session will explore the role that geography and location intelligence plays in understanding and analyzing past and present day events such as epidemics/pandemics, migrations, and cultural diffusions. Time will also be spent modeling how to use classroom ready WebGIS activities to teach the interplay between history and geography for a variety of disciplines.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Chris Bunin

Putting Coronavirus in Context: A History of Disease and Epidemics

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In the 21st century, many challenges to public health—such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, or disparities in maternal mortality rates—transcend national boundaries and trigger international responses. Matters of health and illness play a key role in how we understand our place in an interconnected world. In this webinar, historian Mari Webel explains how past epidemics, ranging from medieval outbreaks of bubonic plague to modern epidemics of ebola virus disease, hold valuable lessons for how we can understand the current novel coronavirus outbreak, as well as global and national responses to it.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Mari Webel

First Contacts II: Europeans Meet Native Americans

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The first contacts between Europeans and Native Americans brought dramatic change to the Old World and the New. What did Europeans think of the first Native Americans they met? What constitutes a first encounter? What did the earliest contacts predict for the future? How did first contacts differ based on particular circumstances? And finally, why did first contacts matter so much? Readings will come from a variety of sources, including the Native American oral tradition, Norse sagas, and letters of European explorers

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Kathleen DuVal

First Contacts I: Native Americans Meet Europeans

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The first contacts between Europeans and Native Americans brought dramatic change to the Old World and the New. What did Native Americans think of the first Europeans they encountered? What constitutes a first encounter? What did the earliest contacts predict for the future? How did first contacts differ based on particular circumstances? And finally, why did first contacts matter so much? This two-part webinar series will seek to answer those questions and others. Readings will come from a variety of sources, including the Native American oral tradition, Norse sagas, and letters of European explorers.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Kathleen DuVal