History Major

Department of History and American Studies

Department Faculty

The History Program

The History curriculum is widely diversified by topic and by approach and offers an extensive range of courses from ancient to modern times in American, Asian, European, and Latin American. The Bachelor of Arts degree in History itself is distinctive for four courses that are particularly germane to student development of independent, critical judgment based on historical skills. The First-Year Seminars offer incoming students, particularly those who have completed AP courses, the opportunity to move quickly into the history major during their first year.  The two-semester History Colloquium and Practicum are seminars typically completed during the sophomore or junior year that prepare majors in the critical evaluation of historical arguments, research and analysis of historical data, and historical writing. These courses are essential preparation for upper-level lecture courses and seminars and for the senior course Historical Research. This capstone course provides an opportunity to complete a historical research project working one-on-one with a member of the history faculty.

An internship option enhances the program by granting credit for history-related, career-oriented work outside the classroom.  The goal of the History program is to produce graduates with a command of factual and conceptual knowledge of the past; the analytical methods that historians use to recover, research, and write about the past; the tools to create and produce materials in a digital age; and well-honed writing and speaking skills. Graduates of the History program go on to a wide range of careers in which the ability to understand and solve historical problems, and in which skills of independent, critical judgment based on historical knowledge, are useful. Because the practice of history requires the ability to analyze and communicate ideas clearly as well as to retain factual information, it is an ideal preparation for law school and for careers in business, public policy, government, and journalism.

Honors in History at Graduation requires a 3.5 grade-point average in the major and superior work in History 485, Historical Research, or 486, Historical Research Abroad.

Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honorary society, enriches the quality of the History program and offers opportunities to participate in social and educational activities.

Requirements for the History Major

The history major requires completion of 36 credits: 6 credits from one of the survey sequences (HIST 121-122, or HIST 131-132, or HIST 141-142); HIST 297 and 298; 15 elective credits at the 200-level and beyond; 9 credits at the 400-level, 3 of which must be HIST 485 or 486 and 3 of which may be HIST 491. American Studies (AMST)  202 or 303 (3 credits total) may count as an elective in the History major with permission from the Department Chair. Internships (HIST 499) are encouraged,  but count as electives in the major only with permission from the Department Chair.

History Course Offerings

History course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of HIST in the course listings.

121 – Western Civilization I (3)

From ancient Near Eastern origins through classical Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and Reformation Era to the 17th century.

122 – Western Civilization II (3)

From the seventeenth century through the Age of Absolutism, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution to the era of nationalism and industrialism and the modernism of the 20th century.

131 – American History to 1865 (3)

The Age of Discovery and the Colonial Era through the American Revolution, nation building, the rise of the party system, slavery, and the Civil War.

132 – American History Since 1865 (3)

Reconstruction, the emergence of industrialism, the development of world power status through the World Wars, and post-1945 trends.

141 – Asian Civilization I (3)

Asian civilization from its origins in India, China, Japan, and other societies through 1500 AD. Emphasis on social, intellectual, and technological change in the development of the culture and history of the area.

142 – Asian Civilization II (3)

Asia in the modern era, 1500 AD to present, the age of Western expansion and penetration and the social, political, economic, and intellectual transformation of the 19th and 20th centuries.

190 – Great Lives: Biographical Approaches to History and Culture (3)

Examination of various historical and culture developments through the lives of notable individuals from ancient times to the present; specific lives change each semester and cover a wide range of areas of accomplishment.

200 – Topics in History (3)

Listed in the Schedule of Courses, chosen according to timely interest.

201- First-Year Seminar in European History (3)

Topical seminar for freshmen.

202- First-Year Seminar in American History (3)

Topical seminar for freshmen.

297 – History Colloquium (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 121-122, 131-132 OR 141-142 and Maior Status.  Introduction to what history is and what historians do with a focus on historiography, speaking, and writing.

298 – History Practicum (3)

Prerequisite: HIST 297.  Introduction to what history is and what historians do with a focus on research, speaking, and writing

300 – Topics in History (3)

Listed in the Schedule of Courses, chosen according to timely interest.

303 – The American South (3)

Slavery and the plantation system, rise of sectionalism, Civil War and Reconstruction, the era of segregation, and the civil rights movement.

304 – The Civil War (3)

Development of Southern nationalism and the Confederacy; emphasis on social, economic, and political as well as military aspects of the war.

305 – The American West (3)

Exploration of interactions among various peoples who have lived along the American frontier and/or the American “West.”

307– Native American History (3)

Overview of Native American experiences in North America, with a focus on the pre-contact era to the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890; also addresses 20th-century and contemporary Native American experiences and issues.

308 – U.S. Labor History (3)

Study of work and labor in the United States; emphasis on economic, political, social, and cultural changes in work and the labor movement.

310 – U.S. Urban History (3)

History of cities and urban life in the United States from the colonial period to twentieth century.

313 – African American History through 1865 (3)

A survey of the African American experience in the British colonies in North America and in the early United States from African roots through the Civil War, with a focus on the experience of both slaves and free blacks.

314 – African American History since Slavery (3)

A survey of the African American experience since emancipation in 1865; covers segregation and lynching, black nationalism, the Great Migration, and the civil rights movement.

315 – U.S. Immigration History (3)

Experiences of immigrants in the United States and the creation of ethnic identity from the colonial period to the present.

318 – The American Revolution (3)

Overview of the cultural, economic, political, and social factors that fueled the movement toward rebellion and independence.

319 – The Early American Republic (3)

Cultural, social,  political, and economic history of the period between the American Revolution and the Civil War.

320 – The Gilded Age (3)

Urbanization, industrialization, immigration, reform movements, and development in law, family, recreation, race, and labor from the Civil War to the turn of the 20th century.

321 – The Progressive Era (3)

A survey of the first quarter of the 20th century; covers reform efforts and World War I, as well as developments in law, recreation, race, business, and labor.

322 – U.S. Environmental History (3)

This course considers interactions between human populations and their physical environments from early arrivals in North America through the 20th century, addressing the impacts of this exchange on both culture and nature.

323 – Colonial America (3)

This course considers how people of Native American, European, and African descent shaped and were shaped by colonial America’s environmental, social, cultural, and economic realms, and how those experiences changed between the 16th and 18th centuries.

324 – Chinese History through Film (3)

This course explores the intersection of Chinese history and cinema during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  Themes of exploration include revolution, gender, sexuality, and socio-economic class, as well as the dynamics of globalization, among others (e.g., humor, violence).  Students will also build skills in analysis, speaking, writing, and digital fluencies.

325 – Technology and Culture (3)

Development of American technology and its relation to U.S. culture from the colonial period to the present.

326 – History of Manhood in the U.S. (3)

Gendered history of men and masculinity in the United States from the colonial period to the present.

327 – U.S. Women’s History to 1870 (3)

Significant cultural, economic, and political developments that shaped the lives of women in the United States from the pre-colonial period to the passage of the 15th Amendment.

328 – U.S. Women’s History since 1870 (3)

Women in the United States from the passage of the 15th Amendment to the present.

329 – U.S. History and Film (3)

History of how motion pictures have portrayed the American past and how they have shaped views of the past.

331 – History of Ancient Greece (3)

Greek history from Mycenae and Homer to the Hellenistic kingdoms; emphasis on primary source criticism.

332 – History of Ancient Rome (3)

Mythic origins of the city to the barbarian invasions; emphasis on primary source criticism.

334 – Early Modern European Women’s History (3)

Explores key areas of European women’s lives, including family life, religion, sexuality, and witchcraft, from 1300 to 1700.

335 – The Renaissance (3)

Provides an in-depth look at the intellectual, political, social and artistic developments in Europe known as the Renaissance.

336 – The Reformation (3)

Provides an in-depth look at the religious, intellectual, and social developments of the 16th and 17th centuries.

337 – Medieval Islamic Civilization (3)

This course traces the articulation and development of Islamic Civilization from the appearance of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th Century CE to the spread of this civilizational impulse throughout much of Eurasia and Africa by the 13th Century CE.

338 – From Mongols to Ottomans (3)

This course traces the major developments that shaped the Nile to Oxus region from roughly the 13th to the 18th centuries.  This period witnessed several transitions which shaped the background to the modern world in Eurasia, following the Mongol Irruption and closing with the stabilization of the “classical” Ottoman state.

339 – Modern Middle East History (3)

This course traces the major cultural, political, and economic developments that have shaped the modern Middle East from the 19th century to the present time.

341, 342 – Europe in the Middle Ages (3, 3)

First semester, conversion of Constantine to the last Viking raids; second semester, Investiture crisis to the Italian Renaissance.

349 – History of the British Isles (3)

Ireland, England, and Wales from prehistory to the 20th century, emphasizing interaction of cultures in the British Isles and throughout the British Empire.

354 – History of France (3)

Restoration Era to de Gaulle.

358 – History of Russia (3)

The last Romanovs, Revolution, and Soviet Period.

360 – History of Spain (3)

The history of Spain and its political, economic, and social evolution.

361, 362 – History of Latin America (3, 3)

First semester, native cultures, Spanish conquest, and colonial institutions; second semester, 19th and 20th centuries.

365, 366 – History of China (3, 3)

Social, political, and intellectual development from the earliest times to the present; emphasis on the rise of modern nationalism, Maoist period.

368 – Gender in Chinese History (3)

Examines changing meanings of gender in Chinese history from the late imperial period through to the present day (12th-21st c.), with particular attention to notions of family and everyday life, gender in popular culture, sociopolitical critiques, 20th century feminism, and revolution.

371, 372 – European Diplomatic History (3, 3)

First semester, development of the modern state system from the Thirty Years War to the middle of the 19th century; second semester, from the unification of Germany through the two World Wars to the Cold War.

375 – Military History (3)

The art of war and its impact on society from the 17th century to the present; analysis of military developments in terms of organization, technology, and strategy.

377 – The Second World War, 1939-1945 (3)

In-depth study of the origins, conduct, and consequences of the war with emphasis on its political, diplomatic, economic, and military aspects.

380 – United States Since 1945 (3)

Emphasis on major issues of the postwar era, including the Cold War, McCarthyism, civil rights movement, Vietnam, black militancy, and feminism.

381 – Europe Since 1945 (3)

Cold War, national developments, the Common Market, colonial independence movements, and the collapse of the Soviet empire.

385 – The Arab-Israeli Conflict (3)

Survey of the “Arab-Israeli Conflict” from the mid-19th century to the present.

387  – Turkey from Empire to Republic (3)

This course covers the history of Modern Turkey and its transition as a society and political unit from an imperial Ottoman to a republican Turkish reality. While political, cultural, and religious topics are covered, the primary focus is historical, interrogating how Turkish society evolved in response to a series of domestic, regional, and international challenges in the past century and a half.

390 – The United States and Vietnam (3)

Political, diplomatic, military, economic, and cultural study of Vietnam and of the United States’ role in Indochina.

395 – U.S. History and Popular Culture (3)

This course explores the history of the United States through the prism of popular culture. Topics include fashion, food ways, television, movies, and music.

416 – American Legal History (3)

Prerequisite: junior or senior status. A study of politics, society, and economics through the mirror of law. Covers such issues as property, the family, and the legal profession.

419 – The Great War in the Middle East (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 297 and 298.  THis seminar examines the history and multiple legacies of World War I for the Middle East.  As such, the class explores diplomatic background, imperial goals, military imperatives, personal experiences, negotiated settlement legacies, and evolving historiography of the conflict.

420 – The Great War, 1914-1918 (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. The war’s origins, its political and military leadership, the various land and sea campaigns, war poetry, the war’s cultural legacy, the role of women, and peacemaking.

421 – Nazi Germany (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. German history from 1933 to 1945, including Hitler’s rise to power, the causes of the 1939 war, the campaigns of World War II, the Holocaust, war crimes, and continuing Nazi legacy.

427 – History of the Information Age (3)

Prerequisite: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status or permission of instructor. This seminar explores the history of communication, new media, and the digital age.  It examines the social and cultural history of information production and consumption from cave paintings to the internet, and from analog computation machines to handheld computers.  Generally based in the history of the US, but, given the transfer of technology and the increasing ability of these technologies to transcend geographic regions, it ranges more widely as appropriate.

428 – Digital History (3)

Prerequisite: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status or permission of instructor. The digital humanities, history and new media, and the creation of online historical resources

432 – Ottoman Legacies (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. This seminar examines the Ottoman Empire’s history from its formation in the late 13th century until its final dissolution in 1923.  The seminar also explores how Ottoman historians think about, analyze, and interpret that past, along with the cultural legacies left behind by the empire throughout the Middle East and the Balkans.

435 – Daily Life in Early Modern Europe (3)

Prerequisites: History 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. The daily life of ordinary people in Europe during the early modern period (1350-1700), examining topics such as childbirth, literacy, disease, sexuality, and work.

440 – History of the Book (3)

Prerequisite: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. History and evolution of books in western culture, from manuscript to print to electronic media.

441 – Oral History (3)

Prerequisite: HIST 298 or 299 or permission of instructor. Study of oral history methodology; explores how oral history and narration of the past generations distinctive information about people’s lives and political, social and cultural change; students receive training in oral history methods for conducting and analyzing interviews.

444 – American Slavery (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. Slavery in America from its African origins to its demise during the Civil War.

449 –American Immigrant Experience (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299, junior or senior status or permission of instructor.  This research seminar allows students to explore the movement of peoples in and out of the US from the colonial period to the present.

457 – History of Conspiracy Theories (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. Examines the origins and impact of conspiracy theory thinking from the late 18th century to the present in a comparative context with special emphasis on France, the United States, and Russia.

462 – Women in Latin America (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. Role of women in Latin American society from the preconquest period to the present.

466 – Cultural History of Late 20th Century China (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status. Explores the methods of cultural history while engaging in a study of the People’s Republic of China and the four decades leading up to the turn of the twenty-first century. Key realms of focus include visual culture, cinema, and fiction, as well as the themes of memory, identity, politics, and global capitalism.

468 – History of Stalinism (3)

Prerequisite: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status.  Examine Soviet state and society under Stalin with particular attention to Communist ideology, collectivization, and industrialization, popular culture, the Great Terror, everyday life, and World War II.

471 – Special Studies in History (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299 and junior or senior status or permission of the instructor. Topical Seminars. See Schedule of Courses each semester.

485 – Historical Research (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299, senior status and faculty approval of research topic.

486 – Historical Research Abroad (3)

Prerequisites: HIST 298 or 299, senior status and faculty approval of research topic.

491 – Individual Study (3)

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Individual investigation of a subject of historical significance, directed by a member of the department.

499 – Internship (Credits variable)

Supervised off-campus experience, developed in consultation with the department.