Course Descriptions

 

111. Introduction to History

This course introduces students to the discipline of history by exploring compelling themes or problems in history. Through study of different topics, each section instructor will teach students the core methodological skills of historical analysis and interpretation. Students are expected to appreciate differing interpretations of the same historical questions. Students will study appropriate primary and secondat sources in the field, and learn the basic analytical and writing skills historians use to interpret the past. Various topics offered each semester, such as "The Underground Railroad," "The Invention of Childhood," "American Home Front," "Russian Revolution," "Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine," "Small Worlds of Early America," and "America in the 1960s."

201. History of the United States to 1865

A survey of United States history through the Civil War, this course begins with the history of the first residents of North America, Native Americans. Includes the founding and development of the various colonies that eventually joined to form a new nation, and the early history of that nation--political, economic, and social. Themes include religious and reform movements, the roles of women, race and slavery, immigration and migration.


202. History of the United States From 1865

 This survey of United States history starts with the Reconstruction era and traces the growth of the nation to the present. We will study how the nation was restored after the Civil War, how the U.S. industrialized, urbanized, and became a world power in the twentieth century. Themes include race relations, immigration, gender, labor organization, western migration. Note: HIS 201 is not a pre-requisite to HIS 202.

203. Modern World History I

A survey of world history from the fourteenth century to the end of the eighteenth. This course treats the increasing integration of world civilizations through commercial and cultural interactions and traces the emergence of Europe as a center of global economic and military power. Prominent themes include the Mongol empire, Black Death, Age of Exploration, Reformation, Gunpowder empires, Enlightenment, and French revolution.

204. Modern World History II

A survey of world history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course examines the world in the age of global integration and includes such themes as the rise of republicanism and nationalism, the industrial revolution, imperialism, communism and fascism, the world wars, the Cold War, and globalization, among others. Note: HIS 203 is not a pre-requisite to HIS 204.

205. Early Origins of Western Civilization

Focuses on ancient societies, from Sumer through imperial Rome, whose cultures contributed to the development of Western civilization. The course stresses the multiplicity of cultures that melded and conflicted in the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds, and looks to the origins of cultural symbols that appear and reappear in the emerging Western world.

313. Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century America

The social, economic, and political structure of Colonial America; the background and development of the American Revolution; and the interaction of social and political life during the Confederation, Constitutional, and Federalist periods. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

315. The Early Republic

This course explores the history of the early American republic from the framing of the Constitution to the Civil War. The course investigates the clash between Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian visions, the development of party politics and a popular political culture, territorial expansion and the dispossession of Native Americans, the spread of King Cotton and slavery, the transportation and market revolutions, religious revival and social reform, and the sectional conflict between North and South. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

319. African-American History

This course examines the history of African Americans from the colonial era to the present. We will trace the Black experience from African origins through more than two centuries of enslavement to emancipation in 1865. We will examine the fight for citizenship and equality during Reconstruction, the segregation era, and the the civil rights movement. While including examination of the nature of racism and race relations, we will be focusing particularly on Black initiative, and the role African Americans have played in all aspects of American history. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

334. The American Civil War

This course encompasses the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) in all pertinent areas. In addition to military history, the course reviews significant historical interpretations of the causes and effects of the Civil War; the dimensions of social, economic, political, and diplomatic history pertaining to the war; and the evolution of war aims relating to the central issues of slavery and race relations. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

335. Reconstruction and the Gilded Age

The era from the end of the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century saw some of the greatest changes in American history. We will examine the rebuilding of Reconstruction from the desire to restore national unity to the attempts of individual freedmen and women to carve out new lives and rights for themselves. The era also saw a turn from Victorianism to Modernity, as industrialization, urbanization, and immigration proceeded at a rapid pace, causing tension between rural and urban people, old ways and new. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required. 

336. Progressivism and the Twenties

Focuses on one of the great reform eras in American history. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Progressives pushed for women's rights, prohibition, "good government", protection for workers and consumers, and more. We'll also look at World War I, especially impact on the homefront. We'll examine both the well-known side of the Twenties--economic success and high living, and the not-so-well known aspects, like the rise of the KKK, and anti-immigration sentiment. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

337. The New Deal and World War II

A study encompassing a period dominated by the presidential leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Emphasis is placed on the crisis and challenge of the Great Depression, the interlude of Herbert Hoover’s administration, the themes and occasional contradictions of the New Deal, the struggles for the redefinition of American society, and the challenge of totalitarian aggression in World War II. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

343. History of American Women

Examines the private lives and public roles of women throughout American history, from colonial settlement to the present. Social attitudes and laws and policies affecting women are studied, as well as women’s daily lives, experiences, and accomplishments. Attention is given to women of different races, classes, and ethnic backgrounds. Topics include women’s right to vote; involvement in reform movements; family life; education; birth control and abortion; and economic activities. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

351. Ancient Rome

The social, cultural, and political history of ancient Rome and its dominions, from prehistory through the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century C.E. Topics will include republican and imperial government, Rome’s army and conquests, the Roman family, Roman religion, and the rise of Christianity. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.


354. Renaissance and Reformation

A study of Europe in the period 1400-1648. Cultural developments in fifteenth-century Italy are the starting point; students then explore religious and political change, and social and economic trends throughout Europe. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

355. Women in Medieval Europe

A seminar exploring the lives of women and their role in society from the fifth through the fifteenth centuries. Topics include legal status, economic activity, marriage and family, and women in religion. Readings include both traditional and feminist-influenced secondary works, medieval works about and for women, and the writings of medieval women themselves. Discussion is a major component of the course. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

357. Early Islamic Civilization

Early Islamic civilization from its origins in Arabia to its expression in several imperial regimes in the sixteenth century (e.g. Ottoman, Mughal). We will examine the creation of a Muslim community, the development of a rich and dynamic civilization, the competing claims for political and religious authority, the forging of empires and their break-up, as well as contacts with the non-Muslim societies. Thus we will be studying a universal religion as it was expressed and incorporated into a variety of unique cultures that differed in ethnicity, language, geography and beliefs. Students will acquire an understanding of basic vocabulary, geography, historical sources and narrative, through directed readings, lecture and class discussion. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

360. Twentieth-Century Germany

A study of the impact of military defeat and economic crisis on the institutions, foreign and domestic politics, and society of modern Germany from the first World War to the reunified Germany of today. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

371. History of South Africa

Traces the political, economic, and social history of the Republic of South Africa. Beginning with the earliest inhabitants, the course traces the diversity of African institutions, the establishment of European colonies, the policy of apartheid, and African resistance. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

372. Colonial Latin America

This course surveys Spanish and Portuguese America from the pre-Columbian era to the present. Topics include the origins and evolution of indigenous civilizations, the process of European conquest and colonization, the formation of mixed cultures, and the struggle for independence. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

381. History of Modern China

This course traces the history of China from roughly 1800 to the present. It devotes special attention to the development of nationalism and communism in China and China’s uneasy relationship with the West. Topics will include the Opium War and Taiping Rebellion, Republican era and warlordism, China in the Pacific War, Maoism and the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, among others. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

383. History of Modern Japan

An examination of Japan from the late Tokugawa era (ca. 1800-1868) to the present. The course looks at the causes and consequences of the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s rise as a modern industrial state, its struggle with democratic government, imperialist expansion, the impact of World War II on the country’s subsequent political, social, and economic development, the “Japanese Miracle” of the 1970s, and Japan’s current difficulties in confronting its past and defining its place in the twenty-first century. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.    

391, 392. Russia and the Soviet Union

Russian political, social, economic, and cultural developments from the founding of the first eastern Slavic state to the present. The first semester treats Kievan Rus, Muscovy, and the Imperial period from Peter the Great to Alexander II. The second semester deals with the final decades of the Russian autocracy, the revolutionary movement, World War I, the revolutions of 1917, the Civil War, and the history of the Soviet Union to the end of the Gorbachev era. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

399. Historical Method

A study of history as a discipline. Classroom lecture and discussion on fundamental aspects of research and synthesis plus the history of historical writing. With the help of an assigned advisor, each student prepares first a prospectus and then a preliminary chapter of the eventual senior thesis in history. Both papers are presented to the class for comment and review in workshop format. Enrollment is limited to history majors. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

414. Comparative Cultural Encounters

This seminar examines interactions among native, European, and African peoples during the initial centuries of North American colonization. Situating the American colonies within a broader Atlantic World and offering a comparative approach, the course investigates processes of cultural conflict, exchange, adaptation, and transformation. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

473. Latin American Literature as History

This seminar employs new and classic novels to investigate diverse trends in modern Latin American history, focusing on the insight each text offers into the land’s people and institutions. Collectively, these volumes illuminate sweeping historical themes, harnessing personal stories to broad, impersonal forces and surveying a range of topics, from poverty and repression to adaptation and rebellion. Prerequisite: HIS 111 or two 200-level history courses taken at the college level required.

190, 290, 390, 490. Internship

 194, 294, 394, 494. Special Topics in History

Intensive study of specialized topics or limited periods in American history. The course will be offered only occasionally and topics will vary. Prerequisite: One year in introductory sequence in history required.

195, 295, 395, 495. On-campus Research

196, 296, 396, 496. Off-campus Research  

197, 297, 397, 497. Independent Study

 

SCE. Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone is History consists of completion of a senior thesis, and presentation of the student's work in a public poster session. During the spring term of their junior year, all History majors enroll in Historical Method (HIS 399). In this course, students begin the process of planning their senior theses. During their senior year, students, guided by a faculty advisor, work to research, write and revise their theses. present them to the Department and the College community in the form of a poster demonstrating the student's main conclusions and research process. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors should request permission to attempt an honors thesis. Students who wish to be candidates for honors on the senior thesis must have a 3.5 grade point average by the start of Spring semester junior year.