Course Descriptions










This course provides students with an introductory knowledge of the history of Ancient Rome from its origins through the 2nd cent. AD. More specifically, it addresses political, religious, social and economic aspects of Antiquity while also exploring the city of Rome at first hand, in order to illustrate the context and development of its various historical processes. Class lectures are complemented by fieldtrips to different areas of the ancient city, which will further explain the background and nuances of its history. The goal of the course is to help students understand how political, religious and economic circumstances of Roman history had a fundamental influence on shaping the urban landscape of the city and how today we can read the history of the Roman empire by carefully studying the different compounds of that urban landscape. Emphasis will be given to the place of Rome in the cultural history of the Mediterranean, the spaces of political activity within the city, as well as the way in which emperors conveyed their rule to the citizens by coordinated building programs. A selection of texts from ancient writers will illustrate daily life in the metropolis that ancient Rome grew to become at the beginning of the second cent. AD. (study abroad only)

HIST 113 History of Greece in the Classical World (4)

This course will explore the history of ancient Athens particularly during the high point of its power in the fifth century BC, when it ruled over a large Greek empire, ran the world’s largest direct democracy, was a leader in philosophy, art, and literature, and left to us some of the greatest architectural wonders from the ancient world. Students will investigate these topics through a variety of sources (archaeology, ancient literature, topography, and inscriptions), gaining key skills in the assessment of primary and secondary sources in creating a historical narrative. Classes are all on-site to take full advantage of the rich archaeological evidence to survive from the ancient world in Athens. (study abroad only)

HIST 113A History of Greece in the Classical World Abroad (2)

Introduction to history from 3000 B.C. to the 1st century B.C. It will cover the Dark Ages, Archaic Period, Persian Wars, Peloponnesian War, Athenian Democracy, etc. (study abroad only)

HIST 113B History of Rome in the Classical World Abroad (2)

Introduction to the history of Rome with emphasis on the topography of the city. On-site study sessions take place in the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, the Coliseum, and the Pantheon. (study abroad only)

HIST 115 Bad Blood: The "Truth" About Modern East Asia (4)

Why do we presume that East Asia is a monolith when so many of its component parts are at odds? This introductory course looks at the political, cultural, and social history of China, Japan, and the Koreas while analyzing our preconceptions about truth and history. Students will grapple with primary texts, literary works, films, and propaganda to see how narratives can change and shape international relations.

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)

Latin Americans from many countries shouted their loyalty to revolutionary movements over the twentieth century. The revolutionaries sought to overthrow unresponsive and oftentimes corrupt, brutal governments. They also desired a new, more egalitarian society, one that more evenly distributed the wealth generated from the region’s rich resources. Most of these movements, however, failed. What caused Latin Americans to rise in revolution in the twentieth century? What were the revolutionaries’ goals? Why did most of these movements fail? This course seeks to answer those questions.

HIST 130 The Ancient World (4)

In this introduction to the ancient Mediterranean world (c. 3000 BCE-500 CE), we will cover key moments in the history of Greece and Rome. Possible topics include: the Trojan war, the golden age of Sparta and Athens, the career and campaigns of Alexander the Great of Macedon, the rise of Rome and its Mediterranean power, and the ultimate fall of the Roman Republic and Empire. A central theme for the course will be how to practice ancient history through comparative analysis of both literary and archaeological evidence. In this way, students will develop an understanding of important events in and diverse approaches to the study of Classical antiquity.

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 Topics in European History (4)

This survey examines European history. Topics and period to be emphasized varies, but major developments in political, social, intellectual and economic history are examined.

HIST 142A Old Regime to European Union (4)

This course examines major themes in European history since roughly 1750. Students will study the French Revolution and its legacy; the significance of class, gender, and religion for European society; nationalism and identity; world wars in the 20th century; imperialism and its aftermath; and the European Union;

HIST 142B Europe Since 1750 (4)

This course 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 Topics in American History (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 152B Liberty, Empire, & Faith in US History (4)

What is the American Experience? This question drives our exploration of the North American past from the early- seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. The historical themes of violence, empire, liberty and faith guide our study. To help us understand these themes and the experiences of Americans, we will read and discuss historical monographs and primary documents. During the semester, students will have opportunities to strengthen their analytical reading, critical thinking, argumentative writing, and public speaking.

HIST 152C The American Dream: Reality or Illusion (4)

When Americans talk about what makes our nation special or “great,” we often point to the idea of individual opportunity, or what historians call the American Dream. More specifically, the American Dream argument is that everyone has a chance to be successful, and that an individual’s talent and drive, rather than external factors, shape the outcome. In this class, we are going to ask how true the Dream is. Do all people have access? Are there groups who are simply excluded because of their race, gender, or other factors outside individual control? What have people done when the distance between the Dream and reality became intolerable? How has change occurred? We will start examining this question in the era when large monopolies began to dominate the economy, and end with contemporary arguments from Black Lives Matter to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

HIST 152D The American Century (4)

This course explores the history of the United States in the twentieth century, paying particular attention to events that have helped shape various communities within the nation and to the ongoing struggle to define just what “American” means. Topics covered will include changes in social, political, and economic life; the environment; race and gender relations; the growth of cities and industry; the American role in global conflicts; the progress of technology; the impacts of immigration and internal migration; and the role of popular culture in American society. We will approach the study of history with three major goals in mind: to develop knowledge of the basic “facts” of 20th century American history; to learn to think, speak, and write analytically about the past; and to better understand ourselves and the various communities to which we belong.



HIST 153 Growing Up in US History (4)

This course explores the historical experience of growing up in the United States through the intersection of race and gender. We will analyze the ways that childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood have been constructed, the social and cultural institutions which shape the range of experiences, and the factors that influence individual identities. We will explore the pressures, contradictions, and confusions of racial and gendered experiences, as well as how those ideas of “race” and “gender” developed in the first place. We will answer such questions as: How do we know that girls are supposed to wear pink and boys are supposed to wear blue, and who gets to decide? How do a  range of femininities, masculinities, and other gender expectations impact us as we grow to be adults? How and why was the concept of “race” invented, and how do those ideas differ by class, sexual identity, religion, region, education, and other cultural and social markers? How have the life stages of childhood and adolescence been commodified over time—through advertising, film and television, celebrity culture, novels, magazines, music, and social media—and how have young people responded by creating their own youth culture and attempting to change social expectations?

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.



HIST 201 Topics in History (2)

An examination of selected topics, with an emphasis on critical reading, analysis and discussion. Course may be repeated for credit when topics vary and with consent of department chair.

HIST 201A Debating the French Revolution (2)

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? Was it a revolution of the working class? What role did books and ideas play? Was the Revolution a success or a failure? We will explore these and other questions through an intensive role-playing game in which you, the students, become revolutionaries and debate the future of France.

HIST 220 Sword and Scroll: Violence and Cultural Exchange in Antiquity (4)

This course explores different cultures in ancient Greek, Roman, and/or Near Eastern lands that came into intimate contact, producing hostility and violence and/or creative cultural exchange. We will study the cultures of femininity and masculinity (gender), rival imperial cultures or imperial culture and that of a subject people (race and ethnicity), and the cultures of wealth and poverty (class). Our investigation is to better understand the defining features of each of these opposing cultures in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, how the social identity and status of any one person was informed by all three factors (gender, race and ethnicity, and class), how the contact of such cultures involved a power dynamic and could lead to conflict, and how, despite this, they could also lead to fruitful exchange, producing hybrid cultural forms that still impress us today or at least understanding that awaited social change.



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 277 Thematic Focus Topics: Justice (0)


HIST 277A Sport and Society in Recent US History (4)

Sport holds a significant place in the lives of many Americans. We play, watch, and talk about sports; many find joy in sport video games or gambling on the outcome of live events. Sports programming dominates television on weekends, and we have multiple networks devoted to both live programming and the dissection of sporting minutiae. In short, sport consumes major portions of our attention. Sport also shapes our society in many ways. Big time college athletes get the "promise" of an education while making millions for their institutions, professional athletes earn astronomical amounts, and the owners of sports franchises demand the public financing of stadiums as the price of staying put. On another level, even as the number of girls participating has grown, fan interest, especially at the professional level, is minimal. Furthermore, in the three most popular American sports, women find it difficult to be seen as having sufficient credibility to provide live commentary. On the other hand, at least some American minorities, particularly African Americans, have been able use athletic skill to improve their economic standing.

Finally, we are increasingly aware that participants in many sports run the risk of serious injury, including permanent brain damage. How did we get here? Much of the description above would be very different if we traveled back a century, so one thing this course will do is to provide a brief overview on the how and why of change, while also examining areas of continuity. Using stories from a variety of sports, we are going to think about what drives athletics, and the ways that sports have shaped social change over the last century. More specifically, we'll examine ways that sport reflects/affects racial attitudes, and its interaction with assumptions about gender roles. We'll also look various economic and legal aspects of sport, from Title IX to big time college athletics, television, labor relations, and the complex dance of private ownership and public subsidies.

HIST 277B Protest, Riot, and Rebellion in US History (4)

How have Americans used protests, riots, rebellions, & social movements to create social change and claim the rights of citizenship? This course will explore the processes of social and political change, considering how change happens and with what results, who gets to make changes and in what ways, and how social movements have impacted the United States as we know it today. We will specifically address the ways that Americans have used protests to influence meanings of justice, equality, and citizenship. Who has been included or excluded from being an “American,” and how did protests and collective violence change those definitions over time? We will use primary sources and scholarly articles to explore why the past helps us understand and create change in the present, as well as practice skills of critical thinking and analytical reading and writing.

HIST 277C Fascism Past and Present (4)

This course examines fascism with respect to historical origins, its political and social manifestations in the 1920s-1940s, and its repercussions and recurrences since the Second World War. The course will include intellectual roots in the 19th century, Italian fascism and German Nazism, and the resurgence of fascist movements in the 21st century. Antifascism as historical and contemporary countermovement will be considered as well.

HIST 278 Thematic Focus Topics: Movement (0)
HIST 278A Confusingly Confucian: Creating East Asia to 1600 (4)

British philosopher Bertrand Russell often sneezed at Confucius' ideas, but he could never discount them. How is it that a long dead Chinese sage caused such allergies in an analytic philosopher in the 20th century? Why did Confucius, his contemporaries, his Asian detractors, and his disciples have such import in East Asian cosmology? And just what is this cosmology and how did it help to shape actions throughout the area? This course offers a glimpse into East Asian civilization--namely, the political, cultural, and social history of China, Japan, and Korea from the paleolithic era to the 17th century.

HIST 278B 20th Century World Environmental History

This course explores the history of the 20th century world through an environmental lens, emphasizing relationships between humans and the natural world, the impacts of social/political/economic systems on nature, and the evolving use of natural resources in human societies. Movements of people, raw materials, capital, manufactured goods, and living material between ecosystems receive particular attention. The impacts of human action on the natural world, including resource extraction, large-scale construction, agriculture, transportation of species between ecosystems, warfare, migration, and the generation of pollutants will be followed through the century on scales ranging from regional to global. Students will develop an understanding of how humans have shaped the environments they inhabit both directly and indirectly, how nature influences culture over time, and how the environmental crises of the 21st century are rooted in historical events, decisions, and actions. The skills of historical analysis and argumentation will be practiced throughout the course as well.

HIST 279 Thematic Focus Topics: Truth - (4)

Thematic Focus Topics: Movement

HIST 279B Sex, Murder, and Empire: Britain (4)

How did Britain become great—or was it ever? This course traces the rise and fall of Great Britain as a global superpower, using the themes of sex, murder, and empire. From mass murder on a slave ship, to serial killers hunting prostitutes in Victorian London, to the “empire strikes back” of decolonization and migration, we will trace how Britain was made and un-made from the eighteenth century to Brexit. This course is suitable to students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 279C Renaissance Italy (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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 279D 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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 295 History Colloquium (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 (295A, 295B, etc.) for details. Prerequisite: 1 lower division history course. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 295A 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. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 295B 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. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 295C Struggle for Freedom (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. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 295D 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.

Offered for A-F grading only

HIST 295E 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 Hernando Cortés, the captian of the intrepid band of Spanish adventurers, by Bernal Días, 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. Offered A-F grading only.

HIST 295F Badass Samurai and Beautiful Geisha: When Myth and History Collide (4)

From where do myths about historical figures arise? How do the realities of life as a samurai or a geisha differ from the lore? Why do these legends exist and for whose benefit? In this course, students will analyze sources (both primary and secondary, written and visual) that perpetuate the myths of these professions with those that provide the less glamorous aspects of such lives to discover how historical interpretations differ and to what end. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 295G Avengers of the New World: The Haitian Revolution

The Haitian Revolution has been described as “unthinkable”: not only did enslaved people overthrow one of the most powerful empires of the 18th century, but they established the first Black republic in the modern era. This course focuses on the interpretations and misinterpretations of the Haitian Revolution, as we analyze competing primary sources and historical narratives about the revolution that changed the world. We will investigate not only “what happened,” but also clashing understandings of freedom and human rights that continue to reverberate in the present.

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 301 Japanese Culture and Life Abroad (4)

This course consists of two sections: Japanese traditional arts and culture and Japanese contemporary life and popular culture. The traditional section will include lectures and practical studies of the performing arts (Kabuki, Kyogen, Noh, Tama-sudare), literature (Haiku, folk tales, poetry), refined culture (tea ceremony, flower arrangement, calligraphy), sports (Sumo, Judo, Kendo, Karate), and children's games (Kendama, Otedama, Ayatori, Origami). The contemporary section will include lectures and practical studies of family life, formal ceremonies, education, annual festivals, popular entertainment, and food. Mandatory and optional excursions. Term papers and class participation required. This is a required course on the Japanese study abroad program. (study abroad only)


In 1903 W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” The daily news provides us with ongoing examples of how issues of race and identity continue to matter in the United States, but such questions have always plagued Americans. This course will explore the 19th-century development of ideas and practices of “race” in the US and analyze how and why those categories exist at all. While “race” was not actually “invented” in the 19th-century US, in those years Americans sorted through messy categories of ethnicity, slavery and freedom, religion, immigrant status, skin color, and other labels to determine who was an American and who had the power to decide. What would the United States look like? Why did some ethnic groups strive toward and become labeled as “white” while others were classified by “color”? (Is white not a color?) Major themes of the course include the intersectionality of race and gender, questions of belonging and citizenship, and how labor and the work that one performed shaped a person’s social, economic, and racial status, or relative “worth” in society. Through intensive reading and discussion, argumentative writing, and critical thinking, students will take a closer look at the racial possibilities, cooperation, and conflicts in the United States from the early 1800s to the early twentieth century. This course is   suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 305 Medicine, Empire and Global Health (4)

Contemporary global health inequalities and organizations are not new, but rather have their roots in colonial medicine and development programs from the 19th and 20th centuries. In this course, we will look at the connections between imperial power dynamics, the history of medicine, and global health structures in Africa, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. We will examine both how science and medicine were used as “tools of empire” during the course of European and American imperial conquest, as well as how subject populations resisted, co-opted, and transformed Western medical knowledge. We will pay special attention to how constructions of gender, race, and ethnicity intersected in cross-cultural medical encounters, informing clinical practice and shaping public health policies. Some topics will include: the relationship between colonial medical interventions and the spread of epidemics, how imperial health policies created and sustained structures of inequality, and the ways in which understandings of race, gender, and difference have affected health initiatives across borders. This course is suitable for students in any major.

HIST 310 History of Ireland Abroad (4)

A study of Irish history from ancient times to the twentieth century. Special focus on the relationship between Ireland and England since the sixteenth century, and also on events in Ireland since the foundation of the State, giving a perspective on socio-economic and political developments with reference to both the North and the South. (Study abroad only)

HIST 314 Missionary Positions: Christianity in East Asia (4)

East Asia’s unique application of Christian belief and ideology to its indigenous cultures and beliefs offer a fascinating complement and contrast to Christianity in other parts of the world and in various doctrine. This course will explore the theological and historical underpinnings of Christian practice and faith in China, Japan and the Korean peninsula in the modern period (1600 to present). This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 317 China: Global Domination (4)

How did China become the economic and political success story of the 21st century? This class analyzes China's rise from the collapse of the imperial system, the failed republic, and the chaos of multiple wars as the nation revises, redefines, and resuscitates communism throughout the last 100 years.

Throughout the course, students will be expected to examine, analyze, and interpret what defines national success, how Chinese intellectuals, politicians, and bureaucrats have created their own definitions of national success (and failure), and whose interpretations prevail (and why) through discussions, information presentations, and analytical and reflective essays. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 319 Japanese History Through Horror: Monsters and Modernity (4)

This course examines horror in its myriad forms in the history and formation of modern Japan, from the Tokugawa period to the present. By exploring the historical context in which primary sources are produced (and in turn, reflect) and what the works represent, students will gain a broader understanding of how, why, and what fears helped to shape the historical development of modern Japanese culture and society and how these fears changed over time. While this course considers a wide variety of sources it places them within their historical contexts as a way to illuminate their respective periods. Historical information can and should be gleaned from such a variety of sources. This will be elaborated upon throughout class discussions and projects.

Throughout the course, students will be expected to examine and interpret the underlying themes and overarching topics of fear within historical contexts through in-class discussions, literary interpretation, and analytical papers.

By the end of the course, students will be well versed in Japanese historical phenomena. In addition, they will be able to provide insight into the psychology behind some of the historical tropes within Japanese society and parse the ways in which they differ and relate, most specifically how they have been interpreted to generate historical narratives. Lastly, they will be able to engage in historical analysis in diverse media. This course is  suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 321 Mexico from Aztecs to Independence (4)

The presence of the past immediately strikes foreign visitors to Mexico. In Mexico City, the sprawling cosmopolitan capital of Mexico, ancient pyramids and Spanish colonial churches stand next to glass and steel skyscrapers.

Remnants of the colonial past are particularly visible. Imposing Spanish cathedrals and palaces dominate the centers of almost all modern Mexican cities. Spanish monasteries and government buildings dot the rural landscape. The ubiquity of Spanish colonial art and architecture in modern-day Mexico testifies to the profound impact Spanish colonization had and continues to have on Mexico. The question we will explore during this semester is three-fold: 1) how did the Spaniards colonize Mexico from 1519-1821, 2) how did this process of colonization shape new societies and cultures in Mexico, and 3) how does this particular history of colonization continue to affect Mexico today? Major themes that we’ll examine in our exploration of colonial Mexico include: pre-Columbian culture, the Spanish conquest, religion, race relations, the family and gender, political reform, and independence. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 322 Mexico from Independence to Today (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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 324 Topics in Modern Latin American History Abroad (4)

Latin America is comprised of nearly 30 countries (depending on who’s counting) with very different histories especially in the post-colonial era (after 1800). The purpose of this course is to avoid deceptive over-generalizations about a complex region and (on a more positive note) provide historical perspective on issues of special interest to North American students. Course topics will vary. (Study abroad only.) This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 328 Missionaries and Empire (4)

This course focuses on the role of missionaries within the British Empire, focusing specifically on the African continent. Scholars have long debated the complicated relationship between missionaries and imperialism. Has the mission field been a place that aids imperial conquest, or one that resists it? What happens to religious belief in sites of colonial contact? In this course, we will explore these and other questions about the history of Christian missions and imperialism in Africa. In addition to studying the theological reasoning for missionary work, we will examine the effects of evangelism on anti-colonial resistance movements and postcolonial criticism. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 329 Guns, Gold and Slaves: Africa and the British Empire (4)

This course focuses on encounters between Great Britain and the African continent from the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the present. Topics include slavery and imperial conquest; the role of African men and women in reshaping British colonial power; cultural exchanges between Africa and Britain; settler violence and warfare; and the aftermath of independence. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 332 The Roman Empire (4)

An examination of the history of the Roman empire, beginning with Julius Caesar and Augustus, who introduced rule by Roman emperor in the late first century B.C.E., and ending with Constantine, who legalized Christianity in the fourth century C.E. Our point of departure is the vastness of this empire. It stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Euphrates River, from the North Sea to the Sahara Desert. As such, it encompassed and encountered numerous peoples and cultures, many subject to the power Rome. With this in mind, we will try to achieve a more balanced view of life in the Roman empire by investigating it from the perspective of the rulers and the ruled. To this end, we will (1) study the Roman emperors and their policies, (2) grapple with the struggles of an example subject people, the Jews, under Roman empire, and (3) support students in their pursuit of research projects that will underscore the rich diversity of experience within the Roman world. Throughout we will focus especially on the potential of ancient evidence to answer the following questions. What were the priorities of the Romans, and especially the emperor, in the maintenance of the Roman empire? What was the response of subject peoples like the ancient Jews to that empire? What strategies did they develop for political, cultural (especially religious), social, and economic survival? As we pursue these questions, students will have the opportunity to take part in many well-informed class discussions and to engage more deeply with particular issues through thoughtful papers and collaborative workgroup sessions. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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.” This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 350 Sex and Power in 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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 353 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. This course will help explain many of the ongoing challenges in American society, including battles over race, gender, state and individual rights, 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. This course  is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 355 Slavery in the 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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 357 United States from World War I to 1960 (4)

The period between 1920 and 1960 was marked by fundamental shifts in almost every aspect of American life. Technologically it spanned the gaps between horses and superhighways, telegraphs and computer networks, zeppelins and rocket ships, TNT and hydrogen bombs. Economically it ran from the unregulated boom of the 1920s, through the depths of the Great Depression, and into one of the longest periods of sustained economic growth in our nation's history. Politically it saw the end of the American socialist and Communist parties as significant players and the rise of new post-war coalitions and regional coalitions that reshaped political landscapes. International conflicts of this era, including WWII and the Cold War, continue to influence diplomatic, cultural, and economic relationships well into the 21st century. Cultural shifts-- including expanded civil rights for minorities and women as well as emerging generational divisions --yielded striking changes in communities across the nation, all during a period in which the US population grew by 75%. HIST 357 will explore the key events of these four tumultuous decades, including the economy of the "Roaring 20s," the political and cultural responses to the Great Depression, life in wartime America of the 1940s, and the post-war economic and social changes that gave rise to the Baby Boom and greater economic opportunity for more Americans than ever before. We will examine primary and secondary sources ranging from novels to scholarly articles, popular films to newspaper advertisements, all with the goals of developing your sense of what happened during these decades, why those events happened, and what the longer-term consequences were for the American people. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.

HIST 369 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 beyond the binary of masculinities and femininities and the intersection with other identities from European colonization to the present day, and how those meanings have changed based on the needs or anxieties of the time. 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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course.



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 395 Historiography (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: 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: 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 select any memory-related topic for their final project in this course. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 395C Historiography: 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. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 395D Historiography: 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. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 395E Historiography: Idols & Images in Colonial Mexico (4)

After the fall of Aztecs, the conquering Spaniards attempted to impose a late-medieval version of Catholicism on the indigenous populations of Mexico. What resulted from this “Spiritual Conquest?” Historians have pondered this question for decades. Whatever the result, religion constituted a sphere of struggle during the almost 300 years of Spanish rule over what was then called New Spain. This class examines how historians have thought and written about religion in colonial Mexico and how historians’ ideas about it have changed over time. In short, this course aims to introduce students to the concept of historiography and thus hone student skills of sophisticated historical analysis and habits of mind. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 395F Historiography: Remembering and Revising the Pacific War (4)

This class is designed to introduce and hone advanced skills of historical analysis. We will focus our reading, writing, and discussion this semester on the concept of historiography. The term has several interconnected meanings: the philosophy of historical analysis, the study of the history of historical analysis, and the changing ways historians have written about a particular topic over time. We will explore these three principle meanings of historiography as we read about, write about, and discuss how historians have interpreted and debated Japanese involvement in the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II, and its aftermath. Offered for A-F grading only.

HIST 395G Historiography: From Women’s History to Gender History (4)

In this course, intended for advanced History majors, we will analyze the development of historical interpretation in the field of women’s history and the transition to the study of gender history. We will explore how US historians have interpreted the gendered past to gain a better understanding of the questions, approaches, theories, and types of evidence that historians have used to construct arguments over time and why they often disagree among themselves. This course emphasizes research skills and historical analysis in preparation for individual projects in HIST 399 Senior Thesis.  Offered for A-F grading only

HIST 397 Internship (1-8)

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 399 Senior Thesis (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 200 and 395. Those majors seeking to graduate with “Distinction in History” must take COLG 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.

Brendan Lempe

I have taken several history courses, from China: Global Domination to Roman Empire. This has been time well spent. History classes have helped me develop writing, research, and critical thinking skills that I’ve used both in school and at work. To me, history is a worthwhile, and fun, investment in my future.

Brendan Lempe ’22
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Dr. Gregory Schroeder 
Chair, History Department
CSB Richarda N1