History Courses Offered 2014-2015

Fall]   [Interim]   [Spring]

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Fall 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.

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.

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.

121  The Making of Modern Russia
This course explores the origins of the modern Russian empire. Using primary sources including chronicles, folktales, legal codes, letters, and religious icons, students consider Russia’s development from a loose collection of princedoms into a powerful, multi-ethnic empire spanning 11 time zones. Topics include the impact of geography and climate, the Orthodox religion, Mongol rule, gender roles, the rise of autocracy, and social rebellion.

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.

151  Slavery in African History
This course introduces students to the historical forces leading to, and scholarly debates about slavery in African History.  Students examine the nature and development of domestic slavery to the nineteenth century as well as the slave trade systems across the Saharan Desert and the Atlantic Ocean.  Students “do history” using primary sources to retrieve the African voices and agency in discussions of the slave trade, and debating themes such as ethnicity, kinship, state formation, and colonialism.
We shall use African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade (2005) as a thread with which to center our discussion of African Agency and the silences inherent in the African slave trade.

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.


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  Utopia and Terror: 20th-Century Totalitarian Regimes
How and why did the utopian dreams of nineteenth-century European intellectuals become the justification for twentieth-century totalitarian regimes?  How did the goal of liberating workers from continual poverty and alienation lead to authoritarianism and mass terror on a scale never before witnessed?  This seminar begins with the intellectual history of socialism, communism and other social theories in the nineteenth century meant to produce human progress.   Having mapped this terrain, we will consider the rise of totalitarian regimes that appropriated these ideologies in the twentieth century. Topics will include utopian socialism, Marxism, Stalinism, National Socialism in Germany, fascism in Italy and gender in authoritarian regimes.

270  The U.S. South in the Segregation Era
This course examines what historians have said about the South during the first half of the Twentieth Century, basically the Jim Crow era, before the emergence of the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s.  Major topics include childhood in the segregated South, consumerism and gender, and the origins of the civil rights movement.  The course will culminate with an intermediate-length research paper on a topic of the student’s choice, utilizing the mass of online sources that are becoming available all the time.  This course does not duplicate either the first-year seminar History 181, “the Civil Rights Revolution,” or any of the History 370s, and it is especially recommended for students considering Professor Fitzgerald’s interim class in the South this January.


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

203  Ancient: Greece
This course surveys the history of Greece from the earliest days to the death of Alexander the Great.  Students will analyze how and why Greek culture developed as it did.  The goal of this course is to help the student gain an understanding and appreciation not only for the scope and scale of Greek history, but for the workings of human society in general. Throughout the semester we shall use Ancient Greece as a laboratory in which to acquire the critical skills and experience necessary to evaluate contemporary events and institutions.


Period, National and Thematic Histories of Europe

210 Major Seminar: Utopia and Terror: 20th-Century Totalitarian Regimes
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminar” section above.

212  The High and Late Middle Ages
This course covers European history in the period of about 1000 to 1500. Topics include the medieval papacy, the Crusades and re-conquest of Spain, towns and commercial life, the medieval monarchy, scholasticism in the setting of the universities, late medieval spirituality, and the crises of plague and warfare in the late Middle Ages, with attention given to women’s roles in medieval society throughout the course.

227  French Revolution and Napoleon  (FLAC component available) *
In studying the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, History 227 focuses on the meaning of these years for those who lived through them, and also on the legacies of the French Revolution in the modern Western world.  This course examines the eighteenth-century context for the Revolution, the role of ideology and class in the revolutionary process, the political culture of the Revolution, and the relationship between Napoleon and the revolutionary decade that preceded his coming to power.  To encourage the understanding and appreciation of this dramatic period on its own terms, this course also emphasizes the words spoken and written by key historical figures and the rich visual evidence of revolutionary and Napoleonic images and symbols.  Since no examination of the period is complete without taking account of conflicting opinions regarding the French Revolution and Napoleon—both then and now—students also examine ideological debates and scholarly controversies concerning the larger meaning of the Revolution and Napoleon.


Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America

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.

253  Modern Japan
This survey of modern Japan from about 1800 to the present examines the political transformation of the Meiji Restoration, the industrial revolution and social and cultural change, the rise and fall of party government, militarism and Japanese expansionism in World War II, the American occupation, and postwar social, political, economic, and cultural developments.

*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  The U.S. South in the Segregation Era
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminar” section above.

272  Women in America
This course surveys women’s experience in American life from the colonial period to the present. Students examine the changing economic, social, and legal status of women, society’s attitudes towards women, and the growth of a women’s movement.

277  African-American History
In this study of African Americans in U. S. society from African origins to the present, students explore the African heritage, the experience of slavery, segregation, and the rise of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The course pays particular attention to the issue of black nationalism as a force in American life.


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  Julio-Claudian Rome (Roman Civilization)
This advanced research seminar explores the heady early years of the Roman Empire (Octavius – Nero, 44BCE – 69 CE). Often called the “Silver Age” of Latin literature, the Early Empire 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 rule of the Julio-Claudians has produced more primary sources—and spawned more secondary and tertiary sources—than other period of the Roman Empire, 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 the governmental system they helped shape. In the process, students will analyze how the various sources have treated these issues, and how modern scholars have explained them.


American History

320  World War I:  100 Years Later
The history of the First World War has changed significantly since the 1920s when the focus of historical scholarship was the assignation of responsibility for the outbreak of war.  Initially the history of the war was essentially diplomatic or military history, followed eventually by histories of the high politics within each belligerent nation during wartime.  After a brief consideration of classic interpretations of the war based on these initial preoccupations, this seminar explores the rich scholarship on World War I that has developed as historians have applied the methodologies and insights of social and cultural history to the experience of war (e.g., the everyday lives of soldiers at the front, “industrial killing,” everyday life on the home fronts, women’s experiences of the war, war and gender anxieties).   The Great War that emerges from the scholarship of the last twenty years in particular, as historians have reconsidered it from the distance of a new century, is a more complex and poignant phenomenon than previously appreciated and reminds us that the study of the past is shaped and renewed through attention to concerns of the present as well as by consideration of evidence from a bygone era.
Note:  This course focuses on Europe; it does not include the experience of, or scholarly literature on, the US.

370  Work in the U.S. Since 1920
This seminar will explore the history of work in the United States – an experience that is central to people’s everyday lives, to the structure of society, and to politics.  Focusing on the 20th century, we will investigate: 1) changes in the workplace; 2) transformations in the culture of work; 3) the history of organized labor, including labor’s role in politics; and 4) work in a global context.  Working-class history will be our main focus, but we will embed this in a larger history of class relations and dynamics in the modern U.S.  The seminar also will pay close attention to historians’ interpretations of work and labor.  Most class periods will be based on discussion of common readings, but a number of our meetings will be organized as research and writing workshops.  Each student will carry out a substantial research project built on a foundation of primary sources, in order to practice the craft of history.



INTERIM 2015

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  From Fjord to Frontier: Norwegian-American History in Literature
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

218  Reformation Europe
Students study Protestant and Catholic religious movements, Luther and other Reformers, political and social institutions, the Protestant family, intellectual traditions, and popular culture and beliefs in this interdisciplinary approach to Reformation Europe. Students also investigate the rise of nation states, theological debates, the wars of religion, science and learning, printing and communication, and capitalism.


Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America

243  Revolutionary Cuba
This course examines the history of 20th-century Cuba, especially the 1959 revolution and its aftermath. Students study the transformation of Cuban political culture, the obstacles to economic and agrarian reform, education, the role of women, human rights, U.S. policies toward Cuba, and the future of Cuba after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The role of charismatic leadership in Latin America and the possibilities for revolutionary changes in the Americas are also examined.

256  Slavery in Western Africa: Ghana
Please check back later for this course description.

262  National Identity and Ethnicity in China
This course examines ethnicity and the development of national identity in China through the evolution of the Qing empire into a modern nation state, the development of Chinese national identity in modern times, and the relationship between majority culture and minority ethnicities. Students will examine the Han, Manchus, Tibetan, and Hmong/Miao as case studies, with comparisons with Hmong in the United States.

278  Civil War to Civil Rights
Please check back later for this course description.


Spring 2015

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.

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.


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  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  America and the Cold War
This course will look at the changing ideological and policy responses Americans made to the Cold War and the ways historians have interpreted and explained them. We’ll examine both American foreign policy and its domestic ramifications, like McCarthyism and domestic spy cases. Each student will pursue an individual project at the end of the semester.

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, 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 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.


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.

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: America and the Cold War
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminars” section above.

275  America Environmental History
By examining the interaction of people and environment on the North American continent from the 15th century to the present, this course shows how history “takes place” in ecological contexts that change over time. Students compare Native American and Euro-American religious beliefs, social values, economic aspirations, and technological developments and examine their consequences for the flora, fauna, and peoples of the continent.

288  America in the 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.


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

310  Medieval Europe
This seminar covers various topics in the history of medieval Europe, depending upon the instructor.  May be repeated if topics are different.  Topic for Spring 2008: Medieval Italy, 1050-1350.  This seminar will consider divergent developments in north, central, and southern Italy during a formative period in the history of the west. Topics include the medieval papacy and Rome; Sicilian history; Frederick II; the city-states of northern Italy; the crusades; Dante.

320  Nation and Empire in Russian History
Please check back later for this course description.

 

American History

370  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.

370  Civil Rights
From Segregation to Civil Rights, this course examines the scholarly literature on the origins and outcome of the Civil Rights movement, basically 1900 to the 1970s, from the origins of Jim Crow to its overthrow.  The primary focus will be on the South, and how southern racial issues played out before the nation and the world, particularly via the media.  The class will culminate with an original research paper drawing on the range of primary sources available.  Relevant coursework on African-American history, the Civil War era, recent US history, or lynching is strongly recommended.

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