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Courses

HIS 4495: Independent Study (3 cr.)
The Department of History welcomes independent study projects.  These may consist of directed readings, research and writing, or a combination thereof; the exact nature of the study being worked out in consultation with a faculty member.  Some recent examples of independent study include histories of Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Julius Caesar, World War II in the Pacific, Wall Street, the New York Yankees, and ice hockey, among many others.

European History


HIS 1036: World History (3 cr.)
This course is an examination of the salient political, socio-economic, and cultural features of world history since 1500.  Special emphasis will be devoted to explaining why western initiatives helped to shape and influence the evolution of global civilization during the past 500 years.  (Fall)

HIS 1050: Traditional Europe: Graeco-Roman World to the Eve of the Enlightenment (3 cr.)
This course discusses the making of a specifically European civilization in its social, economic, political, religious and intellectual aspects.  Attention will be focused on ancient Greece and Rome, the development of Christianity, the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance and early modern Europe.  (Fall)

HIS 1051: Modern Europe: From Enlightenment to Counter-Culture (3 cr.)
The transformation of Europe from the middle of the 17th-century to the present is the subject of this course.   Emphasis will be given to those ideas, personalities and institutions that have helped shape the modern world from political, socioeconomic and cultural perspectives.   (Spring)

HIS 2030: Italy Since 1800 (3 cr.)
In 1800, Italia was an idea but not a nation; 200 years later, Italy has become a leading member of the European community and a strong influence on the world.   This course examines the epic of modern Italian history, from the Risorgimento of the 19th-century through the fascist experience, the Cold War years, and the post-Cold War adjustment.   Historical continuities with this ancient area's past greatness will form a continuing theme of study.   (Fall)

HIS 2045: The Making of the British Isles (3 cr.)
This course addresses the interrelationship of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland from the early Christian period to the present.   Chief topics will include the spread of Christianity, the growth of Norman feudalism, the emergence of nation states, the influence of the Reformation, the emergence of England as the dominant center, the face of the Celtic countries, the growth of empire, industrialization, and finally the emergence of devolution movements in the 19th- and 20th-centuries.   (Fall)

HIS 2052: Russian History to 1917 (3 cr.)
This course surveys the development of Kievan Rus, the Mongol Yoke, the reigns of Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great, the rise of the Russian state to Great Power status and the development of the revolutionary movement in the 19th-century.   (Fall)

HIS 2053: Modern Russia (3 cr.)
This course considers the background to and success of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 as a product of Russian revolutionary tradition and Marxism, the story of the Soviet state under Lenin, Stalin, and their successors, the Cold War years, the disintegration of the U.S.S.R. and the post-communist aftermath.   Fall)

HIS 2069: Ireland in the 20th-Century
This course will survey the social, cultural, and political history of Ireland in the 20th-century.  Topics covered will include the Celtic Revival of the early years of the new century, the Easter Rebellion (1916), the War of Independence (1919-22) and Civil War (1921-22), the Irish Free State (1922-49), the years of stagnation in the post-1945 era, the period of the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland (1968-98) and the development of the Celtic Tiger economy in the 1990s.   Particular emphasis will be given to cultural and literary influences, especially the role of religion in Irish society (Spring)

HIS 2090: Modern Ireland since 1601 (3 cr.)
This course follows the emergence of modern Ireland from the Elizabethan conquest to the modern period.   Special attention will be paid to the experience of conquest and colonization, the impact of the penal laws, the major social dislocation caused by the Potato Famine, modernization, the role of the Catholic Church, the cultural and political influence of the Celtic Revival, and the background to the current situation in Northern Ireland.  (Spring)

HIS 3002: The Great War, 1914 -1918: Literature and Life
(3 cr.)
This course studies the First World War as revealed in literature produced by participants, a literature now seen as important in shaping the modern imagination.  Emphasis will be on British records, but we will also study the literature of France, Germany and the United States.  (Spring)

HIS 3035: The Third Reich (3 cr.)
This course examines the origins of Hitler's Germany and the consequences of his ambitions for a Thousand Year Reich.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the psychopathology of fascism, including the doctrines of racial purity, which led to the Holocaust, as well as Hitler's ambitions for world domination. (Spring)

HIS 3041: The French Revolution and Napoleon (3 cr.)
This course focuses on the French Revolution as a watershed in the political development of western Europe.  Special emphasis will be paid to the role of ideology, class, and culture during the old regime and throughout the revolutionary period. The ongoing historical debate about the interpretation of the revolution will also be considered.  (Fall)

HIS 3056: The Roman Empire (3 cr.)
The greatest empire of the ancient Western world is the subject of this course.  Topics considered will include the Empire's rise, political, social, military, and religious institutions, the contested debate over the causes of the Empire's fall, and its lasting impact on the ensuing history of the world.   (Spring)

HIS 3081: Chivalry in the British Isles, 1770-1914 (3 cr.)
Drawing on writers like Sir Walter Scott and Alfred Tennyson, politicians like Benjamin Disraeli, educators like Thomas Arnold and Thomas Hughes, the pre-Raphaelite movement in art and the neo-Gothic revival in architecture, this course will examine the emergence of chivalry as an agent of aristocratic hegemony and the anchor of conservatism and tradition in political and culture life in the period between the American Revolution and World War I.  (Fall)

HIS 3091: Politics and Religion in Ireland (3 cr.)
This course examines the relationship between religion and politics as it affected, and indeed defined the conflict between native and colonial in Ireland over three centuries.   Topics covered will include the Reformation, the Tudor conquest of Ireland, the Penal Laws, the emergence of "Protestant ascendancy" in the 18th-century and, finally, the evolution of entrenched oppositional religious identities that has produced such a unique and complex legacy in the 20th-century.   (Fall)

American History


HIS 1011/1012: Development of America (3 cr.)
These courses survey the political, intellectual, social, and economic development of the United States from the Age of Discovery to the end of the Civil War (first semester); and from Reconstruction to the present (second semester).  (Fall) (Spring)

HIS 1040: American Voices: The Search For Identity (3 cr.)
This introductory-level course examines the quest for soul, character and personality in American writing, film, and visual art.  Individuals whose lives and works are examined include Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Ralph Ellison, Ansel Adams, Thomas Merton, Alfred Kazin, Oliver Sacks, and Dorothy Day.  Films include Citizen Kane and Zeli.  (Fall)

HIS 2005: Recent American History (3 cr.)
This class examines United States post-World War II history.  Topics include the origins, development and conclusion of the Cold War, the civil rights revolution and other social movements it inspired, the development of a suburban civilization, and the aftermath to the crisis of the 1960s.  (Spring)

HIS 2009: The American Civil War (3 cr.)
This course examines the origins and consequences of "the most important event in the history of the United States"  (Levine), exploring the political, economic, social, and moral significance of the course of events for Americans Northern and Southern, free and enslaved, rural and urban, on the battlefields and at home.  Investigations will focus on selected writings from the era, interpretive sources, and documentary film.  (Fall)

HIS 2012: American Sports History (3 cr.)
This course considers the history of American sports from its organized beginnings to the present, both as a significant social phenomenon itself, and as a reflection of and conduit for broader social, political, intellectual and religious aspects of American life.  Great personalities, games, and events will be included.  (Spring)

HIS 2025: American Economic History (3 cr.)
This course offers an analysis of the development of different sectors of the American economy from the colonial era to the present.  Particular attention will be given to the role of government, technology, and entrepreneurs in the growth process.  (Fall)

HIS 2036: History of New York City (3 cr.)
Why does New York City look the way it does? How have its physical appearance and spatial organization changed over the last 200 years? What are the economic, political, and cultural dynamics that have shaped this city's development? What have been the visions for the city? How have its residents and visitors experienced its physical organization? This course seeks to answer these and other questions.  Its main focus is on the city's public and private architecture, physical design and use of natural and material resources.  Answers will be sought in required readings, documentary films and field trips around New York City.  (Fall)

HIS 2048/2054: American Places I (Cities On a Hill)/II (Frontier Nation)  (3 cr.)
These courses examine the political, architectural, and cultural history of particular American places: Salem, Massachusetts; Los Angeles; the Mississippi Delta (first semester); Jefferson's Virginia and Texas (second semester). (Fall) (Spring)

HIS 2060: Reconstruction and the New South (3 cr.)
The problem of how to reconstruct the United States of America after the Union's defeat of the Confederacy and the abolition of slavery was the most daunting task ever undertaken in the history of American government.   This course examines the political, economic, and cultural ideas, events, and programs involved in Reconstruction.   It traces the dramatic events of an era of great struggle and hope, crisis and tragedy.   Special attention will be paid to the South, the former "rebel" states of the Confederacy, whose social, economic, and political systems lay in ruins in 1865 (Spring)

HIS 3001: California and the American West (3 cr.)
This course focuses on the amazing history of the greatest state in America, from its founding by Spanish missionary Father-President Junipero Serra through its acquisition by the United States in the 1840s, the gold rush that provided its jump start, and into its phenomenal growth and development over the course of the 20 h- century and beyond, including its global roles as the gateway for Asian immigration to America and the production center for international cultural products.  
(Spring)

HIS 3011: Revolutionary America (3 cr.)
This course studies the period of the late 18th-century that saw the overthrow of British imperial rule and the creation of the United States as an independent nation struggling, ultimately successfully, to construct itself as a functioning republic.   (Spring)

HIS 3014: African-American History (3 cr.)
This course surveys aspects of African-American history from earliest times to the present.  Topics include: the African background; slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade; Blacks in the colonial period; the Civil War and reconstruction; Black migrations, civil and social rights struggles; and political and cultural nationalism (Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements).  Topics are examined within the context of American history so as to highlight both intimate links as well as distinctiveness.   (Fall)

HIS 3037: The Immigrant Experience in America (3 cr.)
This course is an overview of American immigration history from early settlement to the present.   Topics include the motives and patterns of early European and African settlement and the enactment of early exclusionary laws in the new republic; the "first" great wave of 19th-century Irish, German, and later Asian immigrants and the impact of these groups on urban transportation and agricultural developments; the Ellis Island era of the "great migration" and its resulting impact on industrialization; the onset of government restriction in the early 20th-century and modern refugee problems. Students will also explore current issues of assimilation, acculturation, cultural identity and multiculturalism in American society.   (Fall)

HIS 3040: Harlem Renaissance (3 cr.)
The course discusses the social, economic, cultural and literary significance of the New Negro Movement of the Harlem Renaissance from 1919 to 1929 and the impact it had on the self-defining of black people and the establishment of 20th-century Pan-Africanism.  (Fall)

HIS 3067: Topics in the History of American Sports (3 cr.)
Two hundred years ago, sports in the new United States were generally considered to be minor diversions for children; today, organized sports and athletics form a major component of our culture.  The increasing importance of sports, the various activities Americans have engaged in, and the meanings they have found and made while so occupied will form the content of this course, with football, baseball, and basketball receiving the greatest emphasis. (Spring)

HIS 3072:  The American Transcendentalists. Emerson and His Circle
This course explores the origins, ideas and impact of an extraordinary literary and philosophical movement that flourished briefly in mid-19th-century New England:  American Transcendentalism.   Readings include selected essays of the movement's leading light, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, essays and poetry of Margaret Fuller, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's critical fiction, as well as works of historical and interpretive analysis of their Concord community. (Fall)

HIS 3093: The United States in the 1950s and 1960s (3 cr.)
This course considers American society and culture during two decades of revolutionary change.  Topics to be covered include the Civil Rights movement and its imitators, the American experience in Vietnam, consumer culture and suburbia, and youth culture.   (Fall)

HIS 3113: American Assassins: Political Murder in the United States (3 cr.)
This seminar examines political murder and murderers in the United States from the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln to the domestic terrorism of the Unabomber.  Sociological, psychoanalytical, and psychiatric perspectives on the motivations and personality "types" of American political killers, as well as their own moral and political justifications, regrets, or denials of their actions, will be considered.  A central focus of this course will be on understanding law enforcement, judicial, and legislative responses to political killing.  Perspectives on the roles of government agencies and corporate power in political murder and the growth of a popular "conspiracy industry" will also be considered.  Manifestations of domestic political homicide in modern American fiction, visual art, and music will be included.  (Fall)

HIS 3123: The Mississippi: Site, Scene, Symbol (3 cr.)
This course will examine the social, political, cultural, and natural history of the Mississippi River and its environs.   The river will be considered in all its aspects, from the physical and geographical through the social, political, and economic to the symbolic and spiritual.   (Spring)

African History


HIS 1022: Europeans and Americans through African Eyes (Freshmen Honors Seminar) (3 cr.)
Most of the literature about the relations between Africans and Westerners is about the West's views.   Therefore little is known about what Africa and Africans think about Europe.   This is due partly to the fact that most scholars rely heavily on European and American materials, and partly to an unconscious Europe-centered perspective.   This course addresses the issue of how Africans viewed Europe and North America through time.  Only open to first-year students by invitation.   (Fall)

HIS 2019: Introduction to African Studies I (3 cr.)
This course is an interdisciplinary, historical survey of African societies. It introduces major African political, social and cultural institutions and events from ancient times to the present. It aims to facilitate understanding of how African communities have faced the challenges of societal construction, encountered historical disruptions, recovered and continued the process of reconstruction to the present.   (Fall)

HIS 2021: Introduction to African Studies II (3 cr.)
This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the western hemisphere.   Themes include African historical and societal background in the Americas: the Diaspora in the Americas; slavery in the western hemisphere; new social forms: family systems, social, cultural and religious institutions; the political and intellectual struggles for humanity and freedom; and cultural, economic, and political development. The approach aims to insure an historical understanding of African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino communities and Africa's constant creativity and contributions to the larger multi-cultural stream.   (Spring)
 
HIS 2082: History of Ancient Africa (3 cr.)  
This course is a survey of African history from the earliest times to 1800.  Themes include the formation of early human communities in selected parts of Africa, the ancient kingdoms and civilizations of Egypt, Meroe, Axum and others, the Sudanic empires and kingdoms, East and Southern African kingdoms, the trans-Saharan trade system, the slave trade and its impact, and political and economic developments to 1800.   (Fall)

HIS 2085: History of Contemporary Africa (3 cr.)
This course surveys aspects of the history of post-independence Africa since the 1950s.  Themes examined include the national independence movements and liberation struggles, nation-building, political ideologies, the party systems, the military in politics, internal conflicts, civil wars, educational, social and cultural developments, neo-colonialism, economic dependency and development, foreign interference through structural adjustment programs, the movement for political change and the future of Africa.   (Spring)

HIS 3118: Women, the State, and Politics in Africa   (3 cr.)
This course examines the formal and informal participation of African women in politics, their interaction with the state and their role in society.  Themes will include: the role of women in pre-colonial African society, women's responses to colonial intervention and rule, African women in the independence struggle, in the post-colonial political economy and the military, and women's contemporary political and social activism.  (Spring)

Asia and the Middle East


HIS 1018: History of the Modern Middle East and North Africa
This course surveys the historical evolution of the Middle East and North Africa, i.e. the region stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan, and from the Balkans and Anatolia to the Arabian Peninsula.  It focuses on the main political and cultural configurations of the area from the rise of the "Gunpowder Empires" of the 16th-century - the Ottoman and Safavid (Iran) states, to the modern nation-state systems of the present century.   The dominant political, religious, economic, social, and cultural features of Middle Eastern peoples and societies are examined, as are the relationships between the region and other parts of Eurasia, particularly Western Europe. (Fall)

HIS 2067: History of Traditional China (3 cr.)
This course surveys Chinese history from earliest times  (ca. 1700 B.C.) to the late 18th-century, focusing on China's characteristic social and political institutions, as well as its intellectual and cultural traditions.  China's relations with other Asian countries and peoples will also be treated.  (Fall)

HIS 2063: History of Traditional Japan (3 cr.)
This course surveys the history of Japan from its earliest period until 1800, highlighting its characteristic institutions and traditions.  It includes a study of the major political figures, as well as the everyday material culture, particularly of the Tokugawa period.  Additionally, some of Japan's traditional literature and religions will be examined.  (Fall)

HIS 2064: History of Modern Japan (3 cr.)
A study of the modernization and westernization of Japan from the early 19th-century to the present, focusing on its emergence as a world power.  The "underside" of Japan's rise to power will be examined, as well as the nature of US-Japan relationships during and right after WWII.  (Spring)

HIS 2022: History of Modern China (3 cr.)
This course looks at China's long struggle to come to terms with the modern world, from the early 19th-century to the present.  Topics discussed include the last days of the Qing dynasty, the problem of Western and Japanese imperialism, and the various attempts at revolution, culminating in the triumph of the Communists in 1949.  The last part of the course will evaluate the successes and failures of Communist rule.  (Spring)

HIS 2057: Wars of the Modern Middle East (3 cr.)
This course endeavors to provide a clearer perspective on the origins of the conflict between the "Jewish State" and the "Arab Awakening" by considering a symmetrical investigation of the intense historical claims to territory by both Jews and Arabs.  A detailed analysis of the modern wars between Israel and the Arabs since 1948 and their effect on international relations will be included.  (Spring)

HIS 2061: Islam in World History (3 cr.)
This course explores the role and place of Islam in world history from its debut to the present.  Through history, Islam as a religion and a way of life has alternated between a focus of respect and imitation, and one of fear and disdain.  Political events provide the frame while social change epitomizes the impact.  Main themes include monotheism, Arab, interpretation, Quran, expansion, conversion, adaptation, secular, sacred/divine, prophet, war, peace, economy, and women. (Spring)

HIS 2068: History of Modern India
This course surveys the social and political history of the Indian subcontinent from the end of the 18th-century to c. 1995.  It examines the evolution of Indian nationalism and the Indian nation-state, beginning with the rise of British imperial dominance in southern Asia in the 18th -century and concluding with the economic, political, and social pressures on the subcontinent "regional and national as well as international" after independence and partition in 1947.   It looks at the political, social, and religious developments in the nations of present-day South Asia and their impact on the world. No prior background of the region is required.  (Fall '08)

HIS 3015:  Orientalism and Occidentalism
This course will look at this historical and theoretical debate and exchange of Orientalism and Occidentalism through the filter of art, film, and literature, dealing specifically with the Islamic cultures of the Middle East (including Iraq) and the Mediterranean (from Greece and Turkey to Egypt and North Africa). It examines both western representations of the "Orient" and "eastern" representations of the "West" and places them in their historical context.  (Summer) (Winter)

HIS 3083:  Women, Imperialism and Islam
This course will familiarize students with the growing body of literature that examines the roles and positions of women in post colonial, Islamic societies and look in particular at 19th- and 20th-century Egypt.  We will look at how modernization, colonization, independence and radicalism have affected women's real, lived experiences and contributed toward the manufacture of idealized, female behavior.  (Fall)

HIS 3079: History of Modern Iran
This course focuses on the social and cultural history and politics of modern Iran, covering the early modern formation of the country; the 19th-century encounter with the West and its economic and intellectual results, and the 20th -century struggles between despotism, theocracy, and constitutionalism in the shadow of petroleum and the Great Powers.  It further covers the Islamic Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, and the current situation in Iraq. The course will emphasize conflicts facing political and social elites arising from invasions, civil war, Shi'ism and modernization.   (Spring)

International History


HIS 3071: World War II Revisited (3 cr.)
This course offers an analysis of the causes and course of the greatest conflict in world history, covering all theatres of operation.  Topics include the military and diplomatic implications of "total war" and the compelling personalities, both famous and otherwise, who struggled against each other.
(Fall)

HIS 3126: Europe and Its Empires (3 cr.)
The current postcolonial era is replete with the failure of many political experiences in the Third world, but the phenomenon is better understood by looking at its origins, the colonial state.  The course covers Europe's expansion from the 15th- to the 20th-century and focuses on colonial regimes in America, Asia, and Africa.  Some of the themes discussed are: nationalism, imperialism, assimilation, association, globality, hegemony, indigenity, emancipation, culture, civilization, religion, and race. (Spring)