Assessment of Student Learning
The History Department conducts annual assessment of student learning for History majors and other students who take our courses as part of their common curriculum requirements. The Department uses appropriate written assignments and student surveys to evaluate its curriculum and pedagogy. In all of these efforts, student confidentiality is protected.
Major (40 credits)
8 elective credits (2 courses) at the 100 level; 20 elective credits (5 courses) at the 300-level; HIST 200 History Colloquium; HIST 395 Historiography and Methods; HIST 399 Senior Thesis (capstone). Students should work closely with their advisors if they wish to combine a History major with a second major, study abroad, or an Honors thesis.
Minor (20 credits)
4 credits (one course) at the 100 level; HIST 200 History Colloquium; 12 elective credits (three courses) at the 300 level.
LOWER DIVISION COURSES
HIST 114 East Asia before 1800 (4)
A survey of East Asia-including China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam-from ancient times to the dawn of the modern era. Explores the building blocks of East Asian civilization and analyzes the changes set in motion by the region's contact with the West between 1600 and 1800.
HIST 115 East Asia since 1800 (4)
A survey of continuity and change in the modern transformation of China (including the PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan), Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Examines each country's role in the other's development; the impact of Western imperialism on the "modernization" of the region since 1800; and the implications of the "Asian Century."
HIST 121 Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas: From Indigenous Empires to Conquered Peoples (4)
Examines the development of indigenous civilizations in Mesoamerica and the Andes from 1200, paying particular attention to the rise of the Aztec and Inca Empires. Investigates the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the 1500s and its consequences, focusing on how indigenous peoples and European settlers through conflict and cooperation created new, hybrid societies and cultures in the colonial New World.
HIST 122 Revolution and Repression in Modern Latin America (4)
Examines revolutionary and reform movements in twentieth-century Latin America and the social and economic conditions that shaped them. Also investigates conservative reaction to revolution and the repression it unleashed. Ends by examining the decline of revolution and dictatorship and the return to democracy in contemporary Latin America.
HIST 130 The Ancient World (4)
A survey of the origins of Western civilization through an examination of Greek and Roman history and culture from the Bronze Age to the Roman Empire. Possible topics include the nature of Athenian democracy, the role of women in classical society, slavery in the ancient economy, the significance of the fall of the Roman Empire.
HIST 141 Europe from the Black Death to the French Revolution (4)
Students will investigate the tension between traditionalism and revolution from the Black Death through the Age of Napoleon. Highlights include examination of the religious revolution of theologians, political leaders and ordinary people that rocked the western Christian church in the 16th century, investigation of scientific discoveries and Galileo's challenge to the geocentric model of the universe that challenged Europeans' understanding of the world and their place in it, and analysis of new ideas about the political and social world put into action in one of the defining events of the modern age, the French Revolution.
HIST 142 Europe since 1750: Old Regime to European Union (4)
This survey examines European history since 1750, prior to the French Revolution, and concludes with transformation of the continent in the European Union. Students will examine various themes that shaped this period of revolution, modernization, and transformation in European society.
HIST 152 The American Experience (4)
A thematic survey of United States History. Topics and period to be emphasized varies, but major developments in political, social, intellectual and economic history are examined.
HIST 165 History Readings Group (0-1)
In this course students and various members of the history faculty will read and discuss current and classic writings in the discipline. Topics will vary from semester to semester. Course is offered for S/U grading only.
UPPER DIVISION COURSES
HIST 200 History Colloquium (required for majors, 4)
Intended for new and potential History majors and minors, this course focuses on the interpretation of a wide variety of primary sources. Topics vary with instructor; please see individual section descriptions (200A, 200B, etc.) for details. Prerequisite: 1 lower division history course. Offered for A-F grading only.
HIST 200A History Colloquium: Debating the French Revolution (4)
The ideas and events of the French Revolution continue to be hotly debated more than 200 years later. Was it a revolution of the bourgeoisie? What role did books and ideas play? Why did the revolution devolve into the Reign of Terror? Was the Revolution a success or a failure? Was women's position better or worse as a result? We will explore these and other questions by examining a variety of primary sources (such as documents that provide eye witness accounts of events such as the fall of the Bastille, newspaper articles written from various political perspectives, revolutionary songs, and images from the period) as well as secondary sources. We will begin to explore these and other questions through an intensive role-playing game in which you, the students, become revolutionaries and debate the future of France. Students will assume, research, and reenact the roles of various revolutionary factions in the National Assembly. You will continue to follow your characters through the rest of the revolution to see how they might have reacted and fared by the Napoleonic era. Two-credit option available as HIST 201A.
HIST 200B History Colloquium: History in Popular Culture (4)
Gripping stories from U.S. history provide the foundation for many popular films, novels, television shows, and other media. How do creators of those popular works decide which stories to tell and how to tell them? Where do filmmakers and authors get it right or wrong, or is that even the most important question? Are there larger historical "truths" to be shared by reinterpreting the past? This course will explore how creators of popular media, like historians, interpret and argue about the past. We will use popular works and secondary sources for background, but our emphasis will be on analyzing primary sources and constructing our own arguments about the past. This course will help you practice skills of historical thinking and analytical reading, writing, and discussion.
HIST 200C History Colloquium: "A Struggle for Freedom": Resisting Enslavement in North America (4)
What was a slave revolt? Historian Eugene Genovese suggests it was "a struggle for freedom." This course focuses on enslaved peoples' struggles for freedom in North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We will analyze their historical experiences within the larger contexts of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery in the Americas. We will use primary and secondary sources to investigate what we can and cannot know about the histories of enslaved people, and to understand the historian's craft.
HIST 200D History Colloquium: Germany from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich (4)
This course will focus on Germany during the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, two vastly different societies. After World War I, Germans faced questions about national identity, economic crisis, political revolution, utopian ideas about the future, sex, racial policy, war, genocide, and more. Should we support the Bolsheviks and spread revolution to Germany? Why are women voting and holding public office now? Can I borrow your sex manual? Aren't you afraid "modernity" will destroy the German people? Why doesn't everyone like the Nuremberg party rally as much as I do? Why do my neighbors exclude me just because I am Jewish? Why is there a satellite concentration camp in my town? What is really happening on the Eastern Front? The course will include secondary source readings on Weimar and the Third Reich, but a substantial proportion of the materials will be primary sources. Students will have many opportunities to engage and use the sources from this fascinating period.
HIST 200E History Colloquium: Inventing the Conquest of Mexico (4)
Students will examine the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire from 1517-1521 from multiple perspectives to develop a deeper understanding of the historian's craft. Texts will include firsthand accounts of the conquest by Hernán Cortés, the captain of the intrepid band of Spanish adventurers, by Bernal Díaz, a foot soldier in Cortés' army, and by anonymous Aztec Indians who lived through the fall of their empire. Students will also read later historians' interpretations of the conquest and its consequences for Mexico.
HIST 271 Individual Learning Project (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Permission of department chair required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.
HIST 300 History Topics (4)
An in-depth examination of selected topics, with an emphasis on critical reading, analysis, written critiques and discussion. Course may be repeated for credit when topics vary and with consent of department chair.
HIST 300O Gender in U.S. History (4)
This course will use gender as a tool of analysis to explore how gender and sexuality have influenced Americans' personal identities and interactions with others. Historically, in what ways have Americans defined what it means to be a "man" or a "woman," and how have those definitions and supposed "natural" characteristics influenced one's status within the nation? We will examine the varied meanings of "masculinity" and "femininity" from European colonization to the present day, and how those meanings have changed based on the needs or anxieties of the time-even for events and issues which seem to have little to do with gender or sexuality. This course will help you think critically about documents and other sources that you encounter in daily life: who produced it, what assumptions about gender or public/private life the author makes, and how those assumptions influence one's understanding of cultural identities.
HIST 316 China in Revolution, 1800-1949 (4)
An analysis of China's transformation from Middle Kingdom to People's Republic. Explores traditional China's decline amid rebellion and the Opium Wars with the West; efforts to combat dynastic decay, famine, poverty, foreign domination, warlords and Japanese invasion; U.S.-China Relations; and Communism's victory in 1949.
HIST 317 The People's Republic of China (4)
An analysis of China's socialist revolution since 1949. Explores the rise of Communism in China; the China of Mao,
Deng, Jiang, Hu, and Xi; and U.S.-China relations since 1972. Previews the integration of the PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan into a post-communist "Greater China" during the current "Asian Century."
HIST 319 Modern Japan, 1868-Present (4)
A study of Japan's transformation from feudal mosaic to economic superpower. Analyzes the "modernization" process set in motion by the Meiji Restoration of 1868; the impact of its Asian neighbors and the West on Japan's economic and military rise; and U.S.-Japan relations since WWII using tropes of fear and horror. This course will employ both literary and historical primary sources.
HIST 321 Colonial Mexico (4)
Begins with the Spanish conquest and ends with Independence from Spain in 1821. Includes the consequences of the conquest for Native Americans, the formation of new hybrid societies and cultures in a racially diverse world, gender relations, religion and the church, and 18th-century efforts to reform Mexican society according to Enlightenment ideals.
HIST 322 Modern Mexico (4)
This course traces the history of Mexico from Independence in 1821 to the present. Although we will examine Mexico's political development since 1821, this course focuses mostly on the social and cultural history of Mexico. We will explore Mexico's ethnic diversity, national identity, religious traditions, and gender patterns and how all these elements changed over time-from a chaotic nineteenth attempt to forge an independent nation, through the throws of the Mexican Revolution, to the present-day struggles between the state and drug cartels.
HIST 323 Religion in Latin America (4)
The changing nature of religious cultures in Latin America from the pre-Columbian period to the present day. Includes the study of indigenous religious practices the European "spiritual conquest" of the New World, the creation of syncretic forms of Catholicism, 19th century conflicts between religion and secularism, the spread of Protestantism in the 20th century, and the advent and course of liberation theology in Latin America. Within a historical context, examines the role of religion in shaping sense of self, forms of community, and human interaction with the physical world.
HIST 329 Colonialism and Culture: Everyday Life in the British Empire (4)
Views of the expansion of Empire have veered from nostalgia to revulsion, but this course will concentrate on how colonized societies influenced western attitudes and institutions, as well as the other way around. This will be accomplished through examination of such themes as the relationship between economics and imperialism, the influence of photography of distant places and people on the popular culture and political processes in the West, and the independence movement.
HIST 330 Greece in the Classical Period (4)
The Classical Period in Greece (c. 480-323 BCE) is a cornerstone for western history, and its legacy very much extends into our modern world. In this course, we will concentrate on investigating Greek society and culture at this vibrant time. In particular, we will explore the complexities of Greek identity, broadly defined. At the heart of this course will be the contention that identity was (and is) not a fixed and immutable concept. Rather Greeks constructed and negotiated key elements of their identity as part of a dynamic social process. With this in mind, this course will focus on evidence that illustrates how Greek identity was articulated and debated in a social context in general and in certain social spaces in particular. Such "spaces" of interest will include political debates, battlefields, theatrical productions of tragedies and comedies, funerals, philosophical dialogues, legal trials, drinking parties, and athletic events. In considering how Greek identity was worked out in various ways in these different social contexts, we will learn about a wide range of Greek social and cultural practices related to government, ethnicity, the military, family, gender, religion, death, humor, intellectualism, the body, and education. Humans today are social animals, and the ancient Greeks were no different. Appreciation of the Greeks' intensely social orientation will lead us to new insights about them - and ourselves.
HIST 332 The Roman Empire (4)
An overview of the growth of the Roman Empire from the late republic to the death of Constantine I. Although encompassing the history of the whole Roman world, this study centers on the comparatively wealthier and more sophisticated Roman East with pertinent references to the more rustic West. Areas of concentration will address Roman culture, religion, mores and political accommodation.
HIST 333 Gender and Society in Western Europe (4)
Students will investigate the forces that shaped the social and cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity and examine how they informed the identities, experiences, and imaginations of late medieval and early modern Europeans (1300-1800). Students will analyze the impact of gender on sexuality, family life, work, crime, religion, and intellectual life of early modern Europeans and how these intersected with socio-economic status, age, martial status, and religious identity. Students will uncover and analyze the gaps between gendered expectations and the lived experience of early modern men and women. Historical perspective allows us to uncover the origins, evolution, and persistence of gendered expectations and understand how they influence human experience.
HIST 336 The Renaissance (4)
Between the 14th and 16th centuries, Italy witnessed a burst of cultural and intellectual innovation. We will investigate the context for this through an examination of economy, politics, gender and family, religion, and social values of Renaissance Italians; we will also look at how these innovations were adapted and exported beyond Italy. A highlight of the course is the creation of virtual Renaissance art exhibitions; students curate an exhibit for which they research and write about selected Renaissance artworks to situate them in historical context.
HIST 337 The Age of Reformation (4)
The western Christian church was splintered by a religious revolution in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But this was not simply a revolution made by theologians-ordinary men and women, from elites to ordinary people participated. The implications of revolutionary religious ideas about salvation, scripture, and faith were felt far beyond the pews, in everything from political life to family life. Students will investigate the far-reaching impact of the Reformation by analyzing the circumstances that led to it, the revolutionary ideas that characterized it, the agency of theologians, political leaders and ordinary people in its creation and establishment, and the changes it created in social life, marriage, gender, and the family, in Europe and in the "New World."
HIST 344 Modern Germany (4)
This course examines the history of Germany in the modern era by asking the fundamental questions: "Who is German?" and "What is Germany?" These questions, and the changing answers over time, will help us understand not only "Germany" but also more broadly common experiences of modernization. Our study begins with an overview of "Germany" in the 18th and 19th centuries and proceeds to in-depth readings on the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and the post-1945 Germanies. The course materials and our discussions will illuminate the diversity of experiences in German history by examining issues of political allegiance, ideology, social class, gender, religious confession, and regional identities. The course emphasizes intensive reading and discussion of historical literature.
HIST 346 Cold War Europe, 1945-1991 (4)
In many ways, the Cold War confrontation defined and determined world history in the second half of the 20th century, and one could easily argue that it began and ended in Europe. This course offers a broad overview of Europe in the era of the Cold War, covering the political, economic, social, and cultural developments after the unprecedented destruction and chaos caused by the Second World War. The course is designed to provide both a general understanding of Europe and more in-depth consideration of selected countries, and it examines both eastern and western Europe and the role of the superpowers. After an overview of the Cold War on a European scale, we will consider developments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany, and France.
HIST 347 Modern Britain (4)
Students examine the main social, economic, political, and cultural features of Britain from 1750 until the present. The course covers Britain's rise as a powerful modern state and subsequent decline on the world stage. Themes include the social consequences of industrialization, changes in crime and the criminal justice system, the welfare state, and the struggles of creating a British identity in the face of the European Union.
HIST 349 Modern Russia (4)
This course examines the political, social, and cultural transformation of Russia from a preindustrial autocracy in the 19th century to an atomic superpower and post-Soviet society. Topics include the Romanov Empire, the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism, World War II, Soviet culture, the Cold War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
HIST 350 Early America (4)
This course will explore the history of Early North America from the earliest sustained contact between Europeans and Native Americans during the fifteenth century until the mid- to late eighteenth century. We will attempt to understand Early America on its own terms, rather than as a prelude to the United States. We will examine the dynamic and heterogeneous nature of Early America by investigating the experiences of Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans. We will focus on themes of power (intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality), religion, enslavement, and violence to analyze how various people met, clashed, cooperated, and remade themselves and their worlds.
HIST 351 Age of the American Revolution (4)
This course analyzes the causes, course, and consequences of the American Revolution within the context of the Atlantic World between approximately 1750 and 1820.
HIST 353 The Civil War and Reconstruction in American Culture (4)
This course will explore the causes of the American Civil War, the experiences of war for Union and Confederate soldiers, free and enslaved African Americans, and women at home, and the varied meanings and results of Reconstruction. We will analyze the continuing relevance of the war in American society-in battles over state and individual rights, race, region, and memory. Using primary sources, scholarly articles, films, novels, and images, we will consider why the Civil War continues to evoke an emotional response today. Although topics will include some military history, the course will focus primarily on the cultural, social, and political ramifications of events.
HIST 355 Atlantic World (4)
This course introduces students to Atlantic History, one of the most exciting fields of recent historical scholarship. When historians speak of an Atlantic World, they refer to the convergence of people, commodities, ideas and cultures from Europe, Africa, and the Americas in the three centuries after Christopher Columbus's initial 1492 voyage to the Americas. We will begin by exploring the methods of Atlantic historians and conclude by reflecting on the use of the "Atlantic World" as a historical concept. In between, we will study the meetings and migrations of Europeans, Americans, and Africans; transatlantic exchanges of commodities and cultures; how slave traders attempted to transform captured Africans into commodities; how enslaved people asserted their humanity; and revolutionary upheavals. While encountering the histories of the Atlantic World, students will have opportunities to strengthen their analytical reading, historical thinking, argumentative writing, and public speaking.
HIST 357 United States from World War I to 1960 (4)
An examination of the U.S. role in the world since World War I. Topics include the response to the rise of fascism in Europe and Asia, World War II, the spread of the Cold War from Europe through the Korean War to the Vietnam conflict, Nixon's effort to re-structure international relations with his opening to China, Reagan's efforts to reassert American primacy, the search for a post-Cold War world, and the roots of the war on terrorism. Economic and political relations with Asia and the Middle East will receive substantial attention.
HIST 358 United States since 1960 (4)
Political, economic and social change in recent America. A central theme will be the way that the social/political changes of the 1960s, and the reaction against them, has divided our nation and shaped our recent history. Specific topics include the struggle for equal rights for minorities, the changing roles of men and women, the domestic consequences of our foreign wars from Vietnam through Afghanistan, the growth of political power among cultural conservatives, the causes and impact of growing income inequality amid expanding affluence, and arguments over the power of the Presidency and the primacy of the Federal government from the administrations of John Kennedy through Barak Obama.
HIST 360 U.S. Environmental History (4)
Environmental history is the study of the relationship between humans and nature over time. This course examines the changing American understanding of nature in the 19th and 20th centuries with particular attention to the development of public policies toward natural resources and wildlife, the emergence of a new set of values recognizing non-utilitarian values in nature, and to the evolution of the conservation and environmental movements. Intellectual, political, economic, scientific, and social evidence will all be examined in the process of placing nature back into the human history of North America.
HIST 368 The United States and the World (4)
An examination of the U.S. role in world affairs since 1929. Topics include isolationism, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam and post-war adjustments, Reagan's efforts to restore primacy, involvement in the Middle East, the search for a post-Cold War role, and the roots of the war on terrorism.
HIST 371 Individual Learning Project (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.
HIST 389 Historiography for Social Science Majors (4)
This course is designed for Social Science majors who intend to teach. It covers historical content, but with an emphasis on historiography, or the story of a particular period or event has been told at different times. The other central goal of this course is to help students develop their ability to teach history in a secondary setting. This course does not count toward the History major.
HIST 395 Historiography and Methods (Required for majors, 4)
Intended for advanced History majors, this course emphasizes research skills in preparation for the individual projects in HIST 399. The primary goal is for students to understand that historical interpretations are constructs and that historians often disagree among themselves. Topics vary with instructor; please see individual section descriptions (395A, 395B, etc.) for details. Prerequisite: 200 or permission of Department Chair. Offered for A-F grading only.
HIST 395A Historiography and Methods: Interpreting the American Revolution (4)
"Who shall write the history of the American Revolution? Who can write it? Who will ever be able to write it?" asked John Adams in a July 1815 letter to Thomas Jefferson. "Nobody; except merely its external facts," Jefferson replied. Adams and Jefferson were wrong. Few events in the history of humanity are as well known as the American Revolution. Tens of thousands of texts are dedicated solely to the investigation of this one historical event. In this course, we will explore how historians interpret the American Revolution to identify and analyze changes in historiography - historical interpretation - over time. Studying changing historical interpretations of the American Revolution will allow us to gain a better understanding of the methods - questions, approaches, and theories - historians use to interpret this event. While studying the historiography of the American Revolution and the methods of its historians, you will practice and strengthen your critical reading, argumentative writing, discussion, and historical thinking skills. Offered for A-F grading only.
HIST 395B Historiography and Methods: History, Memory, and the Politics of Remembering (4)
Students are expected to develop the skills and historiographical awareness required for their individual Senior Thesis project (HIST 399), and these goals are best achieved through the study of a specific subject matter. For this course, our subjects are the concepts of "history" and "memory," i.e., the ways in which countries and societies remember the past, what they remember, why they remember, and how they use memory. Sometimes, the things that are forgotten are as significant as what is remembered. The common readings focus on the politics of memory in Europe, but the approach is applicable for any country, region, or time period, and students may selected any memory-related topic for their final project in this course..
HIST 395C Historiography and Methods: The American West (4)
"Historiography and Methods" was created to help History majors better understand how historians think and work while exploring the historiography of a particular topic in depth. While each section of the course focuses on a specific topic, they share the common goals of exposing students to the study of history itself as a field of inquiry, exploring various research methods, and considering how various types of evidence might be used in constructing historical arguments. This seminar will examine the history of the American West, covering such topics as the impact of U.S. expansion on the environment and native peoples of the West, the realities of violence in "frontier" towns, the political and economic relationships between Eastern cities and their Western counterparts, and the evolution of the 20th century West into an overwhelmingly urban society in the midst of a sparsely populated hinterland. Special attention will be paid to historical debates over the "meaning of the West," the introduction of race, class, gender, and environment as themes in these debates, and the varying types of evidence historians have used to interpret the region's past.
HIST 395D Historiography and Methods: Construction of Identities (4)
Some observers believe that national identities are unchanging and archetypal but historians disagree. In the recent past there have been many challenging and creative historical studies of the construction of national identity, and is clear that identities are remolded through war, religion, trade and other disparate cultural pressures. As acts of union and disunion become increasingly relevant to our daily lives and politics, an historical context is essential to understanding unsettling changes. In this class we will explore various approaches to identity construction, from the national/regional level to the cultural. Our readings might include works which focus on political caricature, definitions of masculinity and leisure pursuits as influences on a changing national identity.
HIST 397 Internship (4-8)
Supervised career exploration which promotes the integration of theory with practice. An opportunity to apply skills under direct supervision in an approved setting. Prerequisites: approval of the department chair and a faculty moderator; completion of the pre-internship seminar.
HIST 398 Honors Senior Essay, Research or Creative Project (4)
Required for graduation with "Distinction in History." Prerequisite: HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and director of the Honors Thesis program. For further information see HONR 398. Offered for A-F grading only.
HIST 399 Senior Thesis (Required for majors, 4)
This course is the capstone for the major. Students develop independent projects in collaboration with History faculty and write substantial research papers based upon primary and secondary sources. Students give formal oral presentations of their research. This course draws upon and synthesizes the skills developed in HIST 200and 395. Those majors seeking to graduate with "Distinction in History" must take HONR 396 the spring of their junior year, History 399 fall of their senior year, and complete their Honors research and writing the spring they graduate. Prerequisite: 395. Offered for A-F grading only.