Fall 2014 Courses

  • The College Catalogue has a class finder tool to search for courses by title, instructor, department, and more.
  • Login to Blackboard. Instructional materials are available on a course-by-course basis.
HIST 1004. A Global History of Food.
Examines the shifting relationship between people, food, and the environment that ties them together. It asks how have distance and space between the sites of production and consumption affected the economic and social relations of food? How has geography influenced the types of food people eat? How do views of scarcity and plenty shape approaches to farming? What is the role of governments and markets in agriculture? How does food refract and transform social divisions, cultural attitudes, and daily life? Topics include rural development; subsistence gardening; famine; histories of sugar, corn, pork, fish, whales, ice cream, and anything else that fits on a plate.
HIST 1006. Monsters, Marvels, and Messiahs.
Examines how Europeans have sought to understand themselves and the world around them through travel and travel literature. Particular attention paid to the fascinating ways in which Europeans have used travel narratives to define and distinguish themselves from their “others.” Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 1014. Utopia: Intentional Communities in America, 1630-1997.
An examination of the evolution of utopian visions and utopian experiments that begins in 1630 with John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill,” explores the proliferation of both religious and secular communal ventures between 1780 and 1920, and concludes with an examination of twentieth-century counterculture communes, intentional communities, and dystopian separatists. Readings include primary source accounts by members (letters, diaries, essays, etc.), “community” histories and apostate exposés, utopian fiction, and scholarly historical analyses. Discussions and essays focus on teaching students how to subject primary and secondary source materials to critical analysis.
HIST 1017. Black Humor.
Explores a long American cultural tradition of humor centering on people of African descent. Representations of African Americans, and African Americans themselves, have long been a component of American laughter -- either as objects of derision, or as potent social commentators. This course explores the history of black humor stretching from nineteenth-century blackface minstrelsy to Saturday Night Live. We will view recorded performances, read historical material, and engage a complex theoretical literature on this subject. Students should be ready to encounter edgy material that may be considered offensive. Subjects may include Amos and Andy, Moms Mably, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Wanda Sykes, and Dave Chapelle.
HIST 1022. Science and Society.
Focuses on twentieth-century science, technology, and medicine. Uses a number of seminal events and ideas—evolution, nuclear weapons, environmentalism, genetics, climate change and public health—to examine changing meanings of “science.” Science is neither as objective nor as detached from society as is commonly assumed; but is deeply intertwined with the political, institutional, and cultural history of modern America.
HIST 1033. Japan in the World.
Introduces students to the history, culture, and global interactions of Japan with a focus on the modern (post-1868) period through examination of primary and secondary sources, popular literature, and film. Along the way, the class will “De-exoticize” Japan, deconstruct the terms “Eastern” and “Western,” and consider how tensions between “Tradition/Modernity,” and “Inside/Outside,” have propelled modern Japanese historical development. Topics include: differing narratives of modernization; invention of “traditional” Japanese culture; the Western discovery of Japan/Japanese discovery of the West; changes in everyday life; tensions of modernity and tradition; war and defeat; and Japanese pop culture.
HIST 1036. China Encounters the West.
Explores the historical relationship between China and the West through examining a selection of their encounters from the seventeenth through the early twentieth centuries. Key episodes include: the Jesuit and Protestant missions, the arrival of the Industrial West (imperialism and war), the Cold War, and beyond. Examines such themes as religion and religiosity, science and technology, and the dynamics of cultural accommodation and communication. Interdisciplinary. Draws upon readings of history, the history of science, religion, and political science. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 1112. History of Ancient Rome: From Romulus to Justinian.
Surveys the history of Rome from its beginnings to the fourth century AD. Considers the political, economic, religious, social, and cultural developments of the Romans in the context of Rome’s growth from a small settlement in central Italy to the dominant power in the Mediterranean world. Special attention is given to such topics as urbanism, imperialism, the influence of Greek culture and law, and multiculturalism. Introduces different types of sources—literary, epigraphical, archaeological, etc.—for use as historical documents. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 1241. The Civil War Era.
Examines the coming of the Civil War and the war itself in all its aspects. Considers the impact of changes in American society, the sectional crisis and breakdown of the party system, the practice of Civil War warfare, and social ramifications of the conflict. Includes readings of novels and viewing of films. Students are expected to enter with a basic knowledge of American history, and a commitment to participating in large class discussions.
HIST 2015. Modern Germany: 1848-2010.
German history has always been confounded by a remarkable lack of continuity. Between 1871 and 2010, no fewer than six different states have claimed to rule Germany, each expounding a different political ideology. With little political continuity, Germany’s “national” history became located in its cultural character. This course explores this peculiar, paradoxical, and often dark history. How do we narrate a “national” history where no single nation has existed? Can Germany be understood as a vanguard of the Enlightenment or the progenitor of unprecedented barbarism? Topics to discuss include German colonialism, World Wars, histories of science, the Berlin Wall, lefty terrorists, and the EU.
HIST 2048. Medieval Europe: 1075 to 1415.
Examines the religious, political, economic and cultural history of Europe from the Investiture Controversy to the Council of Constance. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 2128. Family and Community in American History, 1600–1900.
Examines the social, economic, and cultural history of American families from 1600 to 1900, and the changing relationship between families and their kinship networks, communities, and the larger society. Topics include gender relationships; racial, ethnic, cultural, and class variations in family and community ideals, structures, and functions; the purpose and expectations of marriage; philosophies of child-rearing; organization of work and leisure time; and the effects of industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and social and geographic mobility on patterns of family life and community organization.
HIST 2160. History of the American West.
Survey of what came to be called the Western United States from the nineteenth century to the present. Topics include Euro-American relations with Native Americans; the expansion and growth of the federal government into the West; the exploitation of natural resources; the creation of borders and national identities; race, class, and gender relations; the influence of immigration and emigration; violence and criminality; cities and suburbs; and the enduring persistence of Western myths in American culture. Students write several papers and engage in weekly discussion based upon primary and secondary documents, art, literature, and film.
HIST 2202. The History of Energy.
Explores how and why Americans (and others) have made the energy choices that they have. The production and distribution of energy is one of the key challenges for modern societies. It involves the development of specific technologies and industries- from fossil fuels to solar power to nuclear plants. But the history of energy transcends the technical. It intersects with law, politics, and economics; social norms and cultural values play a role as well. The connections between the technical and non-technical are central to understanding both the history of energy itself, as well as its place in the history of the modern Unites States.
HIST 2270. History of Brazil.
A survey of Brazilian history from colonization through the present day. Topics include colonial encounter between Africans, Portuguese and indigenous peoples; transitions from colony to empire to republic; slavery and its legacy; formation of Brazilian national identity; and contemporary issues in modern Brazil. Particular attention will be paid to race, religion and culture.
HIST 2290. Japan: Past and Present.
Surveys Japan’s place in the world by exploring its historical evolution from the emergence of human civilization in the Japanese islands to today, emphasizing along the way the fluid overseas contacts and interactions that have shaped Japanese culture. Topics covered include: the development of centralized government in the Heian Period; the rise and fall of warrior rule in Medieval Japan; the revolutionary political and social changes accompanying the Meiji Restoration and Japan’s integration into the global system; imperialism, militarism and war in the early 20th century; reconstruction and rejuvenation in the postwar; and finally Japan’s recent re-emergence on the global stage.
HIST 2321. Late Imperial China.
Introduction to late imperial China (800 to 1800) as the historical background to the modern age. Begins with the conditions shortly before the Golden Age (Tang Dynasty) collapses, and ends with the heyday of the last imperial dynasty (Qing Dynasty). Major topics include the burgeoning of “modernity” in economic and political patterns, the relation between state and society, the voice and presence of new social elites, ethnic identities, and the cultural, economic, and political encounters between China and the West. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 2380. Christianity and Islam in West Africa.
Explores how Christianity, Islam, and indigenous African religious beliefs shaped the formation of West African states from the nineteenth century Islamic reformist movements and mission Christianity, to the formation of modern nation-states in the twentieth century. While the course provides a broad regional West African overview, we will focus careful attention on how religious themes shaped the communities of the Nigerian region--a critical West African region where Christianity and Islam converged to transform a modern state and society. Drawing on primary and secondary historical texts as well as Africanist works in sociology and comparative politics, this Nigerian experience will illuminate broader West African, African, and global perspectives that underscore the historical significance of religion in politics and society, especially in non-Western contexts.
HIST 2401. Colonial Latin America.
Introduces students to the history of Latin America from pre-Columbian times to about 1825. Traces developments fundamental to the establishment of colonial rule, drawing out regional comparisons of indigenous resistance and accommodation. Topics include the nature of indigenous societies encountered by Europeans; exploitation of African and Indian labor; evangelization and the role of the church; the evolution of race, gender, and class hierarchies in colonial society; and the origins of independence in Spanish America and Brazil. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.
HIST 2840. Transnational Africa and Globalization.
Seminar. Drawing on key readings on the historical sociology of transnationalism since World War II, examines how postcolonial African migrations transformed African states and their new transnational populations in Western countries. Discusses what concepts such as the nation state, communal identity, global relations, and security mean in the African context to critically explore complex African transnational experiences and globalization. These dynamic African transnational encounters encourage discussions on homeland and diaspora, tradition and modernity, gender and generation.
HIST 2862. The Haitian Revolution and its Legacy.
Seminar. Examines one of the most neglected revolutions in history, and arguably, one of its most significant. The first half of the course treats the Revolution’s causes and tracks its evolution between 1791-1804. The second part studies its aftermath and its impact on Haiti, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the United States. Course requirements include four short papers on the readings and one substantive paper that assesses the scholarly literature on a topic of the students' choosing.
HIST 3160. The United States Home Front in World War II.
Examines social and cultural changes on the United States home front during World War II. While some Americans remember World War II as “the good war,” an examination of this period reveals a more complicated history. By analyzing a variety of historical sources—scholarly writings, government documents and propaganda, films, memoirs, fiction, and advertising—investigates how the war shaped and reshaped sexuality, family dynamics, and gender roles; race and ethnic relations; labor conflicts; social reform, civil rights, and citizenship; and popular culture. Also considers the war’s impact on the immediate postwar years and how Americans have remembered the war. Students write a major paper based on primary source research.
HIST 3271. Latin-American - United States Relations.
Seminar. Enhances understanding of Latin America by examining the foreign relations of the nations in the hemisphere with a special focus on relations with the United States. The historical arc of the course begins with independence and concludes with the contemporary struggle by the nations in the region for autonomy in the international system. Class discussions will explore weekly readings. Participants should have some background in the history of the U.S. and Latin America. Students will be expected to write an original research paper.