Course Offerings | History

Division of Social Studies

Steven Beaudoin (chair), Richard Bradshaw, Michael Hamm,Tom McCollough, Hannington Ochwada, Elizabeth Perkins, Amos Tubb, Clarence Wyatt; students: Jeanne Macksoud, Dana Smith

The History Program offers survey courses in world and American history and a variety of specialized courses in American, European, and non-Western history, as well as thematic courses which cross regional boundaries. The program’s fundamental purpose is to encourage an understanding and, through research, an application of historical consciousness—that is, "the coherent organization of experience in historical time"; a just appreciation of the interrelationship of past, present, and future; and the knowledge that social change in this context is inevitable.

The History Program trains students in analytical writing, helps them learn how to organize and utilize various kinds of evidence, and provides perspectives that enable a better understanding of human behavior and cultural difference. History majors have gone on to careers in law, journalism, teaching, government and diplomatic service, library and museum work, banking, and business.

Recommended Freshman-Sophomore Preparation

History majors are encouraged to plan their academic programs to include as broad a distribution of courses as is possible, depending upon their vocational objectives. Students who are planning to do graduate work in history should consult with an appropriate member of the faculty early in their undergraduate careers and should pay particular attention to the study of foreign languages and to developing appropriate computer and statistical skills.

Requirements for the Major

HIS 110, 120, 230, 240;
HIS 500;
Four additional history courses numbered 300 or higher, chosen s
o as to represent at least three of the catagories of upper-level courses:
pper-level courses in American history (United States and Latin America), courses numbered 360-379 or 460-479;
Upper-level courses in European history, courses numbered 301-329 or 408-429;
Upper-level courses in non-Western history (Africa, East Asia, Middle East, Russia-USSR), courses numbered 330-359 or 430-459;
Upper-level courses in thematic studies in history, courses numbered 380-399 or 480-499.

Requirements for the Minor

Six courses to be selected from the following: HIS 110, 120, 230, 240, and HIS courses numbered 300 or above. At least two of the courses must be drawn from HIS 110, 120, 230, 240.

History Courses

HIS 110 Development of the Modern World-I
A survey of the major Western and non-Western civilizations to the mid-19th century. Considerable attention is given to the factors that made each civilization distinctive and to the interaction of these civilizations over time. The expansion of the West and its rise to global prominence is an important focus of the course.

HIS 120 Development of the Modern World-II
An examination of the most important issues and events from the mid-19th century to the present in a global context. Such issues as the origins and consequences of the world wars, the Great Depression, the emergence and collapse of the totalitarian orders, and the impact of Western colonization on the non-Western world are discussed.

HIS 230, 240 Development of the United States-I, II
A survey of the major trends, conflicts, and crises of a society characterized by growth and change from the Age of Discovery to the present. The internal and external aspects of the United States are examined in an effort to encourage a clearer perspective of our history in its global context.

HIS 250 Teaching Kentucky History
A course designed for students who will be teaching fourth grade Kentucky history. The focus of the course is a study of the development of Kentucky from the 17th century to the present with attention given to such themes as its different cultural and geographic divisions, early settlement, effect of the Civil War, the role of leaders, political and economic development, and modern development. In addition, attention is given to the Kentucky Core Content and national history standards; to studying the History Alive! approach to teaching history; to writing lesson plans, including History Alive!-type plans, that can be used in elementary schools; and to compiling resources useful in teaching Kentucky history, inclding historical sites. Open only to teacher education students.

Studies in European History

HIS 301 History of Ancient Greece
A survey of ancient Greece from prehistory through the Roman Conquest. Topics include: Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, the rise of the polis, Greece colonization, the invention of science and philosophy, Athenian democracy, the invasion of Xerxes, the Golden Age of Athens, the Peloponnesian War, the campaigns of Alexander the Great, the Alexandrian Library, and Cleopatra. This survey relies on primary sources, while also venturing to consider politics, warfare, citizenship, slavery, the status of women, religion, and the alphabet. (Also listed as CLA 301.)

HIS 302 History of Ancient Rome
A study of ancient Rome from its founding to the fall of the empire. Topics include: prehistory, founding, establishment of the Republic, the Punic Wars, expansion of Rome, provincial administration, the careers of Cicero and Julius Caesar, the civil wars, citizenship, slavery, status of women, the destruction of Pompeii, rule by the emperors, the coming of Christianity, and theories explaining the end of the empire. (Also listed as CLA 302.)

HIS 303 Medieval Civilization
A study of the emergence and development of European civilization from the decline of the Roman Empire to the 14th century. (Also listed as REL 322.)

HIS 307 The Dawning of Modern Europe, 1648-1789
How did the modern Western world come into existence? An investigation of the intellectual, political, and economic origins of modernity as developed in Europe at this time. Attention is given to recent critiques of modernity.

HIS 309 Europe in the Age of Hitler
An examination of European history, 1914-45, with special attention to the rise and consequences of fascism and Nazism. Traditional and psychohistorical analyses of Hitler are used. The difficulties of statebuilding in Eastern and Central Europe and the consequences of the Great Depression are also emphasized. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 310 Europe from 1945 to the Present
A history of Europe from the end of World War II to the present with emphasis on the loss of empire, the creation of the Soviet bloc, the ultimate collapse of communism and the ongoing efforts to create new social and political orders in Eastern Europe, and the creation of a "United Europe." Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 313 Roman Culture
An examination of Roman public and private life as revealed by literary and artistic sources. A course in translation.

HIS 314 Ancient Gree
k Society and Culture
An exploration of the distinctive and influential features of ancient Greek culture. Focus is on three areas: a detailed exploration of Homer's Iliad with a consideration of oral poetry, archaeology, religion, heroism and the heroic code, Achilles in Vietnam, etc.; Athenian democracy with an exploration of its development--and how it contrasts with modern democracy and the Spartan constitution, position of women, tragedy, comedy, and panhellenism; and philosophy and science with a look at its origins and culmination with Hippocratic medicine and the Aristotelian world-view. A course in translation.

HIS 315 A Traveler’s History of Britain
An orientation to British history from prehistory to the present emphasizing aspects of material culture that are still visible and can be visited.

HIS 316 Museums, Knowledge, Power
An examination of museum-going in Europe and America as a cultural experience from the Renaissance to the present. Questions include how museums have shaped knowledge about the world, played a role in nationalism, and helped to define the ethnographic other. Examples are drawn from museums housing art, natural history, anthropology, history, and decorative arts collections.

HIS 317 The Crusades
This course examines the European crusading movement and how it still impacts the world today. Topics range from stereotypical images of the Crusades—quests, exotic locales, and chivalry—to the darker implications of this medieval undertaking.

HIS 319 Alexander the Great
The reign of Alexander the Great is one of the most remarkable of ancient times. Though only 33 when he died in 323 BC, he had burst out of Macedonia and conquered the Persian empire , bringing Greek civilization all the way to India . But we often struggle to differentiate the real Alexander from the one who animates the surviving histories of writers who lived centuries later. This course investigates the man, his achievements, and his times, taking as our starting point the vital background provided by the reign of his father Philip. (Also listed as CLA 305.)

HIS 323 History of the British Isles-I: 55 BCE–1603 CE
An exploration of the historical developments on the British Isles from the coming of the Romans through the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Course highlights include the development of Roman Britain, the coming of the Anglo-Saxons, the Viking invasions, the Norman invasions, life in medieval Britain, the British Renaissance and the British Reformations.

HIS 324 History of the British Isles-II
An examination of the political, economic, social, and religious developments in early modern and modern Britian. The course explores issues such as the Civil Wars, the Glorious Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, Victorian Britian, the world wars and Britian's place in the post war world.

HIS 326 Gender and Sexuality in Western Society
This course explores the history of gender and sexuality in Western society since the Enlightenment. Particular focus will fall on the impact of sexual difference in the lived experiences of both men and women; changing attitudes toward various sexual practices and their relation to gender ideals; the processes by which societies established and changed gender roles and sexual norms; and the interconnections between gender and sexuality, on the one hand, and large-scale transformative developments like industrialization, on the other.

Studies in Non-Western History

HIS 330 Imperial Russia & Early Soviet Society
A study of Russian history from the medieval Kievan state through the 1920s. The distinctiveness of Russian politics and culture, ethnic and ethnoreligious conflict, the rise of the Communist movement, the Russian Revolutions of 1917, and the Soviet government's early social experiments are among the topics discussed. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 331 The Soviet Union & Its Successors
An analysis of the Stalinist transformation of the Soviet Union beginning in the 1930s, the Khrushchev reforms, the "era of stagnation" under Brezhnev, and the disintegration of the Communist order under Mikhail Gorbachev. The legacies of communism and ongoing efforts to create viable democratic governments, market economies, and civil societies in Russia and other successor states are also be discussed. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 334 Vietnam
This course considers how and why the United States became involved in Vietnam and the consequences of this involvement for American society. Special care is given to understanding the origins and nature of the Vietnamese Revolution.

HIS 335 Middle Eastern Civilization
A survey of Arab, Iranian, and Turkish history and culture since the rise of Islam. Twentieth-century issues such as the evolution of nationalism, the Iranian revolution, the Palestinian question, and the role of the Middle East in world affairs are emphasized. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 336 Japan and the World
A survey of the history of Japan 's foreign relations from c. 500 C.E. until the present. The course examines the evolution of Japan 's position in international relations from a remote kingdom on the periphery of China to a world power and economic giant in the 20th century. It highlights Japan 's special relationship over the centuries with a series of great powers: China, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, and the United States . It focuses on the way in which Japanese leaders have attempted to promote their country's interest within the framework of its special relationship with each of these great powers.

HIS 337 Modern Japan and China
An introduction to the interlocked histories of Japan and China in the modern era. The course compares and contrasts the history of these two countries from about 1750 to the present and examines such major historical events as the Meiji Restoration, the Taiping Rebellion, the Sino-Japanese War, World War II in Asia , and the emergence of the People's Republic of China and  Japan in the aftermath of the war.

HIS 338 The Ottoman Empire
A study of the rise and fall of the vast and complex Ottoman Empire . The course examines the evolution of central instituitons and leadership, foreign relations, and social and economic change. The course also surveys the development of the beautiful and distincitive forms of Ottoman art and arechitecture. As the head of the Ottoman Empire was also the leader of Islam, the course also affords the opportunity to explore the development of Islam with particular attention given to Sufism. (Also listed as REL 323.)

HIS 353 African Lives
A survey of 20th-century African history through the lives of men and women of very different backgrounds and experience. The study of these lives is linked to an examination of major themes in modern African history and to a critical evaluation of popular perceptions about Africa .

HIS 358 Modern India
A study of South Asian history from the late Moghul period to the present day. Main topics include the fall of the Moghul Empire and the rise of successor states in the 18th century; the East India Trade and the Anglo-French struggle over its control; the conquest of South Asia by the British East India Company; the development of the colonial state and Indian resistance; the independence movement; and the themes of democracy, development, and conflict in the postcolonial age.

Studies in American History

HIS 360 American Diplomatic History
An examination of the origins, goals, and practice of American diplomacy from 1776 to the present. Particular emphasis is placed on the domestic political, economic, and cultural influences on American foreign policy.

HIS 361 American Environmental History
A study of the human impact on the North American environment over the last 500 years. Utilizing a variety of interdisciplinary techniques, the course pays particular attention to the reciprocal influences operating between human society and the natural world.

HIS 362 Vietnam
This course considers how and why the United States became involved in Vietnam and the consequences of this involvement for American society. Special care is given to understanding the origins and nature of the Vietnamese Revolution.

HIS 367 America: North and South
A study of the crisis of the American Union, 1830-1876, with emphasis on the growing cultural, economic, and political differences between North and South, and how American society dealt with these differences.

HIS 368 Cold War America
This course considers the nature of U.S. relations with the Soviet Union from 1945 through 1989 and the impact of that relationship on the United States domestically and internationally.

HIS 369 History of Mexico
A survey of Mexican history from the pre-Columbian era until the present. Attention is focused on the rise of the Aztecs, the Spanish conquest and centuries of colonial rule, the struggle for independence, the Mexican Revolution, and the transformation of Mexico in the 20th century.

70 Museums, Knowledge, Power
See HIS 316.

HIS 403 Gender and Sexuality in Western Society
See HIS 326.

HIS 405 Childhood and Youth in America
This class uses primary texts, historical works, fiction, memoir, film, and oral history/autobiography to examine what it has meant to grow up in America .  Key themes include the material culture of children and the evolution of youth culture, the experience of work by children in American history, and the changing construction of childhood by adults over time. Analyzing and sharpening methods of interpreting historical texts, whether visual (film, photography), material (toys, furniture) or textual (primary or secondary documents) are key aims of this course.

HIS 407 Women and Work in America
Working women hold a prominent, if fraught, place in American culture today. This course looks at the history of American women and their labor, focusing on the 19 th century as a period in which the terms of many of our current debates were established.

HIS 500 Junior Seminar
Historical research, interpretation, and writing are discussed and a research paper written and presented to the class. Prerequisite: majors only.

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