Catalog 2020-2021


Teaching Faculty

Professors Berryman, Pfau, Shutt, and Skok 
Associate Professors Hancock and Sprunger(chair)


Major in History

11 courses distributed as follows:

  • 2 courses in American history
  • 2 courses in European history
  • 3 courses in global history
  • 2 elective courses in history
  • HIST 300 Historiography
  • HIST 480 Senior Capstone Seminar

These 11 courses must include: 

  • 3 300- or 400-level courses in addition to HIST 300 Historiography  and HIST 480 Senior Capstone Seminar


History students are urged to acquire a strong background in foreign languages, especially if they intend to pursue graduate study. Specifically, the department recommends that such students take at least one course beyond what is stated in the college foreign language requirement. Many graduate programs require competency in two foreign languages in addition to English.

The department strongly recommends that students take HIST 300 Historiography during either their sophomore or junior year. In preparation for HIST 480 Senior Capstone Seminar, students interested in conducting significant primary source research and producing a substantial paper are encouraged to take HIST 450 Advanced Research and Writing.


Senior Capstone Experience

For the capstone experience, history majors take HIST 480  Senior Capstone Seminar, which focuses on developing editing and public presentation skills and culminates in the presentation of their work at the department's Senior Capstone Conference and the submission of a revised capstone paper. The grade for the senior capstone experience is based on the grades for the final draft of the capstone paper and for the Senior Capstone Conference presentation.

Minor in History

6 courses distributed as follows:

  • 1 course in American history
  • 1 course in European history
  • 2 courses selected from global history
  • 2 elective courses in history

Program Course Listings

The courses for this program are organized into the following categories:

General Topics Courses

HIST 190

History and Film

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 201

Doing History

Students learn about history by playing the roles of historical characters, based on primary sources and rich historical texts, in elaborate and competitive games that allow for multiple outcomes. Possible game topics include Ancient Athens' democracy, the trial of Galileo, the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, women's suffrage, and the negotiations that led to the end of Apartheid.

Historical Perspectives HP
Special Projects SP
Values, Beliefs and Ethics VA
HIST 300


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.

Historical Perspectives HP
Writing Level 2 W2
HIST 365

Designing History Games

In this course, students reseach, write, and design a historically accurate role-playing game. In preparation for their work, students play and evaluate games. Students spend the bulk of their time researching the historical background for the game's story arc, writing characters, and developing game dynamics that help keep the game historically accurate but also allow for unexpected elements to infuence the play of the game. Students should consuld the instructor for the game topic offered in a given year. Students may earn their SP or UR Odyssey credit. Recommended: HIST 201 (but not required)

HIST 201 (but not required)
Historical Perspectives HP
Special Projects SP
HIST 450

Advanced Research and Writing

In this research seminar, advanced students produce a substantial piece of historical writing based on primary sources. In consultation with faculty advisors, students develop and refine a research topic, undertake primary research, and compose their papers. They are also required to participate in regular group and individual editing and feedback sessions in order to refine their research methodology, argument, and writing. History majors who elect to take this course are strongly encouraged to use this paper for HIST 480 Senior Capstone Seminar. Prerequisite: Consent of the department

Consent of the department
Undergraduate Research UR
HIST 480

Senior Capstone Seminar

This course is required for all senior history majors. Students choose an existing paper written for a previous course and engage in an intensive editing process to create a presentation-quality work. Students read and discuss works by professional historians with varying styles and methodological approaches and evaluate each other’s papers in order to develop essential editing skills and refine their papers. They also receive training in public presentation and present their work at the department’s annual Senior Capstone Conference.

Undergraduate Research UR
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American History Courses

HIST 110

North America to 1865

Spanning ancient North America through the American Civil War, this course considers how different North Americans shaped their societies, economies, cultures, and the natural environments that shaped their experiences. Student also consider the nature of historical interpretation and learn to interpret primary documents and evaluate historical arguments.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 111

US History since 1865

This course examines major political, social, cultural, and economic themes in American History since the end of the Civil War giving special attention to the United States’ increasingly significant role in international affairs. The course also introduces students to how historians work to construct interpretations of the past.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 135

US History: Uses & Abuses

This course examines the changing ways in which Americans have interpreted their nation’s past and used those varying interpretations in their civic, professional, and personal lives. Topics include an introduction to the academic practice of history, public history and its engagements with popular and academic history, the rise of internet genealogy, and the politically fraught nature of historical memory. Students consider debates about public monuments, history textbooks, and changing interpretations of iconic events in the North American past.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 140

Leisure, Work & Consumption in US

This course examines ways in which Americans’ ideas of work, leisure and consumption have evolved together from the Colonial Era to the present. We study the theoretical literature on leisure, and examine how historians have used the study of leisure to write history “from the bottom up,” providing new frameworks for analyzing the everyday lives of ordinary people and the distribution of power and resources. Special emphasis is placed on the role of leisure, work and consumption in the construction and reconstruction of gender, class, race, ethnicity, and regional identity in US History.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 150

Great Wars, Depression and Gatsby

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 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 151

Era of the American Revolution

This course examines the social, cultural, economic, and political dimensions of the struggle for American independence. Attention is given to the military and diplomatic course of the war. Finally the Articles of Confederation and the making of the Constitution are examined as initial attempts to resolve issues of nationhood exposed by independence.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 212

American Environmental History

This course examines the use and transformation of the American environment from the pre-Columbian era to the present. The course also considers the interpretations and perceptions of nature, wilderness, and the environment that various Americans held and developed over this period. 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
Values, Beliefs and Ethics VA
HIST 214

Poverty and Welfare in America

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 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 also look at the evolution and larger macroeconomic purposes of the American welfare state and use first-hand accounts by poor people and antipoverty activists themselves.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 215

20th C. Civil Rights Movements

Scholars have called racism "America's original sin." Hence, the mid-century Civil Rights Movement has been portrayed as a step towards salvation. We complicate this narrative by examining diversity within the Movement as well as the backlash against it. We explore how it inspired movements for women's equality, LGBT rights, Chicano rights, Asian-American solidarity, Native American advancement, even the Gray Power Movement among older Americans. We critically examine the intersections between race, class and gender, and contest the black-white binary that often distorts understanding of race.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 217

The American West

This course provides a history of the American West from European colonization and settlement to the present. Issues explored include migration and settlement, the exploitation of peoples and resources, federal power and intervention, western community and urban form, and tourism. The course also 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 218

Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Spanning the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, this course examines the transformation of the United States into a modern nation. We analyze what a “modern nation” might be, paying attention to factors such as domestic upheaval, ethnic and racial conflict, economic instability, and conflicted ideas of gender. We link cultural and social history with the new political history, through the emergence of a global role for the United States abroad, and the expansion of the reach of the state at home.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 230

Native North America

This course examines the experiences of Native North Americans from their initial peopling of the continent through the present day. Topics include pre-Columbian history, American Indian responses to European colonialism, the era of Removal, the development of the reservation system, Allotment, and the politics of sovereignty and self-determination in the 20th and 21st Centuries. The course also introduces students to the interdisciplinary scholarly method of ethnohistory and ethical considerations.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 256

The American Century, 1945-Present

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. This course focuses on 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 also cover related subjects, such as the domestic war on poverty and the foreign war in Vietnam.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 270

Arkansas History

A history of Arkansas from earliest times to the present.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 290

African American History to 1865

This course examines the major topics in African American history from the emergence of the ancient African Kingdoms to the Civil War. Emphasis is 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, are examined.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 295

African American History since 1865

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 308

Ecology & Culture in Native America

This seminar examines the history of American Indian interactions with the natural environment. Topics include the importance of place in American Indian worldviews, changes in land use before and after the arrival of Europeans, the impact of colonial epidemics, Native interpretations of environmental change, and environmental issues in Indian Country today.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 342

Race, Gender, and Jefferson

This course uses Thomas Jefferson's world as window into the history of the early U.S. republic. Topics include national politics, the natural world, territory and warfare, gender, slavery, American Indian-U.S. relations, and Jefferson's legacy in historical memory. Recommended: HIST 110

HIST 110
Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 345

Issues in Archives & Public History

This course encourages students to examine the role that archives and archivists play in the public discourse around history. Students examine how presentations of history and record-keeping practices have evolved over time as public demands have changed.

Historical Perspectives HP
Special Projects SP
HIST 353

American Civil War & Reconstruction

This course offers an analysis of the sectional conflict leading to the secession crisis, the impact of war on American society, the reunification of the nation during Reconstruction, and the memory of the Civil War in American culture. Students also complete and present a major primary research project on some aspect of the Civil War and reconstruction based on archival collections at Bailey Library and in Little Rock, where students visit and conduct archival research during the course. Recommended: HIST 110

HIST 110
Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 360

Vietnam and the 60s

This course uses the Vietnam War as a bridge to a larger inquiry into the social upheavals of the 1960s. Starting with the 1950s, we look at the war’s role in social change within the United States. We analyze major movements, including the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War movement, the Women’s Movement, and the New Left and New Right. We place the war in the context of global developments such as the Cold War and decolonization. Students also read Vietnamese perspectives on the war, and study Vietnamese culture and history.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 420

Topics in American History

A seminar or research course in a topic in American History. This course can be repeated for additional credits as long as the section topics are different. Consult the online course schedule for information about the topics currently scheduled to be taught.

Historical Perspectives HP
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European History Courses

HIST 169

Modern Europe, 1789-1945

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 221

England to 1688

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 224

German Hist & The Jewish Question

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
Values, Beliefs and Ethics VA
HIST 225

Medieval Europe

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 focus on the political, social, cultural, and material changes that marked this period.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 226

Renaissance & Reformation Europe

This course examines 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. The course explores the consequences resulting from these changes.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 227

Medicine & Disease in Premodern Eur

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 294

Topics in Ancient History

Focused study of aspects of Greek and Roman history. Topics vary by semester. No prerequisite. Cross-listed as HIST 294. Cross-listed as CLAS 294.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 301

Greek Civilization

An integrated survey of the history, society, art, and literature of ancient Greece, from the Bronze Age to Alexander the Great. No prerequisite. Cross-listed as CLAS 301.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 302

Roman Civilization

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 317

Crusades & Contact

This course explores 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 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 318

Magic and Witchcraft in Europe

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 approach both popular and elite understandings of magic and witchcraft, and the interactions between the two.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 336

From Reason to Revolution

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 is given to intellectual, political, and military history.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 338

Crime&Punishment in Medieval Europe

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 339

Epidemics and Society

This course use cases studies of particular epidemics in order to consider how different cultures have responded to disease. While the course discusses the epidemiology of these diseases, the main focus is on medical, political, social, and cultural responses to disease and how these changed over time.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 425

Topics in European History

A topics course in European history. This course can be repeated for additional credits as long as the section topics are different. Consult the online course schedule for information about the topics currently scheduled to be taught.

Historical Perspectives HP
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Global History Courses

HIST 130

Colonial African History

This general survey course explores African history from the era of the partition of the continent in the late 19th century to independence. The course examines such topics as the colonial state, resistance movements, problems of independence, and development.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 160

Origins of East Asia

This course examines key developments and interactions that contributed to the formation of East Asia as a coherent and distinctive political, social, and cultural entity, from early history through the sixteenth century, C.E. Special focus will be placed on cultural (religious, ideological, institutional) innovation, exchange, and dispersion, as well as migration, trade, and military conflicts. As an introductory-level history course, students are introduced to basic historical methods, including the evaluation and analysis of primary and secondary source materials, historical thinking and argumentation, and formal historical writing and citation.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 228

The Medieval Islamic World

This course covers the Islamic world from the foundations of the religion to the early Ottoman Turkish Empire. It focuses on the growth of the early Islamic Empire, its fragmentation, and the development of distinct cultures in Spain, Egypt, and Persia.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 243

The Modern Middle East

This course surveys the recent Chinese past from the late imperial dynasty to the late 1980s. It explores the revolution in China through a study of the people, events, and personalities that have given Chinese history 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 244

Modern China

This course surveys the recent Chinese past from the last imperial dynasty to the late 1980's. It explores the revolution in China through a study of the people, events and personalities that have given Chinese history 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 246

Modern Japan

This course surveys the political, social, cultural, and environmental history of Japan from 1800. The course examines early modern Japanese politics, society, economy, and culture, taking note of the dynamic developments well underway by the mid-nineteenth century. Next, we look at the upheaval of Japanese society from the mid-nineteenth century through the beginning of World War II. The course also examines the origins, experiences, and legacies of the Pacific War (1931-1945), then look at developments in Japan during the postwar period, the years of the Japanese economic “miracle” and the late decades of the twentieth century.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 250

South Africa: Race, State, Nation

This class focuses on twentieth century South Africa and explores such issues as racial oppression, the development of capitalism in a racially defined state, nationalist mobilization, and the historical imprint of Apartheid on contemporary South African society, economics, and politics.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 251

Violence & Memory in Central Africa

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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 281

Aid & Development in Africa

This course encourages participants to think more critically about the definition and practice of development in Africa. This course provides an historical survey of what people and institutions have meant by the term ‘development’ and asks why, despite enormous amounts of investment and earnest effort, Africa has remained a place that is still ‘developing.’ How have theorists, practitioners and people in Africa explained Africa’s place in the world? Students engage in case studies that highlight historical definitions of development and the projects that emerge from such ideas.

Historical Perspectives HP
Values, Beliefs and Ethics VA
HIST 291

Japan and World War II in Asia

This course examines the origins, experiences, and legacies of World War Two in Asia and the Pacific, focusing on Japan. Particular attention is paid to imperial Japan’s expansion and belligerence, the course and settlement of fighting in China, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, diverse experiences of war both on the front lines and on various home fronts, and the immediate and lasting consequences of this conflict. In addition, students examine postwar debates and conflicts over how the war has been and should be remembered in Japan, greater East Asia, and the West, as well as in their local communities.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 292

The Two Koreas

This course examines the history of Korea from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present, paying close attention to political, social, and cultural cleavages that contributed to and perpetuated the division of the peninsula into two separate states. Utilizing a variety of primary and secondary sources, including literature and film, students investigate the origins of this division, consider alternative visions of modern Korea, analyze the politics that made division real and lasting, and consider the contemporary significance of division in North and South Korea and beyond.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 293

Korea: The Forgotten War

This course examines the origins, experience, and memory of the Korean War, at once a civil and global conflict that took the lives of more than two million people, laid waste to the entire Korean peninsula, and ceased after three years without significant territorial gains by either side. After exploring the roots of this conflict, this course examines the execution of the war. We also look at lasting political, social, and cultural legacies of the conflict, which left Korea divided, highly militarized, and deeply traumatized.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 306

Crime & Punishment in East Asia

This course examines the conceptualization of crime and corresponding theories, practices, and institutions of punishment in East Asian history. The course traces the development of ideas and institutions of criminal punishment in China, Korea, and Japan from early times through the nineteenth century. We then turn our focus to the adoption and adaptation of Western penal forms and principles in East Asia from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth. We address assumptions and stereotypes about “oriental barbarism.”

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 307

Gender & Society in East Asia

This course examines the formation, contestation, and negotiation of meanings attributed to sexual difference at various points in time in China, Korea, and Japan. After surveying theoretical approaches to using gender as a category of historical analysis, we consider case studies, looking at how philosophical, religious, and political traditions, along with significant historical events and changes in technology and production, combined in various constellations to shape the way people in these societies conceptualize femininity, masculinity, and sexuality, utilizing primary documents, literature, art, and secondary studies.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 309

Ecology and Culture in East Asia

This course examines complex and dynamic relationships between human societies and natural environments in East Asia, with a focus on dramatic developments since 1600. Setting the environment as both context and causal factor, this course explores the intersection of ecology with production culture, race, gender, power in East Asian history. Specific topics include East Asian philosophies fo nature, the interaction of East Asian environments with imperialism, the nation-state, war, and industrialization, and the development of environmentalism in East Asian societies.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 310

The Iraq War

This course examines the Iraq War that began in 2003. While a variety of background topics are 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 is placed on the more immediate build-up to the 2003 war, the execution of that war, and the challenges that face the Iraqi state.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 325

Africa and the Americas

This is an introduction to the interconnected history of the Americas (Brazil, Caribbean, United States) and Africa. We 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 330

Culture and Colonialism

This seminar focuses on selected readings in cultural and African history. Topics may include gender and representation, Christianity and conversion, health and medicine, etiquette and authority, art and identity, and theory and method.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 334

Comparative Genocides

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 are investigated with an eye toward determining the causes of genocide in the modern era.

Historical Perspectives HP
Values, Beliefs and Ethics VA
HIST 341

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

This course treats the on-going Arab-Israeli conflict. Emphasis is 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.

Historical Perspectives HP
HIST 430

Topics in Global History

A topics course in global history. This course can be repeated for additional credits as long as the section topics are different. Consult the online course schedule for information about the topics currently scheduled to be taught.

Historical Perspectives HP
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