Spring 2020 Course Listing and Descriptions

Online Classes: Online History Courses are set up through University College, not through the History Department. The majority of the seats in these classes are reserved for University College Students. Any other available seats can be taken on a first come, first served basis. If you are unable to enroll in the course during the enrollment period, you will have to wait until the first day of class when any remaining reserved seats are released. We are unable to offer permissions or increase enrollment caps at this time. 

Course listings and descriptions
Course Day/Time  Professor  Description 

HST 102: American History Since 1865

*This course includes the lecture and a weekly discussion section. By enrolling in discussion, you automatically enroll in the lecture.

M/W 10:35-11:30  Cohen 

This semester offers a broad look at the history of the United States in the 150 years from the end of the Civil War through the first decade of the 21st Century. Throughout the course, we will engage with the social, political, and cultural changes, ideas, and events that have profoundly shaped modern American society.

Key questions include: How have we defined being American? How has the nation’s relationship with the world changed?  How have the rights of citizens evolved over time? How have various groups in American society articulated their claims to citizenship and national belonging? What factors have affected the development of American political leadership?


HST 112: Napoleon to the Present

*This course includes the lecture and a weekly discussion section. By enrolling in discussion, you automatically enroll in the lecture.

M/W 10:35-11:30  Ebner 

This course examines the major developments in European history since the late 18th century, including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era, the Industrial Revolution, imperialism, the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Fascist and Nazi seizures of power, the Second World War, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and European Unification. The thematic focus of this course is the relationship between the individual and the state. How does this relationship change over time – what makes it “modern”? To address this question, we will examine ideologies (liberalism, conservatism, socialism, nationalism, fascism), the birth of mass society, poverty, violence, women’s rights, and racism. There are two lectures and one discussion section per week. Discussions emphasize primary sources and historical debates. Grades are based on in-class exams, papers, and discussion.


HST 122: Global History 1750-Present

*This course includes the lecture and a weekly discussion section. By enrolling in discussion, you automatically enroll in the lecture.

M/W 11:40-12:35  Kumar 

This course introduces students to global history beginning in 1750 by focusing on social, economic, political, intellectual and religious developments in major regions of the world: Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Beginning with the Mughal Empire in India, the Ottomans, and the empires of the New World, it will trace the growing interaction of these areas with Europe through colonialism and trade. From the age of revolutions to the age of empires and the age of nation-states, this course studies the relevance of the early modern world for understanding today’s global patterns and economic interdependency. We will explore twentieth-century developments including the spread of Marxism, secular nationalism, and decolonization. The course ends by looking at current issues in world history, including the environment, global capitalism, and religious revivalism. Topics will be covered thematically in general chronological order. Lectures will be supplemented by maps, visual materials, music, documentaries and films. All students are required to attend lectures and one discussion section a week. Students need not have taken HST 121 Global History to enroll.


HST 145: Intro to Historical Archaeology

*This course includes the lecture and a weekly discussion section. By enrolling in discussion, you automatically enroll in the lecture.

M/W 12:45-1:40  Armstrong 

Role of history and archaeology in our understanding of 17th- to 19th- century Europe, Africa, and America. Historical archaeology as a mechanism to critique perceptions of the past. Firsthand record ethnic groups and cultural settings not recorded in writing 


HST 200: The Holocaust and Antisemitism in Modern Europe T/Th 9:30-10:50   Barruzza

This course consists of four units. Unit I (1789-1914) covers European anti-Semitism in the long 19th century, beginning with the period of political emancipation in western and central Europe (1789-1848) and concluding on the eve of World War I. In this section, we will see how emancipation opened doors for assimilation, as many European Jews intermarried with Christians, experienced social mobility, and came to identify foremost as members of a particular nation-state. However, these doors never opened completely, for large sections of European society remained hostile to Jewish assimilation. By the later 19th century, anti-Semitism acquired racial overtones, and outbreaks of anti-Jewish persecution and violence occurred across the European continent. As the Dreyfus Affair in France made clear, anti-Semitism could be just as pronounced in places where Jews had been emancipated as in places where they remained unfree, leading Herzl to urge his fellow Jews to abandon Europe altogether. In Unit II (1870-1941), we will study the rise of the Nazis in Germany and the creation of the Third Reich, where anti-Semitic persecution and violence were given their fullest expression. From its earliest beginnings in the aftermath of World War I, the Nazi Party adopted an anti-Semitic platform, and when the Nazis came to power, Hitler predicated his “racial state” on the superiority of the Aryan race. This necessitated the defeat of all racial enemies, foremost of whom were the Jews, and we will study how the Nazis gradually implemented their anti-Jewish policies during the 1930s. In the process, we will also consider how German Jews adapted to their worsening circumstances. At the same time, we will see how anti-Semitism remained a pan-European phenomenon during the interwar period, as it had been in the 19th century. Unit III (1941-1945) focuses exclusively on the Holocaust. In this section, we will examine how the Holocaust emerged in the context of Germany’s war against the Soviet Union in eastern Europe. Here, the Nazis’ ideological imperatives of “race and space” collided to produce the bloodiest theatre in the history of warfare. It was in this environment that the Nazis planned and implemented the Final Solution (to the Jewish Question), and we will see how the decision to eliminate Europe’s Jews emerged both from conditions on the ground in eastern Europe and from within the Nazi high command in Berlin. Moreover, we will treat the topic of Holocaust collaborationism, the decision by other Europeans at the state and grassroots levels to murder Jews, and ask ourselves if the Holocaust required the Nazis. To learn about life inside the Nazi ghettos and camps, we will read Jews’ memoirs and diaries. We conclude our course in Unit IV (1945-2020) by analyzing the legacy of the Holocaust in Europe from the end of World War II until the present day. In this section, our guiding line of inquiry will be whether or not Europeans have “come to terms with the past”, with a particular focus on their roles in the Holocaust. In the wake of Germany’s defeat, myths about the war and Nazi atrocities dotted the European landscape, and we will observe how these myths shaped remembrances and distorted realities of the Holocaust in a number of European states. We will also learn why Holocaust commemoration and memorialization were, until the 1980s, mostly non-European phenomena, with Israel and the United States leading the way. We will end the course with a present-day paradox: since the end of the Cold War, a boom in Holocaust knowledge production, commemoration, and memorialization has emerged in Europe alongside a rise in Holocaust denialism and xenophobic anti-Semitism. We will seek to understand how and why this is so.


HST 200: Athletics in Antiquity T/Th 11:00-12:20  Alley

Much like the modern world, the ancient was deeply invested in the athletic competition. Venues like the Olympic games in Greece and Ludi Megalenses at Rome drew people from all over the world and could make athletes rich and famous over-night. This course will examine the culture of athletics in the ancient world and will focus on the ways ancient societies used, understood, and related to athletics. To do so, media commemorating victory will play a central role. As the largest surviving body of evidence for ancient athletics, victory poetry and inscriptions offer crucial information on the societal position and role of athletic contests. Accordingly, we will consider how these sources attempt to situate their object of praise in society, what obstacles a victor might face after their victory, and how modern sports culture might help illuminate the position of the athletic victor in the ancient world.  


HST 209: Modern Middle East  T/Th 12:30-1:50  A. Kallander 

Interested in the Middle East but not sure where to begin? This course is the perfect introduction to understanding a fascinating and dynamic part of the world today. It covers major aspects of Middle East history from the twentieth century to the present, including the countries from Turkey and Iran in the east, to Palestine, Israel, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula, and from Egypt across northern Africa to Morocco in the west. Lectures combine political basics with a insights on social and cultural life, and women’s rights. Readings blend specific details of political and economy change in each country while indicating broader regional trends, from as European imperialism, the impact of the two world wars, to revolutionary aspirations and radical social movement. These are supplemented by primary sources that incorporate the words, perspectives, and self-representations of individuals across the Middle East. Additional topics include intellectual life, constitutionalism and democracy, anti-colonial nationalism, feminism and women’s movements, the radical left, political Islam, and contemporary debates. 


HST 211: Medieval Renaissance Europe 

*This course includes the lecture and a weekly discussion section. By enrolling in discussion, you automatically enroll in the lecture.

 M/W 11:40-12:35 Herrick

This introductory survey traces Europe’s transformation during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, from roughly 300 CE to roughly 1500 CE. It begins as the Roman Empire slowly gave way to new societies in both East and West, and then follows the fortunes of these societies over more than 1000 years. It explores the religious, political, economic, social, cultural, intellectual, and artistic aspects of these societies and how they changed over time. Readings will include both primary sources (those written at the time) and secondary sources (by modern scholars). Students will learn to analyze these sources in order to find out what happened in this period, how people understood events, and how historians use evidence to explain the past. Requirements include reading and participation, midterm and final exams, and two papers.


HST 300: Science and Society M/W 12:45-2:05 Branson 

This course surveys the history of science and technology from the ancient world to the present.

It focuses on how scientific investigation and technologies are shaped by society, as well as how discoveries and innovations reciprocally shape societies.  In studying major scientific developments and technological achievements in civilizations past and present, from the Antikythera device to the Enigma machine and the cell phone, we will investigate how the history of science and technology has been written into economic, political, and social narratives.  We will use evidence from archaeology, historical narratives, journalism and science fiction to explore how science and technology, then and now, are not isolated from society; non-specialists have a stake in which scientific projects are promoted (and funded) and which technologies receive the lion’s share of consumer purchases.  An historical perspective on science and technology informs our understanding of the modern embrace of innovation and the ways that the products of such innovations infuse our cultural practices and daily life.  

Global/Pre-Modern and Modern

HST 300: Higher Education Law in the US T/Th 12:30-1:50  Hagenloh 

This course examines law, policy, and leadership in higher education in the United States. We will cover both federal and state legislation, with particular attention to issues of access and inclusion, affirmative action, gender equity (Title IX), finance, and free speech. The course will examine relevant cases in depth, but it will also focus on the social context and the politics of higher education law in US history.


HST 300: Race and Law T/Th 11:00-12:20 Gonda 

This course explores the various interconnections of race and law in American history. Our focus will be on key issues including slavery, federal Indian law, immigration, civil rights, and mass incarceration. We will consider how race and law have intersected and shaped American society in enduring ways. 


HST 300: Plato at the Movies M/W 3:45-5:05  Lasch-Quinn 

From philosophers to film-makers, many are finding Plato and other philosophers as relevant as ever in modern cultural history and contemporary life. Movies like the Matrix trilogy and Interstellar join the popular sword-and-sandals movies like Gladiator, which explores Stoicism, to draw on ancient Greek and Roman philosophical approaches to large questions about the individual, society, and the meaning of life. This course begins with some of Plato’s most famous dialogues, then examines modern sources that show the renewed interest in philosophy and Greco-Roman thought generally and Platonic ideas specifically, with attention to themes such as awe and wonder, time, friendship, beauty, excellence, wisdom, love, ideals, a practical philosophy for everyday living, and the good life.

Students from all majors and programs of study welcome; no prerequisites.

US or Europe/ Pre-Modern or Modern

HST 301: Practicum in the Study of History T/Th 9:30-10:50 Takeda

What is History? How do scholars “do” history? This seminar introduces history majors to the methods and goals of historical study, and to the skills needed to conduct independent historical research. The first part of the course will be spent discussing what exactly history is and has been. We will then move on to discussing the kinds of history that have developed across the century in the American Historical profession. Finally, students will spend a large portion of the course familiarizing themselves with the analytical and practical skills needed to develop their own research projects. 

HST 304: The Age of Jefferson and Jackson T/Th 12:30-1:50  Schmeller 

This course examines the period between 1787 and 1848 as a distinctive era in United States history.  From the adoption of the Federal constitution to the Mexican war and the Gold Rush, the early American republic offers a vivid case study in historical irony: how a revolutionary republic inched towards nationalism and imperialism; how declared principles of liberty and equality could coexist with (and occasionally create new modes of) racial, gendered, and economic oppression and inequality; how a people who praised the virtues of rural life became progressively urban and industrial.  Readings and lectures will juxtapose the traditional scholarly focus on statecraft, presidential politics, and diplomacy with more recent research in social, cultural, and economic history.

HST 309:Africa and Global Affairs  M/W 12:45-2:05  Shanguhyia 

The course explores and analyzes the place of Africa and Africans as victims and players in historical events of global implications from the late nineteenth century (circa 1870) to the present. By utilizing interpretations from history of international relations, the course puts Africa and Africans at the center and periphery of these global currents as important role players and victims. Examples of  global events/processes examined include, but are not limited to: integration of Africa into global economies; nineteenth century European imperialism; Colonial Economies; Global conflicts; health and disease; environmental issues; the Cold War; decolonization; Neocolonialism; International institutions and Africa; the Development Question; global war on terror; to mention but a few. Readings combine primary documents with secondary sources.


HST 310: The Early Middle Ages M/W 12:45-2:05  Diem 

This course provides a survey of the most important political, cultural and social developments in the period between 300 and 900, or roughly between the reign of Constantine and end of the rule of the Carolingian kings, mostly focusing on Western Europe. In this period falls one of the most dramatic historical breaks: the “Fall of the Roman Empire” and the “Beginning of the Middle Ages.” But was there really a “Fall of the Roman Empire?” When, how and why did the Roman Empire come to an end? This still ferociously debated question will play a central role in the course. Other topics will be the rise of Christianity, the development of medieval institutions (such as kingship, church structures, and feudalism), and the continuity and discontinuity of intellectual traditions. A special emphasis will be laid on reading and interpreting (translated) primary sources and on methods of historical research.


HST 316: Europe Since 1945  M/W 3:45-5:05 Terrell 

In 1945, the hopes and ideals of classical liberalism and even the enlightened spirit of Europe itself seemed to have been destroyed by the European descent into bloody cataclysm. The shattered continent found itself the chessboard of an emerging American and Soviet conflict—a conflict that would unmistakably shape European history for the next half century. While war in Europe went cold, proxy wars and wars of decolonization chipped away at centuries of imperial dominance. Refugees, migrants, and laborers flooded into Europe bringing with them new challenges that tested the limits of tolerance. Within this commotion Europeans simultaneously recast historic ideals, struggled for social justice, and sought to stabilize the international political order. By the turn of the 21st century, unprecedented economic growth across the continent and the emergence of the EU announced that Europe had risen from the ashes anew. But today, Russian expansionism in the east, massive waves of African and Middle Eastern refugees, the rapid rise of right-wing populism, and the British secession from the EU undermine stability and echo catastrophes of the past.

This class will have four main themes. The first is to consider this period of history as postwar history, an era unmistakably shaped by legacies, memories, and narratives of the Second World War. Second, this period is Cold War history, a story of dividing Europe into conflicting political and cultural spheres. Third, Europeans in this era did a great deal of work to redefine themselves and we will focus on efforts of reinvention, political purges, conflicts with the past, social mobilizations, and political cooperations both before and after 1989. Finally, European history since 1945 has been global history, driven by advanced globalization, decolonization, and migration.


HST 321: Modern China  T/Th 11:12:20 Kutcher 

This course will survey the history of China from the seventeenth century to the present. Our focus will be on revolution and reform: the primary means through which Chinese people responded to the challenges of a new world, and, most particularly, to Western encroachment and invasion. Topics to be considered in depth include:  politics and society under the Qing dynasty (1644-1911); the end of the dynastic system and the continuing quest for a viable political system; reform of Chinese culture through revolution; the challenge of changing old attitudes about gender roles; conflicting visions for the new nation; the critique of communism by dissident Chinese; the persistence and resurgence of traditional ways, and the renewed interest in Maoism during the 2000’s. Assigned readings include a slim textbook to provide chronology and a variety of historical materials including memoirs, fiction and poetry.


HST 328: Ancient and Medieval India  M/W 3:45-5:05  Kumar 

This course surveys the history of the Indian subcontinent from 2000 BCE, when an urban civilization was thriving in the Indus Valley, to the seventeenth century, when the Great Mughals ruled over one of the most powerful empires in the contemporary world. While covering this vast time period, we will focus on specific topics pertaining to ancient and medieval Indian politics, economy, religion, society, and culture. Selected readings will examine forms of kingship, the rise of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, the position of women in society, the role of temples as social and political centres, the importance of overseas trade, and the Indian Ocean world.

Did the Aryans invade India? Was the Ramayana a central text for all Hindus? Was the Gupta Empire truly a golden age? What was the impact of the Mughal conquest of Delhi? Through primary and secondary texts, lectures, and class discussions, students will find answers to these questions, and gain a fresh understanding of the Indian past and present.


HST 333:  African American History after the 19th Century T/Th 9:30-10:50  Ruffin 

This course will examine the complex and varied African American experiences from Reconstruction to the present period. The course’s goal is twofold: first, to introduce you to the history and culture of African Americans; and second, to determine the manner in which these experiences relate to the contemporary world. Specifically, this course emphasizes Black people and their quest for freedom through a thorough examination of: Reconstruction; Jim Crow; race, class, and gender; political thought; Great Migration; Black West; culture and representation; Black Freedom Movement; and current affairs. 


HST 337:  America in the World  T/Th 11:00-12:20 Khalil 

In 1786 George Washington wrote, “There will assuredly come a day, when this country will have some weight in the scale of empires.” Over two centuries later the United States is the preeminent military, political, economic, and cultural power on the globe. How has the transformation from colony to hyperpower influenced America’s interactions with and perceptions of the rest of the world? Has it been an “empire of liberty” as Thomas Jefferson hoped? Or has U.S. foreign policy been driven by the same pursuit of self-interest as other great powers? How has U.S. foreign policy been perceived by the rest of the world? Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources from Presidential speeches and declarations to music and films, this course examines the history of U.S. foreign relations from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. It will explore several major topics and themes, including ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy, the intersection of domestic politics and foreign policy, the influence of foreign policy on American culture, and American hyperpower and its implications.

Grades will be based on exams, response papers, and participation in class discussions. 


HST 341:  Modern American Presidency  T/Th 12:30-1:50  Thompson 

This course will analyze the evolution of the modern presidency and its present operation. The focus of our attention will be on the years since the Second World War, and especially on those since 1960. The decision making process and operation of presidential administrations from Kennedy to Trump will be studied in detail; we will also discuss presidential elections—especially in the context of this important election year. We shall consider the various roles that the president plays in government, politics and society. The presidency as an institution and as an individual office will be examined to identify factors that have contributed to the successes and failures of particular administrations. This course shall also examine the roles and influence of unelected officials (esp. senior White House staff), and popular attitudes toward both the symbolic and the practical presidency—especially as they have been shaped by the traditional mass media and the “new media” (especially online interactivity). We will consider what lasting effects, if any, events during the last quarter century have had upon the presidency as an institution.   Finally, we will leave space for discussion of breaking news and unexpected developments, especially those related to the primaries, caucuses—and impeachment.


HST 349: Women in American History Since the Civil War  T/Th 12:30-1:50 Thompson 

Focusing on the past 150 years, this course is intended to provide an overview of women’s experiences in America from the Civil War to the present. While it is not a course on the history of feminism, it will be taught from a feminist perspective.  What does that mean?  Stated simply, in this class, women will be considered as subjects—as actors who themselves “make history”, and not simply as passive objects of the actions of others. Moreover, it assumes the full personhood of women, the reality of discrimination against women, and the intrinsic significance of women’s experience. Beyond that, it is not expected that students in the course will share the professor’s point of view on all matters (indeed, with any luck, the class will contain a healthy diversity of backgrounds and perspectives).

It should be understood from the outset that “American women’s history” is not monolithic. Therefore, we will pay considerable attention to the diversity among women and their experiences over time.  This diversity adds to the complexity of what we will be studying—but it also will add to the richness of understanding that I hope you will take away from this class. Student participation is not only welcome, but essential! 


HST 353: History of Ancient Rome M/W/F 10:35-11:30  Alley 

A comprehensive survey of ancient Roman political, economic, social and cultural history based on the interpretation of primary sources, both literary and archaeological, from the foundation of the city through the dissolution of the Empire in the west. Special focus is given to important topics and themes in Roman history, including Roman foundation legends, the interrelationship of Roman statecraft and Roman religion, Roman aristocratic ethical values and imperialism, the Roman reaction to Greek culture and literature, the imperial cult of the Roman emperor, the position of women in Roman society, the Roman institution of slavery, the origins and early growth of Christianity, the third century CE military and economic crises, and modern ideas on Rome's transformation into medieval Europe. Short paper, mid-term and final examinations.


HST 358: Democracy Ancient and Modern M/W 12:45-2:05  Alley 

Among the ancient world’s most enduring legacies, democracy and democratic society continues to exert a powerful influence over the modern world’s political imagination. This course will examine the shapes and forms of ancient democracy and democratic participation in government to help understand and problematize the ways the modern worlds claims an ancient pedigree for its own forms of participatory self-governance. Throughout the course, we will probe questions like why Democracy arose, why it failed, what factors limited participation, and who benefited most and least from its implementation. In doing so, we will examine if ancient and modern democratic governments experience similar challenges, and, if so, how ancient and modern societies faced them. 

Europe/Pre-Modern or Modern

HST 364: The Origins of Modern Russia T/Th 11:00-12:20  Hagenloh 

The Russian Empire emerged relatively late in the modern era, but it quickly rose to dizzying heights of military power, cultural prestige, and influence on international politics. Powerful rulers like Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great, literary giants like Alexander Pushkin and Fyodor Dostoevsky, radical socialists like Alexander Herzen and Vladimir  Lenin – these figures placed Russia at the center of trends that transformed European society for five hundred years. Yet by the end of the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire was in the midst of a period of precipitous decline, which led to the collapse of the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty during the First World War. This course examines the history of Russia from the emergence of the Tsarist autocratic system in the 1400s to the revolutions of 1917, focusing on the Russian state, serfdom, the Russian intellectual tradition, Russia’s imperial policies, and nineteenth-century working-class activism. We will also examine the lived experiences of various social groups within the Empire, including peasants, urban women, ethnic minorities, factory workers, and the intelligentsia.


HST 376: Death in the Middle Ages M/W 2:15-3:35  Diem 

If we want to understand medieval everyday life, mentality, culture and religion, investigating death might be one of the most productive approaches. Every culture and period develops different its distinct attitudes towards death, different modes of explanation, ways of integrating death into everyday life, rituals, emotional responses and notions of lifecycles.

Topics addressed in this course range from Christian and non-Christian concepts of the afterlife, burial rituals, cults of the saints and the veneration of relics, life expectancy statistics, taboos on death, to diseases, death penalty, imaginary journeys through hell (especially Dante), the plague and the danse macabre as artistic expression. Special emphasis will be placed on reading and analyzing primary sources and on historical methodology.


HST 383: Foundations of American Political Thought  M/W 2:15-3:35  Rasmussen 

 American political thought from the Puritans to Lincoln. American Revolution, establishment of the Constitution, and Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian systems.


HST 400: The Contemporary Mexico/US Relations Th 12:30-3:15  McCormick 

This seminar explores the inner-workings of the relationship between the United States and Mexico today. It does so by tracing the historical and contemporary shape of the two main pillars of this relationship, immigration and trade (both licit and illicit). Though we will pay special attention to the region straddling the 2,000-mile shared border, we will also draw on cases throughout both countries to illustrate the intertwined nature of this relationship. The seminar adopts a framework that recognizes the presence of official and unofficial actors and actions at every level. For example, we study the origins, implementation, and demise of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) alongside the development, growth, and adaptation of drug trafficking networks. We also pay careful attention to how documented and undocumented pathways of immigration have changed in the past four decades. With this groundwork in place, the seminar will then attempt to understand the ways in which bilateral negotiations between the US and Mexican governments played a role, both in the past and present, in the security crisis south of the border and the anti-immigrant sentiment prevalent in the US today.

The seminar will thus explore three specific sets of cross-border policies across three periods of time: the rise of economic neoliberalism and free trade through NAFTA; attempts to circumvent the security crisis brought on by the drug trade through the Merida Initiative; and, the US government’s implementation of border policing and immigration reforms intended to regulate and curtail the flows of humans. We will study what came before each one of these sets of policies, what led to their implementation, what were their results, how did they evolve across time, and what is their status today.


HST 401: The History of Fashion  Th 9:30-12:15  A. Kallander 

From fur to first-lady fashions, from headscarves to homespun, this course thinks historically about fashion and dress. Whether considering clothing as a form of adornment, presentation, or performance, signs of status, belonging, or rebellion, readings and discussion examine the multiple facets of fashion, brands, and boycotts. Research projects can focus on any nation or area of the globe using sources from advertisements, to fashion magazines, to textiles. This includes economic questions (access to and exchange of raw materials, textile production and manufacturing), its relation to political power (sartorial legislation), and national identity, drawing upon examples from Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and East Asia. We will consider how debates over clothing, make-up, or hairstyle construct respectability, what this reveals about political power, social and cultural practices, and the gendered and racial implications of these norms.


HST 401:  Commodities in Modern Europe  M 12:30-3:15  Terrell 

Commodities, and the meanings we give them, dominate our world. This research seminar investigates how the human relationship to "stuff" has developed and changed over time. Focusing on a single commodity, students will write a primary source based research paper that interrogates how the styles and conditions of production, the means of acquisition, the modes of consumption, and the cultural worlds constructed around material objects have shaped and been shaped in the modern era. While the class is based in modern European history, following commodities means engaging global connections. Shared readings will locate Europe globally and students are welcome to engage in global and non-western commodity histories as dictated by their interests. 

HST 401:  Atlantic Revolutions  T 9:30-12:15  Schmeller 

In the first half of this course, students will read and discuss recent historical literature on political revolutions in the Americas and Europe from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Among the topics and questions to be considered are: How did revolutions in North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe relate to each other, and how do they fit within the frameworks of Atlantic and global histories? Did these revolutions represent a turn towards democracy, or was democracy merely an incidental and temporary result of some of these upheavals? Is democracy even a useful category for understanding revolutions? To what extent did "the people" take an active part in these revolutions? What role did women, enslaved peoples, and Native Americans play? What was the relationship between revolution and the various reform movements of the nineteenth century (abolitionism, women's rights, and socialism, to name a few)? What is the relevance of these revolutions today?

During the second half of the course, students will research and write a 20 to 25-page paper on a topic related to these questions. Students will learn how to locate, read, and make use of relevant research materials. They will work toward a final paper through a series of outlines, short writing assignments, bibliographic essays, and rough drafts. 

US and Europe/Pre-Modern or Modern 

HST 495/496:  Distinction in History     

Instructor Consent Required

Students doing the thesis will take 3 credits of HST 495 the first semester and 3 credits of HST 496 the second semester (2 semesters for a total of 6 credits), which may begin in their junior or senior year.  Students should register for HST 495 and 496 upon approval from the faculty advisor and Undergraduate Director.