Academics

History Course Descriptions

Click for an explanation of terms and abbreviations used in course descriptions.

HIS 101 American History 1, 1492 - 1865. 3 cr.
A survey of American history from the colonial era to the end of the Civil War. The social, political, cultural, and economic developments of our country are studied.
HIS 102 American History 2, 1866 - 1945. 3 cr.
A survey of American history from Reconstruction to the end of World War II. The social, political, cultural, and economic developments of our country are studied.
HIS 111 Western Civilization 1, Ancient - 1500. 3 cr.
A survey of the origins of Western Civilization from the ancient Near East through the Greeks, the Romans, the Middle Ages, to the Renaissance. Designed for freshmen and sophomores.
HIS 112 Western Civilization 2, 1500 - 1850. 3 cr.
A survey of the period of the Reformation, absolutism, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic era, and developments to the new imperialism. Designed for freshmen and sophomores.
HIS 201 Modern America, 1945 - Present. 3 cr.
A course designed to study the most recent period in American history, from the end of World War II to the present. The key events, individuals, and themes of this era will be studied.
HIS 211 Modern Europe, 1850 - Present. 3 cr.
A study of the late-nineteenth century, First World War, the worldwide depression, the rise of the dictators, the Second World War, the Cold War, and European society, economics, and politics toward the end of the twentieth century. Designed for freshmen and sophomores.
HIS 301 Classical Greece. 3 cr.
A study of the origins of Western Civilization in the ancient Near East, Greek, and Hellenistic civilizations, focusing on the development of the state, culture, thought, and the continuing impact of the Greek experience on modern life.
HIS 302 Rome and its Empire. 3 cr.
A study of Rome during the periods of the Republic and Empire; the spread of Graeco-Roman Civilization; the rise and influence of the Christian Church; and the continuing legacy of Rome in the modern world.
HIS 303 The Fourth Century: Emperors, Popes and Monks. 3cr.
This course studies the people, places and events of the Fourth Century after Christ, an important historical turning point leading to the downfall of the secular Roman Empire and the rise of the Christian Church as one of the defining characteristics of Western Civilization. Using original documents of the period — histories, letters, creeds, doctrinal tracts and laws — students will analyze key themes in this complicated period, grapple with the complexity of Rome's fall, and with the reality that state support of the church is a mixed blessing at best. Student projects will be able to be shared using the history department's website: Fourth Century Christianity.
HIS 320 Medieval and Early Modern History, 500 - 1450. 3 cr.
A study of medieval and early modern history from the fall of Rome, the rise of the church and states, medieval society and education, the Renaissance and Reformation, and the continuing influence of this period on modern times.
HIS 321 The Reformation. 3 cr.
A study of the Conservative, Radical, and Catholic Reformations and their impact on European society, with special concentration on Luther and other major figures.
HIS 322 The French Revolution and Napoleon, 1789-1815. 3 cr.
The French Revolution represents one of the greatest transformative periods in modern history.  This course studies the origins of the revolution in European thought, society, and politics, and then traces its moderate beginnings, its turn toward radicalism in the Reign of Terror, and its international impacts.  We then turn to a detailed study of Napoleon Bonaparte as a military dictator, consolidator of the revolution, and conqueror.  Finally, the course concludes with Napoleon’s defeat and the effort to put the pieces of Europe back together after over twenty years of revolution, upheaval, and war.
HIS 324 World War I, 1900 - 1925. 3 cr.
This course will cover the fist quarter of the Twentieth Century in Europe. Focus will be on Europe prior to the war, the causes of conflict, the war itself and its impact on the future of Europe and the world.
HIS 325 World War II. 3 cr.
A program of study on the era of the Second World War. Emphasis will on the political, economic, religious, social, and military trends that started, furthered, and ended the war. It will also show how the war altered the course of world history and set the Soviet Union and the United States on a collision course that ended in the Cold War.
HIS 327 The Renaissance, 1350 - 1550. 3 cr.
A study of the Renaissance period focusing on education, thought, arts and literature, and the impact of this period on Western civilization.
HIS 331 Selected Topics in European History. 3 cr.
Courses may include various special issues in European history such as the history of the fourth century, various national histories, or other special topics such as historical writing.
HIS 333 England: Renaissance, Reformation, and the Tudors, 1485-1603. 3 cr.
This course will explore the history of England during the turbulent reign of the House of Tudor.  Beginning with the struggle for the throne known as the Wars of the Roses and the triumph of Henry Tudor, the course examines the society, economy, and politics of the period along with its many interesting and colorful personalities including Henry VIII and his six unfortunate wives, the boy-king Edward VI, Bloody Queen Mary, and the "Virgin Queen" Elizabeth I.  The course also studies the culture of Renaissance England, including the influence and life of William Shakespeare.
HIS 334 Germany: Rise, Fall, and Reunification, 1850-Present. 3 cr.
In 1850, there was no country called Germany.  This course will begin with the building of the German Empire under Otto von Bismarck, and trace that empire’s destruction under Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Much of the course will focus on the tragic consequences of Germany’s resurgence after World War I under the influence of Adolph Hitler’s Nazi regime.  The course concludes with an overview of Germany conquered and broken into East and West during the Cold War and until its final reunification in 1990.
HIS 335 England: Wars, Revolution and Reform, 1603-1815. 3 cr.
This course studies a period of great upheaval and transformation in English history. The Stuart dynasty, English Civil Wars and Great Britain's involvement in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars will be covered along with the social, political and economic changes of the period.
HIS 341 History of Latin America. 3 cr.
A study of the social, economic, and political development of Latin America from the conquistadors to the present.
HIS 342 Colonial Latin America. 3 cr.
This course studies the development of Latin America from European discovery through the independence movements of the early nineteenth century, with special attention paid to Mexico, the Andes, the Caribbean and Brazil.
HIS 351 History of Africa. 3 cr.
Studying the history of Africa from pre-European contact to development of present African nations.
HIS 352 Islam and the Middle East. 3 cr.
A study of the origins, teachings and spread of Islam. Special focus will be given to the various Islamic sects in the modern Middle East and their tensions with the West.
HIS 355 Topics in World History. 3 cr.
Courses may include various national histories from across the globe from the 1700s to the present and special issues in world history.
HIS 363 Sleeping Dragon: History of China. 3 cr.
After acquainting students with Chinese geography and culture, the history of China from the early imperial period to the end of the twentieth century will be surveyed. Special attention will be placed on Chinese religions and culture, the introduction of Christianity, China's relationship to the West, and the Communist period. Students will read and analyze various primary source material in translation, as well as viewing films from and about China.
HIS 371 Native American History. 3 cr.
A study of Native American cultures and histories and the impact of European/American civilizations upon them. Course covers pre-Columbian history to the present day.
HIS 380 Colonial America, 1480-1763. 3cr.
This course explores the rise and development of Britain’s American empire, including the thirteen North American colonies, Canada, and the West Indies.  We begin with early efforts at exploration and colonization, including Massachusetts Bay and Jamestown in Virginia and conclude with Britain’s triumph in the “Great War for Empire” or French and Indian War in 1763, setting the stage for the years of imperial crisis, revolution, and independence that followed.
HIS 381 Formation of the United States, 1765 - 1816. 3 cr.
This course covers the history of the United States from the causes of the American Revolution to the end of the War of 1812.
HIS 382 Jacksonian America, 1816 - 1848. 3 cr.
This course continues a study of the United States following the formation period. This course looks at the development of the United States from an era of the common man to the end of the Mexican-American War.
HIS 383 American Civil War, 1848 - 1877. 3 cr.
This course surveys the causes for the Civil War, the military, political, social, and economic events of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
HIS 391 Selected Topics in American History: 3 cr.
Courses may include American military history, African-American history, women's history, and other topics in American history.
HIS 393 America in Prosperity, Depression, and War, 1925 - 1960. 3 cr.
A study of the Great Depression, World War II, and the fifties. The important events, individuals, and themes of the era will be explored.
HIS 394 America, Vietnam, and the Sixties, 1960-1974. 3 cr.
The years between 1960 and 1974, often called the “long 1960s”, represent a period of rapid and often difficult change in American history.  This course explores these transformations, including America’s long defeat in the Vietnam War, political radicalism and violence, the victories and defeats of the Civil Rights movement, the expansion of government under Lyndon Johnson, and the rise and fall of Richard Nixon.  The cultural transformations of the period, including movies, television, music, and sports, will also be explored in detail.
HIS 401 History Thesis. 3cr.
This course is intended to be a capstone course for students majoring in history. Students will be required to produce a substantial thesis based on independent research in primary and secondary sources. At the discretion of the instructor, the course may focus on a specific historical topic or include discussions on the nature of history, methodology, and the discussion of various historiographical traditions.
HIS 490 Internship. 1-3 cr.
By arrangement with department and internship coordinator.
HIS 199-499 Independent Study. 1-3 cr.
By arrangement with department.