Colonialism and Imperialism

Discipline: History
Instructor: Huffman
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Class: Day 2 - Thursday, 12 February | Vietnam Download Syllabus

Imperialism and colonialism fundamentally changed the nature of the world in the 1800s and 1900s. This course will study its causes, its nature, and its consequences, with a focus on several of the countries that we will visit. After a discussion of theoretical perspectives and a historical overview of the major empires, we will examine, comparatively, the role that imperialism played in Japan (itself an imperialist power), Hong Kong (Great Britain), Vietnam  (France, United States), Burma (Great Britain), South Africa (Great Britain), and Morocco (France, Spain). Special attention will be paid to the impact of colonialism on local life and politics, as well as to the continuing impact of imperialism in the post-colonial world. We will consider the question: Is the United States an imperialist power today?

Field Class

Country: Vietnam
Day: 2 - Thursday, 12 February

We will begin the lab with a brief on-board discussion of museums and the ways in which they foster (and distort) memory. Then we will visit two important museums: the War Remnants Museum and the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum. At each, we will attempt to understand not just the inherent interest of the artifacts but how the Vietnamese view themselves. To focus our attention, students will be asked to consider these questions:

  • What impact—positive, negative, and neutral—did colonialism have on the development of Vietnamese culture?
  • How did the influence of each of the different imperial powers—the Chinese, the French, the Japanese, and the Americans—differ?
  • What role did war play in shaping the way the Vietnamese saw their experience with imperialism?
Academic Objectives: 1. To understand the interplay between colonialism and local approaches to culture 2. To understand how various imperialist experiences shaped Vietnam in different ways 3. To understand how differently the Vietnamese War and imperialism are viewed in Vietnam and in the United States