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)

HIS 118E History of Modern Europe and the United States I
This course approaches in an integrated way historical developments in both Western Europe and America (with emphasis on what is now the United States) from 1450 to 1815. The goal is to help students understand how the past has shaped the culture and the world in which they live. Special attention is given to the changing role of the individual in modern Western society. (Survey Course)

HIS 119E History of Modern Europe and the United States II
This course approaches in an integrated way historical developments in both Western Europe and America (with emphasis on what is now the United States) from 1815 to the present. (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)

HIS203E Byzantine Empire, 330 - 1453
The Christianization of the Roman Empire and the transfer of its capital to Constantinople gave rise to a powerful and stable Eastern Roman Empire (called “Byzantine”), lasting almost 1000 years after the collapse of the empire in the West. This course is an inquiry into the reasons for its stability and longevity. It also attempts to explain why the Byzantine Empire declined and was finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Emphasis is given to the Eastern Empire’s disastrous relations with the Latin West during the Crusades as the chief reason for its decline and fall. (Survey Course)

HIS205E History of Modern Europe I: 1770-1870
An analysis of the intellectual, industrial, political, and cultural revolutions that made Europe the center of world power and conflict. (Survey Course)

HIS206E History of Modern Europe II: Since 1870
An investigation of the emergence of Germany, France and Great Britain as great world powers and their subsequent collapse after the first and second world wars. Special consideration is given to the influences of imperialism, militarism and power politics. (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)

HIS215E History of the Middle East
This course introduces the Middle East to those who have had no previous exposure to the area. Topics include Islamic beliefs and practices and the specialized institutions they produced for all aspects of Middle East life, the impact of the West upon Muslim patterns of belief and practice, and the ways in which the people of the Middle East have coped with Western domination. Ample opportunity is given to discuss recent attempts by the United States to promote peace and further Western interests in this oil-rich and most strategically important area. (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.

HIS263E America and Vietnam
This course traces the relationship between the United States and Vietnam from 1945 to 1975. Diplomatic, social, political, cultural and military factors are considered through a variety of sources including personal memoirs, historical studies, film and literature. Particular attention is given to the following questions: Why did the United States become involved? How was the war carried on by the United States? Why did the United States lose? What lessons did the United States learn? How were the two societies affected?

HIS 264E The United States since 1960

An examination of contemporary America and its role in the world. Topics include the Civil Rights Movement, the “Great Society,” Vietnam, Watergate, the Carter years, the “Reagan Revolution,” the end of the Cold War, and the recent Clinton and Bush years.

HIS266E Kennedy and the Cold War
This course traces the history of the Cold War through the experiences of John F. Kennedy. Special emphasis is given to the development of his world view and to the policies that he supported in his House, Senate, and Presidential careers. Kennedy’s legacy and the changes in the Cold War environments in the years following his death are also evaluated.

HIS 267E United States Diplomacy
An examination of the emergence of the United States as a great power, beginning with the Spanish-American War. Topics also include hemispheric relations; World Wars I and II; the origins, development, and end of the Cold War; and American culture in today’s world context. (Survey Course)

HIS268E The U. S. Civil Rights Movement
Through film and written records, this course examines the dramatic struggle, from the mid 1950s to the late 1960s, to end the subordination of African-Americans in the United States. It also examines the impact of the movement on American society today.

HIS270E U.S. History Through Autobiography
This course surveys American history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mainly through study of a particular form of historical evidence: the autobiography. People’s accounts of their own lives provide unique insights into the times in which they lived. They also allow comparisons between the ways the autobiographers understood their own times and the ways historians look back on those same times. (Survey Course)

HIS 271E Americans at Sea: U.S. Maritime Experience
The United States utilized the sea and rivers to establish commerce and national security in a way that was both profitable and reflective of basic republican values. This course will review the development of the national river transportation systems and the birth and growth of the navy as an adjunct to U.S. industrialization. (Survey Course)

HIS273E Hitler & Nazi Germany
A study of the Hitlerian era including an understanding of the background in which Adolf Hitler emerged as a demagogic leader and dictator. His involvement with the formation of the totalitarian state, his extermination of the Jews, and his responsibility for World War II are examined in an effort to understand the phenomenon of Nazism and its role in the formation of Germany’s identity
HIS274E U.S. History Through Transportation
This course deals with the American efforts to explore, settle, and develop the resources of a vast continent in a way that was both efficient and reflective of basic republican values. The course emphasizes the technological/social determinants in the evolution of the American transportation system. (Survey Course)

HIS 275E The Jewish Holocaust
This course examines the Nazi persecution and extermination of the Jews in the larger historical context of intensifying anti-Semitism in modern times, its particular effect on Germany, and the manner in which Adolf Hitler and the Nazis systematically engaged in the Holocaust. The reasons behind this apocalyptic event, the reaction of people to it and what it says about western society in the 20th century are also considered.

HIS276E History of American Science and Technology
This course examines the unique nature of American scientific and technological development. It examines the emergence of “republican” characteristics for U.S. science and technology from colonial times to the present, and the impact of these trends on political, environmental and gender issues throughout the last 225 years. (Survey course)

HIS278E War and American Society
This course examines the general evolution of American attitudes toward war and the military since 1776. At the heart of this inquiry is the seeming dichotomy between our abhorrence of a professional military and our respect for the same, and our frequent willingness to use war as an instrument of domestic and international policy. We also look at how the “American Way of War” has been a reflection of our industrial development as well as our social structure. (Survey Course)

HIS279E Economic History of the United States
An investigation of the development of the American economy and the economic context in which American society, culture, and political institutions evolved. Study is made of the European antecedents of American economic life, the economy of colonial America and the new nations, the industrial revolution, late 19th-century economic development and the vicissitudes of the 20th century economy. (Survey Course)

HIS281E History of Science: Ancient Greece to Newton
This course explores the theory and practice of science from the ancient Greeks to the Newtonian revolution in physics by 1715. The impact of cultural institutions on scientific theory and methodology and the reverse constitute the central issues in this course.
(Survey course)

HIS282E History of Science: Newton to Hawking
This course explores the history of modern science from the Newtonian synthesis to the present ethical issues involving atomic and genetic research. A central issue is the role of national governments in promoting advanced scientific research as a symbol of national power and prestige. (Survey Course
HIS288E Film & History
An introduction to the study of the relationship of film to history, particularly film as historical evidence. The course focuses principally on films which reflect 20th century America social values and attitudes toward women, criminals, foreigners, minorities, American heroes and “Americanism.
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.

HIS390E Special Topics: The Heart of the Italian Renaissance

Students in this special travel course will: examine the historical traditions of some of Northern Italy’s most fascinating cities; learn the stories behind the commercial life, the art, and the architecture that tourists commonly encounter; discover how the Medici family ruled in Florence and Northern Tuscany as merchant princes and patrons of the arts; and marvel at how Venice dominated the region and attracted the most talented Byzantine and Renaissance artists a thousand years ago. Students will also relax in the beauty of the lakes district and view the majestic Alps from Lugano, Switzerland.

HIS390E Special Topics: The Role of Joan of Arc in the Hundred Years War
Joan of Arc was a key player in bringing the Hundred Years War between France and England to an end. This travel/study tour through France traces her path through historical cities such as Tours, Orleans, Rouen, and Paris. Contemplate the intriguing mystery of the forces that guided a young farm girl to formulate successful battle plans, to advise a king, and to practice skillful diplomacy. October 20-31, 2000.

HIS393E The French Revolution in Cultural Perspective
This course examines how the French Revolution, with its rhetoric of rights, emancipation, and equality created a modern democratic political culture that turned subjects into citizens. Brief texts, slides, film, illustrations and the Internet are used to show how modern definitions of freedom and democracy emerged in the midst of violent upheaval, bloodshed, and revolutionary dictatorship from 1789 to 1799.