History Classes

HIS114E The West and the World I (to 1800)
This course covers important episodes and trends in the history of the “intercommunicating zone” of Europe, Asia and Africa from the age of classical empires (Rome, Han China, Mauryan and Gupta India) until the late 18th century. The course will also deal with the origins and expansion of Christianity. It will then cover the dramatic transformation of Western European societies beginning in the 15th century including the first phase of European oceanic exploration and expansion into the Americas. Instructors may also treat one or more of the pre-Columbian American civilizations at their own discretion. The course will also focus on the written analysis of primary documents.
HIS115E The West and the World II (since 1800)
In an effort to understand how we have arrived at this point in our history, this course considers the expansion of political participation in Europe from the Atlantic Revolutions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries to the present. Students explore the industrial revolution in Europe and North America as well as other areas of the world. We examine the experiences of societies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas as global capitalism emerged and European colonial empires expanded. Topics include the two World Wars of the 20th century, and the emergence of powerful challenges to liberal democracy worldwide, including communism, fascism, and ethnic nationalisms. The course concludes with the study of particular episodes and trends in world history after 1945.

HIS116E History of Western Civilization I
This course examines human events in the Western world from the classical age of Greece and Rome to the rise and decline of Christianity as a great institutional force in the Middle Ages. Special emphasis is placed on medieval culture and economy, institutional development, and evolving lifestyle of people. (Survey Course)

HIS117E History of Western Civilization II
This course examines the development of the West in modern times from the age of European expansion in the 16th century to the emergence of the mass man in the 20th century. Emphasis is placed on the rise of the modern state, the evolution of scientific inquiry in an industrial and technological age and the role of ideology against a backdrop of war and revolution. (Survey Course)

HIS180E United States History I
The first semester of this two-semester survey of American history begins with a study of indigenous peoples. It then examines the colonial encounters among European settlers, aboriginal inhabitants, and Africans; the growth of the English colonies in the context of the Atlantic World; tensions between the colonies and England culminating in the Revolution; the emergence of the first American republic, 1783–1844; sectional rivalries and westward expansion; the collapse of the “second party system” (Democrats v. Whigs); Civil War and Reconstruction. (Survey Course)

HIS181E United States History II
The second semester of this two-semester survey of American history briefly reprises the story of the Civil War and Reconstruction, then focuses upon the rise of an urban, industrial, ethnically diverse America in the years before the Great Depression. The course next explores the re-inventing of the American republic during the New Deal, World War II, and Cold War years, and concludes with an examination of the roots of the current “culture wars.” (Survey Course)

HIS 213E Women and the American Experience
Students in this course explore the contribution of women to the American historical experience and examine the impact of changes in American politics, economics, and society on the lives of women and their families. Through readings, class discussions, films, and independent writing assignments, students will be able to explain the diversity of experience that has always characterized women and families in America. (Survey Course)

HIS248E Women Who Changed the World: Women in Western Civilization
The course examines extraordinary women in their cultural and historical context, and considers the sources of their inspiration, innovation and moral and intellectual courage. Among the women who may be considered are the Empress Theodora; Heloise, classical scholar and leader of a successful religious community; Eleanor of Aquitane; Joan of Arc; and Elizabeth I of England. We examine the limitations against which these women had to struggle, and the tools that were essential to their accomplishments. Finally, we examine the effects of modern western culture on women’s achievements in the arts, science, and political life. (Survey Course)

HIS251E Modern Latin America
A survey of modern Latin American history beginning with independence from Spain, and following through the explosive impact of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. The course ends with an examination of the present day struggle for democracy and economic stability in Latin American nations, such as Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Columbia, and the countries of the Central American republics. (Survey Course)

HIS256E Mayans, Europeans, and the End of the World
This class examines the history and meaning behind the 2012 and its apocalyptical portents through a survey of millenarian beliefs evident among the world’s cultures past and present. The course uses a wide variety of readings, documents, images, and modern media to examine existing theories surrounding 2012. Students will have the opportunity to read for themselves the prophecies of the Maya, ancient prophets, and modern harbingers of doom, examine ancient calendars and modern star charts, and listen as modern-day Topi and Maya explain their beliefs regarding the end of the world. Moreover, this course gives special attention to Mesoamerican cultures, their beliefs, and their exposure to Christianity via the Franciscans—a religious order with particularly strong millenarian beliefs. Throughout students will examine not only ancient predictions, but modern fascinations into the end of the world to better understand why people believe the world will end in 2012. Overall, this course uses 2012 as a gateway through which students can pass into a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Maya and Western civilization.

HIS256E Wars that Changed America
This class examines American history through select novels about moments when the United States government waged war against itself, poverty, and Communism. These wars shaped America into what it is today. Significantly, most of the policies and attitudes born during these wars continue to affect us today in our daily lives. Many today enjoy picking up a good work of historical fiction and learning about history. Indeed, historical novels provide an excellent way to engage history, and when such works are coupled with insight into the historical context and biases of the book, the doors to understanding history are opened. This course uses this unique blend of novels and lectures to help students gain a better understanding of the global, national, and local events that shaped America today.

HIS 259E Revolutionary America
Beginning with a study of the political culture of the colonies in the 18th century, this course examines the constitutional crisis with Great Britain that culminated in the War for American Independence. It also examines the creation of state and national constitutions following independence, the development of the first “party” system, and the War of 1812. The course may include field trips to Concord and Lexington.

HIS261E Twentieth-Century America

Learn about the formation of modern American institutions, attitudes, and aspirations leading into the 21st century, concentrating on the questions of world power, economic triumph and collapse, and civil rights. (Survey course)

HIS262E The American Civil War
This course examines the developing sectional controversy as it erupted into armed conflict. Issues leading to secession and the inability to resolve differences are examined as well as the military and political aspects of the war. The period of reconstruction is related to the question of the revolutionary character of the conflict.

HIS289E History of Baseball in America
This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the history of baseball in America, and relate the historical events and phenomena to American culture at large. Course work relates class topics to historical and contemporary social, cultural, economic and political issues. Course content consists of lectures, readings, extensive class and group discussion, video, guest lectures and other presentations.

HIS 389E Special Topics: Presidential Scandals
This course examines three presidential scandals of recent history: Watergate (Nixon), the Iran-Contra affair (Reagan), and the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Reading and classroom discussion will analyze both the events and the constitutional dilemmas surrounding each case. Participants will enrich their understanding of the American presidency, as well as of recent U.S. history more broadly.