HIS 114 WEST AND THE WORLD I
This course explores important episodes and trends in the history of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas from ancient times until the late eighteenth century. Participants study the origins and worldwide expansion of Christianity, the dramatic transformation of Western European societies during the Renaissance and after, and the collision and convergence of European, American, Asian, and African civilizations across the centuries. The course emphasizes the written analysis of primary and secondary documents. For all classes prior to 2020, this course fulfills the Core requirement in History and Humanities. For the class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Core requirement in Person and Society as a first or second history, and the Core requirement in Culture and Expression as a Global Awareness course.
HIS 115 WEST AND THE WORLD II
This course explores the expansion of political participation in Europe from the Atlantic Revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to the present. Students study the commercial revolution in Europe and North America as well as other areas of the world. They examine the experiences of societies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas as global capitalism emerged and European and North American colonial empires expanded. The course also treats the two World Wars of the twentieth century and the emergence of powerful challenges to liberal democracy worldwide, including communism, fascism, and anti-colonial nationalism. It concludes with the study of particular episodes and trends in world history after 1945. At the instructor’s discretion, these might include the Cold War, emergence of the United States as a superpower, the rise of mass consumer societies, decolonization, changes in gender and family relations, 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other themes. The course emphasizes the written analysis of primary and secondary documents. For all classes prior to 2020, this course fulfills the Core requirement in History and Humanities. For the class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Core requirement in Person and Society as a first or second history, and the Core requirement in Culture and Expression as a Global Awareness course. HIS114 is not a prerequisite. Staff/Three credits
HIS 116 WESTERN CIVILIZATION I
This Honors course explores human ideas and experiences that have shaped the Western World from ancient times through the Middle Ages. The ages of classical Greece and Rome, the rise of Christianity, the emergence of medieval culture and thought, the slow evolution of national identities, and myriad political, religious, and social conflicts of the pre-modern eras are explored. The course emphasizes written analysis of primary and secondary sources. For all classes prior to 2020, it fulfills the Core requirement in History and Humanities. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, it fulfills the Core requirement in Person and Society as a first or second history course.
HIS 117 WESTERN CIVILIZATION II
This course studies the rise of the modern state, the rise of scientific inquiry and modern science, the course and implications of industrialization, and the role of ideology as an agent of politics, revolution, and war. The course emphasizes written analysis of primary and secondary sources. For all classes prior to 2020, it fulfills the Core requirement in History and Humanities. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, it fulfills the Core requirement in Person and Society as a first or second history course. History 116 is not a prerequisite. Staff/Three credits
HIS 180 UNITED STATES TO 1877
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. The course emphasizes written analysis of primary and secondary sources. For all classes prior to 2020, it fulfills the Core requirement in History and Humanities. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, it fulfills the Core requirement in Person and Society as a first or second history course. Staff/Three credits
HIS 181 UNITED STATES SINCE 1877
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.” The course emphasizes written analysis of primary and secondary sources. For all classes prior to 2020, it fulfills the Core requirement in History and Humanities. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, it fulfills the Core requirement in Person and Society as a first or second history course. History 180 is not a prerequisite. Staff/Three credits
HIS 202 ANCIENT ROME, 509 B.C.–565 A.D.
From Rome’s rejection of Etruscan supremacy to the death of Justinian. Emphasis on Rome’s transition from Republic to Empire and on the subsequent transition from paganism to Christianity.
HIS 208 EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE
A study of the origins of the European community from the fall of the Roman Empire to the eve of the Crusades. Black/Three credits
HIS 209 LATE MEDIEVAL EUROPE
A study of European institutions and culture from the Crusades to the eve of the Renaissance.
HIS 230 RENAISSANCE EUROPE
Led by the humanists’ rediscovery of the classical world, Renaissance writers, artists, political analysts, philosophers, and theorists opened new horizons of culture and learning. Europeans developed critical attitudes toward the past, explored the globe, established new methodologies for nearly every discipline, and created new modes of artistic and literary expression in ways that profoundly shape our world today.
HIS 235 FRANCE SINCE 1789
A study of France from the end of the Old Regime to the emergence of the Fifth Republic, emphasizing revolutionary traditions, church-state relations, and France’s European and world position.
HIS 241 RUSSIA: PRE-REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD
From the Kievan period (tenth century) to the Bolshevik Revolution with special attention to such topics as Byzantine influence, westernization, technological development, art and literature, and revolutionary tradition. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, fulfills Global Awareness requirement in the Core. Mukhina/Three credits
HIS 242 RUSSIA SINCE 1917
Beginning with a summary study of traditional Russian political culture, the Russian revolutionary heritage, and the origin and early development of the Bolshevik wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the course investigates the collapse of the old order, the seizure of power by Lenin and his followers, and the history of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1989.
HIS 250 COLONIAL LATIN AMERICA
This course is a survey of colonial Latin American history. It traces the historical origins of Latin American society, focusing on the clash of cultures. Themes include an examination into Iberian and pre-Columbian societies; conquest and subordination of Amerindian civilizations by Spain and Portugal; the distribution of power; land and labor issues; and the order and instability of colonial society. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 251 LATIN AMERICA SINCE 1821
This course is intended as 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. The themes of the course focus on the causes and consequences of structural instability in Latin America since 1800. Special emphasis is placed on the collapse of the region’s traditional liberal/export model of national development in the 1930s and current political and economic crisis. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 252 RELIGION IN COLONIAL LATIN AMERICA
Human sacrifice, cannibalism, bloodletting, confession, penance, miracles, and the Virgin of Guadalupe all make up the diverse religious beliefs of Latin America. This course examines these beliefs from the Aztec and Maya, to the Spanish conquistadors, to their descendants, and presents the students with a firm historical understanding of the establishment of Christianity in the Americas. We will explore the similarities and differences between Latin America’s religious beliefs in the colonial period, with a particular emphasis on the spread of Catholicism and its successes and failures in replacing preexisting beliefs in Mexico and Yucatan. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 254 NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN
An interdisciplinary course that seeks to integrate the methodology and findings of anthropology, biology (genetics and nutrition), history, and linguistics in the study of representative Indian groups within select culture areas; for example, the Arctic, the Subarctic, the Eastern Woodlands, the Northwest Coast, the Southeast, the Southwest, and the Plains. (Same as ANT 254.) For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
Choquette, Keyes/Three credits
HIS 255 FROM CONTACT TO CASINOS: INTERACTIONS WITH INDIANS IN NORTH AMERICA
An interdisciplinary course which allows a closer inquiry into a number of intriguing subjects which need to be more clearly understood if a better grasp of Indian culture is to be achieved. The topics have been selected on the basis of (a) the high priority usually given by scholars to certain Indian topics; (b) the continuing productive scholarship in, and even controversy on, certain subjects; and (c) the area of interest and expertise of the staff. Accordingly, new topics may be added as the interest and need warrant. (Same as ANT 255.) For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core. (Spring)
Choquette, Keyes/Three credits
HIS 257 HISTORY OF CANADA
A survey of Canada’s history from pre-colonial times through the present.
HIS 258 COLONIAL AMERICA
This course explores the development of European colonies in North America with emphasis on the English colonies that eventually formed a political union and became the United States. Rather than focusing solely on the experiences of European settlers, we analyze a series of encounters among Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans throughout the colonial period, placing these exchanges within the broader context of the emerging Atlantic World. We also use a comparative approach to examine the emergence of distinctive regional patterns among those colonies and their roles in the imperial contests of the era. Topics addressed include the organization of early American culture around the interactions of Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans in North America; the diverse origins of explorers, settlers, and migrants; the political, cultural, and economic development of English colonies; slavery and other labor systems; and the first rumblings of the American Revolution produced by tensions within and beyond colonial British America.
HIS 265 PEACE STUDIES
This course examines causes of global and personal conflict and allows students to discuss means of resolution within historical as well as sociological contexts. The lead professors will stimulate debate by personal example. Guest speakers will provide additional expertise in specific areas relevant to the weekly discussion.
HIS 267 AMERICAN FOREIGN RELATIONS SINCE 1776
An examination of U.S. interactions with the world from 1776 to the present. Topics include the diplomacy of the American Revolution, American westward expansion, the United States’ emergence as a world power, both World Wars, the Cold War, 9/11, and aftermath. The cultural, economic, and political context and consequences of U.S. globalism at home and abroad are emphasized. Kisatsky/Three credits
HIS 272 GERMANY SINCE 1890
A study of the development of Germany as a world power in the nineteenth century. Topics include Germany’s experiences in war and peace; monarchy, democracy, and dictatorship from the era of Wilhelm II through the age of Hitler; democracy and reconstruction in West Germany since World War II; the Cold War; the reunification of Germany; and Germany’s role in a new Europe. Wheatland/Three credits
HIS 282 JAPAN SINCE 1868
Designed to introduce students to the major themes of Japanese history during the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, the course begins by defining the nature of Japanese feudalism on the eve of 1868 and the internal and external challenges that resulted in the momentous political, social, and cultural transformation known as the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The course continues by exploring the domestic and international forces leading to war in the Pacific, the period of American occupation, and post-war recovery. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 283 MODERN CHINA: WAR AND REVOLUTION
This course surveys the history of China from the 19th century to the present post-Deng era. The transformation that China underwent in the last two centuries is one of the most drastic and exciting ones in world history. The course focuses on various wars and revolutions that involved the Chinese people in the modern period. In addition to studying the major political changes, the course also addresses broader social issues, including the changing status of women, the development of youth culture, and transformation of the peasantry. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 285 WOMEN’S STUDIES I: IMAGES
This course is an introduction to the study of women. The course develops a coherent, integrated view of women and their roles; emphasizes the full range of contributions of and the limited opportunities for women; examines and appraises the experiences of women; and critically examines the thinking about women at various times and from various perspectives. The basic approach is interdisciplinary and the concentration of the course is on women in North America from the 19th century to the present. For classes prior to 2020, this course satisfies the humanities requirement in the Core Curriculum.
Choquette, Keyes/Three credits
HIS 290 ISLAMIC MIDDLE EAST I (TO 1800)
This course examines the history of the pre-modern Middle East from the genesis of Islam in seventh century Arabia to the advent of Western power and dominance in the region. The course covers religious, cultural, and socio-economic developments in the Middle East. In addition to examining the origins of the Qur’an and Muhammud’s proselytizing mission in the Arabian Peninsula, the course analyzes the reasons for Islam’s rapid political takeover of territory stretching from Spain to Central Asia. It also examines how the conquered territories and peoples exerted a strong formative influence on the development of Islam. The Islam’s numerous philosophic, scientific, and technological achievements which marked a period of progress in the European Middle Ages are stressed. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 291 ISLAMIC MIDDLE EAST II (SINCE 1800)
This course examines the history of the modern Middle East. It covers the period in which the traditional societies of the Middle East were profoundly altered by their contacts with the Western world. It analyzes broad social issues such as the changing role of the middle class, the transformation of traditional authority and the emergence of potent new symbols of power in the twentieth century, such as nationalism, modernization, and resurgent Muslim identities. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 306 RISE AND DECLINE OF EUROPEAN PRIMACY, 1870 TO THE PRESENT
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 given to the influence of imperialism, militarism, and power politics.
HIS 310 DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF EUROPE IN THE 20TH CENTURY
Diplomatic history of Europe since 1914 with an emphasis on the political collapse of Europe, the German problem in an age of international civil war, and the beginning of the Cold War.
HIS 312 WOMEN IN EUROPE
An introduction to European women’s history from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. The course examines the economic, social, and political position of women with particular attention to Britain, France, and Germany. It spans the pre-industrial and industrial periods and focuses especially on women’s work, women in the family, women in religion, and women’s political activities. Choquette/Three credits
HIS 313 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 learn to explain the diversity of experience that has always characterized women and families in America.
HIS 332 BAROQUE EUROPE, 1600–1789
This course explores the intersection of culture, politics, religion, and science in Europe from the seventeenth through the eighteenth centuries, a period of convulsive change in which the contours of the modern West were formed. The class introduces students to the richness and variety of creativity across many disciplines in a period typically designated as the “Golden Age” within the literary and artistic cultures of Spain, France, England, Italy, Holland, and Germany.
HIS 337 CHRISTIAN MYSTICS: WOMEN AND MEN IN MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN EUROPE
While many people sense some dim consciousness of the beyond, some claim to be eyewitnesses to the ultimate truths, to have a direct pipeline to the divine. Mystics gained renown as prophets and living saints, but often came in conflict with ecclesiastical authorities. Their writings, drawings, and lives provide extraordinary testimony to beliefs about popular devotions, gender, attitudes toward the body, and psychological deviance. This course explores the rich variety and exquisite intimacy of mystical experience in the West from the fourth through the seventeenth century. We will approach speculative thought, prophecy, calls to action, as well as “transcendental” experiences through the classic works of Hildegard of Bingen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Bonaventure, Catherine of Siena, Joan of Arc, Thomas à Kempis, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and others.
HIS 338 CLASSICS OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
Over the course of two millennia, the Christian tradition has developed an extensive and subtle literature of spiritual counsel. Spiritual guides in every century offered new frameworks for understanding the Christian condition and responding to the call of the heart. Some of these writings, as a result of their exquisite clarity and intimacy, have transcended their time as classics of the genre, offering the most profound insights into the yearnings, trials, and deepest consolations of the soul. (Typical authors include Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena, Ignatius Loyola, François de Sales, Thomas à Kempis, and Thérèse of Lisieux, among others.) This course surveys this exceptional treasure-trove of spiritual literature in a way that both embeds it within its historical and cultural context, and captures its perennial validity and relevance, even (or especially) for the contemporary world. Counts for SOPHIA Initiative and MEMS.
HIS 340 HITLER’S VIENNA
A study of the political, social, and cultural history of the Austrian Empire, and particularly its capitol city, Vienna, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Topics include the rise and decline of the Austrian Empire, the emergence of political liberalism, the rise of the “new Conservatives,” the crisis of traditional Austrian society and culture, and the crisis of Viennese modernism. The final third of the course takes a detailed look at the life and experiences of Adolf Hitler, who grew up amid all of these dramatic changes and crises -- crediting them with shaping his racist ad reactionary worldview. The final goal of the course will be to evaluate the accuracy of Hitler’s assessment regarding the impact of Vienna on the tragic course of the twentieth century. Wheatland/three credits
HIS 359 REVOLUTIONARY AMERICA
This course explores cultural, political, and economic changes in America from the age of imperial crisis through the era of the Early Republic. In addition to tracing the political history of the founding, we examine the experiences of Americans from diverse backgrounds, including women, slaves, free blacks, Native Americans, merchants, farmers, common soldiers, abolitionists, artisans, loyalists, and others. We examine their multiple perspectives on the Revolution, the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, and the cultural and political turmoil that emerged amidst the ensuing rise of political parties. The course takes both a narrative and an analytical approach by focusing on major interpretive issues in a more-or-less chronological fashion. We also assess how well popular narratives of the Revolution and the Early Republic reflect scholarly understandings of the period. This course fulfills the “Founding Documents” requirement for Education concentrators.
HIS 362 CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES
This course examines the sectional conflict, the inability to resolve problems, issues leading to secession, the military, political, and social dimensions of the Civil War, and the era of Reconstruction.
HIS 363 THE VIETNAM WAR
An exploration of how Americans and Vietnamese on all sides of the conflict experienced the war (1945–1975) and sought to discern meaning from it. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, fulfills Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 366 VOCATIONS IN PUBLIC HISTORY
“What can I do with a degree in history?” This course introduces students to a variety of careers pursued by public history professionals, from archivists, curators, and editors to administrators, cultural resources managers, and policy advisors. In the process of examining the diverse manifestations of presenting the past beyond the classroom, we will analyze the professional issues and political problems that practitioners of public history encounter. This will include an exploration of the relationship between historians and communities engaged in conversations and debates about both the purpose of history education and the intersections of history, cultural memory, heritage, and commemoration. Students will also gain practical experience through participating in a Community Service Learning project or internship in collaboration with a local public history institution or organization.
HIS 368 THE COLD WAR
This course traces the history of the Cold War through the lens of American policy, politics, and culture. Students explore the causes, character, and consequences of the Cold War by considering the role that strategic, political, economic, cultural, and ideological forces play in shaping events and their outcomes. The effects of the Cold War on life and culture (economic relationships, gender and race relations, popular culture) in the United States and around the world are treated in depth.
HIS 370 IMMIGRATION AND AMERICAN HISTORY SINCE 1815
A study of the role of the immigrant in American history, the impact on American society, and the process of assimilation and identification. The consequences of restriction since 1921 are also investigated.
WMS 385 WOMEN OF THE WORLD
This course uses the personal stories of women around the world as a lens into current global issues. Each week participants read accounts of women’s lives in regions outside of the United States, along with readable texts that provide historical and contemporary background for personal experiences. Students encounter the powerful and the powerless; the rich and the poor; the courageous and the meek; and in learning their stories, also learn something about the world that they inhabit, and that we inhabit along with them. In this global age in which we live, what happens at the individual and the local level is intricately connected with what is happening around the world, including in our own homes and communities. In experiencing a “world of women,” we learn about the human struggles that unite and divide people across cultures in the modern world. For the Class of 2020 and all subsequent classes, this course fulfills the Global Awareness requirement in the Core.
HIS 393 FROM JESUS TO MUHAMMAD: THE NEAR EAST IN TRANSITION
This course examines the history of the Near East from 50 BCE to 750 CE. The course addresses a very critical period of transition for the Near East, one in which a variety of religious experiences structured the life of people in classical times and late antiquity. It analyzes broad social issues such as the changing patterns of urban rural interaction, the growing power and influence of marginal societies such as the peasants of Mesopotamia and the Bedouin of Arabia, the transformation of traditional authority and the emergence of effective new symbols of power. The course ultimately traces the significant developments by which the Near Eastern societies were transformed from classical Roman and Imperial Persian paradigms into a unified caliphate under the new religion of Islam.
HIS 397 PRACTICUM IN THE TEACHING OF HISTORY
On occasion, students with a special interest in teaching History may work as assistants in the planning, teaching, and evaluation of one of the department’s introductory courses. Open only to juniors and seniors.
HIS 389 SPECIAL TOPICS IN HISTORY
This course permits the study of selected topics in history. The topic normally changes each time the course is offered. Staff/Three credits
HIS 390 INDEPENDENT STUDY
Open to highly qualified Junior and Senior History majors. Permission of the Chair is required.
HIS 400 RESEARCH METHODS
This course introduces the historical method of research, writing, and analysis. It explores how historians construct and defend historical arguments and the many sources and implications of interpretive difference.
HIS 401 HISTORY PRO-SEMINAR
Designed primarily for History majors and minors in their junior or senior year, the Pro-seminar is formally linked to the History Seminar (HIS 402WE), taught by the same instructor in the same semester on a topic of the instructor’s choice. The Pro-seminar offers a broad survey of an historical subject or period, while the Seminar provides an opportunity for in-depth study and independent research on a discrete topic.
HIS 402WE HISTORY SEMINAR
A writing- and research-oriented course designed primarily for History majors and minors, the Seminar introduces students to the practice of historical scholarship. Students intensively study an historical problem or subject, and they conduct individual research on different aspects of the seminar topic. Previous seminars have treated the American Revolution, Slave Narratives, Renaissance Humanism, the Holocaust, Salem Village Witchcraft, the Dreyfus Affair, the Vietnam War, and World War II in the Pacific. The seminar is taken in conjunction with a Pro- seminar (History 391), a course providing background and context for the seminar topic. The Pro-seminar is taken in the same semester as the Seminar, usually in the junior or senior year. This seminar fulfills the Writing Emphasis requirement in the Core Curriculum.
AAS 350 AMERICAN STUDIES SEMINAR AT THE AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY
Each fall, the American Antiquarian Society and five Worcester colleges sponsor an interdisciplinary research seminar focusing on a different aspect of early American history and culture. The seminar topic and research methods combine several disciplines, and students from a wide variety of majors have participated successfully in this unique undergraduate opportunity. Recent seminar topics have included “Puritan Captivity Narratives and Native Stories,” “America’s Environmental Histories,” and “Sexualities in Early America.” The seminar meets at the American Antiquarian Society and is conducted by a scholar familiar with the Society’s collections. Selection is highly competitive. The participating students are chosen by a screening committee made up of representatives from the five participating colleges: Assumption, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Worcester State College. This seminar fulfills the methods requirement for History majors and minors. (Fall only)