Don Wyatt began teaching at Middlebury College in 1986. Originally from Illinois but now a naturalized New Englander, he is a graduate of Beloit College and Harvard University. At one point or another, he has taught every lecture course in the existing East Asian history curriculum. However, his specialization is in courses incorporating the discipline of philosophy as well as history. His most recent scholarship addresses the formation of racial identities in China from ancient to early modern times. He is the current editor of the Journal of Song-Yuan Studies and his own past and present research has profited from residencies spent at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
FYSE1309 - The True Believer
The True Believer
When he published The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, social thinker Eric Hoffer sought to explain exactly what inspires people to commit themselves passionately to causes defined by their unyielding belief. Like Hoffer, we will examine not only what has motivated individuals over time to join extremist social, political, and religious movements, but also the psychologies of those who have led them throughout history. We will try to determine precisely who the true believer is, and whether true belief is generally of greater benefit or harm to the believer and to broader society. CMP CW PHL
HIST0231 - Imperial China ▲
China’s is the world’s oldest continuous civilization, and we will survey the history of the Chinese empire from its cultural beginnings until the conflicts with the West in the 1840s and the internal unrest of the 1850s and 1860s. Our study of China’s political progression through successive dynasties will reveal archetypal patterns of historical disruption amidst continuity. We will also examine those perennial social, institutional, and intellectual forces — such as the stratification of the classes, the absolutist tendencies of monarchy, and the civilly-focused yet competitive atmosphere fostered by a state-sponsored examination culture — that proved determinative in shaping China’s traditional development. AAL HIS NOA SOC
Spring 2015, Spring 2017
HIST0237 / PHIL0237 - Chinese Philosophy
A survey of the dominant philosophies of China, beginning with the establishment of the earliest intellectual orientations, moving to the emergence of the competing schools of the fifth century B.C., and concluding with the modern adoption and adaptation of Marxist thought. Early native alternatives to Confucian philosophy (such as Mohism, Daoism, and Legalism) and later foreign ones (such as Buddhism and Marxism) will be stressed. We will scrutinize individual thinkers with reference to their philosophical contributions and assess the implications of their ideas with reference to their historical contexts and comparative significance. Pre-1800. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL HIS NOA PHL
Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016
HIST0305 / PHIL0305 - Confucius and Confucianism ▲
Confucius and Confucianism
Perhaps no individual has left his mark more completely and enduringly upon an entire civilization than Confucius (551-479 B.C.) has upon that of China. Moreover, the influence of Confucius has spread well beyond China to become entrenched in the cultural traditions of neighboring Japan and Korea and elsewhere. This course examines who Confucius was, what he originally intended, and how the more important of his disciples have continued to reinterpret his original vision and direct it toward different ends. Pre-1800. (formerly HIST/PHIL 0273) 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL HIS NOA PHL
Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2017
HIST0319 / PHIL0319 - Philosophy of History
Readings in the Philosophy of History
Even before the appearance of Georg W. F. Hegel's classic study The Philosophy of History, a heated debate was being waged concerning the nature and substance of history. Is history, like science, expressible in predictable patterns or subject to irrevocable laws? What factors distinguish true history from the mere random succession of events? What should we assume to be the fundamental nature of historical truth, and are we to determine it objectively or subjectively? Is it possible to be human and yet be somehow "outside of" history? These are among the questions we will examine as we read and deliberate on a variety of philosophies of history, while concentrating on the most influential versions developed by Hegel and Karl Marx. 3 hrs. sem. EUR HIS PHL
Spring 2015, Fall 2016
HIST0431 - China's Historical Minorities
Readings in Chinese History: China's Historical Minorities
We tend reflexively to visualize China as an ethnically homogeneous nation-state. However, this conception fails to account for the minority populations that have for centuries resided in China and contributed greatly to its socio-cultural identity. Throughout the imperial age, the four groups called Manchu, Mongol, Hui, and Tibetan surpassed all other non-Chinese ethnicities in influencing the direction of Chinese history and shaping the contours of China's developmental experience. In this reading seminar we will examine the imprint of the collective legacy of these particular minorities as well as those of certain related groups, such as the ancestors of the Uyghurs of modern Xinjiang. 3 hrs. sem. AAL HIS NOA SOC
Spring 2013, Spring 2014
HIST0500 - Special Research Projects ▲
Special research projects during the junior year may be used to fulfill the research seminar requirements in some cases. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
HIST0700 - Senior Independent Study ▲
The History Senior Thesis is required of all majors. It is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. The project is generally begun in the fall and completed during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring, and such students must still attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops that take place in fall and winter.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
IGST0101 - Intro to Intl & Global Studies
Introduction to International and Global Studies
This is the core course of the International and Global Studies major. It is an introduction to key international issues and problems that will likely feature prominently in their courses at Middlebury and study abroad. Issues covered will differ from year to year, but they may include war, globalization, immigration, racism, imperialism, nationalism, world organizations, non-governmental organizations, the European Union, the rise of East Asia, politics and society in Latin America, and anti-Americanism. 3 hrs. lect./disc. CMP
PHIL0500 - Resrch In Philosophy ▲
Research in Philosophy
Supervised independent research in philosophy. (Approval required).
Winter 2017, Spring 2017
PHIL0700 - Senior Thesis ▲
Winter 2017, Spring 2017