War and Society
|***The following books should be red in
advance of the course***
Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War
Robert L. O’Connell, Of Arms and Men
A.C. Grayling, Among the Dead Cities. The History
and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and
All of the optional supplementary readings, and some of the video clips, will be available on the Blackboard website for the course. Each day the class will use a mixture of lecture, student presentation, and video clips to avoid monotony.
Students will be asked to make three short (5-10 minute) presentations on a book or article on three different topics. These presentations may be focused on a section of one of the course textbooks, or they may be on a separate topic covered in one or more of the supplementary readings.
The grading will be 50% class presentations and general discussion, and 50% the final paper. The final paper, 10-12 pages long and on a topic agreed with the author or taken from a list to be issued by the instructor, should be submitted no later than July 3rd.
Readings that are listed for each session are required for all students, the supplementary readings listed in the bibliography are optional, they may be used for a class presentation or for the final paper.
June 18 Monday morning
WHY DO MEN FIGHT WARS?
A discussion of the Ehrenreich book. What role does
warfare play in structuring social relations and particularly gender
What were the goals of war in pre-modern societies? How
was the fighting organized? What weapons were used?
What roles do women play in wartime? Why do men usually
exclude them from combat roles?
June 18 Monday afternoon
Warfare was pivotal to the emergence of the feudal
order in Europe. What new technologies were key to the rise of the knight?
Why did this social formation emerge in Western Europe? What was the role of
money and of honor in feudal warfare? How did Japanese feudalism compare
with the European model?
THE GUNPOWDER REVOLUTION (1450-1700)
How was gunpowder used in medieval battles and sieges?
Why did it undermine the feudal order in Europe (but not in Japan)? What
were the characteristics of the professional armies that emerged in early
modern Europe? How were European armies able to conquer the Americas?
June 19 Tuesday morning
THE NAPOLEONIC WARS
Napoleon revolutionized warfare – but without any
particular technological breakthrough. Napoleon’s way of war reflected
political change: the rise of nationalism.
Clausewitz who turned the Napoleonic doctrine into a
systematic military philosophy.
June 19 Tuesday afternoon
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
The Civil War was the first modern war. What were the
technological innovations in guns and in logistics that made possible the
invention of “total war”? What were the respective strategies of the North
and South – how did they hope to win? What motivated the troops on both
June 20 Wednesday morning
How come small groups of Europeans were able to conquer
June 20 Wednesday afternoon
THE FIRST WORLD WAR
The First World War saw new technologies that brought
maximum destruction to the battlefield and an unprecedented mobilization of
resources on the Home Front: economic, human and cultural. What was it like
to be a soldier in this war?
June 21 Thursday morning
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
What were the technological innovations that made
ground combat in WW2 so different from WW1? Why were the Nazis so
successful in conquering Europe? Why did they fail to defeat the Soviet
Union? Could democracies persuade their citizens to fight in total war ?
Was the Allied use of terror bombing morally
June 21 Thursday afternoon
Could the US have won the Vietnam war? How did it
change the American way of waging war?
June 22 Friday morning
THE NEW FACE OF WAR
The military-technical revolution of the 1990s sees
victory in the first Gulf War (1991), but then meets the realities of urban
guerrilla warfare in the humanitarian interventions of the 1990s (Somlai,
Bosnia, Kosovo) and the ongoing war in Iraq
June 22 Friday afternoon
Is the era of inter-state warfare over? What re the social and psychological roots of the war phenomenon? How have changes in media technology affected the way Americans view war? How is the US military holding up to the strains of waging counter-insurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
|Move and Documentary Clips|
|Bibliography of Supplementary Reading|
Primitive Warfare/General history
Lawrence Keeley War Before Civilization: The
Myth of the Peaceful Savage
Gender and War
Joshua Goldstein War and Gender: How Gender
Shapes the War System
Karl Friday Hired Swords: the Rise of
Private Warrior Power in Japan
Brian Downing The Military Revolution and
The Napoleonic Wars
David A. Bell The First Total War.
Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare
Theorists of strategy
Carl von Clausewitz On War
The American Civil War
James McPherson What They Fought For 1861-1865
James O. Gump The Dust Rose Like
Smoke: the Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux
The First World War
Samuel Hynes The Soldier’s Tale, chs. 1-3
Eliot Cohen & Military Misfortunes,
‘Catastrophic failure: the French Army in 1940,’197-230
Bill McCloud What Should We Tell Our
Children About Vietnam?
The Military-Technical Revolution of the 1990s
James Der Derian Virtuous War
Mary Kaldor New and Old Wars
The US military today
Richard Morin ‘Gen Y goes AWOL,’
Washington Post, April 8, 2001
Moral reflections on war
Chris Hedges What Every Person Should
Know About War