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Course Offerings

Below is a list of available courses offered by the History Department. Consult the Registrar’s Office and the College Catalog for registration information.

Course List

HIST 101 - MODERN EUROPE TO 1750

This course will introduce the main social, political, economic, and cultural forces that shaped and reshaped European societies and Europe’s relationship to the world in this period. Topics for discussion and study include the institutions of medieval Europe, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the emergence of modern commercial capitalism, the English Revolutions, and the Enlightenment. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 102 - MODERN EUROPE 1750-1900

Between 1750 and 1900 most of the characteristics associated with the “modern world” became established facts of life in much of Europe. This course will introduce the main social, political, economic, and cultural forces that transformed European societies and led to an era of European domination of much of the globe. Topics include the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, nationalism and the unification of Italy and Germany, imperialism, the emergence of modern feminism, and socialism. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 104 - MODERN EUROPE, 1900 TO PRESENT

This course explores European political, social, cultural and economic history from the turn of the twentieth century to today. Students will examine topics such as the Great War and its aftermath, the rise of Communism and Nazism, the Second World War, the Holocaust, the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, the impact of history and memory on European society, and the problems and possibilities facing Europe today. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 111 - INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC HISTORY

What is public history, and why does it matter? Who authors the narratives found on historical markers, memorials, and in museum exhibits? How do these public media shape our collective consciousness? This course draws from the historical, theoretical, and practical applications of the field through readings, discussions, lectures, field trips, and experiential learning. Students will learn the art of historical storytelling, while gaining hands-on experience by curating a small exhibit. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 115 - THE HOLOCAUST

This course will examine Nazi Germany’s systematic murder of Europe’s Jews and other minorities during the Second World War. Topics to be covered include the history of racism and anti-Semitism, Nazi racial policies, the mindset of perpetrators and bystanders, the variety of experiences of the victims, and memory after Auschwitz. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 123 - EAST ASIAN CIVILIZATION TO 1600

A survey of the civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea from roughly 2000 BC to 1600 AD. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 139 - NORTH AMERICA TO 1865

An introductory survey of the American experience from precolonial Native American cultures to the end of the Civil War. Topics include European invasion and colonization, the evolution of colonial societies, the slave trade and slavery, the American Revolution, antebellum reform, industrialization, immigration, the African-American struggle for freedom, the Confederate rebellion, and the new America the Civil War created. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 140 - UNITED STATES SINCE 1865

A survey of the American experience since the end of the Civil War, emphasizing social and technological change; growing ethnic diversity; changing gender roles; civil rights and labor movements; political controversies; the nation’s emergence as an international power and superpower; and the evolution of government as a presence in citizens’ lives. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 186 - IRELAND & AMERICA, TRAVELERS & TROUBLES

This is the on-campus pre-trip component for this study/travel seminar. While “a nation of immigrants,” America has been volatile in its attitudes and policies toward newcomers. This course explores the roots of America’s conflicted relationship with immigration, focusing on the Irish, whose experience in Ireland and America illuminates current immigration controversies. In turn, the course studies Irish history and culture in depth, examining resistance to British domination; poverty and famine; family stress and a tradition of gender alienation; Ireland today; and its continuing, complex relationship with America. Hours credit: 1. One time only. Offered Spring 2018.

HIST 186S - IRELAND & AMERICA, TRAVELERS & TROUBLES

While “a nation of immigrants,” America has been volatile in its attitudes and policies toward newcomers. This course explores the roots of America’s conflicted relationship with immigration, focusing on the Irish, whose experience in Ireland and America illuminates current immigration controversies. In turn, the course studies Irish history and culture in depth, examining resistance to British domination; poverty and famine; family stress and a tradition of gender alienation; Ireland today; and its continuing, complex relationship with America. Hours credit: 2. One time only. Offered Summer 2018.

HIST 188 - EAST ASIAN CIVILIZATION 1600-PRESENT

A survey of the civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea from roughly 1600 AD to present. Hours credit: 3. One time only.

HIST 203 - MODERN GERMANY, 1789-1918

This course explores German political, social, economic, and cultural history from the French Revolution through the First World War. Students will examine topics such as the impact of the French Revolution on the German lands, the conservative reaction after the downfall of Napoleon, the revolutions of 1848, the establishment of the German Empire, the emergence of modern culture and mass politics, and the outbreak of the First World War. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.

HIST 204 - MODERN GERMANY, 1918 TO THE PRESENT

This course explores German political, social, economic, and cultural history from the First World War to the present. Students will examine topics such as the impact of World War I, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, World War II, the Holocaust, the Cold War, the division and reunification of Germany, the impact of history and memory on German society, and the problems and possibilities facing Germany today. The course includes a required field trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.

HIST 205 - BRITISH HISTORY FROM 1215 TO 1763

This course introduces students to the fundamental developments in British politics during this period including the decline of feudalism, the changing role of the monarch, the creation and evolution of Parliament, the Reformation, the origins and aftermath of the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution, and the beginnings of the British Empire. It also focuses considerable attention on social history, that is, the lives of ordinary men and women. Recommended for students applying to the World in Britain program at the University of Reading. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIST 206 - BRITISH HISTORY, 1763 TO THE PRESENT

This course will examine the rise of the first modern industrial society, its emergence as the world’s foremost “superpower” and its decline from that status in the twentieth century. Topics include the evolution of parliamentary democracy, the birth of a class society, the culture of Victorianism, the impact of two world wars, and the efforts of workers, women, and Britain’s colonial subjects to transform the traditional hierarchies of state and society. Recommended for students applying to the World in Britain program at the University of Reading. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIST 221 - MODERN CHINA

An introductory survey of the history of modern China from the early 19th century to the present that will examine the shifting contours of China's social fabric, political identity, and internatinal position. The course will focus equally on the Qing Dynasty, Republic of China, and post-1949 People's Republic of China under the Communist regime. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIST 222 - MODERN JAPAN

An introductory survey of the history of modern Japan from the mid-19th century to present that will begin with the Meiji Restoration and ending with the Fukushima disaster of 2011. The course will examine Japan’s rapid modernization and its consequences, focusing on Japan’s shifting domestic identities, international position, and socioeconomic developments. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIST 226 - HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST

A selective survey of Middle Eastern history from the time of Muhammad until the present. Primary emphasis is on the Islamic Middle East, although the course will also be concerned with the establishment of Israel. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIST 237 - AMERICAN WOMEN'S HISTORY

An exploration of American women from pre-contact Native American cultures to the contemporary United States, focusing on women’s evolving roles, work and status; family construction; sexual attitudes and behaviors; reproductive patterns and rights; and the development and impact of feminist consciousness. The course is alert to regional, ethnic, ideological, and class diversity among American women. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

HIST 240 - AMERICAN CIVIL WAR & RECONSTRUCTION

The Civil War was not something that happened to us; it was something we did to ourselves. In this course we explore why a rational, idealistic people slid into this fratricidal barbarism that killed one out of every fifty Americans. We think about slavery's impact and legacy. We ponder the concept of a "good war." We consider what the war and its aftermath solved, worsened, and bequeathed to us, undone. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.

HIST 242 - THE HISTORY OF VIRGINIA

This course explores Virginia’s crucial significance in the saga of America from pre-colonial Indian civilizations to the present, using Virginia as a laboratory in which to scrutinize central themes in American history: race, religion, democracy, violence, capitalism, and freedom. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.

HIST 277 - RUSSIAN HISTORY 9TH TO 19TH CENTURY

This course explores Russian political, social, economic, and cultural history from the founding of Kievan Russian through the beginning of Nicholas II’s reign. Students will examine topics such as the impact of the Mongol invasion, the rise of Muscovy, the reigns of Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, the impact of the Napoleonic Wars, and developments in the Russian Empire as its leaders and people faced the changing, modernizing world of the nineteenth century. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years.

HIST 278 - RUSSIAN HISTORY FROM 1900 TO PRESENT

This course explores Russian political, social, economic, and cultural history from the turn of the twentieth century to today. Students will examine topics such as the Revolution of 1905, World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, the reign of Joseph Stalin, World War II, the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the problems and possibilities facing Russia today. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years

HIST 280 - ANCIENT HISTORY

A survey of the history of the ancient Mediterranean before 1000 CE, with special attention to Greece and Rome. Identical with History 280. Hours credit: 3.

HIST 290 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

HIST 301 - TOPICS IN MODERN EUROPEAN HISTORY

Concentrated reading and discussion on a specific theme or themes in modern European history. Topics will be selected in advance. Themes/topics will vary from year to year. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIST 306 - TOPICS BRITISH HIST

Concentrated reading and discussion on a specific theme or themes in British history. Topics will be selected in advance. Themes/topics will vary from year to year. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.

HIST 307 - TOPICS IN ASIAN HISTORY

Concentrated reading and discussion on a specific theme or set of themes in Asian history. Topics will be selected in advance. Topics will vary from year to year. Hours Credit: 3. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or permission of the Instructor. Offered alternate years. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.

HIST 335 - TOP:ERA OF AMER CIV WAR

A seminar on a topic in the history of the sectional conflict that culminated in the bloodiest and most socially revolutionary conflict in United States history. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit when topic differs from topic(s) previously taken.

HIST 337 - TOPICS IN N AMER SOCIAL&CULT HIST

A seminar on a topic in the social and cultural history of North America from the colonial period to the twentieth century. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit when topic differs. Offered second semester.

HIST 390 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

HIST 489 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

HIST 490 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

HIST 493 - SEMINAR

A selective study of historiography, historical evidence, and historical methodology, evaluating various approaches to history by academic, popular, and public historians. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: permission of the Department.

HIST 494 - SENIOR PROJECT

Students will prepare an independent research paper or senior thesis on a topic of their choice, working under the supervision of a faculty member. The project is designed to develop skills in bibliography, in examination and use of evidence, and in the organization and writing of history. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: HIST 493 and permission of the Department.

HIST 497H - HONORS IN THE MAJOR

HIST 498H - HONORS IN THE MAJOR

HIST 509 - WAR & SOCIETY IN EARLY EUROPE 1500-1800

Military history has traditionally been concerned with battles, tactics, and generals. This course avoids this 'badges, buttons and bugles' approach and instead situates armies and navies in their social, political and economic contexts. It looks at the social composition of the military, what led men (and sometimes women) to sign on, the daily life of soldiers and soldiers, how armies were supplied, and at the impact of war upon civilians and the development of the state.

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