Expanded Course Descriptions Spring 2019

The Department of History scheduled these undergraduate courses for WINTER QUARTER 2019. This list is subject to change, so please check back often.

picture of history course

Registration appointment times available on Schedule Builder and myucdavis.

Lower Division HIS 2 - 17B


HIS 7C: History of Latin America 1700-1900

Instructor: 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 free market policies. 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.


HIS 10B: World History, 1350-1850

Instructor: Professor Stirling-Harris

History 10B, “World History, 1350-1850” is an introduction to the large-scale structures and processes that transformed the world between the mid-fourteenth and the mid-nineteenth centuries. These five centuries marked an era in which cross-cultural contacts between the peoples of the world increased dramatically, laying the foundations for today’s global connectedness. We will explore these interactions and their effects on peoples and cultures around the world. Because this course is truly global, coverage cannot be comprehensive. Instead, we will take a topical and chronological approach, focusing in on major events and trends through the broad and interrelated themes of networks, such as ocean systems, cultural zones, empires, and long-distance trade; identities, including national affiliations and cultural, religious, and ethnic identifications; and cross-cultural interaction, including global religions, colonial and creole cultures, and the complicated interrelations of tradition and change. Together, the lectures, readings, discussions, and assignments will explore these themes at both the macro and micro levels, considering global trends and changes and their effects at the regional and local levels. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the whole class will convene for lectures. Students will also meet in once a week in separate small discussion sections led by a Graduate Instructor to examine and discuss in depth the assigned texts. Questions? Email the instructor at akharris@ucdavis.edu


HIS 11: The Jews in the Modern World

Instructor: Professor Miller

This survey of the history of the Jewish people since 1700  highlights the major themes that shaped the Jewish life as it moved with currents of a gathering modernity in both Eastern  and Western contexts. Topics include adaptation to new intellectual and physical freedoms; integration into industrial and post-industrial economies; confrontation and response to ideologies such as nationalism, communism, fascism, and other forms of totalitarianism; the effects of genocide, displacement, and decolonization; the making of the Jewish state of Israel and its repercussions on Jews globally; the impact of the post-9/11 world on faith and ethics. We begin with basic concepts and definitions and end by discussing the challenges posed to Jews and other minority peoples in an age of structural violence, accelerating economic polarization, and heightened religiosity. Throughout, we shall keep in mind the principle that “Jewish history” is an intellectual construct moving hand in hand with world history that is also shaped by its own inner logic.


HIS 13: Global Sexualities

Instructors: Professor Decker and Professor Materson

Survey of the global history of sexualities, including comparative study of gender, marriage, and fertility before 1800, followed by the modern history of sexualities worldwide as they intersect with the histories of imperialism, race, population control, law, and globalization.  


HIS 17A: History of the United States

Instructor: Professor Downs

This course explores the United States from its earliest settlement to the Civil War, with special emphasis upon the development of indigenous and settler societies in the region that became the United States, the formation of a new nation through a multi-sided war, and the expansion and eventual overthrow of plantation slavery.


HIS 72B: Women and Gender in America 1865-Present

Instructor: Professor Materson

This course examines the ways that diverse groups of women--including black, Native American, Asian American, Chicana, and white women of the elite, middle, and working classes--have forged and experienced American culture and democracy.  Readings emphasize women's engagement in organized struggles for economic, political and social justice during the twentieth century.  These include the suffrage, anti-lynching, racial uplift, labor, and modern civil rights and feminist movements.  The course also explores American women's migration and immigration across regions and borders.  Students consider the meaning of migration and immigration to the women who undertook these journeys, as well as the influence of these women's decisions to relocate on American political, economic, and social institutions.

Tentative Reading List:



Upper Division Seminars HIS 102D - 102X


HIS 102E: Darwin, Darwinism, and the Social Life of Science in the Nineteenth Century

Professor Daniel Stolzenberg

Among the most influential and controversial figures in modern history, Charles Darwin became a global celebrity following publication of his theory of evolution by natural selection in 1859. From his youth, Darwin’s career was entangled with major historical developments, including the transformation of British society and culture in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of empire. In this seminar we will explroe Darwin’s thought and career through his published works and private papers. In particular, we will investigate his social network, making use of the online Darwin’s Correspondence Project, containing over 9000 fully searchable letters that Darwin wrote or received. Depending on students’ interests, these rich materials can form the basis for research projects on a wide range of topics related to science, empire, gender, sexuality, religion, race, capitalism, and social movements. Students will learn how to conceptualize, investigate, and write an original research paper. 

Required texts:

Charles Darwin, Evolutionary Writings

Janet Browne, Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography


HIS 102L: American Revolutions

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, politics, and personal relationships.  This course will explore these transformations by considering the years between 1760 and 1820 as a revolutionary era.  Placing the American Revolution in transatlantic context, we will analyze the connections between war and social/cultural change.  Readings and discussions covering the topics of sex, family, religion, work, disease, and communication are designed to help seminar participants reach a deeper understanding of what we mean, and what is at stake, when we call the changes of this period “radical.”

Required Texts

Kathleen Duval, Independence Lost

Ashli White, Encountering Revolution

Hannah Foster, The Coquette

Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution

Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught

There will be some short additional readings.  Coursework will include response papers, 2 longer papers, class participation, and short presentations.


HIS 102O: Sex, Gender, and Youth in Africa

Instructor: Professor Decker

This course explores themes related to the history of sex, gender, youth, and coming of age in Africa. Since the early twentieth century, debates about indigenous customs related to puberty, sex, and marriage in Africa have intersected with emerging global discourses on the protection of women, children, and sexual minorities. History 102O will explore points of conflict and reconciliation between indigenous customs, global human rights, and young people’s experiences and understandings of coming of age. Course themes include girls’ and boys’ rites of passage, child and forced marriage, circumcision, sex work, virginity testing, and LGBTI activism.

Selected Readings

Audrey Richards, Chisungu: A Girl’s Initiation Ceremony among the Bemba of Zambia (orig. 1956)

Abosede George, Making Modern Girls: A History of Girlhood, Labor, and Social Development in Colonial Lagos (2014)

Magdalena K. Rwebangira & Rita Liljeström, eds., Haraka, Haraka…Look before you leap: Youth at the Crossroads of Custom and Modernity (1998)

T.O. Beidelman, The Cool Knife: Imagery of Gender, Sexuality, and Moral Education in Kaguru Initiation Ritual (1997)


HIS 102X: Chinese Migrations

Instructor: Professor Javers

This seminar will explore global patterns of Chinese migration, and consider both continuities and change within these various movements. We will examine Chinese communities here in California, as well as in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.  In addition to the dynamics of specific encounters, the course examines how Chinese migrants contributed to broader patterns of nation building, colonialism, race formation, capitalist development, and the global construction of "Chinese-ness?"


Upper Division HIS 107-196A


HIS 107: Medicine's Histories:  Human & Veterinary Medicine From the Ancient World to One Health

Instructor: Professor Davis

The history of medicine rarely includes any information on the history of veterinary medicine and yet work in the field of veterinary medicine has been vital to the development of human medicine.  This course analyzes the development of "one medicine" from the perspective of both human and veterinary medicine, highlighting where the two histories were complementary and where one led the other and contributed to its development.  We begin with the ancient world, including ancient Egypt, China, India, and Mesopotamia.  The focus then narrows to the western medical tradition with coverage of ancient Greece & Rome, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Enlightenment and the long 19th century when the age of modern, scientific medicine was born.  It was primarily in the 19th century that knowledge became fractured into distinct and ever-specializing "disciplines," forever separating veterinary and human medicine.  The 19th century also highlights the importance of colonialism and its legacy to human and veterinary medicine.  This course concludes with the exciting development of the "One World, One Health" approach whose initiatives have been widely implemented around the world over the last decade.  "One Health" aims to bring together specialists from human and veterinary medicine and environmental science to create more comprehensive and holistic approach to public health and international development.  The vast majority (70% or more) of new and emerging diseases are zoonoses (diseases spread from animals to humans).  Therefore, comprehensive understanding and policy development require an integrated knowledge of human medicine, veterinary medicine, disease agents, and the environment.  In response to this great need, human medicine, veterinary medicine, and environmental sciences are having to reintegrate themselves in ways not seen since before the nineteenth century.  The processes of integration and communication are not always easy and One Health still has challenges that we will examine. 

Fulfills the GE Arts/Humanities, Social Sciences, and World Cultures requirements.  

*** Please note that this is an upper division course designed for juniors and seniors.  If you are a lower division student, please contact the professor on the first class day. *** 


HIS/SAS 109:  Environmental Change, Disease and Public Health

Instructor: Professor Davis

This course analyzes environmental change at multiple scales and how these changes have influenced public health over time.  It takes as a starting point that the “environment” includes not only deserts, mountains, plains and rivers, but also slaughter houses, hospitals and our own and other animal bodies.  The changes that have taken places in these varied environments have included the obvious like deforestation and the damming of rivers and the not so obvious like creating antibiotic resistance, and creating the conditions for super contamination of large quantities of food with pathogenic organisms such as E. coli 0157:H7, Listeria, 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 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 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.

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

This is a 10 Day Drop Course

*** Please note that this is an upper division course designed for juniors and seniors.  If you are a lower division student, please contact the professor on the first class day*** 


HIS 110: Antisemitism and Islamophobia: The Anatomy of Twin Hatreds 

Instructor: Professor Miller

In this course we study the origins and evolution of two historical phobias that were initially disassociated but have in recent years become intertwined; hatred of Jews and hatred of Muslims. Both have deep historical roots that have evolved over time, reflecting changing cultural trends and political crises in the wider world. Our main focus is on the mid-twentieth century to the present day, paying attention to writing---  both popular and highbrow-- that traces the mounting crescendo of negative feeling toward Jews and Muslims. Through a close reading of  texts, we shall identify parallel structures in each phobia, their connection to world events, their evolving socio-historical meaning, and current efforts to contain them through legislation, debate, and education. We shall also examine the role of various media in promoting their growth, and the danger that their unchecked spread poses to the underpinnings of our democracy.


HIS 110W: Global Migration History.

Instructor: Professor Fahrenthold

Migrant stories are too often pushed to the side, marginalized in a historical tradition focused on narrating histories of place. Yet if there is one global history, it is the history of human mobility and migration. How do mobile people (migrants, workers, nomads, and refugees) navigate in a world with multiplying borders? How do historians find agency in migration systems (free and forced)? What does it mean to write migrant-centered histories? This course is an introduction to global migration history from 1800 to the present. It examines labor migration systems; border governance; undocumented migration; partition, displacement, and refugee regimes; and race, gender, and class in migration law. Students will engage major concepts in humanistic migration theory, read and interpret documents from the period, and hone skills in writing about migration from a systems-based perspective.


HIS 125: Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Society

Instructor: Professor Kathy Stuart



HIS 125 S19

About 50,000 people perished in the European witch-hunt, mostly in the century between 1560 and 1660. We explore the particular set of circumstances that encouraged these “burning times” in the era of the baroque. We study earlier prosecutions of heretics and Jews as a kind of model for the witch trials that followed. Prosecutions of Jews focused mostly on men, but most victims of the witch-hunt were older, post-menopausal woman. What were the gender stereotypes that led to this particular construction of the witch? About 15 % of accused witches were men, however. What made these men vulnerable to witchcraft accusations? Did warlocks practice a different, masculine magic? At the same time as thousands of witches were dying at the stake, more and more Europeans believed themselves to be victims of demonic possession. We compare the roles of witches and demoniacs and study rituals of exorcism.  Children played a problematic role in the witch-hunts. Witchcraft often served as an explanation for high infant mortality, and children featured prominently among the accusers of witches. But after 1680, children took on a new role: as perpetrators of witchcraft. We will explore the paradox that on the eve of the Enlightenment, the so-called “Age of the Child” that recognized childhood as a special stage of life that needed to be protected and nurtured, children were accused of—and executed—for witchcraft more than ever before.  Finally, we ask when, how, and why the witch-hunts ended. People didn’t stop believing in witchcraft—why did they stop burning witches?


HIS 142A: History of the Holocaust

Instructor: 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

Peter Hayes, Why the Holocaust?

Jan Gross, Neighbors

Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler

Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

Joseph Pell, Taking Risks

Dawid Sierakowiak, The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak


HIS 147B:  “European Intellectual and Cultural History, 1870-1920.”

Instructor: Professor Saler

This course is designed to introduce several of the major themes and figures in the intellectual history of Europe between 1870 and1920. Among the issues we will explore are the revolt against nineteenth century scientific “positivism” and traditional liberalism by contemporary thinkers, and the corresponding attempts to understand the relations between the rational and the irrational aspects of human existence. Nietzsche called these aspects the “Apollonian” and “Dionysian,” respectively, and the interplay between them interested philosophers, artists, and writers, as well as proponents of the new disciplines of psychoanalysis and sociology. 


Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and On the Genealogy of Morals; Ibsen, “Hedda Gabler”; Freud, On Dreams; Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics; Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism; Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art; Rimbaud, Complete Works and Selected Letters; Mann, Death in Venice and Other Tales; Kafka, The Trial.

Assignments: TBA


HIS 171B: Civil War Era

Instructor: Professor Downs

This course explores the Civil War Era, both the deadliest war in American history and the explosive political fights over slavery that brought on the war and the extraordinary, if short-lived, revolutionary experiments with biracial democracy in the Reconstruction that followed.  The course thus covers not just battlefield contests but also the expansion of plantation slavery and the development of a powerful pro-slavery politics in the South, and the creation of a free labor ideology in an industrializing North.  The course also covers the military conflict that resolved some of those issues and the political and legal resolutions that shaped the making of the modern United States.


HIS 191G: Sex, Gender, and Society in Imperial China

Instructor: 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 proliferation of concubines in the Song dynasty, to the gendered 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.