Course Offerings - Catalog 2010-11

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Division of Social Studies

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.


Elizabeth Perkins (chair), Steven Beaudoin, Richard Bradshaw, Michael Hamm, Brianna Leavitt-Alcantara, Tom McCollough, James Morrison, Amos Tubb, Clarence Wyatt


Bradley Fansher, Sarah Muren

Recommended First-Year/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

Three of the following courses: HIS 110, 120, 230, 240;
HIS 500;
Five additional history courses numbered 300 or higher, chosen so as to represent at least three of the catagories of upper-level courses:
Upper-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 but no more than three 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 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 Early Modern Europe, 1400-1700
A study of the major developments in European civilization during the early modern era. The course explores the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Religious Wars, the Scientific Revolution, as well as tracing the political, social, and economic developments that transformed Europe from an inconsequential area to arguably the most dynamic region on the planet.

HIS 308 19th-Century Europe
A topical examination of central issues in Europe during the age of industrialization.

HIS 309 Europe in the Age of Hitler
An examination of European history, 1914-39, 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 1939 to the Present
A history of Europe from the beginning 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 311 Modern France
An examination of French politics, economics, society, and culture since the Revolution of 1789. Particular attention is focused on the often violent struggle to define the values and ideals that make up French identity, from the political revolutions of the 19th century to the current debates over immigration and social welfare.

HIS 312 World War II France
This course considers how the French experienced the Second World War and the consequences of those experiences. Topics range from the “strange defeat” of 1940, the rise of both resistance and collaboration, French complicity in the Holocaust, and the various ways the war has been remembered over the years.

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 Greek 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 322 The Holocaust
This course examines the event of the Holocaust by exploring its history and background, its impact on the Jewish community in Europe and worldwide, the responses to the event, and its consequences. The course deals with a variety of disciplinary frameworks, including history, theology, literary studies, and political science.

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 330 Imperial Russia and 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 and 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 332 Modern China
An examination of Chinese history from the rise of the Qing (17th century) to the present. Special emphasis is given to the issue of Chinese modernization from different perspectives.

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. (Conducted in Vietnam)

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 339 Precolonial Africa and the Partition
An exploration of the history of precolonial Africa and the initial stages of the European Partition of Africa. It focuses on how Africa's incorporation into the international economy influenced state-formation and political economies in Africa during the 19 th century. The initial impact of European imperialism on precolonial states and peoples is also examined. Students chose a particular precolonial state and study its rise and fate during the Partition for their research papers.

HIS 353 African Lives
This course provides an introduction to African history by examining the lives of various individuals from different parts of the continent. It draws on life histories, biographies, films and a wide variety of other publications and online sources about the lives of Africans. Students will write a research paper on the life of an African, and will be expected to participate actively in discussion about reading assignments.

HIS 354 Gandhi
The life of Mohandas Gandhi is critically examined from a political, economic, and religious perspective. Gandhi's efforts to integrate the political, religious, and economic dimensions of his life and his criticism of the compartmentalized perspectives and methodological assumptions of social science disciplines are studied.

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.

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 365 American Revolution to Republic
An examination of the ideas and forces that shaped the coming of the American Revolution, the conduct of the Revolution itself, and the resulting governments and society.

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.

HIS 371 Latin American Perspectives
A survey of Latin American cultures, economics, and politics from pre-Columbian roots to the present. Students explore this vast and diverse region from comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives, exploring the Iberian, indigenous, and African roots that grew to become what we now call Latin America. The course offers a broad overview of some of the major themes in Latin American history, including conquest, colonization, nation-formation, underdevelopment, revolution, imperialism, and authoritarian governments. In addition, the course delves into the social and cultural history of Latin America, looking at religion, culture, art, and how African-Americans, women, indigenous peoples, and workers have shaped their own lives and Latin American societies.

HIS 372 Race and Gender in Latin America
The conquest of the Americas and colonial encounters between Europeans, indigenous peoples, and Africans precipitated the creation of new racial, ethnic, and gender identities and ideologies. This course examines how race and gender shaped the development of Latin American societies during the years of conquest, colonization, independence, nation-building, modernization and into the twenty-first century. We will begin with a theoretical discussion of race and gender and then proceed to consider how they have intersected in Latin American history through an analysis of topics such as migration; labor; honor, sexuality, and marriage; scientific racism; the emergence of national and regional identities; and political and social movements.

HIS 380 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 383 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 384 The British Empire
A study of the origins, rise, and fall of British imperialism, from the conquest of the “Celtic fringe” and the East India Trade to the decolonization of Africa, the Falklands War, and the return of Hong Kong to China. The course focuses on the theme of the British Empire as a matrix of globalization, exploring three key questions: What were the dynamics of socio-economic and political power in the Empire? How did British culture and political traditions achieve global significance through the development of the Empire? Finally, how did the Empire change Britain and shape world history?

HIS 385 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.

HIS 386 National Myths and Dubious Heroes
This course examines the violent nature of state formation throughout history and the heroes who have emerged as key characters in national myths about the establishment of states. It begins with the biblical story of David which serves as a paradigm for nation building and hero making throughout history. Case studies from Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America, and North America are examined.

HIS 387 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 432 China and the West
Students examine China's checkered relationship with foreigners by exploring four cities that have played prominent roles in the history of Chinese foreign relations: Xi'an, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Beijing. Using these cities as “laboratories” (as living reminders of a past whose architecture and people can be “read” as evidence of earlier conditions), students examine the internal and external factors that have shaped China's relationship with foreigners, as well as the impacts such contacts have had on Chinese development.

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