Below please find course descriptions (also available in Explore) for all our undergraduate courses for Fall 2017. Please contact the Department for any questions.
HIST 007 Intro Early History: World I or Europe I
For College students, all sections of HIST 007 or HIST 008 fulfill the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
Please note that if you receive AP/IB placement or credit, you cannot take HIST 007 (or 008 or 099) for credit.
The various sections of HIST 007 have different focuses, for which see below; moreover, each instructor may develop or stress particular themes within her/his focus. Students are urged to consult syllabi available on line or at the History Department.
The World I sections examine the history of the human experience from a global perspective. The bulk of the semester concerns societies and states from the time of ancient civilizations to about 1500 AD. The course pays particular attention to political, economic, and social changes, but also considers cultural, technological, and ecological history. The evolving relationship between human identities and their social and material environments forms one of the major points of analytical focus for this course. The overarching goal is to provide a general framework for the history of the world to help students understand the big picture, and to help them to contextualize what they will later study about history, politics, religion--in short, about the human experience.
The Europe I sections offer an analysis of the major political, social, economic, diplomatic, religious, intellectual, and scientific developments in European Civilization to 1789.
HIST 099 History Focus: [various topics]
HIST 099 is one of the required core classes in History. All sections of HIST 099 fulfill the same role, though each instructor will develop a specific topic. Students are urged to consult syllabi available on line or at the History Department.
Please note that if you receive AP/IB placement or credit, you cannot take HIST 099 (or 007 or 008) for credit.
Please note that HIST 099 must be taken at GU and cannot be transfered.
The general aim of HIST 099 is to introduce students to various elements of historical work and thinking, within the context of looking at a particular historical period, event, or theme in some depth. Though lectures and discussion will focus on particular topics, there will also be class exercises, assignments, and readings that will allow instructors and students to explore how historians identify, define, and employ primary sources of all types, how historians analyze those sources, how they formulate questions, how they engage with the work of prior historians, and how they aim to reconstruct various elements of the human experience in particular times and places.
HIST 101 Internship Tutorial Fall
Majors may petition to attach a 3-credit tutorial to an outside internship during the Fall or Spring semester. Eligible internships will require at least 10 hours a week, and include substantial research and writing, in an area at least somewhat related to historical work. The petition should include a description of the internship and a statement of how the student sees the internship fit with the student’s academic progress. The internship tutorial will consist primarily of meetings with a faculty supervisor to discuss the progress of the internship research and work and to review work written for the internship, and of writing a reflection paper that, among other things, connects the internship experience with the student’s academic work.
HIST 105 First-year seminar: The City in World History
This seminar course is designed for first-year students with advanced placement in history who have an interest in pursuing the study of history at the upper level.
Civilization, citizenship, politics, police, cosmopolitanism, the Met and the Metro; these terms are all derived from the word city (civitas, polis), an institution that has defined and molded the human experience since the origin of complex societies. Cities brought together diverse peoples, technologies, ideologies and diseases; in cities, concepts of sophistication, civilization, and modernity arose, and debates about these ideas shaped urban space and were subsequently imposed upon the rural landscape. For most of recorded history, urban living was the exception, a privilege reserved for the elite few whose power and knowledge allowed them to live off the surplus produced in agricultural villages. In the present world, though, urbanity has become the dominant way of life, a transformation that has created enormous new challenges in sanitation, disease control, food provision, and environmental stewardship.
This course will focus on the urban experience in world history from the foundation of cities in the ancient world to the present, with a particular emphasis on the reciprocal role of cities as both the sources and objects of visions, designs, and policies for making and remaking the human experience. Following a thematic approach, readings, projects and course discussions will examine such topics as: the representation of social values in urban design, the city as the progenitor of democracy and oligarchy, utopian visions of urbanity, the city as the site and object of revolution, and world politics as a reflection of an urban vs. rural dynamic. We will try to understand why the urban experience has proved so crucial (and possibility dangerous) to human civilization, as well as well as how the meaning of urbanity has changed over time.
HIST 106 Atlantic World
For College students all sections of HIST 106 fulfill the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099. Please note that until Fall 2014 HIST 106 used to be one of the options within HIST 007; if you took HIST 007 Intro Early Hist: Atlantic World, you should NOT take HIST 106.
Atlantic World draws together the histories of four continents, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America, to investigate the new Atlantic world created as a consequence of the Columbian encounter in 1492. The class traces the creation of this world from the first European forays in the Atlantic and on the coast of Africa in the fifteenth century to the first wars for colonial independence and the abolition of slavery. Topics include the destruction and reconfiguration of indigenous societies; the crucial labor migrations of Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans; and the various strategies of accommodation, resistance, and rebellion demonstrated by the many different inhabitants of the Americas.
HIST 107 Pacific World
For College students all sections of HIST 107 fulfill the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
Please note that until Spring 2015 HIST 107 used to be one of the options within HIST 008; if you took HIST 008 Intro Late Hist: Pacific World, you should NOT take HIST 107.
Pacific World focuses on the Pacific Ocean world, which has historically been regarded as a vast and prohibitive void rather than an avenue for integration. Yet over the last five centuries motions of people, commodities, and capital have created important relationships between the diverse societies situated on the "Pacific Rim." This course examines the history of trans-Pacific interactions from 1500 to the present. It takes the ocean itself as the principal framework of analysis in order to bring into focus large-scale processes--migration, imperial expansion, cross-cultural trade, transfers of technology, cultural and religious exchange, and warfare and diplomacy. This "oceans connect" approach to world history brings these processes into sharp relief while also allowing for attention to the extraordinary diversity of cultures located within and around the Pacific.
HIST 109 The Islamic World
From humble beginnings nearly 1500 years ago, to enormous power and prestige in the Middle Ages, to political decline and foreign occupation in the modern era, Islam has developed into a highly diverse, global tradition representing nearly one quarter of the world's population. Yet it is most widely known through caricatures of terrorists and despots. This course examines that phenomenon. It focuses on the historical development of Muslim communities and their interactions with European and other powers. It emphasizes the impact of those interactions on Islam’s ideological and political developments. The interaction between religion and politics is a major sub-theme of the course.
HIST 122 History of China I
This course begins a two-part sequence offering a general history of China from the earliest records of Chinese civilization through the first three decades of the People's Republic. The course is introductory, has no prerequisites, and assumes no prior knowledge of China or its language. The organization of the course is basically chronological, but within that framework we will be approaching China from a wide range of viewpoints, taking up political, economic, social, religious, philosophical, and artistic developments. In this fall semester, we will cover the formation of China's social, political, and intellectual culture and its development through various dynastic regimes, up through the end of the Ming Dynasty in the late 16th century.
In addition, in this semester we will explore the historical roots of several claims made by the People's Republic of China in the 21st century, including linkages with Xinjiang, Central Asia, and Tibet; the "Silk Road" origins of the 2013 "One Belt, One Road" project, and China's aspirations for a blue-water navy.
The course has two basic goals: (1) to present a basic introduction to the traditions and legacies of the history and culture of China, including conflicting, even contradictory, interpretations of these traditions/legacies; and (2) to use the specific study of China as a means for developing more general skills in the discipline of historical analysis.
HIST 124 History of Japan I
This course begins a two-part sequence offering a general history of Japan from the earliest records of Japanese civilization through to the present. The course is introductory, has no prerequisites, and assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or its language. The organization of the course is basically chronological, but within that framework we will be approaching Japan from a wide range of viewpoints, taking up political, economic, social, religious, philosophical, and artistic developments. In this fall semester, we will cover the formation of Japan's social, political, and intellectual culture, including the formation of Japan's distinctive identity and the tensions between centrifugal and centripetal forces. We will also examine changes in Japan's relationship to East Asia and, by the 16th century, the rest of the planet. The course ends with the collapse of the last of the shogunal/military governments in the 1860s, paving the way for Japan's "modernization" in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The course has two basic goals: (1) to present a basic introduction to the traditions and legacies of the history and culture of Japan, including conflicting, even contradictory, interpretations of these traditions/legacies; and (2) to use the specific study of Japan as a means for developing more general skills in the discipline of historical analysis.
HIST 131 First-year seminar: Science and Religion in the West: Historical Perspectives
This seminar course is designed for first-year students with advanced placement in history who have an interest in pursuing the study of history at the upper level; some knowledge of European history and any science background will be helpful but is not necessary.
Science and religion have played powerful roles in shaping Western civilization: unparalleled resources – human, financial, and natural – have been invested in each of them, and they can be associated with many of the West’s proudest accomplishments and cruelest wrongdoings. Thought of together, science and religion conventionally conjure up images of conflict. They are envisioned as rival forces associated with contending institutions and serving opposing interests. Historical controversies over the structure of the cosmos and modern-day debates over the science curriculum in U.S. high schools offer support to the conclusion that science and religion exist in an unrelenting state of war. The aim of this seminar is to test that generalization by examining the actual history, focusing on key episodes in which scientific and religious interests have intersected.
HIST 133 First-year seminar: The Present and the Past
This seminar course is designed for first-year students with advanced placement in history who have an interest in pursuing the study of history at the upper level.
Michel de Certeau wrote, in the 1960s, that "Indeed, modern western history begins with the difference between the present and the past."
Our class examines the process of differentiation, by which individuals and societies create their histories—simultaneously remembering and forgetting, choosing some events or people as "historical." The simple word "history" evolves from two different meanings: the Ancient Greek historein - to relate (bear witness) - and the French histoire - “a story.”
The former carries a presumption of literal truth, relating what happened in the sense of reconstructing reality; the latter tells a story in which the larger truth takes precedence over the fidelity of accurate detail. As de Certeau suggests, the word we use for writings about history, historiography, contains within it contradictory elements of "real" and "discourse." The historian can't write down everything: s/he has to choose what to leave out. The "graphy," the writing down, requires the historian to construct a written discourse, which must conform to rules of grammar and to principles of rhetoric.
What differentiates memoirs from a novel? What turns one version of the story into a "master narrative," learned by an entire society? How does a historian go about reconstructing "history?"
We begin with Herodotus then turn to Marc Bloch's The Historian's Craft. Next, we read some traditional historical sources: memoirs; a journal; letters; a diary. Our last personal source is a blog, published as Baghdad Burning (written by a Sunni woman living in Baghdad, in the years after the American invasion). Students will also have individual readings for some sessions. We will end with the wonderful adventures of the great Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuczynski, Travels with Herodotus.
HIST 145-62 Medieval and early Renaissance Italy (offered in Fiesole, Italy)
The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 represents a crucial watershed in the history of European civilization. Nevertheless, the patrimony of ideas of pagan antiquity survives and continues to inspire political and religious beliefs. The course starts with a brief survey of the principal events which shaped this complex period in order to introduce some of the key lines of cultural history of the Middle Ages. A great transformation was later represented by the phenomenon of the re-birth of cities. In fact, around the eleventh century, demographic and economic factors produced a real urban revolution in some areas of Europe, and this turning point actually represents the transition from the feudal system to the late Medieval civilization. The course analyzes the society, the politics and the culture of medieval Italy, focusing mainly on cities from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. The structure of the city-state republic, the family, the daily life, the economy, the religious beliefs and practices, the world of the marginal and the mentality of the people will all be discussed in the effort of reconstructing the features of medieval urban civilization. Particular emphasis will be given to the city of Florence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The complex city universe expresses itself through a peculiar art and architecture (cathedrals, fresco cycles, city walls and gates, public palaces, altar-pieces, market squares and monasteries) which will be studied in order to reconstruct the material environment and the ideological aspects of late Medieval and early Renaissance Italian civilization.
Offered in Fall at the Villa in Fiesole, Italy.
HIST 158 Latin America I
Beginning with a survey of the diverse societies of the Americas before 1500, this classes focuses on the coming of Europeans, the deadly impact of the disease they brought, and the integration of the hemisphere into European empires and a new global economy during three subsequent centuries. We will emphasize how the long state-organized peoples of regions subjected to Spanish rule adapted socially and culturally to sustain silver as a key global commodity; we will explore how Africans were dragged in bondage to Atlantic America to labor in booming sugar economies ruled by every European power: Portugal, Britain, France, Spain, and more. The interactions among Europeans and the diverse peoples who produced everything focus much of the analysis—culminating in the rising resistance that challenged Europeans in regions from the Andes to Haiti in the late eighteenth century.
For College students, HIST 158 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
HIST 160 Middle East I
Through lectures, readings, class discussion and audio-visual material, this course examines the history of the Middle East from the late sixth to the late seventeenth centuries. The lectures focus on broader topics, such as the emergence of Islam; the history of major Middle Eastern empires; changing geo-strategic and cultural conditions; and the evolution and functioning of classical and medieval Muslim institutions. Discussion sections will enable students to deepen their knowledge regarding local diversities within the unifying systems of Muslim beliefs, law, and administration; the material and intellectual exchanges and interactions between the Muslim world and non-Muslim communities and polities; and Muslim reactions to the Crusades and the Mongol invasions.
For College students, HIST 160 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.
HIST 170 History of Russia I
The Slavs, Origins of Russia, Kiev, the Mongol period, Muscovy, Imperial Russia to 1825 with special attention to autocracy, serfdom, foreign policy, the Orthodox Church, Westernization, society, culture, and the birth of the revolutionary movement.
HIST 172 History of East Central Europe I
A survey of East European peoples and states from the rise of the Medieval Kingdoms to about 1800. The course will trace the influence of the multi-national Jagiellon, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Romanov empires in the region. Topics will include: the formation of ethnically and religiously diverse societies, the role of noble democracy, and the influence of the Enlightenment and Romanticism.
HIST 180 US History to 1865
This course explores the history of North America from the arrival of the first Europeans in the Caribbean to the conclusion of the American Civil War. Focusing on the colonies that became part of the United States, this course explores the dynamics of imperial rivalry, relations between European, African and Amerindian peoples, economic development and regional differentiation, the emergence of revolutionary nationalism, the westward expansion of the United States, the collapse of the Union into civil war, and emancipation. We will read extensively from primary sources.
HIST 230 Europe after Rome
Profound political, cultural and environmental transformations occurred in Europe between the fourth and the tenth centuries CE. As the Roman Empire gave way to “Dark Age” kingdoms, the ways of life of ordinary people and elites, within and beyond Rome’s former limits, forever changed. This course draws upon traditional historical sources as well as the material record (bones, buildings, soils and trees) to delve into the human and natural processes that defined the era. Diverse topics are addressed, from saints and popes, to barbarian migrations and recurrent plague, to multiculturalism and Christianization, to climate change and economic fragmentation. Although focused on Europe, the course also considers connections with Rome’s Byzantine and Muslim heirs.
HIST 232 History and Legend in Medieval Britain
This course looks at the wide sweep of British history through legend; it also asks questions as to why some figures become legendary and others do not. The semester begins with the Druids and their legends and ends with King Richard III (his life, legend and the recent discovery of his remains). It focuses on modern and medieval views of legendary figures while also tracing whatever contemporary historical evidence there is for the person behind the legend. The legends examined in this course include King Arthur, King Alfred, Thomas Becket and legends of saints, Robin Hood and outlaw legends, Braveheart (William Wallace) and Richard III. Final papers can focus on legends from other cultures, depending on one’s interest.
HIST 243 History of Ireland
The study of Irish history often focuses on the question of what it means to be Irish. This course will engage directly with that question by surveying Irish society and culture from pre-Christian times down to the end of the old Gaelic order in 1607. We will examine Celtic society--its social structure, laws and literature--and then trace its impact on the Christianization of Ireland. We will look at the effect on Ireland of invasions by the Vikings and the Normans, and the establishment of English rule in Ireland. The class emphasizes active learning. Along with traditional lectures, there will be both discussions and structured exercises, with a focus on analyzing primary sources in their historical context. Instructions for in-class discussions and debates will be given in advance. Participation in class discussion is strongly encouraged and constitutes 15% of the course grade. There will also be extensive use of visual materials, including slides, maps and videos.
HIST 282 US Diplomatic History I
What factors have influenced the U.S. government’s and Americans’ interactions with the rest of world? Who has shaped these encounters? What has the relationship been between these relations and U.S. domestic affairs? How have foreigners responded to U.S. actors and influence? We will analyze U.S. foreign relations, a broader category than simply foreign policy by examining the political, military, economic, religious, and cultural influence of the U.S. The course begins with the Declaration of Independence and ends with World War II. In particular, we will discuss how the U.S. became a global power through topics such as the U.S. acquisition of the Philippines, the World Wars, U.S. business intervention in Latin America, and missionary involvement in Asia. We will also consider the different ways historians have sought to explain U.S. foreign relations.
HIST 294 Conflict and Reform: U.S. 1877-1920
This course covers the tumultuous era of the Gilded Age and Progressivism, and the emergence of modernity in the United States. The course will be organized around alternating lecture and discussion, with a strong emphasis on reading primary sources. Topics will include (but not be limited to) Populism, the rise of Jim Crow, woman suffrage, industrialization and urbanization, Progressive politics and the transformation of the American West. The lives of ordinary life and the transformation of popular culture will be at the center of our inquiries. Texts will include fiction and non-fiction, primary and secondary sources.
HIST 303 Dynamics of Global Dominance
This course will examine the history of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, today's ExxonMobil, as a case study of the role of transnational corporations in the global political economy.
HIST 304 Topic in World History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of world history. Students may take more than one of the courses offered under this number. Each course will be announced in the course schedule and receive its own sub-title.
In Fall 2017 the following course is offered:
HIST 304-01: Global Environmental History of the Cold War
The Cold War (1946-89) affected the environment in many ways, both during the conflict and after it. In this course, we will look at how all stages of the nuclear cycle impact the environment, from the mining of uranium from the earth to the deposition of nuclear waste underground. We will consider how nuclear technology contributed to environmental understanding and vice-versa. We will also grapple with the legacy of nuclear technology keeping in mind that the waste produced during the Cold War will be radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Moving away from the atom’s orbit, we will examine the connections between Cold War modernization drives and the environment. As countries fought for influence and stability, they embarked on massive public works projects both at home and abroad such as agricultural programs and dam building, creating far-reaching environmental impacts. Sometimes, Cold War interventions led to war, as was the case in Vietnam, a war deeply intertwined with the Vietnamese landscape. Towards the close of the Vietnam War and with the rise of détente, the world responded with a newfound concern for, and attention to, the environment. We will examine how this shift happened and what it looked like. Finally, we will ponder the balance sheet of how the Cold War affected the environment and the environment affected the Cold War. Was there a difference between socialist and capitalist treatment of nature? Ultimately, we will try to answer the following question: what is the environmental history of the Cold War? How can we comprehend and assess it? Is it a declensionist narrative, or did something good come out of it after all?
HIST 305 Global History: Empire, Nation, World
Processes of historical change have become increasingly global during recent centuries. This seminar explores diverse approaches to historical globalization: political, diplomatic, economic, ecological, cultural. In addition, it examines the relations between globalizing processes and history as it is experienced, discussed, and debated in nations and communities. It asks why historical understandings have focused on national developments, while the forces of change have operated on ever larger scales.
IHIS majors in SFS must take one section of HIST 305, preferably near the beginning of their major program. College History majors and other interested students are welcome. The course will be taught by different instructors with different emphases, and students may take it more than once in different versions.
In Fall 2017, Professor Carol Benedict will teach the seminar under the title: Empire, Nation, World: What do we make of globalization as a paradigm at a time when resurgent nationalisms appear to be over taking global interdependency? Is globalization at a crossroads? Is the present moment different in kind from past eras or only different in degree? This course is designed not only to enhance student knowledge of themes, concepts, and methods of international and global history but also to help students better understand the forces that govern our world today. Focusing on theories and histories of imperialism (empire), nationalism (nation states), and globalism (world) from 1500 to the present, it explores the tension between historical developments that operated on a global scale, political systems and ideologies that focused on the nation, and social and cultural developments that remained deeply local. Core readings will cover interactions between several major world regions (Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America). Historical eras of fragmentation and de-globalization (e.g. WWI and after) will be studied along with periods of accelerated integration (e.g. European expansion and imperialism; WWII and after; post-Cold War period).
HIST 318 Apartheid
In 1948, South African voters – a minority of the country’s population – elected a government on the platform of apartheid, a radical form of racial segregation. For much of the next half century, apartheid was official government policy in South Africa and a symbol of unreconstructed evil in much of the rest of the world. This seminar delves into the historical roots of apartheid and its effects on South African life. We also will examine the resistance of South Africans of all races to apartheid, as well as the international anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s. We conclude by exploring what might be called “apartheid’s afterlives” – the persistence of its social and economic structures in contemporary South Africa. Class readings will include a variety of historical documents, novels, and memoirs, and students will write an original research paper for their final assignment.
HIST 327 Russia and China: Roots of Conflict
This course analyses the complex, and frequently hostile, relationship between China and Russia from the early 17th to the end of the 20th centuries. We begin with the establishment of connections between the newly-founded Qing and Romanov empires, move into the tense confrontations of the 19th century as Russia became an expanding imperialist power at China’s expense, then take up the early 20th centuries efforts in both areas to replace an autocratic monarchy with a more participatory form of government, and end with a study of how each area’s experiments with communism influenced their interactions from the 1920s on.
The course meets as a colloquium/seminar twice a week in small-group discussion format.
HIST 330: 500 Years of Martin Luther
“Luther is a child of the devil, possessed by the devil, full of falsehood and vainglory.” Johann Cochleus.
“For he [Luther] was without doubt the angel concerning whom it is written in Revelation 14, who flew through the midst of heaven and had an eternal Gospel.” Johann Bugenhagen
These two sixteenth-century descriptions of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther attest to his controversial stature during and after the German Reformation. This seminar will study Luther and his critics, paying particular attention to his more polemical writings on Jews, women, Catholics, Radicals, and the Peasants. Readings will include a mix of primary and secondary sources, covering the history, theology, politics, and culture of the sixteenth century.
HIST 338 Consumption and Society Since 1750
Now, in the twenty-first century, we are so accustomed to living in a consumer society that it is easy to overlook the fact that, like all cultural forms, it has a history.
In Elizabethan English, to consume something meant to destroy it: fire consumed fuel, decay consumed corpses, disease consumed organs of the body, spending on unnecessary objects consumed wealth. The medieval church condemned luxurious consumption as a sin. In the era of the Renaissance and Reformation, consumption continued to be seen as a morally dangerous activity that could waste resources and undermine social order. By the middle of the eighteenth century, however, demand for an ever-expanding range of goods came to be widely seen as a constructive force. It was the motor of global economic development, indeed, the very source of the wealth of nations. As one writer observed at the time, “the luxuries of our ancestors are necessities for us.” The spread of consumer goods beyond a narrow elite was linked to the diffusion of polite manners and refined tastes. Shopping became a popular pastime for the affluent. Possessions came to be seen as reflecting or even constituting the character of the person who owned them while also serving as powerful markers of class in a profoundly unequal world.
Such changes created the conditions that inspired businessmen to greatly expand production using techniques of industrial manufacturing, including the division of labor and steam powered machinery. In turn, this industrial revolution transformed many aspects of nineteenth-century life. Soon railroads and steamships brought a dazzling array of manufactured goods at all price points to towns, villages, and otherwise remote rural areas. Architecture and urban spaces were adapted to facilitate an ever denser concentration of industrial and commercial activities given over to the acquisition and display of goods. The notion of a mass “consumer society,” in which the acquisition of new and often superfluous goods was seen as a fundamental right, became both ubiquitous and controversial.
This course will explore the emergence of modern patterns of consumption and the ideas that both legitimated and challenged them from the era of Jane Austen to the age of Mad Men. Although this is officially a course in European history, American material will be incorporated, too, especially towards the end of the semester. Our sources will include classics of social thought and works of fiction, a wide selection of
other primary documents, and recent scholarly literature as well as images and objects from the period under study.
HIST 344 Collaboration and Resistance in World War II
Using a mixture of film and written sources (memoirs, autobiographical accounts, collections of documents), we will examine the question of collaboration and resistance in the decades around World War II.
HIST 352 Topics in Latin American History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of Latin American history. Students may take more than one of the courses offered under this number. Each course will be announced in the course schedule and receive its own sub-title.
In Fall 2017 the following course is offered:
HIST 352-01: Topic: South American Frontiers: This seminar explores interactions between indigenous and afro-descendant populations and nation-states in 19th and 20th century South America. We will focus on peripheral communities living in frontier territories. How did these communities participate in the formation of nation states through commerce, war, rebellion, and diplomacy? Where did they resist state power? Where and how did they choose to adapt or assimilate? Where and why did they face demographic collapse or annihilation? This course challenges students to think creatively about nation-making from the outside in.
HIST 360 Islam and war
This course examines Islamic warfare from the earliest Muslim conquests through WWI. After discussing classical Islamic conceptions of war and peace, the course examines the early Muslim conquests, the Crusades, the Mongol invasion of the Islamic world, and the wars of the Mamluk, Ottoman, and Safavid Empires. In the second part of the course we consider topics such as land, naval, and siege warfare, military manpower and military slavery in Islam, war financing, military technology, weapons and tactics, logistics and provisioning, fortresses and border defense, and the impact of war upon societies. The last phase of the course studies military modernization attempts of the Ottoman Empire and Egypt in the nineteenth century, and the ultimate defeat of modernized Muslim armies by the combined forces of ethnic nationalism and Great Power imperialism. In this section we also consider the increased destructiveness of modern warfare for non-combatants and the displacement of civilian populations.
HIST 362 Topics in Middle East History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of Middle East history. Students may take more than one of the courses offered under this number. Each course will be announced in the course schedule and receive its own sub-title.
In Fall 2017 the following two courses are offered:
HIST 362-01: Topic: Gender and Conflict in the Middle East: What is the relationship between gender and conflict, and how has this dynamic shaped the Modern Middle East? Focusing on periods of conflict in the Arab countries, Israel, Iran, and Turkey over the past century, this course guides students towards the historical perspective needed to interpret current conflict in the Middle East from the vantage point of gender. The course begins by analyzing the creation of the Modern Middle East after the First World War and moves to an exploration of how the making of Modern Middle Eastern nation states involved specific policies and social practices of gender and identity before tackling the region’s recent history and ongoing conflicts, asking how gender shaped and was shaped by events such as the Arab Spring and the rise of ISIS. Through engagement with key historical themes, primary sources, and media representations of gender in the Middle East, the course aims to provide students with an historical perspective on the complexities of the Middle East’s history of gender politics and its manifestations in current events.
HIST 362-02: Israel and Palestine in the Twentieth century: Two people, one land. The contest for the Holy Land is popularly narrated as an eternal conflict between two parties. Yet the conflict is in fact a very recent one. This class will examine the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict across the 20th century with an emphasis on the analysis of primary sources and relevant academic scholarship, complemented by visual media. The course aims to enable students to engage critically with primary and secondary sources related to the conflict, in order to understand better the roots and causes of the conflict, as well as its potential solutions.
HIST 363 Muslims in the West
The seminar will examine the formation and growth of the Muslim communities in North America and Europe with specific focus on France, Germany, UK and the US, It will provide a history of the formation of the various Muslim communities in the west; explore the dynamics of community and identity development of the immigrants in a western context and various government integration policies (multiculturalism, laicite and assimilation); the development of western depictions of Muslims as labor migrants, ethnic enclaves to Muslims and increasingly as terrorists. It will also explore the creation of an Islamic minority perspective particularly among the alienated youth as a response to Islamophobia, and the various Muslim effort to create an authentic Muslim western identity through literature, music, fashion, and art.
HIST 378 The Ukrainian conflict and its roots
In November 2013, protests in Kyiv’s Independence Square set in motion one of the greatest challenges to Europe in the twenty-first century. The victory of the Euromaidan protesters in forcing a change of government soon yielded to the Russian annexation of Crimea and a continuing war in the eastern part of the country between the government and pro-Russian separatists. Russian geopolitical calculations have played an unquestionable role in these events, but the conflict also rests upon divergent interpretations of Ukraine’s history and identity. While the new government in Kyiv has tried to connect Ukrainian aspirations with European values and slogans, Russian media strongly suggest that Ukrainians have always been an artificial nation, created externally for political expediency.
This seminar will investigate the genealogy of a distinct, Ukrainian identity while examining the role of Ukrainian nationhood in the imperial projects and geopolitical rivalries of the European powers. Students will evaluate the changing relationship between individual and community identities over time and across multiple regimes in Ukraine, paying particular attention to the role of nationalist narratives in creating conflicting interpretations of historical events. In addition, students will critically analyze contemporary debates, artistic representations, and commemorations in order to appreciate the significance of a contested Ukrainian identity in the political rivalries and disputes of the present.
HIST 382 Topics in US History
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of American history. Students may take more than one of the courses offered under this number. Each course will be announced in the course schedule and receive its own sub-title.
In Fall 2017 the following course is offered:
Topic: Free Speech in America: The freedom of speech and the press occupies an ambiguous position in the firmament of U.S. culture, politics, and law. On the one hand, the right to express one’s thoughts and opinions is enshrined not just in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution but in the constitutions of all fifty states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Politicians, journalists, and other commentators of every political and ideological stripe write and speak routinely about the importance of the freedom of speech and the press to U.S. society and politics. On the other hand, Americans have frequently tolerated, sometimes demanded, the introduction and enforcement of restrictions on ideas, texts, or even entire categories of speech that they find offensive or dangerous. This seminar will afford you the opportunity to examine how people in the United States have understood the freedom of speech and the press at key points in their history, including the Colonial and Founding Eras, the Civil War, World War I, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Class meetings will revolve around the discussion of a mixture of primary and secondary sources that for the most part addresses the legal evolution of speech and press rights in the United States. You will also conduct a semester-long research project that will provide you with a guided experience in the creation of an academic paper, which relies on a combination of primary and secondary sources to make an original, well-balanced argument about the history of the freedom of speech and the press in the United States. Your project will consist of a 5-page primary source analysis, a 5-page proposal that outlines your research question and the sources that you will examine in your final paper, a short oral presentation, and a 20- to 25-page research paper.
HIST 389 Conservatism in the United States
Conservative thinker Richard Weaver once wrote, “Ideas have consequences.” This colloquium examines the evolution of the American Right – as both an intellectual phenomenon and a political movement. It focuses on the period since 1945, when conservatism became a mass phenomenon. We will pursue such questions as: how have conservative ideas changed? What impact did the Right have on cultural change in the U.S. and vice versa? Were conservatives able to convert their electoral successes into major changes in policy? Readings include primary texts and recent scholarly works. This course emphasizes class discussion and is limited to 20 students.
HIST 400 History Portfolio Workshop
This 1-credit workshop course is a new requirement for all senior History majors who are not pursuing the Honors program (and thus are not enrolled in HIST 408). It is offered in the Fall of senior year.
The purposes of this course are to provide a common capstone experience to senior majors; to help them reflect on and highlight what they have learned in the course of their studies; to help them develop and present the skills they have gained; to assist them as they prepare either for further studies or for entering the work force; and to give them a chance to gain essential experiences in the presentation of their own work and accomplishments. Students will not need to prepare much new work for this course, but they will present work they have already done, offer reflections on it, and learn to present it in different ways.
HIST 403 Nuclear Scientists and Dissent
Even before the first atomic bomb was tested in July 1945, nuclear scientists around the world found themselves confronted with moral questions concerning the production and use of weapons of mass destruction. Especially in authoritarian regimes like the Soviet Union or in cases where civil society broke down as in the McCarthy Era in the United States, nuclear scientists assumed responsibility for speaking truth to power concerning the development and use of nuclear weapons. This course treats several case studies of how and why nuclear scientists dissented with those in power including Heisenberg in Nazi Germany (a controversial case), Oppenheimer during the McCarthy Era in America, Hans Bethe and Richard Garwin during the Cold War, and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union. The course is a research seminar and for Fall 2017 counts as a senior seminar for majors in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. (Not open to first-year students.)
HIST 408 History Honors Seminar
HIST 408-409 form a two-semester study of History as an intellectual discipline. Enrollment is by invitation of the Department. Fall: Readings and discussions with departmental faculty on the various methods, concepts, and philosophies of history, and the development of a research prospectus with a faculty mentor. Spring: Research seminar under the guidance of the mentor and Seminar Director. (Enrollment only by permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies). Students must commit themselves for the full two semesters.
HIST 476 Deception Hoaxes Conspiracies
How do we differentiate propaganda and disinformation from rumor and “fake news”? How have conspiracies and conspiracy theories shaped modern history? Where do secrets and intrigue fit into the landscape of international diplomacy? This undergraduate seminar will confront these questions through both well-known and obscure historical episodes, from the early modern period to the first half of the twentieth century. Russia and the Soviet Union, in particular, will be a major area of focus for the course, though we will also venture beyond it. Students will read primary sources, historical analyses, and theoretical interpretations as they investigate the role of key concepts like intelligence and secrecy in shaping international relations. By the end of the class, they will have developed a robust vocabulary for understanding both the contemporary and the historical sphere of “cloak and dagger” politics.
The course is organized around a set of key terms and associated historical phenomena, from the early modern debate over the Donation of Constantine to the origins of the so-called “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Each week, students will confront not only the institutions but also the social and cultural environment that shaped each episode. The centerpiece of the course is a research paper in which students will apply their developing vocabulary to a particular foreign policy crisis or process. Reading ability in Russian or another foreign language is a plus but not required.
This course by default falls into the Russia/Eastern Europe region, but History majors may apply it to other world regions, depending on their choice of topics for their written work.