History explores the many facets of the human condition from the past to the present. History invites those who study it to develop an appreciation for the variety of human experiences. Demonstrating how the past shapes the present, the study of history also encourages an understanding of different world cultures, societies, and outlooks on their own terms. Students learn to analyze and to think critically about a broad range of issues and experiences. They also learn how to develop reasoned arguments and explanations from historical evidence.
Among St. Olaf departments, the History Department is distinctive in the variety of courses it offers for the college’s interdisciplinary programs. These courses are described here, and they are also listed in such program descriptions as American studies, Asian studies, environmental studies, and women’s and gender studies. In addition, history courses fulfill several different general education requirements, according to subject matter. The department is a major provider of HWC, MCG, MCD, and WRI courses. Some history courses count toward ALS-L, HBS, and ORC.
The habits of critical inquiry and the deep appreciation for the varieties of human experience across time and space that are developed in studying history provide the basis for a wide range of professional and personal vocations. History majors are prepared for graduate and professional programs in history, law, museum studies, public health, and various cultural or area studies, and for developing careers in such diverse fields as education, business, ministry, government, and journalism.
Overview of the Major
St. Olaf’s history offerings are structured to help students achieve different learning goals at different levels. In level I seminars, students approach history as a way of learning, through the critical reading of primary sources on specific historical topics. In level I foundational surveys, they explore the broad historical development of the world’s major societies and cultures. In level II surveys, students examine more specialized national, area, and topical developments. In level II major seminars, students develop their skills of analysis, interpretation, argumentation, and expression. Finally, level III seminars challenge students to recognize historical problems and to formulate their own questions about major historical issues, and engage ongoing debates among historians.
History courses at level I do not have prerequisites. Level I seminars are open only to first-year students; level I foundational surveys are open to all students. History courses at level II generally do not have prerequisites either, since many of them count for general education credit. The major seminars at level II are especially designed for history majors, although other students may enroll as space permits. Level III courses generally require significant prior preparation; students with little or no background in the relevant area or period should consult with the instructor before registration.
See Academic Honors
Senior majors who have demonstrated high achievement in their coursework in History may apply for departmental distinction. Candidates must satisfy minimum grade point average requirements (3.50 overall, 3.70 in the major), and submit a portfolio of their work (normally consisting of two papers completed in History courses and an additional distinction essay) for faculty review. Students meeting grade point average requirements will be contacted by the department chair the first week of spring semester of their senior year, and will be invited to submit a portfolio. The formal review begins in April. Note: current seniors of the class of 2019 may opt to apply for distinction using the old method. Please see the History Department website for details, forms, and timeline.
The History Department supports several other programs:
- The social studies education major (see Social Studies Education) is appropriate for those considering a career in teaching history. Students in this major are able to double-major in history with careful planning. Interested students should consult with a faculty advisor in the Education Department.
- The Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC) program offers students opportunities to integrate their foreign-language skills with the study of history. Students in specially designated history classes can use their Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, German, Russian, or Chinese so that nothing is lost to them in translation!
- History courses taken on St. Olaf off-campus programs can often be counted toward the major. Students who wish to count off-campus courses toward the major should seek approval from the department chair before beginning their programs. Some restrictions apply.
- Historical internships with academic content may also be accepted for major credit.
Recommendations for Graduate Study
Students planning on graduate study in history should take advantage of the flexibility of the history major to develop depth of knowledge in a particular field, topic, or approach in order to position themselves for more focused advanced study. Students might also consider developing a research project beyond the requirements of a level III seminar by completing HIST 394 Academic Internship, HIST 397 History Research Workshop or HIST 398 Independent Research, participating in the Undergraduate Research Program, or completing the Distinction process. Most graduate programs in history (including American and British history) require reading and/or speaking proficiency in one or two relevant languages beyond English. Participation in the optional FLAC sections attached to a number of history courses (see above) is an excellent way to demonstrate both language proficiency and the capacity to apply that proficiency to the analysis of historical evidence. Study abroad can also enhance preparation for graduate school. In recent years, history majors have been accepted for advanced historical study at Duke University, William and Mary, Yale University, and the Universities of Chicago, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Toronto, and Virginia.
History majors are required to take nine courses.
|One level II major seminar|
|Three courses at level III|
|No specific level I coursework is required for the major, but students may count up to three level I courses (but no more than two seminars) toward the major.|
|At least one level I or level II course in each of the three general areas|
The non-Western world (Africa, Asia, Latin America)
|At least two courses dealing with pre-modern history 1|
|Students may apply one Advanced Placement course with an exam score of 5 toward the major|
See the departmental website or the History Department chair for the approved list of pre-modern courses. Other courses may meet this requirement if approved by the department chair.
Level I: History Seminars
Courses numbered HIST 101-HIST 189 are seminars open only to first-year students. Each focuses on a different topic, but all explore the fundamentals of historical thinking by emphasizing analysis of primary sources and critical assessment of historical interpretations. Seminars are offered each semester and during the Interim.
HIST 101: Ancient Warfare
This seminar examines the social and political role of warfare in ancient Greek and Roman history. Students investigate the concepts of war and peace by considering the role of the soldier within society, details of tactics and logistics, and the impact of warfare on both combatants and non-combatants alike. The seminar uses primary sources to examine these themes. Offered periodically. Counts toward ancient studies and classics majors.
HIST 121: The Making of Modern Russia
This course explores the origins of the modern Russian empire. Using primary sources including chronicles, folktales, legal codes, letters, and religious icons, students consider Russia's development from a loose collection of princedoms into a powerful, multi-ethnic empire spanning 11 time zones. Topics include the impact of geography and climate, the Orthodox religion, Mongol rule, gender roles, the rise of autocracy, and social rebellion. Offered periodically. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and concentration.
HIST 122: Europe and the Great War
Focusing on social and cultural history, students use literature, film, and propaganda to examine total war and its impact on gender, state, and society. How did the 19th century prepare Europeans for war? How did different experiences in the trenches and on the home front contribute to gender anxieties? Was the war an agent of progress or midwife to the brutality of the 20th century? Offered periodically. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and concentration.
HIST 126: Conquest and Colonization
This seminar examines one of history's most dramatic episodes: the Spanish conquest and colonization of Mexico. Through the reading of manifestos, letters, and chronicles of the period, students examine such topics as European and indigenous perceptions of the conquest, the role of missionaries, native efforts to resist Spanish domination, the ecological/biological consequences of 1492, and subsequent debates over the morality and meaning of the conquest. Offered periodically. Counts toward the History and Latin American Studies major, and the Latin American Studies concentration.
HIST 140: Pirates of the Caribbean
This course explores the rise and fall of English piracy in the Caribbean, from its origins during the reign of Elizabeth I to the emergence of the so-called "Golden Age" of piracy in the early 18th century. Students investigate the ways in which piracy advanced and then later threatened the imperial goals of the English state and examine the enduring appeal of pirates in the popular imagination. Offered annually.
HIST 151: Slavery in African History
This course introduces students to the historical forces leading to and scholarly debates about slavery in African history. Students examine the nature and development of domestic slavery to the 19th century as well as the slave trade systems across the Saharan Desert and the Atlantic Ocean. Students "do history" using primary sources to retrieve the African voices and agency in discussions of the slave trade and debate themes such as ethnicity, kinship, state formation, and colonialism. Offered annually. Counts toward Africa and the Americas concentration.
HIST 165: Slavery in the Americas
This seminar, using only eyewitness accounts, examines African slavery in the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Typical readings include the narrative of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs' autobiography, and the writings of slave-holders like Mary Chesnut. Topics include the slave trade, the origins of African-American culture, women and slavery, and the origins of the Civil War. The course concludes with an examination of the process of emancipation. Offered periodically. Counts toward race and ethnic studies and American studies majors and race and ethnic studies and Africa and the Americas concentrations.
HIST 169: From Fjord to Frontier: Norwegian-American History in Literature
Norwegian folklore tells of a place east of the moon and west of the sun where dreams are realized. For hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Norway this fabled place was America. They called it, as does St. Olaf's own college hymn, Fram, Fram, "a home in the west." This course explores the stories of Norwegian America through its literature and other forms of popular writing created from the 19th through the 21st centuries. It considers, among other forms, novels, shorts stories, drama, children's literature, memoirs, letters, diaries, travel accounts, biographies, journalism, popular history, and film. Counts toward American studies major and Nordic studies concentration. Offered alternate years.
HIST 181: Civil Rights Revolution
Students examine the overthrow of American segregation through several decades of agitation for civil rights. This seminar focuses primarily on the South, though students also discuss northern race relations. Primary accounts from the era constitute the assigned readings. Among the topics covered are the segregated South, Martin Luther King and his critics, the Black Power movement, and the rise of white backlash politics. Offered periodically. Counts toward race and ethnic studies and American studies majors and race and ethnic studies and Africa and the Americas concentrations.
HIST 182: America Since 1945
This seminar examines American society since 1945. The main focus is social history. Topics include the impact of the Cold War, migration to the suburbs, post-industrial society, the culture of the 1950s, civil rights, the Vietnam War, the student movement, the sexual revolution, and Watergate. Sources include novels, essays, magazine stories, films, and documentaries. Offered annually. Counts toward American studies major, women's and gender studies major and concentration, and media studies concentration.
HIST 188: Topical Seminar
Selected topics in historical studies, depending on instructor.
HIST 189: Topical Seminar
Selected topics in historical studies, depending on instructor.
HIST 190-HIST 191, HIST 194-HIST 195, HIST 198-HIST 199 are offered as foundational surveys in European, global, and American history. These courses are open to all students seeking broad historical introductions to Western and non-Western societies. Foundational surveys provide both extensive historical coverage and opportunities for integrative learning. They carry general education credit, as appropriate, in Historical Studies in Western Culture and in Multicultural Studies. They are particularly appropriate for majors seeking background in each world area.
HIST 190: Europe from the Ancients to the Renaissance
This course surveys Western history and culture from its origins in the Ancient Near East to the Italian Renaissance. Topics include the ancient world, the beginnings of Christianity, the emergence and disintegration of Rome as a unifying power, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. Through original texts and historical studies, students will explore relationships among religions, states, and societies and views of natural environments, family life, and gender roles. Offered annually. Counts toward ancient studies and medieval studies majors.
HIST 191: Europe from the Reformation to Modern Times
This course surveys European history and culture since the Reformation. Topics include the impact of Protestantism, the development of nation-states, the Enlightenment, revolutionary ideas and experiences, the Napoleonic era, imperialism, mass political movements, and global warfare. Through original texts, historical studies, and literature, students explore relations among religions, states and societies and understandings of liberty and reason, natural environments, family life, and gender roles. Offered annually. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and concentration.
HIST 193: Modern Latin America
An overview of the evolution of Latin American societies since 1750, this course examines the consequences of independence, 19th-century economic imperialism, and 20th-century transitions to more urbanized, industrialized ways of life. Students examine major Latin American nations and compare their revolutionary and counter-revolutionary trajectories toward the establishment of authoritarian states. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Spanish. Offered periodically. Counts toward Latin American studies major and concentration and management studies concentration.
HIST 194: Global Histories from Ancient Times to 1500
Students use original texts, historical studies, and literature to examine, comparatively and chronologically, the evolution of selected cultures and societies before 1500. They explore topics such as political, cultural, and economic exchange, religious practices, human interaction with the environment, forms of political authority, family life, and gender roles. Offered annually.
HIST 195: Global Histories from 1500 to the Present
This course takes a comparative and chronological approach to studying the diverse cultures of the modern world. Through original texts, historical studies, and literary sources, students examine such themes as the rise of American imperialism and its impact on indigenous peoples of the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the emergence of the nation-state and new ideologies; the spread of American influence in the world; human interaction with the environment; challenges to religion and traditional life-styles; and innovation in family and gender structures. Offered annually.
HIST 198: American History to 1865
This course examines the development of American culture and society from the Columbian encounter through the Civil War. Topics include the interaction of Europeans, Africans, and indigenous peoples in early America; the social development of the British colonies; the evolution of American slavery; the Revolution and the Constitution; industrialization, expansion, and reform in the 19th century; and the Civil War. Offered annually. Counts toward American studies major.
HIST 199: American History Since 1865
As they study the development of American institutions and society from the Civil War to the present, students examine economic, social, and political themes with a special emphasis on changing interpretations. Major topics are Reconstruction, urbanization, populism, progressivism, depression, New Deal, foreign relations, civil rights, social reform, equality for women, and other recent trends. Offered annually. Counts toward American studies major.
Level II: Period and National Histories of the Ancient World
HIST 201: Major Seminar: Ancient History
This course explores topics in ancient history, designed to emphasize active skills of critical reading, textual and contextual analysis, historiographical argument, and historical writing. Recent topics have included "Ancient Greece" and "Ancient Near East." Primarily for history majors; others by permission of instructor. Offered periodically. Counts toward ancient studies and classics major.
HIST 202: Mediterranean Archaeology Field School (abroad)
This course introduces students to Mediterranean archaeological field techniques and methods such as survey, site identification, artifact processing and analysis, and site excavation. During a five-week summer session, students: visit museums in order to recognize artifacts and contextualize them in regional chronologies; practice and refine excavation and survey techniques; and critically examine how archaeological knowledge about the ancient Mediterranean is constructed and expressed. Counts toward ancient studies and classics major.
HIST 203: Ancient: Greece
This course is a history of Western civilization's primary cultures, Ancient Greece from the Bronze Age through the "Golden Age" of classical Greece and the empire of Alexander the Great. Offered periodically. Counts toward ancient studies, classics and Greek majors.
HIST 204: Ancient: Rome
This course is a survey of Mediterranean civilization from the early history of Italy through the Roman Republic and Empire. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Latin. Offered annually. Counts toward ancient studies, classics, and Latin majors.
HIST 205: Ancient: Near East
This course is a history of Western civilization's earliest cultures, the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Hebraic Kingdoms, and the great Empires of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. Offered periodically. Counts toward ancient studies and classics majors.
Period, National and Thematic Histories of Europe
HIST 210: Major Seminar: European History
This course explores topics in European history, designed to emphasize active skills of critical reading, textual and contextual analysis, historiographical argument, and historical writing. Recent topics have included "Restoration Britain" and "France in World War II." Primarily for history majors; others by permission of instructor. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered most years.
HIST 220: Modern Britain
How did Britain emerge as the world's first "super-power"? Students examine British history from the Revolution of 1688 through the era of World War II. Topics include the aristocracy, the impact of the Industrial and French Revolutions, liberalism and capitalism, Victorian culture, the working class and political reform, the women's movement, the imperial achievement, the issue of Ireland, and the challenge of the world wars. Offered periodically. Counts toward management studies concentration.
HIST 222: Modern Scandinavia
This course offers a survey of modern Scandinavian history from the period of the Protestant Reformation to the present with special attention to recent developments. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Norwegian. Offered annually. Counts toward Norwegian major and management studies and Nordic studies concentrations.
HIST 224: Modern Germany
This course provides a survey of the history of Germany with emphasis on the period from 1700 to the present. Through primary sources, literature, and historical accounts, students examine Germany's development from a collection of independent states to a great power, focusing on the social, cultural, and political impact of national unification, rapid industrialization, world wars, and European union. Offered alternate years. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and German studies, management studies, and women's and gender studies concentrations.
HIST 226: Modern France
This course surveys the history of France since 1815 and considers, across the arc of five republics, two monarchies, two Napoleonic empires, and one authoritarian regime, what it means to be French. Organizing themes include the revolutionary tradition and the notion of republicanism, industrialization's impact on society, the transformation of France in response to two catastrophic world wars, and contemporary challenges such as austerity and immigration. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in French. Offered alternate years. Counts toward French major and management studies concentration.
HIST 227: French Revolution and Napoleon.
Students examine seminal events, institutions, and doctrines of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, with special attention to the 18th-century background to the Revolution, its impact on Europe in the 19th century, and its legacies in the modern world. Using primary and secondary sources, students explore the drama of the period and consider the variety of historical approaches to, and interpretations of, the Revolution. Offered periodically. Counts toward French major.
HIST 230: Imperial Russia
Russia's modern history from Peter the Great to the revolution of 1917 centers on the tsarist autocracy and popular movements to limit its power. Students assess Russia's economy, culture, and religion against the background of the country's westernization. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Russian. Offered alternate years. Counts toward Russan area studies major.
HIST 231: 20th-Century Russia
This course begins with the Communist revolution of 1917 and traces the growth of the Soviet Union under Lenin, Stalin, and their successors. Students analyze the "crisis" of the Soviet system in order to explain why the last of the European empires collapsed in 1991. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Russian. Offered alternate years. Counts toward Russian area studies and women's and gender studies majors; and management studies and women's and gender studies concentrations.
HIST 237: Gender in Medieval Europe
Students explore the experiences of women in both religious and secular life from the period of the late Roman Empire through the 15th century. Topics include women's roles in the early church, changes in the status of women from the late Roman Empire through the Carolingian period, women's monasticism, marriage and the family in the feudal system, courtly love, and late medieval spirituality. Offered during Interim in alternate years. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and concentration and medieval studies major.
Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America
HIST 240: Major Seminar: Histories of Africa, Asia, and Latin America
This course explores topics in the history of Africa, Asia, or Latin America, designed to emphasize active skills of critical reading, textual and contextual analysis, historiographical argument, and historical writing. Recent topics have included "American Empire: A Cultural History of US-Latin America Relations" and "Imperialism and Nationalism in Southeast Asia." Primarily for history majors; others by permission of instructor. Offered periodically.
HIST 243: Revolutionary Cuba
This course examines the history of modern Cuba, especially the 1959 revolution and its aftermath. Students study the transformation of Cuban political culture, the obstacles to economic and agrarian reform, education, the role of women, human rights, U.S. policies toward Cuba, and the future of Cuba after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The role of charismatic leadership in Latin America and the possibilities for revolutionary changes in the Americas are also examined. Offered periodically during Interim. Counts toward Latin American studies major and concentration.
HIST 244: Collective Memory in Revolutionary Cuba (abroad)
How do Cubans view their past, and how does this shape their understanding of the present? This course focuses on the 1959 Revolution and historical memory. Students explore through visits to museums, memorials, and monuments how the government has sought to influence the ways Cubans remember the revolution and the later turn toward socialism. Students also study present-day Cuba through visits to health clinics, cooperatives, and schools, as well as lectures from local experts. Offered during Interim in alternate years. Counts toward Latin American studies major and concentration.
HIST 245: Environmental History of Latin America
This course examines the environmental history of Latin America from ancient times to the present. Through readings and discussion, students explore topics such as pre-conquest indigenous agriculture, the environmental consequences of European colonization, Latin American understandings of nature, the Green Revolution, deforestation, questions of international environmental justice, and the growing links between the region's indigenous peoples and international environmental organizations. Offered annually. Counts toward environmental studies major (all emphases) and concentration and Latin American studies major and concentration.
HIST 250: Chinese Civilization
This course studies Chinese civilization from its beginnings to the end of the 19th century, providing an overview of traditional Chinese thought, culture, institutions, and society. Students examine the development of philosophy and religion, achievements in art and literature, and social and economic change. This course also considers foreign conquest dynasties, Chinese expansion into Inner Asia, and China's relations with the West. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Chinese for students at the third-year level in the language. Offered annually.
HIST 251: Modern China
This class examines reform and revolution at the end of the Qing dynasty; the creation and collapse of the first Republic; warlordism, the New Culture Movement, social and cultural change, and the rise of Chinese nationalism; Japanese invasion, civil war, and the Communist victory; the People's Republic since 1949; economic and social change, conflict with the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution, Maoism and Mao's legacy; and China's recent economic and political transformation. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Chinese for students at the third-year level in the language. Offered annually. Counts toward management studies concentration.
HIST 252: Japanese Civilization
A study of Japan from the origins of the Yamato state culture to the emergence of modern Japan, this course provides an overview of traditional Japanese thought, values, and culture. This course examines social, economic and political change, intellectual and religious history, and the development of Japanese arts and literature, as well as Japan's relations with China, Korea, and the West. Offered periodically.
HIST 253: Modern Japan
This survey of modern Japan from 1800 to the present examines the political transformation of the Meiji Restoration, the industrial revolution and social and cultural change, the rise and fall of party government, militarism and Japanese expansionism in World War II, the American occupation, and postwar social, political, economic, and cultural developments. Offered alternate years. Counts toward management studies concentration.
HIST 256: Slavery in West Africa: Ghana (abroad)
Students explore the history and culture of Ghana and examine how people recall slavery and the implications of a constructed concept of slavery. Through primary sources and visits to historic sites, students examine how Africans view slavery; why descendants of slavers and the enslaved rarely discuss slavery; how to transform slave artifacts into storehouses of memory, silences, and fragmentations in history; and how descendants of slaves respond to the burden of such knowledge. Offered during Interim. Counts toward Africa and the Americas and race and ethnic studies concentrations.
HIST 262: National Identity and Ethnicity in China (abroad)
This course examines ethnicity and the development of national identity in China through the evolution of the Qing empire into a modern nation state, the development of Chinese national identity in modern times, and the relationship between majority culture and minority ethnicities. Students examine the Han, Manchus, Tibetan, and Hmong/Miao as case studies, including comparisons with Hmong in the United States. Offered periodically during Interim.
HIST 291: Introduction to African History
The course explores how people view Africa and the contested discourse on the meaning of "Africa" with special emphasis on sub-Sarahan Africa. Through lectures, discussion, and analysis of primary sources, students examine Africa's past in terms of material and social change; how the ordinary and the privileged made their world; economic and religious revolutions; responses to colonial encroachment and rule; and independence. No prior study of Africa necessary. Offered annually.
HIST 292: Muslim Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa
This seminar introduces students to the nature and development of Muslim societies in sub- Saharan Africa, from the earliest times to the present. Students also explore questions of authenticity and "historical truth" as they examine current debates on themes such as patterns of Islamization, "African Islam," and Islam in Africa. Other themes include the invention of Muslim identities, expansion of Sufism, women in Islam, Islamic education, Islam and colonialism as well as revivalism in Islam. Counts toward Africa and the Americas concentration. Offered annually.
Period and Topical Courses in American History
HIST 200: North American Archaeology Field School
This course introduces students to North American archaeological field techniques and methods such as survey, site identification, artifact processing and analysis, photogrammetry, and site excavation. During a 21-day summer session, students work with indigenous community leaders to recognize artifacts and contextualize them in local and regional traditions; practice and refine excavation and survey techniques; and critically examine how archaeological knowledge about North American Indigenous Peoples is constructed and expressed. Offered alternate years during summer.
HIST 270: Major Seminar: American History
This course explores topics in American history, designed to emphasize active skills of critical reading, textual and contextual analysis, historiographical argument, and historical writing. Recent topics have included "Franklin's America," "Women and Slavery," "American Family in Historical Perspective," and "Work in America." Primarily for history majors; others by permission of instructor. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered most years. Counts toward American studies major.
HIST 272: Women in America
This course surveys women's experience in American life from the colonial period to the present. Students examine the changing economic, social, and legal status of women, society's attitudes toward women, and the growth of feminism. Offered periodically. Counts toward American studies major, women's and gender studies major and concentration, and family studies concentration.
HIST 275: Environmental History
By examining the interaction of people and environment on the North American continent from the 15th century to the present, this course shows how history "takes place" in ecological contexts that change over time. Students compare Native American and Euro-American religious beliefs, social values, economic aspirations, and technological developments and examine their consequences for the flora, fauna, and peoples of the continent. Counts toward American studies major, environmental studies major (all emphases) and concentration, and management studies concentration.
HIST 277: African-American History
In this study of African-Americans in U. S. society from African origins to the present, students explore the African heritage, the experience of slavery, segregation, and the rise of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The course pays particular attention to the issue of black nationalism as a force in American life. Offered periodically. Counts toward American studies and race and ethnic studies majors and race and ethnic studies and Africa and the Americas concentrations.
HIST 278: Experiencing Southern History (off-campus)
This course examines the public memory of the contemporary South through two pivotal events in American history, the Civil War and the civil rights movement. the course utilizes several vehicles for this purpose: the statues and memorials to the Civil War, the modern phenomenon of Civil War reenactment, and the contemporary museums dealing with the war and the civil rights era. The core issue is how these official sites of public memory function in an often polarized environment, and how they reflect the demands of politics, public attitudes, the schools, and the needs of tourism. The course culminates in a week-long visit to Alabama to visit several of the major museums and sites associated with the crucial confrontations of the civil rights era. Particularly appropriate for public history students.
HIST 282: Topics in Native American History
Spanning at least twelve thousand years and involving more than five hundred indigenous nations the history of Native America is complex and diverse. This course focuses on significant themes, time periods, or geographical regions, with emphasis on the Native peoples within the modern-day continental United States. Examples include "The Trail of Tears," "The West Before Lewis and Clark," and "Pontiac's America." May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically. Counts toward American studies and race and ethnic studies majors and race and ethnic studies concentration.
HIST 288: America in the Civil War and Reconstruction Era
In studying the impact of the Civil War era on American society and politics, students focus on slavery, emancipation, and race relations. They also address the impact of industrialization on northern society, encompassing immigration and nativism, the westward movement, and the dispossession of Native Americans. The course situates the dramatic political and military events of the era in the wider evolution of American life. Offered annually. Counts toward American studies and race and ethnic studies majors and race and ethnic studies and Africa and the Americas concentrations.
HIST 290: Reel America: U.S. History in Film
Students examine the limitations and the enormous potential of film in depicting and interpreting past events in U.S. history. They analyze films using a variety of theoretical models and explore the ways feature films and documentaries have explored themes like race, conquest, war, and politics in American history. Writing assignments enable students to demonstrate their analytical skills. Counts toward American studies major and media and film studies concentrations.
HIST 294: Academic Internship
HIST 298: Independent Study
HIST 299: Topics in History
This course offers selected surveys in historical studies. Topics depend on instructor. Recent topics have included "Women in Early America," "U.S.-Latin American Relations," and "Doing Public History." May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically.
Level III: Seminars
Please note that Level III seminars presume significant prior knowledge of the subject. Previous experience with the material is required.
HIST 302: Greek Civilization
Students study the emergence and development of Greek civilization from the early Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period, concentrating on such topics as the Homeric Age, Greek colonization of the Mediterranean basin, Athens' evolution from democratic city-state to imperialist power, the Golden Age of Athens, social and intellectual trends and Alexander. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically. Counts toward ancient studies, classics, and Greek majors.
Prerequisite: HIST 203 or permission of instructor.
HIST 303: Roman Civilization
This seminar covers the emergence and development of Roman civilization from the founding of Rome to the end of the Western Empire. Students explore such topics as the Greek and Etruscan legacy, evolution from republic to autocracy, the Augustan Age, Pax Romana, social and intellectual trends, the triumph of Christianity and Rome's final transformation. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically. Counts toward ancient studies, classics, and Latin majors.
Prerequisite: HIST 190 or HIST 204 or permission of instructor.
HIST 310: Seminar: Medieval Europe
This seminar covers various topics in the history of medieval Europe, depending upon the instructor. The most recently offered topic: "Medieval Italy, 1050-1350." May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically. Counts toward medieval studies major.
HIST 315: Seminar: Early Modern Europe
This seminar covers various topics in early modern European history, depending upon the instructor. The most recently offered topic: "Reformation and Revolution in England." May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically.
HIST 320: Seminar: Modern Europe
This seminar covers various topics in modern European history, depending upon the instructor. Recent topics have included "Gender and the Enlightenment," "The Holocaust and History," "Race, Gender, and Medicine," and "Nation and Empire in Russian History." May be repeated if topic is different. Offered annually. Prerequisites for certain offerings.
Latin American and Asian History
HIST 340: Latin America Seminar
This seminar covers varying topics in Latin American history, depending upon the instructor. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically. Counts toward Latin American studies major and concentration.
HIST 345: East Asia Seminar
This seminar covers varying topics in East Asian history. Recent topics have included "World War II in East Asia and the Pacific" and "Nationalism and Communism in Southeast Asia." May be repeated if topic is different. Offered periodically.
Prerequisite: history or Asian studies major or permission of the instructor.
HIST 370: American Seminar
This seminar covers varying topics in American history, depending upon the instructor. Recent topics have included "Lincoln and his America," "The American Revolution," and "19th-Century American Political Culture." May be repeated if topic is different. Offered most years. Counts toward American studies major.
HIST 375: Problems of Contemporary America
This course examines American life, politics, and foreign policy from the Cold War to the present. Using a variety of readings, students explore some of the contradictions of modernity and the transformation of America into a post-industrial society. Offered periodically. Counts toward American studies major.
Prerequisite: HIST 199 recommended.
HIST 394: Academic Internship
HIST 395: Oral History Seminar
The seminar focuses on the theory and practice of oral history. Students learn to conduct, transcribe and incorporate interviews in projects. Students interrogate conceptual issues - the interview as narrative, memory, identity, connections, motivations, and the silences inherent in oral history - and how these relate to gender, religion, and class in multiple global settings. Students learn such practical techniques as how to probe social masks, evaluate oral evidence, and the legalities of releasing interviews. Offered annually. Counts toward history major and Africa and the Americas concentration.
HIST 396: Directed Undergraduate Research
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor.
HIST 397: History Research Workshop
Rather than focus on a region or period of time, we will look at how historians from many different fields explore and understand "everyday life." What do historians have to say about eating, work, rumors, fear, night, noise, bingo, and more? What sources do they use for this research? What significance do we find in these histories of everyday life? Much of this study is defined by changes in social and cultural history, with an emphasis on local and micro-histories. Students will produce a substantial research paper, based on primary sources and focused on a theme or problem related to histories of everyday life. Seniors are welcome. Juniors especially are encouraged to consider this course, especially those considering academic internships, participation in the summer undergraduate research program, or distinction. Offered periodically.
HIST 398: Independent Research
Steven C. Hahn
Professor of History
colonial America; Native American history; piracy
Jeane DeLaney (on leave Interim and spring)
Associate Professor of History
Latin American history; Argentina and Cuba; environmental history of Latin America
Christopher M. Elias
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
20th-century U.S. history
Michael W. Fitzgerald (on leave)
Professor of History
African-American history; Civil War and Reconstruction; Southern America
Eric J. Fure-Slocum
Associate Professor of History
20th-century U.S. history; labor and urban history
Timothy R. Howe
Professor of History
ancient Greece and Rome; the Middle East; Alexander the Great; ancient archeology
Associate Professor of History
African history; Islam in Africa
David E. Jessup
Adjunct Instructor of History
modern Nordic and Nordic-American history
Professor of History
20th-century U.S. history; U.S. women's history; popular and material culture
Anna K. Kuxhausen
Associate Professor of History
Russian history; women's history
Adjunct Assistant Professor of History
South Asia; Islamic history; modern India, Pakistan
Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
medieval Europe; Spain
Associate Professor of History
modern France; modern Europe; history of medicine
Blair R.W. Williams
Adjunct Instructor of Asian Studies
Adjunct Professor of History