Expanded Course Descriptions Fall 2021

The Department of History scheduled these undergraduate courses for FALL QUARTER 2021. 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 4A-80


HIS 4A: History of Western Civilization (Europe) - Professor McKee

The boundaries of “Western Civilization” have never been fixed. Trying to locate where the West begins or ends raises more questions than it answers. Does the West map onto the old Roman Empire? Not by a long shot. Have the people of Scandinavia always been Western? Not really. Can the people of Eastern Europe and Russia claim to be part of Western Civilization? It depends on who you ask. Does the West coincide with the borders of Christian Europe? The answer depends on the period and leaves out the non-Christians who lived in Europe over the past two millennia. Whichever way that “Western Civilization” may be defined, the history of the political, cultural, and economic landmass known as Europe challenges us to question the concept of the West.

Because Rome and its history looms so large in public perceptions of Europe’s past, this course begins in the 8th century BCE (Before the Common Era), when the city was

founded, and continues up to the start of the 1500s CE (Common Era). We will consider the impact of climate and disease on the political and economic fortunes of the Roman

Empire, the foundation of Christianity and the evolution of the Church, the impact of Scandinavians on western Europe, the Middle East, and Russia, medieval slavery, the

impact of the bubonic plague starting in the 14th century, and the rise of new cultural forms. Most importantly, we will focus on the places and fields of study where Europeans and non-Europeans encountered each other, collaborated, and fought over resources. The 2,000 years prior to the age of European exploration were centuries of cultural, ethnic, and religious fluidity.

Please note that the required textbooks for this course are not available through Equitable Access. They may be obtained online, both in hard copy and electronically,

relatively cheaply.

Kidner et al., The Global West, vol. 1, 3rd ed. (rentable on Amazon)

Kyle Harper, The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the Fall of an Empire. (e-book; paperback)

Neil Price, Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings. (e-book & hardback)

Recent PDF article on the 14th c. bubonic plague (provided for free).



 HIS 7A: History of Latin America to 1700 (Latin America)- Resendez

This is an introduction to the history of Spanish and Portuguese America from the late pre-Columbian period through the initial phase and consolidation of a colonial regime (circa 1700). The lectures, readings, and discussion sections offer a broad overview of the indigenous roots and realities of the hemisphere, the Spanish and Portuguese conquests of this region, and the emergence of colonial regimes in the 16th and 17thcenturies. It will explore the contrasting experiences of Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans and their mixed descendants in an evolving colonial world.  Key topics will include the disruptions and continuities of the major indigenous civilizations of the continent, colonialism, racial mixture and race relations, gender, labor systems, identity, religion, and environmental transformation. This is the beginning of a three-course sequence devoted to the history of Latin America. Each course can be taken independently.

Your final grade will be determined by:

1) Midterm Exam (20%)

2) Final Exam (20%)

3) Participation (class and section) (20%)

4) Two In-class essays (40%)

 HIS 8: History of Indian Civilization (Asia)- Sen


Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Survey of Indian civilization from the rise of cities (ca. 2000 B.C.) to the present, emphasizing themes in religion, social and political organization, and art and literature that reflect cultural interaction and change. GE credit: AHSSWCWE.


HIS 10C: World History III (World) - Professor Dickinson


Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Major topics from world history of the 19th and 20th centuries, emphasizing the rise and fall of Western colonial empires; Cold War and the superpowers; the spread of the nation-states; and process of globalization. GE credit: AHSSWCWE.


HIS 13: Global Sexualities (World)- Professor Decker and Professor Materson

Course Description: This course offers a survey of the global history of sexualities. We will investigate the theoretical concepts and constructs related to sex, sexuality, gender, marriage, and reproduction and delve into case studies on the modern history of sexualities worldwide as they intersect with the histories of slavery, imperialism, race, population control, law, and globalization.  


Required: Buffington, Luibhéid, and Guy, eds., A Global History of Sexuality: The Modern Era (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). The e-book version is available through the “Reading List” tab on Canvas. If you are unable to access it there, sign into the library VPN to get the e-book version here: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucdavis/detail.action?docID=1576327  

Optional: Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History Ninth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017) 

All other readings are posted as pdfs or weblinks on Canvas.

Course Requirements: TBA


HIS 15B: Africa Today (Africa)- STAFF


Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Survey of major themes in colonial and postcolonial sub-Saharan African history, including colonialism, decolonization, nationalism and politics, economic history and labor, urbanization, popular culture, gender, marriage, and family life. GE credit: AHSSWC.


HIS 017AHistory of the United States (United States)- Professor St. John

This class will provide a broad introduction to the history of the territory that is now the United States from the first encounters between Americans and Europeans through the mid-nineteenth century and the crisis of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Don’t let the course title fool you; this is not just a history of the United States (which, of course, did not begin to become a nation until 1776). In addition to focusing on the first century of U.S. history, this course will go back hundreds of years to briefly touch on North America before the arrival of Europeans before exploring how European colonists, Indigenous Americans, and enslaved Africans created a new world together on the continent. We’ll then move on to discuss the founding of the United States and the development, near collapse, and rebuilding of the nation in the years leading up through the Civil War and Reconstruction. 

The course will introduce students to some of the central themes in American history and how historians have developed this understanding by analyzing primary source material and assembling narratives. Course themes include imperialism and colonization, slavery and labor regimes, trade, resource extraction, and the emergence of capitalism, family and community formation and the evolution of American cultures, the rise of nation-states and the dispossession of Native polities, and politics and the ideology of freedom and democracy.  

In addition to introducing some of the central figures and events in American history, this course is intended to help students hone a range of skills in critical reading and thinking, written and oral communication, and historical analysis and writing.


HIS 017B—History of the United States (United States)- Professor Tsu


Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). The experience of the American people from the Civil War to the end of the Cold War. Not open for credit to students who have completed HIS 017C. GE credit: ACGHAHDDSSWE. 


HIS 18A: Race in America in 1865 (United States) - STAFF


Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Introduction to history of race and racial formation in the United States to the Civil War through a comparative approach. Examines the experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Native American, Mexican Americans and other Latino/a groups. Only one unit of credit to students who have previously completed HIS 178A.


HIS 72B: American Women and Gender, 1865 to the Present 

This course examines the ways that diverse groups of women 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.

Course Readings and Assignments: TBA


HIS 80: The History of the United States in the Middle East (United States) - Professor Tezcan


After September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush delivered an address to the American people asking, “Why do they hate us?” The question – and his answer – resonated with a popular “Clash of Civilizations” thesis that argues that conflict between Islam and the West is inevitable for the long-term.

Aiming for a deeper understanding of the stories that fill the headlines, this course interrogates that proposition by looking at the long history of United States involvement in the Middle East, from the Barbary pirates to recent beheadings, from missionaries to missiles, from Cold War concerns to moments of cultural exchange, to today’s presidential race.

  • Textbook: Rashid Khalidi, Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East (Boston: Beacon Press, 2005). Digital copies of additional reading assignments will be available on Canvas.
  • Grading: Quizzes: 30%; mid-term: 35%; final exam: 35% Quizzes will be online during class time, based on the lecture on the day of the quiz.




Upper Division Seminars HIS 102K-102L


HIS 102K: American History to 1787 (United States)- Professor Hartigan O'Connor

Early American Colonial Intimacies 

European colonialism in North America from 1500 to 1800 depended on and transformed intimate relationships.  As people from around the globe fought and formed alliances, struggled to survive, created new political structures and laws, and attempted to understand unfamiliar cultures, they drew on ideas about families, sex, and gender that were undergoing great change.  This seminar’s readings and discussions, covering the topics of marriage, childbirth and contraception, sexual violence, and masculinity and femininity, are designed to help seminar participants reach a deeper understanding of how power operated in the intimate relationships of colonial American societies.


HIS 102J:  Latin America Since 1810 (Latin America)- Professor Perez Melendez 


Frantz Fanon: Worlds, Works, Afterlives

This seminar is dedicated to examining the work of Frantz Fanon and its multiple historical contexts. Born on the island of Martinique, Fanon served in World War II before working as a psychiatrist in Algeria, where his practice sought to understand the mental fallout of racism and colonialism that he had begun to explore in Black Skin, White Masks (1952). Later, The Wretched of the Earth consolidated Fanon as an obligatory reference of liberation movements across the world precisely as he passed away in 1961. His short life remains as instructive as his long afterlives. As a historical subject, Fanon traversed the cultural movement of Caribbeannégritude, French existentialism, and Algerian decolonization. His work in turn informed global decolonization struggles as well as the Black power movement in the U.S., and has in more recent times become a cornerstone of critical race theory. This seminar will closely read Fanon’s main writings through the lens of biography, and social and intellectual history. In addition, we will trace Fanon’s lasting influence by looking into the social thinkers who have engaged with his thought–from Jean-Paul Sartre to Hannah Arendt to Huey Newton–up to our times.


HIS 102L:  United States 1787-1896 (United States)- Professor Downs

Black California History

This seminar examines the lives of Black Californians in the 1800s, including both those here before US annexation and after. Although the large-scale migration of Black Americans to California began in the 20th century, the small but influential movement of earlier Black migrants shaped California history and the experiences of later-arriving people, but is largely forgotten. This class utilizes historians' research skills to bring those people to life and to create ways of helping the public remember their experiences and legacies. Early Black Californians worked in mines, established farms, ran city business, filed lawsuits to defend their freedom and rights, founded churches and schools, and in other ways helped transform California. Some, in turn, despaired of California, and established new homes in western Canada. Through secondary and primary source readings, students examine life histories, residential and familial and occupational patterns of Black Californians, and the struggles they fought for equality under the law and room to construct their own lives. Students may write either a traditional research paper or a digital history project that makes a study of a person or a neighborhood available to the public or to educators. 


Upper Division HIS 107-196B


HIS 107: Medicine's Histories: Human & Veterinary Medicine from the Ancient World to One Health (World)- Professor Davis


Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Project (Term Project). Global, comparative study of the related histories of human and veterinary medicine from the ancient world to today's interdisciplinary One Health. Emphasis on reintegration of human and veterinary medicine to meet the biggest health challenges today. GE credit: AHSS.


HIS 138C: Russian History: The Rise & Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917 to Present (Europe)- Professor Campbell

History 138C:  The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-present 

This course traces the emergence of the Soviet Union as a socialist system, its rise to global prominence, and its eventual decline and collapse.  We will pay particular attention to the multi-ethnic nature of the Soviet state – taking seriously the changing relationship of the union as a whole with its component republics. 

Other key topics will include the tension between the ideals and outcomes of the October Revolution; the relationship between Leninism and Stalinism; the extent to which the USSR may be described as a “totalitarian” state; and the legacy of the Soviet era in Russia and other post-Soviet states.

  • Readings: 

  • Nicholas Riasanovsky and Mark Steinberg, A History of Russia, 8th ed. (optional) 

  • Ronald Suny, The Structure of Soviet History 

  • Fedor Mochulsky, Gulag Boss:  A Soviet Memoir 

  • Svetlana Alexievich, Zinky Boys 

  • Tony Wood, Russia without Putin 

  • Additional primary and secondary source readings available on Canvas


HIS 146A: Europe in the 20th Century (Europe)- Professor Dickinson  


Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Survey of the history of Europe from 1919 to 1939. GE credit: AHSSWCWE. 


HIS 147C: European Intellectual History: 1920 - 1970 (Europe)- Professor Saler 


Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. European thought and culture since World War I. Coverage includes: literature and politics; Communism and Western Marxism; Fascism; Existentialism; Structuralism; Feminism. Particular attention to Lenin, Brecht, Hitler, Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Marcuse, Foucault, Woolf and de Beauvoir. GE credit: AHSSWCWE.


HIS 158: Special Topics in Latin American History (Latin America) STAFF


Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Topics in the history of Latin America. Topics may be framed geographically (e.g., Central America), chronologically (e.g., The Cold War) or thematically (e.g., environmental history). May be repeated up to 3 time(s) when topic differs. GE credit: AHWCWE.


HIS 167: Modern Latin American Cultural & Intellectual History (Latin America) - STAFF


Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Introduce to the cultural and intellectual history of modern Latin America including architecture, cinema, painting, music and literature. GE credit: AHSSWCWE


HIS 171C: Reconstruction, America's Second Founding (United States)- Professor Downs 

Why do many scholars consider the post-Civil War period a Second American Revolution, a civil rights movement full of promise to remake the nation completely?  And why did the period end in disappointment and retreat? To answer those questions, this course examines the history of the post-Civil War period known as Reconstruction to examine the re-creation of the United States in the aftermath of the nation's bloodiest conflict and the emancipation of four million formerly enslaved people. In class students will examine the social and economic changes in the South as ex-slaves tried to gain land and independence while planters fought for control; the Constitutional changes as Republicans passed three sweeping amendments that still shape contemporary rights and citizenship; political debates about the future of Reconstruction; and the role of the military in enforcing federal law. But we will also look beyond the former Confederate states to examine the transformation of labor relations, racial ideologies, and the federal government in Chicago urban struggles, in Western battles over Chinese labor, and in debates over annexing the Dominican Republic and Cuba. We close with the retreat from Reconstruction as vigilantes assumed control in the South, anti-democratic movements swept over the North and West, and freed people began looking for new horizons in the West and outside the United States altogether.


HIS 174C: The United States Since World War II, 1945 to the Present (United States)- STAFF


Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. America's struggle to respond to new complexities in foreign relations, social tensions, family changes and media. Emphasis on such topics as: Cold War; anticommunist crusade; civil rights, feminist and environmentalist movement; New Left; counterculture; Vietnam; Watergate; and the moral majority. GE credit: ACGHAHDDSSWE.


HIS 177A: History of Black People & American Race Relations: 1450-1860 (United States) - Professor Leroy


Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. History of black people in the United States from the African background to Reconstruction. GE credit: ACGHAHDDSSWE.


HIS 190C: Middle Eastern History III: The Ottomans, 1401-1730 (Middle East)- Professor Tezcan

This course focuses on Middle Eastern history from the

foundation of the Ottoman Empire on the borderlands of Byzantine Anatolia through its expansion into Europe, Asia, and Africa, creating a new cultural synthesis including the

Arab, Greek, Islamic, Mongol, Persian, Slavic, and Turkish traditions.

The course starts with offering a background on the history of the Middle Eastbefore the Ottomans. The chronological survey of the period takes the first two weeks, leaving the rest of the term for the exploration of three interrelated themes: pre-modern imperialism, pre-modern identities, and the development of the early modern self and


With the feudal economic and legal structures it inherited, the Ottoman Empire was a perfect example of a pre-modern empire. The second part of the course will

examine these structures and certain aspects of Ottoman imperialism in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Indian Ocean. How the Ottomans projected their imperial image to their rivals and subjects will be one of the questions we will address. Last but not least, we will discuss the limits of pre-modern imperialism in the face of the rise of merchant capitalism in northwestern Europe.

The third part of the course will concentrate on pre-modern identities. The Ottoman Empire presents one of the most diverse social entities of the pre-modern times, with its Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities which were sub-divided into further religious communities, such as the Gregorian and the Orthodox Christians, or ethnic groups, such as the Arabs, Kurds, and Turks. Needless to say, the people of the empire were also differentiated by their gender and socio-economic status. What makes this diversity of identities most fascinating in the pre-modern times is the ease with which one could cross most of their boundaries.

Finally, the last part of the course will focus on the development of the early modern self and society. A critical approach to the historical question of the Ottoman decline will lead us to new ways of looking at the history of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. One of the paths we take will make us observe that this period witnessed a proliferation of public spaces in Ottoman cities. Another venue we will follow is early individuation, that is to say the first stages in the development of the modern self. At the end, we will all re-consider the question of the impact of the West on the East as far as the question of modernization is concerned.

Textbook: None; students are expected to read the assigned pieces uploaded on Canvas.

Grading: Lecture participation: 10%; first paper (5-7 pages): 25%; second paper (5-7 pages): 30%; final (on Friday, December 10 at 1:00 pm): 35%.


HIS 191C: Late Imperial China (Asia) - STAFF


Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): HIS 009A or upper division standing recommended. Patterns and problems of Chinese life traced through the Ming and Ching dynasties (c.15001800), prior to the confrontation with the West in the Opium War. Readings include primary sources and novels portraying elite ethos as well as popular culture. GE credit: AHSSWCWE. 


HIS 196B: Modern India (Asia) - Professor Sen 


What was the state of the Indian subcontinent during the decline of the Mughal Empire? How did the East India Company, through trade and military conquest, succeed in expanding the frontiers of the British Empire in India? How did the British Raj emerge after the great uprisings of 1857, and how did it create the conditions for the rise of the Indian National Congress? What were the consequences of the non-violent movement led by Mahatma Gandhi? What were the circumstances of the Partition of 1947, and the creation of the modern nation-states of India and Pakistan? This survey of the cultural, social, economic, and political history of South Asian history charts the history of the region from the early 18th to the mid-20th century.


HIS 204: Historiography

This seminar introduces incoming grad students to major debates in the discipline of history. Rather than providing a neat chronological overview of historiographical trends, this seminar is organized around particular methodological problems: How do we construct a narrative from thin sources? How do we reconcile discrepancies in our sources or in people’s memories of the past? Is there such a thing as collective consciousness? How do we acknowledge the assumptions we bring to our interpretations of the past? What ethical responsibilities do we as historians have toward our students, colleagues, and the public? These and other questions correlate with the methodological “problems” we will explore in the course: Narrative, Memory, Consciousness, Representation, Power/Knowledge, Epistemology, Emotions, and Essentialism. We will also discuss methodological tools that will help us take a more rigorous, self-aware, and imaginative approach to our research subjects.

In addition to exploring some theoretical and ethical questions related to different historical methodologies, this seminar offers some practical training for success in the profession and beyond. First, in addition to discussion papers, everyone will write two formal book reviews modeled after those published in history journals. Second, everyone presents dense material succinctly and generates discussion that bridges multiple texts and contexts in their seminar presentations. Third, the final historiographical paper allows one to explore a particular methodological or theoretical approach relevant to their own research as well as to other geographic fields. For this paper, one could unpack major debates in social history, cultural history, the history of gender or sexuality, environmental history, modernity and periodization, oral history, quantitative vs. qualitative studies, or literature as history – to name a few possibilities. And finally, interspersed within the syllabus are readings on pedagogy and public history in order to generate discussions about teaching methods, history outside academia, and the broader implications of our research and writing. 

Required Books

Natalie Zemon Davis, Return of Martin Guerre (Harvard University Press, 1984)

Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, Vol.1 (Penguin, 1990)

Ndubueze L. Mbah, Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age (Ohio University Press, 2019)

Nara B. Milanich, Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father (Harvard University Press, 2019)

Sowande’ M. Mustakeem, Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage (University of Illinois Press, 2016)

Lorena Oropeza, The King of Adobe: Reies López Tijerina, The Lost Prophet of the Chicano Movement (University of North Carolina Press, 2019)

Edward Said, Orientalism (Penguin, 1979)

E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (Knopf Doubleday, 1967)