T/TH 3:35 pm – 4:55 pm   
Professor Thomas

GEN ED:  AAI (Art, Aesthetics and Theories of Interpretation)
                 XPL (Experiential Learning) 

How do we know what really happened in the past? When we’re confronted with competing versions of history, how can we determine which version is most true, or at least, which version is most accurate and reliable? In our society, who decides which stories are important and legitimate and which are not? And finally: what is the historian’s role in negotiating these complex issues?

This research-based course is designed for beginners, for students who may know little about history but are curious about how history gets made. We will learn about different approaches to historical research through guest presentations and discussions with various members of the History Department. Following each presentation, we will reflect on how different fields of history and the use of different kinds of sources lead historians to ask different kinds of questions – and to answer those questions in distinctive ways. At the same time, students will build research skills through a variety of workshop-style sessions to learn how to navigate library resources and databases; how to read and interpret primary sources; and how to conduct oral history interviews. With step-by-step guidance – and with freedom to follow their own interests, and to choose the format of the final product – students will develop a research project over the course of the semester.

The Making of “the West”
T/TH 11:10 am – 12:30 pm
Professor Jewell
GEN ED:  GCM (Global Communities)

This course explores the development of what has been called “Western Civilization”, from the prehistoric period, down to the Holy Roman Empire and the rise of Charlemagne. While this course covers a vast amount of historical and geographical territory, we will focus on key themes, such as the development of polities and imperialism, the emergence of new religious institutions and spiritual regimes, and the role of cultural exchange and material culture in the definition of “Western Civilization(s)”. Other concerns will also be treated as secondary threads, intersecting with each other, such as environmental change, migration and citizenship, slavery and emancipation, ethnicity and race, gender and sexuality, and the economies that undergirded the polities that produced what we call “Western Civilization(s)”. Throughout the course, we will engage in a dialogue about whether the term “Western Civilization(s)” is still the best way of labeling or understanding the multiple cultures, polities, and peoples we encounter along the way and the inheritance they have left us today. Students will examine these issues through the critical analysis of primary sources, both texts and visual objects, learning close reading skills, as well as gaining a familiarity with the shifting geographies that encompass the “West”, through digital mapping tasks. Assessments also include exams, short writing tasks, and an object analysis in a museum.

M/W 12:30 pm – 1:50 pm
Professor Mokhberi
GEN ED: GCM (Global Communities)

This course covers Europe and its connections with the wider world during the Renaissance (1300-1600). During this time, Europe underwent tremendous cultural, political, religious, technological, and military changes. Students will explore humanist thought, the rise of new military and printing technology, European explorations, court culture, the arts, witchcraft trials, and new religious ideas. Students will read and discuss some of the most influential Renaissance texts by Machiavelli, Erasmus, and Sir Thomas More and explore the meaning behind new forms of dance and art. Students will be expected to attend classes, participate in discussions of readings and films, and write several papers throughout the semester.

By Arrangement 

Independent reading under the supervision of a member of the department.


By Arrangement 

Independent reading under the supervision of a member of the department.

M/W 9:35 am – 10:55 am 
Professor Finger
GEN ED: USW (US in the World) 

This course traces the path of American history from before European colonization through the colonial period, the Imperial Crisis, Revolution, Civil War, and Reconstruction. We will examine the most important political, economic, social, and cultural developments of the 17th – 19th centuries, and observe how different groups of people shaped and were affected by such developments. Learning about the past involves a careful effort to understand the ideas and beliefs that motivated people to act in certain specific ways, within particular historical circumstances. Development of U.S. I is an introductory course, intended to acquaint students with various ideas, events, and people from this particular segment of America’s past, and to introduce students to some of the questions and debates that animate the study of early American history.

M/W 3:45 pm – 5:05 pm
Professor Boyd
GEN ED: D, (Diversity), DIV (Multicultural Diversity in the US), USW (US in the World) 

This course provides an introduction to the history of black people in America, with a survey of African backgrounds, the history of enslavement and resistance to slavery, and the evolution of black leadership through the Civil War (ending in 1865). Focal points include the transatlantic slave trade, the transition from African to African-American culture, the black family, the movement for abolition, and African American’s participation in the Civil War. We will explore the major political developments of the era, as well as how slavery and the Civil War were memorialized through monuments and celebrations.

50:512:280:01 meeting together with 50:512:380:01
M/W 3:45 pm – 5:05 pm
Professor Woloson

This course explores the intersections of crime and vice, law and order in 19th-century urban America. We will cover topics including the changes in law enforcement and imprisonment over time; the intersections of crime, poverty, and emerging industrialization; the development of organized policing; social reform movements; and the origins of the modern carceral state.

We will read the stories of gamblers, prostitutes, pickpockets, thieves, conmen, and corrupt politicians, while considering the various social, political, economic, and cultural factors that encouraged their criminal activities. In addition, we will examine various responses by the state to control the urban underworld, including enacting legislation, establishing police forces, and launching reform efforts. Students will be asked to examine various primary and secondary sources, actively engage in class discussion, and write both short and long responses to the questions raised.

M/W 9:35 am – 10:55 am 
Professor Woloson

What did Americans buy and why? How did purchasing habits change over time, and what can those changes tell us about changes in how Americans lived their lives and thought about themselves individually and collectively, from the first settlers to the present? This course covers a broad sweep of American consumer culture over four centuries, using consumption as a way to better understand broader aspects of American history and life, such as prevailing standards of living and economic conditions; politics; technological innovations; regional, national, and global commerce and emerging marketplaces; and individual and collective aesthetic sensibilities. The class will draw from both secondary readings and primary source documents, and we will consider everything from 18th-century backcountry dry goods stores to e-commerce. Subject areas of focus will include, among many other things, consumer activism (including boycotts and patriotic purchasing), the development of advertising and marketing, and the rise of department stores, malls, and other sites of shopping. In addition, we will explore the meanings of shopping itself over time and also the shifting roles of the goods we’ve bought, from being expressions of self-fashioning and status to repositories of intense emotion and desire.  This is a writing-intensive course: several essays drawing on primary and secondary source material will be required, in addition to a final exam.

T/TH 2:00 Pm – 3:20 pm
Professor Epstein
GEN ED: USW (US in the World), WRI (Writing graduation requirement)

Massive inequality. Racial tensions. Military involvement overseas. The United States today has a lot of similarities to the United States between the Civil War and World War I, the period when modern US history really began. If you want to understand the forces that still shape Americans’ debates over income distribution, racism and sexism, and the country’s place in the world, you need to understand the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era.  

This class will provide students with a better informed perspective on today’s world, a firmer understanding of US history during a pivotal period, and a foundation for more advanced study. It will focus on the following events and themes: Reconstruction; the emergence of industrial capitalism; the labor movement; Populism; changes in the armed forces; the establishment of Jim Crow; gender relations; the transformation of the United States from a continental to a global power; Progressivism; and the experience of world war. As much as possible, students will learn about this period from the people who lived through it—ex-slaves, industrialists, farmers, factory workers, immigrants, presidents, Native Americans, Supreme Court justices, suffragettes, and others. In so doing, they will improve their ability to evaluate information, to write, and to think critically about issues of great historical and contemporary importance.

U.S. SINCE 1970s
M/W 12:30 pm -1:50 pm 
Professor Goodmanemail will be updated once available

History must be made looking forward but can only be understood looking backward. In this course, we explore the history of the United States over the last 50 years, from Vietnam and Watergate to 9/11 and the rise of the Internet. We will think together about how diverse Americans have grappled with the political, cultural, and economic transformations of the last half century. We will learn to think historically, to draw connections, and to understand change over time in order to make sense of the recent past and our world today.

T/TH 11:10 am – 12:30 pm
Professor Epstein
GEN ED: EAV (Ethics and Values), WRI (Writing graduation requirement)

This seminar seeks to probe the similarities and differences between military command and the study of history. It’s difficult to describe, but students who have taken it in the past typically find it challenging yet rewarding. It isn’t a straightforward military-history class, though we will spend a lot of time talking about war and leadership.

The analogy between military command and the study of history serves as a springboard for thinking through some of the intellectual difficulties and moral dilemmas that characterize both activities. Like commanders, historians hold lives in their hands, and they can be responsible for the death of people’s reputations much as commanders can be responsible for people’s physical deaths. Thus military command and the study of history both involve power, responsibility, and the infliction of violence. Who lives, who dies, and why—on the battlefield and in the book? To answer these questions, we will read texts ranging from the Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz’s treatise On War, to the Roman poet Vergil’s epic Aeneid, to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” to Winston Churchill’s history of World War II.

The class seeks to be useful to students with different academic backgrounds and interests. The readings, writing assignments, and discussions focus on problems that all of us—not just commanders and historians—face in our daily lives: how to make sense of complex, conflicting information and how to balance competing ethical obligations. By providing students with perspective on these issues, the course aims to remain valuable to them long after they graduate from college, regardless of what career they pursue.

T/TH 9:35 am – 10:55 am
Professor Riley
GEN ED: G (Global Studies) 

Latin America is a culturally rich and diverse region. Its complex and fascinating history is the product of different worlds and cultures coming together in the sixteenth century. In this course we will analyze this encounter and its consequences by examining the experiences of three cultural groups: Indigenous Americans, Africans, and Europeans. Following a chronological order that starts with the conquest of the Americas by the Spaniards and Portuguese in the sixteenth century and ends with the breakdown of the Spanish empire in the early nineteenth century, the course will explore the ways in which different peoples and cultures interacted. We will study the lives and social roles of Indigenous, European, and African men and women in the context of the larger Iberian World. In doing so, we will attempt a deeper analysis on the social dynamics of Latin America in the past that will give us a better understanding of its present and future.

By Arrangement 

Independent reading under the supervision of a member of the department.