Sample History Courses
Professor of History, James Genova sample courses
HIST 3310 History of African Cinema - This is a history of the origins of African cinema from the earliest days of the invention of motion pictures to the present. The course takes us through the contorted construction of images of Africa and Africans developed during the colonial period, the use of film as an instrument of colonial rule and economic domination in Africa, and finally to the development of an independent African cinema fighting to overcome the colonial and racist legacy of early cinema.
HIST 3270 First World War - This is a comprehensive history of the First World War, or Great War, 1914-1918. It explores the origins and context of the conflict, the course of the war itself, the impact of the war on society and the larger world, as well as its long legacies.
HIST 2475 The Holocaust - The class examines one on the most heinous events in human history - the systematic murder of 12 million people under the aegis of Nazi Germany. The class examines the origins of the context for the possibility of the Holocaust - including an exploration of modern notions of citizenship, nationalism, imperialism, anti-Semitism, and racism, as well as the development of the industrial system. It also specifically charts the emergence of fascist ideology and its Nazi variant in Germany and the process whereby the Holocaust was implemented. Finally, it looks at the impact and legacy of the Holocaust for the world post-1945.
HIST 3570 Second World War - The class provides a detailed exploration of the Second World War (1939-1945), beginning with its origins, the expansion of conflict around the world in the 1930s, and the convergence of wars into one global war in 1941. The class also looks at the transformative impact of the war and the construction of the post-war world.
HIST 2302 Africa 1800-1960s - This is a general survey of modern African history from the late 18th/early19th century to the period of early independence in the 1960s. The class will look at religious, social, cultural, political, and economic trends over nearly 200s years, including the impact of colonialism and the African response to foreign domination.
HIST 3302 Nationalism, Socialism, and Revolution in Africa - This course looks at one aspect of modern African political history - the development and implementation of radical ideologies of social change in the post-colonial period. Beginning with an analysis of the emergence of modern nationalist, socialist, and revolutionary ideologies and political movements, the course then delves deeply into five case studies to see how such ideas were implemented in specific African countries from the 1960s into the early 21st century.
Associate Professor of History, Margaret Sumner sample courses
HIST 2800: The Discipline of History: "Making History: Learning How to Think, Read, and Write like an Historian - HI2800 will introduce you to the world of historians - and their theories, practices, and intellectual debates. What do historians do? How do they approach their work? How do they search for historical evidence in archives and online? How do they incorporate their research into their writing? How do historians craft arguments? How do historians cite their work? How do they present their work to each other – and to the public? Why do they do it? And here is the most important question of the semester: Do YOU want to join them? As you contemplate being a history major in this course, there will be lots of intriguing questions to answer as you learn how to think, read, and write historically.
HIST 3012: Antebellum America: "An Enterprising Generation: Exploring the Highs and Lows of American Lives, 1820-1860 - In this course, we will explore the unprecedented expansion of the new American nation from Thomas Jefferson’s election in 1800 through the turbulent decades right before the Civil War. We will examine how a “culture of expansion” (political, economic, social, etc.) influenced life experiences, paying specific attention to how newly-minted Americans began to imagine their new nation while also defining themselves and their various enterprises through their awareness of growing class, gender, ethnic, and racial differences. Assigned readings will include a weekly mix of autobiographies/memoirs from early Americans themselves AND the writings of modern historians that will provide us with historical background and historical arguments about this intriguing era.
HIST 2752: Social Reform Moments: Health and Society - Ever since their Revolution, Americans have connected the personal need to strengthen their bodies and minds with a political need to “create a more perfect Union.” Influenced by the "Reason" of the Revolution and the "Revelation" of religious revivals of the early 19th century, many Americans enthusiastically embraced a mission to pursue "clean living," hoping to achieve social, economic, and political success for themselves and, they imagined, for their nation. Indeed, many Americans who became involved in social reform movements - abolitionists, temperance workers, women’s rights activists, labor activists, social workers, Progressives, pacifists – were "health nuts!" As we explore the many ways that social reform activists tried to improve society throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, we will pay close attention how they argued that healthy "self-improvement" would lead to a healthier -and more harmonious - nation.
Assistant Professor of History, Amanda Respess sample courses
HIST 2703 History of Public Health, Medicine, and Disease: "Plagues, Prevention, & Cures: Premodern Epidemics & Public Medicine from China to Italy" - COVID-19 has raised awareness of the importance of public health strategies to control and mitigate disease, but how did people respond to pandemics in the distant past? Outbreaks of infectious disease have plagued societies across the globe for as long as historical records have been created, and many strategies we use today to protect ourselves come from premodern pandemics. How did outbreaks spread within and between communities in the past, and how did healers and everyday people try to stop them? This course will examine how cultural interactions and exchanges along long-distance trade routes influenced outbreaks and cures and shaped lasting ideas about the body around the world. We will examine the role played by soldiers, merchants, missionaries, and pilgrims in the spread of medical ideas, diseases, and treatments in the premodern world and the formation of institutions of healing like hospitals and medical schools in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Students will practice the analytical skills used by historians to understand primary and secondary sources, and critically evaluate arguments encountered in our readings.
HIST 2704 Water- A Human History: "Shipwrecks: A Maritime History of the Global Middle Ages" - Shipwrecks provide a unique window into understanding the technologies and desires that fueled premodern exchange across the world’s oceans. Why and how did seafarers and merchants travel from the safety of their shores to ports extremely far from home? What can we learn about the history of premodern long-distance trade from the evidence of wrecked and sunken boats? This course will examine the history of premodern maritime trade through an itinerary of historical shipwrecks spanning from the Nile River and Red Sea in Antiquity to the Early Modern Atlantic. Cargoes, construction materials, and human remains recovered from wrecked ships from the Global Middle Ages will be examined in light of boat-building traditions, navigational technologies, and written accounts of sea travel from around the globe.
HIST S3376 The Silk Road: Commerce and Culture in Eurasia: "Jade, Horses, and Noodles: An Alternative History of the Silk Road" - This course examines the premodern history of the Silk Road trade routes that have connected the diverse cultures of Afro-Eurasia since before Antiquity. Focusing on commercial and cultural relations between people on the steppes, in oasis cities, and within changing empires, this course illuminates the transregional exchange of commodities and ideas across the land routes from prehistory to 1498 CE. Combining the study of written accounts (in English translation) and material artifacts recovered from Central Asia, Iran, China, India, Anatolia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, this course examines the history of exchange and movement that characterized the premodern Silk Road.