History Courses Offered 2017-2018

[Fall]   [Interim]   [Spring]

[Bottom of Page]

Fall 2017

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 has 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.

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.

188  Topic:  Jihad and Crusades
This course will examine the origins and development of the concepts of Christian and Islamic Holy War in the Middle Ages, focusing on the Central Middle Ages (roughly 1000-1300). During this period, Western Christians attacked and colonized lands formerly under Islamic control (Spain, Sicily, and the eastern Mediterranean) following (and continuously redefining) the precepts of Crusade, the ultimate medieval expression of Christian Holy War. Muslims, in turn, redefined their understanding of the traditions of Jihad during their counter-attack in Spain and the Levant and their ultimate re-conquest of Jerusalem and the Crusader states. We will discuss both the correlations and distinct elements between the two traditions, look at their disparate origins, and then examine the influence each had on the other as the Christian and Muslim worlds came into conflict. Beyond learning the specifics of the subject, we will also work on learning how to do historical research, analyze primary documents, and then write about them in both formal and informal writing.
Note: text, “Although focusing on the defining medieval centuries, the chronology of the course will extend from the origins of Christianity and Islam to the siege of Vienna in 1683.” Should be deleted and not be put on the web.


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.

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.

198  America History to 1865  (2 sections)
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. 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.

201  Major Seminar:  Ancient History, Alexander and Kleopatra
This course will focus on the life and times of two key personalities of the ancient world: Alexander III “the Great,” the Macedonian conqueror, and Cleopatra VII, the last Macedonian ruler of Egypt. Alexander’s actions ushered in a new age in history, the so-called Hellenistic period, when Greco-Macedonian rulers held sway over the Mediterranean and the Near East. Cleopatra, the last of those rulers and the lover of both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, is one of the most colorful and most misunderstood figures of history.  Through an intensive, source-criticism approach, students will explore the ways in which these two individuals embodied an era of change and turmoil, of vastly expanded horizons and unprecedented cultural interactions.

270  Major Seminar:  American History, Benjamin 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

201  Major Seminar:  Ancient History, Alexander and Kleopatra
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminar” section above.

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

239  Women and Gender in Modern Europe
This course surveys the history of women and gender in Europe from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. It examines gender as a socially constructed category, and explores changing gender relations in the modern period. Rather than view the history of women in Europe as a simplistic tale of oppression or a story of unqualified progress, History 239 treats women’s experience as a complex, dynamic interaction of historical forces and actors. Themes include the definition of domestic ideology from the Enlightenment through industrialization to the Victorian period, gendering citizenship in the nation-state, the impact of science and technology on women’s lives and bodies, the development of feminism(s), and women and gender in socialist and fascist regimes.

299  Topic:  European History au Cinéma
Historian Pierre Sorlin observed in the 1970s that most people get their knowledge about the past from movies, not from books or History courses. Films are powerful vehicles for immersing us in worlds from different times and places, establishing a narrative, showing us change over time, and developing an interpretation. Yet over four decades after Sorlin’s observation, historian Robert Rosenstone, himself a champion of using film to study history, noted that historical films still “trouble and disturb” most professional historians. Why is the common focus on the past shared by film and historical study so problematic? In what ways do film and historical study complement each other to help us understand the past? These are the big questions that inspire this course.
To begin answering these questions, History 299 focuses on ways in which film has portrayed seminal developments and events—and the contexts that produced them–in twentieth-century European history. We’ll “read” films as historical texts and explore their “meaning-making” capacity.   We’ll treat some films as primary sources; we’ll examine others to consider how visions of the past bear upon the present—for instance, how a particular age or generation seeks a “useable” past.   We’ll compare filmic and current scholarly interpretations of the past to understand better the role of each in shaping historical memory.   ORC credit.
Strongly recommended: Completion of at least one college-level course in modern European history prior to taking this course.
This is an evening course: Mondays, 6:00-9:00.

 

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.

289 A  Topic:  Gender in Africa
This seminar examines the contradictory images on gender in Africa promoted by colonial notions of man as the breadwinner and the woman jettisoned to a dependent position that defined metropolitan career trajectories. It examines differing gender norms and the resulting tensions as we interrogate the social, economic, and historical roles of women in Africa. Through lectures, discussions, films, and a varied list of intriguing sources and reading the course introduces students to “doing history,” as students appreciate and reconstruct the lived experiences of African women and explore themes such as slavery, religious and political roles, production, distribution and reproduction, domesticity, marriage and kingship, social change, and motherhood. The course pays particular attention to how women in Africa coped with society and not how society coped with them. No prior study of African history required.

289 B  Topic:  The Mongols
The Mongol conquests of Asia in the 13th and 14th centuries shook the settled world to its core, leaving death and destruction in its wake. But what did life in medieval Asia look like after the Mongols? This course examines medieval Asian societies and their visitors as they dealt with and adapted to what some Europeans thought was the coming of the apocalypse. While Europe never experienced the doomsday they feared, many other countries in Asia had to engage directly with them, changing their societies forever. To get a look at how these societies adapted and how such a devastating conquest could end up opening super-long-distance trade routes, this class will read, Chinese, Japanese, Muslim, and European travel writing as well as other primary and secondary sources that examine what life was like after the Mongols assembled the biggest land empire in human history.

*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:  American History, Benjamin Franklin’s America
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminar” section above.

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.

Period and National Histories of the Ancient World

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.

European History

320  Seminar:  The Holocaust and History
This seminar has two major objectives: 1) to study the Holocaust within the context of twentieth-century European and German history, and 2) to examine key issues and problems historians encounter as they try to understand the Holocaust. Topics may include: antisemitism in Europe and the Third Reich; the genesis of the Final Solution; the bureaucracy, process, and personnel of extermination; individual and state complicity in the Holocaust; acts of resistance and rescue; evolution of the intentionalist/stucturalist debate; issues in the representation and memorialization of the Holocaust; the Holocaust and genocide studies; and the phenomenon of Holocaust denial. Students will read a variety of secondary works that place the Holocaust in historical context and identify important scholarly debates. Students will examine a range of primary sources (e.g., survivors’ testimony, photographs, official documents) to explore issues raised in interpreting certain types of Holocaust evidence.   Finally, students will view a number of films, including Shoah, Schindler’s List, and Life is Beautiful, to consider how the Holocaust can be portrayed to a broad public in an historically and politically responsible way. Pre-requisite: Hist 191, 224, 226, or permission of the instructor.


American History

370  Seminar:  Civil War and Emancipation
An examination of the end of slavery in the U.S. South, in social and political terms. Major topics include the erosion of slavery during the Civil War, the social process of black liberation, and the gender implications of emancipation. After the war, major topics include the political issues growing out of Reconstruction, and the emergence of Ku Klux Klan style terrorism.

 

INTERIM 2018


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.

Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America

244  Collective Memory in Cuba  (abroad)
How do Cubans view their past, and how does this shape their understanding of the present? This course focuses on the 1959 Revolution and historical memory. Students explore through visits to museums, memorials, and monuments how the government has sought to influence the ways Cubans remember the revolution and the later turn toward socialism. Students also study present-day Cuba through visits to health clinics, cooperatives, and schools, as well as lectures from local experts. Offered in alternate years during Interim. Counts toward Latin American studies major and concentration.

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.

256  Slavery in West Africa:  Ghana  (abroad)
Students explore the history and culture of Ghana and examine how people recall slavery and the implications of a constructed concept of slavery. Through primary sources and visits to historic sites, students examine how Africans view slavery; why descendants of the enslaved and those who enslaved them rarely discuss slavery; how to transform slave artifacts and material culture into storehouses of memory, silences and fragmentations in history; and how descendants of slaves respond to the burden of such knowledge.

 

Spring 2018


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 has 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.

165  Slavery in the Americas
This seminar, using only eyewitness accounts, examines African slavery in the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Typical readings include the narrative of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, and the writings of slave-holders like Mary Chesnut. Topics include the slave trade, the origins of African-American culture, women and slavery, and the origins of the Civil War. The course concludes with an examination of the process of emancipation.

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 1945
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:  Hamilton,  An American History course
You know the musical, now learn the history! This course investigates the origins of the early U.S. republic through the life of its first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. In addition to the key events in Hamilton’s life (i.e. the duel with Aaron Burr), it explores a wide range of topics, such as life in the British Caribbean, the American Revolution, and, importantly, the partisan politics of the 1790s catalyzed by Hamilton’s controversial initiatives as Treasury Secretary.  Utilizing sources such as contemporary newspapers and pamphlets, Hamilton’s writings, as well as those of his critics, students gain a first-hand look at the political, social, and economic issues that defined the era.  The course culminates with reflections upon Lin-Manuel Miranda’s re-imagining of Hamilton in his hit Broadway musical.  For first-year students only.   Don’t throw away your shot!


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 History, 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  America After 1865  (2 sections)
As they study the development of American institutions and Society from the Civil War to the present, students examine economic, social, and political themes with a special emphasis on changing interpretations. Major topics are Reconstruction, urbanization, populism, progressivism, depression, New Deal, foreign relations, civil rights, social reform, equality for women, and other recent trends.


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:  Modern Conservatism
This seminar explores American conservatism, especially since the 1930s. How did conservatism survive the New Deal? How did postwar conservatism and liberalism shape one another? What accounts for conservatism’s dramatic rise in the last quarter of the 20th century? How have historians’ approaches changed—from studies of grassroots activists, to political leaders, to intellectual and religious influences? Working closely with primary and secondary sources, students will practice the craft of history through seminar discussions and independent work.

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.

*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.

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.

227  The 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

231  20th-Century Russia
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.

237  Gender in Medieval Europe
Students explore the experiences of women in religious and secular life from the late Roman Empire to the early modern period. Topics include ideas about women and gender roles in sacred and secular texts from antiquity, changes in the status of women from the Roman Empire to the successor kingdoms, and the transition from the medieval world to the pre-modern. Along the way, the course will focus on monasticism, marriage and the family, love, sex, work, and culture. Students will also gain knowledge of some of the compelling questions surrounding the present-day study of pre-modern gender.

299  Topic:  The Reel Middle Ages
From the inception of the medium, filmmakers have had a fascination with the medieval world. Students in this course will learn to analyze, criticize, and contextualize medieval films through the process of comparing them to the primary source material behind the stories. Students will take responsibility for leading class discussions on particular films and sources, and as a capstone project will “pitch” a medieval film of their own imagining. Join us for a semester of medieval facts, fantasies, fictions, and films!

*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.

 

Area Courses on Africa, Asia, and Latin America

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.

*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  Modern Conservatism
For a description of this course, see the “Major Seminar” section above.

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.

282  Topic:  Native-American History, Trail of Tears
Spanning at least twelve thousand years and involving more than five hundred indigenous nations the history of Native America is complex and diverse. This course focuses on significant themes, time periods, or geographical regions, with emphasis on the Native peoples within the modern-day continental United States. Examples include “The Trail of Tears,” “The West Before Lewis and Clark,” and “Pontiac’s America.”


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.


Africa, Asia, and Latin American History

395  Oral History Seminar
The seminar focuses on the theory and practice of oral history. Students learn to conduct, transcribe and incorporate interviews in projects. Students interrogate conceptual issues – the interview as a narrative, memory, identity, connections, motivations, and the silences inherent in oral history – and how these relate to gender, religion, and class in multiple global settings. Students learn such practical techniques as how to probe social masks, evaluate oral evidence, and the legalities of releasing interviews. Offered annually. Counts toward History major, Africa and the Americas concentration, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Race and Ethnic Studies.

396  Advanced Archaeology Field School
Students will learn the various methods of qualitative and quantitative archaeological research, including data collection, analysis and interpretation, as well as the evolution of archaeological theory in a historical context. Through individual and group projects students will explore context and culture in a collaborative, mentored research environment. Involves on-site, laboratory and library work.

397  History Research Workshop:  History and Memory
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.

 

[Top of Page]