Course Schedules and Descriptions for Spring Quarter 2018

The Department of History scheduled these undergraduate courses for SPRING QUARTER 2018. This list is subject to change, so please check back often.

picture of history course

Registration appointment times available on Schedule Builder and myucdavis.

HIS 2 - 17B

History 2: Introduction to History of Science 

Professor Stolzenberg

How did the modern world come to be defined by the pervasive influence of science and technology? This class explores the history of the investigation of nature and its technological manipulation, focusing on three case studies: (1) Alchemy and Chemistry from Antiquity to the Enlightenment (2) Evolution and Information in the Age of Empire (3) Science, Technology, and the Cold War. Themes include the rise of experimental methods, the relationship of theoretical knowledge to practical applications, and the interaction of scientific knowledge, cultural values, and political projects. Students will learn about the methods historians use to produce knowledge of the past and hone their critical analysis and reasoning skills. Course material is non-technical and accessible to students from all majors.


History 3: History of World Cities 

Professor Hutton

Cities in World History is designed for students who are not History majors and want an introductory course to early world history without writing papers.  We investigate ten cities of the premodern world, each in a specific time: Ancient Rome, Chang’an during the Tang Dynasty, Constantinople, Baghdad under the Abbasids, medieval Cairo, Quanzhou, Timbuktu, Venice, Delhi, Tenochtitlán/Mexico City, and Manila under Spanish rule.  If these cities sound intriguing but unfamiliar, this is the course for you! 

All course readings are on Canvas.  3 exams, no papers.


History 4A: History of Western Civilization  

Professor McKee

This course covers the interconnected history of the West and the wider world. From the foundation of Rome to the Renaissance, lectures and readings will focus on the politics, religions, social history, biography, and individual and collective identity of western Europeans within a globalized context. Students will read The Global West through MindTap, an online learning platform that provides learning activities to help students absorb the material. In addition, the supplementary readings are Imperium, a mystery novel with the Roman orator, Cicero, as the central character; a volume of his political speeches; and 2 volumes on the crusade from a Christian and Muslim perspective.


  • Kidner, et al, The Global West / MindTap.
  • Robert Harris, Imperium.
  • Cicero, Political Speeches.
  • Chronicles of the First Crusade.
  • Usama ibn Munqidh, The Book of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades


History 4B: History of Western Civilization 

Professor Stuart 

We study European society, politics, and culture from the late Middle Ages through the early modern centuries, from the Black Death to the eve of the French Revolution.  From 1348 to 1789 Europe experienced mass pandemics, the spread of world-changing new technologies like gun powder and the printing press, the development of the early modern state, the fracturing of the “universal Christendom” and the emergence of competing religious confessions, religious wars and wars of expansion, the rise of Colonial empires and international trade, the rise of science, the Age of Enlightenment and secularization. These were centuries of enormous contradiction: the “Scientific Revolution” was contemporaneous to the European witch-hunt that led to the execution of tens of thousands for the crime of “harmful magic.” In 1685 the French King Louis XIV outlawed witch-hunting, and yet he continued to practice the “King’s touch,” a miraculous healing ritual in which French and English Kings cured people through the laying on of hands.  These are just some of the cross-currents and paradoxes of the early modern centuries that we will explore this quarter. Learn more about the class and the instructor at the class Facebook page:


History 7C: History of Latin America, 1900-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 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.\

Required Reading:

  • Teresa Meade, A History of Modern Latin America (2010) 
  • Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898 (1999)
  • Nick Cullather, Secret History: CIA Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala (2006) 
  • Oscar Martínez, A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America (2017)
  • Jason De León, The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (2015) 


History 8: History of Indian Civilization 

Professor Sen

Course Description: TBA


History 10A: World History to 1350 

Professor Anooshahr

This is a survey of the world from pre-history to the “Middle Ages”. The goal is to be acquainted with common global themes in the past, and especially to be aware of connections across various regions and continents. But also it is to learn how to think historically and analytically. The most important thing to be aware of is how societies change over time, and to be mindful of continuities and differences across human societies. We will concentrate on broad themes as opposed to detail narrative of thousands of years. To do well in this class, complete each week’s reading before the first meeting of that week, don’t try to memorize every detail but look for big patterns, ask questions and participate in class, write well.

Readings: TBA

Grading: TBA


History 10C: World History III

Professor Dickinson

This course will treat the history of the world since 1800.  The focus of the course will be on the interlocking global processes of demographic, technological, economic, social, and political change that have transformed the world in the past two centuries.  We will focus on global processes, rather than particular national or regional histories.  The first weeks of the course will focus on the structure of the emergent world economy in the nineteenth century, and some of its implications for the development of social structures and cultural change globally.  The middle weeks of the course will focus on the violent re/negotiation of the world order in the imperialist and world wars between 1870 and 1945.  The last weeks of the course will focus on the explosive spread of demographic and economic change, and its implications for politics, culture, and the planetary biosphere, since 1945.  Readings will include both scholarly works on particular aspects of global history and first-person accounts, contemporary commentary, political texts, and some fiction reflective of major trends or events.


  • Dickinson, The World in the Long Twentieth Century


Grading: TBA


History 15B

Professor Decker

How did colonialism shape contemporary African culture and politics? What is the impact for the modern quest for diamonds, gold, oil, coffee, and coltan in Africa? How have Africans directed and redirected globalization? History 15B introduces students to key shifts in Africa’s recent past that shape the continent as we know it today. Topics include: the origins and impact of European colonialism, decolonization, nationalism and nation-building, and recent developments in politics, religion, labor and economics, urbanization, international development, human rights, popular culture, and gender history. Students will examine the continent’s diverse past through oral and written primary sources, scholarly debates, music, film, art, and other sources.

Required Books

  • Kevin Shillington, History of Africa
  • Ngugi wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat


History 17A: History of the United States


Course Description: TBA


History 17B: History of the United States 


Course Description: TBA

HIS 101 - 102X

History 101: Introduction to Historical Thought and Writing (CRN: 82273)

Professor Saler

Study of the history of historical thought and writing, analysis of critical and speculative philosophies of history and evaluation of modes of organization, interpretation, and style in historical writing.


History 102E: The Experience of War in the 20th Century (CRN: 66154)

Professor Zientek

Course Description: TBA


History 102J: History of Childhood and Youth in Latin America (CRN: 82274)

Professor Schlotterbeck

Course Description: TBA

Reading List:

  • Elena Jackson Albarrán, Seen and Heard in Mexico: Children and the Revolutionary Cultural Nationalism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015).
  • Valeria Manzano, The Age of Youth in Argentina: Culture, Politics, and Sexuality from Perón to Videla (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2014).
  • Deborah Levensen, Adiós Niño: The Gangs of Guatemala City and the Politics of Death (Durham: Duke UP, 2013).
  • Victoria Dona, My Name is Victoria: The Extraordinary Story of One Woman’s Struggle to Reclaim Her True Identity. Trans. Magda Bolin (New York: Other Press, 2009).
  • Roberto G. Gonzales, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015).

Additional required readings on Canvas.


History 102L-1: Slave Rebellion and the Archives (CRN: 82278)

Professor Downs

This seminar will examine several important North American slave rebellions to ask not only what happened but how scholars reconstruct events from the patchwork of evidence--often acquired through torture--that emerges. We will read books and primary source documents about, the German Coast uprising, Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, the Cuban La Escalera revolt, the Second Creek rising, and the U.S. Civil War slave revolts. Primary sources will include trial transcripts, newspaper coverage, and "confessions."


History 102L-2: Lives on the Line- Histories of the U.S.-Mexico Border (CRN: 82280)

Professor St. John

The border between the United States and Mexico is both a meeting ground and a dividing line between two nations, cultures, and people. It has been a site of conflict and coexistence from the time it was created until the present. In the media the border most often appears as a site of controversy, violence, and national control that is defined by U.S. and Mexican policies concerning trade, immigration, and national security. But the border is more than this; it is a place where individuals, families, and communities have made their lives. The history of the border then is found not only in the pages of government reports and statistics, but in the memories, songs, and stories of border people. 

In this class we will explore some of the many histories of the border. A wide array of course materials—including historical monographs, journalistic reports, oral histories, folk songs, and documentary and feature films—will introduce students to the many ways that people use and make sense of the past. In the process we will seek not just to better understand the contemporary political issues focused on the border today, but the longer and richer history of the U.S.-Mexico border and the people who have lived along and across it.


History 102X: Chinese Migrations (CRN: 66159)

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?"


HIS 110-196B


History 110: Themes in World History

Professor Smolenski

Early American historians have in recent years worked to broaden their perspective geographically and thematically, looking at the British American colonies in an Atlantic context. In this class, we will look at the varieties of ways in which colonial cultures evolved around the Atlantic rim. We will make stops in west Africa, Mexico, English America, and Europe and cover the period from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. We will also explore the experiences of a wide range of peoples, looking at Spanish conquistadores, Catholic Kongolese saints, Puritan missionaries, and English factory workers. At every step we will look how the process of colonialism caused individuals and groups throughout the Atlantic world to see themselves in new ways.

Required Readings:

  • Alison F. Games and Adam Rothman, eds., Major Problems in Atlantic History (2008)
  • Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings, ed. Vincent Carretta (2003)
  • (plus selected articles)


History 115C: History of Southern Africa 

Professor Decker

The rise of the Zulu Empire; Dutch, British, Portuguese, and German colonization; the discovery of diamonds and gold; South African apartheid; anti-colonial war in Zimbabwe; the election of Nelson Mandela: these are just a few of the topics covered in History 115C, an in-depth study of Southern Africa since 1600. South Africa will be the primary focus, but the course will periodically delve into the histories of neighboring countries, such as Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Students will explore environment change, migration and immigration, “internal” and “external” colonialisms, religious and cultural movements, debates about “tradition” and “modernity,” global and local economies, and the role of international politics in the region’s modern history. 

Required Readings

  • Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa (Yale Univ. Press, 2001)
  • Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography (Free Press, 1998)


History 121B: Medieval History 

Professor McKee

This course introduces students to the history of western Europe from the 10th to the 15th century. The main textbook, The Middle Ages: A Very Short Introduction, will anchor students to a chronological and thematic narrative while The Medieval Papacy and The First Crusade: The Call from the East offers a way into the institutional history of the papacy and the popular response to the call for Crusade. As well students will learn about the major economic, political, and cultural developments during this period


History 132: Crimes and Punishment in Early Modern Europe 

Professor Stuart 

In the sixteenth century, you would be executed for throwing dung at a statue of the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, this might be considered offensive, but you will no longer be prosecuted for the capital crime of “blasphemy.” In other words, the definition of crime and the classification of criminals changes over time. In this class we explore when, how, and why this happened from the fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries. We will contrast "real" crimes such as vagrancy and theft with imaginary crimes such as Jewish ritual murder and witchcraft. One segment of the course covers prostitution, infanticide and witchcraft as specifically female crimes.  We will examine to what extent it is possible to relate long-term changes in the incidence and prosecution of particular crimes to changes in economy, social structure, government, religion and culture.  We will discuss changes in the nature and purposes of punishment in the early modern period, as public rituals of execution and other bloody punishments to the body were replaced by the penalty of imprisonment in the eighteenth century. View additional images at the class Facebook page:



History 141: France Since 1815

Professor Zientek

Course Description: TBA


History 147C: European Intellectual History, 1920-1970

Professor Saler 

This course is designed to introduce several of the major themes and figures in the intellectual history of Europe following the First World War. We will examine the general shift in thought from "Modernism" (broadly defined as the search for absolute essences as the foundations of reality) to "Postmodernism" (broadly defined as the denial that such essences and absolute foundations can be found). Within this overarching framework, we will explore several subsidiary themes. These will include the critique by numerous twentieth-century thinkers of Enlightenment concepts of human rationality, subjectivity, and progress; and the concomitant emphasis by many of these thinkers on language and culture as the constitutional basis of "reality" and the "self." This focus on language and culture in turn will lead us to examine the efforts by thinkers to define their political role as producers and critics of culture, as well as their attempts to come to terms with modern art and the new "mass culture" (especially film) as well as the new forms of "everyday life" embodied in mass commodities and urban living.

Books: TBA

Assignments: TBA


History 151D: Industrial England 

Professor Silver 

"Centered on the nexus of global empire and industrial power, this upper-division course examines the United Kingdom from the dawn of the nineteenth century through the Second World War. Students will study key themes in British social, intellectual, and cultural history that will illuminate the immense transformations of the industrial era not only in Britain, but also across Europe and around the globe. Topics for the class include industrialization and the emergence of a class society; imperialism, gender, race, and cultures of empire; political and ideological responses to the conditions of industrial Britain; nations, nationalism and identity; and artistic responses to modernity. Our resources include novels, films, works of art, and a mix of primary and secondary source readings."


HIS 158: Migrations History Now- Paradigms, Crises, and Challenges in Latin America and Beyond (CRN: 82291)

Professor Pérez Meléndez

This upper-division course explores migratory phenomena connecting Latin America to global processes from the independence revolutions of the 1810s and 20s to the migration management regimes of the present day. The relationship between nationhood, government formation, and the identification, management, and curtailment of migratory flows will be at the center of discussions. Topics include the Asian coolie system, transatlantic mass migrations, inter-Caribbean migrations, the advent of quota systems, migrant worker programs, human experiences of displacement and resistance, and technologies of surveillance. In addition to specific case studies from various regions in Latin America, the course will critically examine different methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives in migration studies.


  • Brown, Wendy. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (2014)
  • Cook-Martín, David, and David Scott FitzGerald. Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (2014)
  • Foote, Nicola & Michael Goebel, eds. Immigration and National Identities in Latin America (2014)
  • Harzig, Christiane & Dirk Hoeder. What is Migration History? (2009)
  • León, Jason de. The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (2015)


History 160: Spain and America in the 16th Century

Professor Harris

This course brings together the history of early modern Spain together with its colonial empire in the Americas. Our inquiry focuses on Spain and Spanish America during the “long sixteenth century”—roughly from the mid fifteenth century through the first decades of the seventeenth century. Through the lens of Spain and Spanish America, we explore key themes in early modern European and Latin American history. Topics include the tensions between cultural and religious pluralism and movements toward uniformity, imagining “others” and the creation of “race,” honor culture and gender norms, political culture and the projection of power, and much more. Readings range from recent scholarly studies to trial records, letters, treatises, and other materials from the epoch. Classes combine lecture and discussion. For history majors, this course may be counted either toward upper division fields of concentration in European or Latin American history (but not both).


History 168: History of Inter-American Relations 

Professor Wille 

Course Description: TBA


History 170B: The American Revolution 

Professor Smolenski

This course explores the origins, events, and consequences of the American war for national independence and the establishment of a republic. We will examine the government, political economy, social structure, and cultural identity of the thirteen rebellious colonies as they became states in an independent United States. We will also explore how these larger structures both emerged from and affected the lives of men and women, rich and poor, slave and free, native and colonial, Loyalist and Patriot. Because our contemporary society owes much to the conflicts and compromises, accomplishments and failures of the revolutionary generation, an understanding of the American Revolution will deepen your contemporary perspective.


History 171C: Reconstruction

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.


History 172: American Environmental History

Professor Warren

Course Description: TBA 


History 174D: Waters in the West- Politics and Environment in America's Arid Lands (CRN: 82300)

Professor Warren and Professor St. John

 This team-taught lecture course explores the origins and development of the nation’s most entrenched water disputes.  Why have people fought so bitterly over water in the West? What has been the environmental cost of diverting thousands of streams and rivers to water cities, farms, and ranches across California and other western states? And what implications do these struggles have for environmental justice?  Topics will include:  the “theft” of water from Owens Valley by Los Angeles, and from Yosemite National Park by San Francisco; the emergence of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as a major force in irrigation and its impact on agricultural and urban development in California and the West; the damming of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest and the Missouri River on the Great Plains and attendant environmental controversies as well as disputes regarding Native American water and land rights; the epic battles over dams on the Colorado River and the birth of modern environmental politics; the development of modern California and the West through water transfer systems (canals, dams, siphons, aqueducts) and the continuing fight over the fate of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the source of two-thirds of California’s drinking water.

 This course meets once per week and will rely equally on lecture, discussion, and film.


  •  Paolo Bacigalupi, The Water Knife
  • John Wesley Powell, Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States
  • Richard White, The Organic Machine
  • Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire


History 175: American Intellectual History

Professor Leroy

Course Description: TBA


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

Professor Leroy

Course Description: TBA


History 182: Gender and Justice in American History 

Professor Harigan-O'Connor

History 182 enters courtrooms and judges’ chambers to explore key intersections between gender and justice in American history, covering such topics as witchcraft, mixed-race marriage, child custody, sexual harassment, and protective labor laws.  The course will examine how the early development of American law rested upon ideas about race and gender, leading to centuries of struggle between men and women over who counted as a citizen in matters of suffrage, property-holding, and custody of children.  Through scholarly literature, films, trial records, personal letters, treatises and newspaper accounts, we will investigate how women and men of different races and backgrounds used and were used by juries, sensational trials, lawyers, and judges. 

Required Reading:

  • Cornelia Dayton, Women Before the Bar
  • Michael Grossberg, A Judgment for Solomon.
  • Linda Kerber, No Constitutional Right to be Ladies
  • Danielle L. McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street
  • Nancy Woloch, Muller vs. Oregon


History 183B: The Frontier Experience- The Trans-Mississippi West 

Professor St. John 

This course will provide an introduction to the history of the U.S. West from the mid-nineteenth century through the late twentieth century. During this period, the United States completed its conquest of the West’s Native inhabitants and its incorporation of the region’s land, people, and resources into the nation. By the end of the twentieth century, the West remained divided between rural regions still trapped in a colonial relationship to the nation’s power centers and major cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, and Los Angeles that shaped American political, economic, demographic, and cultural trends. This course will focus on the historical processes that have defined the West and its place within the United States. A vast and varied region stretching from the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean, the West has both been characterized by its diversity and bound together by a shared regional identity and history. Fights over land, natural resources, federal power, racial and ethnic diversity, growth and economic development, and the public good are central to western history. Using films, monographs, memoirs, letters, and articles, we will explore the struggles for land, resources, identity, and power that have characterized the West and its role in the nation, as well as the relationship between the western past and the myths and stories that have secured the region’s prominent place in the American imagination.  


History 190D: Middle Eastern History IV- Safavids Iran, 1300-1720 

Professor Anooshahr

Middle Eastern history focusing on Safavid Empire (present-day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, up to Georgia), beginning with the origins of the dynasty as a powerful religious family, to the establishment of the Empire, focusing on Social, Religious, Economic, and Political History. 


History 191J: Sex and Society in Modern Chinese History 

Professor Bossler

This course traces changing gender relations across China’s “long 20th century.” We begin by examining lives and relationships of men and women in the late 19th century, before the fall of the Qing dynasty. We then investigate the ways that external and indigenous forces have changed (or not) gender relationships during the rapid and often violent transitions of the twentieth century, from the Republican period (1911-1949) to the People’s Republic; from the Nanjing Decade (1927-37) to Maoist period (1950-1976) and the period of economic reform (1976-present day). Why did Chinese politicians see the reform of family and gender relations as central to their larger political goals? What were the “new” gender relations supposed to be?  How was gender reform carried out (or not) and what were its effects, intended and unintended?


History 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 196B: Modern India 

Professor Sen

Course Description: TBA