Changes effective Fall Term 2014

Chambliss Ewing Norris Strom

Historians try to understand and reconstruct past human activities, institutions, ideas, and aspirations in light of current knowledge, concerns, and hopes for the future. Knowledge of history is desirable for its intrinsic worth and its illumination of present problems and future prospects. In its methodology and values, history crosses the humanities with the social sciences.

The history faculty believes that their discipline provides an introduction to all other liberal arts subjects. "If History be made a constant part of [a student's] reading," wrote Benjamin Franklin, "may not almost all kinds of useful knowledge be that way introduced to advantage and with pleasure to the student?" By connecting us to our past, history also provides a sense of continuity and moral purpose.


Twelve (12) courses are required, six (6) of which must be at the 300-400 level and three (3) electives, of which one (1) must be taken at the 300-400 level.

  • HIS 113 History of Modern Europe: 1500-1815 OR HIS 114 History of Modern Europe: 1815-present
  • HIS 120 Decade of Decision
  • HIS 142 History of the United States to 1877 OR HIS 143 History of the United States from 1877
  • One (1) of the following:
    • HIS 150 Modern Japan
    • HIS 161 Modern China
    • HIS 163 Modern East Asia
    • HIS 260 History of Chinese Civilization
  • One (1) 300-400 level course from each of the following concentrations:
    • United States
    • European
    • Non-United States/European
  • One (1) 300-400 level course, taken in the last quarter of junior or senior year, must be a designated research course in which the student completes a major research paper using primary sources.
  • HIS 490 Senior Capstone Course (portfolio required)*

* The senior seminar portfolio includes research papers, essay examinations, and critical essays from different courses. It should reflect the student's program in each year of the major.


The History minor requires the successful completion of six (6) history courses, three (3) of which must be at the 300-level or above. In addition, students must take at least two (2) courses at any level in at least two (2) geographic regions. Currently, the History Department offers courses in three regions--United States, Europe, and Non-United States/Europe.

Course of Study

HIS 113/114 History of Modern Europe: Presents political, intellectual, social, economic, and religious history of Europe from Renaissance to present. Spans 1500-1815 in first term, 1815-present in second. Suitable for nonmajors.

HIS 120 Decade of Decision: Introduces the study of history through an examination of the political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural events of a specific ten-year period (chosen by the instructor).

HIS 140 African-American History I -- Colonial Era to Reconstruction: Surveys the political, social, and economic issues shaping African-American experiences from the colonial period to Reconstruction.

HIS 141 African-American History II -- Reconstruction to Present Day: Surveys the political, social, and economic issues shaping African-American experiences from the Reconstruction Era to present day.

HIS 142/143 History of the United States: Examines major political, social, and economic themes from revolutionary era to present. Covers to 1877 in first term, 1877-present in second. Students read textbook, secondary-source essays, and primary-source documents. Suitable for nonmajors.

HIS 150 Modern Japan: Survey of modern Japanese history from the mid 19th-century to the present, including topics of Western intrusion, Meiji Restoration, failure of the democratic experiment and rise of militarism, U.S. occupation, and economic take-off. Appropriate for nonmajors.

HIS 161 Modern China: Introduction to modern Chinese history from the Opium War to the present. Themes include the Western intrusion, rise of nationalism, cultural and identity crises, revolutions, and current economic reform. Appropriate for nonmajors.

HIS 163 Modern East Asia: A survey of East Asian Countries -- China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam -- their tradition and modern transformation in the 19th and 20th centuries. Western expansion into East Asia, revolution in China, WWII in the Pacific, the gain of Japan as an emerging power, and the Cold War in East Asia will be covered

HIS 201 Researching Asian History: Teaches critical, transferable skills. Through the lens of Asian history, students will become expert in research, hone their analytical abilities, and learn to communicate fluently.

HIS 203 Researching Latin American History: Teaches critical, transferable skills. Through the lens of Latin American history, students will become expert in research, hone their analytical abilities, and learn to communicate fluently.

HIS 204 Researching American History: Teaches critical, transferable skills. Through the lens of American history, students will become expert in research, hone their analytical abilities, and learn to communicate fluently.

HIS 235 American Graphic Media: Explores the superhero comic book genre from its pulp origin to multimedia present in the U.S. Requires students to seriously consider underlying symbolism and deconstruct the meaning of comic art in the twentieth century. Taking the comic genre from the 1930's milieu to the sci-fi heights of the present day, explores the political, social, and economic concerns reflected in comic books. Situates the comic medium within the broader sweep of popular culture.HIS 260 History of Chinese Civilization: A general introduction to Chinese civilization, its origin, evolution, rise, and decline. A wide range of topics will be covered including development of Chinese philosophical and religious traditions, rise and fall of Chinese Empires, interactions between the Han Chinese with nomadic peoples, medieval economic revolution, and late imperial stagnation and decline. Students will also be introduced to some analytical perspectives on the nature and characteristics of the Chinese history and civilization.HIS 262 East Asia in Pre-Modern Times: A survey of the cultural zone including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, with an examination of continuity and change in the institutions of the state, economy, society, and values up to the eve of Western intrusion.HIS 265 Topics in History: Probes a narrow topic in American, modern European, or world history. May be repeated for credit.

HIS 311 History of American Sexuality: Examines American sexuality from colonial era to present. Traces societal attitudes toward premarital and teen sex, gendered sexual pleasure, prostitution, abortion, contraception, eugenics, pregnancy, and other sexual issues.

HIS 320 Mexico-United States Relations: Examines interactions of Mexico and the United States from the early 1800s through the contemporary period.

HIS 321 Colonial Mexican History: Examines the historical development of Colonial Mexico; the period from the arrival of the Spanish in the New World to Mexico's independence in 1821.

HIS 322 Modern Mexican History: Covers the historical development of Mexico from its independence from Spain in 1821 through the contemporary era.

HIS 323 Modern Latin American History: Covers the historical development of Latin America from the emergence of modern nation-states (ca. mid-1800s) through the contemporary period.

HIS 346 The United States Since 1945: Approaches post-WWII years thematically, emphasizing social and cultural trends. Prerequisite: HIS 143 or consent.

HIS 347 History of Urban America: An analysis of the growth and development of urban space in the U.S. Special emphasis on how cities developed and their impact on politics, economics, and culture. Incorporates analysis of the technological transformation associated with urban life, infrastructure, and city planning in U.S. society.

HIS 349 Mao and the Chinese Revolution: Studies theories of revolution and the Chinese case. The 20th century of Chinese history can be characterized as a century of revolution -- intellectual revolution of the New Culture Movement, the Nationalist Revolution, the Communist Revolution under Mao Zedong, and the economic reform under Deng Xiaoping, which is called the "second revolution." These revolutions fundamentally changed China's polity and society and defined China's search for a modern identity. We will examine the major characteristics of these revolutions.

HIS 360 American Planning History: Examines the evolution of city planning in the U.S. from mid-nineteenth century to the present. Focuses on the changing spatial forms and functions of American cities, and how these changes relate to socioeconomic and political aspects of urbanization, as well as to changes in technology. Emphasis is placed on analyzing the relationships between historical developments associated with urban infrastructure, planning theory, and planning practice to understand how urban planning evolved into its current practices.

HIS 361 Contemporary China: Study of contemporary China since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, with a focus on its "opening-up" and economic reforms after 1978. Examines political, economic, and social systems, as well as policies and their repercussions under Mao and their changes and challenges under Deng Xiaoping and beyond.

HIS 362 History of American Foreign Policy: Presents patterns, themes, and developments in foreign policy, with emphasis on 20th century.

HIS 365 Topics in History: Probes narrow topic in American or modern European history. May be repeated for credit.

HIS 370 Race and Ethnicity in United States: Introduction to racial and ethnic identity issues through critical examination of the social, political, and economic factors that helped to construct identity in the United States. Examines how America's racial and ethnic ideas were created, maintained, and what is at stake when we struggle to define race/ethnic identity.

HIS 372 The Reformation: Analyzes causes and consequences of Protestant Reformation in 16th and early 17th centuries. Ranges over religious, political, and social causes of Reformation in Germany, Switzerland, and England; reaction of Roman Catholic Church to Protestant challenge; and social, political, and intellectual consequences of the movement. Suitable for nonmajors.

HIS 375 Aspects of War: Topics to Vary: Examines the political, social, economic, and personal impact of warfare. What has caused and resulted from this most brutal of human struggles? Conflict under consideration will vary according to the instructor as will the particular emphasis of the material covered.

HIS 383 The Decline of Europe: Explains cultural and intellectual impact of Europe's loss of equilibrium and hegemony after 1914. Touches upon effect of WWI, rise of totalitarianism, sensation of anomie, disintegration of colonial empires, WWII, and Holocaust. Suitable for nonmajors.

HIS 480 Selected Studies in History: Focuses on topic chosen in consultation with instructor. May be repeated for credit.Prerequisites: history major; junior/senior standing; 3.33 cumulative average or better; and consent of instructor and department head.

HIS 490 Senior Capstone Course: Challenges majors to trace their intellectual growth from the first course to senior year: what and how they have learned; how their ideas have changed, been modified, or solidified; how they might approach issues with new insights and skills. Each student compiles portfolio and uses it to construct an academic autobiography, emphasizing methodology and historiographical skills they have acquired. Requires paper on historical origins of contemporary event, problem, or issue. Seminar.