Course Offerings - Fall 2020
HIST 314 MISSIONARY POSITIONS: CHRISTIANITY IN EAST ASIA (TU, HM, IC)
Dr. Elisheva Perelman, MWF, 9:30, CSB
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 130 ANCIENT WORLD (HM, HE, T1)
Dr. Jason Schlude, MWF, 1:50, SJU
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 142A OLD REGIME TO EUROPEAN UNION (HM, HE, J1)
Dr. Gregory Schroeder, MWF, 1:00, CSB
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 (HM, HE, J1)
Dr. Brittany Merritt Nash, TR, 1:05, CSB
This course examines European history since 1750, prior to the French Revolution, and concludes with transformation of the continent after the Cold War. Students will examine various themes that shaped this period of transformation in European society, such as the nature and effects of revolutions, imperial expansion and collapse, global war and genocide, and life under totalitarian regimes. Through our discussions of primary sources, combined with interactive activities like mock trials and debates, students will be able to develop their reading, critical thinking, and argumentative writing skills.
HIST 349 Modern Russia (HM, GE)
Dr. Gregory Schroeder, MWF, 9:30, CSB
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 121 AZTECS, INCAS AND MAYAS: FROM INDIGENOUS EMPIRES TO CONQUERED PEOPLES (HM, HE, M1)
Dr. Brian Larkin, TR, 9:55, CSB
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 321 MEXICO FROM AZTECS TO INDEPENDENCE (HM, IC)
Dr. Brian Larkin, TR, 1:05, CSB
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 Spaniards colonize Mexico from 1519-1821 and how did Mexico’s vast indigenous populations challenge and undermine Spanish hegemony, 2) how did this fraught and contested 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 colonial Mexico include: pre-contact indigenous cultures, the Spanish conquest, religion, race relations, family and gender, political reform, and independence.
HIST 152B LIBERTY, EMPIRE AND FAITH (HM, CI, GE, IC)
Dr. Jonathan Merritt Nash, MWF, 10:40, CSB
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 (HM, CI, GE, IC)
Dr. Ken Jones, TR, 11:30, CSB
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 153 GROWING UP IN US HISTORY (CI, GE, IC)
Dr. Shannon Smith, MWF, 9:30, CSB
This course will explore 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 the range of ideals of femininity, masculinity, 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 300C SPORT AND SOCIETY IN 20TH CENTURY AMERICA (HM, GE)
Dr. Ken Jones, TR, 8:20, CSB
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 350 SEX AND POWER IN EARLY AMERICA (HM, GE)
Dr. Jonathan Merritt Nash, MWF, 1:00, CSB
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 360 US ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY (HM)
Dr. Derek Larson, TR, 2:20, SJU
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 369 GENDER IN UNITED STATES HISTORY (HM, GE)
Dr. Shannon Smith, MWF, 10:40, CSB
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 295B HISTORY IN POPULAR CULTURE
Dr. Shannon Smith, MWF, 1:00, CSB
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 395A INTERPRETING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Dr. Jonathan Merritt Nash, MW (flex), 2:10, CSB
“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.
HIST 399 SENIOR THESIS (EL)
Dr. Elisabeth Wengler, TR, 2:40, CSB
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.