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Fall 2019 Undergraduate Courses

Please note: Course offerings subject to change.

HIST 11100: World History to 1500 
Instructor: Melson
This is a survey of the history of human civilization from the end of the Stone Age to 1500 CE. The course examines the concept of civilization, the emergence of the earliest civilizations, and the distinctive features of ancient cultures, societies and governments. Other topics include the expansion of contacts among the early centers of urban society, and the emergence of civilizations in what had originally been peripheral regions. Particular attention is paid to the development of the religious and intellectual traditions of several classical civilizations, and the influence these traditions have had on later societies. The course ends roughly around 1500, on the eve of the tremendous changes that came about in the relationship between Europe and the rest of the world as a result of the European explorations and conquests that began with the voyages of Columbus. 
Fulfills Pluralism and Diversity requirement (Group A).


HIST 12100: Early Modern Europe 1500-1815
Instructor: Melson
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)
Instructors: Woltering; Spritzer
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). Writing intensive course (W)


HIST 14151: 20th Century World History
Instructor: Bhagavan


HIST 15100: United States from the Colonial Era to the Civil War (W)
Instructor: Dresser
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)
Instructors: Hurewitz; Haverty-Stacke; Bellows; Weltering
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 20800: History of the Jews
Instructor: Ruben
The History of the Jews surveys almost 4000 years in one semester. Beginning with the origins of the Jewish people in the biblical period, it will look at Jewish identity as it evolved over time. We will examine Jewish life in the Greco-Roman world, the Medieval diaspora communities of Babylonia, Spain and Northern Europe. After the expulsions from much of Christian Europe by the end of the 15th century, Jews made new homes in the Ottoman Empire, Eastern Europe and eventually in Amsterdam and the New World. We will examine the gradual secularization of European society that allowed for a partial reintegration of Jews into Western Europe and the radical impact this process had on Judaism itself.Finally earning emancipation, thoroughly acculturated Western Jews faced new challenges with the rise of Modern anti-Semitism. These virulent new trend culminated in the Holocaust. In its aftermath came the rise of the State of Israel and the remarkable growth of the American Jewish community.What were the key beliefs and practices that defined the Jewish people in each period? What did Jews share or learn from their neighbors during periods of cultural openness? How did they contrast their identity with those of their neighbors? This overview offers an opportunity to understand the continuities and discontinuities that characterized the Jewish people over this long history.


HIST 21100: Medieval Civilization
Instructor: Melson
The thousand year period between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the beginnings of the modern age were a dynamic, action-packed era which saw the birth of many modern social institutions, including universities, systematized law, centralized government, and the romance novel, just to name a few. We will approach the course with the following goals in mind: to understand the social, institutional, economic, cultural, and religious shifts that occurred during this period; to understand the continuities of medieval thought and society and to be able to explain its relationship to the periods before and after the Middle Ages; to be able to critically analyze primary sources, and to understand how to use primary sources to forward a historical argument; and to understand how historical interpretations of a topic or event themselves change over time.


HIST 25021 – Tradition and Transformation: Russian and East European Jewry, 1825-1991
Instructor: Casper
From the mid-19th century through the end of the Second World War the majority of the world's Jewish population lived in the contested borderlands that encompass much of today's Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic states. Though many key aspects of Jewish life remained constant during this period, it was also marked by a degree of dynamism previously unseen as Jews living in the Romanov and Habsburg empires and their successor states responded in multifarious ways to the challenges facing and developments within their communities. This course will trace the socio-economic, political, and cultural trajectories of a people whose past has often been obscured by the penumbra of Nazi genocide. Topics to be addressed will include, but are not limited to, the decline in religious authorities' influence; economic niches; anti-Jewish policies and pogroms under the tsars; emigration; the rise of political movements (including socialism, communism, diaspora nationalism, and Zionism); linguistic controversies; the effects of the First World War; minority status in newly-independent interwar states; communal responses to the Holocaust; Soviet state antisemitism; and the refusenik movement of the 1970s-90s.


HIST 25007: Europe in the Age of Total War, 1900-1963
Instructor: Hett
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 25010: African-American History
Instructor: Haywood


HIST 25012: History of the Family in the U.S.
Instructor: Faber
This course examines what American society, beginning in the colonial era and progressing to our own, defined as the ideal family, how the family has evolved and differed over time and in various social settings, and how, in reality, it has functioned internally, as ditinct from the ideals projected for it. 


HIST 25013: Humanitarian Aid in Africa
Instructor: Rosenthal
What does it mean to give ‘humanitarian aid’? Who receives aid and why? This course is designed to offer students a historical understanding of humanitarian action that, while centered geographically in sub-Saharan Africa, is applicable in a global framework. Beginning with the evolution of the concepts of ‘humanitarian’ as well as ‘aid,’ we will explore the motivations behind humanitarian endeavors through the era of the slave trade, colonialism and the present. We will also examine how terms such as ‘refugees,’ ‘peacekeeping,’ ‘famine,’ and ‘gender,’ have evolved in humanitarian discourse, and the consequences of these processes for aid endeavors. Throughout, questions will be posed regarding the interactions between humanitarian aid, international relations, exploitation, and violence. The focus of this course is both local and global—we will analyze international humanitarian policy as well as the effects and perceptions of humanitarian aid within different African localities. We will consider how notions of power and objectivity affect both the site of aid inception as well as implementation. Students having completed the course will acquire the skills to think critically about humanitarian aid and its role in local, regional and global contexts.  


Hist 25015  Rabbis, Radicals, and Racketeers: Jewish New York, 1695 to the present
Instructor: Welt
How have Jews shaped the history of New York? As we will see in this course, New York’s Jews profoundly shaped the city’s experience during the American Revolution, the debate over slavery and the Civil War, large-scale immigration and machine politics during the Gilded Age, New Deal governance during the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement and today’s modern urban social debates. This course will survey the Jewish history of New York City with a particular emphasis on their political and cultural impact while tracing the rise of America’s largest metropolis over three centuries.

HIST 2XXXX Gender in Modern Jewish History, 1492 to the present; 
Instructor: Welt
Gender has a played a pivotal role in the major turning points of modern Jewish history. This course will explore how Jewish men and women, informed by intra-Jewish debates and interactions with the empires in which they lived, constructed the gendered norms of the larger Jewish world. This course will pay particular attention to the ways in which Jewish women carved out spaces in politics, economic activity, and religious life across the Jewish diaspora in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Students will also grapple with how Jewish masculinity has been conceived and performed during different moments of modern Jewish history. As the course probes Jewish encounters with the rise of global capitalism, the forging of imperial networks and nation-states, mass migrations, and Zionist state-building, students will learn how gender integrally shaped the modern Jewish experience.

HIST 25018: History of Cuba
Instructor: John 
This course explores key topics in the History of Cuba.


HIST 27100: Early Latin America
Instructor: John
This course provides an overview of the early political, economic, cultural and social history of Latin America (1490s to 1820s). The course encompasses the history of Spanish America as well as Portuguese Brazil, but emphasis will be on the former. Among the topics covered are pre-Columbian indigenous societies in the Americas; the personal, regional and transnational impact of the encounter between European, African and Native peoples; evolving land, labor and production arrangements; Christian evangelization and the role of the Catholic Church in colonial society; the character and reach of imperial authority; racial, ethnic, caste and gender relations; popular resistance and protest; and the ideological and material underpinnings of emergent independence movements in the early 19th century.


HIST 29000: History Practicum
Instructors: Hett; Mehilli
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. (W) 
Prereq: ENGL 12000; 6 cr in history and permission of the department.


HIST 33500: Modern France
Instructor: Spritzer
This course will explore central issues in the history of France and the French empire from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century.  We will use primary sources to explore the emergence of anti-Semitism, and the social changes wrought by the First World War and the expansion of colonialism. We will study conflicting interpretations of the extremes of France’s 1930s politics and the experience of occupation, resistance, and liberation during World War II. After analyzing the Franco-Algerian war and its legacies for French republicanism, racial divides, and the political football of immigration, we will finish the term by discussing attempts in France to legislate interpretations of the past and to regulate the wearing of religious symbols.


HIST 33800: History of Italy
Instructor: Mëhilli
This course introduces students to the history of modern Italy, from the Risorgimento to the present. Topics covered include: unification, industrialization, Italian colonialism, migration, religion, fascism, communism, world wars, decolonization, political competition, demographics, race, regionalism, crime, and corruption. Readings and class discussions place Italian history in a broader Mediterranean, European, and global context. Students will engage with a variety of texts, including primary sources, fiction, and films, and they will be expected to actively participate in debates on major themes. Writing intensive course. 
Fulfills Pluralism and Diversity requirement (Group D). Writing Intensive Course (W).


HIST 3412N: French Women: Revolution & Reaction in the 19th Century
Instructor: Schor
The nineteenth century in France was an age of revolutions: political, economic, and social. It was also a time of changing roles for men and women in family life, in the workplace, and in civic society. These changes are found in the art and literature of the period. Resistance to change is found in satirical political cartoons in newspapers. This course will focus on the French women who advocated changes, on the difficulties they faced, and their persistence in demanding a more just world.


HIST 3411U: China Since 1911
Instructor: Belsky 
An overview of post-imperial China.  Major themes include: the historical legacies and unfulfilled promises of China's republican period; the rise of the Communist party and the rule of the Communist party/state; Maoist and post-Mao period policies; social, cultural, political trends; and China's changing position in the world order over time.


HIST 3412C: History of Anti-Semitism
Instructor: Ruben
This course will trace what one scholar calls “A Convenient Hatred,” the persistent verbal and physical attacks upon the Jewish people over the course of its long history. We will examine the origins of anti-Semitism in the biblical period and its manifestations in the Second Temple era, particularly within the Greco-Roman world. Next we will analyze the implications of anti-Jewish rhetoric in early Christian literature as that religion strove to differentiate itself from its parent faith. The seeds sown in the Gospels bore tragic fruit in the High Middle Ages, culminating in the expulsion of the Jews of Christian Europe. Again in the Early Modern Period, Luther presented a new challenge to Judaism. With the rise of secularism, there was the hope of toleration and acceptance of Jews. Yet, even within the French Enlightenment, the seeds of a new and virulent racist anti-Semitism were sown. These came to expression in the late 19th century’s embrace of racial and nationalist ideologies, and to full actualization in the murderous war against the Jews by the Third Reich. In the aftermath of this annihilation of six million Jews, there was some hope that this ancient prejudice would disappear. Yet new forms of hostility and the recycling of old ones persist to this day. The course will try to understand anti-Semitism, but recognizes the ultimate irrationality of the phenomenon.


HIST 34122: History of Brazil
Instructor: John 
This course explores crucial issues in the history of Brazil, from pre-conquest societies through the present era. In addressing these themes, the course aims a) to help students identify historical processes rather than mere collections of facts, dates and names; b) link these processes to current events; c) identify continuity and change regarding issues of national identity, social structure, race, class and gender; d) foster analytical reading and critical thinking; e) promote students’ ability to analyze historical arguments and complex texts. Working with primary and secondary sources, students will evaluate differing opinions on historical events and trends, learning to analyze them in historical perspective.


HIST 341XX Violence in 20th-Century Europe: States, Atrocities, Restitution 
Instructor: Casper
The twentieth century was marked by profound shifts in Europe’s social, political, and ethnic profile: centuries-old dynastic empires were recast into nation-states, communism, fascism, and democracy vied 
with each other for ideological predominance, and during two world wars previously-untold levels of violence were visited upon civilian populations. This course explores the interplay between the transformations that reshaped the European order and the repressions, ethnic cleansings, and genocides that accompanied – and in many instances drove – these processes. This is therefore not only a history of the creation of contemporary Europe through widespread killing and displacement, but also of the ways in which governments and individuals sought to set right the wrongs of their recent past. 


HIST 35600: Early U.S. Republic
Instructor: Dresser 
Between the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the Compromise of 1850, the early republic of the United States underwent an era of unprecedented demographic, economic, and political expansion.   Immigration, industry, evangelicalism, the plantation economy, and the debate over slavery deepened the sectional divide of the young nation bringing it to the brink of permanent dissolution.


HIST 36300: U.S. Cultural History
Instructor: Haverty-Stacke
In this course we will explore several significant themes in American cultural history from the late nineteenth through the late twentieth centuries. Through close readings of selected primary and secondary works (both written and visual) we will consider the meanings of popular, proto-mass, and mass culture as well as the nature of different levels of cultural tastes and styles in modern American history. Reflecting on the broader social and political context of these developments we will study a range of topics. These may include, but will not be limited to, a consideration of the historical significance of the myth of the self-made man evoked in Horatio Alger novels, the role of the frontier and the cowboy popularized in Owen Wister's The Virginian, the resonance of early Disney films, such as The Three Little Pigs, during the Great Depression, and the critique of mass consumer culture found in the poetry of Allen Ginsberg.


HIST 38211: 20th-Century India
Instructor: Bhagavan
This seminar will explore the history of India in the twentieth century. Guided by the visions and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, “India” as a concept and idea has come to mean different things to varying groups and individuals, dependent upon their own agendas. This course explores these divergent visions as a means to better understand the making of the world’s first major non-Western postcolonial state, and its “largest democracy.”


HIST 38228: Refugees and the Making of the Modern World
Instructor: Rosenthal
This course explores crucial issues in the history of Brazil, from pre-conquest societies through the present era. In addressing these themes, the course aims a) to help students identify historical processes rather than mere collections of facts, dates and names; b) link these processes to current events; c) identify continuity and change regarding issues of national identity, social structure, race, class and gender; d) foster analytical reading and critical thinking; e) promote students’ ability to analyze historical arguments and complex texts. Working with primary and secondary sources, students will evaluate differing opinions on historical events and trends, learning to analyze them in historical perspective.


HIST 38230: American Colonies to 1821
Instructor: Contreras 
Moving from the late sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century, this seminar will use a comparative approach to study the creation and evolution of Spanish American, Anglo American, and French American colonies in what is now the United States. Key topics of investigation will include Native peoples’ relations with Europeans, imperial rivalries, the socioeconomic structure of colonial societies, the reliance on bound and slave labor, and the centrality of religion in everyday life. The course will conclude with an examination of the American Revolution and the new republic’s initiatives for continental expansion.


HIST 38231: African Americans and Black Power(s)
Instructor: Haywood
This course (re) considers the meanings and application of “Black Power” from multiple angles and contested points of view, starting with the emergence of the idea among young Black radicals in the 1960s to its popular imaginings in recent history. Yet, while examining Black Power in its better-known context, that is, as a politics espoused by groups, such as the Black Panthers, students will also explore the concept through new lenses that consider architecture, Black capitalism, Black republican politics, Afro-futurism, Black Lives Matter protests, and the blockbuster Marvel film, Black Panther.  


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