History Courses Offered 2013-14

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Fall 2013

Level-I

Introductory Seminars

Introductory Seminars are open only to first-year students. They introduce students to the study of History by focusing on a “slice” of history or a specific event or theme rather than, as in a survey, focusing on a broad sweep of time and space. Each seminar focuses on a different topic, but all explore the fundamental problems of history and the process and practices of “doing history.” Special emphasis is on the analysis of primary sources and critical assessment of historical interpretations. The class size of each Introductory Seminar is small in order to provide ample opportunity for class discussion and attention to writing.

111 Viking and Medieval Scandinavia
This course surveys Nordic history from the time of the Viking expansion to the period of the Kalmar Union. Topics include Viking expansion and conquest, Nordic cultural and religious life, the coming of Christianity, the sagas and other literary sources, and later medieval developments.

122 Europe and the Great War
This course looks beyond the traditional diplomatic and military history of World War I to consider the social, cultural, and intellectual contexts that made it the “Great War” to contemporaries.   We analyze poems, novels, films, memoirs, official documents, newspapers, posters, and scholarly works to answer the following questions:  How did ideas from the late nineteenth century influence the way Europeans thought about the war that began in August 1914?  What was life like in the trenches and on the home front, and how did these realities change the way in which Europeans understood modern war?  What differences did class and gender make in an individual’s experience of the war?  How did these different experiences influence postwar expectations?  What is the larger significance of the Great War for modern society?

126 Conquest and Colonization
This seminar examines one of history’s most dramatic episodes:  the Spanish conquest and colonization of what is now Latin America.  Through reading and discussion, we will examine such topics as European and indigenous perceptions of the Conquest, the role of missionaries the imperial enterprise, the response of native peoples to the imposition of Christianity, indigenous efforts to resist Spanish domination, the  ecological/biological consequences  of 1492, and subsequent debates over the morality of the conquest.

181 Civil Rights Revolution
Students examine the overthrow of American segregation through several decades of agitation for civil rights. This seminar focuses primarily on the South, though students also discuss northern race relations. Primary accounts from the era constitute the assigned readings. Among the topics covered are the segregated South, Martin Luther King and his critics, the Black Power movement, and the rise of white backlash politics.

182 America Since World War II
This seminar examines American society since 1945, with particular emphasis on the years between 1945 and 1975.  The main focus is social history. Topics include the impact of the Cold War, migration to the suburbs, post-industrial society, the culture of the 1950’s, civil rights, the Vietnam War, the student movement, the sexual revolution, and Watergate.  Sources include novels, essays, magazine stories, films, and documentaries.

188 Topic: Perils of Prosperity, 1920-1940
American history rises and falls through periods of prosperity and privation, and one of the most important was the interval between the two World Wars of the 20th century. In that era, Americans dealt with economic expansion and depression, consumer culture and mass media, conservative Republicanism and liberal Democracy, gender-bending and race-baiting, immigration reform and 100-percent-Americanism. Critics and artists of the era offered perspectives that are still relevant today, and students will explore these topics in a seminar setting, with research in original sources.

Foundational Surveys

Foundational surveys provide overviews of a broad chronological period or geographical area.
These courses are open to all students, and are appropriate as both an introduction to the study of
History and as background for understanding 
American, European, or non-Western history.

190 Europe from the Ancients to the Renaissance
This course surveys Western history and culture from its origins in the Ancient Near East to the Italian Renaissance. Topics include the ancient world, the beginnings of Christianity, the emergence and disintegration of Rome as a unifying power, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. Through original texts and historical studies, students explore relationships among religions, states, and societies and views of natural environments, family life, and gender roles.

194 Global Histories from Ancient Times to 1500
Students use original texts, historical studies, and literature to examine, comparatively and chronologically, the evolution of selected cultures and societies before 1500. They explore topics such as political, cultural, and economic exchange, religious practices, human interaction with the environment, forms of political authority, family life, and gender roles.

198 American History to 1865
This course examines the development of American culture and society from the Columbian encounter through the Civil War. Topics include the interaction of Europeans, Africans, and indigenous peoples in early America; the social development of the British colonies; the evolution of American slavery; the Revolution and the Constitution; industrialization, expansion and reform in the 19th century; and the Civil War.

Level-II

Major Seminar

Major seminars (M-sems) are courses designed especially for History Majors in their sophomore year, although other students may enroll as space permits. One M-sem is required for the Major program. These seminars focus on skills of analysis, interpretation, argumentation, and expression as practiced in the study of history. Topics and offerings vary by semester. However, a course offered as History 201 is always a topic in ancient history; 210 offerings are in European history, 240 in non-Western history, and 270 in American history.

210 Major Seminar: The Crusading Era
This seminar examines the foundations for the crusades in both sacred and secular institutions. The course will begin with an overview of feudal relationships, the aristocratic family, the training and beliefs of the nobility in the 10th and 11th centuries, interrelationships between clergy and laity, and the papal reform movement leading up to Urban II’s call for the First Crusade. Subsequent topics will include the progress of the first three crusades, the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, pogroms against Jews, the reconquista in Spain, and the eventual fading of the crusading mission, with attention to the impact of contact with Arabic culture on the west.

240 Major Seminar: Imperialism in Southeast Asia
This seminar will examine imperialism and colonialism in Southeast Asia. Topics include experiences of both Europeans and Southeast Asians under colonialism, using literary as well as other sources; collaboration; the emergence of national identities; Japanese occupation during World War II; and nationalist and communist resistance movements.

Other level-II courses focus on a variety of national, period, topical, and area histories. For example, students may explore the histories of Latin America, Africa, and China; of France, Germany, Russia, and Britain; of women in Europe and America; of African-Americans, the history of medicine, and the American environment; of ancient and medieval Europe; and of the European Renaissance and Reformation.

Period and National Histories of the Ancient World

211 The Early Middle Ages
This course examines European history during the period of about 300 to 1000.  Topics include the culture of late antiquity, the foundation of Christian institutions, the age of migrations, the Byzantine Empire and its relationship with the West, the emergence of Islam, the Carolingian revival, the manorial system, and the development of feudalism, with attention given to women’s roles in medieval society throughout the course.  History 190 recommended.

Period, National and Thematic Histories of Europe

210 Major Seminar: Medieval Europe
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminar” section above.

226 Modern France  (FLAC component available) *
History 226 surveys French history from the 1780s to the present and examines the forces of stability and instability that account for France’s tumultuous past.  Students begin with the French Revolution and its role in shaping both future consensus and division within the new nation.  They consider the ways in which the establishment of a Republic in the 1870s brought an end to the cycle of revolution and reaction in the nineteenth century, and how republican regimes since then have met the challenges of industrialization, mass democracy, and world war–sometimes with great success, sometimes with great shame.  Finally, in order to understand today’s France and current issues such as immigration and France’s role in world affairs, students examine politics and society since 1945.

230 Imperial Russia
Russia’s modern history from Peter the Great to the revolution of 1917 centers on the tsarist autocracy and popular movements to limit its power. Students assess Russia’s economy, culture, and religion against the background of the country’s westernization. Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Russian.

Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America

240 Major Seminar: Imperialism and Nationalism in Southeast Asia
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminars” section above.

245 Environmental History of Latin America
For most of us, the words “environment” and “Latin America” conjure up images of devastated rain forests, dying wildlife and dispossessed Indians.   Such issues, however, make up but a small part of the new and rapidly expanding field of Latin American Environmental History.  This course provides an overview of this exciting new area of study by introducing students to the major topics and debates that currently engage scholars.  Specific themes to be considered include: changing understandings of agricultural practices of   pre-Columbian indigenous peoples, the environmental impact of conquest,  the destruction of the Amazon, Latin American visions of wilderness, resource management and the tragedy of the commons,  sustainable agriculture, the pesticide problem, and eco-tourism.

250 Chinese Civilization  (FLAC component available) *
This course provides an overview of Chinese history and culture from the emergence of Chinese civilization to the late nineteenth century, providing an overview of traditional Chinese thought, institutions, society, and culture.  History 250 examines social, economic, and political change, intellectual and religious history, and the development of Chinese arts and literature, as well as China’s relations with its neighbors and, in late imperial China, with the West.  The goal of this course is to give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the historical heritage of modern China.

295 Intro to African History

The course will introduce students to (a) methods in the reconstruction of the history of Africa, and (b) examine the broader historical context of the contemporary challenges of the continent (c) as we focus on the themes and major historical debates between African and Africanist scholars. We shall rely on selected case studies for a meaningful discussion of these themes.

 

Through lectures, discussions, and examination of primary sources, films and a varied list of reading, the course offers an overview of the main historical trends that have shaped Africa’s rich past, paying particular attention to material and social change and the ways in which both rulers and ruled, farmers and traders, women and men made their worlds. After an examination of the impact of the slave trade on developments in Africa, and the growth of “legitimate trade,” we turn to the commercial and religious revolutions of the 19th century and the struggles over land and labor in east and southern Africa; explore the justification for and nature of colonial overrule in Africa; emphasis will be placed on how Africans responded to imperialism and colonial overrule but not exactly how these forces acted upon Africans. In the last sections of the course we shall examine the nationalist debates, and the struggle for liberation after the Second World War; African independence, and the post-colonial situation in Africa. No prior knowledge of Africa necessary, just a bit of enthusiasm.

*Information about the program in Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC) can be found at stolaf.edu/flac/. The History Department offers FLAC components in the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Latin, Norwegian, Russian, and Spanish.

Period and Topical Courses in American History

290 Reel America: U.S. History and Film
Reel America uses American film to get at themes and events in our nation’s history.  We’ll look at films as historical texts as well as some of the ways the film industry and film production shape our national consciousness and historical memory.  This course will not use scenes from movies to illustrate a chronological narrative of our past; rather, we will consider how film reflects and affects our sense of history, including questions about democracy, justice, American exceptionalism, and the relationship between the individual and his/her society.

Level-III

Level-III seminars are advanced seminars; they offer a narrower topical focus and deeper emphasis on historical practices and methodologies than courses at level II. Advanced seminars typically provide students with the opportunity for sustained research that draws upon the skills they’ve developed in primary source analysis and historiographical argumentation. These courses are designed for junior and senior History  Majors who have completed their required M-sem, although they’re also open, space permitting, to students from related fields who have appropriately developed interests and skills.

European History

303 Seminar: Late Republican Rome
This advanced research seminar explores the chaotic final years of the Roman Republic, 88-44 BCE (Dictator Sulla to Dictator Caesar).  Often called the “Golden Age” of Latin literature, the Late Republic seems to have brought out the best and the worst of the Romans, which they were eager to share through their private letters, historical commentaries, and speeches.  Thus, since the Late Republic has produced more primary sources—and spawned more secondary and tertiary sources—than any other period of Roman History, it poses a unique problem for the ancient historian—too much evidence.  Throughout the semester students will examine this ancient evidence in an attempt to understand the major players, their motivations, and finally their own characterization of their actions and motivations and those of their peers.

320 Seminar:  Race, Gender & Medicine
This course focuses on issues that have emerged in modern European history when ideas and assumptions about the body politic and the social body intersect with ideas about the physical bodies of individuals.  Medical thought and practice have played a key role in defining and sustaining categories of “race” and “gender” since the Enlightenment.  We’ll see that the embedding of notions of race and gender in modern science at its origins was not accidental, but tied to emerging political ideas in Europe about rights, order, and liberty.  We’ll track the impact of medical notions of race and gender on nationalism and imperialism in the nineteenth century, explore medicine’s contribution to anti-Semitic ideology, and examine the role of Nazi medicine in the Final Solution.

American History

370 Seminar: American Society During the Civil War
The course examines the impact of the Civil War on northern and southern society, on the home front.  Major topics will include changes in southern race relations and on northern racial attitudes, as well as the formal politics that grew out of them.   The war’s major changes in gender relations are another major them.  The readings or themes will not duplicate this year’s various classes on the Civil War.

This information is subject to change.

INTERIM 2014

Level-I

Introductory Seminars

Introductory Seminars are open only to first-year students. They introduce students to the study of History by focusing on a “slice” of history or a specific event or theme rather than, as in a survey, focusing on a broad sweep of time and space. Each seminar focuses on a different topic, but all explore the fundamental problems of history and the process and practices of “doing history.” Special emphasis is on the analysis of primary  sources and critical assessment of historical interpretations. The class size of each Introductory Seminar is small in order to provide ample opportunity for class discussion and attention to writing.

117 Elizabethan England
Why has the era of Elizabeth I remained so fascinating? Why did England emerge by 1603 as the major Protestant state of Europe with visions of overseas empire, a strong national culture, and a flourishing literature?  Students will examine relations between the monarchy and parliament, warfare with Spain, religious disagreements, Scotland and Mary Stuart, and the social order.  Reading will include historical writing, primary sources, and literature, with attention to several film treatments.

169 The Western Home
Norwegian folklore tells of a place east of the moon and west of the sun where dreams are realized.  For hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Norway this fabled place was America.  They called it, as does the St. Olaf’s own Fram, Fram, “a home in the west.”  This course explores the stories of Norwegian America through its literature and other forms of popular writing created from the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries.  It considers, among other forms, novels, short stories, drama, children’s literature, memoirs, letters, diaries, travel accounts, biographies, journalism, popular history, and film.

Level-II

Level-II courses focus on a variety of national, period, topical, and area histories. For example, students may explore the histories of Latin  America, Africa, and China; of France, Germany, Russia, and Britain; of women in Europe and America, of African-Americans, the history of medicine, and the American environment; of ancient and medieval Europe; and of the European Renaissance and Reformation.

Period, National and Thematic Histories of Europe

224 Modern Germany

This course provides a survey of the history of Germany with emphasis on the period from 1700 to the present. Through primary sources, literature, and historical accounts, students examine Germany’s development from a collection of independent states to a great power, focusing on the social, cultural, and political impact of national unification, rapid industrialization, world wars, and European union.

Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America

244 Collective Memory in Cuba  (FLAC component available) *
Please check back soon for this course description.

This information is subject to change.

Spring 2014

Level-I

Introductory Seminars

Introductory Seminars are open only to first-year students. They introduce students to the study of History by focusing on a “slice” of history or a specific event or theme rather than, as in a survey, focusing on a broad sweep of time and space. Each seminar focuses on a different topic, but all explore the fundamental problems of history and the process and practices of “doing history.” Special emphasis is on the analysis of primary  sources and critical assessment of historical interpretations. The class size of each Introductory Seminar is small in order to provide ample opportunity for class discussion and attention to writing.

101 Ancient Warfare
This seminar examines the social and political role of warfare in ancient Greek and Roman history.  Using primary sources, students investigate the concepts of war and peace by considering the role of the soldier within society, details of tactics and logistics, and the impact of warfare on both combatants and non-combatants alike.

115 Courtly Love in the Middle Ages
The idea of courtly love typically evokes images of brave knights and fair ladies vowing eternal devotion in elegant language. How such a concept took hold in the early 12th century, and what the consequences have been for people of that time to the present, is the subject of our inquiry. This course explores the ideal of courtly love, its social function, its role in literature, the arts, and music, its ambiguous relationship to Christianity and to the feudal system, and finally, its critics, through interpretive reading of texts from the period supplemented by background lectures and readings from secondary sources.

122 Europe and the Great War
This course looks beyond the traditional diplomatic and military history of World War I to consider the social, cultural, and intellectual contexts that made it the “Great War” to contemporaries.   We analyze poems, novels, films, memoirs, official documents, newspapers, posters, and scholarly works to answer the following questions:  How did ideas from the late nineteenth century influence the way Europeans thought about the war that began in August 1914?  What was life like in the trenches and on the home front, and how did these realities change the way in which Europeans understood modern war?  What differences did class and gender make in an individual’s experience of the war?  How did these different experiences influence postwar expectations?  What is the larger significance of the Great War for modern society?

126 Conquest and Colonization
This seminar examines one of history’s most dramatic episodes:  the Spanish conquest and colonization of what is now Latin America.  Through reading and discussion, we will examine such topics as European and indigenous perceptions of the Conquest, the role of missionaries the imperial enterprise, the response of native peoples to the imposition of Christianity, indigenous efforts to resist Spanish domination, the  ecological/biological consequences  of 1492, and subsequent debates over the morality of the conquest.

181 Civil Rights Revolution
Students examine the overthrow of American segregation through several decades of agitation for civil rights. This seminar focuses primarily on the South, though students also discuss northern race relations. Primary accounts from the era constitute the assigned readings. Among the topics covered are the segregated South, Martin Luther King and his critics, the Black Power movement, and the rise of white backlash politics.

188 Topic: Hitler and the Third Reich
No period during the twentieth century has been the subject of as much historical inquiry as the twelve-year reign of the Third Reich.  In this course students examine the origins of the Nazi party in the aftermath of World War I, the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, and daily life during the Third Reich with a special emphasis on the ways in which average Germans accommodated and resisted the regime’s policies.  Students also examine Nazi racial ideology and the ways in which Nazi racial policies evolved over the twelve-year history of the regime.  Within this context the course places particular emphasis on the period of 1939-1942 in order to understand the development of the Holocaust–the genocide of more than six million Jews.  Finally, the course concludes with a brief discussion of Nazi Germany’s legacy both in Europe and beyond.

Foundational Surveys

Foundational surveys provide overviews of a broad chronological period or geographical area. These courses are open to all students, and are  appropriate as both an introduction to the study of History and as background for understanding American, European, or non-Western history.

191 Europe from the Reformation to Modern Times
This course surveys European history and culture since the Renaissance.  Topics include the impact of Protestantism, the development of nation-states, the Enlightenment, revolutionary ideas and experiences, the Napoleonic era, imperialism, mass political movements, and global warfare.  Through original texts, historical studies, and literature, students explore relations among religions, states, and societies, and understandings of liberty and reason, natural environments, family life, and gender roles.

195 Global Histories from 1500 to the Present
This course takes a comparative and chronological approach to studying the diverse cultures of the modern world. Through original texts, historical studies, and literary sources, students examine such themes as the rise of American imperialism and its impact on the native peoples of the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the emergence of the nation state and new ideologies; the spread of American influence in the world; human interaction with the environment, challenges to religion and traditional life-styles; and innovation in family and gender structures.

199 American History After 1865
As they study the development of U.S. society from the Civil War to the present, students examine changing race, gender and class relations as well as U.S. relations with the world. Students will pay special attention to different interpretations as history is approached by political, social, cultural and diplomatic historians; we will also study first-hand accounts and primary documents. Topics will include Reconstruction, the frontier, industrialization, immigration, U.S. imperialism, two world wars, domestic and global anti-communism, first and second wave feminism, the Vietnam War and U.S.-Middle East relations.

Level-II

Major Seminar

Major seminars (M-sems) are courses designed especially for History Majors in their sophomore year, although other students may enroll as  space permits. One M-sem is required for the Major program. These seminars focus on skills of analysis, interpretation, argumentation, and expression as practiced in the study of history. Topics and offerings vary by semester. However, a course offered as History 201 is always a topic in ancient history; 210 offerings are in European history, 240 in non-Western history, and 270 in American history.

210 Major Seminar: France in World War II
History 210 examines the experience of occupation, collaboration, and resistance in France during World War II, an individually and nationally painful episode for the French.  During four years of hardship and uncertainty, both the Vichy regime and French Resistance groups attempted to remake France by developing competing visions of the nation.  Upon the Liberation of Paris, a victorious Charles de Gaulle spoke of a nation of resisters “from the first hour.”  The historical record and contested nature of French national memory, however, make clear that the truth is more complex.   In this course we’ll use both primary and secondary sources to examine the perspectives of the historical actors and the interpretations of historical scholars.  We’ll also consider the distinctive ways in which literature and film shape an understanding of French experience during the war years.  Finally, since this course is a Majors Seminar (M-sem), we’ll pay particular attention to the way historians do their work.

270 Major Seminar: Ben Franklin’s America
Benjamin Franklin – satirist, printer, inventor, and statesman – has long been regarded the most endearing of our “Founding Fathers,” the “First American” at home and abroad.    What many people often forget about Franklin, though, was that he was already seventy years old by the time America declared its independence.  Franklin was born, came of age, prospered in business, and achieved fame in science as a subject of three different British kings (and one Queen).  If we look carefully at the first seventy years of Franklin’s life, we see him not as an American, but as a colonial Briton.  Franklin’s life, therefore, captures the essence of that world as much as it does revolutionary America. Through the life of Benjamin Franklin, this course examines the varied, rapidly changing world of eighteenth century British North America.   While we briefly touch on the revolutionary movements that led to American independence, it will focus more specifically on life as it was lived in the colonies prior to 1776.  It will explore subjects such as the rise of civic life in America, provincial politics, intellectual and cultural life, religious awakenings, imperial wars, the frontier, and the African slave trade.  It also offers students the opportunity to engage in research using original eighteenth century source material – the material of Ben Franklin’s America.

Other level-II courses focus on a variety of national, period, topical, and area histories. For example, students may explore the histories of Latin America, Africa, and China; of France, Germany, Russia, and Britain; of women in Europe and America; of African-Americans, the history of  medicine, and the American environment; of ancient and medieval Europe; and of the European Renaissance and Reformation.

Period and National Histories of the Ancient World

204 Ancient Rome (FLAC component available) *
This course examines the history of Rome from the earliest days of the reign of the Severan Dynasty.  Using primary and secondary sources the students will gain an understanding and appreciation for the scope and scale of Roman history as constructed by the Romans themselves.

205 Ancient:  Near East
The peoples of the Ancient Near East (Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Levant) pioneered many of the institutions and concepts that comprise our modern Western culture and identity.  For example, the inhabitants of the Near East were the first known humans to domesticate plans and animals, to develop consumer-protection, writing, metal-production, irrigation, civil engineering, and monumental art and architecture—just to name some of the most prominent.  Indeed, much of what we consider great about our modern society derives ultimately from them:  monotheism, literacy, the rule of law, governmental responsibility, notions of individual freedom, even architectural and artistic styles and conventions.  In contrast, much that we consider evil also was first seen in the Ancient Near East:  war, slavery, discrimination towards women and ethnic minorities, and economic exploitation of the poor by the rich–just to name some of the most troubling.  This couse examines the primary sources of the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Hittites, Hebrews and Persians in order to root out their motivations and perspectives.

*Information about the program in Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC) can be found at stolaf.edu/flac/. The History Department offers FLAC components in the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Latin, Norwegian, Russian, and Spanish.

Period, National and Thematic Histories of Europe

210 Major Seminar: France in World War II
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminar” section above.

217 Age of the Renaissance
Students examine intellectual, political, social, and spiritual currents, 1300 to 1550, particularly in the city of Florence, but also in broader Italian and European Renaissance contexts.  Topics include humanism, the political life of the northern Italian city states, changes in spirituality and in the life of the church, the status of women, and the development of political theory.  Readings include Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Erasmus.

222 Modern Scandinavia
This course offers a survey of modern Scandinavian history from the period of the Protestant Reformation to the present with special attention to recent developments.  Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Norwegian.

231 20th-Century Russia  (FLAC component available) *
This course begins with the Communist revolution of 1917 and traces the growth of the Soviet Union under Lenin, Stalin, and their successors.  Students analyze the “crisis” of the Soviet system in order to explain why the last of the European empires collapsed in 1991.  Foreign Language Across the Curriculum course available in Russian.

Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America

242 Modern Latin America  (FLAC component available) *
An overview of the evolution of Latin American societies since 1750, this course examines the consequences of independence, 19th-century economic imperialism, and the 20th-century transitions to more urbanized, industrialized ways of life. Students examine major Latin American nations and compare their revolutionary and counterrevolutionary trajectories toward the establishment of authoritarian states. Applied Foreign Language Component available in Spanish.

251 Modern China  (FLAC component available) *
This class examines reform and revolution at the end of Qing dynasty; the creation and collapse of the first Republic; warlordism, the New Culture Movement, social and cultural change, and the rise of Chinese nationalism; Japanese invasion, civil war, and the Communist victory; the People’s Republic since 1949; economic and social change, conflict with the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution, Maoism and Mao’s legacy, and China’s recent economic and political transformation.  Applied Foreign Language Component available in Chinese for students at the third-year level in the language.

252 Japanese Civilization
A study of Japan from the origins of the Yamato state culture to the emergence of modern Japan, this course provides an overview of traditional Japanese thought, values, and culture.  The course examines social, economic and political change, intellectual and religious history, and the development of Japanese arts and literature, as well as Japan’s relations with China, Korea, and the West. 

292 Muslim Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa
This course interrogates the nature and development of Muslim societies in sub-Saharan Africa from the earliest times to the present. With a varied list of reading, students explore questions of authenticity and “historical truth,” and examine current debates on themes such as patterns of Islamization, “African Islam” and Islam in Africa, the invention of Muslim identities, the expansion of Sufism, women in Islam, Islamic education, Islam and colonialism, and revivalism in Islam.

*Information about the program in Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC) can be found at stolaf.edu/flac/. The History Department offers FLAC components in the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Latin, Norwegian, Russian, and Spanish.

Period and Topical Courses in American History

270 Major Seminar: Ben Franklin’s America
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminars” section above.

282 Topic in Native American History: The West Before Lewis and Clark
When Lewis and Clark led the famous Corps of Discovery to the Pacific Ocean in 1804-05, they entered a contested Native American domain that had already been transformed by more than two centuries of colonial history.  This course explores the development of Native American societies in the North American west, beginning with the introduction of maize some six-thousand years ago, and ending with Lewis & Clark’s famous voyage.  Topics include the rise and fall of ancient Pueblo communities, Spanish reconnaissance and colonization of New Mexico, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and the lives of Indians in the Spanish missions in Alta California during the 18th century.  This course will also explore the ways in which horses and guns contributed to the development of Plains Indian culture; specifically, we will examine the expansion of the Lakotas on the northern plains and the rise and fall of the Comanches empire on the southern plains.    Our investigation will begin with recent prize-winning books on these topics and more, and students will also have the opportunity to read first-hand accounts by early Spanish, British, and French explorers who preceded Lewis and Clark to the American West.   Naturally, we will also be reading excerpts from Lewis & Clark’s journals and reflect upon the significance of their journey in light of the historical developments in the two centuries that preceded it.

288 Civil War and Reconstruction Era
In studying the impact of the Civil War era on American society and politics, students focus on slavery, emancipation, and race relations. They also address the impact of industrialization on northern society, encompassing immigration and nativism, the westward movement, and the dispossession of Native Americans. The course situates the dramatic political and military events of the era in the wider evolution of American life.

General

299 Topic: History of the Holocaust
For many historians, the defining moment of the twentieth century was the Holocaust, the calculated extermination of over ten million people, of whom six million were Jews. This course will examine the origins, history and consequences of the Holocaust. First, it will contextualize the Holocaust within the greater history of European anti-Semitism from late antiquity through the emergence of racial and political anti-Semitism during the late nineteenth century. Second, it will focus on the events in Germany that brought the Nazis to power in 1933, as well as the development of Nazi racial policy during the Third Reich. Third, it will examine the development and implementation of the so-called “Final Solution.” Specifically, we will explore historical debates over how and when the systematic extermination of European Jewry began, as well as the importance of World War II to understanding the Final Solution. Finally, this course will also attempt to assess the legacy of the Holocaust in the twentieth century in terms of its impact on the Jewish community as well as postwar geopolitics.

 

Level-III

Level-III seminars are advanced seminars; they offer a narrower topical focus and deeper emphasis on historical practices and methodologies  than courses at level II. Advanced seminars typically provide students with the opportunity for sustained research that draws upon the skills they’ve developed in primary source analysis and historiographical argumentation. These courses are designed for junior and senior History  Majors who have completed their required M-sem, although they’re also open, space permitting, to students from related fields who have  appropriately developed interests and skills.

European History

315 Seminar: Early Modern Europe
This seminar examines politics, religion, and society in England from the reign of Elizabeth I through the era of revolution and republicanism in the mid-17th century.  We will examine the emergence of the English state and established church in the wake of the Protestant Reformation; and we will investigate the collapse of each, by the early 1640s, in a second wave of reformation. Scholarly debate and disagreement about the period will be at the center of the reading and discussion. Particular attention will be paid to Puritanism (including John Milton and John Bunyan), parliamentary politics, popular culture, “radical” political and religious groups (like the Levellers and the Quakers), women and public affairs, the era of Oliver Cromwell, and the continuing impact of these historical experiences on Anglo-American culture. The course seeks to integrate the study of English history in this period with the study of its historiography or interpretation. Although a general familiarity with Early Modern European history is helpful, we will work, as a class, with Roger Lockyer’s textbook to master the basic narrative of English history from 1560 to 1660.  From the 1960s through the mid-1990s, this period was the most written about era in all of British history, and it produced much of the best historical writing.  Indeed, many other fields of European historical writing were fertilized by the scholarly innovations and debates in this field.  We will sample this rich historical literature with journal articles and excerpts from major books. We will also study primary sources that bear on the different interpretations of Reformation and Revolution that have been proposed for English history, 1560-1660.   Most class sessions will be organized around two related topics; but sometimes we will devote an entire session to one topic.  Reading will average about 150 pages a week.

Non-Western History

345 Seminar: (East Asia) WW II in Asia and the Pacific
This year the East Asian seminar examines World War II in Asia and the Pacific, beginning with the Japanese seizure of Manchuria in 1931 and concluding with the surrender of Japan in 1945. Its focus is not military history as much as issues of diplomacy and politics and the way the war affected society and culture in East and Southeast Asia.  In particular we will study the causes and nature of Japanese ultranationalism, Japanese ambitions in China, Japan’s relationship with Germany, and the expansion of the war into Southeast Asia and the Pacific after Pearl Harbor.  We will pay special attention to Asian responses to Japanese invasion and occupation, the nature of the war between the United States and Japan, and the ways in which we remember World War II.

American History

370 Seminar: The American Revolution
Many American historians would argue that the American Revolution was the defining event in United States history.  Take away the colonists’ rebellion and hard-fought separation from Great Britain and what is left is a country devoid of much of its political and cultural character.   The problem, as John Adams recognized, is that the Revolution, then as now, meant different things to different people, making it a difficult subject about which to write.   As a result, generations of historians have interpreted the origins and consequences of the Revolution in a variety of creative and contradictory ways.  The aim of this course is not only to examine the American Revolution’s key events, but also to explore the various interpretations of its origins and consequences.  Students will read from a diverse body of literature derived from several scholarly traditions, addressing questions such as: How radical was the revolution? Who made the Revolution happen?  Who benefited most? Why did some refuse to support it? Why 1776?  As we will see, the debates surrounding such questions remain heated and contested to this day, proof positive of the Revolution’s enduring legacy.  What we may find is that the Revolution’s final chapter, in some sense, has yet to be written.

General

397 Seminar: History Research Workshop, “Memory and History” (topics change each Semester)

This research seminar focuses on the many ways in which the discipline of History intersects with the phenomena of individual and collective memory.  Although much of the literature and specific case studies will be drawn from my personal area of expertise (Latin America), the topics and theoretical literature are broad in scope and can be applied to any geographical region.  In other words, this course is suitable for students specializing in any of the geographic subfields offered by the History Department. Themes to be explored include: theoretical approaches to collective memory, the relationship between power and historical memory (specifically, why are the histories of some peoples deemed important and the histories of others forgotten?), the role of museums, monuments and memorials in shaping collective memory, the impact of photographic images and film on how the past is remembered, and the ways in which societies deal with the memory of collective traumas are such as war or state-sponsored repression.  This course will include field trips to local archives and museums.

This information is subject to change.

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