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History

Introductory History courses (101-199) are recommended to students considering any major who seek to develop oral and writing skills as well as historical awareness. Courses numbered 101 are topical, thematic courses. Styled like seminars and capped at 19 students, they especially encourage class discussion.

Advanced Placement: A score of 4 or 5 in history counts toward the Historical Studies Common Area Requirement. Students in the Class of 2024 with Advanced Placement scores of 4 or 5 in History may qualify to enroll in 200-level courses during their first year. AP credit does not count toward the number of courses required for the major. Please consult the chair of the department with questions.

Majors: First-year students who are considering a history major are encouraged to enroll in one of the introductory level courses listed on the First-Year Student website.



HIST 101
Themes:  Playing with the Past
Common Area: Historical Studies

How do most Americans learn about history beyond the books and articles that historians write? Arguably, most Americans know what they know about the past from popular sources—from watching films, going to a museum exhibit, witnessing a historical re-enactment, or even playing a video game. Rather than focus upon all these different cultural forms, this course will focus upon how games (broadly conceived) teach us history. In this course, we will examine both the historical interpretations and embedded arguments within historically-oriented games. This course then seeks to offer students the tools of historical analysis to understand the interpretive claims about the past made in these popular immersive platforms. In terms of structure, the course will both offer scholarship about the history of games and analysis into the historical development of game design. This course depends upon active student participation--students will play games, participate in simulations, and even have an opportunity to visit re-enactment sites. There will be different components of the course that will focus on historical simulations and video games. Students will be expected to work collaboratively on group project and will also complete an analytical research project about a game of their choice.


HIST 101
Themes: American Social Movements
Common Area: Historical Studies

In this course we will examine the premise that the history of the United States is, in large part, a history of power and protest. Through case studies of three modern American social movements --  modern black civil rights, anti-war, and gender/sexual rights/liberation -- we will explore how individuals and institutions have constructed and fought to maintain power while other individuals and organizations have claimed the power to challenge the ideologies and traditions of the status quo. We will pay special attention to the role that fear (of change, difference and dissent) plays in shaping these social struggles and our own sense of what is possible in a democracy.  Injustice and oppression are universal elements to the human story.  We all acknowledge this, but what makes a person do something concrete about it?  What makes a person act? How do groups organize? How does social/political change happen?  How is it resisted?  In the process of formulating responses to these questions, we will examine an array of historical documents, as well as biographies/autobiographies of activists, images and literature.


HIST 101
Themes:  WWII and Holocaust
Common Area: Historical Studies

In this course, we will examine the military, political and social experience of total war, taking as our case study the Eastern front in World War II and the Holocaust in the East. The territories of Poland and the Soviet Union were the site of the World War II’s most brutal fighting, the battleground for two diametrically opposed ideological and economic systems, and the location of most of the Holocaust. Using primary sources including memoirs and fiction produced by participants in and survivors of the war, students will consider Soviet, Jewish and German perspectives on the wartime experience and seek to further understand the following questions, amongst others: How did ideology, propaganda and preexisting ethnic tensions shape the war and its course? What were Nazi and Soviet war aims, and what was behind the dramatic escalation in ferocity towards opposing armies and civilians after 1941? What enabled the Soviet Union to survive the attack and emerge victorious in 1945? What accounts for the scale and nature of the Holocaust in the East? What choices did communities in occupied territories face, and what accounts for both collaboration and fierce partisan resistance? In class discussions and a series of written analyses, students will debate not only the reasons behind the war’s eventual outcome and its implications for the postwar social and economic orders, but the importance of historical memory and the historian’s role in shaping it.


HIST 113
Renaissance to Napoleon
Common Area: Historical Studies

Social, cultural, religious, economic, and political developments in Europe from the Renaissance to the fall of Napoleon. Special emphasis on the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, the evolution of monarchical power, the rise of European overseas empires, the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. Fulfills one of pre-modern/pre-industrial requirements for the major.


HIST 114
Napoleon to the European Union, 1815-present
Common Area: Historical Studies

This course covers the major events of modern European history from the French Revolution to the collapse of Communism, paying particular attention to issues that have troubled the region throughout the modern era, many of which remain unresolved today.  These include conflicts of values, most especially between religious and secular world views; debates about social, economic, racial, and national inequality; changes in the role of women, men, marriage, and family in modern society; the experience of total war and its impact on individuals and nations; the disquieting phenomenon of popular dictatorship; the ethics of collaboration and resistance in WWII; and the consequences and legacies of superpower struggle in Europe.


HIST 127
Modern Latin America
Common Area: Cross-cultural Studies or Historical Studies

Surveys the history of 19th- and 20th-century Latin America, focusing on six countries. Topics include the formation of nation-states, the role of the military, the challenges of development and modernization, the Catholic church and liberation theology, social and political movements for reform or revolution, slavery, race relations, the social history of workers and peasants, and inter-American relations. Fulfills one non-Western requirement for the major.


HIST 198
Modern Africa Since 1800
Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies or Historical Studies

A survey of Africa’s complex colonial past, this course examines dominant ideas about colonial Africa and Africans’ experiences during colonialism. We explore the historical debates on pre-colonial Africa’s place in the global world; resistance and response to the imposition and entrenchment of colonialism; and the nature of colonial rule as revealed in economic underdevelopment, ethnicity and conflict, and the environment. The course concludes with an evaluation of the post-colonial outcome in Africa, particularly focusing on the challenges and promises facing present-day African nations as they grapple with neo-colonialism marked by dependency, political instability, ethnic conflicts, disease, over-population and indebtedness.



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