Catalogue PDF Version

Catalogue - PDF Version


Department Faculty
Matt Crow, Associate Professor, Chair
Laura Free, Associate Professor
Janette Gayle, Assistant Professor
Clifton Hood, Professor
Mathew Kadane, Professor
Colby Ristow, Professor
Virgil Slade, Assistant Professor
Sarah Whitten, Assistant Professor
Lisa Yoshikawa, Professor

At HWS, history courses help students to understand the past and its many possible meanings and applications in the present. Because an understanding of the past is so vital to understanding our world, and because identities are so tied to differing narratives and memories, history can be controversial. Many issues have a multiplicity of interpretations and causes. History courses ask students to acknowledge controversy and understand the complexity of historical understanding and interpretation. In so doing, students learn to respect the diversity of perspectives that may emerge in any consideration of the past. They then learn to evaluate and assess historical interpretations and develop their own ideas about the past. Creative thinking and analysis, engaging with complexity, and respecting others’ ideas also prepare students for their future careers and for living lives of consequence.

Mission Statement

The discipline of history is a “dialogue with the past,” that helps us understand the rich and complex forces shaping who we are and how we got to this moment. Through the study of societies, cultures, and economies across a broad chronological and geographical spectrum, history helps us to contextualize stories and facts, past and present, so that we can think about their broader significance. Ultimately, history is a fundamental part of the human experience, and everyone participates in creating it. Therefore, it offers essential tools for understanding ourselves and our place in the world.


The History Department offers a disciplinary major and minor. History courses teach a core set of indispensable transferable skills, such as:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Careful reading of texts
  • Effective argumentation and use of evidence
  • Clear writing
  • Tools for understanding complexity and controversy

A major in History prepares students for a wide range of careers. HWS History majors go on to work in the fields of:

  • Business & Finance
  • Education
  • Government
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Non-Profit Administration
  • Public Policy 
  • And many more… 

History Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 11 courses
Learning Objectives:

  • The ability to describe and discuss historical facts, themes, and ideas, and analyze them within their historical context.
  • The ability to identify, analyze, and evaluate primary and secondary source evidence, to conduct research independently using either or both, and to synthesize evidence into a coherent argument.
  • The ability to think historically about the present, to appreciate the importance of historical knowledge for understanding our present world, and to recognize that our current realities are neither natural nor inevitable, but the product of relations of power.
  • An understanding of the importance of the creation and distribution of knowledge in informing how different communities have experienced the world at different times.

All history majors select an area of concentration by their junior year. The area of concentration may be geographic (African, North American, Latin American, Asian, and European); thematic (for example: gender, race, revolutions); or chronological (medieval, early modern, modern, 20th century).

At least two 100-level introductory courses (EUST 102, ASN 101, ASN 120 and AFS 110 may substitute for one or more introductory history courses); four 200-level or higher history courses in one area of concentration (geographic, thematic, or chronological); three 300-level advanced courses, to include HIST 308 Historian’s Craft and a seminar/capstone course or history honors project. Of the remaining two courses, only one may be at the 100-level. At least three courses of the required eleven must cover different geographical areas. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or better; credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the major.

History Minor

disciplinary, 5 courses
At least one 100-level introductory course (EUST 102 and ASN 101 may substitute for one or more introductory history courses); at least one 300 or 400-level history course; three additional history courses, not more than one of which may be at the 100-level. At least two of the courses must be in two different geographic areas. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the minor.

Course Concentrations

Introductory Courses
HIST 101 Foundations of European Society
EUST 102 European Studies II
HIST 103 Early Modern Europe
HIST 107/ASN 101 Trekking Through Asia
AFS 110 Introduction to African Experience
HIST 111 Topics in Introduction to American History
HIST 112 Soccer: Around the World with the Beautiful Game 
HIST 120/ASN 120 Making of the Samurai
HIST 151 World Food Systems

African and Middle Eastern History
HIST 112 Soccer: Around the World with the Beautiful Game
HIST 283 South Africa in Transition
HIST 284 Africa: From Colonialism to Neocolonialist
HIST 353 Invention of Africa
HIST 354 Lives of Consequence

Asian History
HIST 107/ASN 101 Trekking through Asia
HIST 120/ASN 120 Making of the Samurai
HIST 202 Japan Since 1868
HIST 242 Riding with Genghis Khan
HIST 292 Japan Before 1868
HIST 298 Exploring Modern China
HIST 305 Seminar: Showa through the Silver Screen
HIST 320 Seminar: History and Memory in the Asia-Pacific War
HIST 324 Seminar: The Worlds of Civilized Barbarians
HIST 392 Seminar: Japanese History-Topics

European History
HIST 201 Tudor-Stuart Britain
HIST 209 History of Medieval Women 
HIST 211 Medieval and Renaissance Italy
HIST 220 Early Medieval Europe
HIST 237 Europe Since the War
HIST 238 The World Wars in Global Perspective
HIST 250 Medieval Popular Culture
HIST 253 Renaissance and Reformation
HIST 256 Technology and Society in Europe
HIST 264 Modern European City
HIST 272 Nazi Germany
HIST 276 The Age of Dictators
HIST 286 Plants and Empire
HIST 297 Law in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean
HIST 301 Seminar: The Enlightenment
HIST 308 Seminar: The Historian's Craft
HIST 313 Seminar: Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution
HIST 318 Seminar: Making of the Individualist Self
HIST 325 Seminar: Medicine and Public Health in Modern Europe
HIST 334 Seminar: Pre-Modern Mediterranean
HIST 351 Seminar: Freud and the Problem of Authority
HIST 431 Seminar: History of Original Sin
HIST 473 Seminar: Britain in the Age of Industry and Empire

U.S. History
HIST 207 United States History in the Age of Revolutions, 1776-1848 
HIST 208 Women in American History
HIST 212 Historical Research Methods 
HIST 215 American Urban History
HIST 227 African American History I: The Early Era 
HIST 228 African American History II: The Modern Era 
HIST 229 Public History
HIST 233 History of American Thought to 1865 
HIST 234 History of American Thought Since 1865 
HIST 235 Civil War and Reconstruction
HIST 240 Immigration and Ethnicity in America
HIST 244 US Legal and Constitutional History: Origins to the Present 
HIST 246 American Environmental History 
HIST 304 Seminar: The Early American Republic: 1789-1840 
HIST 306 Seminar: Civil War and Reconstruction: 1840-1877 
HIST 310 Rise of Industrial America
HIST 311 20th Century America: 1917-1941
HIST 317 Seminar: Women's Rights Movements in the U.S. 
HIST 345 Seminar: The Racial Construction of America
HIST 348 Black Women in the Struggle for Rights in America
HIST 352 Seminar: Wealth, Power and Prestige: The Upper Class in American History
HIST 395 Ocean, Law, and Empire: Research in Oceanic History
HIST 471 Seminar: Civil War in American Memory

Latin American History
HIST 205 Modern Mexican History 
HIST 226 Colonial Latin America 
HIST 231 Modern Latin America
HIST 327 Seminar: Human Rights: Cold War and US Intervention in Central America 
HIST 330 Seminar: The Mexican Revolution
HIST 362 Seminar: The Mexican Drug Trade
LTAM 210 Perspectives on Latin America

Advanced Courses
HIST 450 Independent Study
HIST 495/496 Honors
HIST 499 History Internship

HIST 304 Seminar: The Early American Republic: 1789-1840 
HIST 306 Seminar: Civil War and Reconstruction: 1840-1877
HIST 308 Seminar: The Historian's Craft 
HIST 313 Seminar: Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution 
HIST 317 Seminar: Women's Rights Movements in the U.S. 
HIST 318 Seminar: Making of the Individualist Self
HIST 320 Seminar: History and Memory in the Asia-Pacific War 
HIST 324 Seminar: The Worlds of Civilized Barbarians
HIST 325 Seminar: Medicine and Public Health in Modern Europe
HIST 327 Seminar: Human Rights: Cold War and US Intervention in Central America 
HIST 330 Seminar: The Mexican Revolution
HIST 334 Seminar: Pre-Modern Mediterranean 
HIST 345 Seminar: The Racial Construction of America 
HIST 351 Seminar: Freud and the Problem of Authority
HIST 352 Seminar: Wealth, Power and Prestige: The Upper Class in American History 
HIST 392 Seminar: Japanese History-Topics
HIST 431 Seminar: History of Original Sin
HIST 471 Seminar: Civil War in American Memory
HIST 473 Seminar: Britain in the Age of Industry and Empire

Course Descriptions

HIST 101 Foundations of European Society  With the decline of the Roman Empire, Europe's cultural heritage faced unprecedented opportunities as well as challenges. The "Dark Ages" were a time of recovery and synthesis, with Germanic and Pagan customs mixing with Roman and Christian culture to form a unique blend of religion, family life, politics, and economy. Through literature and art, this course discusses the origins of the Western ascetic spirit and the beginning of romantic love and the cult of chivalry. Through visual sources, it explores the construction and defense of castles and manors, and traces the embryonic development of agriculture and technology. (Flynn, offered alternate years)

HIST 103 Early Modern Europe  This course explores a phase in Europe's history marked by religious conflict, intellectual crisis, social and cultural change, territorial expansion, economic and technological development, and political upheavals: the period from the mid-16th century to the fall of Napoleon. We will give special attention to the various forces and consequences of change and continuity; what makes this era "early modern"; what both seals it off in a state of otherness and recognizably ties it to the present; and what has led historians to conceptualize and characterize it as exceptionally revolutionary. (Kadane, Fall)

HIST 107 Trekking through Asia  Welcome to the "Asian Century." Asia has re-emerged as the center of the world, after a brief hiatus that started in the 18th century. With histories and religious traditions stretching back three millennia, today as we see cultures across Asia have transformed in ways to meet the demands of our rapidly changing world. China, Japan, and India are three of the world's top economies. Asia contains six of the world's ten largest countries, and is home to over half of the world's population and two of the world's major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. For decades Asian countries have been leaders in global manufacturing, and Asian universities are now renowned centers for scientific and medical innovation. Fifty percent of the declared nuclear-weapon states are also in the region. Simply put, Asia matters a great deal! In this course, we trek through the Asian past and present, exploring this vast and vibrant region. Through writings and travelogues that documented the peoples and lands of places stretching from the Sea of Japan to Persia, and from Java to the Mediterranean Sea, we will learn about the cultural systems that helped shape Asian societies. We will consider how these traditions contributed to and were changed by historical interactions in Asia itself and in relationship to the rest of the world. Join us on the journey!

HIST 108 The Making of Modern Europe  This course introduces students to modern European history by considering, from various angles, the complicated process that gave both "modernity" and "Europe" coherence. Starting with the events in the late fifteenth century, our major topics include the advent of printing, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the wars of religion, overseas expansion and empire, the scientific revolution, state formation, the Enlightenment, the age of political revolutions, the industrial revolution, the rise of liberalism, mass politics, the two world wars, fascism, decolonization, and the creation of the EU. Authors include Machiavelli, Luther, Montaigne, Bacon, Rousseau, Hobbes, Voltaire, Wollstonecraft, Maistre, Tocqueville, Mill, Marx, Mazzini, Nietzsche, Weber, Schmitt, Freud, Beauvoir, Woolf, Arendt, Foucault, and others.

HIST 111 Topics in Introduction to American History  These courses investigate different topics, but they all explore critical episodes or themes in American history to help you: 1) understand the complex nature of the historical record; 2) engage in historical inquiry, research, and analysis; 3) craft historical narrative and argument; and 4) practice historical thinking in order to better understand and engage with present-day society. Prerequisites: none. (Offered every semester.)

HIST 112 Soccer: Around the World with the Beautiful Game  Soccer (football) is undisputedly the most popular sport in the world and is watched weekly by literally hundreds of millions of people across the globe. This game is said to foster community and is widely understood to generate affective relationships powerful enough to exceed the everyday social divisions which order the world we live in. However, what is not apparent in this rhetorical understanding of the `beautiful game' is how soccer is also implicated in both creating and maintaining the very divides that it supposedly has the ability to transcend. This course provides a whirlwind tour of the sport that explores its industrial roots, its dissemination around the world, and with scheduled pit-stops on five continents, makes visible the sometimes hopeful, oftentimes violent, and always controversial nature of the beautiful game's rich past.

HIST 115 Demythologizing Race: A Re-Education of Difference  "I don't see race..." We have all encountered (or maybe even said) statements like this that generally attempts to project a recognition of equality: "I see people, not color". Yet, what can often be heard is a denial of what it means to live in a particular body: "You don't know what it means to be blank...". These kinds of misfire of communication remain commonplace because we have been socialized to avoid speaking honestly about how we understand race, and what informs that understanding. This socialization has often rendered us as unprepared to make ourselves vulnerable or to meet other people where they are. Yet, while confronting the realities and violences of race can often lead to discomfort, if we all remain on the sidelines of this conversation then nothing in our world is going to change. This class, therefore, offers students the opportunity to interrogate the historic construction of race as we presently understand it; exposes the political, social, and economic agendas that informed this creation; and explores ways to think about racial difference that can dissolve the racial hierarchy we have inherited.

HIST 120 Making of the Samurai  Images of samurai are ubiquitous today in movies, computer games, comic books and animations, historical novels , and even advertisements. But who were the samurai in Japanese history, and what did they do? When did they emerge, and where did they stand in society? What did they eat, and how did they go about their day-to-day lives? How were they perceived by their contemporaries, and how did they see themselves? When did today's images of the samurai come about, and how? These are some of the questions we will address in this course, Making of the Samurai. In the process, we will also work on critical writing, reading, and thinking skills.

HIST 151 Food Systems in History  This course traces the historical emergence of the contemporary world food system. Students briefly examine the transition from hunter-gathering to Neolithic village agriculture, the differentiation between steppe agriculture and steppe nomadism in ancient Eurasia and the medieval agricultural systems of East Europe and Asia. In the second half, students examine the development of the present-day global food system since 1500. An important course goal is to understand the meaning of changes in the food systems for individual lives.

HIST 176 Western Civilizations and their Discontents  This class provides a critical introduction to ideas of Western thought, and it focuses on a varying body of possible themes (including but not limited to self, state, body, other, city, nature, justice, decline and fall, and the sacred). Every iteration of the class will introduce students to some of the debates around the very idea of a Western canon and its complicated and often sordid history. Every iteration of the class will put core texts in conversation with the imperial origins and historically constructed nature of ideas about civilization. Likewise, every iteration of the class will include a select set of texts, and every iteration of the class will focus on close reading, discussion, and both creative and analytical short, text-focused writing assignments. Generally, the method of evaluation will be what we call "ungrading," where students participate actively in their own evaluation in consultation with the professor. The class satisfies Goal 8 and has no pre-requisites of any kind. Offered annually. (Crow/Whitten/varying).

HIST 200 Quantitative Methods for Historians  Historians use big data sets and quantitative tools to understand the past, especially in the fields of demography, economic history, and environmental history. This course provides an introduction to the quantitative tools used by historians including basic statistical methods, visual presentations of data sets, and regression analysis. Students will examine how this quantitative data is used to, make historical arguments as well as the limits of these methods. Lastly, students will explore how these tools and historical arguments are relevant to the contemporary world. Individual courses will investigate different topics, but all courses will have the same methodological approach. (Offered annually, Staff).

HIST 201 Tudor-Stuart Britain  This course examines the most turbulent period in the history of the British Isles (1485-1714) at the end of which a new nation, "Great Britain," emerged as the world's first global superpower. Vivid primary sources and contentious historiography will take us through the Tudor reformations, the Stuart revolutions, the rise and rationalization of Protestantism, social polarization, and the economic and cultural shifts that set the stage for Britain's industrialization and empire. (Kadane, Offered annually)

HIST 202 Japan Since 1868  This course surveys the formation and development of Japanese state and society, from the proclamation of the Meiji state to the present. It deals with Japan's domestic continuities and changes in their regional and global context, and pays particular attention to its pre-1945 imperialism and colonialism in Asia. The course also examines Japan's postwar development and postcolonial relationship with its neighboring nations that were formerly under its imperialist aggression. (Yoshikawa, offered alternate years)

HIST 205 Modern Mexican History  This course examines the construction of Mexican national culture through the formation of the modern Mexican state, from 1810 to the present. Mexico emerged as a nation-state as part of a larger, transnational process of democratic-nationalist revolutions, steeped in the languages and ideologies of nationalism, liberalism, and democracy. In applying these new models of society, however, elite state-builders continued to bar large sectors of the population from access to social citizenship based on ethnic, class, and gender exclusionary criteria. This contradiction has continued to haunt Mexico throughout history. This course is a historical examination of how social citizenship and "Mexicanness" have been understood and disputed across racial, class, gender, and regional lines, beginning with the nation's foundational contradiction. (Ristow, offered annually)

HIST 206 Colonial America  This course explores the social, economic, and political history of British North America from the eve of European settlement to the end of the Seven Years War and the beginnings of the imperial crisis that would ultimately lead to the American Revolution. The goal will be to get ourselves in a position to look at and understand American colonial history not simply as a prelude to the founding of the United States, but as a rich, complex, and multipolar world. We will endeavor to understand Native American history and the history of European and specifically British settlement of the North American continent in light of legal and constitutional pluralism, and the problems this condition posed to efforts at imperial governance. In the end, particularly given the importance of the institution of slavery and disagreements over its legacies today, we will consider the colonial period on its own terms while at the same time exploring its proximity and relevance to the present. Like ours, the early modern Atlantic world was one of multiple power centers, contested sovereignties, massive state and localized violence, and shifting boundaries and identities. (Offered occasionally)

HIST 207 United States History in the Age of Revolutions, 1776-1848  This course will trace the trajectory of United States history from the end of the colonial period to the eve of the Civil War. The critical framework for the course will be empire, as we trace the origins of the United States in a crisis of the British Empire in the Atlantic World to the construction of U.S. Empire over the North American Continent and the Pacific. Our focus will be on laws and institutions, politics and political economy, and the centrality of the institution of slavery to this history. We will also be concerned with the global imperial dimensions of this history, from Native Americans to the international revolutions that influenced the course of U.S. History, from the French and Haitian revolutions to Latin American independence movements and the first communist revolution of 1848 in Europe. Was the American Revolution a revolution like these others? Why or why not? What does it mean to see U.S. History in light of its origins in a contested world of revolutions and empires? (offered semi-annually. Crow)

HIST 208 Women in American History  This class surveys four centuries of American women's experiences, focusing on how women's status was determined, maintained, and contested. It examines themes of patriarchy, power, autonomy, dependence, and agency, and considers how issues of class, race, and sexuality have shaped women's interactions with each other and with men. It also explores the changing social rules that define gender roles, and investigates the way that women and men have dealt with those rules and expectations over time. (Free, Offered annually)

HIST 209 History of Medieval Women  This class introduces the major historical questions, people, trends, and texts relating to women in the Middle Ages. Beginning with the end of the Roman world and ending in 1500 CE, this course will focus on four topics relating to women: marriage, work, the body, and religiosity. For each section, the class will explore how these categories change over time in the medieval period within Europe. Also in each section, an entire class period will be devoted to the life of a medieval woman whose life and writings reflected the questions of that period.

HIST 211 Medieval and Renaissance Italy  This course will explore the history of Medieval and Renaissance Italy, introducing students to significant political, social, economic, and cultural changes. Specific themes include the creation of communal governments and urban culture in northern Italy, the rise of the papacy, the developing role of humanism in culture and politics, state-building and empire, the changing nature of warfare, and the emergence of concepts such as the individual, civility, and courtliness. Students will work with a wide variety of primary source materials, including literacy, historical, moralistic, and artistic works.

HIST 212 History of HWS Colleges  This course uses the physical and social landscapes of the Colleges as a laboratory to help students refine their historical research, writing, and critical thinking skills. The course will be conducted as a seminar and as a workshop, with discussions of readings and research problems and with hands-on and in-depth historical investigations. We will visit local historical archives, hear guest speakers, and take a van tour of Geneva. We will put HWS in the larger contexts of the history of higher education and of Geneva itself. Working with primary historical materials, students will produce individual research projects on some aspect of the history of the Colleges. Possibilities include the history of: the coordinate system in different periods; campus unrest in the 1960's and 1970's; the experiences of the first William Smith graduating class; college buildings; curricula changes; student life; and the Navy V-12 program during World War II. (Hood, offered annually)

HIST 215 American Urban History  This course examines the urbanization of American society from the colonial period to the present, with emphasis on the development of the physical city. It explores the establishment and growth of colonial cities; the impact of technological innovations such as mass transit and the automobile on urban spatial form; the changing responses to urban problems such as water, fire, pollution, housing, crime and disorder; the advent of city planning; the relationship between ethnic and racial conflicts and urban form, especially suburbanization; and the rise of the contemporary decentralized city. (Hood, Offered alternate years)

HIST 220 History of Early Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, 300-1100  This is an essential course on the Middle Ages. Early medieval Europe and the Mediterranean shared an inheritance from the Roman world of Roman institutions, Christianity, and barbarian identities. The civilizations that developed in the West including the Merovingians, Lombards, Carolingians, Byzantines, and early Islamic dynasties were profoundly shaped by all these components in varied ways. Beginning with the later Roman Empire, the course is organized around political shifts but also covers developments in religious, legal, economic, social, and cultural history. Major themes of the class include the changing nature of religious authority, political fragmentation, and legal transformation.

HIST 226 Latin America: Colonial Period  This course is a survey of the forces and events that shaped Spanish America, from pre-contact societies in the Americas and Europe, to the American independence movements of the nineteenth-century. Chronologically, this course will focus on five periods: pre-Columbian societies in the Americas and Europe; the violent conquest of the "New World" by Spanish conquistadores; the immediate aftermath of conquest and the consolidation of Spanish authority (c. 1530-1600); the establishment of stability and Spanish colonial rule (c. 1600-1800); and the fall of the Spanish Empire (c. 1730s-1810). The two key geographical areas of examination will be Central Mexico, and the Central Andes. Conceptually, this course will focus on the interrelated concepts of conquest and colonialism, paying close attention to the delicate balance of coercion and persuasion in the construction of the Spanish colonial regime. (Ristow, offered annually)

HIST 227 African-American History I  This course traces the history of Africans and their descendants in America from the 17th century through the Civil War. Topics include the slave trade from Africa to the English colonies in North America; establishment of the slave system and slave laws in the 17th century; the evolution of slavery and slave culture in the 18th century; transformations in African American life during the Revolutionary age; the experience of free blacks in the North and South; black society in the Old South; black abolitionism; the Civil War; and Emancipation. (Harris, offered annually)

HIST 228 African-American History II  This course examines the varied experiences of African Americans from Reconstruction to the present, focusing on class and gender differences within African American society as well as on the fight for social and political equality in America. Major topics include Reconstruction in the South; African American intellectuals; the Great Migration; the Civil Rights movement; black power; and contemporary problems. (Harris, offered annually)

HIST 229 Public History: Theory and Practice of Making History Relevant  This course will examine the origins and evolution of public history from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Public history blends academic research and a wide variety of production skills to engage popular audiences in discovering history; museum exhibits, television networks such as The History Channel, and national historical sites are examples of public history. We will develop critical thinking skills by visiting exhibits; viewing documentaries; reading historic markers, brochures, and popular books; and evaluating the content of public history websites. The course will explore the wide range of public history career options and examine the required skills. We will be creating public history products throughout the course. Prerequisites: No first year students; at least one 100 level History course. (John Marks, course offered Fall)

HIST 231 Modern Latin America  This course will trace out the historical construction of national and regional identities in Latin America through an examination of paradigms of modernity and marginality. It will focus on: the continuities and ruptures from Spanish colonialism to nation-state rule; the imposition of stability in Latin America, and the ideological foundations of the dominant, transnational paradigm of progress; identity politics and the rejection of European paradigms of progress; the coming and process of the global paradigm of Cold War, and its new models of anxiety, hope, and marginality in Latin America; the survival and even prosperity of Latin America's indigenous populations in the era of neoliberalism. In so doing, we will examine the possibilities for the most marginal of populations to represent themselves, and the limitations of such self-representation. (Ristow, offered annually).

HIST 233 History of American Thought to 1865  This class provides an immersion in the intellectual history of the United States from its colonial beginnings to the end of the Civil War. Major topics include law and constitutionalism, republicanism and the history of political thought, theology and religious history, literature, and philosophy. Contexts for the class include early modern and modern empire, settler colonialism, gender ideology, and the centrality of slavery to early American politics. The class will include a focus on close reading, critical reflection, and deep, respectful discussion. Offered semi-annually. (Crow)

HIST 234 History of American Thought from 1865 to Present  This class provides an immersion in the intellectual history of the United States from the end of the Civil War through to the present moment. Major topics include racial ideology and civil rights, immigration, law and constitutionalism, liberalism, war and global power, science and technology, pragmatism, literary modernism, artistic expression, and the place of religion in a secular society. Contexts for the class include the industrial revolution, urbanization, civil rights struggles, the growth in the power of the federal government, American power around the world, the centrality of Black music, literature, and politics to American culture, liberalism, radicalism, and conservative critiques of liberal culture and higher education. The class will include a focus on close reading, critical reflection, and deep, respectful discussion. Offered semi-annually. (Crow).

HIST 235 Civil War America  In America's mid-nineteenth century, rising tensions over slavery's expansion, diverging ideas about federalism, and polarizing sectional identities erupted into violence, leading to four years of protracted, brutal war. The outcome was nothing less than revolutionary: the nation's political structures, economic systems, and social hierarchies were transformed. Paying careful attention to Americans' lived experiences, in this course we will seek to understand how and why the Civil War began, what changes it wrought, whether or not its fundamental conflicts were solved by Reconstruction, and finally, why it continues to have such a profound impact on America's vision of itself even today.

HIST 237 Europe Since the War  This course examines the remarkable revival and reconstruction of Europe in the post World War II era, exploring the division of Europe into two blocs, economic recovery, the formation of welfare states, decolonization, supra national associations, the Common Market (EEC), NATO, and the Warsaw Pact. Special emphasis is placed on European relations with the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. Students explore consequences of the end of the Cold War, including attempts to construct democracies and market economies in Eastern Europe, political turmoil, and the resurgence of nationalism in Western Europe. (Linton, offered alternate years)

HIST 238 World Wars in Global Perspective  The American century; the formation of Communist states; genocides, including the Armenian massacres and the destruction of European Jewry; the ongoing crisis in the Middle East; and the relative decline of Europe and decolonization were all closely linked to the two world wars. This course explores these two cataclysmic wars: their origins, conduct, and consequences. In addition to such traditional approaches as military, political, and diplomatic history, students use literary, artistic, and cinematic representations to view these wars through personal experiences. (Linton, Fall)

HIST 240 Immigration and Ethnicity in America  What is an American? This course examines this question by analyzing the sources of mass immigration to the United States, the encounters among various immigrant groups and natives, and the changing conceptions of ethnicity. The course covers the period from the 1840s to the present. It starts with the Irish and Germans who emigrated in the early 19th century, then consider the Russian Jews, Italians, and others who began arriving in the 1890s, and then investigates the post-1965 emigration from Asia, the Americas, and India that is remaking the country today. Reference is also made to the internal migrations of African-Americans. (Hood, offered alternate years)

HIST 244 US Legal and Constitutional History: Origins to the Present  This course examines the development of constitutionalism in what would become the United States from its origins in medieval and early modern English law and institutions through to the ratification of the US Constitution; the institution of slavery; the Marshall Court; expansion policy; the American Civil War and Reconstruction; Jim Crow segregation and the Gilded Age; progressivism legal realism and pragmatism as modes of constitutional interpretation; the New Deal and the Supreme Court; the Civil rights Movement; modern struggles over abortion, affirmative action, the Equal Rights Amendment and gay rights; originalism and the impact of the rise of modern conservatism; the imperial presidency; the constitutional implications of the threats of terrorism and great power rivalry and the resurgence of populism. Our major themes include the legacy of colonial and imperial governance for subsequent American history, the changing politics of constitutional interpretation, the politics of race and slavery, law, labor, and economic change, and the shifting grounds of legitimacy for the exercise of power on the national level. This course substantially addresses the Ethical Judgment Goal and the Social Inequality Goal.

HIST 246 American Environmental History  In this course, historical place in the natural landscape is described through the methods of "environmental history," embracing three concerns: ecological relationships between humans and nature, political and economic influences on the environment, and cultural conceptions of the natural world. Drawing on methods from the natural and social sciences, and the humanities, students will survey 500 years of American environmental history, from the ecological conflicts of Indians and settlers to recent debates over endangered species and hazardous wastes. Topics range from urban pollution and suburban sprawl to agricultural practices and wilderness protection. (Hood, offered alternate years)

HIST 250 Medieval Popular Culture  What is the relationship between "high" and "low" culture? How do "oral" cultures think, and how have literacy and electronic media transformed human consciousness in more recent times? Close exploration of the material conditions of peasant life, of the psychological workings of folklore, magic, witchcraft, and play in culture help students come to terms with these issues. We assess the historical consequences of oppression within the political structure of the "three estates" and evaluate the efficacy of various techniques of popular resistance. In the end, we assess the value of play in sustaining social cohesion, emotional stability and personal freedom in our historical heritage. (Flynn, offered annually)

HIST 253 Renaissance and Reformation  This course explores the major intellectual, artistic, political, and religious events making up the "Renaissance" and the "Reformation," two of the most energetic and creative moments in western history. Students read the works of several principal architects of these movements, along with contemporary historians' attempts to explain the convergence of individual genius and collective cooperation that took place between 1300 and 1600. The period shattered medieval understanding of the nature of reality, the shape of the cosmos, and the relation between humanity and god. It was in this period that modern notions of individualism, freedom of conscience and national sovereignty began to shape the modern world. (Flynn, offered alternate years)

HIST 256 Technology and Society in Modern Europe  The coming of modern machinery has fundamentally altered the nature of work, and has thoroughly transformed communications, warfare, international relations, leisure time, and the arts. This course examines the impact of machinery on social relations and human relations to nature. It explores the promotion and institutionalization of technical innovation in the last two centuries in Europe. Finally, it views the conflicting intellectual and social responses to technological change, ranging from fantasies of technocratic utopias to machine smashing and dark visions of humanity displaced and dominated by mechanized systems. (Linton, Fall, offered alternate years)

HIST 264 Modern European City  This course examines the emergence and development of new industrial cities, such as Manchester and Bochum, and the transformation of older administrative and cultural centers such as Paris and Vienna. The course emphasizes the ways in which contrasting visions of the city as "source of crime and pathology" or "fount of economic dynamism and democratic sociability" were expressed and embodied in city planning, reform movements, and the arts. In exploring the modern city, students use perspectives derived from European and American social and political thought and employ literary, statistical, and visual source materials. (Linton, offered alternate years)

HIST 276 The Age of Dictators  European one-party dictatorships that used state organs to mobilize mass support and unleash unprecedented levels of coercion and terror directed at their own populations still haunt our memory and understanding of the 20th century. This course examines and compares the origins and dynamics of Stalin's Soviet Union, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, and their ways of securing popular support and eliminating opposition. The class critically explores theories and concepts used to classify and categorize these regimes: "totalitarianism," "fascism," "bonapartist dictatorships." (Linton, offered alternate years)

HIST 283 South Africa in Transition  After a long period of colonialist domination, exploitation, racial humiliation, and destructive wars, southern Africa is emerging as a land of renewed hope for peace, stability and prosperity. This transition is explored in this course from the late 19th century to the rise of Nelson Mandela. By placing greater emphasis on South Africa, the course investigates such themes as the rise and demise of apartheid, wars of national liberation, economic development, demographic and environmental concerns, and democratization and the construction of pluralist societies.

HIST 284 Africa: From Colonial to Neocolonialism  In the US media, the signifier `Africa' has become synonymous with images of warfare, poverty, disease, and famine. Undeniably, these features are commonplace in some African societies. However, what is insidiously missing in most accounts of the challenges facing much of the continent is a historical perspective that traces a genealogy of these problems. Events like the Rwandan Genocide are unproblematically explained as having been caused by 'ethnic conflict,' a calculus that does not consider the manner in which colonial encroachment fundamentally altered the socio-political landscape of the continent. In short, to understand modern-day Africa we need to be attentive to the processes that created its everyday realities. To this end, students will investigate the legacies of colonialism in key sites dotted throughout Africa, and examine how contemporary power relations [neo-colonialism] continue to impact the continent.

HIST 297 Pre-Modern Mediterranean Law  Starting with the creation of Roman Law, this class traces the major legal developments across the Mediterranean World until the Renaissance. The course focuses on the development of barbarian law, religious law (canon, rabbinic, and Islamic law), and English common law. The class also problematizes these changes by exploring dispute resolution and extra-judicial violence.

HIST 301 The Enlightenment  Many people in the West no longer believe in the divine rights of monarchs or the literal meanings of ancient religious texts, but find meaning in civil society, material life, and science, and uphold the sanctity of human equality, which they experience through relatively unrestrained access to various news media, conversations held in accessible social spaces, and schooling premised on the belief that education and experience shape the human mind. How responsible is the 18th-century movement of rigorous criticism and cultural renewal known as "the Enlightenment"? Students examine its coherence as a movement, its major themes and proponents, its meaning for ordinary people, its varied interpretations, its spread throughout Europe and beyond, and the more sinister cultural institutions and projects that many Enlightenment figures were reluctant to interrogate. (Kadane, offered annually)

HIST 304 Early American Republic: 1789-1840  This course is a seminar that will allow students to explore current scholarship in the vibrant field of the early republic, from the end of the American Revolution through the antebellum period in the nineteenth century. Themes include western expansion and Native American history, race and slavery, political history and the rise of the party system, exploration and empire, gender and sexuality, the history of capitalism, and the rise of American literature and legal and political thought. By the end of the class, each student will develop and produce an independent research paper on a historical or historiographical question of their own.

HIST 305 Showa through the Silver Screen  Showa (1926-1989), the reign of Hirohito, is most often associated with Japan's plunge into multiple wars, its occupation by a foreign nation, and its economic recovery to become the second largest economy in the world. Less explored is Showa as the heyday of Japanese cinema. While motion pictures were first introduced to Japan in the late 19th century, domestic production only took off in the 1920s to the 1930s. Following the Asia-pacific Wars, Japanese film gained worldwide popularity in the 1950s and 1960s with directors such as Kurosawa Akira, Ozu Yasujiro, and Mizoguchi Kenji gaining international recognition. By the end of Showa, Japanese cinema was in decline as other forms of entertainment overshadowed movie-going and a massive recession affected the film industry. This course explores the history of the Showa period using films as artifacts of Japanese perspectives into their state and society and the Japanese role in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. (Yoshikawa)

HIST 306 Seminar: US Civil War and Reconstruction - America's 2nd Revolution  This seminar-style course is a follow up to History 235, exploring in greater depth and complexity the causes and outcomes of the American Civil War. Some questions we may consider: Why did the War begin? What role did slavery's expansion play? How did Americans understand the idea of "Union"? Why did they engage in "total war"? How did the massive casualty rate change how people experienced and understood death? How did the formerly enslaved claim power in the post-war period? Was Reconstruction a failure? Why does the Civil War continue to matter? Ultimately, we will hope to better understand why Americans went to war with themselves in the mid-nineteenth century, and how that war transformed the nation. (Free)

HIST 308 The Historian's Craft  This course will introduce the methods and theories that have been particularly influential in shaping the work and profession of historians in the last several decades. Attention will be given to a broad range of approaches, with the goal of understanding the arguments, assumptions, and perspectives that mold out sense of the past. (Kadane)

HIST 310 Rise of Industrial America  The main theme of this course is the multiple meanings for diverse Americans of the triumph of an urban/industrial society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The nature of industrial leadership, immigration and urbanization, and analyses of major political and social reform movements are among the topics to be covered. (Hood, offered alternate years)

HIST 311 20th Century America  This course is a continuation of HIST 310. World War I and its aftermath, economic and social changes in the 1920s, interaction between politics and urbanization, the Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the New Deal are among the topics to be covered. (Hood, offered alternate years)

HIST 313 Darwinian Revolution  This course first examines the life and work of Charles Darwin focusing on the genesis of his theory of evolution and then explores the ramifications of the Darwinian revolution both for the natural and human sciences and for broader religious, cultural, and political life. The course investigates what the Darwinian revolution tells about scientific revolutions and about the use and abuse of science in the modern world. The emphasis will be on Darwinian revolution in Europe, but attention will be paid to Darwin's fate in the Americas and Asia. (Linton, offered alternate years)

HIST 320 The Asia Pacific Wars  This course attempts to survey the multiple memories and histories of the Asia-Pacific Wars among the people of North East Asia and the United States. We will examine changes and continuities in these views in the framework of regional politics and economy since 1945, focusing on such controversial issues as the Nanjing massacre, "comfort women," Pearl Harbor, war and racism, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Smithsonian Enola Gay exhibit, and history textbooks. In the broadest context, the course explores the history of imperialism and colonialism in Asia-Pacific since the late nineteenth century and the importance of "history" and "memory" in understanding its consequences. We will be reading a variety of secondary materials.

HIST 324 Barbarian Empires: Aborigines, Pirates, Sea Otters  Asia's long eighteenth century saw imperial expansions as the Chinese Ming Dynasty fell and barbarian empires ascended. The Manchu Qing that conquered the Ming marched westward, colliding with the concurrent Russian expansion toward the north Pacific, and both encountered Tokugawa Japan as it encroached north into the Ainu lands. European and British maritime empires attempted to penetrate the region from the south with minimal success against these regional hegemons and even pirates, often becoming relegated to vassalhood. Motivated amidst the Little Ice Age by natural resource extraction, trade, security, and more, the changing regional order brought devastation to the indigenous populations, non-human animals, and the environment at large. Newly available technology, including mapping, and booming imperial populations exacerbated this trend that created frontiers and borderlands. This course examines this critical era of early modern state and empire formation in Asia that various regimes today often cite to affirm or challenge international relations of the region. (Yoshikawa, offered every other year)

HIST 325 Seminar: Medicine in Modern Europe  This course traces the development of major ideas in a broad array of fields, including politics, religion, psychology, and history, through the Civil War era. While it focuses chiefly on formal thought, it also pays attention to trends in popular culture and to the social context. It relies heavily on primary source readings, a number of which are literary in character. Some questions examined involve the relationship between intellectual and social change, the distinctiveness of American thought, and the role of an intellectual elite in a democratic society. (Linton, offered alternate years)

HIST 327 Human Rights, Cold War and US Intervention in Central America  This seminar will investigate massive human rights violations, their documentations, and the peace process in Central America in the second half of the twentieth century, with a special focus in the role of United States' intervention. During the Cold War, no region in the world was more integrated into the security strategy and political economy of the United States than was Central America, and nowhere did the transformation of U.S. foreign policy from the principle of national self-determination to overt military and economic imperialism ring clearer. At the same time, no region in the world experienced more egregious and violent crimes against human rights than, in particular, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. While these governments actively thwarted and violently suppressed democratic social movements, revolutionary forces, and regimes committed to social justice, the United States used civil conflicts in the region as a pretext for intervention, and actively aided in their escalation. That said, the U.S. government's support for brutally repressive regimes in Central America also generated a powerful humanitarian response both within the United States and in the international community. Finally, this course will examine how humanitarian instruments and organizations sought to uncover the truth about human rights abuses, negotiate peace, and, less successfully, implement justice in Central America. Prerequisites: at least one course in Latin American studies or cross-listed, or instructor permission. (Ristow, offered alternate years, Spring)

HIST 334 Sources of the Pre-Modern Mediterranean  This course explores the primary sources of the pre-modern Mediterranean world and how historians have used these texts to compose histories of the Middle Ages and understand the present. Topics include medieval biography, the relationship between science and history, Norman history writing and language, and medieval travel writing.

HIST 345 Race-ing America: An Exploration of Race in America  Race is a central organizing principle in America. It intersects with social institutions such as government, family, and church and, in turn, shapes the lives of all Americans. This course is an exploration of the formation of race and its effects in the lived experience of Americans. Each week we will explore a different theme (such as race and medicine/health, the justice system, immigration, sports, real estate, travel, etc.). An example of texts we will read are: Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (1999), Deirdre Cooper Owens, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology (2018), Mae Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2014), and Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (2007). Each week one or more students will be responsible for presenting on the assigned reading/topic under discussion for that week. For the final, students will compose a ten-to-fifteen-page seminar paper.

HIST 348 Black Women in the Struggle for Rights in America: P. Wheatley to Black Lives Matter  From the founding of the United States, the concept of rights and citizens bearing those rights were understood to be a central part of American democracy and belonging. And yet, not all people in the nation were accorded rights. For example, the right to vote, serve on juries, and travel were reserved almost exclusively for property-owning white males. Indeed it is not a stretch to say that the next two hundred years of American history can be seen as a struggle to expand both the scope of and access to those rights. Many courses examine the history of rights from the standpoint of white people (men and/or women), black men, or workers. Borrowing from the insights of theses perspectives, this course examines the contributions that black women have played in shaping the struggle for rights in the changing political, social, and cultural contexts of the United States from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries.

HIST 353 The Invention of Africa  Africa, and by extension the African, is firmly rooted at the bottom of the present-day world order. In a world in which technological advancement and economic growth is valued above all else, this pecking order may seem objective, or even commonsensical. However, it is this mapping of place onto body - Africa is 'unmodern' therefore the African is `unmodern' - that continues to have consequences for the black body, both on the continent and in the diaspora. For example the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the US bears testimony to how knowledge regarding the black body is configured differently within a Western context despite constitutionally-guaranteed rights to the contrary. This course therefore examines the conceptual architecture that has invented Africa, and by extension the African. Students will trace a genealogy of thought originally packaged as European colonialism's `civilizing mission', and re-purposed since the end of formal colonialism to ensure the maintenance of a racial order congruent with colonial orthodoxy.

HIST 354 Lives of Consequence: A Historiographical Exploration of Ethical Citizenry  What precisely is a 'life of consequence'? How can we inhabit this world, with all its inequities and divisions, in an ethical fashion? Our present, rather than emerging out of an 'inevitable path of human progress', is the product of a conceptual architecture which profoundly shapes how we experience the world. Resulting from a particular historical trajectory, notions of property, reason, race, gender, belonging, and violence inform both the limits and possibilities of ethical citizenry. To make this visible, this seminar will explore the political, economic, spatial, and historical moorings of our modernity and its filial formations, the nation-state, the modem university, and capitalism. However, rather than being prescriptive and proposing a 'universal ethics' for one to subscribe to, this course is designed to enable a self-reflexive exploration of the values each holds dear as individuals. This journey will be an intensely private one meant to facilitate the creation of a personalized ethical road-map, one the student creates for themselves in preparation for their future navigation of an increasingly polarized world.

HIST 355 American Suffrage: The History of Voting Rights in the United States  The history of American voting rights is not a tidy story of steady progress toward greater freedom. The number of people permitted to participate directly in American politics has both expanded and contracted at different points in the past. Some of the contractions were driven by legal change, others by extralegal violence and oppression. But the question of who should have the right to vote in the United States has always been at the forefront of the American democratic imagination. This class engages with the complicated history of voting rights, looking at the laws that shaped the American democracy, the ideas that determined the boundaries of the political community, and the activists who fought tirelessly for access to the ballot. Some themes we will consider the transition from a property-based to 'universal' white male suffrage, restrictions on Native American voting rights, the 14th, 15th, 24th, and 26th Amendments to the Constitution, the woman's suffrage movement, 'grandfather clauses,' poll taxes, and other methods of voter suppression, the Civil Rights movement, and immigrant voting rights, among others. Ultimately, we will seek to better understand the limits and possibilities of the American democracy.

HIST 362 A Narco History of Mexico: From Drug Trade to Drug War  From the legal prohibition of narcotic drugs in 1914 to the current era, Mexico has become the central axis of the international drug trade, a global trade valued at over $500 billion annually. Americans alone spend over $150 billion on marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine's, the vast majority of which are produced in or transported through Mexico. The proceeds from el narco have subsidized the rise of massive drug trafficking organizations in Mexico, known popularly as cartels, which have, since the turn of the century, transformed Mexico into the scene of a bloody-drug war. Since 2006, over 150,000 people have been killed in connection to the trade; 73,000 more have disappeared; and 250,000 have been displaced. The rise of organized crime has also transformed violence in Mexico into a public spectacle: dozens of massacres and over two thousand decapitations have been recorded, as torture and mutilation are broadcast to the country daily, sewing terror and cultivating a completely militarized society. In this course, we will examine how we got to this point: how Mexico became the center of the global drug trade in the 20th century, and why its role in the trade translated into such spectacular violence in the 21st. We will look at five chronological periods: the prohibition era (1914-1960); the origins of the `War on Drugs' (1960-1980); the 'Mexican trampoline' (1980-1990); the Golden Age of the cartels (1990-2006); and the Drug War (2006-present). For each period, we will trace the history of one illicit drug, opium, heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and crystal meth, respectively, from production, to distribution, to consumption, to better understand the historical logic's that have driven the drug trade and its staggering violence, and that have thwarted all attempts to bring it under control.

HIST 371 The Civil War in American Popular Culture and Memory  Since the end of the Civil War Americans have sought to better understand the brutal struggle that divided families, neighbors and regions. Through the veterans' parades and public statues, films and novels, impassioned debates about the Confederate battle flag, battle reenactments, and public unrest over monument placement and removal, Americans, popular culture has 'remembered' the Civil War in varied ways, thereby assigning varied meanings to the conflict. This class explores these diverse meanings, interrogates why this particular moment in American history continues to fascinate and enrage Americans, and examines the complicated relationship between American history, memory, and culture. (Free, offered alternate years)

HIST 495 Honors  

HIST 731 The Civil War in American Popular Culture and Memory  Since the end of the Civil War Americans have sought to better understand the brutal struggle that divided families, neighbors and regions. Through the veterans' parades and public statues, films and novels, impassioned debates about the Confederate battle flag, battle reenactments, and public unrest over monument placement and removal, Americans, popular culture has 'remembered' the Civil War in varied ways, thereby assigning varied meanings to the conflict. This class explores these diverse meanings, interrogates why this particular moment in American history continues to fascinate and enrage Americans, and examines the complicated relationship between American history, memory, and culture. (Free, offered alternate years)