History Courses Fall 2022
HIST 001 Western Civilization I (GH, IL) Dorabiala
This course surveys the historic foundations and development of the Western tradition from the ancient Mediterranean world to the dawn of modern Europe. Major topics covered include Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman societies; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; the Middle Ages; the Renaissance; the Reformation; and the Age of Discovery. Through the reading of primary and secondary sources, writing assignments, lectures, and discussions the students will examine how the social, political, religious, intellectual, and artistic achievements shaped the Western world.
HIST 002 Western Civilization II (GH, IL) Eicher
The last 500 years have witnessed more changes to human life than the preceding 5,000 years. Much of this change was provoked by events in “the West” and particularly in Europe. To better understand these changes—and even the notion of Western Civilization—we will focus principally on Europeans and their engagement with the broader world. Naturally, this momentous reshaping of the world caused Westerners to ask whether it was good or bad. Some scholars labeled this 500-year explosion of Western activity as “progress,” which is based on the idea that history moves from “worse” to “better.” Others have argued that “progress” simply means “progression” and history is a meandering and meaningless series of events, each collapsing into the next. This is an interesting and worthy debate, and we will explore it, but we must also get the history right. That’s the goal of this course. It will introduce you to the broad trends and big events in Western history from the 1500s to now. It will also help you understand how and why historians write about the past, which will aid your own thoughts about the meaning of history.
HIST 005 Mediterranean Civilization (GH, IL) (Dorabiala)
This course provides students with a fundamental understanding of the history of the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean from the third millennium B.C. to the first millennium A.D. The readings and discussions will focus on the major political, social, economic, religious, and cultural developments in the Near East, Greece, and Rome. The purpose of the course is to develop a comparative understanding of different cultures and their connections to one another over time and to recognize their contributions to the modern world.
HIST 010 World History I (GH, IL) McNicholas
This course explores world history from ancient times to about 1500. We will travel across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania, meeting the first civilizations and witnessing the emergence of major empires, religious and philosophical traditions, and growing interregional contacts spreading commodities, technologies, and ideas across the globe. In addition to textbook coverage, we will deepen our knowledge through weekly engagement with primary sources from around the world.
HIST 011 World History II (GH, IL) Page
HIST 011 surveys the past five hundred years of the world’s history. Coverage begins roughly 1500 C.E., as this marks the beginning of the increasingly intense commercial, military, and cultural interaction between Europeans and the peoples of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Emphases include early European exploration and exploitation of other parts of the globe; colonialism, industrialization, nationalism, imperialism, and the diverse responses they have elicited; and realignments in the wake of world wars, decolonization, and superpower rivalry.
HIST 012 History of Pennsylvania (GH, US) Frederick
Pennsylvania is appropriately known as the “Keystone State.” Long before European colonists settled the region, the area was shaped by centuries of Native American life. Centered at the forefront of colonial affairs in the centuries that followed, “Penn’s Woods” was established with the high ideals of justice and opportunity. During the American and Industrial Revolutions, Pennsylvania was at the forefront of the ideas, technology, and battles that molded a young nation. Equally important was Pennsylvania during the Civil War and the following years as a bastion of industry and agriculture. The state remained a hub of commerce and mechanization until the deindustrialization of the 1960s and 1970s stripped away the lifeblood of many communities. Shaped by geography, altered by pioneers, fueled by industry, forged by war, and remade through innovation, the state’s tale is a microcosm of the American story.
HIST 020 American Civilization to 1877 (GH, US) Keiter
This course introduces the social, cultural, and political histories of what we now know as the United States. Rather than seeking to drill into your heads a series of dates and “facts,” We’ll explore the ways in which various individuals and groups navigated their historical moments. We will pay particular attention to multiple kinds and expressions of power – political, social, cultural, and economic – in the unfolding of American history from the arrival of humans to the end of Reconstruction. In what ways is power manifest, or hidden, at particular historical moments? How do individuals and groups struggle to obtain or protect their power? How do ideas gain power over the minds of individuals, groups, the nation? We’ll discuss how many current debates and controversies are rooted in the unresolved tensions that took shape in early America.
HIST 021 US Civilization Since 1877 (GH, US) Frederick
This course seeks to give students a better understanding of the historical people, events, and forces that shaped American nationhood and culture from the Civil War to the present. In the wake of the country’s deadliest war, definitions of freedom and personal liberty changed greatly. However, many challenges remained and an ever-growing number of citizens, including immigrants, desired to live the American Dream. We shall begin with the Civil War and look at the failures and successes of its aftermath. This chain of events leads us to the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century when conflict between the nation’s richest and poorest defined an era. Still, the growth of American influence at this time transformed the country into a world power. With this power came the ability to wage various wars for numerous purposes. Finally, we shall explore post-WWII society and how it gave birth to the society in which we live today. When all is said and done, students will have a broader appreciation of the struggles and triumphs that have defined American life in the past 160 years.
HIST 021 US Civilization Since 1877 (GH, US) Labriola
What does it mean to be “civilized?” What does it mean to be “barbarous?” In this course we will explore American (United States) History from the post-Civil War era to the present. During this exploration, we will make our own interpretations as to what “civilized” or “barbarous” means as related to the events that have occurred within this time span. We will discuss key notions and topics such as: American Political History, American Military History, Social Darwinism, Racism, Nativism, The Industrial Revolution, Imperialism, Manifest Destiny, Westward Expansion, Xenophobia, Propaganda, World War I, The Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, The Great Depression, World War II, Eugenics, Totalitarianism, The Cold War Years (Korea, Vietnam, The Civil Rights Movement, American Counterculture in the 1960’s, the disillusionment of the 1970’s), Isolationism, Collective Security, Capitalism, Communism, Democracy, Advancements in Technology, Escapism, Conspiracy Theories, Political Corruption, Terrorism, and much more. Upon inspecting and investigating these distinct periods and themes in American History, we will then assess what benefits, damages, and effects they had (or still have) on the American people and the American nation. We will utilize various mediums to analyze these historical events and eras, such as: Books, Documentaries, TV series, Movies, Music, Art, and Popular Culture. The aim of this course is to give students’ the opportunity to express and showcase their own ideas and opinions pertaining to the diverse themes and topics presented in class, as well as allow them to come to their own conclusions about how these themes and topics shaped, and continue to shape American Civilization.
HIST 100 Ancient Greece (Cross-Listed with CAMS 100) Findley
In a chronological study, four moments stand out as monuments to the pivotal role of Greece in the history of the Mediterranean world. Homer’s epic poetry, especially the Iliad, became the foundation of “Greekness” in a process of oral compilation during the Greek dark ages. Herodotus’ Histories tell the story of Greek culture at the acme of its importance, fending off the Persian expeditions whose purpose was to bring the Greek city states within the full purview of its Mesopotamian empire. Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War tells the rather more tragic tale of the internecine self-destruction rendered by Greek cities’ war upon each other. Plato’s Republic is the beginning of a more internally focused perspective, that will be the basis of Western intellectualism even now. This class will extend our understanding of the contribution of Greece to the course of world history by close reading of these documents, and also by projects in archaeology, art history, and comparative cultural studies. Expect to spend oodles of time marveling at the strangeness of a culture that many unthinkingly assume to have been our direct and unproblematic antecedent!
HIST 103 The History of Madness, Mental Illness, and Psychiatry (GH, IL) Page
This course will be an introduction to the history of "madness," examining and evaluating the ideas that have shaped perceptions of unreason, insanity, and mental illness over the centuries. Students will become acquainted with the ways in which human biology, culture, society, and politics have reciprocally shaped one another in history.
HIST 121 The Holocaust (Cross-Listed with JST 121) (GH, IL) Andrews
The Holocaust was the only logical conclusion to Nazi Ideology. This ideology, a volatile mixture of eugenic and occult theories and practices, was forged in the crucible of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It took on a distinct character in Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. To Hitler, the disintegration of society and culture was a direct result of racial denigration. The restoration of racial, cultural, and spiritual health, required the institution of race laws, forced sterilization and institutionalized murder.
HIST 124 Western Medicine (GH, IL) Eicher
What is illness? What is medicine? Why and how does our understanding of these seemingly basic and intuitive concepts change across time? As you may guess, both illness and its treatment(s) have no timeless or objective reality. Rather, they are reflections of a society’s subjective ideas of a “normal” human mind and body, its notions of “good” and “bad” health, and a platform to make claims about culture, politics, religion, society, labor, gender, the economy, and the environment. The societies we focus on in this course fall under the broad designating of “Western Civilization” (in other words, Europe and the Americas). We will examine major developments in this region’s understanding of health, illness, medicine, and medical practice from ancient times to the present. Using a wide range of materials—primary sources, history books, novels, images, and documentaries—this course expands students’ knowledge about the history of Western medicine and nuances students’ perspectives on its changing assumptions and practices.
HIST 144 WORLD AT WAR (GH, US, IL), Andrews
Claiming over 60 million lives, 2.5% of the world’s population, World War II gripped the entire world and changed it forever. It was fought on the seas and oceans, in the air and on the beaches, in fields and streets, and in hedgerows and mountain passes. Entire cities were obliterated. Seeds of discontent and future destruction were sewn. This war was fought by men and women, most of whom, only out of the absolute necessity of the moment, became soldiers. This is their story. It is a story of human beings caught in a maelstrom of perverse ideology and a struggle for survival. It is key to understanding the present.
HIST 161 The Battle of Gettysburg (GH, US) Frederick
The Battle of Gettysburg was perhaps the most tumultuous event in the history of the nation. Even before it ended, ordinary citizens realized its significance. What was the importance of this struggle? How and why has it been remembered? In this course we seek answers to these questions by examining Gettysburg’s evolution as a historic shrine for people all around the world. In the coming weeks, we will learn about the battle and what this momentous conflict represents to Americans then and now.
HIST 174 East Asia to 1800 (GH, IL) McNicholas
History 174 explores China, Japan, and Korea from ancient times to the eve of the modern age. We will travel through China from the beginnings of civilization to the perfection of the empire; Korea from early states and confederations to unified kingdom; and Japan from the age of chiefdoms and early emperors to military rule (the shogunates). We will see East Asia emerge as a region of political and cultural interaction, and also witness early contacts with the West. Along the way we will explore the evolution of Confucianism and other philosophical traditions, and the spread of Buddhism from India to China, Korea, and Japan. We will deepen our knowledge through weekly engagement with primary sources from all three countries. No prior knowledge of Asian history is required; just bring your curiosity.
HIST 184 Society and Culture in the Pacific War (GH, IL) Frederick
This course examines will explore the origins, nature, and consequences of World War II in the Pacific. Moving beyond the common American focus on the war merely as a U.S. vs. Japanese conflict, it will explore the different nations, political movements, ideologies, and empires that clashed across Asia and the Pacific from 1931 to 1945. Topics include the culture and society of modern Asia in the periods immediately before, during and after the Pacific War. This course looks at social and historical roots of the war across Asia from the 1890s to the present to better understand the causes of the war and the affect it had on people throughout Asia. Later, the class will delve into the combat, campaigns, and controversies that marked the particularly brutal nature of the war. Through lectures, primary sources, guest presenters, and film, students will gain broad understandings of this pivotal event and its enduring cultural legacies.
HIST 197 Special Topics: The Mongol Empire, McNicholas
In the thirteenth century the Mongols erupted out of central Asia to create the largest empire the world had ever known. It stretched from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean, conquering Persia, Russia, China, and many states and peoples in between. We will follow this enormous empire from origins to aftermath, beginning with the life and times of Genghis Kahn and exploring the conquests (and near-conquests, from Poland to Java); the khanates and the nature of Mongol rule; adaptations to local cultures and encouragement of the Silk Roads trade; resistance, rebellion, and the Mongol collapse; new states on the peripheries and in the wreckage; and impacts and legacies down to the present day. We will take a long view of the Mongols in world history, but also ride close to the ground through eyewitness accounts and other primary sources from across the empire. No prerequisites; just bring your curiosity.
HIST 203N History of Monsters, Aliens and the Supernatural (GH, GS, US, IL), Andrews
In History 203N, we will traverse the tales of Alexander the Great's battle with dragons and otherworldly forces as told by the Persian poet Ferdowsi. We will explore the ancient Indian tale of Rama, avatar of Vishnu, and his apocalyptic struggle with Ravana, the Demon king. We will visit the mystery of Atlantis as told by Plato and the fog-shrouded Anglo Saxon world through the ancient tale of Beowulf as he slays the monster Grendel and his vengeful mother. We will explore Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and the moral challenges faced in the emerging scientific world. We will travel to Haiti to unlock the mystery of zombies, the zombification drug, and possession ceremonies overseen by Vodoun priests. We will explore local stories of werewolves, the international character the vampire, Bigfoot, the Yeti and UFO's. We will visit diverse peoples and mysterious lands stretching across the centuries.
HIST 292N Witches and Witchcraft from the Middle Ages to the Present (GA, GH, US, IL), Andrews
There is much more to the history of witchcraft than what goes bump in the night, cauldrons of boiling concoctions or magical broomsticks. There is a deep and abiding mystery of human beings woven into the fabric of nature. Nature was a book that demanded to be read. Unlocking its secrets, required one to walk across the leaves of great book of nature. In this light, we will explore the work of midwives and country doctors, herbalists and alchemists with their arcane practices. We will examine the tools of healing and concoctions of death. We will visit the otherworldly realms of the alchemists and hermetic scholars. We will examine the mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials and consider spectral evidence. We will consider the motives of the witch hunters and the institutions and documents that justified their practices. Last, but not least, we will determine the metamorphosis of the so-called witch and witchcraft in the modern world and on the world stage.
HIST 302 Undergrad Seminar (Writing Across the Curriculum) Page
History is the story of what has happened. Usually, historians like to include people in this story, but we can also talk about the world having a history long before any people turned up. Indeed, everything has a history, even history itself. Students will become familiar with the story of history and trace its development in the Western world from the age of the mythic heroes of ancient Greece right up to the present. Students will discover that a few things have changed along the way, including what counts as evidence, the way history is researched, and even how time is conceptualized. Students will learn what a word like telos means and why it is important. By the end of the course students will be able to identify the changes and the continuities in the writing of history through the application of the principles that we’ve studied throughout the semester. This includes the ancient period to the present. Students will also be able to recognize the changing methodologies that historians have used to create a record of the past. They will also be able to create abstracts of oral interviews to be used by researchers at the Flight 93 National Memorial. Prerequisite: 4th semester standing.
HIST 435 Topics in European History: Migrants and Refugees in Modern Europe, 1914-Present Eicher
Why do people migrate? What is a refugee “crisis?” How does history help us understand current debates about migrants and refugees in Europe? The creation of European nation-states in the 19th century implied that humans belonged to settled national communities. In the 20th century, the Holocaust, decolonization, the rise and decline of communism, and two extremely brutal (and some less brutal) wars challenged this assumption. The result was both the voluntary and forced movement of tens of millions of people to all points across Europe and around the world. Assuming that refugees and migrants are “problems” that require “solutions,” 21st century Europeans continue to struggle with the fact that national borders are usually more porous than they are sealed. The thesis of this course is that Europe is an important node in an increasingly globalized world and represents a paradoxical situation in which human mobility is both encouraged and discouraged. Using a wide range of sources, this class investigates mobility on (and beyond) the European continent through the lenses of culture, gender, race, ethnicity, and religion.
HIST 453 American Environmental History, Black
History 453 explores the American relationship with the natural environment over time—its environmental history. A unique cultural dynamic, this human relationship with nature operates on conceptual and physical levels, as well as on personal and national scales. Our survey will consider symbolic ideas of nature as they appear in literature or popular culture as well as evolving scientific ideas that become portions of federal law and regulation. We will give careful consideration to environmental policies and the ideas from which they develop so that we will be better equipped to critique past and present land-use policies.