Course Offerings - Spring 2020
HIST 114: Confusingly Confucian: Creating East Asia before 1600 (HM)
Dr. Elisheva Perelman, MWF, 11:50, CSB
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 319: Japanese History Through Horror: Monsters & Modernity (GE, HM)
Dr. Elisheva Perelman, MWF, 9:30
This course examines horror in its myriad forms in the history and formation of modern Japan, from the 17th century to the present. By exploring the historical context in which various literary, political, religious, and cultural 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. 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 (HM, IC, TU)
Dr. Brian Larkin, TR 9:55 and 11:30 (two sections), CSB
The multitude of churches and the seemingly constant tolling of church bells immediately strike most visitors to Latin America. It is impossible to walk more than a few blocks in any direction in the colonial centers of Latin American cities without encountering a church. In rural villages, churches are the centers of community. It is simply undeniable that religious sentiment runs high in Latin America. But what type of sentiment? How have diverse groups of Latin Americans practiced and experienced religion? Catholicism has dominated religious culture in Latin America until recently, but have Latin-American peoples practiced a uniform type of Catholicism over the past 500 years? Furthermore, in the 20th century, Protestantism has spread in the region. Why have people in the most Catholic area of the world been attracted to new religious currents over the last century? We’ll address these and other questions in our readings and discussions over the course of the semester.
Major themes that we’ll examine in our exploration of religion in Latin America include: pre-Columbian religious practices, the “Spiritual Conquest,” or conversion of the Indians to Christianity during the colonial period, indigenous variants of Catholicism, 18th-century critiques of traditional Catholic worship, modern secular assaults on religion, the rise and spread of Protestantism, and the emergence and trajectory of liberation theology in Latin America.
HIST 141: Black Death to the French Revolution (HM)
Dr. Elisabeth Wengler, TR, 8:20, CSB
Students will investigate the tension between traditionalism and revolution from the Black Death through the Age of Napoleon. Highlights include a role play game set during the Black Death in England, 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 142B: Europe Since 1850 (HM)
Dr. Brittany Merritt, TR, 9:55, 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 328: Missionaries and the British Empire (GE, HM, TU)
Dr. Brittany Merritt, TR, 1:05, CSB
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 332: Roman Empire (HM)
Dr. Jason Schlude, MWF, 12:40, SJU
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 344: Modern Germany (GE, IC, HM)
Dr. Gregory Schroeder, MWF, 11:50, CSB
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 152B: US Liberty, Empire and Faith (HM)
Dr. Jonathan Nash, MWF, 1:00, 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 (HM)
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 351: American Revolution (HM)
Dr. Jonathan Nash, TR, 9:55
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 358: US Since 1960 (GE, HM)
Dr. Ken Jones, TR, 8:20
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: US Environmental History (HM)
Dr. Derek Larson, MW (flex) 1:50-3:10, 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 295A (previously HIST 200): Debating the French Revolution
Dr. Elisabeth Wengler, TR, 1:05, CSB
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 begin the semester by immersing ourselves in the years 1789-1791 through an intensive role play game in which you, the students, become revolutionaries and debate the future of France! Students assume, research and embody the roles of various revolutionary factions in the National Assembly and create France’s first constitution while responding to events in the Parisian streets. You will analyze a variety of primary sources (including 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) from the perspective of your role. 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.
HIST 395B: History and Memory and the Politics of Remembering
Dr. Gregory Schroeder, TR, 8:20, CSB
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 399: Senior Thesis
Dr. Elisheva Perelman
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.