History Courses Spring 2013

History Course Offerings - Spring 2013

The past matters.  The discipline of history works to understand the past on its own terms and reveals its relevance for the present.

History analyzes human experience in context as it changes over time.  It examines the complex intersections between human actions and the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and political forces at work in particular times and places.  History uncovers the relationship between past developments and current conditions and it highlights the contingent, constructed nature of contemporary social structures and power relations.  Historians construct interpretations of the past that illuminate the commonality and the diversity of individual and group experiences within and across societies.  They also explore how human societies remember and represent the past and analyze how historical interpretations change over time.  Thus the study of history reveals how people have used the past to create meaning for their lives.

The CSB/SJU History program supports the liberal arts mission by providing students with insight into the human condition while also building skills in critical analysis and effective communication.  We lead students into an empathetic encounter with the past and engage them in the practice of historical interpretation. Together we imagine and reconstruct people's lives across place and time and within diverse circumstances.  In these ways, the History program supports the colleges' commitment to global education and cultural literacy. We cultivate an understanding of how the past molds but does not determine the present, and we examine how current realities are historically constructed rather than naturally given.  By encouraging students to recognize complexity and question the status quo, we prepare them to become effective citizens and contribute to the common good.  Ultimately, the History program nurtures the curiosity and careful thinking that prepare students for a thoughtful and aware life.

Why study History?
Students of history develop intellectual skills and habits of mind that prepare them to find meaningful work and become successful in a wide variety of careers.  They do so by learning how to interpret the past through the process of historical analysis.  The study of history also encourages a lifelong effort to understand the human experience and prepares students to engage with the concerns of contemporary societies.


Dr. P. Richard Bohr, 135,,11:20, HAB-128A
A survey of continuity and change in the modern transformation of China (including the PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan), Korea, Japan and Vietnam. This course examines each country's role in the other's development; the impact of Western imperialism on the "modernization" of the region since 1800; and the implications of the "Asian Century."

Dr. Jeffrey Diamond, 246, 11:20, HAB-128A
This class will provide an introductory history of the Islamic World through a comparative analysis of Muslim societies in the Middle East and Asia. We will study the rise and spread of Islam, the emergence of the great early modern Islamic empires, and contemporary Islamic social movements. We also will concentrate on the interactions between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, highlighting issues that include the influence of colonialism, Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations and Islam as a political, social, and religious force in the contemporary world.

HIST 305  GANDHI & NATIONALISM (HM, Intercultural, Experiential-if optional Service Learning component is fulfilled)
Dr. Jeffrey Diamond, W, 6:00-9:00pm, Richarda-P39
Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most celebrated historical figures and peace activists in modern history, yet few fully grasp his ideas and impact. This course will help to introduce you to Gandhi, examining his life, teachings, and actions, as well as global influence. The assigned readings have been selected to provide historical background and thought-provoking discussions, and include speeches, memoirs, literature, and film. They provide an Asian and a global focus, as we analyze social justice movements in India as well as the United States -- including the US Civil Rights Movement. You also will have the opportunity (although it is not required) to research a local social-justice organization through a service-learning option developed for this course. A background in South Asian history is not required.

Dr. Richard Bohr, 135, 1:00, HAB-128A
This course traces Japan's modern transformation from feudal kingdoms to economic superpower.  Beginning with the Meiji Restoration of 1868, we will analyze the role of domestic change and international forces in the political, social, intellectual, cultural, and economic aspects of Japan's dramatic emergence on the world stage.  Through biographies, novels, newspaper articles, and videotapes, we will pay careful attention to Japan's relationships with its Asian neighbors, its interchange with the West, and the development of Japan's unique form of capitalism and economic security.


Dr. Brian Larkin, 135, 9:40, HAB-120
This course examines Latin American history from the region's independence from Spain and Portugal in the 1820s to the present day.  Students will investigate how the region's newly independent nations sought to modernize their societies, cultures, and economies beginning in the mid-1800s and how the results of these projects fostered social strife, civil war, and revolution in the 1900s.  The course will conclude with an examination of Latin America's recent trend toward globalization and the discontent this process has caused. 

HIST 322  MODERN MEXICO  (HM, Intercultural)
Dr. Brian Larkin, 135, 11:20, BAC-A106
Mexico is our closest Latin American neighbor and our newest partner in "free trade."  It is also something of an enigma to most North Americans - a society beset by modern problems like environmental pollution and urban overcrowding but seemingly immobilized by a complex, centuries-old traditional culture that inhibits the development of modern institutions and social relations.  The key to this enigma lies in Mexico's colonial past.

This survey of Mexican history from the Spanish conquest of the indigenous peoples in the sixteenth century until political independence from Spain in 1821 attempts to decipher the Mexican enigma.  It examines the principal themes of the colonial period, especially the profound cultural transformation precipitated by the conquest; the political, economic, and social consequences of colonialism; and the effect of these events and circumstances on all sectors of Mexican society from privileged Spanish elites to exploited Native Americans, from influential men to poor women.  Readings include modern historical studies as well as the works of contemporary Mexican writers like Bernal Diaz (who fought with Cortez), Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz (colonial Mexico's greatest poet), and Augustin de Iturbide (the first emperor of independent Mexico).  While some lecturing is unavoidable, classes will generally stress discussion and critical analysis of this formative period in Mexican history.


Dr. Gregory Schroeder, 135, 2:40, HAB-117
This course examines major themes in European history since roughly 1750.  Students will study the French Revolution and its legacy; the significance of class, gender, and religion for European society; nationalism and identity; world wars in the 20th century; imperialism and its aftermath; and the European Union.

Dr. Margaret Cook, 246, 1:00, Q254
Greece in the Classical Period, and in particular Athens in the 5th Century BCE, represents a "Golden Age" which in some ways has never been equaled in human history. How did the first democracy develop? How did it work? Why did it fail? What was it like to live then? How did other Greek cities of the time react to Athens? To answer these and other questions, we will use such primary sources as the first historians, Herodotus and Thucydides, some literary works, as well as inscriptions and other evidence. In addition to an overall narrative history, we will use primary sources to focus on several controversies in order to try to understand how the ancient historian works. We will also be using the resources in the Perseus data base now available electronically, which includes art, architecture, archaeology, coins, texts, maps, and various kinds of search tools. The resources available on the World Wide Web will also be incorporated in the class.

Dr. Theresa Vann, 135, 1:00, M324
This course will focus on the themes of medieval history from 1000 to 1350, emphasizing the development of independent kingdoms in Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire in the West. During this period the papacy emerged as the first dominant state in the West, able to create emperors and call Crusades. But gradually, strong feudal monarchies emerged whose centralized organization was borrowed from the church and Roman law and bolstered by lawyers trained in the new universities. Their expansion swallowed up their less powerful neighbors. Arts and culture flourished in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, encouraged by these powerful patrons. Eventually, they challenged the papacy and the whole idea of papal monarchy, creating a European ideal of independent nations that has lasted until the end of the 20th century.

The course will provide the student with the background of the Germanic invasions into the Roman empire, their gradual assimilation into Roman society, and the formation of the early Church. With the rise of feudal monarchies the student will encounter such notable medieval personalities as Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Western European civilization and intellectual life will be compared with the higher civilizations found in Byzantium and the Muslim world, and the exchange of ideas and technology will be demonstrated. The Crusades and the idea of papal monarchy will also be discussed in detail. The student will learn about communal medieval life in the university and the monastery. The course will conclude with the Black Death and its influence upon European civilization. Throughout the course, the student will obtain hands-on experience through primary readings, and contact with the manuscripts.

HIST 337  THE AGE OF REFORMATION (HM)  Cross-listed with THEO 319E
Elisabeth Wengler, 246, 11:20, BAC-A106
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 347  MODERN BRITAIN (HM, Gender, Intercultural)
Dr. Cynthia Curran, 2-4-6, 9:40,BAC-A104
This course examines the main social, economic, political, and cultural features of Britain from 1760 until the present.  These exciting and complex 250 years encompass the emergence of Britain as a modern state and powerful empire-builder, and its subsequent decline to a rather minor role in the world power structure.

While we shall proceed along a chronological framework, the class will adopt a thematic approach to British history.  By the end of the semester, students will have a firm grasp of cause and effect, in addition to understanding such themes as the true nature and scope of industrialization and the emergence and decline of the welfare state.  We will not neglect many of the dominant concerns of social historians which include a sensitivity to class and gender.

Dr. Gregory Schroeder, Tues.., 6:00-9:00 pm, HAB-102B
This course examines the political, social, and cultural transformation of Russia from a preindustrial autocracy in the 19th century to an atomic superpower and post-Soviet society in the 20th century.  Topics include the Romanov Empire, the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism, World War II, Soviet culture, the Cold War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Readings include monographs, a biography, a memoir, primary source documents, and the best novel about a revolutionary cement factory you will ever read.


Dr. Julie Davis, 135, 1:00pm-2:10pm, HAB-118   
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.

Dr. Jonathan Nash,  246, 9:40am-10:50am, HAB-107
What is the American Experience? This question will drive our exploration of the North American past from the rise and fall of Cahokia to the American Civil War. We will focus our exploration on three historical themes: empire, liberty and faith. To help us reflect upon these themes and the experiences of Americans, we will read and discuss historical monographs and primary documents. During the semester, students will have opportunities to strengthen and refine their analytical reading, critical thinking, argumentative writing, and public speaking.

Dr. Jonathan Nash, 246, 1:00pm-2:10pm, HAB-118
This class will provide students with a thematic introduction to Atlantic history, one of the most exciting fields of recent historical scholarship. Historian J.H. Elliott defines Atlantic history as the study "of the creation, destruction and re-creation of communities as a result of the movement, across and around the Atlantic basin, of people, commodities, cultural practices, and ideas" between the late-fifteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. We will begin by exploring the methodology of Atlantic historians and conclude by reflecting on the use of the "Atlantic World" as a historical concept. In between, we will study the meetings and migrations of Europeans, indigenous Americans, and West Africans; trans-Atlantic exchanges of commodities such as chocolate, tobacco, and sugar; competitions for land, labor, souls, and wealth; how slave traders tried to transform captured Africans into slaves; how enslaved people asserted their humanity; and, lastly, revolutionary upheavals. While learning the histories of the Atlantic World, students will have opportunities to strengthen their analytical reading, critical thinking, argumentative writing, and public speaking.

Dr. David Bennetts, 135, 9:40, QUAD-353
Most people, even those with an interest in American history, draw a blank when asked about significant developments and individuals of the late 19th century.  Why?  Is it because nothing of great importance happened then?  Only if you consider the triumph of industrialism, the birth of the modern labor union, America's quest for empire, the rise of the city and the death of the agrarian myth, and the challenge to "rugged individualism" unimportant.  Is it because no individuals significantly impacted the course of American history?  Only if you ignore Mark Twain, Jane Addams, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Booker T. Washington, William Jennings Bryan, a host of labor leaders, reformers, social Darwinists and agrarian rebels.

Dr. Derek Larson, 246, 2:40, NEWSC-140
Environmental history is the study of the relationship between humans and nature over time.  This course examines the changing American understanding of nature in the 19th and 20th centuries with particular attention to the development of public policies toward natural resources and wildlife, the emergence of a new set of ideas recognizing non-utilitarian values in nature, and to the evolution of the conservation and environmental movements.   Intellectual, political, economic, scientific, and social evidence will all be examined in the process of placing nature back into the human history of North America.

Dr. Julie Davis, 246, 2:40, Richarda P39
A study of United States Indians, primarily in the 20th century, with a focus on religious, economic and political areas which raise factors in cooperation and conflict between Indians and non-Indians."  A variety of readings and media will be used--from both Indian and non-Indian sources.

Course format involves much discussion, some lectures, and use of video-documentaries. Assignments include three-four reaction papers (about two pages each), two or three exams (approx. 50 points each), and one longer paper (7-8 pages), the latter giving scope for individual interest and research skills. Assignments include 3-4 reaction papers (approx. two pages each), two exams, and one longer paper (approx. 8-9 pages), the latter giving scope for individual interests.


Dr. Elisabeth Wengler, 246, 1:00, B108     
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? Was it a revolution of the working class? What role did books and ideas play? Why did a revolution whose motto was "liberté, égalité, fraternité" (liberty, equality and brotherhood) 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 in an intensive role-playing game in which you, the students, become revolutionaries and debate the future of France . You may play King Louis XVI or perhaps a member of the crowd who calls for his head!  You'll base your arguments on the texts and contexts of the French Revolution, by immersing yourselves in a variety of primary sources including eye witness accounts of events  like the fall of the Bastille, newspaper articles written from different political perspectives, revolutionary songs, images, Rousseau's Social Contract and Burke's Reflections.  You'll be challenged to read carefully, think analytically and creatively, and participate actively to make the case for your character's goals and ideals through your written and oral presentations. You may even change history!

Dr. Brian Larkin, 246, 9:40, Richarda N15
Creating Colonial Spanish America
The Spanish Americas served as laboratories of colonization.  There, Iberian Europeans conquered densely populated indigenous empires and sought to incorporate these vanquished peoples as subordinates into colonial society.  At the same time, Spaniards imported vast numbers of African slaves to labor as domestic servants and field hands.  How did the various Indian and African groups respond to colonial demands?  Did they resist, accommodate, and/or ignore their colonial masters?  Did their responses change over place and time?  In this class, we will address these questions and others as we explore how these three populations created hybrid societies and cultures-forms that were not wholly European, indigenous, or African, but something entirely new- in the Spanish New World.

As we explore the history of the colonial Spanish Americas, we will also hone sophisticated skills of historical analysis.  The class will focus on how to analyze historical monographs for argument, evidence, and methodology.  Students will participate in lively seminar discussions and write a series of short essays, analyzing the books we will read.

Dr. Gregory Schroeder, 246, 8:00, Richarda  N15
History, Memory, and the Politics of Remembering
In HIST 395, students are expected to develop the research skills and historiographical awareness required for their independent projects in HIST 399 Senior Thesis, the History major capstone course.  These goals are best achieved through the study of a specific subject matter, and for this particular course, our subjects are the concepts of "history" and "memory," i.e., the ways in which societies and people interpret the past, what they remember, and why they remember.  Sometimes, what is forgotten is as significant as what is remembered.  These topics are centrally important to the work of the historian, and so our work will not only develop research skills but also provide an opportunity to consider and discuss history and why it matters to us as individuals and societies.  Common course readings will cover theoretical works on the nature of history and memory - they are not the same thing -- as well as case studies on topics such as national identity, memorials, museums, historic sites, and debates over interpreting the past.  Many of the common readings pertain to European countries, but the course will explore other countries as well.  For their final projects, students will select their own history/memory topic and employ their skills to design and write a historiographical essay.

Dr. Julie Davis, Mon, 6:00-9:00pm, Richarda N15
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 paper about your research project.

Research topics may deal with any time period, and geographic region, and use a variety of methodological approaches to history.  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.