Fall 2018


History 237: The Making of England - From Roman Britain to the Wars of the Roses


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 .

Prof. Cotts, 4 credits, MWF 10:00-10:50am


History 263: From Farm to Fork - Slow Food, Fast Food

Over the last two centuries food production moved from peasant subsistence level to our contemporary factory farms and mass production of food. How and why did this happen? What role did urbanization, expanding markets, and globalization play? How important was the US in shaping European agriculture norms? This course explores the shift from an agricultural to an industrial economy and its impact on food, farms, and national food cultures. Concentrating on France and Great Britain, we'll look at the relationship between factory farms and artisanal production. We'll parse the powers of technology, 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 modern developments changed farming, eating, and the land. Based in the reading and discussion of primary and secondary sources, this seminar requires class presentations, short papers, and a final short research project. May be taken for credit toward the social science credit toward Environmental Studies major or Environmental Studies-History major.

Prof. Sharp, 4 credits, MWF 11:00am-11:50am


History 333: Never-Ending Revolution? The French Experience

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.

Prof. Sharp, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50pm


Spring 2019


History 150: Comrades Come Rally! Socialism and European Society

Why socialism? Why Communism? Why did these ideas appeal to so many Europeans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? What happened to these ideas when socialists and communists came to power? What made Socialism acceptable in Europe while still a "red menace" in the US? In this course we read the original writings of socialists and communists (and their opponents) to understand their ideals and the realities as they played out in history. The course begins with the first, Romantic, socialists and continues with an exploration of Marx and his not-so-faithful followers, as well as Lenin and the Russian Revolution. We then turn to contemporary European socialism as a political force. This is a primary-source based introduction to historical analysis on one of the most contested topics of contemporary history. The course is mainly discussion based with some lecture; assignments will take the form of short papers. Distribution area: social sciences.

Prof. Sharp, 4 credits, TTh 10:00-11:20am


History 206: European Environmental History to 1800

This course explores how Europeans interacted with and thought about the natural world between the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Industrial Age. We will trace this interaction from the early medieval migration period through the changing demographic patterns of the central and later Middle Ages, and conclude with the industrialization of the late eighteenth century. Archaeological evidence, along with primary and secondary sources will allow us to discuss climactic shifts, the active changes humans made to the landscape (such as reclamation and deforestation), and changing cultural attitudes toward nature. We will continually consider how this history can inform contemporary debates about the environment and its degradation. May be taken for credit toward the social sciences foundation of the Environmental Studies major.

Prof. Cotts, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50pm


History 278: Twentieth Century Europe

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.

Prof. Sharp, 4 credits, TTh 2:30-3:50pm