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Course Descriptions



The major in history requires 30 hours of history, in addition to an 18 hour minor and a general education core. Students may minor in history by completing an 18-hour course of study. All majors and minors are required to complete HIS 2050, The Craft of History, and either 2010 The American Experience from the Colonial Era to the Civil War or HIS 2020 The American Experience from Reconstruction to the Cold War. 

General Education

HIS 1010. World History to 1500 (3). A survey of world history from antiquity to the Age of Discovery (c. 1500), focusing on the chief political, social, and religious foundations of the world’s major civilizations (East Asia, India, Middle East, Europe, and pre-Columbian America). Special attention will be given to patterns of cross-cultural interchange and the dynamics of historical change.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 1020. World History Since 1500 (3).
A survey of world history from the Age of Discovery (c. 1500) to the present, focusing on increasing global interaction since the 16th century, the emergence of the modern world-view, European political and economic expansion, and non-Western responses to the challenges of the modern world.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 1200. The Wild West (3).
An introduction to the history of the American West. Major topics include pre-Columbian societies, European exploration and settlement, cultural encounters between Native Americans and settlers, life on the frontier, the impact of railroads and other technologies, the role of the West in American culture, and environmental changes.

HIS 1300. The Roman World (3).
This course will introduce students to the history of ancient Rome from Romulus to Constantine (eighth century BC - early fourth century AD). Special attention will be given to the varieties of evidence used to reconstruct Rome's story. Thus the course will explore the art, architecture, religion, historiography, and culture of the Romans and their antecedents, both at Rome and throughout its empire.

HIS 1400. The Medieval World: Kings, Queens, Commoners and Crusaders (3).
An introduction to the history and civilization of Europe and the Mediterranean area in the middle ages. The development of the Church as a corporation, the importance of missionary activity in the barbarian conversions, the maintenance of classical intellectual traditions, the rise of the national monarchies, the revival of towns and trade, the changing status of women, the origins of European dissent and heresy, the impact of famine, and the transformative role of epidemic disease are a few of the topics examined in depth.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 1700. The Samurai and their World (3).
This course is a survey of the origins, history, and legacy of the samurai of Japan and their place in Japanese society and politics. It begins with the establishment of warrior rule in medieval Japan then continues through the bloody civil wars of the sixteenth century to pacification during the Tokugawa period. The course also examines the effect of modernization on the samurai as a class and how their ideals lived on and were spread to the entire population in the 20th century. Finally, the course assesses the samurais' appeal in popular culture in Japan and the world today.

HIS 1800. Survey of East Asian History (3).
This course is a survey of the history of China ahd Japan that examines the societies, cultures and politics of these countries from the ancient world to the present.

History Core

HIS 2050. The Craft of History (3).
An introductory course for history majors and minors which focuses on the nature of the discipline, historiography, and problems and controversies in history.

HIS 2010. The American Experience to Reconstruction (3).
This course is a survey of the political, social, economic, and gender history of the North American region that became the United States from pre-European contact through the era of Reconstruction.  Themes include Native American cultures and societies, European settlement, colonial British North America, the War for American Independence, nation-building, industrialization, slavery, western expansion, and the broader Civil War and Reconstruction.

HIS 2020. The American Experience Since Reconstruction (3).
This course is a survey of the political, social, and economic history of the United States since the Reconstruction Era. Themes include industrialization and its impacts, the changing role of the federal government, the rise of the United States as a world power, the complexities of American nationalism amidst persistent regional identities, the applications and implications of American's racial and ethnic attitudes, and diverse cultural responses to the changes of the modern era.

HIS 3050. Writing History (3).
Prerequisite: HIS 2050. This intermediate course requirement for history majors emphasizes research, writing, and historical methodology, and culminates in a major research project.

United States History

HIS 3100. The Cold War World (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This course examines the history of the United States since World War II, with a special focus on the Cold War. The course will examine American foreign policy, but also will consider cultural, social, political, and intellectual developments as they relate to the international scene. Students will explore the ways in which Americans have influenced, and have been influenced by, global developments in the recent past.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3110. Civil War and Reconstruction (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. An examination of the American Civil War as a problem in historical causation and the social, political, and economic impacts of the war during the period of Reconstruction.

HIS 3150. American Social Thought to 1865 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This course examines American intellectuals and American thought from the colonial period through the Civil War. By focusing on the lives and works of individual thinkers, students will consider the various ways in which intellectuals responded to the challenges of their times. Themes of the course will include European images of the New World, Puritan thought, the Great Awakening, revolutionary ideology, sources of romanticism and nationalism in the early 19th century, and the impact of the Civil War on American thought.

HIS 3200. Women in American Society (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. An examination of the roles and accomplishments of American women from colonization to the present.  Themes might include family and gender issues, suffrage, education and labor reform, sexual attitudes by and toward American women, and economic, social and political advances.

HIS 3300. Writers, Gangsters, and Flappers: 1920s America (3).
  This course studies the cultural, intellectual, social, and political life of Americans from the end of the First World War to the Stock Market Crash of 1929.  Major subjects include: issues of race and gender, particularly the feminine image in the 1920s ("flapper"); criminals, criminality, and images of criminality ("gangsters"); art and the politics of artistic representation, specifically in literature ("writers"); and cultural clashes, especially those between "fundamentalism" and "science," and progress and reaction.

HIS 3340. American in Depression and War (3).
  This course is a cultural and intellectual history of the United States during the Great Depression and World War II.  Americans' ideas about success and failure, the proper role of government in a market economy, the relationship between politics and art, the place of morality in war, and the role of American democracy in the world during these years figure centrally.  Major events and themes include, among others, the worldwide Depression, New Deal politics, the Popular Front and popular culture, the war from the home-front, and the campaigns, strategies, and tactics employed in the European and Pacific theaters.

HIS 3350. American Baseball History (3). Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This course traces the evolution of baseball from marginal urban sport in the 19th century to the Progressive era, when the game emerged as the "national pastime," and examines the origins of baseball's current distempers and disabilities.

HIS 4120. Revolution, Nation Making and the "Age of Jackson" (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. An examination of the constitutional conflict in the British Empire, independence and war, growth of political parties, and the emergence of republican systems of government and society. The course will follow these developments through the "Age of Jackson" in the 1840s, and via themes that might include economic development, expansion of slavery, interaction of slavery, interactions with Native Americans, religion and reform, and the changing roles of women, all framed by the ongoing struggle between nationalism and sectionalism.

HIS 4250. Seminar in American Historical Biography (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Biography probably is the most popular form of historical writing in the United States. This seminar will allow students to examine the unique methodological and interpretive challenges that confront a biographer. Students will gain an understanding of how biographers can differ significantly in approach and method by reading and discussing a variety of styles of biography. Students will also write their own works of historical biography and critique the work of their peers in a seminar setting.

Gen. Ed. Designation: EL (R – Undergraduate Research).

HIS 4320. Seminar in The American West (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.A multicultural exploration of the frontier experience, and the trans-Mississippi American West, from exploration and settlement to the present. Gender, class and race, economic and industrial development, and the environment are emphasized. Themes might include exploration and conquest, westward migration and settlement, Manifest Destiny, wars with Mexico and Native Americans, the "Wild West", transportation and technology, suffrage and reform, extractive industries and the environment, and the interpretations of "the West" as a cultural icon.

HIS 4330. American Thought and Culture Since 1865 (3). 
This course examines American intellectuals from the Civil War to the present--their lives, ideas, and respective cultural milieus.  Major historical themes include the impact of Darwin's Origin of the Species and the Civil War on American thought; the responses of artists and intellectuals to mass market capitalism, large scale industrialization and various mechanisms of modernity; the influence of European thinkers and emigres on American thought; and the decline of the public intellectual as a factor in American cultural life.  In addition, the course explores the differences and complementarities in American intellectuals' approaches to these themes and problems from various standpoints, among them, "technical" philosophy, social criticism, political thought, literary criticism, aesthetics, and philosophies of science.

HIS 4390. Advanced Studies in United States History (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Topics not covered in regular course listings, such as economic history, American popular culture, American religious history, the Civil War, and civil rights.

European History

HIS 3250. Kings and Philosophers: Europe, 1648-1789 (3).
   This course covers Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, an era of royal absolutism, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.  It explores European society and Europe's place in world affairs, concentrating on France and Spain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as the development of Prussia and Austria in the eighteenth century.  The course will also analyze the influence of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment on European society, politics, and culture.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3400. History of Medieval Europe (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. A survey which examines the origins of medieval civilization in the late Roman Empire and traces its development to the zenith in the High Middle Ages (1050-1300).

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3500. History of the Russian Empire (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.A history of the Russian Empire from the era of Peter the Great (1682-1715) to the early twentieth century. After a brief survey of medieval and early modern Russian history, the course will focus on the impact of Peter's reforms, the social history of Russia in this period, Russian imperial expansion, efforts to reform and modernize the country, the rise of civil society, and the decline of the Romanov dynasty in the face of revolutionary movements and social crisis.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3510. Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1900 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.A history of Russia and the Soviet Union from the early twentieth century to the present. Important topics include the rise of revolutionary movements in the Russian Empire, the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the evolution of Soviet communism, Stalinist repression and terror, Gorbachev's reforms, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of new post-Soviet states.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3550. Europe in the Age of the French Revolution (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.A study of the politics, society, and culture of the French Revelution and Nepoleonic Eras in order to assess the impact on the people and institutions of France and Europe.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3560. France Since 1870 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This course is a survey of the development of France between 1870 and 1991 including its three republics, World Wars I and II, decolonization, and its role during the Cold War. It will also cover social and cultural changes, such as the emancipation of women and the effects of the modernization of agriculture and industry on the French people.

HIS 3650. The Making Of England, 400-1500 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This course is designed to help students explore and understand the shaping of the English national character by examining the historical events and literacy / artistic achievements that led to the founding of the nation called England and the establishment of English as its language. In the thousand-year time period the course surveys the contributions of the Anglo-Saxons and Normans, as well as the tangential but important influences of the British, the Romans, and the Vikings. Students are expected to engage with a variety of literary and historical texts and critical works, as well as conduct and present research on an assigned report topic and a paper topic on a subject of their choice.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3660. History of England II (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. A survey of the development of Britain from 1688 to the Thatcher era.

HIS 3690. Ireland Since 1798: From Colony to National State (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This class examines the course of Irish history from the 1798 rebellion to the present. Particular attention is paid to the varieties of Irish political experience, the torturous development of nationalism and Unionism, the role of the Church, the consequences of the Famine, the Irish Diaspora, the struggle for independence, and demographic and economic change. The impact of the Partition and the continuing problem of Northern Ireland will also be considered.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4500. Europe in the Age of the World Wars (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Although Europe dominated global affairs at the beginning of the 20th century, the pace of change within European societies generated economic rivalries and social and political tensions which erupted into world-wide war in 1914. This course, through an examination of these tensions - World War I, its aftermath and World War II and its aftermath - will explore the factors, especially the consequences of the world wars, which moved Europe from the center to the periphery of international affairs.

HIS 4510. History of Rome (3).
Roman culture and society from the founding of the city (c. 753 BCE) through Marcus Aurelius (180 CE). This course will call upon both literary and visual texts to trace the development of Roman social and cultural institutions from the city's beginnings as a small settlement on the Tiber to its dominance of the Mediterranean world. Special attention will be paid to the political, social, and economic circumstances that contributed to the growth of Rome, to the transformation from Republic to Principate, and to the difficulties faced by the Empire.

HIS 4650. The Russian Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1922 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.This course explores the causes and consequences of the Russian Revolution of 1917, which toppled Tsar Nicholas II, brought the Bolshevik party to power, and established the foundations for the communist control of the Soviet Union that lasted until 1991. A significant part of the course is dedicated to the Russian Civil War the followed the revolution, a massive and destructive civil conflict during which the Bolshevicks successfully defeated all opponenets and established a police state. Students will work extensively with primary sources and write an original research paper relating to the topic.

HIS 4670. The Tudor Monarchy, 1485-1603 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This class will examine the birth of Renaissance monarch in England, the personalities and politics of the Tudor age, and the government of the realm. Special attention will be paid to the origins of the empire, the question of the "Tudor frontier," the impact of the Reformation, and the emergence of the market society. This course is cross-listed with HIS 5670.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4690. Advanced Studies in European History (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Topics not covered in regular course listings, such as women and the family, the Russian revolution, World War II and the Nuremberg Trials.

World History

HIS 3540. Modern China (3).
The course begins with the creation of the Qing dynasty in 1644 and continues to the present day focusing on the period 1790 to present. These years encompass China's decline in the nineteenth century, the destruction of the Qing Dynasty, the creation of the Chinese Republic, the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, war with Japan, and civil war. Finally, the course will look at Mao Zedong and his policies, as well as China's resurgence as a regional and world power in the 1980s and 1990s. Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G - Global Studies).

HIS 3700. History of Central Asia (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.A survey of central Asian history from antiquity to the present, focusing on patterns of sedentary-nomadic relations and the rise and fall of the great nomadic steppe empires, including the Scythians, Huns, and Mongols. Other topics include Tibetan history and the impact of Russian and Chinese partition of the region in recent centuries.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3720. The Modern Middle East (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.A survey of Middle Eastern history from the late eighteenth century to the present, intended to give students a deep historical understanding of today's problems and issues. The course focuses on teh role of Islam in Middle Eastern societies, the decline of traditional Islamic empires, European imperialism and cultural influences, Arab andTurkish nationalism, the Arab-Israel conflict, Islamic reform and revival movements, and the problem of terrorism.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3800. Latin America : The National Period (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.An investigation of broad themes, individual national histories, and U.S. policies in Latin America from the independence movements of the 1820s to the present. Themes might include the wars for independence, national building, struggles overpolitical and cultural values, ethnicity and gender, the impact of the Cold War, global interactions, and recent political, ideological, and environmental developments in the region.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 3850. Africa Since 1890 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This course surveys the history of sub-Saharan Africa from the beginning of the colonial era to the present day. The course will offer historical background to the period to indicate the cultural, economic, social, and political impacts of colonization, emergence of nationalism, the move towards independence in the 20th century, and recent political, economic, and cultural developments.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4700. Colonialism and Empire Since 1500 (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. A study of European overseas expansion since the 15th century, focusing on the reasons for Europe's imperial success, the impact on non-European peoples, and struggles for independence and development in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4710. Ecology, Technology, and Geography in World History (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. This course explores some of the broadest patterns in world history, specifically the impact of geographical constraints and opportunities, ecological and environmental considerations, technological developments, and cross-cultural interactions on the development of human societies. This course is cross-listed with HIS 6710.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4750. Nationalism and Ethnic Identity (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. A seminar focusing on the historical origins of national identity and the dynamics of inter-ethnic relations. Specific case studies will be drawn from various world regions such as Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, etc.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4800. The Vietnam War (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. An examination of the history of international conflict in Vietnam from 1944-1975. After an introduction to Vietnam's colonial history, the course surveys the Vietnamese attempts to throw off French colonial rule from 1944-1954, Chinese and United States efforts to preserve spheres of influence in Vietnam from the 1950's until 1975, and the efforts by the Vietnamese to resist and co opt these efforts in their own interests. This course may fulfill the history major requirement in either United States or World History, but not both.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4820. History of Modern Japan (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. An examination of the history of Japan as it undergoes social, cultural, economic, and political change from the end of its relative isolation to becoming a world power. The course covers the impact of modernization and westernization on Japanese society and culture, the quest for a East Asian empire that led to a devastating war in the Pacific, and national regeneration into an international economic power. This course is cross-listed with HIS 6820.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4850. Cuba and the Caribbean (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. An examination of the historical development of the greater Caribbean from Spanish arrival in 1492 to the present. Specific themes might include exploration and conquest, colonialism and mercantilism, development of plantation agriculture, wars for independence, ethnicity and cultural tradition, revolutionary movements, women's movements, and twentieth-century relationships / involvement with the United States.This course is cross-listed with HIS 6850.

Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4890. Advanced Studies in World History (3).
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Topics not covered in regular course listings, such as environmental history, epidemic disease in history, technology in history.

Special Topics

HIS 1950-4950. Studies Abroad (3-18).
Study in a foreign country. Individual course titles and locations are assigned for each course taken. See Studies Abroad program for details.

HIS 1990-4990. Special Studies (1-3).
HIS 1990 Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

HIS 4010. Capital Internship in History (6).
Permission of the Capital Internship liaison and enrollment in PSC 2010. Students who have been admitted to an approved internship program will complete a full-term internship in a government agency or office. Credit earned will be counted toward a history major or minor.

HIS 4020. History Internship (1-3).
Prerequisite: Approval of department chairman. Interns will be assigned for practical training and experience to historical agencies as approved by the History Department. (A minimum of 20 hours per semester hour credit is required.)

Gen. Ed. Designation: EL (I - Internships, Clincal, Practica)



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