Fall 2020


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, TTh 11:30am-12:50pm

-Fulfills Social Sciences distribution and Environmental Studies requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Social Justice


History 395: Mass Politics / Modern Culture, 1880-1914

 Europe suffered an acute identity crisis after 1880 as new ideas and new technology battered against the old bourgeois norms. Anarchists, socialists, and feminists challenged the power of middle-class and elite white men. Newly-invented disciplines-psychology, sociology, anthropology, even "sexology" redefined knowledge as well as who should sleep with whom. Motorcars, airplanes, bicycles, and cinema changed perceptions of time and made the world smaller. In art, music, and literature a spirit of experimentation reached for the unconscious mind and the unimagined soul to paint/play/and write new worlds. This course explores Europe as it teetered between the old and the new on the way to World War I. Readings and discussion based; writing includes a research paper on a topic of your choice, from Cubists to Occultism. Prerequisite: History 299 or consent of instructor. 

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

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Sciences distribution.

-History major: 39x seminar; modern history


Spring 2021


History 150: Comrades Come Rally! Socialism & 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.

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

-Fulfills Social Sciences distribution.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas


History 202: Age of the Cathedrals - European Thought

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.

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

-Fulfills Social Sciences distribution.

-History major: pre-modern; Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity


History 335: Modern European Imperialism


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.

Prof. Sharp, 4 credits, MW 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills Social Sciences distribution and Race & Ethnic Studies requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Empires & Colonialism; Revolution, War, & Politics


History 394: Confronting Crusades - The Crusades & Their Legacy


This seminar will consider the ideological and political background, military prosecution, and cultural implications of the expeditions to from Western Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean now referred to collectively as "the Crusades." After considering underlying concepts such as pilgrimage, the "just war," and developments in the Latin West that preceded the Crusades, we will focus especially on the First, Third, and Fourth Crusades from several historical angles: intellectual, religious, cultural, and economic. The course concludes with a consideration of the resonance of Crusading in modern culture and their role in postcolonial discourses. Prerequisites: History 299 or consent of the instructor.

Prof. Cotts, 4 credits, W 7:30-10:00pm

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Sciences distribution.

-History major: 39x seminar