Chair: Julie A. Charlip 
Jakobina Arch
John Cotts
Sarah H. Davies (on Sabbatical, Fall 2015) 
Brian R. Dott
Nina E. Lerman
David F. Schmitz (on Sabbatical, Fall 2015)
Elyse Semerdjian
Lynn Sharp
Jacqueline Woodfork

History Department Website »

History is the most comprehensive of the liberal arts, embracing, potentially at least, whatever women and men have done or endured. The study of history develops your understanding of the human condition through the ages.

A student who enters Whitman without any prior college-level preparation in history will have to complete 36 credits to fulfill the requirements for the history major. For first-year students either 100-level or 200-level classes are the best place to start; very few history classes have prerequisites.

Distribution: Courses completed in history apply to the social sciences and cultural pluralism (selected courses) distribution areas.

Learning Goals: Upon graduation, a student will be able to:

  • Major-Specific Areas of Knowledge
    • Demonstrate depth of understanding and mastery of subject matter in a chosen (regionally and temporally limited) field of study.
  • Accessing Academic Community/Resources
    • Understand, digest, and analyze scholarly historical monographs, with attention to the author's thesis, structure of argument and use of evidence.
  • Critical Thinking
    • Deploy research skills and develop analytical understanding in a sophisticated thematic project in comparative history.
  • Research Experience
    • Conduct substantial research in both primary and secondary sources in an extended scholarly essay. Construct and document a historical argument with attention both to the existing literature and to the use of historical evidence and its interpretation.

The History major: A minimum of 36 credits in history, including History 299, History 401, a “comparisons and encounters” course at the 200 or 300 level; and a 400-level seminar. No more than four credits at the 100 level will count toward the major. The department offers courses in seven geographical areas: Africa, Ancient Mediterranean, Asia, Europe, Islamic World, Latin America, and the United States. The major program must be planned by the student and adviser to include at least one course at the 200 or 300 level in four of these areas, at least one course at any level in pre-modern history from the department approved list of classes, and two related courses at the 200 or 300 level within one geographic field. A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in History 299. A 400-level seminar may be taken by a junior who has taken History 299, with consent of instructor. No more than eight credits earned in off-campus programs (e.g., I.E.S., the Associated Kyoto Program, University of St. Andrews, American University’s Washington Semester and The Philadelphia Semester) and transfer credit may be used to satisfy history major requirements. In the final semester of the senior year, all history majors must pass a senior assessment consisting of a written book exam, a written field exam, and a comparative oral examination.

Note: Courses taken P-D-F prior to the declaration of a history major will satisfy course and credit requirements for the major. Courses taken P-D-F may not be used to satisfy course and credit requirements for the major after the major has been declared.

The History minor: A minimum of 19 credits in history from at least two geographical areas; 16 of these credits must be chosen from among courses above the 100 level. History 299 and 401 are recommended but not required. No more than four credits earned in off-campus programs (e.g., I.E.S., the Kyoto Program, Manchester University, St. Andrew’s University, the Washington and Urban semesters) and transfer credit may be used to satisfy history minor requirements.

Advanced Placement: Advanced placement credit for the College Board Advanced Placement Tests in history is granted as follows: students with a grade of 5 on the American History Test will be considered to have completed the equivalent of History 105 and 106 and receive eight history credits. Students majoring in History may only apply four of those credits to the major. Students with a score of 5 on the European History Test will be considered to have completed the equivalent of History 183 and receive four credits in history. Students with a score of 5 on the AP World History Test will be granted four credits, but they will not be considered the equivalent of any course. A student has the option of repeating a course for which AP credit has been granted, but with a commensurate reduction in the advanced placement credit.

All three- and four-credit history courses are scheduled to meet the equivalent of three periods per week.

105 Development of the United States (1607-1877)
4; not offered 2015-16

The purpose of this class is to study the development of American society from the beginning of the colonial period through the Civil War and Reconstruction. While the course will follow the chronological development and changes in American society, it also will consider in some depth the major institutions, ideas, and social movements that gave shape to the nation through the use of both primary and interpretive readings. Some of the topics which will be covered are Puritanism, mercantilism and capitalism, revolutionary era, federalism, the two-party system, nationalism and sectionalism, slavery, manifest destiny, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

106 Development of the United States (1877-present)
4; not offered 2015-16

The purpose of this class is to study the development of American society from the end of Reconstruction to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the institutions, ideas, and movements which have shaped modern American society. Using both primary and secondary material, the course will not only discuss the chronological development and changes in American society, but also will discuss such topics as industrialization, urbanization, consumption, and popular culture, rise of mass society and mass politics, America as a world power, civil rights and women’s movements, Vietnam, and Watergate.

109 East Asian History to 1600
4; not offered 2015-16

This course examines the diverse peoples and societies of East Asia, particularly the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese. We will critically assess how common traditions, such as Confucianism, Buddhism and the Chinese writing system, linked these groups together, while also paying attention to how these ideas changed over time and were adapted to fit local cultural practices. We will analyze state-building, empire, politics, religion and culture, through lectures, readings and discussions. In addition, we will investigate the creation of the Mongol empire, and compare it to earlier agriculturalist/pastoralist interactions. Assignments will include short papers and exams.

110 East Asian History 1600 to the Present
4; not offered 2015-16

This course examines the intertwining histories of Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam from 1600 to the present. We will focus both on the common characteristics as well as the differences between these cultures. We will look comparatively at these four societies, their struggles to preserve or regain their independence, to refashion their national identities, and to articulate their needs and perceptions of a rapidly and violently changing world. Topics for analysis will include nationalism, imperialism, modernization, westernization, democratization, the Cold War, Indigenous rights, and globalization. Assignments will include short papers and exams.

112 Modern Africa
4; not offered 2015-16

This survey course studies the history of Africa's modern period from the precursors to formal imperialism to the post-colonial era. We will examine colonial rule, looking at the ways in which European policies affected African political authority, economic systems, generational and gender dynamics, and cultural and ethnic identities as well as diverse African reactions to these changes. The period of political liberation movements and their results will be studied through the lenses of continued ethnic strife and neo-colonialism. The course is designed for first- and second-year students; previous experience in History 218 or an equivalent course is desirable, but not required. Assignments include written examinations, short papers, a map quiz, and a group research project and its presentation to the class.      

118 Changing Landscapes: Introduction to Terrestrial Environmental History
4; not offered 2015-16

Environmental history asks four main questions: what was the environment like in the past, how did it affect people, how did people affect it, and what did people think about it? This course will consider the answers to these questions by introducing major themes in environmental history. We will be looking at the ways that various landscapes around the world have shaped human history, and also how people have shaped these landscapes to better suit their needs and desires. Topics include the history and impact of agriculture, fire regimes, water use, urbanization, population growth, pollution, and energy regimes. We will also discuss the importance of changing perspectives of the terrestrial environment and the rise of environmentalism. Class will be conducted in a combined lecture/discussion format.

121 History and Ethnobiology of the Silk Roads
x, 2 Dott

This interdisciplinary and interdivisional course will provide an integrative exploration into the history and ethnobiology of peoples along various branches of the trading routes across Asia known as the silk roads, with an emphasis on China prior to 1400. Topics will include why certain goods and technologies were traded; agricultural, social and religious impacts of trading; biological features of items traded or moved along the silk roads, such as foods, beverages, fibers, animals, and diseases. See Asian Studies 221 for an optional, supplemental field course that will be offered when funding permits. Corequisite: Biology 121.

127 Islamic Civilization I: The Early and Medieval Islamic World
x, 4 Long

This course will examine the rise of Islam as a religion and as a political and cultural system, from the time of Muhammad (sixth century) to the early Ottomans (15th century). Attention will be given to Islamic dynasties and states from Central Asia to Spain, and to the spread of Islamic religion and culture to South Asia and Africa. Themes will include the interaction of nomad and sedentary societies, dissenting groups and minorities, relations between Muslims and Europeans, slavery and social organization, and developments in science and literature. The format will include lecture and discussion. Readings will include primary and secondary sources. Written work will include several response papers, a final exam, and participation in an email class discussion list.

128 Islamic Civilization II: The Modern Islamic World: The Ottomans to Arafat
4; not offered 2015-16

This course will examine the history of the Islamic World from the 15th century to the present. Attention will be given to the rise and spread of the Ottoman state, the Safavid dynasty and formation of Iran, European interactions with Islamic countries from Southeast Asia to West Africa, 19th century imperialism and reforms, and the emergence of nation states in the 20th century. Themes will include the paradigm of decline, Orientalism, fundamentalism and political Islam, the idea of the caliphate, secularism and nationalism, minorities and women, and developments in art and literature. The format will include lectures and discussions. Primary and secondary sources, film and slides will be used. There will be several response papers, a final exam, and an email class discussion list.

150 Special Topics: Reading History through Sources

These courses introduce students to history through first-year seminars designed to provide an in-depth exploration of a specific topic or problem. Courses will delve into primary sources to explore how historians ask and answer questions. Areas included might be Ancient Mediterranean, Africa, Latin America, Europe Medieval and Modern, U.S. early and contemporary, Asia, Middle East, Environmental. Courses will be primarily reading and discussion, with supplementary lectures. Any current offerings follow.

150A ST: Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral: Natural Resources in Global Environmental History
4, x Arch

This course will focus on the ways in which the search for and use of natural resources has profoundly affected human history. We will examine the work of environmental historians along with primary sources relating to the history of conflicts over access to resources, resource extraction and transportation, and the resulting pollution (organic, chemical, and radioactive). Using these sources, we will discuss how historians ask and answer questions about the ways that resource availability has shaped human societies and cultures worldwide, as well as how particular societies have had dramatic impacts on the distributions of water, forests and other ecosystems, minerals, and plant and animal populations. While there will be some brief lectures, this course is primarily focused on reading, writing, and discussion. Assignments include analysis of primary sources, short papers, and a final paper project with presentation to the class. This course may be applied to the social sciences area foundation requirement for Environmental Studies majors. Distribution area: social science. 

180 Cities and Empires: An Introduction to the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean
x, 4 Davies

This course introduces the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean -the vast, culturally diverse regions that have deeply influenced the modern world. The course begins by exploring the agricultural and urban revolutions - and the forms of kingship and divinity - that evolved in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It then looks to the globalization of the Bronze Age, to new interactions between "East" and "West," and to the concepts of citizenship, polis-structure, and Hellenic identity that developed in the Greek-speaking world. From there, it analyzes the conquests of Alexander the Great as forging a new internationalism - the Hellenistic - with transformed approaches to political power, urbanism, and identity. The focus then shifts, to Rome's meteoric rise to empire and position as arbiter of pan-Mediterranean citizenship - a citizenship ultimately defined in Christian terms. From about 3000 BCE to the fifth century CE, this course is therefore an investigation into grand-narrative processes and interpretations of continuity, change, and power. It also introduces the various forms of evidence encountered by historians of the ancient world, from literary to epigraphic and archaeological.

181 Europe Transformed, c. 300-1400
4, x Long

This course examines the creation of “Europe” starting with Rome’s slow disintegration in the third century and ending with the formation of a new medieval synthesis by the middle of the 14th century. It explores continuing tensions between local and central interests in religion, politics, and culture, including the development of feudal social and political structures, the transformation of free peasants into serfs, the growth of church authority, and the rapid expansion of towns and trade. Medieval people reacted to these changes in many ways, including widening the scope of intellectual exploration, reassessing social status, and engaging in warfare and in the Crusades. The course requires short analytical papers, exams, and historical analysis of primary sources.

182 Expansion and Enlightenment: Europe, c. 1400-1789
4; not offered 2015-16

This course introduces students to Early Modern Europe, a period that began with the Renaissance in the 14th century, was torn by the Reformation and war in the 16th century, secularized by the rise of the modern state, and challenged by the 18th century Enlightenment. Topics discussed include the beginnings of European economic and political expansion, the development of modern diplomacy and the state system, and the foundations of modern western society. The course emphasizes reading and a variety of historical analysis; assignments include short papers and exams.

183 Revolution and the Impact of Mass Culture: Modern Europe
4; not offered 2015-16

The French Revolution introduced concepts of liberty and equality that helped shape much of the 19th and 20th centuries as people struggled to achieve them — or to reject them. This course studies Europe from 1789 to the end of the Cold War and the fall of Communism in 1991, exploring the increasing importance of “the people” in shaping modern European politics, culture, and society. Industrialization and socialism rested on the working people; new cities and mass popular culture on the expansion of literacy and population. The growth of capitalism and the spread of nationalism contributed to European imperialism and the overwhelming destruction that characterized World War I, Nazism, and World War II. The course emphasizes reading and historical analysis of primary sources including literature and popular culture without neglecting ideologies and politics. Assignments include short papers and exams.

188 Modern Latin America
4, x Charlip

Latin America often exists in the North American popular imagination as a series of colorful stereotypes — suave Latin lovers, peasants sleeping under sombreros, wild-eyed revolutionaries in banana republics. This class will replace those myths with a view of the Latin Americans as people, not stereotypes. We will look at shared social, political, and economic problems while also appreciating the diversity of the region by examining the specific cases of various nations. The class, which covers the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning with independence from Spain, will be conducted by lecture and discussion.

202 The Age of Cathedrals: European Thought and Culture, 1100-1350
x, 4 Cotts

Europe’s Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals are not simply important architectural achievements but the products of a complex nexus of intellectual and social developments during the High Middle Ages. This course explores the intellectual history of the period that produced these buildings, including “high culture” (philosophy, theology, and science), as well as vernacular literature and oral traditions. Broader cultural issues such as the rise of literacy, the development of lay piety and heretical religious movements, and the origins of universities will also be considered. Readings will include the thought of such philosophers as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, as well as examples of Arthurian romance, Norse sagas and literary monuments like Dante’s Divine Comedy.

205 East Asian Environmental History
4; not offered 2015-16

This course will examine human-environment interaction within the large, diverse area known as East Asia (approximately covering modern China, Korea and Japan). We will begin with pre-agricultural history and then focus on environmental topics within three broad time periods. The first period will cover from approximately 1000 BCE to 1300 CE, the period in which intensive rice cultivation spread through East Asia; the second period covers the early modern era, broadly defined as ~1300 CE to the mid-1800s, a period of imperial expansion outside and within East Asia; the final period covers the modern industrial era and its particular impacts on the environment. This course assumes no familiarity with East Asian history. If you are familiar with some East Asian history, the focus on the environment should provide you with a new perspective on what you know. Class will be conducted in a combined lecture/discussion format.

207 The Age of Humanism and Reform: European Thought and Culture, 1300-1650:
4, x Cotts

This course traces the development of European thought and culture from the time of Dante to the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution. We will explore not only such high cultural elements as philosophy and science but also the development of popular literature, the impact of print, and the reception of religious ideas by ordinary Europeans. Among the topics to be considered are the Italian and northern “renaissances,” the development of Reformation thought, the use of vernacular languages, and the theory and practice of science. Thinkers to be studied include Christine de Pisan, Thomas More, Niccolò Machiavelli, Martin Luther, Michel de Montaigne, and René Descartes.

209 Religion in Latin America
x, 4 Charlip

Religion has been a central component of cultural, political, social, and economic life in Latin America since before the Conquest. This class will cover pre-Columbian beliefs and practices, introduction and institutionalization of Catholicism, syncretic religious beliefs, African-based religions (santería, candomblé), the challenge of Liberation Theology, the rise of Evangelical Protestantism, and the treatment of minority religious practices.

210 Topics in African History

A course which examines special topics in African history. Distribution area: social science or cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

213 United States and the Wars with Iraq
x, 4 Schmitz

This course will trace the path and nature of U.S. involvement in the Middle East from World War II down to the present in order to understand the increasing involvement of America in the region and the two wars the United States has fought against Iraq. American policy will be examined in the context of post-1945 U.S. foreign policy and how America responded to the decolonizing Third World, the perceived danger of communist expansion and influence in the Middle East, the strategic and economic importance of the Middle East, and in particular the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein, and September 11, 2001.  It will include coverage of the war in Afghanistan. . Fulfills the United States geographical area or Comparisons and Encounters  major requirement. 

215 Special Topics in Ancient History

A course which examines special topics in the history of the ancient Mediterranean world. Distribution area: social sciences. Some topics may also fulfill cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

217 Decolonization in Africa
4; not offered 2015-16

After the Second World War, the winds of change blew across Africa. Africans sought to end instead of reform the colonial project, and European nations lost the will and the financial wherewithal to maintain their African empires. This course examines the end of empire in Africa, investigating the ideologies that drove independence movements as well as the myriad of challenges these new nations faced, including the role of African “tradition” in the face of “modernity,” the economic structure of the nation, citizenship, international relations, mitigating the effects of the colonial presence, and the “success” of decolonization. Reading assignments, discussion, a research paper and its presentation to the class are required.

218 Africa to 1885
4, x Woodfork

This survey course provides an introduction to the history of Africa from its earliest days to 1885. From this vast swath of time, select examples will be used to examine Africa's internal workings as well as its engagement with the wider world. Emphasizing continuity amidst change, the course’s major themes include migration, trade systems, religious and cultural change, and the methods of studying the distant African past. The course is designed for first- and second-year students with no previous exposure to African history. Assignments include written examinations, short papers, and a map quiz.

219 Nation Creation: Latin America in the Nineteenth Century
4; not offered 2015-16

Most Latin American nations won their independence from Spain and Portugal in the early1800s and spent most of the century struggling with the task of creating new nations. This class will begin with the independence wars and cover the political, economic, and cultural struggles over national structures and identity.

220 The Ottoman Empire
4; not offered 2015-16

The Ottoman Empire was the longest lasting Muslim empire from its inception at the turn of the 14th century to its demise at the end of World War I. This course will begin with the empire’s origins in the steppes of Central Asia and the advancements in gunpowder technology that aided its military conquests including the coveted Byzantine capitol of Constantinople. The Ottoman model of administration in the Balkans and the Arab lands will be discussed along with its impact on everyday life in the provinces. The rise of competing nationalisms brought about the loss of formerly held Ottoman lands, the Young Turk revolution, and, ultimately contributed to genocide against the empire’s Armenian subjects. Readings include secondary texts as well as primary sources; grading will be based on exams and a short final paper assignment.

223 Topics in Middle East History

A course which examines special topics in Middle East history. Distribution area: cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

225 Ancient Mediterranean — Near East
4; not offered 2015-16

This course focuses on the civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean, from the introduction of agriculture and the domestication of animals in the Neolithic period to the catastrophic collapse of urban centers in the Late Bronze Age. We survey states within a common zone of contact and conflict, extending from the Iranian Plateau and Mesopotamia across to Anatolia and the Aegean, including Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece. We pay particular attention to international relations between the Egyptian and Hittite empires, as well as relations with other states that these empires considered either their equals (e.g., Cyprus, Assyria, Babylonia) or their subjects (e.g., Canaan, Ugarit). We pay as much attention to the shared “International Cuneiform Culture” of these states as we do to their distinct histories, and we use a variety of primary texts (monumental inscriptions, diplomatic correspondence, ritual texts) and archaeological evidence to construct our narrative.

226 Ancient Mediterranean — Greece
4, x Long

This course surveys the history of the Greek-speaking world, from Bronze Age beginnings to the Roman occupation. Using a range of ancient sources, both archaeological and literary, we will examine the many definitions of “Hellenic” identity – from the Minoan and Mycenaean worlds, to the rise of the polis and the phenomenon of Greek colonization, to Alexander’s conquests and “globalizing” visions of pan-Hellenism. At the same time, we will consider the reception of these Hellenic identities – not only in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, but also in the modern world, in the often-problematic framing of what it means to be male, female, human, beautiful, “civilized,” or “democratic.”

227 Ancient Mediterranean — Rome
x, 4 Davies

This course traces cultural developments over a period of 1,000 years, from the early Roman Republic to the fragmentation of the Roman Empire. We trace how one city expanded from a cluster of huts on the banks of the Tiber River to emerge as the capital of a vast empire; how Roman culture spread with the conquest of the Mediterranean basin; and how the Romans absorbed certain customs and traditions from those that they had defeated. We survey various defeated groups in order to show, on the one hand, how they were incorporated into the empire or else how they resisted and, on the other hand, how these groups demonstrate both the diversity and the uniformity of the Roman world, particularly the uniformity of the urban elite. We use a variety of Greek and Latin historians, biographers, satirists, novelists, playwrights, and philosophers, alongside archaeological evidence, to reconstruct our history of Rome.

228 The Byzantine Empire and the Medieval Mediterranean
x, 4 Long

This course traces the development of the Byzantine Empire from its origins in the old Roman Empire to its final conquest by the Ottomans in 1453. Cultural, political, religious, and economic developments will be considered in a Mediterranean context, with special attention to the Byzantines’ place in a multicultural Mediterranean. Among the topics to be discussed are the empire’s relations with the Islamic world and Western Europe, the Crusades, and the continuation of the Classical tradition.

230 International Relations of the Middle East
4; not offered 2015-16

The history of international relations in the Middle East is the primary focus of this course as it examines the impact of U.S. and European foreign policy from the 19th century to the present. The course also pays special attention to the foreign policy of regional players in the Middle East. Course coverage includes the creation of the modern Middle East map, oil diplomacy, the diplomatic negotiations after World War I, and the influence of U.S. Cold War policy in the Middle East, particularly as it applied to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and Iraq. Case studies of contemporary “hot spots” will vary; past case studies have included Israel, Iran, Iraq, Syria and an examination of nonstate actors and the phenomenon of suicide bombing. Assignments include media analyses, primary source analyses, as well as a short final paper.

231 Oceans Past and Future: Introduction to Marine Environmental History
x, 4 Arch

Even though oceans cover approximately 70% of the earth's surface, environmental historians have focused most strongly on the terrestrial environment. The maritime environment influences human life in many ways, from regulating the global climate to changing or eroding the land we live on; from offering connections between far-flung areas to providing a source of food and entertainment. By examining the history of the marine environment, and the political, economic, and cultural influence of the sea, we can better understand environmental problems covering the entire globe. The course is a mixture of discussion and lecture.

235 The Arab Spring in Historical Context
4; not offered 2015-16

The current wave of protests sweeping the Middle East inspires this critical examination of the historic roots of revolt. While mapping the sites of protest-Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, and lesser known protests in Turkey and Iraq-students will examine the individual modern histories and politics prompting these revolutions. The course will also compare the economic, political, and social factors that have inspired the so-called Arab Spring. Students will study academic arguments about the origins of authoritarianism in the Middle East, the role social media plays in creating new sites of social protests, and the impact of neoliberal economic policies in creating the conditions for the revolution. Students will also be introduced to the cultural politics of the Arab World, including new forms of religious expression, contemporary hip-hop, and revolutionary art found in both Islamist and post-Islamist cultural spheres. Assignments include critical analysis of media coverage, short papers, and a final paper project.

237 The Making of England: From Roman Britain to the Wars of the Roses
4; not offered 2015-16

This course explores English culture and society from Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain through civil wars of the 15th century. Readings include primary source documents, contemporary chronicles, as well as scholarly interpretations of such phenomena as the development of a precapitalist economy, the growth of English law, and medieval origins of the modern nation state. We also will consider the development of Christianity from the earliest missions through the English reformation, patterns of migration and population, the impact of the Black Death, and the formation of English traditions in literature and the arts.

241 Early Japanese History
4; not offered 2015-16

This class will trace the important socioeconomic, political and cultural developments in Japan from prehistory up to 1600. We also will examine evolving gender roles, the development of various schools of Buddhism, and their interactions with indigenous Shinto religion. We will discuss a variety of sources to become familiar with early Japanese views of their society and with modern scholars’ interpretations of Japan’s cultural and historical development. Offered in alternate years.

247 Early Chinese History
4, x Dott

This course examines the history of China from ancient times up to 1600. We will explore Chinese society, culture, and religion through a variety of sources and media. The course is structured to move away from the traditional historiography which focused predominantly on emperors and dynasties. While these political aspects of Chinese history will still be addressed, we also will look at groups and individuals outside of the central power structure, and at longer socioeconomic trends which transcended dynastic changes. Offered in alternate years.

248 Topics in Asian History

A course which examines topics in Asian history. Distribution area: cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

250 Colonies to Nation: North America, 1600-1800
4, x Lerman

This course will explore Britain’s North American colonies, the decision of some of the settlers to seek independent national status, and the nature of the new Republic they created. An extended exploration of late colonial culture and society, British interactions with Native Americans and other European neighbors, and the economic and labor systems of the colonies will provide background for discussion of the American Revolution and early developments in U.S. government. This course will make use of primary and secondary sources, and will emphasize reading, writing, and discussion.

254 The Social History of Stuff: Power, Technology, and Meaning in the United States from the Cotton Gin to the Internet
4; not offered 2015-16

The United States is known as a nation of consumers, of people who fill their lives with lots of “stuff,” and who rely on an extensive technological infrastructure in creating what they think of as a normal lifestyle. But the particular material configurations we aggregate under terms like “stuff” and “infrastructure” have intended (and unintended) uses, users, costs, origins, and histories; they carry associated meanings and embed some set of human relationships. Thinking critically about things demands thinking simultaneously about their social and cultural context, and about the ways people make (and constrain) choices about the material dimensions of their experience. Using historical examples and museum artifacts, this course will explore the relations and techniques of production and consumption; the ways physical objects and social categories like gender, race, and class are intertwined both materially and symbolically; and changing ideas about disposability, convenience, waste, work, and energy.

259 Special Topics in U.S. History

A course which examines special topics in U.S. history. Any current offerings follow.

261 America in Vietnam
4; not offered 2015-16

This course will trace the path of American involvement in Vietnam from the World War II era down to the fall of Saigon in 1975 and its aftermath. American policy will be examined in the context of the United States’ overall post-1945 foreign policy, looking specifically at how the United States responded to the decolonizing Third World and the perceived danger of communist expansion and control in Southeast Asia. Attention will be given to the various pressures and influences on American policymakers as well as differing interpretations of the United States’ action. In addition to studying American policymaking, this course will investigate the impact of the war on American politics and society. Teaching materials will include both primary and secondary readings along with films.

262 People, Nature, Technology: Built and Natural Environments in U.S. History
4, x Lerman

This course will focus on the ways people in North America — primarily in the area eventually claimed by the United States — have interacted with and sought to control their environments from the colonial era through the 20th century. As we explore these centuries, we will focus on a set of interrelated questions in a range of historical contexts: How have physical environments influenced human choices? How have human choices, assumptions, and cultural practices shaped physical environments? How have people at different places and times understood “nature” and their relationship to it? When do they see “nature” and when “natural resources” and when “technology,” what kinds of control have they found acceptable or problematic, and why? How and why have different Americans understood the role of government and the individual in relation to concepts of “property” or “natural resources” or the protection of “nature”? This course will make use of primary and secondary sources, and will emphasize reading, writing, and discussion as well as lecture.

268 Migration and Ethnicity in the US
x, 4 Lerman

Throughout the history of the United States, there have been people "already here" and people coming and going. Studying the history of groups and migrations, the experiences of movers and stayers, the ways groups have defined themselves and understood others... is studying US history, and its connections to other peoples and places. This course will explore changing categories of "us" and "them" through historical study of big issues: citizenship, freedom, democracy; race, ethnicity, labor systems; inclusion, exclusion, removal, integration; biology, culture, heritage. The focus will be on 19th and 20th centuries, concluding with a chance to consider 21st century issues in this long historical context.

277 Nineteenth–Century Europe, 1815-1914
x, 4 Sharp

The 19th century saw massive political, social, and technological change: from monarchies to democracies, from horse to rail to automobile; from a world of much illiteracy to one of daily newspapers and even telephones. Over the course of the century much of what is familiar in the world today was constructed. This course explores events and developments in Europe from the French Revolution to the end of the century, including industrialization, democracy and socialism, religious change and the rise of feminism, the expansion of Europe through imperialism, and the rise of racism and rightist nationalism at the end of the century that helped push nations into World War I. We’ll explore these developments in terms of their impact at the time and move toward an understanding of what legacy they left for the world today.

278 Twentieth Century Europe
4; not offered 2015-16

A social, cultural, and political history of Europe from World War I through the Fall of Communism in 1989. This course looks at the “Dark Century” of Europe: its (self) destruction in the First and Second World Wars and the Holocaust; its experiments with fascism, Nazism, and communism, and its attempts to overcome the past after 1945. The course looks at why Europeans were seduced by violence in the pre-1945 era and at how the post-1945 welfare state tried to answer earlier tensions. Significant time is spent on the early Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, but we also will look at social and cultural change in the post-1945 era, including decolonization and the rise of immigration to Europe. The class ends with a brief exploration of the Revolutions of 1989.

279 Special Topics in European History

A course which examines special topics in European history. Any current offerings follow.

279 ST: Ecologies and Economies in the Medieval World
x, 4 Long

In this course, students will engage with longstanding debates about the medieval environment, and will consider the history of the medieval world against the background of the region's ecology. We will explore aspects of life shaped by these factors like war and disease, but we will pay particularly close attention to trade and economic life. For natural resources or food, medieval peoples were in frequent movement, and the sources produced by these activities shed light on many features of life, including agriculture, slavery, and interactions between different religious groups. Students will investigate these issues through analysis of a wide range of documents, narratives, and even archaeological and material sources like coins and shipwrecks. Distribution area: social science.

283 Special Topics in Latin American History

A course which examines special topics in Latin American history. Distribution area: cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

287 Colonial Latin America
4; not offered 2015-16

The quincentenary of the conquest of the “New World” has focused new interest on Spain and Brazil’s actions in what is now Latin America. The focus of this class will be to put the conquest in perspective and to place the indigenous people within this history, not merely as victims, but as actors in a 300-year process of cross-culturation that created a new society, forged in the language, culture, and structures of both the conqueror and conquered. The course will include primary and secondary readings.

288 Reform or Revolution: Latin America in the Twentieth Century
4; not offered 2015-16

The 20th century in Latin America has been characterized by the struggle for social, economic, and political change. The key dispute has been between those who believe change can be made by reforming existing structures, and those who believe that revolution is the only effective way to create change. This class will explore movements for change, including the revolutions in Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

290 The History and Sociology of Rock ‘n’ Roll
x, 4 Schmitz

This course will examine the development and significance of the musical genre typically known as “rock ‘n’ roll,” from its origins in the 1940s and 1950s to the present. In order to understand this important phenomenon, the course will explore the rural and urban roots of blues, jazz, and folk music from which much of rock ‘n’ roll is ultimately derived; the development of the Cold War culture in the post-World War II years; the social and political upheavals of the 1960s; and the cultural and political fragmentation of American society in the past three decades. Particular attention will be paid both to the development of a distinct youth/alternative culture in response to (and supportive of) the development of rock ‘n’ roll, as well as to the gradual acceptance and integration of various forms of rock music into conventional economic and cultural systems. The course will focus upon the distinctive historical events and trends in the United States that have shaped and been associated with this type of music through the years, and subject these events and trends to theoretical analysis from a variety of sociological perspectives. This class will combine lectures with discussion, and there will be out-of-class listening assignments, as well as papers and exams or quizzes.

297 Nineteenth-Century United States: Experiment to Empire
4; not offered 2015-16

The 19th century was a time of great change in the United States. From the launching of the “Republican Experiment” of the new nation through expansion, developing sectionalism, civil war, reconstruction, and the consolidation of nation and empire at the end of the century, Americans wrestled not only with the nature of their government but also with the transformations of expansion, industrial capitalism, urbanization, immigration, race relations, the role of the household, definitions of citizenship, religion, and secularism.

299 Historical Methodologies
4, 4 Fall: Cotts; Spring: Schmitz

An introduction to the methods, techniques, and concepts used by historians. The main emphasis will be on methods of historical research and analysis, including specific problems confronting historians in dealing with evidence, interpretation, and theory in differing chronological and geographic settings. Reading assignments, discussion, and a major research paper using primary sources are required. Required of the history major. Prior completion of at least one course at or above the 200 level strongly recommended. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

300 Gender in Chinese History
4, x Dott

In this seminar we will explore Chinese gender roles in theory and practice over the past millennium, focusing on the Song, late imperial and modern periods (960-present). Our readings will include scholarly monographs and essays, memoirs, biographies, and fictional writings by men and women. Paintings and films, both documentary and feature, also will provide important sources as we examine the changing visual images of women and men throughout this period. Assignments include a variety of short writing exercises, presentations, and a longer research paper. Offered in alternate years.

305 World War I: Nationalism, Genocide, and the Imperial Mappings of the Modern Middle East
4; not offered 2015-16

Marking the centennial of World War I, this course will explore several themes beginning with the outbreak of war in 1914 and finishing with the peace settlement that remapped the modern Middle East. The course will begin with the theme of self-determination and late Ottoman politics that gave rise to ethnic Turkish nationalism with the Young Turk Revolution in 1908. The subject will turn to competing regional nationalisms and the Young Turk’s use of ethnic cleansing and genocide to demographically engineer Turkey while World War I was in full swing. We will then turn to the Arabian peninsula to study the Arab Revolt coordinated with British army officer T.E. Lawrence which effectively conquered the Ottoman Empire’s southern front. Nationalism and self-determination finish the course as we examine the establishment and subsequent dismantling of an independent Arab state in Damascus and the Paris Peace Conference where self-determination and imperial ambitions were negotiated. Reading original documents, students will study in detail the remapping of the Middle East into a series of imperial mandates controlled by Britain and France. We will finish the course by examining residual political problems that persist as a result of this radical remapping of the modern Middle East. The course will have a balance of lecture and discussion of scholarly arguments and debates.

310 Topics in African History

A course which examines special topics in African history. Distribution area: social science or cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

314 Colonial Moment in Africa
x, 4 Woodfork

The colonial era was a brief period (c. 1885-1990) in Africa’s long and complex past, but it is the era that defines the continent’s major historical periods. In examining the colonial period, we will seek to complicate our notions of resistance and complicity, looking at how Africans negotiated their lives, constantly trying to preserve what mattered most while adapting to the realities of life under imperial rule. For Europeans, Africa was often as much a fantasy as a reality, a playground built on shifting sands of fear and control. Europeans were not omnipotent conquerors, but rather interlopers who had to cajole and reach deals with Africans to achieve results (which were sometimes not what they had intended). Of particular concern is what people thought and learned about each other and how they used what they knew to create policies and regulate interactions. We will investigate theories of colonial rule, the reactions of Africans to imperialism, sites of interaction including the household and the bedroom, and the end of the colonial era. Reading assignments, discussion, a research paper and its presentation to the class are required. Offered every other year.

315 Special Topics in Ancient History

A course which examines special topics in the history of the ancient Mediterranean world. Distribution area: social science. Some topics may also fulfill cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

319 Women in Africa
4, x Woodfork

This course will analyze the diversity of experiences of women in Africa, focusing on how religious practices, colonialism, work, and social class have impacted their lives. We will examine how people construct and reinforce notions of gender and how women function in social systems such as the family. We also will study issues concerning reproduction and the control of the bodies of women and girls. The goal is to restore women to the history of Africa, looking at them not as accessories to the historical process, but as veritable actors and agents of change. A research paper and its presentation to the class are required.

320 Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Kingdoms
4; not offered 2015-16

By the age of 33, Alexander had conquered an empire that extended over most of the eastern Mediterranean world, but he would not live to rule it. At his death, his empire fractured, re-emerging more than 20 years later as the four great kingdoms of the Hellenistic Age. From the meteoric career of Alexander, through the bitter power struggles of his successors, culminating in the dramatic last stand of Cleopatra, this course will examine the way in which this Graeco-Macedonian expansion reshaped the Mediterranean world even as the conquerors themselves were altered by the very peoples they had subjugated. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between foreign conqueror and subject culture, the creation of royal dynasties, the development of ruler-worship, and the question of “Hellenization.”

322 History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
4; not offered 2015-16

What are the origins of the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis? This course will present several perspectives on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It will examine the origins of the conflict in 19th century Zionism, the conditions of the late Ottoman Palestine, and World War I diplomacy. The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 resulted in the first Arab-Israeli War and several other wars followed such as the Suez War (1956), the Six-Day War (1967), and the Yom Kippur War (1973). In addition to these wars, the course will examine the peace process, rising Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation during the Intifada, and Israeli peace movements. The course will finish with the current status of the conflict. Student assignments will include media analysis of the conflict, document analysis, a final research paper and participation in a peace conference to be held during the final examination period of the course. It is recommended that students take at least one course in Middle Eastern history prior to taking this course.

323 Topics in Middle East History

A course which examines special topics in Middle East history. Distribution area: cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

325 Women and Gender in Islamic Societies
x, 4 Semerdjian

What rights do women have in Islam? Is there such a thing as gender equality in Islam? This course will examine women’s lives in Islamic societies from the seventh century to the present in the Middle East. Topics will include lives of powerful and notable women; women’s position in Islamic law; Western images of Muslim women; Muslim women’s movements in relation to radical Islam, secularism, nationalism and socialism; recent controversies over veiling. The course contains overarching discussions of sexuality and gender as they related to prescribed gender roles, the role of transgender and same sex couples, and illicit sexuality. The course also will look at the impact of imperialism and Orientalism on our understanding of gender in the Islamic World. The format will be lecture and discussion. Materials for the course will include novels, primary source documents, articles, and films.

329 Rights, Revolution, and Empire: France 1789-1815
4; not offered 2015-16

This course looks at the Revolution of 1789 as a political, social, and cultural experiment in politics and perfection. Beginning with the still-hot argument over causes, we explore the French Revolution from its inception to its expansion throughout Europe and its (former) colonies; we end by exploring the Empire and asking the question whether Napoleon continued the revolution or was the first modern dictator. The French Revolution was a key moment in the development of modern thought on politics and rights. From the discourse of rights that encouraged the early revolutionaries to the attempt to create the perfect citizen under Robespierre — and to guillotine those who betrayed that ideal — French men and women struggled with and for freedom. Understanding those debates and struggles is key to understanding modernity. Reading of primary and secondary texts, papers and discussion required.

330 Hail Caesar? The Roman Revolution
x, 4 Davies

On the Ides of March, 44 BCE, the Roman world stood at a crossroads. Its newly minted dictator-for-life, Julius Caesar, lay dead, publicly slain by a group of senators, who declared that the Republic had been freed and restored. And yet, over the next few decades, the Roman state and the broader Mediterranean world continued to be racked by turmoil. Out of this crucible, a new “Republic” and world-imperium emerged, one headed by a “first citizen”: the nephew and heir of Caesar, Octavian-Augustus. Over the millennia, it has proven overwhelmingly seductive to view Caesar and Augustus, and their “Roman Revolution” from a teleological perspective, with these men inevitably marking both the “fall” of the Republic and the rise of a Roman “Empire.” This course seeks to explore the ancient origins of this teleological perspective and to delve more deeply into a remarkably complex chapter that shaped the history of a “Western” world. Using a combination of archaeological, art historical, literary and epigraphic evidence, this course will investigate the dramatic transformations of political and social life in the Roman world, from second century BCE to first century CE.

332 Conversion, Crusade, and Conquest: European Cultural Encounters, c. 400-1600
4; not offered 2015-16

Medieval and early modern Europe was not a monolithic or entirely isolated civilization but an uneasy synthesis of alternative cultural possibilities. This course considers moments of cross-cultural contact, conflict, and negotiation during the millennium up to and including the “age of discovery” that was inaugurated by Columbus’ voyages. Topics to be studied include the conversion of Europe to Christianity, the Norse expansions into the Atlantic, and various forms of interaction between Western Europe and the neighboring Byzantine and Islamic civilizations, with special attention to the Crusades. The course will conclude with the European response to the exploration and colonization of the “New World.”

333 France 1789-2002
4, x Sharp

Liberté, fraternité, égalité were the watchwords of the Revolution of 1789.  Revolutionaries believed that equality and liberty were universal values, applicable to all people and societies. Yet it took at least three more revolutions and substantial bloodshed to even begin to implement this vision. This course explores the ongoing struggle in France and its colonies over who could claim the supposedly universal rights of equality and why -- peasants? workers? women? colonial subjects? immigrants? We’ll also ask how French visions of human rights were woven into the history of Europe as whole and have helped determine our contemporary definitions of democracy. Topics include social and cultural struggles as well as political ones, acknowledging the breadth of what liberty, fraternity, and equality meant to historical actors.

335 Modern European Imperialism
4; not offered 2015-16

By 1900 the small island group of Great Britain ruled over one-fourth of the world’s land mass and one-fifth of its people. How and why did Britain and other European states seize power over much of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries? Why did they think they had the right (or duty) to do so? What did this mean for Europe? For the people in the colonized lands? What is the legacy of European imperialism for the contemporary world? Did decolonization create truly independent states? Centering on British and French imperialism, the course seeks to answer these questions through intensive reading of primary and secondary sources. The course begins by studying theories of empire, then looks at how imperialism impacted history via a variety of themes, including geopolitics, capitalism, and expansion; the empire at home; gender and empire, and nationalist and racist visions of the world.

339 Modern Germany: Imagining a Nation?
4; not offered 2015-16

More than any other Western European nation, Germans have struggled to identify what it means to be a citizen of a nation. The course begins with a look at central Europe prior to 1848, when “Germany” was a collection of minor states fought over by Prussia and Austria. We’ll look at liberal nationalism as a unifying force and explore the way Bismarck created a nation while bypassing that same nationalism, then move to explore the nation that Germany became. From struggles over socialism in the late 19th century, through World War I, revolution, and struggles over culture and fascism in the early 20th century, German people and government often saw themselves as striving to maintain and/or create a powerful nation. The last segment of the course explores both East and West Germany after World War II, as the East turned to Communism, and the West surged to the forefront of the European Union during the Cold War. We end with a glance at reunited Germany as it emerged in 1990. Not recommended for first-year students.

344 China in Revolution
4; not offered 2015-16

From the late nineteenth century, China underwent major political and social change. Nationalist revolutionaries destroyed the imperial system; amidst the ensuing instability communist revolutionaries arose. This course explores national and international politics but also pays close attention to the acute social and cultural changes that shook Chinese society in terms of expected familial, social, gender, ethnic, and class roles. Chinese communists attempted to remake society through mass campaigns, to make intellectuals into peasants, and everyone into comrades. Contemporary China has seen the thriving of socialism with “Chinese characteristics.” While many of these themes will be examined at the national and international level, we will also explore a number of the issues at the local level. Work will include several analytical papers, the final one being a research paper.

346 Modern Japanese History
x, 4 Arch

From the collapse of samurai society in 1868 to the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011, from the rise of the Meiji state to the global spread of the Japanese entertainment industry, the modern history of Japan presents one of the more striking transformations in the interconnected history of the modern world. This course will explore how people in Japan have dealt with some of the major issues of modern global history: the social upheavals and transformations of capitalism and democracy, the fate of modern imperialism, the experience of total war, and the spread of mass consumer culture. Class meetings will be divided between lecture and discussion of primary and secondary texts.

348 Horseriders and Samurai: Comparisons in Early Modern East Asia
4; not offered 2015-16

In this comparative course we will examine political, social, economic and cultural conditions following the establishment of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China and the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan in the seventeenth century. In both regions the elite were initially warriors—the samurai class in Japan and the Manchu ethnic group in China. Both regimes restructured society, placing themselves at the top—yet neither group could rule without support from other segments of the society. In addition to examining differences and convergences in the areas of state institutions and social organization, we will also explore changing gender roles and shifting economic conditions, as well as local conditions. Assignments will include several analytical papers, the final one being a research paper.

349 Topics in Asian History

A course which examines special topics in Asian history. Distribution area: cultural pluralism. Any current offerings follow.

355 Pacific Whaling History
4; not offered 2015-16

From aboriginal shore-based hunts to modern factory ship whaling, the pursuit of whales has drawn people together and set them at odds with each other, particularly since the rise of the environmental movement. This seminar will look at the history of whaling throughout the Pacific Basin, from the west coast of the Americas to Japan and Australia, and all the waters in between. Using a mixture of primary and secondary sources, we will consider in particular the environmental impact of whaling in different areas of the Pacific, as well as the role of environmentalism in changing attitudes towards whaling in the twentieth century. This course is discussion-based, with paper and presentation assignments.

364 The Black Atlantic
4; not offered 2015-16

This course investigates the historical contacts between Africa, the Americas and Europe from the 15th to the 20th century. The Atlantic has acted as a connector, not a divider of these three regions, enabling the encounters of peoples and cultures. The picture was not always pretty: the intersection of race and power left many on the bottom rungs of society vulnerable while others prospered enormously. Despite the political and economic oppression of slavery and imperialism, the creation of racial hierarchies, forced and voluntary migrations, these encounters created a stimulating cultural gumbo that was reflected in culinary, musical, and religious traditions as well as new intellectual trends such as abolitionism and negritude. Reading assignments, discussion, a research paper and its presentation to the class are required. Offered every other year.

365 Industrialization in the United States
4; not offered 2015-16

This course will explore technological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of the industrial transformation of the United States from the primarily agrarian America of the early 19th century to the recognizably industrial nation of the early 20th century. We will examine the choices Americans made about the makings of their material world, and the implications, seen and unseen, of the development of industrial capitalism. This course will make use of primary and secondary sources, and will emphasize reading, writing, and discussion. Prerequisite: 200-level U.S. course or consent of instructor.

367 The United States in the World
4; not offered 2015-16

This course, surveying America’s relationship to the rest of the world in the late 19th and 20th centuries, will emphasize the ideological assumptions and economic motivations that shaped America’s development as a major power. Consideration also will be given to various interpretations of U.S. foreign policy from the Spanish American War to Iraq. Class discussions of a variety of readings will form a significant part of the course. Not recommended for first-year students.

368 Emergence of Modern America (1893-1945)
4; not offered 2015-16

This course will examine the social, cultural, and political changes accompanying America’s revolution into a modern society. Topics will include the Progressive Movement, the development of a corporate economy, the response to the crisis of the Great Depression, how the United States responded to two world wars, and the impact those wars had upon American society, the rise of mass culture and consumerism, changes in work and leisure, questions of race and gender, and the politics and diplomacy of the period.

369 The United States Since the Second World War (1945 to Present)
4; not offered 2015-16

Emphasizing the political, economic, diplomatic, and social aspects of American society from 1945 to present, this course will investigate the origins of the Cold War, McCarthyism, the increasing power of the presidency, the United States’ response to Third World nationalism, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, student revolts, social thought, Vietnam, Watergate, and the rise of the New Right. Biographies, monographs, documents, and films rather than texts are emphasized in an attempt to present a wide variety of historical materials and interpretations. It is anticipated that this course will help students develop the ability to appreciate the historical process. The class will emphasize reading and discussion. Not recommended for first-year students.

370 Gendered Lens on U.S. History
4; not offered 2015-16

This class explores the uses and meanings of gender categories in the history of the United States. It explores how these categories have been deployed in a multicultural nation, and asks in what ways other kinds of social and geographic boundaries – for example race, class, region, ethnicity, sexuality, citizenship – have shaped gendered experience, and when. In the past half-century, constructing and rewriting the history of people called “women” led to an interrogation of gender categories and boundaries, such that understanding U.S. history now demands attention to the ongoing reconstructions of masculinities and femininities, and their intersections with other ways of delineating difference, and power. This class explores gender ideologies and gendered experience in a range of contexts from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Readings include primary and secondary sources; papers and discussion required.

371 African American History
4; not offered 2015-16

From the forced migrations of the Atlantic slave trade, through the negotiations and survival strategies of chattel slavery, to the strategies of living as free citizens in a nation whose commitment to “freedom” has often been racially contingent, the history of Africans and African Americans in North America is central to the history of the United States. This course explores constructions of racial categories and the experience, agency, resistance, and struggles for equality of people identifying themselves as — variously — colored, Negro, black, Afro-American, and African American. We will begin around the time of the protection of slavery in the U.S. Constitution and end with an inquiry into the workings of race in the United States after the Civil Rights overhaul of the 1960s. Readings include primary and secondary sources; papers and discussion required.

378 Topics in United States History

A course which examines special topics in U.S. history. Any current offerings follow.

379 ST: From Farm to Fork: Food Production and Modernity
x, 4 Sharp

Over the last two centuries food production moved from peasant subsistence level to factory farms and mass production of food.  This course explores the shift from an agricultural to an industrial economy and its impact on food, farms, and national food cultures.  Looking at politics, production, and foods themselves, we'll consider the relationship between factory farms and artisanal production, and between the state, producers, and consumers.  From agricultural science to back to the land movements to European Union regulations and how these shape farmers' choices, we'll explore how states and cultural identities shape national food norms. Focused predominantly on Europe, this advanced readings seminar explores a variety of issues in the history of  food and food production in culture, politics, and national identities. 

379 Topics in European History

A course which examines special topics in European history. Any current offerings follow.

380 Topics in Comparative History

A course which examines selected topics applied across geographical boundaries or chronological
periods. Any current offerings follow.

382 United States-Latin American Relations
4; not offered 2015-16

From the Monroe Doctrine to the Reagan Doctrine, Latin America has been a significant focus of U.S. foreign policy, for geopolitical and economic reasons. Uneasy Latin American neighbors have at times sought U.S. aid and at others vilified U.S. domination, but they have never been able to ignore the colossus of the north. This class will explore the history of this often conflictive relationship in the 19th and 20th centuries. Coursework will include lectures and discussion, use of primary and secondary materials. Requirements include papers and essay exams.

384 Cuba and Nicaragua
4; not offered 2015-16

The Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions are arguably the two most important post-World War II events/processes in Latin America. Cuba’s 1959 revolution became a model for the Left in Latin America, a rationale for repression on the Right, and an obsession for the United States. In 1979, the Sandinistas brought a different kind of revolution to Nicaragua, reflecting domestic realities as well as changes in the international community. Nonetheless, it too was a model for the Left, a rationale for the Right, and an obsession for the United States. Using primary and secondary documents, combining discussions and lectures, this class will focus on the causes and results of the revolutions, and explore what they mean for the specific countries, the region, and the United States. Offered in alternate years.

385, 386 Independent Study
1-3, 1-3 Staff

Directed study and research in selected areas of history. The problems are designed by the student with the help and consent of an instructor in the department. The problems can grow out of prior coursework and reading or may be designed to explore areas not covered in the curriculum. Students are expected to follow the agreed course of study. Problems may be done with any consenting instructor in the department but are coordinated by the chairman. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

387 Topics in Latin American History

A course which examines special topics in Latin American history. Any current offerings follow.

389 History of Mexico
4; not offered 2015-16

This course explores the panorama of Mexican history, from precolonial empire to today’s economic development policies. The bulk of the class will focus on the postcolonial period, from 1821 to the present, examining the struggle for nationhood and modernization, war with the United States, revolution and dependency. The course will use primary and secondary readings, as well as fiction, and will be conducted primarily by discussion.

393 Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages
4; not offered 2015-16

Diverse and often contradictory attitudes toward gender and sexuality informed most of the important spheres of medieval European culture. This course will explore how these attitudes operated in a wide range of sources with a view to three main issues: the status of women in society and the determination of sex roles; medieval attitudes to sex and sexuality; and the changes in religious symbolism relating to gender throughout the Middle Ages. Assigned readings will include primary and secondary sources (at a fairly advanced level), and students will be expected to carry out some independent research.

401 Topics in Comparative History
4, x Charlip and Semerdjian

Limited to and required of senior history majors, this course will explore a number of broad themes common to a variety of civilizations, comparing and analyzing these themes as they develop or are played out in chronological and geographical perspective. Examples of such themes include slavery, imperialism, industrialization, the patterns of political reform, the role of women in society, and the impact of technological change on society. Readings, discussions, and several short papers will be required.

470 Internship
3; not offered 2015-16

Internships are designed to provide an opportunity for students to gain firsthand experience working as an historian with primary materials in an off-campus organization. Department approval in advance is required. Students accepted in the department’s summer historical internship program are required to take this class the following fall.


488 Seminar in African History

A seminar in a selected topic of African history. Any current offering follows.

489 Seminar in Ancient Mediterranean History

A seminar in a selected topic in the history of the Ancient Mediterranean. Prerequisite: a course in Ancient history above the 100 level or consent of instructor. Any current offerings follow.

490 Seminar in Asian History

A seminar in selected topics of Asian history. Any current offerings follow.

492 Seminar in European History

Selected fields of European history. Any current offerings follow.

492 VT: Seminar in European History: Masses/Modern 1880-1914
4, x Sharp

1880-1914 was the Belle Epoque, the beautiful era before World War I when Europeans ruled the world and society was “civilized” and “proper”.  Yet this was also the moment when middle-class women marched in the streets demanding the vote and working class men and women swelled socialist party numbers.  When scientists and politicians deplored the “degeneration” of the individual and society while avant-garde artists drank absinthe and celebrated decadence.  Motor cars, airplanes, bicycles, cinema, anarchists, and a celebration of violence all challenged the norms of bourgeois society.  This seminar explores the emergence of mass politics and modern culture, and the social and cultural contradictions that characterized European society leading up to World War I. Distribution area: social science.

493 Seminar in American History

Critical examination of a theme, period, or trend in American history. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Any current offerings follow.

493 Seminar: The 1960’s
4; not offered 2015-16

The 1960s was the most turbulent decade the nation has experienced during the twentieth century.  The decade began with the United States as the leading world power, experiencing unprecedented prosperity, and with the vast majority of the population confident concerning their future and the future of their nation.  By 1968, however, all of the major institutions of America were being questioned and the nation was, it appeared to many, coming apart.  This seminar will examine the politics, foreign policy, culture, values, and policies of America at the beginning of the decade and the challenges posed to the existing order in the areas of civil rights, foreign policy, domestic policy, gender relations, and culture. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

494 Seminar in Middle East History

A seminar in a selected topic of Middle East history. Any current offerings follow.

495 Seminar in Latin American History

A seminar in a selected topic of Latin American history. Any current offerings follow.

495 VT: Seminar in Latin American History: El Che: Man and Myth
x, 4 Charlip

Che Guevara’s legacy in Latin America has made him more myth than man. This class will explore Guevara’s life, his role in the Cuban Revolution, his political and economic ideas, and his death in Bolivia. We will consider the impact of his ideas on revolutionary movements in the region. We will also explore his cultural and iconic status and consider why he remains a larger than life figure to this day. Prerequisite: previous coursework in Latin American history or politics and/or consent of the instructor. Distribution area: social science or cultural pluralism.

498 Honors Thesis
3, 3 Staff

Designed to further independent research or projects leading to an undergraduate thesis or project report. The thesis may be done under the direction of any consenting instructor in the department, but projects are coordinated by the chairman. Required of and limited to senior honors candidates in history. Prerequisite: admission to honors candidacy.