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World History: The rise of the nation state

World History D: three 7-page research essays on the following topics (done in any sequence).


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  1. The rise of the nation state (and the end of empire) as a model for organizing people and territory globally. **The more relevant part of the nation-state thing pertains to the end of colonial empires, independence movements and the framing of new nation-states in the post-WWII period … the question is how such ideas, models, institutions went global**
  2. The origins of the Cold War, its impact and its legacies.
  3. The history of economic development in the post-WWII period.

A starting point for this would be to join the course Facebook group Copeland World History D.  It has two digital texts available for download and also some lecture notes and URLs.  I can recommend other readings as you need them. **TWO DIGITAL TEXTS ATTACHED – PLEASE REFERENCE THEM**

Historiography:  four 4-page thought essays on the following topics (done in any sequence).

  1. Truth claims in history. What separates history from fiction?  How do we know that events actually happened.  By definition, facts are true or false.  What about interpretations?  What about normative/moral truths
  2. Narrative and meaning. Is meaning in the world or to we construct it with narratives?   What is the relationship between past events and stories of past events?
  3. Interpretation and bias.  History is always told by someone for a particular reason.  This said, is objectivity possible in historical narrative and are our accounts of the past invariably interpretive, mediated and biased.
  4. National historiography. Breaking history into national pieces (Thai, Malay, Japanese, etc) is a bit weird.  National history tells the story of nations, imaginary political communities, over time.   The genre is quite new but we pretend that nations are quite old.

The genre is also frequently less interested in factual truth than it is in promoting particular virtues and ideals.  This said, what purposes does national history serve and what are some of its problems?


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