View schedules for Department of History courses during the current academic quarter.

Course Schedules and Descriptions

The Department of History scheduled these undergraduate courses for SPRING QUARTER 2017. This list is subject to change, so please check back often.

picture of history course

HIS 3 - 17B

History 3: Cities: A Survey of World Cultures


This course surveys 10 major cities in world history, beginning with the origins of urban settlements 9,500 years ago to sustainable megacities of the future. Each week, we will focus on one city and different aspects of urban life, from epic temples to sprawling slums.  Discover how humans have transformed their urban environments and built the infrastructure that makes city life possible.  Experience works of art and music from global cultural centers.  Feel the revolutionary clamor of urban politics. Uncover hidden histories of the red light district. This course welcomes beginners and non-majors to the study of history, with an emphasis on interpreting primary sources and developing historical writing skills. Instead of a final exam, students will complete a final project based on a historical city of their choice.

Required Readings:

PD Smith, City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age (London: Bloomsburg, 2012) 


History 4C: History of Western Civilization

Professor Saler

This course presents an overview of the major questions of European history from the late 18th century to the present.  In the first part of the course, we will investigate the fundamental changes to European life that the French and Industrial Revolutions wrought.  In the second, focusing on the 20th century, we will turn to the problems that an increasingly mobile and diverse continent confronted in world wars hot and cold, while tracing the gradual emergence of a new European order.

History 6: Introduction to the Middle East


This course surveys the history of the Middle East (Southwest Asia) and North Africa with emphasis on the period from the 6th century CE to the present. The course focuses on the major social, economic, political and cultural transformations of the region, while taking into account both regional and global contexts of interaction and change in a comparative format. Some of the topics covered are Prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an, the formation of Islamic orthodoxy, the Abbasid Empire, the formation of regional dynasties, the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, the Ottoman Empire, the colonial period, nationalism, the formation of the modern Middle Eastern states, the discovery of petroleum and its consequences, the Islamic political movements, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Islamophobia, and the role played by the United States in the region.


History 7C: Latin America, 1900 to Present

Professor Schlotterbeck

In his 1891 essay “Nuestra América”, Cuban writer José Martí identified the entire Western Hemisphere as “Our America.” Yet today, the term “America” has become synonymous with the United States of America. How and why did this happen?

This course seeks to answer this question by tracing Latin America’s history from the Spanish-Cuban-American War to the present. In a 20th century marked by the United States’ expanding presence in Latin America, we will explore the rise of dependent nationalism, different attempts at state-directed development, and the return of the free market. Key themes include questions of democratic representation, the struggles by many sectors for political, social, and economic inclusion, and the ways in which these struggles have been repressed, accommodated, absorbed, or ignored. Finally, we will apply our knowledge of historical processes to understand current conflicts and social and political aspirations in Latin America.

This is the third course in a three-part survey devoted to the history of Latin America. Each course can be taken independently and no prior knowledge of Latin America is required.

Readings include:

  • Meade, A History of Modern Latin America
  • Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898
  • Nick Cullather, Secret History: CIA Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala.
  • Sonia Nazario, Enrique's Journey

Grading: Assignments include a map quiz, 2 short papers, in-class mid-term, in-class final exam, and section participation.


History 9A: History of East Asian Civilization

Professor Javers

Course description- TBA


History 10B: World History, c. 1350-1850

Professor Harris

Course description- TBA


History 17A: History of the United States
Professor St. John

Course description- TBA


History 17B - History of the United States (Civil War to Cold War)

Professor Rauchway

This introduction to United States history since 1865 discusses the course of American history from the Civil War to the War on Terror, with particular focus on the importance of the South and the West in US development.


HIS 102E - 102X

History 102E: Europe Since 1815

Professor Biale

This course will consider the writings and lives of a group of European Jewish intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century and their responses to the horrors of World War I, the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust.  We will seek to understand not only their responses but also what we can learn from them as we confront new manifestations of extreme nationalism and racism in our own times. 

The course is a seminar, which means that students will take responsibility for running discussions.  Students’ grades will be based on their performance in the seminar and on a seminar research paper.


  • Franz Kafka, The Trial, Tribeca Books 1612931030 or 978-1612931036
  • Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, Rough Draft Printing, 1603865519 or 978-1603865517
  • Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, Vintage 0394700147 or 978-0394700144
  • Gershom Scholem The Messianic Idea in Judaism, Schocken, 0805210431 or 978-0805210439
  • Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, Penguin Classics, 0143039881 or 978-0143039884
  • Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, Modern Library, 0375753788 of 978-0375753787


History 102G: China to 1800

Professor Bossler

This course examines the changing nature of gender relations across China’s imperial period, from roughly 200 BCE to the early twentieth century. In contrast to images of imperial China that imagine a static, unchanging gender regime in which women were universally devalued and miserable, we will see how the gender system evolved over time, affected by and also affecting other social and cultural phenomena.

The course follows a roughly chronological trajectory, with each section of the course devoted to a particular theme or set of historical issues that was particularly salient in that period. From early cosmological ideas about yin and yang, to the policies of the Qing dynasty in the late 19th century, we will see how gender relations intersected with philosophical ideals, with political agendas, with religious values, and with economic developments. We will examine the kinds of choices that were available to men and women at various points in time, and explore the ways that individuals, both male and female, navigated those choices to construct meaningful lives.

The seminar will be taught on the Colloquium Model, with emphasis placed on reading and discussion of a wide range of materials, primary as well as secondary sources.  Students will be asked to read approximately 100 pages per week. Written assignments will include weekly reading responses, three short (1-2 page) seminar reports, and oral report, and one 8-10-page critical essay:  all written work will be based on the assigned course readings.  


History 102L – American Capitalism

Professor Harigan-O’Connor

Americans have long linked powerful cultural ideals such as “self-made men” and the “American dream” with an economic system called capitalism.  But what is American capitalism and where did it come from?  How did Americans decide who could participate in markets and who would be excluded?  This seminar will investigate key turning points in American capitalism’s institutions, social relations, law, and culture from the colonial period to the present.  Topics will include the morality of debt, money and counterfeiting, the politics of free and unfree labor, the rise and spread of corporations, and gender and global consumerism. 


Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests

Seth Rockman, Scraping By

Stephen Mihm, A Nation of Counterfeiters

Richard White, Railroaded

Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-mart 

These books will be supplemented with several assigned articles. 


Grades are based upon seminar participation, brief response papers, and two longer writing assignments.


History 102X: Comparative History

Professor Leroy 

Course Description: TBA


HIS 109 - 196B

HIS 109: Environmental History of Disease and Public Health

Professor Davis

This course analyzes environmental change at multiple scales and how these changes have influenced disease and public health over time.  It takes as a starting point that the “environment” includes not only deserts, mountains, plains, fields and rivers, but also farms, slaughter houses, hospitals and the bodies of humans and animals.  The changes that have taken places in these varied environments have included the obvious like pollution, modern agriculture and irrigation, and the damming of rivers, all of which have impacted various disease states.  These environmental changes also include those at the micro-scale that are not so obvious like creating antibiotic resistance and the conditions for super contamination of large quantities of food with pathogenic organisms such as E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella. Furthermore, these transformations may be changing our epigenomes with what we eat, drink and breathe in ways that induce illness.  All of these changes have had complex impacts on human health.  Many of these environmental changes have been driven by human action over the last several millennia.  The pace and scope of such changes and their health effects have become quicker and more pervasive during our era of “globalization.”  It is critical to understand these changes in order to build a more sustainable future for people and the planet. 

Anyone interested in environmental change, disease and public health is welcome in this class, from history students to pre-med and pre-vet students!

Fulfills the GE Science & Engineering; Social Science; & Scientific Literacy requirement.


111C - Ancient History: Rome

Professor Spyridakis

Rise and fall of the Roman Republic and Empire.

Readings include:

  • M. Rostovtzeff, Rome
  • Boardman, The Oxford History of the Roman World
  • Grading: Midterm 25%; paper 25%; final 50% of course grade


History 119:  World War I

Professor Rauchway and Professor Campbell

The war to end all wars; “goodbye to all that.”  Global observers viewed 1914-1918, the years of World War I, as an epoch-defining cataclysm.  The demands of total warfare placed nations and societies under unprecedented stress; they ripped apart empires and families as surely as they did bodies in the trenches.

This course presents a multifaceted view of World War I, one that is rooted in operational history (guns, tanks, battles) but reaches beyond to consider the social, cultural, and economic entanglements of the conflict.  Beginning from the hotly contested debate about the war’s origins, we will narrate the conflict in all theaters and consider its global legacies.  We will pay special attention to the individual experience of violence heretofore impossible to imagine, which we will explore by reading targeted primary sources – novels and memoirs.

Students will write a midterm, a final exam, and two 5-7 page papers based on syllabus readings.  No prior knowledge is required or assumed.

Readings will consist of selections from the following four texts:
- Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth
- Jaroslav Hasek, The Good Soldier Svejk
- Ernst Junger, Storm of Steel
- T. E. Lawrence, Revolt in the Desert

Satisfies the following fields for the History major:

United States


Asia/Middle East 


History 141: France Since 1815

Professor Zientek 

Course Description: TBA


History 142A: History of the Holocaust

Professor Biale

In a century of genocides, the Holocaust of the European Jews remains perhaps the most systematic attempt to destroy a whole people.  In this course, we will attempt to understand how one nation committed genocide against another, first by instituting policies of exclusion and expulsion and then mass murder.  The course will consider the history of the Holocaust against the background of Jewish and German history in modern times.  We will also take up the question of the uniqueness of the Holocaust and comparisons with other instances of mass death, both by the Nazis (against the disabled mentally retarded, the Sinti/Roma, homosexuals, Poles and Russian prisoners of war) and by others in the twentieth century.  Students should be aware that this is an emotionally, as well as intellectually challenging subject that has relevance to our world today. 

Required Books

  • Deborah Dwork, The Holocaust: A History
  • Jan Gross, Neighbors
  • Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler
  • Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
  • Dawid Sierakowiak, The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak


History 159: Women and Gender in Latin America History


Course Description: TBA


History 160- Spain and America in the 16th Century

Professor Harris 

Course Description: TBA


History 165: Latin America Social Revolutions

Matthew Peter Casey

This course follows the cycle of revolutions and counterinsurgencies in twentieth-century Latin America. In particular, we will focus on the role of the masses in making modern nations within the political context of what Greg Grandin and Gil Joseph call Latin America’s “long cold war.” We will trace the causes, course, and consequences of violent social upheavals in Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other countries. The emphasis will be on understanding comparisons and connections across these examples rather than comprehensive coverage. The violence and terror of Latin America’s revolutionary century unfolded within the framework of clashing ideological forces: revolution and counterrevolution; democracy and dictatorship; capitalism and socialism; imperialism and anti-imperialism. Throughout the century, historically marginalized populations, especially indigenous communities and women, erupted onto the political scene, threatening a socioeconomic order that dated back to the colonial period. Citizens of Latin American nations both benefited from and suffered through this process of creative destruction.

Texts Required for Purchase or Rental:

  • Easterling, Stuart. The Mexican Revolution: A Short History 1910-1920. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Press, 2012.
  • Sweig, Julia E. Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 2002.
  • Belli, Gioconda. The Country under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 2003.


History 169A: Mexican-American History

Professor Oropeza 

Course Description: TBA


History 170B—The American Revolution

Professor Hartigan-O’Connor

The American Revolution was a war fought for political independence and the creation of a new nation.  It was also part of wide-ranging transformations in science, culture, politics, and personal relationships.  Examining a variety of primary accounts, images, artifacts, and scholarly literature, we will explore both the war itself and the surrounding economic, political, and social transformations.  Our topics include the stresses of alliance and disease in the British empire; the influence of radical ideas on society; and the efforts of a broad range of Americans to shape the war and its aftermath.  “Liberty” was an idea that many Americans supported, but a New England merchant, a Virginia plantation mistress, and an escaped slave had often competing understandings of the place of liberty in a democratic society. 


Colin Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen

Elizabeth Fenn, Pox Americana

Alfred Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party

Sylvia Frey, Water From the Rock

Cynthia Kierner, The Contrast and other Documents

These books will be supplemented with several primary sources


Grades are based upon participation and short reading responses, two papers, and a final exam. 


History 171D: Themes in the 19th Century American History

Professor Downs

This class will examine the history of the right to vote in the United States. From before the country's founding, the question of voting rights has been central to struggles over the form and meaning of democracy. Few issues have been so important or so contentious as the fight over who has the right to vote. Students will examine the 1) expansion of the franchise to relatively poor white men in the early 1800s that made the United States the most-expansive democracy in the world, 2) the enfranchisement of ex-slaves between 1867-1870 and the rollback of voting rights for African-Americans in the disfranchisement campaigns of the 1890s and 1900s, 3) the women's suffrage movement through its struggle from 1848 to 1920, 4) immigrant voting rights movements, 5) the expansion of voting in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, 6) the debates over voting rights for felons and 6) the contemporary fight over the right to vote and efforts to restrict voting and access in the aftermath of the Shelby County v Holder Supreme Court case that invalidated parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Key readings will come from Alexander Keyssar's Right to Vote, Ellen Carol DuBois' Feminism and Suffrage, Richard Valelly's Two Reconstructions, Ari Berman's Give Us the Ballot, Allison Sneider's Suffragists in an Imperial Age, and essays and primary sources. Students can substitute a research paper for final exam with instructor's approval.


History 174B: War, Prosperity, and Depression: United States, 1917-1945

Professor Olmsted

This course covers American history during World War I, the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II. Topics include America’s emergence as a world power, the impact of the world wars, the growth of federal government power, labor conflicts, immigration restriction, race riots, and changes for women and African Americans.


History 177B- History of Black People and American Race Relations, 1860-Present


Course Description: TBA


191F - History of the People's Republic of China

Professor Javers

Course Description: TBA


193B - History of the Modern Middle East from 1914

Professor El Shakry

This course explores the history of the Middle East from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. Rather than narrate the history of the twentieth century Middle East as a series of wars and conflicts, however, we will focus on the principal intellectual, cultural, political, and social factors that have shaped the countries of the Middle East. Themes include: legacies of colonialism; the late nineteenth century cultural renaissance known as the nahda; cultural modernism; anticolonial nationalism; postcolonial revolutionary movements; Islamic revival; gender; politics of oil and war; torture and state power; and the Arab uprisings. Our focus in the 20th century will be largely on the emergence of anti-colonial nationalist revolutions and post-colonial national regimes. Rather than a comprehensive survey of the history of the Middle East, the course will highlight certain countries with the purpose of critically addressing the themes that are dominant in both the scholarly and non-scholarly literature on the region.


History 194C: Modern Japan

Professor Kim

Course Description: TBA


History 195B: Modern Korean History

Professor Kim

Course Description: TBA


196B - Modern India

Professor Sen 

Course Description: TBA