History Courses for Spring 2020
HIST 1: 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 2: Western Civilization II (GH, IL) Eicher
The last 500 years have witnessed more changes in human life than the preceding 5,000 years. Much of this change was provoked by events in “the West” and particularly in Europe. In order to 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 is destiny and it 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 but first, we must get the history right.
This course will introduce you to the broad trends and big events in Western history from the 1500s until the 2000s. 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 10: World History I (GH; IL) McNicholas
HIST 10 explores the political, economic, and cultural history of the world to about 1500, from early human societies to the emergence of complex civilizations and empires; major religious and philosophical traditions; interregional contacts spreading commodities, technologies, and ideas; and the great maritime expansions of the fifteenth century.
In addition to textbook coverage, we will deepen our knowledge by working with primary sources from around the pre-modern world. Assignments include weekly readings, in-class group work, a library research exercise, and a short analytical paper using evidence from primary sources to make a historical argument.
HIST 11: World History II (GH, IL) Page
HIST 11 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 12: 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 various pioneers, fueled by industry, forged by war, and remade through innovation, the state’s tale is a microcosm of the American story.
HIST 20: 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 21: US Civilization from 1877 (GH, US) Frederick
This course will seek 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 the conflict between the nation’s richest and poorest defined a generation. Still, the growth of American influence at this time transformed the country into a world power. With this power came the ability to wage or even begin a war, which will be this class’s second focus. 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 150 years.
HIST 66: Survey of British History (GH & IL) Page
British History is a lot more than the story of white people with accents. As noted historian Simon Schama argues, "To collude in the minimization of British history on the grounds of its imagined irrelevance to our rebranded national future, or from a suspicion that it does no more than recycle patriotic pieties unsuited to a global marketplace, would be an act of appallingly self-inflicted collective memory loss." History 066 will ensure that you don't become one of those minimizers.
This course will take you from the beginnings of settlement to the bloody rebellion against the Roman rule to the game-changing battle of Hastings to the terrifying rampage of Jack the Ripper to the rediscovery of Britain in the post-colonial world.
The objectives of this course are that you 1) develop an understanding of the major political, cultural, and intellectual developments of the British Isles and its peoples from ancient times to the present; (2) examine the causes and consequences of imperial rise and fall; (3) analyze objects that represent historically significant episodes within British History; and (4) critically evaluate Britain's influence on other nations and cultures, including that of the United States.
HIST 101: The Roman Republic and Empire (GH, IL) Findley
This course will follow Rome from its origins as a small hill town next to an iron-age trading route, its growth into a regional power, and finally its mutation into, in the words of Carlin Barton, “the great white shark that devoured the Mediterranean.” The economic, political, and social structures that supported this growth will be the focus of study. Students will also find the answers to questions of a more nuanced sort, like, “how bad did Rome really smell?” (hint: stinky, really, really stinky). Cross-listed with CAMS 101
HIST 104: Ancient Egypt (GH) Dorabiala
Using ancient Egyptian texts and material culture as a basis, this course surveys the emergence and development of the civilization of the ancient Egyptians from their prehistoric origins to their incorporation into the Roman Empire. Subsequent lectures cover Egyptian political and social organization, religion, art, architecture, and warfare; the daily lives of Egypt’s inhabitants; and finally, Egyptian funerary customs. This course is designed to provide the students with an opportunity to gain a basic knowledge of one of the world’s most fascinating cultures and to develop an understanding of its diligent administration and well-organized hierarchical system that fostered centuries of stability and prosperity. Cross-listed with CAMS 104
HIST 124: Western Medicine (GH, IL) Eicher
This course explores the history of health, illness, and medicine in western society. Relying on both primary and secondary sources, the course examines major developments in the understanding of health, illness, medical treatment, and medical practice in western society from Ancient Egypt to the present, but especially over the last 250 years. The course will explore such themes as the changing status of medical practitioners, the experience of patients in different historical settings, artistic depictions of illness and healing, and the increasingly prominent role of medicine in public policy in order to better understand the links between medicine and its social, cultural, intellectual, and political contexts. Cross-listed with STS 124.
HIST 130: Introduction to the Civil War Era, 1848-1877 (GH, US) Frederick
The Civil War is often called the most important episode of American History. Three million people fought. Some 700,000 died. Four million were freed. The destiny of a nation was forever changed as a result. We shall examine the war’s long term causes, ideas, leaders, battles, people, and everlasting consequences. Students will learn about these different factors by examining each in-depth through readings, presentations, and original research. The course will incorporate various teaching tools including photos, letters, newspapers, maps, documentaries, and movies. We will also examine how the war has been commemorated by society. Finally, we will travel to at least two Civil War battlefields to experience history and tourism ourselves. We shall gain additional insights by speaking with historians and professionals who maintain the sites for future generations. In the end, students will gain a higher appreciation of America’s bloodiest war and why it continues to shape our contemporary society.
HIST 141: Medieval and Modern Russia (GH, IL) Dorabiala
This course surveys the significant political, economic, social, and cultural developments that shaped Russia from the foundation of Kievan Rus in the 800s to the collapse of the Romanov dynasty in 1917. Major topics covered include the controversial origins of the Rus, conversion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Mongol Yoke, the rise of Moscow, Muscovite absolutism, Westernization, Russian national identity, and Russian autocracy. Through secondary literature, we will examine the key interpretations and on-going debates in Russian history. We will also read, analyze, and interpret primary sources in order to understand the Russian past.
HIST 143: History of Fascism and Nazism (GH, IL) Andrews
Like a moth to a flame, the student of history can be mesmerized by the dark and enigmatic movements of Fascism and Nazism. Hobnailed boots, mustachioed dictators, and lightning war reverberate in some dark corner of the human psyche. When the historian of the Western World turns his gaze to the past, he is met by the abyss that was World War II. The world of light and man becomes Dante's inferno; Hades resides in the upper world. No amount of reason or imagination can seemingly account for the brutality and inhumanity that becomes institutionalized in a Twentieth-Century Christian Europe. The fruits of technological achievements are turned from mass production to mass extermination as the notion of inalienable human rights is cast in the dustbin of history. The remedy to this malady: incendiary bombing, invasion, and a world at war.
History 151: Technology and Society in American History (GS, US) Weisel
This version of HIST 151 will focus on the railroad industry. The course shows that, without railroads, the United States would not have become the United States. We will investigate how the rail industry affected everything from America’s economic development to the daily life of its citizens, from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Along the way, we will show how and why the federal government regulated the industry, how changing technology brought new challenges to the industry, its customers and its workers, and how different social communities were affected by and contributed to the industry. Cross-listed with STS 151.
HIST 166: History of Sexuality (GH, US) Keiter
Why do we care so much about who has sex with whom and how? How did we arrive at our current “obvious” understanding of sexual behavior and identity? HIST/WMNST 166 explores how ideas and practices of sexuality have changed over the last 400 years and how ideas about sexuality are also ideas about power and social order. We’ll explore questions like: Have there always been homosexuals – or heterosexuals? How has the relationship between gender identity and sexuality changed over time? How do race and class come into play? How have “normal” and “deviant” sexuality been defined over time – and why has it changed? Is sex work empowering or exploitative? What forces led to the #MeToo movement? You’ll leave this course with a better grasp of why Americans continue to debate about what constitutes “good,” “bad,” and “normal” sexual behavior. Cross-listed with WMNST 166.
HIST 173: Vietnam in War and Peace (GH, IL) Andrews
The History of Vietnam and the Vietnam War hold a special place in the life and history of America. Its powerful influence helped to shape the psyche of a generation contributing to social introspection and civil unrest against a backdrop of the Cold War, political assassinations, and counter-culturalism. This course examines the history of Vietnam and America's involvement in that history. Special emphasis will be placed on the conduct and individual experience of the Vietnam War.
HIST 175: Modern East Asia (GH, IL) McNicholas
History 175 surveys the histories of China, Japan, and Korea from about 1600 to the present. Coverage includes traditional states and societies on the eve of engagement with the West, foreign intrusion in the nineteenth century, reformist and revolutionary currents, and the construction of new social and cultural orders in the twentieth century; in short, the making of modern East Asia.
In addition to textbook coverage, we will deepen our knowledge by working with primary sources. Assignments include weekly readings, in-class group work, a library research exercise, and a short analytical paper using evidence from primary sources to make a historical argument. No prior knowledge of Asian history is required.
HIST 195: Genocide in Global perspectives: Twentieth Century and beyond (GH, IL) Andrews
“To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.” Elie Wiesel
The word genocide evokes acrid images that haunt the historical landscape of the modern world. The death camp, ethnic cleansing, and terror famine have become an inseparable part of our human legacy. What is genocide? Why does it happen? Can it be prevented? This course will primarily explore the Twentieth Century occurrence of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Some of its areas of focus will be Armenia, Nazi Germany, Ukraine, Cambodia, Bosnia/ Kosovo, and Rwanda. Cross-listed with JST 195.
HIST 203Y: History of Monsters, Aliens, and the Supernatural (GH, US, IL) Writing across the curriculum. Andrews
History 203 traverses through the tales of Alexander the Great's battle with dragons as told by the Persian Poet Ferdowsi, Rama's apocalyptic struggle with the Demon king Ravana, Beowulf's slaying of Grendel, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, the mystery of Haitian zombies, werewolves, vampires, Bigfoot and UFO's. Students will create their own monsters, infusing them with physical attributes and abilities to rival their historical counterparts.
HIST 429: Europe in the Age of Nationalism, 1789-1914. Eicher
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan demanded Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Soviet Union, to “tear down this wall!” separating East and West Germany. Yet of his own country he once said that “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” With these statements, Reagan assumed that nations are simultaneously organic and artificial. They exist in spite of walls and because of them. They are, in fact, whatever he wants them to be.
This class is hopefully a bit more clear-headed. We will examine nations not as concrete entities but as ideas that are malleable, mobile, and subject to the whims of human imagination.
Over the course of the semester, we will analyze nations as “imagined communities,” that share “invented traditions,” which often tell us more about what a group of people aspires to than who they actually are. Although the course focuses on the history of European nationalism, it will also provide students with an overview of nineteenth-century French and German history, rural history, and the effects of industrialization on labor and gender.
HIST 497 Special Topics: Crime and Society in Chinese History. McNicholas
This course uses crime as a window on Chinese culture and society from ancient times to the present. Exploring a different theme or topic each week, we will read canonical texts, case records, popular literature, and secondary works by modern scholars to explore evolving concepts of crime and justice and their relationship to social order in China from the Warring States period (403-221 BCE) to the end of the twentieth century.
This is a reading, discussion, and writing course, with mini-lectures interspersed as necessary. Assignments will include short (one-page) weekly reading analyses, a three- to five-page analytical essay, and a 15-page research paper on a topic of your choice. Each student will also lead at least one class discussion and make a short oral presentation on his or her research project at the end of the semester.
Although this is an upper-level course, you do not have to be an expert in Asian studies to take it. Above all, bring your curiosity.