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COURSES

Spring 2017 Course Descriptions: 500-700 Level

500-level courses are for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Prerequisite for ALL 500-level courses: either the completion of six semester hours of 300-level History courses or the permission of the instructor. 600-level and 700-level are only for graduate students.

SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE! Always check the University online schedule for the latest changes.


HIS 502 - African American History Selected Topics:"Politics of Protest: Black Social Movements in American History"

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16114 W 3:30-6:20
Watson Jennison

This course explores the history of black social activism in the United States between 1800 and the present day. It examines a variety of black-initiated or -led movements and the men and women whose efforts brought them to fruition, thus transforming black life and altering the nation’s history. The course begins with a study of abolitionism and the role blacks played in radicalizing the struggle against slavery in the antebellum era. Next, it considers the Exodusters and the anti-lynching campaign, two movements that emerged in the wake of the increasing violence that accompanied the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow across the South. The second half of the course focuses on black workers’ participation in the labor movement in the mid-twentieth century, grass roots efforts to protect and promote welfare and anti-poverty programs, and the anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary black movements, like Black Lives Matter, placing them in historical perspective. Although each of these movements emerged from unique set of historical circumstances, they formed part of a broader effort undertaken by black Americans to improve their economic, social, and political lives and to strive for the elusive promise of equality.
Marker: .ADS. Field: United States


HIS 508 - Latin American History Selected Topics: "Savage Eden: Dueling Histories of the New World after 1492"

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14694 T 3:30-6:20
Peter Villella

This course explores "the history of the histories" of the New World that appeared in the aftermath of the great Columbian encounter of 1492: chronicles, accounts, and other texts purporting to tell the history of the American continent and its peoples, often in distinct and strikingly contradictory ways. In addition to the histories written by Europeans struggling to understand America and incorporate it into their pre-existing concepts of global history, we will also emphasize less familiar, recently recovered accounts produced by Native Americans and their descendants. In doing so, we will contemplate "the politics of history": how and why history—understood as recorded accounts of the past—is often deployed in service to contemporary political and social agendas. Far from a static and unchanging repository of facts, history is always changing, evolving, and adapting to fit the needs of new generations. Depending on the perspectives and emphases of its authors, history can be used to justify violence and to protest inequality; to denigrate others or demand inclusion; or to create divisions or inspire unity. History can rationalize present misery, but it can also be a means to imagine better futures. The many Spanish, indigenous, and mixed-heritage men and women who debated, wrote, and re-wrote the history of the New World all pursued some combination of these diverse objections, and what we today understand as "American history" reflects their efforts to a significant degree.
Field: Wider World


HIS 511A - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "The Making of Modern America"

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10421 R 6:00-8:50
Susan Thomas

This course focuses on the tremendous social, political, and economic changes that occurred nationwide during the fifty plus years on either side of 1900 in America, decades marked by dizzying heights and devastating lows. The historical periods covered will include the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the Depression, and the New Deal. The Gilded Age was a time when businesses operated with little regulation, workers toiled with no protections, and governments at all levels chose to support the powerful against the masses of laboring men and women. This period of excess for the wealthy capitalists gave rise to the Progressive Era and its constellation of reform initiatives that targeted both social and political change. World War I interrupted the momentum of Progressivism and led into the Roaring Twenties, with its high hopes and wild lifestyles. The Great Depression abruptly shut the door on that optimism, forcing millions to face the sobering realities of deprivation and unprecedented unemployment. With the federal government ill prepared to respond to the needs of the people, many Americans sought alternatives to industrial capitalism in Socialism and Communism. In this milieu, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal promised hope through relief programs for the poor and reform of the government as he worked to hold the nation together until WWII. Readings for this course will trace the arc of these changes and assess their historical significance as well as their relevance to today’s America. Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite of one 300-level Research Intensive (RI) history course or HIS 391.
Field: United States


HIS 511B - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "Self and Society in Europe, 1350-1700"

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14695 MW 2:00-3:15
Jodi Bilinkoff

Did the Renaissance discover the individual? In 1860 the Swiss scholar Jacob Burckhardt made a bold pronouncement. In The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy he explained that during the Middle Ages "human consciousness...lay dreaming or half awake beneath a common veil...of faith, illusion, and childish prepossession, through which the world and history were clad in strange hues. Man was conscious of himself only as a member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation...In [Renaissance] Italy this veil first melted into air...man became a spiritual individual and recognized himself as such." Can Burckhardt's claim about the rise of individualism be sustained? In this course, students examine biographical and autobiographical texts, which were produced in in great variety and abundance throughout early modern Europe and its colonies. At the heart of this inquiry is the construction of identities, or how people perceive and present their own lives or the lives of others. Each student will choose a text or texts to analyze and contextualize for a research paper that engages this cultural impulse to record and remember lives. Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite of one 300-level Research Intensive (RI) history course or HIS 391.
Field: Europe


HIS 541 - Ancient World Selected Topics: "Bible History, History, and the History of the Bible"

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16115 MW 3:30-4:45
Stephen Ruzicka

This course examines Hebrew (= Israelite) history as recounted in Hebrew scripture (the Old Testament), focusing on the stories of Hebrew origins, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, and the Hebrew kingdoms of Israel and Judah (Bible History). Then utilizing other sources of information—archaeology and non-Israelite documentary texts, the course investigates other possible versions of these stories which may point to a different narrative (History). In light of evident discrepancies between "Bible History" and "History", the course tries to understand the political and cultural circumstances in which the biblical stories were first developed and disseminated and the circumstances which led to their transformation into "scripture" (History of the Bible). Finally, we look at the process by which Hebrew scripture became for Christians the "Old Testament" and how these stories came to be understood as Christian stories. Chronologically, the course covers developments from ca. 2000 BCE to 300 CE and moves from the world of early Mesopotamian empires to the world of the Roman Empire.
Field: Europe


HIS 581 - African History Selected Topics: "Perspectives on the Rwandan Genocide"

16116 R 3:30-6:20
Colleen Kriger

Marker: .AFS. Field: Wider World.

What did the American mainstream media coverage of the Rwandan genocide reveal about western views and stereotypes of Africa? What can a study of the Rwandan genocide teach us about the social and economic history of Africa? This seminar begins with a viewing of the film Hotel Rwanda and selected readings from newspaper coverage of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We will then explore the deeper pre-colonial history of peoples and societies in the region, the more recent economic conditions and events that sparked the genocide, and the very difficult social and judicial problems that mark its aftermath.
Marker: .ADS. Field: Wider World.


All 600-700 level History courses are for graduate students only. Prerequisite: Admission to a graduate program in history or interior architecture, or written permission of instructor if you are a graduate student in another department.


HIS 626 - The Practice of Public History

10427 T 3:30-6:20
Benjamin Filene

This course is an introduction to what it is like to work to within a public history institution and what it takes to thrive in one. The course is structured around the theory and practice involved in building relationships with audiences, community partners, and colleagues. Throughout, the course links practical skill—writing a mission statement, creating a marketing plan, writing a budget—with discussion of the broader purposes these tools are intended to accomplish. The course culminates in a collaborative class project that involves conceiving, planning, and writing a grant application for a local public history initiative. (Same as IAR 626.)


HIS 631 - Digital History

 W 6:30-9:20
Joey Fink

This seminar explores the possibilities and challenges of doing history in digital spaces. Students will gain hands-on training in tools and practices and will design original digital public history projects.


See the M.A. FAQ for more information about the following:

HIS 690 - Internship

HIS 692 - Advanced Topics

HIS 697 - Independent Study

HIS 699 - Thesis

Written permission is required to register for these courses.


HIS 702 - Colloquium in American History

Issues of historical interpretation from Reconstruction to the present.

10432 702-01  M 6:30-9:20 Charles Bolton
14746 702-02  W 3:30-6:20 Thomas Jackson


HIS 704 - Seminar in History

Individual Graduate Faculty

Research and writing on selected topics in American history.


HIS 709-01 - Introductory Research Seminar:"The Nineteenth-Century British Empire"

10434 W 6:30-9:20 
Jill Bender

Historians have acknowledged the nineteenth century to be Britain's "imperial century," when the island country emerged as the world’s preeminent imperial power. This position of dominance was neither static nor assumed, however. In this introductory seminar, we will examine how other historians have explicated this expansion and its impact on both Britain and its colonies. In particular, we will explore questions of power and resistance as students prepare their own research projects based on primary source analysis.


HIS 709-02 - Introductory Research Seminar:"The Impact of the Norman Conquest of England"

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16169   R 3:30-6:20
Richard Barton

The conquest of England by Duke William of Normandy in 1066 was a significant watershed moment for the history of Medieval England. William’s dramatic victory earned him a new nickname ("the Conqueror") and ushered in changes in almost every aspect of English society. The first goal of the course will thus be to make sense of the events of the conquest and the changes wrought by it. Through careful reading of primary and secondary sources, the class will establish a common base of knowledge concerning many of these important changes, including changes in government, law and administration, changes in social organization, changes in religious administration and practice, changes in language and culture, and changes in social roles, including gender categories.

The second goal of this course is the production of a research paper (20-30 pages) on some aspect of English history in this period (i.e., the period of Anglo-Norman England, which is conventionally dated 1066-1215). Early assignments — including a bibliography, a critique of a modern historian, a thematic analysis, and an outline and thesis paragraph — are designed to develop research skills; these assignments will be tailored towards the research interests of the students who take the class, and should help to provide both the background and the skills necessary for producing a research paper. No prior knowledge of medieval history is required for this course.


HIS 716 - Graduate Colloquium in World History

13211 T 3:30-6:20
Greg O'Brien, Jill Bender, James Anderson, Jodi Bilinkoff

Introduction to World history, the historiography of World studies, and comparative, cross-cultural approaches to historical research.


HIS 721 - Public History Capstone II

13974 M 3:30-6:20
Benjamin Filene

This course is part of a two-semester sequence in which students design and execute original, research-driven, independent-study history projects for public audiences, usually with a community or institutional partner. In this semester, students complete detailed development and produce and publicly present their projects. Restricted to graduate students who have completed HIS 720.


HIS 723 - Selected Topics in 19th Century U.S. History: "The Market Revolution, 1815-1850"

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16172 M 3:30-6:20
Greg O'Brien

This graduate course will examine a period of amazing change, upheaval, and development in American history from 1815-1850. Under the general rubric of the so-called market revolution, we will explore topics such as the transportation and communication revolution, the rise of democracy, Jacksonian policies, Indian Removal, the Whig Party, religious ferment and reform movements, slavery, war with Mexico and territorial expansion, the changing workplace, and immigration. Students will complete weekly readings as well as a final historiographical or research paper. Grading will be based on discussion participation, book reviews, and the final paper.


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