Spring 2018 Offerings


HIST 114 Introduction to Pre-modern East Asia (HM)
Dr. Elisheva Perelman, MWF, 9:30, CSB 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 317 Talking About a Revolution: Intellectuals in Modern China (HM)
Dr. Elisheva Perelman, MWF, 1:00, CSB This course looks at China in the 20th century and the intellectuals who attempted consciously to direct or deflect its agonizing transformation and incorporation into the “modern” world then dominated by Euro-America and the Soviet Union.


HIST 141 Europe from the Black Death to the French Revolution (HM)
Dr. Elisabeth Wengler, MWF, 8:20, CSB 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 142B Europe Since 1750 (HM)
Dr. Brittany Merritt, TR, 1:05, CSB
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 329 Colonialism and Culture: Everyday Life in the British Empire (HM)
Dr. Brittany Merritt, MW, 2:10, CSB
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. This course is suitable for students of any major, including those who have not taken a previous history course. 

HIST 332 The 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 the emperor 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 numerous peoples and cultures—all subject to the power of Rome.  With this in mind, we will attempt 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 influential policies, then (2) grapple with the struggles of a well-documented subject people, the Jews, under Roman empire, and finally (3) support students in their pursuit of research projects that will underscore the diversity of experience within the Roman world.

HIST 337 The Age of Reformation (HM, cross-listed with THEO 319E)
Dr. Elisabeth Wengler, MWF, 10:40, CSB
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 322 Mexico from Independence to Today (HM, IC)
Dr. Brian Larkin, TR, 9:55, CSB
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 152B North America from the European Invasion to the Confederate Rebellion (HM)
Dr. Jonathan 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)
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 300P The Invention of Race in the 19th Century United States (HM, IC)
Dr. Shannon Smith, TR, 11:30, CSB
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.

HIST 351 The American Revolution (HM)
Dr. Jonathan Nash, TR, 1:05, CSB
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 United States since 1960 (HM, GE)
Dr. Ken Jones, TR, 8:20, CSB
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 United States Environmental History (HM, cross-listed with ENVR 360)
Dr. Derek Larson, MWF, 11:30, 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 200B History in Popular Culture (Intended for HIST majors/minors, but open to all students)
Dr. Shannon Smith, MWF , 11:50, 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 395E Historiography: Idols and Images in Colonial Mexico
Dr. Brian Larkin, TR, 1:05, CSB
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. 

HIST 399 Senior Thesis
Dr. Elisheva Perelman, 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. Prerequisite: 395. Offered for A-F grading only.

Academic Catalog Course Descriptions