History Courses Spring 2011


HIST 114: East Asia Before 1800 (HM)
Dr. Richard Bohr, 246, 2:40

A survey of the history of East Asia -- China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam -- from ancient times to 1800. The course examines the distinctive characteristics of each country and the similarities among them; analyzes the common values and institutions underlying the East Asian world order; and explores the potential impact of the region's early interaction with the West on East Asia's post-1800 "modernization."

HIST 117 History of South Asia after 1500 (HM)
Dr. Jeffrey Diamond, 135, 9:40-10:50 and 2:40-3:50

This class examines the history of the Indian subcontinent, one of the largest and most populous world regions, from the rise of the Mughal Empire to the advent and decline of the British Empire. Important themes include wealth and power in pre-colonial India, the impact of British colonialism, as well as nationalist movements and the rise of Gandhi. We will explore how the concepts of religion, gender, and identity evolved and changed during this time from multiple perspectives.

HIST 315 Islam in South Asia (HM) (IC)
Dr. Jeffrey Diamond, 246, 1:00-2:10

This class focuses on the history of Islam in South Asia and the development of a modern Islamic identity in the region, from the Mughal Empire to the twentieth century. South Asia contains more Muslims than any other region, and it is central to understanding the political, religious, and cultural concerns of the Muslim World. Important course themes include the continuities and changes of South Asian Islamic traditions in precolonial and colonial India, the diverse reaction of Muslim leaders to the rise of European colonial influence in the region, and the development of contemporary Islamic movements -- some moderate and some extreme -- that have impacted our world.


HIST 121 Pre-Colombian and Colonial Latin America (HM)
Dr. Brian Larkin, 246, 9:40-10:50

This course examines Latin American history from the rise of the Aztecs and Incas in the 1200s, through Spanish and Portuguese conquest in the 1500s, to the region's struggles for independence in the early 1800s. Students will investigate how the connecting of the Old and New Worlds created new, hybrid societies and cultures in Latin America as large populations of Indians and Africans (imported for slave labor) struggled against and accommodated European colonizers.

HIST 323: Religion in Latin America (HM) (Cross-listed with THEO 317)
Dr. Brian Larkin, 246, 11:20-12:30

This course examines the changing nature of religious cultures in Latin America from the pre-Columbian period to the present day. It includes the study of indigenous religious practices, the European "spiritual conquest" of the New World, the creation of syncretic forms of Catholicism, 19th-century conflicts between religion and secularism, the spread of Protestantism in the 20th century, and the advent and course of liberation theology in Latin America. Within a historical context, the course examines the role of religion in shaping sense of self, forms of community, and human interaction with the physical world.


Dr. Julie Davis, 135, 11:20-12:30 and 1:00-2:10
Dr. David Bennetts, 2-4-6, 11:20 (open only to International Students)

Section 01A: A thematic survey of United States History. Topics and period to be emphasized varies, but major developments in political, social, intellectual and economic history are examined.

Section 02A and 03A: This course involves students in an exploration of *selected* developments, patterns, processes, and people in American history, from pre-contact Native America through the 1970s. Rather than a broad overview of American history, we will engage in deeper reflection on particular aspects of the American past. We'll focus on what I call "defining histories," the most significant and transformative aspects of the American experience that have shaped American society and identities in profound and lasting ways. We'll examine these "defining histories" through multiple lenses, considering them from different historical perspectives and analyzing them through various genres of writing and representation. These might include scholarly books & articles, biography, autobiography, fiction, feature film, documentary film, and primary documents. In the process, students also will learn how historians investigate, understand, and interpret the past, and will practice thinking like good young historians.

HIST 351: American Revolution (HM)
Dr. David Bennetts, 135, 9:40-10:50

The American Revolution created our most lasting character, habits, and values. The War for our Independence became a world war, so it was also a world-shaking event. We'll begin the Revolution in 1765, when the British alienated their loyal subjects in America. We'll end it in 1787 with the making of a conservative Constitution that creates a radical federal democratic republic. Between those years we will look at the unforeseen circumstances, accidents and strong personalities that made it always hard to say with certainty: Will there be a Revolution? Will it succeed? Can it result in a strong, stable society? At term's end, we should have a clearer idea of how our revolutionary origins still shape the way we think and act today.

HIST 358: US Since 1960 (HM)
Dr. Ken Jones, 246, 9:40

In 1960, the legal ban that kept African-Americans from eating in white restaurants in many parts of the country was only the most visible sign of a pervasive and choking racism. At the same time, most women expected to leave the paid work force permanently once they married. In the political arena, some talked of ending Social Security because it was socialistic, and others debated whether they could trust a Catholic in the White House. Regardless of their political position, Americans agreed that winning the Cold War against the Soviet Union was far more important than any domestic issue.

So much has changed in the last 50 years, and yet many aspects of our society have remained the same. This course will study the reasons for both the continuities and the changes, with an emphasis on such issues as the struggle for equal rights for minorities and women, the social divisions of the Vietnam era, changing views on the proper role of Federal government, the impact of growing economic globalization, and the persistence of poverty amid affluence.

Readings will be drawn from both primary and secondary sources. Requirements include class participation, short writing assignments, and four analytic papers.


Dr. Theresa Vann, 246, 1:00-2:10

A survey of the emergence of Western medieval civilization between the decline of the ancient world and the Renaissance. Possible topics include: men and women in feudal society, monasticism and the shaping of Western culture, the conflict between church and state, the transformation of a feudal into a commercial economy, the rise of Gothic architecture and scholasticism

HIST 142 Europe since 1750: Old Regime to European Union (HM)
Dr. Cynthia Curran, 246, 9:40-10:50

This survey examines European history since 1750, prior to the French Revolution, and concludes with transformation of the continent in the European Union. Students will examine various themes that shaped this period of revolution, modernization, and transformation in European society.

HIST 329 The British Imperial Century and Beyond (HM) (IC)
Dr. Cynthia Curran, 246, 11:20-12:30

How did the experiences of Colonialism impact the life of ordinary men and women throughout the British Empire? This class attempts to study this issue by examining the political debates, popular culture, changing legal codes, and literary accounts of life in India, Africa, and Britain during the 19th and early 20th century. We will examine both the ideological underpinnings of imperialism, but also examine the ways in which it changed ideas about race, culture, gender, and national identity. Texts for the class will include scholarly books, as well as fictional works like George Orwell's Burmese Days, films, speeches, advertisements, and political pamphlets. These texts will reveal the profound impact that colonialism had in the shaping of national identities in Britain, Africa, and India.

HIST 332: Roman Empire (HM)
Dr. Margaret Cook, 246, 1:00-2:10

An overview of the growth of the Roman Empire, emphasizing the period from the late republic through the principate and the early empire. In addition to reading such primary historical sources as Cicero, Caesar, Sallust, Suetonius and Tacitus to study political and military developments, we will also consider the literature and social history of the period, with readings in such primary sources as Horace, Virgil and Catullus, as well as looking at contemporary art and architecture.

HIST 337: The Age of Reformation (HM) (Cross-listed with Theo 319E)
Dr. Elisabeth Wengler, 135, 8:00 -9:10

A study of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations in the 16th and 17th centuries with a particular emphasis on social history, including the causes and characteristics of religious change and its effects on European society and culture. Topics include the reception and implementation of the Protestant Reformation, Catholic responses to this challenge, radical religious movements, the role of women in religious reform, changes in family relations, and popular religion.

HIST 344: Modern Germany (HM)
Dr. Gregory Schroeder 135, 1:00-2:10

This course examines the social, political, and cultural history of Germany in the modern era. Our study will begin in the nineteenth century with a consideration of Germany" before the unification of 1871 and then proceed to Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic, and Third Reich, and the post- 1945 Germanies. The course materials and our discussions will illuminate the diversity of experiences in German history by examining issues of political allegiance, ideology, social class, gender, religious confession, and regional identities. The course emphasizes intensive reading and discussion of historical literature.


HIST 389: Social Science Secondary Education
Dr. Martha Tomhave Blauvelt, Monday evenings, 6-9 p.m.

History One Person at a Time: This class focuses on how to understand, study and teach about individuals in American history. Using individual experience is one of the most effective ways to convey history, but how can we understand the mind and feelings of a person living in a radically different time? What can we say we "know" about the individual in history? How much of a person is captured in a diary or autobiography? How can we understand individuals through the material artifacts of their lives? History too often generalizes about groups; this course takes the opposite tack and looks at how we can see and teach about both unique personality and whole cultures in the individual. In the process, we will 1) explore the different ways historians can get under the skin of individuals in the past through examining the uses and limits of letters, diaries, memories, autobiographies and interviews; 2) compare the biographies of an individual (chosen by each student) so that they can see how historians come to vastly different conclusions about the same person and why; and 3) develop teaching methods to convey the individual in history to secondary students. Although most of the sources we examine will be printed, students will also have the opportunity to read handwritten manuscripts from the 1800s and examine past material culture.

This is a small seminar in which discussion will be the heart of the class. Students will read a variety of texts, will develop teaching methods, and will write several short papers and one extended comparison of different books on the same individual.


HIST 200: History Colloquium
Dr. Elisabeth Wengler 135, 1:00-2:10

Topic: Debating the French Revolution
The ideas and events of the French Revolution continue to be hotly debated more than 200 years later. Was it a revolution of the bourgeoisie? What role did books and ideas play? Why did the revolution devolve into the Reign of Terror? Was the Revolution a success or a failure? Was women's position better or worse as a result? We will explore these and other questions through an intensive role-playing game where students assume, research, and reenact the roles of various revolutionary factions in the National Assembly. In addition we will examine a variety of primary sources, including documents that provide eye witness accounts of events such as the fall of the Bastille, newspaper articles written from various political perspectives, revolutionary songs, and images from the period as well as read secondary sources.

HIST 395: Historiography and Methods
Dr. Derek Larson, 135, 2:40-3:50

This course will explore the historiography of the American West, coving such topics as the impact of U.S. expansion on the environment and native peoples of the West, the realities of violence in "frontier" towns, the political and economic relationships between Eastern cities and their Western counterparts, and the evolution of the 20th century West into an overwhelmingly urban society in the midst of a sparsely populated hinterland. Special attention will be paid to historical debates over the "meaning of the West," the introduction of race, class, gender, and environment as themes in these debates, and the varying types of evidence historians have used to interpret the region's past. Readings will include Richard White's It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A New History of the American West, Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage, several monographic treatments of Western issues, at least one western novel, and 8-10 Western movies screened outside of class.

HIST 399: Senior Thesis
Dr. David Bennetts, 246, 8:00-9:10

The primary concern of this course is the theory and practice of historical research. Students will learn research strategies and techniques as well as explore questions about the validation, analysis, and interpretation of historical evidence. Each student will participate in class discussions about the historical theories and practices in question, submit periodic written and oral progress reports about individual research projects, and write a major 20-25 page paper about your research project.

The instructor will work individually with each student as s/he moves through the stages of the research project. In some cases, depending on the topic the student's research may be directed by another history faculty who will serve as a co-sponsor.