Departmental Curriculum According to the 2011 Catalog
Eleven courses distributed as follows:
- 2 Courses in American history
- 2 Courses in European history
- 3 Courses Selected from Global (African, Middle Eastern or Asian) history
- 2 Elective Courses in history
- HIST 300 Historiography
- HIST 497 Advanced Research and Writing or HIST 480 Senior Capstone Seminar
These 11 courses must include:
At least five 300- or 400-level courses. These will include HIST 300 Historiography and either HIST 497 Advanced Research and Writing or HIST 480 Senior Capstone Seminar. Students will choose three other 300- or 400-level courses.
The department strongly recommends that students take HIST 300: Historiography during the sophomore or junior year, before they take HIST 480 or HIST 497 as their senior capstone.
History majors interested in pursuing a graduate degree are strongly recommended to acquire as much proficiency as possible in one or more foreign languages. Your advisor can help you to determine which language is most relevant.
Students seeking a minor in history will take 6 courses distributed in the following manner:
- 1 course in American history
- 1 course in European history
- 2 courses selected from Global (African, Middle Eastern or Asian) history
- 2 elective courses in history
Senior Capstone Experience
For their Senior Capstone Experience, history majors will choose between HIST 480 Senior Capstone Seminar and HIST 497 Advanced Research and Writing. HIST 480 focuses primarily on developing editing and public presentation skills, while HIST 497 requires students to write an original research paper of at least 25 pages in length.
General Topics Courses
HIST 190 - History & Film (HP)
This course subjects films on historical topics to discussion and analysis. It probes how filmmakers treat historical subjects and introduces students to the methods historians might use in evaluating the accuracy and impact of such films.
HIST 300 - Historiography (HP, W2)
This course focuses on two major topics: ways of historical thinking and methods of historical research. Among the varied topics of consideration are: historical method, the philosophy of history, the history of historical writing, the life and works of several historians, and conflicting interpretations of historical events.
HIST 480 - Senior Capstone Seminar (HP)
This course focuses on intensive editing and public presentation of students' papers from previous coursework in the department, using historical methods and scholarly literature in the field. Prerequisite: HIST 300.
HIST 497 - Advanced Research and Writing (HP)
This year-long course begins in the fall semester of the senior year. It is directed toward the production of a substantial piece of historical writing based, in large part, on primary sources. Working closely with an advisor, students devise a topic and conduct research. They also meet together with other students in the course and their mentors in a seminar format in which they will read each other’s work and offer their evaluation of that work. Students interested in enrolling in this course should consult their advisor during the spring semester of the junior year. Students who wish to enroll in this course should also have their basic departmental research requirement (an R course) completed by the end of the junior year. Prerequisite: consent of the department.
American History Courses
HIST 110-A - America to 1865 (HP)
This course is an introduction to United States history and to history as a scholarly discipline. The course focuses on the theme of "defining American community" and will span from pre-Columbian Native America to the American Civil War. We will come to an understanding of early America by considering how different American communities sought to shape society, economy, culture, and the natural environment to reflect their experiences, needs, and aspirations. We also will consider the nature of historical interpretation and learn to evaluate historical arguments.
HIST 111-A - America since 1865 (HP)
The course examines the major political, social, cultural, and economic themes in American History since the end of the Civil War. Special attention will be given to the increasingly significant role played by the United States in international affairs in this era. The course will also introduce students to how historians work to construct interpretations of the past.
HIST 140-A Leisure in America (HP)
What is the place of leisure in a country that has traditionally defined itself through the Protestant work ethic? From minstrel shows to film,
from ballroom dance to sports, from vaudeville to NASCAR, we will be examining what leisure can tell us about American life in the past and present. Special emphasis will be placed upon variations in recreational habits across lines of age, region, gender, class, race, and ethnicity.
HIST 150-A Great Wars, the Great Depression, and the Great Gatsby,1914-1945 (HP)
This period between 1914 and 1945 was a time of hardships that tested the American people, producing spectacular changes in the nation’s role in the world, in leisure and consumerism, and in the place of government in people’s everyday lives. We will focus on topics such as civil liberties during World War I and World War II, radicalism during the Great Depression, race and the military, and social change during the “flapper” era of the 1920s.
HIST 212-A American Environmental History (HP, VA, CW)
This course examines the use and transformation of the American environment from the pre-Columbian era to the present. The course also pays careful attention to the interpretations and perceptions of nature, wilderness, and the environment that various Americans held and developed over this period. This approach allows students to appreciate the crucial role that the environment and ideas about nature played in the American past, deepening understanding of the nation’s history, identity, and relationship with the environment. Further, by focusing on conceptions of nature as well as the physical interaction between people and their environment, this course challenges students to see the ways in which a cultural perspective is critical to understanding environmental issues.
HIST 213-A Travel in America (HP)
This course examines the place of travel in America, seeing the movement of people, goods, and ideas as a constitutive part of both the development and identity of the nation. Looking at the experiences of both real and fictional American travelers such as Hernando de Soto, Huck Finn and Jim, and Thelma and Louise, the course explores the impact and meaning of westward exploration and expansion, the American System and the transportation revolution of the antebellum era, the coasting trade of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Great Migration, the interstate highway system, and other aspects of travel and its influence in American History.
HIST 214-A - Poverty and Welfare in America (HP)
This class uses primary and secondary sources to examine the many ways in which Americans have understood the existence of poverty and the poor. With emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we will investigate the roots of poverty in the American economic system, in order to examine why so many people remain poor in the richest nation on earth. We will also look at the evolution and larger macroeconomic purposes of the American welfare state. Whenever possible, we will also use first hand accounts by poor people and antipoverty activists themselves, in order to let them tell their own stories in their own voices.
HIST 217-A The American West (HP)
This course provides a history of the American West from European colonization and settlement to the present. Issues explored over the
course of the semester include migration and settlement, the exploitation of peoples and resources, federal power and intervention, western community and urban form, and tourism. At the same time, the course focuses on the ways myths of the West have made the region into a simulacrum for American identity and ideals, obscured the realities of western history, justified the degradation of the environment, and countenanced the appropriation of land and abuse of peoples in the region. The course finishes by examining the current conflicts and problems facing the West in the twenty-first century and challenges students to see them as a part of the long history of the region.
HIST 218-A - Progressive Era Reform, 1890-1920 (HP)
Over the past thirty or forty years, historians have gone from idolizing Progressive-Era reformers and demonizing political bosses, to practically the reverse. In this course, we will use primary and secondary sources to examine the creation of the boss-reformer paradigm during the Progressive Era, and its rediscovery by historians in the 1960s and 70s. Then we will look at more recent attempts to unpack the ethnic, racial, class, and gender dynamics behind the paradigm. We will investigate who had what kind of power in Progressive-Era cities, and what we can learn from the past about the society in which we live today. (S)
HIST 230-A - Native North America until 1815 (HP)
This course will study the diverse experiences of American Indians from their initial peopling of the continent until 1815. Topics that will be addressed include the development of prehistoric cultural traditions, Indian responses to colonialism, and Indian influences on the emergence of Euroamerican communities in North America. In addition, the course will introduce students to the various scholarly methods associated with ethnohistory. (PM)
HIST 231-A - Native North America since 1815 (HP)
This course will study the diverse experiences of American Indians since the era of Removal. Topics that will be addressed include the development of the reservation system, Western expansion and the Indians of the Trans-Mississippi West, and persistence and adaptation in the Twentieth Century.
HIST 256-A - The American Century, 1945-Present (HP)
The post-1945 period was an era of
dramatic change in American history, one whose repercussions still shape
the world in which we live today. In this course, we will focus on some
of the major developments of the period, including the Cold War, the
civil Rights Movement, and the dramatic shift in gender roles that has
changed the lives of both women and men. We will also cover related
subjects, such as the domestic war on poverty, and the foreign war in
HIST 270-A - Arkansas History (HP)
A history of Arkansas from earliest times to the present.
HIST 290-A African American History to 1865 (HP)
This course examines the major topics in African American history from the emergence of the ancient African Kingdoms to the Civil War.
Emphasis will be placed on the use of a multidimensional approach to analyze African American culture, lifestyles, and related issues. Major themes related to the African American experience in America, as well as experiences throughout antebellum society, will be examined. (PM)
HIST 295-A African American History since 1865 (HP)
This course examines the major topics in African American history from the Civil War to the end of the Civil Rights era. Emphasis is placed on the use of a multidimensional approach to analyze African American culture, lifestyles, and related issues. Major themes such as racism, assimilation, separatism, Pan-Africanism, desegregation, and civil rights are examined. (S)
HIST 351-A - American Revolutionary Era (HP)
An exploration of the political, social, and intellectual forces that propelled the North American British colonies into rebellion. The course also examines the war itself and evaluates the revolutionary settlement defined in the making of the Constitution. (R, PM)
HIST 353-A - American Civil War and Reconstruction (HP)
Offers an analysis of the sectional conflict leading to the secession crisis, the impact of the war on American society, and the reunification of the nation during Reconstruction. Within all three topics the course will be fundamentally concerned with the shifting meanings of freedom in American life. (R)
HIST 357-A America in the Age of Jefferson and Jackson (HP)
This course surveys the evolution of American society, politics, and culture from the nation’s first years under the Constitution to the sectional crisis of the 1850s. Themes include the meaning and limits of liberty and citizenship, the development and impact of industrialization, the emergence of liberal Protestantism, discourse surrounding race and slavery, the rise of sectionalism, and westward migration and Manifest Destiny. Throughout, the course will focus on how these intertwined events and ideas affected and influenced both national affairs and the lives of individuals. In addition to exploring the period through readings, lectures, and class discussions, students will also complete a historiographical or primary research paper that will provide another opportunity to delve into the history of the early republic and antebellum eras. (S)
HIST 360-A - Vietnam and the 60’s (HP, CW)
This course will examine the Vietnam War in the context of the social upheavals of the 1960s. Starting with the supposedly quiescent periods of the late 1940s and 1950s, we will look at the war in the context of Cold War politics, the Civil Rights Movement, and other domestic conflicts. We will think about the class, racial, and gender dynamics of the war. Last but not least, we will read Vietnamese perspectives on the war, in order to illuminate why our involvement there had such tragic results. (R)
HIST 378-A Transcendentalism and Ninetheenth-Century American Culture (HP, LS)
Despite emerging as a major force in American culture after the publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Nature,” in 1836, the movement always remained amorphous. It drew from many realms of culture, including religion, politics, literature and the arts, and various social reform activities. This course examines the transcendental movement—its origins and development, seminal works and thinkers, critics and reactionaries—and its influences on American culture— including abolitionism, educational reform, utopianism, literature, women’s rights, nature appreciation, and other aspects of nineteenthcentury American life. (S)
HIST 420-A - Topics in American History (HP)
A seminar or research course devoted to a particular topic in American history. Student suggestions for the selection of a topic are especially encouraged. Topics might focus on particular historical epochs, individuals, movements or themes. (S or R, depending upon the topic and structure of the course)
European History Courses
HIST 169-E Modern Europe, 1789-1945 (HP)
This course surveys European developments between 1789 and 1945. Particular attention is given to the major powers of Europe. Topics include Europe’s revolutions, the rise of the nation-state, and warfare.
HIST 170-E - Contemporary Europe (CW, HP)
This course aims to provide students with historical perspective on a variety of current problems and issues. Concentrating on the period since 1945, major topics covered include the decline and fall of the Soviet Union, the Cold War and its aftermath, welfare state democracy and its prospects, European responses to environmental problems, and the ongoing development of the European Union. Political, diplomatic, and economic developments are stressed.
HIST 221-E - England to 1688 (HP)
Beginning with Roman Britain, this course traces the social, cultural, political and religious evolution of England up to the Glorious Revolution. Particular attention is given to the growth of the Common Law, the rise of parliament, and other developments of significance to our own country. (PM)
HIST 222-E - England since 1688 (HP)
This course will trace the process of England’s transformation to modernity, concentrating on social and cultural, as well as political and economic changes. Students will also consider the rise and fall of England as an imperial power and as a great power in Europe’s state system.
HIST 224-E German History and the Jewish Question (HP, VA)
This seminar considers the long and often troubling history of German-Jewish interactions. Readings pertain to the treatment of Jews during the medieval Crusades, Protestant reformers’ ideas about Judaism, Enlightenment debates over Jewish identity, Jewish ‘emancipation’ during the Napoleonic Era, Jewish assimilation and integration during the 19th and 20th centuries, the Nazi Era, and Holocaust commemoration. (S)
HIST 225-E Medieval Europe (HP)
Beginning with the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity and ending with the crises of the fourteenth century,including widespread famines and the Black Death, this course covers Western Europe from about 400 to 1400. We will focus on the political, social, cultural, and material changes that marked this period. (PM)
HIST 226-E Renaissance and Reformation Europe (HP)
This course will examine the changes in areas including art, philosophy, medicine, science, printing, exploration, and religion that have
traditionally been labeled the Renaissance and the Reformation in Western Europe during the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. We will
also explore the consequences, both positive and negative, resulting from these changes. (PM)
HIST 227-E Medicine and Disease in Pre-Modern Europe (HP)
Ancient Greek humoral theories about the human body and holistic styles of medical care remained authoritative in Europe until the development of germ theory in the nineteenth century. This course examines the development and dissemination of these and other medical beliefs through medieval and early modern Europe, and also considers the impact of disease on social structures. (PM)
HIST 301-E - Greek Civilization (HP)
An integrated survey of the history, society, art, and literature of ancient Greece, from the Bronze Age through Alexander the Great. No prerequisite. Cross-listed as CLAS 301.
HIST 302-E - Roman Civilization (HP)
An integrated survey of the history, society, art, and literature of ancient Rome, from the early Republic to the height of the Roman Empire. No prerequisite. Cross-listed as CLAS 302.
HIST 317-E Crusades and Contact (HP, SB)
This course will explore the multiple ways in which Europeans viewed other cultures before 1492, and how those other cultures viewed
Europeans. Through travel literature, accounts of wars, romance and even merchant account books, we will discover how Europeans interacted with those whom they imagined as outside their own culture, whether because of where they lived, what religion they practiced, or how they dressed. (S, PM)
HIST 318-E Magic and Witchcraft in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (HP, SB)
This course examines the relationship between magic and religion from the early Middle Ages, through the Great Witch Hunts of the early modern period, and into the Enlightenment and Romantic fictionalizations of the witch figure. We will approach both popular and elite understandings of magic and witchcraft, and the interactions between the two. (S, PM)
HIST 336-A From Reason to Revolution (HP)
This course examines Europe’s turbulent 18th-centry Enlightenment with an eye toward determining the causes of the upheavals that followed. The French Revolution of 1789 and Napoleon Bonaparte’s later conquest of Europe are then considered. Particular attention will be given to intellectual, political, and military history. (S)
HIST 337-A Theories of Nationalism (CW, HP)
This course treats the topic of nationalism within the European context from the 18th century to the present. Students will read scholarly theories about the origin, character, and spread of Europe’s nationalisms and apply those theories to an analysis of nationalist texts from the past and present. (S)
HIST 338-A Crime and Punishment in Medieval Europe (HP, SB)
The Middle Ages saw an increase in governmental control over human behavior though law codes and judicial systems. This course examines those legal mechanisms, looking particularly at changing beliefs about what constitutes a crime, how the justice system should operate, and what kinds of punishments were appropriate. (PM, R)
African, Chinese, and Middle Eastern History Courses
HIST 130-G - Colonial African History (HP)
The second half of the general survey course takes African history up to independence. Covers such topics as the colonial state, resistance movements, problems of independence, and development.
HIST 180-G History in Two Keys: Theatre and Film in Modern China (HP, EA)
Many of the critical issues facing the Chinese people in the twentieth century are represented in theater and cinema. This seminar begins with a survey of Chinese theatrical traditions within a broad historical framework. Then the course will turn to exploring forms of popular performance and the development of Chinese cinema through script analysis, discussion of historical context, and viewings of performances and films. Particular attention is paid to how drama and film offers representations of history, contributes to identity formation, and foments political change in 20th century China. Writing will be a major component of the class. (S)
HIST 228-G The Medieval Islamic World (HP)
This course cover the Islamic world from the foundations of the religion to the early Ottoman Turkish Empire. It will focus on the growth of the early Islamic Empire, its fragmentation, and the development of distinct cultures in Spain, Egypt, and Persia. (PM)
HIST 243-G The Modern Middle East (CW, HP)
This course surveys Middle Eastern political and cultural developments. Particular emphasis is placed on the last 200 years of the region’s history. Topics include the rise of Arab nationalism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the challenges of Islamist movements, and terrorism.
HIST 244-G Modern China (HP)
This course surveys the recent Chinese past from the last imperial dynasty to the late 1980s. It explores the many facets of revolution in China through a study of the people, events, and personalities that have given Chinese history in the past 150 years its dramatic and often tragic tone. Particular attention is also paid to the social, cultural, and intellectual currents that lay behind the more visible manifestations of change.
HIST 245-G Imperial China, 1000-1900 (HP)
This course covers the history of China from the tenth century to the final decade of the imperial order, and deals in the basic elements of social, cultural, and political history. Emphasis will be placed upon two major issues: that of discovering internal, linear change in the Chinese state and society, and that of making sense of China’s decline in the presence of foreign aggression in the nineteenth century. (PM)
HIST 250-G - History of Southern Africa (HP)
This course explores the History of South Africa as a regional powerhouse in the sub-continent. The course begins with the history of the Khoisan, the earliest inhabitants of the sub-continent, and traces developments in the economy, culture and politics to the end of the Apartheid era in 1994. (PM)
HIST 251-G History of Central Africa (HP)
This regional survey explores equatorial Africa, focusing on the social structures that shaped societies of region, the impact of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and finally, the problematic politics of independence. (PM)
HIST 252-G History of East Africa (HP)
This regional survey explores the rich history of East Africa, from the earliest times of cultural and economic exchange to the rise of states and a bustling coastal trade with the Indian Ocean world. The course will also examine how the diversity of colonial powers and experiences impacted the region into the independence period. (PM)
HIST 253-G History of West Africa (HP)
This is a regional survey that examines the history of West African peoples from the agricultural revolution to independence. A central aim of the class is to highlight the diversity of experience in West Africa, culturally, economically, and politically. Major themes include the earliest agricultural synthesis, long-distance trade and its significance, the practice of Islam, the slave trade, and the colonial imprint in the region. (PM)
HIST 280-G - Contemporary Africa (HP, CW)
This course focuses on the challenges of political independence in Africa. Using case studies of selected African countries, this course examines the prospects for democracy, the problems of economic development, the challenges of political corruption, and the legacy of colonialism in Africa today. (R)
HIST 285-G Twentieth Century East Asian-American Relations (HP)
This course provides a general survey of the changing relations between East Asian countries and the United States in the 20th century, with an emphasis on East Asian countries. Beginning with early encounters between East Asia and the U.S., the course will explore the major political, economic, military, and cultural developments, as well as the dynamics underlying them, that have shaped confrontation and cooperation between various East Asian countries and the U.S. in the past 100 years. Offered every other year.
HIST 303-G Shanghai: The City in Late Imperial and Modern China (HP)
This seminar treats the tumultuous history of one of China’s most important cities—Shanghai—in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We will read and discuss several major works of recent scholarship on various aspects of the city, focusing on issues of class formation, organized crime, urban identity, industrial labor, foreign influence, and search for modernity. Students will also be required to write a substantial research paper. Offered every other year. HIST 245-G Imperial China and HIST 244-G Modern China strongly recommended although not required. (R)
HIST 304-G Mao and the Chinese Revolution (HP)
This reading and research seminar provides an opportunity for an indepth investigation of the Chinese Communist revolution, as well as a sophisticated understanding of the role of the person commonly known to have shaped and led the revolution—Mao Zedong. The course will proceed in a chronological order, tracing Mao’s footsteps from his early years as a country boy, a radical student, to his 27-year position as China’s paramount leader. Important topics include the signification of Marxism-Leninism, the emergence of Maoism, the “Continuous Revolution,” China’s position in the world, the Cultural Revolution, and Mao’s legacies for today’s China. Students will also be required to write a comprehensive review essay on a topic of their own choosing. HIST 245-G Imperial China and HIST 244-G Modern China strongly recommended although not required. (S)
HIST 305-G Law and Society in Late Imperial China (HP)
The subject of this seminar is law and judicial practice in Late Imperial China, particularly during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Among the questions we will seek to answer are: What was the purpose of codified law? Upon what basis was such law formulated? What areas of life did law seek to govern? To what degree did codified law either reflect or determine social values? What difference, if any, existed between statutory law and actual judicial practice? And, finally, what can the study of the late imperial legal tradition tell us about Chinese society and culture during this period? We will approach these questions by considering statutory law from two angles; as an instrument of state authority designed to enforce a particular social and political order, and as a field of social interaction within which ordinary people utilized judicial institutions to seek justice and redress for personal grievances. Prerequisites: HIST 245-G Imperial China is strongly recommended. (S, PM)
HIST 310-G The Iraq War
This course examines the Iraq War that began in 2003. While a variety of background topics will be covered, including the United States’ historical relationship with Iraq, Operation “Desert Storm,” and the impact of 9/11 on U.S. policy toward the Middle East, emphasis will be placed on the more immediate build-up to the 2003 war, the execution of that war, and the challenges that face the Iraqi state. (S)
HIST 325-G - Africa and the Americas (HP)
This is an introduction to the interconnected history of the Americas (Brazil, Caribbean, United States) and Africa. We will examine the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on African peoples, and follow the transportation and settlement of enslaved Africans to the Americas. Our focus is the contribution of African peoples to the history, culture and politics of the Americas. (PM, R)
HIST 330-G - Culture and Colonialism (HP, CW)
This seminar focuses on selected readings concerning the cultural impact of colonialism in Africa. Topics include domesticity, health and medicine, etiquette, music and clothing styles, gangsters, films, and Christianity. (S, R)
HIST 334-G Comparative Genocides (CW, HP, VA)
This course examines the major genocides that have occurred during the 20th and 21st centuries. The course’s case-studies include Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, the Balkans, and Darfur. These will be investigated with an eye toward determining the causes of genocide in the modern era. (R)
HIST 341-G The Arab-Israeli Conflict (CW, HP)
This course treats the on-going Arab-Israeli conflict. Emphasis will be placed on the political, military, and social history of the period starting with the rise of Zionism in the late 19th century and continuing through to the conflict’s most recent developments. (S)
HIST 373-G The Ghost of Karl Marx (HP, SB)
Marxism is all but dead, but the spirit of Marx lingers on. In this course, students will closely investigate Marx’s major works and carefully analyze his theoretical treatment of issues such as religion, politics, and capitalism, with special attention to the deep philosophical underpinnings. Additionally, we shall consider how Marx sought to explain human behavior through a critique of the above-mentioned issues. We shall focus particularly on why Marx ultimately rejected politics and the market, what his analytical method entailed, and where he went “wrong.” Finally, by exploring how it was possible that Marx’s theories, articulated in the interests of freedom, came to serve as a justification for oppression. The course presupposes no prior knowledge of the subject, although it does require the ability to read and think carefully.
HIST 430-G Topics in Global History (HP)
This reading course focuses on topics in global history that interest students and the instructor.