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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laurie J Sears
HIST 530
Seattle Campus

Comparative Colonialisms: Methodological and Conceptual Approaches

Introduces students to the historiography of modern European/American colonialisms, focusing on Africa, Asia, and/or the Americas. Addresses methodological and conceptual issues by examining relationship between capitalism and colonialism; violence and routinization of colonial power; colonial categories of race, ethnicity, class, and gender; and resistance movements and nationalist politics.

Class description

This course approaches the comparative study of colonialisms by turning to the spatial and temporal constructions of modernity and what is sometimes called postmodernity. One manner in which this can happen is to draw cultural critics and historians of Euroamerica, but also scholars and critics of South and Southeast Asia and Africa into comparative historical conversations about non-western studies. While we will continue the dialogues with the social sciences that comparative studies have always entailed, our work this quarter will integrate literary, historiographical, postcolonial, and psychoanalytic theories into these discussions by questioning the development of nations and identities, and the disciplinary constructions of modernity, ethnicity, domesticity, and culture.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Students will lead class discussion and two students will be assigned to do so for each class meeting. Students should come to class prepared to discuss, critique, and/or defend the readings. Instructor will provide advice, perspective, and guidance as necessary.

Recommended preparation

To maximize participation, this course is being run with limited enrollment in an intensive seminar format. Students should prepare the readings conscientiously, take notes on it, ask questions of it, and think deeply about it, all in advance of class.

Class assignments and grading

Students are expected to participate actively in class discussion. Reading assignments should be prepared for the following class meeting, i.e. assignment for each week is for discussion in the following week. Three short essays (3-4 double-spaced typed pages)--will be due in class in weeks 3, 5, and 8--offering reflections on reading assignments and class discussion. In week two, students will be expected to begin planning their research proposals (10 double-spaced typed pages) through individual meetings with the instructor. The final topic for the proposal will be approved in private consultation with the instructor during weeks 6-7. Submission of the written version of the research topic will be turned in at the last class meeting, on 8 March 2006.

Class participation 25% Short essays 45% (15% each) Long essay 30%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Laurie J Sears
Date: 10/17/2005