Program & Classes
The Major in History
The history major consists of 10 courses. Ordinarily students complete:
- three 100-level courses, one dealing with Europe, one with the U.S., and a third with an area outside Europe or the U.S.
- four 200-level courses, one of which must be HIST 270: “Historical Methods and Interpretations.”
- three 300-level courses, one of which must be the Senior Seminar.
The Minor in History
The history minor consists of HIST 270: “Historical Methods and Interpretations” and four other courses to be elected from among at least two of the three major areas in the department curriculum (Europe, U.S., outside U.S. and Europe).
The Major in Historical Studies
The Historical Studies major is for students who plan to teach social studies in the secondary schools. It consists of 8 courses:
- three 100-level courses, one dealing with Europe, one with the U.S., and a third with an area outside Europe or the U.S.
- three 200-level courses, one of which must be HIST 270: “Historical Methods and Interpretations.”
- two 300-level course.
100-level courses are introductory surveys satisfying M1 or M5 LinC requirements. These courses teach analytical skills through the use of primary sources and are open to all students without prerequisite. Students should take at least one of these courses in their first year.
200-level courses address a wide range of thematic topics. Usually they do not satisfy LinC requirements (except in a few cases that meet M5). They are open to all students who have completed a 100-level history course.
300-level courses are seminars that encourage original research from primary sources (often in translation and in published form). These courses provide an environment for students to apply skills in historiographical and source analysis developed in previous courses. They are open to all students who have completed a 100-level history course and HIST 270: “Historical Methods and Interpretations.”
Courses in the History Department:
112. European Civilization since 1500. The history of Europe gives us initial insight into how the human construct called Western civilization has emerged. By exploring this history, we locate ourselves in time and place, thus helping us judge our position and possibilities. The course is an intellectual adventure in which we find our basic assumptions and values constantly challenged. What do we mean by “state” or “race”? What about our civilization is Western, and what is non-Western? (M1) Lempa
113. The United States to 1877. American society, politics, and culture from the first settlements through Reconstruction, including the colonial experience, the Revolutionary War, the new political order, transformation of economic and social systems in the Jacksonian age, and the crisis of the republic in the Civil War. Designed to give overall perspective and an introduction that can be followed by more specialized coursework. (M1) Paxton
114. The United States since 1865. American politics, society, and culture from the Civil War to the present, including Reconstruction, late 19th-century urban-industrial world, Populist-Progressive era, America’s emergence as an international power in two world wars, the 1920s, Great Depression, and 1945 to the present. Designed to give overall perspective and an introduction that can be followed by more specialized coursework. (M1) Staff
121. Arabic-Islamic Civilization. The Near Eastern world from the late Byzantine through emergence and development of Arabic-Islamic civilization. Reviews pre-Islamic Arabia and the Near East, achievements of the Prophet Muhammad, establishment of the Islamic religion, the caliphate, and the Arab Empire, including Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East. Islamic religion, law, mysticism, literature, art and architecture, and the Arabic-Islamic renaissance and its impact on the West via Islamic Spain. Ends by considering the Arabic-Islamic world in modern times. (M5) Staff
122. Topics in Asian History. Selected topics in the history of China, Japan, India, Korea, or Southeast Asia. Offered occasionally as staff is available; course includes historical and contemporary frameworks. Staff
126. African Civilizations. History and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa. Topics include human evolution in Africa, traditional lifestyles and beliefs, development of African kingdoms, Atlantic slave trade, European colonialism, and problems of modern African states to the present. (M5) Keim
127. Latin America in the Colonial Era. Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the Americas and struggles for independence, including ancient American civilizations, Iberian background and influence, Age of Discovery and conquest, development of colonial institutions, cultural and intellectual development, race and racial mixtures, colonial rebellions, wars of independence. (M1) Aguilar
128. 19th- and 20th-Century Latin America. Tradition and revolt in Latin America, the Hispanic-American caudillo, U.S.-Latin American relations, republican histories of Argentina, Mexico, and Cuba. (M5) Aguilar
129. Mexico: Revolution and Globalization. This course allows students to explore the issues associated with political revolution and economics globalization in Latin America by focusing exclusively on the modern history of a single nation, Mexico. After a brief survey of Mexico's indigenous and colonial experiences, this course primarily covers elements of Mexico's evolution during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, beginning with a comparison of Mexico's independence movement to the American Revolution. It continues through the circumstances surrounding the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the impact of NAFTA of 1994, and the political transition fostered by the 2000 elections. (M5) Aguilar
130. Ancient Greece. History of the Greeks through Alexander the Great, with emphasis on readings in primary sources including Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plato. Topics include the classical city-state, invention of democracy, emergence of Greek philosophy and science, and diffusion of Greek culture. (M1) Staff
131. Ancient Rome. Roman history through the emperor Justinian. Traces history of Roman state-building, with emphasis on social history, religion, and Roman law. Extensive readings in Roman sources. (M1) Staff
140. Medieval Europe. The emergence of Western European civilization from the remnants of Roman and Germanic cultures, c. 500-1500 CE. Topics include the spread of Christianity, evolution of aristocracy and peasantry, the growth of towns, clashes between church and state, the emergence of universities, and the demographic disasters of the plague and warfare of the late Middle Ages. (M1) Bardsley
141. England through the Reign of Elizabeth. Survey
from the Neolithic era to the start of the 17th century. Topics include
Roman Britain, Anglo-Saxon Britain, Viking invasions, the Norman
Conquest, the growth of law and Parliament, relationships between
church and state, the Black Death, the Reformation, and everyday
lives of members of each social class. (M1) Bardsley
214. Classical Mythology. (Also Religion 214) Introduction to the major myths of Greek antiquity, including stories of the gods and legendary accounts of heroes. Topics include the purposes that myths served in Greek society, modern interpretations of myths, and survival of Greek myths in contemporary American culture. Staff
216. The Ancient Near East and Europe to 1715. Explores the history of the ancient Near East and Europe from prehistoric times to the early modern period. Among the civilizations surveyed are those of the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and medieval and early modern Europeans. Intended for history or historical studies majors who already have taken at least one history course. Aims to provide overall perspective on pre-modern history to help students contextualize other courses and develop a broader understanding of the narrative of European history. Bardsley
218. Europe in the 20th Century. Formative experiences in European history in the long 20th century (1871 through the end of the Cold War). After the suffering and chaos of the bloodiest century in human experience, how did Europe emerge as a region of stability and prosperity at the end of the 20th century? This course examines the impact of war and violence on European politics and culture, tracing the reconstruction of the New Europe after the 1940s, student protests in the 1960s, the breakdown of the Cold War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. While probing European ethnicities and ideologies, it also will explore values, gender roles, and lifestyles. Lempa
219. Bismarck to Hitler to Fischer: History of Modern Germany. Traces Germany’s historical path from 1848 to 1990, starting with the German states’ struggle toward modernization and unification in the late 19th century. Explores Germany’s experience and role in World War I; the cultural euphoria, political misery, and economic despair of the Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933; and the Holocaust. Discusses Germany’s role in the Cold War and the cultural battles of the 1960, ending with the surprising national reunification in 1990. Lempa
220. The Holocaust. Discusses the persecution and mass killing of European Jews by Nazi Germany. Describes anti-Semitism in historical context and explores the complexities of ultimate moral choices by asking how a cultured civilization produced mass killers and an educated class went unprotesting to its extermination. Students will explore the experience of those who were sent to the camps, how they constructed a kind of everyday life, and how gender influenced their experience. Finally, we study how and why the world outside Germany—foreign governments, intellectuals, religious and humanitarian groups—reacted to or failed to confront the Holocaust. (U2) Lempa
227. Modern South Africa. (Also Political Science 227). This course will introduce and analyze the modern history and politics of the Republic of South Africa and its neighbors. The course will emphasize the development of political, economic, and social structures; current actors; and prospects for change. Specific topics will include British, Afrikaner, and Portuguese colonial policies; the development of African nationalism and the transition to majority rule; and the policies and prospects of modern Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. (M5) Keim
237. Popular Culture in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Customs, beliefs, and activities of ordinary people during the Middle Ages and early modern period. Topics include witchcraft, riots and rebellions, carnivals, and heresies. Attention to historians’ methods of approaching the lives of ordinary, non-elite people of the past and the ways in which they explore the lives of subalterns using sometimes hostile sources. Bardsley
238. Women in Europe 500-1700. (Also Women’s Studies 238) Experiences of women and attitudes toward women in medieval and early modern Europe, especially on ways in which women’s lives were shaped by social status, marital status, and religion. Students will develop their ability to identify arguments within historical writing, assess ways in which historians use evidence, and understand some of the major debates among historians about women and their status. Bardsley
239. Victorian Ladies and Other Women: England and America, 1837-1914. (Also Women’s Studies 239) How 19th- and early 20th-century women in England and America functioned in society and shaped it. Topics include reform of divorce laws, married women’s property rights, access to higher education, and suffrage, as well as less “public” issues: women’s philanthropic and cultural activities, health, and family relationships. Loengard
241. Colonial America. Background and settlement of North American colonies, development of British colonial policy, colonial civilization, and the revolutionary movement to separate colonies from the empire and create a new nation. Paxton
243. The United States 1815-1877: National Development and Sectional Crisis. Internal development of the U.S. from the War of 1812 through the Civil War and Reconstruction, including the westward movement, reform impulses, social and economic effects of early industrialization. Paxton
245. The United States 1945 to the Present. Topics include the Vietnam War, the civil rights revolution, the counterculture of the ’60s, conflicts in Israel and the Gulf War, the Nixon administration and its moral and constitutional crisis (Watergate) in the ’70s, the “Reagan Revolution” of the ’80s, and the Clinton administration and its moral and constitutional crisis in the ’90s. Staff
248. American Social History. Survey from the 17th to 20th centuries. Topics include social structure, social mobility, historical demography, institutions, race and ethnic relations, urban and rural mentalities, popular assumptions about the nature of society. Some attention to methodology of the “new social history.” Staff
255. The United States and Latin America: History of Their Relations. Explores the historical creation and transformations of a variety of relations connecting the nations of Latin America with the United States. Students will discuss issues of national sovereignty, economic development, political revolution, defense strategy, human rights, and immigration as they pertain to these relations. Attention to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America in their interaction with the United States. (M5) Aguilar
260. Environmental History. Explores the changing relationship between human agency and the environment over the course of world history. Themes include the agricultural and industrial revolutions, the integration of world ecozones, historical epidemiology, and the impact of technological change on the environment. Keim
270. Historical Methods and Interpretations. The first half of the course introduces the main philosophies and schools of historical analysis: Marxist history, psychohistory, Annaliste, women’s, social, and cultural history. Topics include contributions of major historians and current historical debates and controversies. In the second half, students receive a systematic introduction to historical research, including major research tools in the field, research methods and strategies, models of historical research, preparation and evaluation of formal presentations on historical topics. Required for history and historical studies majors. Prerequisite: Any history course. Writing-intensive. Staff
371. Senior Seminar. Students will prepare a research paper suitable for delivery at an undergraduate conference. Topics, which must be approved by the instructor, may be from any area of study covered in the department courses. One member of the department will direct the seminar and hold its weekly meetings, but all history faculty will serve as advisors as the students prepare their projects. Prerequisites: Senior standing and completion of at least one history seminar and History 270. Fall. One 2-hour period. Staff
372. Seminar: Disease in History. After general readings and discussion of disease as a historical force, students will write a research paper dealing with the ways in which diseases have altered the course of history. Using primary sources, they may examine the demographic, social, economic, or cultural consequences of disease in a specific time and place. Possibilities include the plagues of the Roman Empire, the Black Death in late medieval Europe and Asia, the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia, and the AIDS epidemic in our own time. Bardsley
374. Seminar: History of the Emotions. What are emotions? How have they been used and manipulated throughout history? Was a middle-class man (or woman) entitled to have emotions? What is love, and what have been its institutions over time? The seminar will examine the emotional background of French and German dueling in the 19th century, as well as the emotions and reactions of those whose duty was to destroy all enemies of the nation. This research seminar explores one of the most profound features of human identity over the last 500 years, and one that has received little attention from history. Lempa
375. Seminar: First People of North America. Provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary methodology of ethnohistory with which students will explore the history of First People within the U.S. and Canada. Because of the diversity and complexity of First People's cultures, this course will explore select themes, including but not limited to oral history, cosmology and religion, colonization, disease, trade, and cultural change and continuity. Using primary sources, students will write an ethnohistorical research paper on a topic of their choice. Paxton
385. History Fellowship (click for more information). Highly motivated history and history/education students may be chosen as History Fellows: teaching assistants for the lower-level survey courses. They will assist the professor in preparing the class; serve as tutors; and lead group discussions and moderate Blackboard discussions. The fellows will enjoy one-to-one interaction with faculty, gain a sense of responsibility, learn to think strategically about pedagogical issues, and deepen their knowledge of the course material. The fellowship ends with a substantial research paper or journal. Prerequisites: Second-semester sophomore standing (or higher) and QPA of 3.50 or above in the major; a grade of at least A– in the survey course to which the fellow is assigned; competitive application process, including interview with department chair. Staff
190-199, 290-299, 390-399. Special Topics.
381-384. Independent Study (click for more information).
386-389. Field Study (click for more information).
400-401. Honors (click for more information).