Spring 2017 Undergraduate Courses
Please note: Course offerings subject to change.
HIST 11200: World History 1500 to the Present
This course is a survey of world history from the 16th century until the present. Our focus will be the evolution of global connections and interactions that led to unprecedented movements of people, ideas, technologies, and microbes during this time period. As novel forms of migration and rule crossed our world, they propelled new forms of domination and resistance. We will explore how these processes impacted the causes and consequences of the slave trade, imperial domination, decolonization, and nationalism. Specific case studies will illuminate these events by exploring how global processes effected local contexts and vice-versa. Particular emphasis will be placed on how historians analyze primary source material, interpret, and debate the past. Finally, this course will reorient students away from a western perspective to highlight global and alternative histories that are often ignored within broad historical surveys.
HIST 12100: Early Modern Europe 1500-1815
The early modern period saw the Renaissance, the Reformations, the Age of Discoveries, the invention of print, the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Contemporary observers interpreted these events as harbingers of new times, and speculated how society should or will be organized in the future. This course reads the major transformations of early modern Europe through the lens of these utopian visions. As we will see, the expectations of contemporaries were often not realized. Yet their writings reveal how scholars, priests, newswriters and ordinary people experienced and hoped to shape the world they were living in.
Fulfills Pluralism and Diversity requirement (Group D).
HIST 12200: 19th and 20th Century Europe (W)
History of modern Europe between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, covering Western, Eastern Europe, and Russia. The focus of this course is upon political history but topics related to economy, culture and the arts are included as well. We start with the French Revolution of 1789 and complete the course with the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union in 1991. We will analyze how the concept of Europe changed over time; how colonies turned into nation states, and how these nations transformed during the modern era; why, how, and when some states adopted totalitarian models; and how colonialism and totalitarianism came to an end in Europe after WWII. Themes include: the French Revolution and Revolutionary Wars, romanticism, liberalism, socialism and Marxism, 1848, empire and nation states, European imperialism, WWI, interwar radicalism, Nazism, fascism, and Stalinism, WWII, the Holocaust, cold war, European Union, the collapse of communism, and the creation of a new Europe. Lectures will be supplemented by weekly readings from the textbook and primary sources. Students will learn to work with primary sources and incorporate them into historical analysis.
Fulfills Pluralism and Diversity requirement (Group D). (W) Writing intensive course (W)
HIST 15100: United States from the Colonial Era to the Civil War (W)
This course will cover U.S. History broadly from the early period of European settlement to the conclusion of the Civil War. The course will include at least one focused study of a particular topic or event from this period. Writing Intensive Course (W)
HIST 15200: United States from the Civil War to the Present (W)
This course surveys some of the major developments in United States history from 1865 to the 1970s. Among the subjects covered are the struggles for justice of African Americans and women; the expanding scope and power of the federal government; and the increasing engagement of the United States with the world.
Writing intensive course (W)
HIST 21000: History of Judaism
An introduction survey of the development of the Jewish religious tradition from its origins to the present, with special attention to the interaction between Judaism and other civilizations, ancient, medieval, and modern, and to the role of Judaism in the formation of Christianity and of Islam.
HIST 25007: Europe in the Age of Total War 1900-1963
This class explores the history of Europe between approximately 1900 and 1963 from a particular angle, that of the intersection of large-scale wars and military mobilization (the two World Wars and the Cold War) and processes of social, political, cultural and economic change. We will consider throughout what exactly the concepts of “total war” (and its near cousin, “totalitarianism”) really mean; and at the core of the course will be the question of how the World Wars were possible, and whether or not some similar kind of war remains possible – and if not, why not. We will also spend time considering important questions of historical causation – especially that of whether certain social or intellectual changes were results of the World Wars or instead causes of them. By the end of the course students should have a good grasp of the causes and consequences of these large scale historical events; they should be familiar with the use and analysis of primary sources and secondary sources such as are listed on this syllabus; and they should be able to formulate and sustain an argument on the basis of such sources.
HIST 25012: History of the Family in America
Unlike such other important institutions as the church, the school, the army, and the political party, the family has received very little attention from historians, despite the fact that it is acknowledged as the fundamental building block of society. We’ll pull together some of the best work that is available on the history of the family in United States, and explore such issues as how the ideal of what the best family should be like has changed over time; how the respective roles of men, women, and children within the walls of the family have evolved; and how such forces, among others, as slavery, immigration, psychiatry, and government policy have affected and shaped the institution of the family. In addition to historical studies, we will use primary sources such as novels, memoirs, court records, popular-magazine articles, and TV programs to examine the history of the American family from the colonial era to the present.
HIST 27200: History of Latin America in the 19th and 20th Centuries
This course explores key topics in the History of Latin America from the struggles for Independence through the present day. These include the rise of Latin American liberalism to upheavals like the Mexican Revolution, the birth of nationalist and populist mass politics, the Cuban Revolution and the counterinsurgency wars in Central America to the neoliberal" and "pink tide" trends of recent decades, and today's turbulence in many parts of the region. Using texts as well as music and video, we will study social, political and cultural aspects of the history of this varied and vibrant region whose importance for the U.S. and New York City in particular keeps growing.
HIST 27651: Modern Middle East: 1500 to the Present
History 27651 is a survey of Middle East history spanning from the 16th century, during the period of the time of the great Ottoman and Persian empires, to the present. This course introduces modern Middle East history through the voices of the makers of that history and, consequently, the majority of the primary sources are translations of works written by scholars, intellectuals, and artists from the region. In addition, films in English or subtitled will be shown during the semester. Geographically, the course concentrates on lands of the former Ottoman Empire, particularly present day Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and North Africa, plus Iran. Thematically, topics covered are concerned with state formation and the impact of European imperialism on Middle East politics and society. The primary focus of the course is on intellectual history and examines the views of scholars on issues such as nationalism, pan-Arabism, political Islam, women’s rights, colonization, decolonization, and revolutions.
Fulfills Pluralism and Diversity requirement (Group A).
HIST 27800: East Asia, 1600 to the Present
A survey history of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam from 1600 AD to the present day. The course examines the cultural, economic and material attainments of the Qing empire, and the Choson, Tokugawa and Nguyen regimes. We trace the rising presence of Western powers in East Asia during this period, note the differing challenges and varied responses in these different regions to Western challenges, examine the fall of traditional polities and the rise of new ones. Finally we examine the reconstructed modern East Asian identities, the renegotiated power relations (among East Asian states and vis-à-vis the international order), the rise of new and types of political orders, as well as economic developments and cultural trends.
Fulfills Pluralism and Diversity requirement (Group A).
HIST 29000: History Practicum: Nineteenth-Century American Civic Life (W)
A writing intensive seminar intended to help history majors develop their skills as historians. Each section of this course may focus on a different historical theme and so students will encounter different readings and topics. But in all sections of this course students will learn to locate, critically assess, and interpret primary sources, both textual and non-textual; analyze and critique a range of secondary sources for both methodological and historiographical purposes; and develop, draft, and revise a strong and effective research paper by learning how to construct a thesis, organize a paper, devise a bibliography, and cite sources following the Chicago Manual of Style.
Writing Intensive Course.
Prereq: ENGL 12000; 6 cr in history and permission of the department.
HIST 30300/Classics 306: Greek History
This course examines the history of Greek civilization ranging from the archaic period to the Hellenistic. The course is not strictly a survey, however, but rather uses Plutarch’s biographical approach as a framework to investigate several themes of Greek history, including the political, cultural, and economic aspects of one of the more influential civilizations in world history. Our approach to these themes will be interdisciplinary as we consider new developments in culture and religion as well as in politics and international relations. Semester-long emphases will be on primary sources and historiography. Designed for upper-level students of history and classical studies, the course provides opportunities to sharpen four fundamental skills: 1) critical thinking, 2) writing, 3) speaking, and 4) research. Students are encouraged to think of all of these as interconnected: writing is improved by speech, speech is improved by research, critical thought is dependent on writing, et cetera. Practicing one helps with the other three, and sharpening all four together prepares the student for any endeavor, professional or intellectual, following graduation.
HIST 31400: Ancient and Medieval Christianity
This course examines the first 1500 years of Christianity’s existence as a religion, beginning with its origins in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in the first century and ending with the Protestant and Catholic Reform movements of the early 16th century. Topics include Christianity's transformation from a Jewish sect to the primary religion of Europe; the political nature of Christian theological controversies; the institutional Western and Eastern churches as heirs to Rome and key players in the medieval social and political order; and the wide variety of Christian thought, surveying institutions, popular beliefs, and practices.
HIST 31800: History of the American Working Class from the Colonial Period to the Present (W)
In this course we will examine the history of labor and working-class life in America since the colonial period. Working with both primary and secondary sources we will explore some of the major themes of this history. We will examine the different ways that American laborers organized themselves and struggled for control over their work and their lives, not only on the shop floor, but also in community organizations, through ethnic associations, and by their particular partisan affiliations. We will consider the nature and evolution of labor and of the working-class cultures that existed in America from the colonial period to the late-twentieth century, and the extent to which those working-class cultures both drew from and influenced a broader American culture.
Fulfills Pluralism and Diversity requirement (Group D). Writing Intensive course (W)
HIST 31900: Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History
This course traces Jewish history from the development of Rabbinic Judaism in the aftermath of the destruction of the Second Temple to the French Revolution. We begin by looking at Judaism in the context of the rise of Christianity and Islam. Then we trace the development of the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Medieval Jewish cultures. After expulsions from Western Europe, we follow these two groups to new centers in Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern period. In the last portion of the course we will analyze the shifting conditions within European society and within the Jewish community itself that gave rise to the hope for the integration of Jews into European society.
HIST 32100: History of the Holocaust
This course examines the fate of European Jewry between 1933 and 1945. Following an introduction to Jewish history and the historical background of anti-Semitic ideology, we will cover: the rise and fall of the democratic Weimar Republic in the 1920s; the Nazi seizure of power; anti-Jewish policy and legislation in Nazi Germany; ghettoization in Nazi Europe; and, the conception and implementation of the Final Solution during the Second World War. Additional topics will include discussions of the Jewish Councils, Jewish resistance, life in the ghettos and camps, the Jewish Question and public opinion in Nazi-occupied Europe, and the reactions of the Allies, the Church, and world Jewry to the Holocaust.
HIST 3411Y: U.S.-Latin American Relations
When the U.S. promulgated the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, its own independence was still a relative novelty. Latin America figured heavily in national aspirations for future power and greatness, yet the new republic of the North still lacked the means to put such intentions into effect. Struggles over slavery within the U.S. were a motive force for the creation of Texas and the Mexican-American War, yet it was not until the Spanish-American war of 1898 that Latin America really became a launching pad for the U.S. to become world power. During the more than a century that followed, Latin America often served as a "workshop" for U.S. policies in more distant regions. Today U.S. relations with Latin America have become a central theme in domestic politics. This course will explore these and other issues.
HIST 3411Z/ PHIL 394.74: Philosophy of History
This course is designed to introduce students to what philosophers have had to say about history—both in terms of its meaning, if any, & in terms of how to explain historical events. As such, students will learn  the major views of modern philosophers about history,  the main problems with developing explanations & interpretations of historical events,  some recent attempts to solve these problems, &  to what extent history is related to other sciences, to literature, & to philosophy itself.
HIST 35600: Early Republic
In this class we will explore the major events and influences on the American polity from 1783 to the Compromise of 1850. This will include the political philosophies that drove the creation of the Constitution, the circumstances that created one war with Great Britain and another with Mexico, the growth of Southern slavery, the development of the market economy, westward expansion, and the impact of reform movements on the growing inclusiveness of an emerging democracy.
HIST 38210: The Reformation and the Wars of Religion
In this seminar we will explore the causes and development of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century and the Catholic (Counter) Reformation through the reading and discussion of both primary and secondary sources, with emphasis on the works and teachings of Martin Luther and John Calvin. We will also examine and compare the ensuing religious wars (Dutch, French, German). Students will develop two research projects and will have the opportunity to present their findings in class.
HIST 38228: Europe in the Age of Extremes: 1918 – 1945
In this seminar, we explore the history of Europe between the end of WWI and the end of WWII, during the age of “extremes”. The focus is upon radical politics between the wars and attritions of World War Two. Covering the entire continent from Italy to the Soviet Union and different countries in-between, we will discuss right- and left-wing ideologies and the reciprocal influences between them. We will analyze fascism in Italy and beyond - Austria, Hungary, Romania, each of these countries generating fascist movement of their own; Nazism and its influences upon right-wing movements outside of Germany; Soviet communism, its influences beyond the Soviet Union as well as variations of communist movements in Europe. We will try to understand the causes of radicalization, mechanisms of attritions and their overall effects upon human lives. This is an upper level discussion-based seminar. Readings include primary and secondary sources. By the end of the class, students will produce a research paper on any topic related to the course.
HIST 38229: Refugees and the Making of the Modern World
Following the mass popular displacements of WWII, a group of diplomats came together to create the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees-- the bases of the international refugee regime that has endured to the present. We will explore the processes that led to the creation of the modern international refugee regime and how international refugee law has evolved in response to conflicts and emergencies "on the ground." Throughout, we will question the category of the "refugee," and interrogate the methods by which refugees, as individuals and as groups, have sought to control and alter their positions under national and international authorities. Topics will include notions of migration and asylum, the creation and evolution of international refugee law, refugees, stateless people, economic migrants, and decolonization. We will have case studies of European, Palestinian, Thai, Ethiopian, Haitian, and Cuban "refugees," among others.
HIST 38465: The Dreyfus Affair
More than 1,000 books about the Dreyfus Affair have been published in English. The Dreyfus trial was called Trial of the Century. Much as the Scopes trial in the US, the Dreyfus trial in France captured the attention of millions of people, dividing them into two camps—Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards. A detailed study of the trial opens a window on French history as the belle époque drew to a close and years of war and depression loomed. It is also an opportunity to study Jewish history as a century of expanding civil rights for French Jews was followed by a century of anti-Semitism and mass murder. Finally, study of this trial raises broader questions of military justice and military secrets, the role of a free press, and the role of public intellectuals.