History Courses

History courses are designed to engage students in substantive historical inquiry, encourage independent and creative thinking, and promote excellence in undergraduate scholarship. Students should expect to consider and eventually to identify significant historical questions, to analyze primary documents with care and precision, to evaluate alternative arguments, to develop coherent interpretations of historical problems, and to write with clarity, precision, and authority.

The history curriculum is intended for all students of the liberal arts, history majors and non-majors alike. There are no prerequisites to history courses. The history curriculum consists of a diverse range of courses, organized in a progressive sequence. Introductory courses are integrative and comparative courses designed to provide students with a foundation for more specialized work in upper-level courses organized by geographic areas, time periods, and themes. Advanced courses and special courses presuppose greater sophistication in analytical and interpretive skills, but they do not assume knowledge of particular content.

Links to the most recent syllabi can be found next to some of the individual courses listed below. Older syllabi are also available in The Syllabus Archive.


Introductory Courses

His 161. Diversity and Difference: The Modern West.
An examination of the history of modern society, emphasizing that of Western Europe and America, but also attending to the West's relationship with the rest of the world. Focuses on issues of diversity and difference. Partially satisfies the Modern Societies LADR.

His 162. Modern Politics II: East Asia.
Examines the shaping of modern politics and society in East Asia under the influence of Western political ideology and as a response to Western imperialism. Topics include the Opium War, the Meiji Restoration and colonialism in both Korea and Vietnam. Also explores the rise of nationalist movements and the search through wars and revolutions for civil society in modern East Asia. Partially satisfies the Modern Societies and Other Cultures LADRs.

His 163. Order and Change: The Modern West.
Focuses on the historical causes and consequences of order and change in societies. Partially satisfies the Modern Society LADR.

His 165. The Family and the Modern West.
An examination of issues related to the family in the hsitory of modern society. Focuses on Western Europe and North America but also attends to the relationship between the West and the rest of the world. Partially satisfies the Modern Society LADR.

His 166. Democracy and the Modern West. An examination of the history of modern western social, political and cultural development. The course emphasizes the history of Western Europe and America but also gives attention to the West's relationship with the rest of the world. In combination with PlS 166, satisfies the Modern Society LADR.

His 215. The West: Ancient to Medieval. Offered alternate Fall Terms.
His 216. The West: Renaissance to 1800. Offered alternate Winter Terms.
His 217. The West: 1800 to the Present. Offered alternate Fall Terms.
By studying European and American history in a global context and encouraging innovative comparative approaches, the three-course "core"sequence is designed to provide students with a broad geographical, cultural, and historical context for evaluating and interpreting historical problems and to give a solid foundation for more advanced work not only in history, but also in other disciplines.

Other Courses Sometimes Offered by Historians

GW 111, 112. Great Works in the British Empire, I & II.
A two-course sequence examining the literature and cultural history of the 19th- and 20th-century British Empire. In combination, satisfies Great Works LADR.

GW 113, 114. Times of Revolution I & II.
A two-course sequence focusing on great works of poetry, fiction, and polemic from "revolutionary" periods in Western history and culture. In combination, satisfies Great Works LADR.

GW 121, 122. American Identity I & II.
An examination of great works of literature, political rhetoric, art, film, and theater that have helped create and creitique the identity of the United States. The course will trace themes of individualism, freedom, equality, populism, diversity, and nature in works from the 18th to the 21st centuries and will examine the implications of various American self-definitions. In combination satisfies the Great Works LADR. May count toward the following departmental majors: English (as a substittute for Eng 247) and Art History (as a substituted for ArtH 345).

GW 123, 124. Eurasia: Ancient, Eurasia: Medieval and Renaissance.
An examination of the great works of literature, history, philosophy, religion, art, and architecture of the Middle East, India, China, Europe, and Japan from 2500 BCE to 1600 CE. The course will trace and compare the fundamental themes of human culture as they are developed in great works from the ancient through early modern period. In combination satisfies the Great Works and Other Cultures LADR.

GW 131, 132. The Avant-Garde, I & II.
Examines the expression and dissemination of new ideas in politics, social relations, culture, and the arts as well as opposition to those new ideas. In combination, satisfies Great Works LADR.

GW 135, 136. Mysticism I & II.
An introduction to great works of mysticism -- the experience of spiritual union with ultimate reality -- selected from the world's great religions. The objectives are to analyze mystical texts carefully, to interpret them within the context of their own spiritual traditions, to compare them with each other, and to consider the insight they bring to our understanding of human beings and human spirituality. In combination satisfies the Great Works and Other Cultures LADR.

GW 143, 144. Autobiography.
Examines the memoirs, self-portraits, and other autobiographical work of a small group of men and women, and considers them in relation to the students' own life stories. Each half of the sequence provides a different disciplinary approach to the autobiographies, with the course subtitle designating the discipline associated with a particular section. In combination satisfies the Great Works LADR.

MS 117. The History of Property.
A survey of the development, nature and function of property with special emphasis on political, social and economic developments. Consideration is given to property's economic implications and the development of market oriented economic systems. In combination with MS 118, satisfies the Modern Society LADR.

MS 125, 126. Eurasia: Modern Societies from 1600-1850; Eurasia: Modern Societies from 1850-present.
An examination of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe from 1600 to 1850 and how institutions, ideas and conflicts contributed to or hindered the development of what is called 'Modern Society.' GW 123-124 are not prerequisites for these courses. In combination satisfies the MOdern Society and Other Cultures LADR.


Advanced Courses in U.S. History

His 225. The History of the American Midwest.
A Survey of America's heartland from the time of European contact to the present, examining the history of European exploration of the region, European and Native American relations, immigration and settlement, territorial organization and statehood, economic development, and the creation and meaning of Midwestern regional identity. Offered alternate years.

His 226. Abraham Lincoln and the American Dream.
A course that uses biography, Abraham Lincoln's own words, and popular culture to examine the sixteenth president in historical context - as a product of the cultural and intellectual currents of nineteenth-century America - and in America's collective memory, as an image and symbol of national values and ideals. Offered alternate Spring Terms.

His 227. Twentieth-Century America and Your Family.
An examination of twentieth-century American life, considering the intersection of national history and lived experience. Students will interview family members, using their own interviews and those of their colleagues to make historical arguments about national events and everyday life. Offered alternate Spring Terms.

His 229. Women in America.
A survey of American women's experiences from the colonial era to the present, giving special attention to the "public sphere" (including politics, the workplace, and the law). Offered alternate years.

His 230. American Military History, 1600-1903.
A survey of American military history through the conclusion of the Philippines conquest, studying the miltary campaigns conducted by Americans during this period. In addition to studying strategy, tactics, and weapons, issues such as the social composition of the armed forces, the influence of new technologies on warfare,the tension between "professional" and "citizen" soldiers, popular attitudes toward war and the military, and the effects of war on American society will be explored. Offered alternate years.

His 231. American Military History, 1903 to Present.
A survey of American military from 1903 to the present, studying the miltary campaigns conducted by Americans during this period. In addition to studying strategy, tactics, and weapons, issues such as the social composition of the armed forces, the influence of new technologies on warfare,the tension between "professional" and "citizen" soldiers, popular attitudes toward war and the military, and the effects of war on American society will be explored. Offered alternate years. His 234. Studies in American Cultural History.
An examination of selected topics in cultural history of the United States. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor.

His 330. Studies in the History of American Thought
An examination of selected topics in the intellectual history of the United States. May be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years.

His 331. American Constitutional and Legal History, 1600-1865.
A survey of the nature and function of law in American society through 1865, including an assessment of the impact of American space, wars, new people, and new technology.

His 332. American Constitutional and Legal History, 1865-Present.
A survey of the nature and function of law in American society from 1865 to the present, including an assessment of the impact of American space, wars, new people, and new technology.

His 333. American Colonial History, 1600-1750.
The chronological survey of the European settlement of North America and the development of English colonies with special emphasis on the political, social, economic, and cultural developments. Offered alternate years.

His 334. The New American Nation, 1750-1815.
The chronological survey of the American Revolution, the War of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, the establishment of the new government, and the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. Offered alternate years.

His 335. To Form a More Perfect Union, 1815-1877.
The chronological survey of a critical period in U.S. history that witnessed national expansion and economic development, the rise of mass political parties and a celebration of democratic culture, movements for social reform, dispossession of Native Americans, slavery, sectional crises, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Offered alternate years.

His 336. The Search for Order, 1877-1945.
The chronological survey of the period when the United States simultaneously became an urban, industrial nation and a world power. Offered alternate years.

His 337. Modern America, 1945-Present.
The chronological survey of the history of the United States from the onset of the Cold War through its termination, and the profound social changes which marked the nation during these years. Offered alternate years.


Advanced Courses in European History

His 241. Tsarist Russia.
A survey of Russian history from the earliest times to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. Offered alternate years.

His 242. The Soviet Union
A study of the events, developments, and personalities that led to the disintegration of tsarist Russia and the beginnings of a new society which has produced tremendous upheaval, millenarianism, intense hostility, and incredible brutality. Offered alternate years. His 243. Tudor and Stuart England.
An examination of the economic, social, political, and intellectual history of England during the reigns of the Tudor and Stuart monarchs.

His 244. Studies in Early Modern Europe.
An examination of selected problems in the history of early modern Europe. May be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor.

His 251. Greek History.
A survey of Greek history from the Aegean Bronze Age to the age of Alexander. Identical to Classics 251. Offered every third year.

His 252. Roman History.
A survey of Roman history from the founding of the city to the fall of the Roman Empire. Identical to Classics 252. Offered alternate years.

His 253. Roman Games.
Mass-entertainment by means of blood-sports, in the arena and the circus, was a prominent feature of Roman culture. This course will examine the social, religious, economic, and political significance of the Roman games from a historical standpoint, including archaeological remains, artistic renderings, and literary sources both pagan and Christian. Discussion will also touch on modern parallels and big-budget Hollywood films. All sources in English translation. Identical to Cla 253. No prerequisite. Offered alternate years during Spring Term.

His 325. The Holocaust.
An in-depth examination of the ideological underpinnings, implementation and legacy of the Nazi effort to exterminate every Jew in Europe. Offered alternate years.

His 344. The High Middle Ages.
A study of European history from the 11th through the 13th centuries.

His 345. The Renaissance.
A study of the history of the Renaissance, focusing on Italy from the 14th through 16th centuries.

His 346. The Reformation.
A study of European religious history during the period of the late Middle Ages and Reformation.

His 348. The French Revolution and Napoleon.
An in-depth examination of the turbulent 25-year period that dramatically reshaped concepts of politics, power, and social relations, polarized contemporary European society, and served as a model of change ever since. Offered alternate years.

His 349. Nazi Germany.
A study of the forces and conditions which made it possible for the Hitler movement to seize power in Germany; of the policies pursued on behalf of and in opposition to National Socialism; of the war; and of the movement's legacies. Offered alternate years.

His 350. Florence in the Age of Dante and Petrarch.
Studies in the history and literature of Florence in the 13th and 14th centuries. Taught in Florence during the Spring Term in alternate years. Identical to English 350. Permission of instructor is required.Web Site

His 351. Alexander & the Hellenistic World. Alexander the Great remains one of the most compelling figures in all of history, and afte rhis death the Mediterranean world was never the same again. His successors carved up his vast empire between them, and the new hybrid civilization they created (known as Hellenistic or "Greek-ish") was still in place more than a century later when the Romans came along. This course is taught as a seminar and will cover a wide range of topics, includign warfare, politics, society, culture and always the problem of evidence. No prerequisite, but students are encouraged to contact the instructor in advance. Offered every three years. Identical to Cla 351.

His 352. Genocide and the Holocaust.
An in-depth examination of the ideological underpinnings, implementation, and legacy of the Nazi effort to exterminate every Jew in Europe. The course will also consider the question of the uniqueness of the Holocaust in the context of examples of other manifestations of genocide. Offered alternate years.

His 358. The British Empire. An examination of the development, maintenance, and dismantling of the British Empire from the late 18th century to the late 20th century. In addition to learning the narrative of the history of the British Empire, students will examine the reciprocal effects of imperialism on the social, intellectual, and political experience of each of the cultures involved, with special emphasis on Britain, India, and the African continent. Offered alternate years.

 

Advanced Courses in Asian, Latin American, and World History

His 264. The World Since 1945
A survey of events and developments throughout the world from the end of the Second World War to the present. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.

His 265. Studies in World History.
An examination of selected topics and themes in world history. May be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.

His 266. History of China.
An introduction to the history of China from ancient times through the modern era. Offered alternate years. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.

His 267. History of Japan.
An introduction to the history of Japan from the beginning of Japanese civilization through the modern era. Offered alternate years. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.

His 268. History of Modern Science.
This course examines the major developments in the formation of modern science from the seventeenth century to the present. It focuses on science as human creative endeavor and examines episodes of scientific discovery, debate, and controversy to generate consideration and discussion of such issues as the nature of scientific discovery and the relationship of scientific theories to their social and cultural contexts. Offered alternate years.

His 362. Modern China.
An examination of current scholarship on modern and contemporary China, focusing on topics such as the 1911 Revolution, the Communist Revolution, and the Cultural Revolution. Offered alternate years. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.

His 364. Traditional China.
An examination of social and intellectual changes in ancient China by studying Chinese texts (in translation). Offered alternate years. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.

His 365. History of the Middle East. An introduction and examination of the history of the Middle East from pre-Islamic times to the modern era. Offered alternate years. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.

His 366. Studies in Historiography.
An examination of selected topics in the ancient world, emphasizing the history, philosophy, and methods of historical investigation. Content may vary. May be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years. Identical to Cla 366.

His 367. China and Christianity.
Explores the historical encounter between China and Christianity against the backdrop of the broader contacts between China and the West. Explores the role of late imperial and modern China and looks at how China’s turmoil since the Opium War has helped shape an emerging popular Christianity that is becoming a permanent part of the religious and cultural landscape of the country. Offered alternate years. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.


Special Courses

His 260. Special Topics
New courses offered on a trial basis.

His 307. Directed Study.
1/2 unit. To be arranged with faculty director.

His 357. Internship.
Off-campus supervised experience in History.

His 360. Special Topics.
New courses offered on a trial basis.

His 370. Directed Study.
One unit. To be arranged with faculty director.

His 371. Historical Research.
A seminar exploring historiographical traditions and methods of historical analysis. Intended for history majors in their junior year.

His 457. Internship.
To be arranged with advisor and faculty sponsor.

His 465. Capstone Seminar.
Course content will reflect the topic for the annual Capstone. Open to all juniors and seniors and may be repeated once for credit. Students may enroll in only one Capstone seminar in a given term.

His 471. Independent Study
To be arranged with faculty director.

His 499. Comprehensive Evaluation.

Last Updated: June 24, 2009