Course offerings reflect the 2023-2024. One unit of credit equals four semester hours.
A topical survey of the history of America from European, African and Native American origins to the Civil War. Special attention is paid to our roots in Western culture and the blending with other cultures. A survey of the founding, independence, nation building and disruption leading to the Civil War. Fall Term.
A topical survey of the emerging facets of an increasingly complex industrial society emerging from the Civil War. Problems related to an increasingly urbanized, multi-national society with effects upon politics, economics and culture are examined. Movement on through to a postindustrial society will be traced. Spring Term.
An introduction to the Western tradition. From ancient Mesopotamia to the beginnings of the Reformation, the political structures, religious and philosophical beliefs, and cultural achievements of the Western tradition are emphasized. Fall Term.
An introduction to the Western tradition beginning with the Reformation and continuing to the present day. Political, religious and cultural themes are joined by economic and social advances in the modern world. Spring Term.
An introduction to the civilizations of India, Africa, China, Latin America and the Near East from circa AD 1500 to the present. Political, religious, cultural, economic, social and intellectual aspects of these societies will be examined using a variety of disciplines and methodological approaches.
A historical survey of Latin America, from pre-Columbian times to the present, with emphasis on the evolution of civilization and culture in the countries of South and Central America and the Caribbean basin. Beginning with the pre-Columbian indigenous societies, the course will then examine the conquest, colonial institutions, independence and the emergence of modern Latin American nations.
An examination of selected personalities who have made a major contribution to their age or time. Attention is given to the impact of the time and circumstances upon these persons. The assessment of several historical interpretations is used to evaluate the contributions of such personalities.
This course will survey the history of women and gender in the United States from pre-European settlement to the present. The course will be structured on three main themes: women’s work and the sexual division of labor; the relationship between gender, politics, and the state; and women’s family roles and sexuality.
The study of the diplomatic history of the United States from its inception as a nation to date. An examination of the foreign policy actions and trends in a chronological setting. Special focus will be on the war periods and the Cold War, from beginning to end. Alternate years.
England from its beginnings to the age of the Stuarts. Political, social and constitutional history is traced through the 16th century, including the rise of England as a European and colonial power.
From the Stuart age to the present day. The course traces the formation of the United Kingdom, industrial and political development, intellectual life, and Britain’s role as an imperial power.
This course examines the European colonization of North America between roughly 1500 and 1750 and its impact on Indigenous peoples as well as Africans brought to the continent in chains. The course begins with an exploration of the diverse civilizations that existed before the arrival of Europeans and ends with the outbreak of the Seven Years War, a contest for European empire that dramatically reshaped the map. We will analyze the successive waves of trans-Atlantic migration that resulted in opportunity for some but tragedy for others, including epidemics, war, and the descent into racialized slavery. The central question of the course is how race was created to justify colonization and enslavement, a development that continues to shape the fate of the United States. Other themes will include gender, religion, trade, property, wealth, government, and the meaning of community among the diverse inhabitants of the continent.
This course examines the birth of the United States. It begins with the French and Indian War, which set events in motion that led to the Revolutionary War a dozen years later, and ends with the War of 1812, sometimes called the Second War of American Independence. In this course, students will evaluate the causes of the Revolution and examine how a group of diverse and weakly connected colonies were able to defeat the world’s greatest military power. They will also analyze the struggle to reconcile the ideals of the Revolution with the reality of most people, including Indians, the First Americans. In addition, they will weigh tensions between slavery and freedom, the development and ratification of the Constitution, the rise of political parties, the role of women in the new nation, and the lasting global impact of the Declaration of Independence.
Industrializing America examines the events in the United States between the War of 1812 and World War I. The key focus will be an exploration of the impact of the Market Revolution and Industrial Revolution on American lives. We will evaluate the multiple connections between the development of capitalism and the existence of slavery in the United States, followed by an in-depth study of the ways that racial subjugation continued to shape the nation after the Civil War. In addition, we will analyze the antebellum and progressive reform movements as middle-class responses to industrialization, and especially the urbanization and immigration that accompanied it. Finally, we will examine the rise of the labor movement and the efforts of American workers to maintain control over the workplace despite dramatic changes in the structure of the economy.
This course is a concentrated study of the political, economic, intellectual, and social factors that shaped the United States during the twentieth century. The course begins with an examination of modernity ushered in by World War I. We will then explore the cultural conflicts and the economic boom of the 1920s that was followed by economic collapse during the 1930s. During the interwar period, urbanization, the “Great Migration,” the rise of advertising, the evolving role of women, and the New Deal led to major changes in consumer culture, social institutions, public policy, and the political landscape of the postwar period. In many ways the America of 1928 is more familiar to those of us alive today than it would have been to those living during the earliest years of the twentieth century. The first half of the course explores why. Following World War II, postwar affluence during the 1950s and 1960s was followed by another period of government expansion and cultural conflict. The labor and civil rights movements of the twentieth century rocked the nation and resulted in further turmoil. The backlashes to our rapidly changing society peaked during the 1920s and the 1970s, although conflict remained present throughout the century. At the end of the course, we will explore the rise of conservatism, the development of a postindustrial society, and the end of the Cold War.
This course examines antebellum America (1776–1861). These decades witnessed great political, social and economic changes including the “Market Revolution” and the rise of “Jacksonian democracy.” It was a period of significant territorial expansion, technological innovation and westward migration. Americans experienced a powerful religious awakening, new extremes in exploitation of minorities and the intensification of regional animosities.
This course is about slavery, freedom, and the possibilities of Democracy in the United States. It is also about the South, a region that has struggled with the meaning of democracy and freedom more than any other in the nation. We will trace this struggle from Jamestown to the present. Topics will include the development of racial slavery; the transatlantic and domestic slave trades; the rise of King Cotton and the abolition movement; the Civil War and Reconstruction; Jim Crow and the “Great Migration;” the impact of the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War on racial politics; the postwar civil rights revolution; and the transformation of southern and American politics since the civil rights era. Ultimately, we will come to understand the ways in which the exceptional South is not so exceptional. In doing so, we will focus on several themes that have particularly shaped democratic possibility throughout southern history, including race, gender, class, violence, and the freedom movements of African Americans and their allies.
From the decline of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy with special attention given to feudalism, economic and cultural patterns of the period, and the life and struggle of the church.
From the Renaissance in Italy to the close of the Council of Trent with emphasis upon the intellectual, artistic, social and theological developments culminating in the Reformation movements.
This course examines the history of the American West, a region that was only seen as “the West” from the viewpoint of Anglo settlers. The Spanish and Mexicans viewed it as “El Norte” or “the North.” Asians saw it as “the East.” Indigenous peoples understood it as the center of the world. All these groups met in this rich land and shaped its history, creating one of the most diverse societies in world history. Our analysis begins in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition and ends with the current conflict over immigration, drug trafficking, the “wall,” and environmental concerns, among other issues involving the border.
This course is a broad survey of American history from an environmental perspective. Environmental history is the study of the interactions between human societies and the natural world. Students will study the ways that different groups of Americans adapted to and changed the landscape and also examine their ideas about nature. The course begins with the European colonization of North America and examines regional developments in New England and the South during the colonial era. The middle of the course analyzes the environmental transformations of four U.S. regions during the nineteenth century: the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, and the West. The final section of the course examines the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with a focus on broad national movements that include conservation, the environmental justice movement, and climate change activism.
This course explores Chicago’s twentieth-century urban development, with an emphasis on residential segregation created through suburbanization and “inner-city” ghetto formation. A key component of the course will be an in-depth examination of the early federal housing policies that encouraged “white flight” to the Chicago suburbs—including middle-class immigrant communities and, eventually, middleclass African Americans—while anchoring impoverished African Americans and other underserved populations in ill-conceived public housing complexes such as Cabrini-Green and the Robert Taylor Homes. In addition, we will examine the impact of Chicago’s Plan for Transformation and other recent efforts at gentrification on inner-city communities. Our analysis of ghetto formation is, by its nature, interdisciplinary, encompassing history, sociology, community psychology, geography, women and gender studies, ethnic studies, urban planning, and criminal justice.
A study of the forces of politics, economics and ideology in inclining the United States into the war in Vietnam. This has been one of the most controversial wars of the 20th century, and an examination of the factors surrounding our involvement and withdrawal provides insights into different cultures as well as the politics of the Cold War.
An examination of the social and intellectual currents that influenced several aspects of the American character from colonial times to the present. Manifestations of these social and intellectual products are traced from the Puritan community to the 20th-century dilemma of democratic rule. Consideration is given to the complex problems of mature nationhood, urbanization, industrialization and the increasing secularization of society. Upon request.
This course focuses on the conflicts and coalitions of women across lines of race, class and national origin. It compares the experiences of different groups of women to the state in areas including citizenship, suffrage, sexuality and reproduction, social welfare and nationalism.
This course acquaints the student with the variety of techniques, methods and approaches in the teaching of history through a schedule of personal consultations, assigned readings and classroom visits. Students familiarize themselves with some of the most recent developments in the field.
Prerequisites: SEC 300, SEC 310. Fall Term.
An analysis of the spirit of 19th-century Europe as reflected in the political revolutions, the rise of nationalism, the unifications of Italy and Germany, and the scientific and cultural movements of the period.
A topical survey of the dramatic events occurring in the 20th century, including two world wars, Bolshevism, Fascism, a bipolar world and the process of emerging nations.
Topics change each term. The seminars are taught by different members of the department and acquaint the student with the nature of historical inquiry and the use of primary sources. Can be repeated for credit.
A detailed and intensive study of the art and the science of the writing of history. Lectures, discussions and class reports. Students are urged to take this course offered in the January Term.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or consent of instructor.
This course is required of every student majoring in history and is to demonstrate the research, writing and analytical skills of the graduating senior. To be taken in the first or second term of the senior year, this research paper will provide evidence of what the student has learned by having been a history major in terms of knowledge, skills and insights. The topic of the paper will be selected by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor.
Prerequisite: Majors only.
.50 or 1.00 credit
Credit given for students employed by historical agencies, museums and similar institutions. Students must recognize and demonstrate the connection between their academic studies and their field experience in regular reports to the faculty supervisor. Recommended for students intending to pursue employment in museums and foundations or graduate work in museum studies/local history. Pass/No Pass grading.
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and permission of the department chair.
A student majoring in the Department of History is encouraged to engage in independent study. The area of investigation must be approved by the chair of the department. A thesis must be presented, giving evidence of the scope of research and depth of insight gained. Repeatable for credit.
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
This course gives Honors Program students the opportunity to design and implement a significant research project in the field of history, culminating in an appropriate public dissemination of research methods and findings. This research must build upon previous coursework taken within the major or minor, facilitating faculty supervision and guidance. Repeatable for credit.
Prerequisite: Permission of the faculty supervisor and the director of the Honors Program required prior to registration.