Associate Professor Adam J. Davis, Chair
Professors Barry C. Keenan, Dale T. Knobel, Mitchell Snay; Associate Professors Adam J. Davis, Catherine L. Dollard, Frank T. Proctor, Karen Spierling; Assistant Professors Lauren Araiza, Nilay Ozok-Gundogan, Megan Threlkeld; Instructor Joanna Tague; Academic Administrative Assistant Becky Woods
The Department of History seeks to develop in its students an appreciation for the richness, diversity and complexities of human history. In the course of their studies, students are exposed to a wide range of different historical periods and geographic regions, including courses on the history of America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The requirements of the major and minor ensure that students are exposed to a broad spectrum of human historical experience, including the history of peoples whose cultures, experiences, and mentalités are substantially different from their own. The department also offers students various opportunities to explore particular historical problems or questions in depth and engage in original historical research. Thus, the department endeavors not only to help students further develop their analytical and rhetorical abilities, but to formulate historically informed arguments. Students also have the opportunity to reflect on history as a discipline and the nature and uses of historical evidence in seminars on methodology, practice, and theory.
The department encourages a close working relationship between students and faculty in both introductory survey courses and advanced seminars. We also hold regular lunches as a way of bringing students and faculty together in an informal setting, while the History Forum provides a formal opportunity for faculty members to share their research with colleagues and students. The Phi Alpha Theta history honorary society is active in organizing meetings, hosting film nights, and facilitating contacts between majors.
Students who major in history should select an advisor in the department. This person will be best prepared to assist students in meeting major requirements and assessing the relationship between their work in history and their future life and career goals.
The department requires 36 hours (or nine courses) distributed to ensure both breadth and depth in the major. The major requirements are discussed in greater detail below and must be fulfilled as follows:
Two Required Courses: History 290 and Senior Experience
Three Area requirements (met by most 100 & 200 level courses)
Three Upper level seminars, at least one of which contains a research component
One Elective in History
Required Courses: Two courses in the history major are specifically required:
HIST-290: Doing History 290 is a methods course which should be taken upon declaring a history major, preferably in the sophomore year and no later than the first semester of the junior year.
Senior Experience: This is fulfilled in the senior year by taking either: HIST 430 Senior Seminar or HIST 451/452 Two-semester Senior Research.
Area Requirements: To ensure that students engage diverse fields of history, the department requires that each major complete one introductory course at the 100 or 200 level (excluding Hist-290) in three of the following geographic areas: Europe, the United States, the Atlantic World, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and Latin America. One of these courses must focus on history prior to 1800 (pre-modern). One of these three courses must cover the West and one must cover the World.
Upper-Level Seminars: Majors are required to take three advanced courses at the 300 level, one of which must be a research seminar. Research seminars will be indicated by special notation at the time of course registration. The upper division course with the research component must be completed prior to enrolling in History 430: Senior Seminar or conducting senior or honors research in history.
Advanced Placement history courses for which the student has earned a 4 or 5 may not be used to meet the requirements of the major, but do count as credits towards graduation from Denison.
A working knowledge of a foreign language is desirable for all majors; those planning on graduate work in history should start a second language if possible. (Graduate schools usually require a reading knowledge of at least two languages. Requirements vary depending upon the area of study and research interests of the candidate. Suitable language choices should be made in consultation with your history advisor.)
The department requires a minimum of 24 hours (or six courses) of work in history for a minor. Students must complete three area requirements as defined for the major, History 290-Doing History, and one 300 level course.
Late Antiquity (HIST-102). A survey of the culture, thought, politics, religion, economics, and society of the late antique world. This course will examine the Mediterranean world and northern Europe from the late Roman Empire (200 CE) to the Christianization of Iceland (c1000 CE), integrating the history of Western Christendom, Byzantium, and the early Islamic world. 4
The Origins of Europe: Medieval Society (HIST-103). A survey course on European civilization during the high and later Middle Ages, 1000-1453. Topics will include urbanization, religious and social reform, popular devotion, the crusades, scholasticism and universities, the rise of monarchies, the institutionalization of the Catholic Church, art and architecture, and the Black Death. 4
Early Modern Europe (HIST-104). A survey of the political, religious, social, cultural, and intellectual developments in European history from the 1400s to the late 1700s. Topics will include European expansion, the Reformation and Wars of Religion, the Scientific Revolution, absolute and constitutional monarchies, the Enlightenment, and the anti-slavery movement. 4
Modern Europe (HIST-111). A survey course on the history of Europe from the Enlightenment to the present which examines the major forces and dominant ideologies of the modern Western world. Topics include the industrial revolution, war, revolution and counter-revolution, nationalism, the development of European social movements, and the struggle between freedom and order. 4
Traditional East Asian Civilization (HIST-141). The civilization of China, Japan and Korea from classical times to 1600 C.E. Themes include: the earliest Chinese schools of social and political thought; the genius of political and economic organization which contributed to the unusual longevity of Chinese dynastic institutions; the Japanese adaptation of Confucian and Buddhist practices in different eras; the unique development of Japan's unified feudalism; the Korean development of Neo-Confucianism. 4
Modern East Asian Civilization (HIST-142). Beginning from an insider's view of how both prince and peasant saw the world around them before the encroachment of the West, this course analyzes the modern transformation of East Asia. Topics include: the conflict of Sinocentrism with modern nationalism in the Chinese revolution, the Japanese road to Pearl Harbor, and the colonization of Vietnam and Korea. 4
Islamic History before 1800 (HIST-151). A survey of the history of the Islamic World from the rise of Islam to the 1800's. Beginning with the revelation of Islam and the emergence of the first Islamic Empire in the seventh century A.D., the course will examine the formation and development of Islamic Societies through a study of religion, political theory and practice, social structure, art, literature and the sciences. 4
The Modern Middle East (HIST-152). This course examines the transformation of the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries. It will cover such topics as political reform, integration into the world economy, changing role of religion, debates about women and gender, the rise of nationalism and recent political struggles such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 4
Pre-Colonial Africa (HIST-171). This survey course will introduce students to the history of Africa from the earliest times to 1880 - also known as pre-colonial African history. Though the focus is on Africa south of the Sahara, North Africa will be featured from time to time. Topics include the earliest human settlements in Africa, empires and kingdoms in East, West, and Southern Africa, Islam and Christianity in Africa, slavery, and the partitioning of the continent by powers in the mid 1800s. 4
The History of Africa Since 1880 (HIST-172). This course examines myths about Africa, the history of colonialism on the continent in the 19th and 20th centuries, the rise of primary resistances to colonialism in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and how this fed the secondary and tertiary resistance movements from the 1930s through to the 1990s when the apartheid regime collapsed in South Africa. Through close readings of the historiography, students will grapple with the history of colonialism and the postcolonial era in Sub Saharan Africa. 4
Colonial Latin America (HIST-181). A survey course on Latin America from Conquest through Independence. Topics include exploration of: 1) how Spain and Portugal conquered and colonized the Americas, 2) how they managed to maintain control over those colonies, 3) how the colonized (Indians, Africans, and mixed races) responded to the imposition of colonial rule, 4) the role of women and gender in colonial settings, and 5) the implications of colonialism for the study of modern Latin America. 4
Modern Latin America (HIST-182). A survey course on Latin America from Independence to the present focused on attempts to construct polities based on nation states and the evolution of capitalist economies; and, how social movements both reflected and drove these two major transformations. Topics include the social implications of various models of economic development; issues resulting from economic ties to wealthy countries; changing ethnic, gender, and class relations; and, the diverse efforts of Latin Americans to construct stable and equitable socio-political systems. 4
The Atlantic World (HIST-191). The processes initiated by Christopher Columbus’s voyage in 1492 brought four continents and three “races” into interaction where there had been little or no communication. Those contacts, in many ways, profoundly shaped the world in which we live today. Drawing together the histories of Europe, Africa, and the Americas, this course explores the origins, development, and meanings of this new Atlantic World. Topics will include imperial expansion and colonization, the Colombian Exchange, European-Amerindian relations, slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the establishment of an Atlantic capitalist economy, and the struggles for autonomy and national independence in Euro-American societies. 4
Studies in Pre-Modern European History (HIST-200). Intensive study of selected periods or topics in Ancient, Medieval, or Early Modern History at the intermediate level. May be taken more than once. 4
Renaissance Italy (HIST-205). An examination of the political, social, cultural, and intellectual developments in Italy during the Renaissance. Topics will include the politics of the Italian city-states, mercantile culture, humanism, religious life, art and architecture, patronage, the impact of print, and diplomacy and war. 4
The Scientific Revolution and 'Enlightenment': Knowledge and Power in Early Modern Europe (HIST-206). The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Western Europe were a period when traditional ideas and new ways of thinking about the world clashed with each other in many different ways, from the trial of Galileo in the 1630s to discussions of women's rights in the late 1700s. This course examines the social, political, and intellectual contexts of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment in order to better understand how the ideas of these periods emerged, how they were received by political and religious officials as well as by the general population, and what were some of the key impacts of these movements on Europeans' worldviews and understandings of their own societies. 4
Modern Germany (HIST-216). This course examines German history from the events leading up to the unification of the German state in 1871 through reunification in 1990. The course focuses on the shifting constructions of German national identity through 19th century expansion, defeat in two world wars, the Weimar and Nazi eras and Cold War division. 4
Women in United States History (HIST-223). This course surveys the history of women in the United States from 1848 to the present. We will explore the lived experiences of many different kinds of women and analyze the ways in which other categories of identity -- race, ethnicity, nationality, class, sexual orientation, age, etc -- affect those experiences. We will also explore the development of feminist consciousness among U.S. women, and analyze attempts to expand that consciousness both nationally and globally. Cross-listed with WMST 223. (Spring) 4
A History of the American South (HIST-224). This course will cover selected topics in Southern history from the establishment of the Southern colonies in the 17th century to the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. It will explore the basic economic, social and political facets of Southern history, as well as such specific issues as race relations and the Southern literary imagination. Throughout the course, an attempt will be made to define the factors that made the South such a distinctive and important region in American history. 4
African American History (HIST-225). This course will examine the history of African-Americans in the United States from 1619 to the present with an emphasis on the processes by which African-Americans adjusted to and resisted their conditions. Topics will include African heritage, slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow, wartime experiences, the shift to urban life, the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the rise of Hip Hop, and contemporary issues. (Fall Semester) 4
The United States and the World since 1890 (HIST-226). The purpose of this course is to compel students to think critically about the role of the United States in the world. We will trace the history of U.S. engagement with the world since 1890 - including foreign policies, economic policies, wars, trade relations, cultural exchanges, travel and tourism, etc. Students will be introduced to some of the more traditional dichotomies of diplomatic history, such as idealism versus realism, exceptionalism versus universalism, and unilateralism versus multilateralism. We will also be exploring innovative approaches to international relations history, especially those that weave class, race, culture, and gender into historical narratives of U.S. foreign relations. 4
The Mandate of Heaven in Classical China (HIST-241). Classical China left two legacies of lasting importance: a political system that maintained the same tradition for the next two thousand years, and the Confucian ethical system that spread to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. The course begins with the origins of Chinese history and moves through the first Empire from 220 B.C.E. to 220 C.E. 4
Southern African History (HIST-271). This course grapples with a basic but fundamental question that has been at the heart of much scholarship on Africa: how is southern Africa's history distinct from the history of the rest of the African continent? To address this issue, this course takes a sweeping approach, covering major developments in southern Africa from the mid-17th century through the era of formal colonization and subsequent independence. We will be particularly interested in exploring the foundations and growth of a racial order in southern Africa, and more broadly examining the role that race has played in this region through the colonial and postcolonial eras. Major themes will include cultural contacts between Africans and non-Africans; the slave trade and its consequences; Shaka and myths surrounding the Zulu Empire; economic transformations in the colonial era; and the struggle for independence in different southern African countries. 4
Doing History (HIST-290). This proseminar serves as an introduction to the study of history. Each seminar will focus on a special field, theme, or topic, but all students will be introduced to certain critical skills of historical analysis, distinctive approaches, schools, or methods of historical writing and the nature of historical synthesis. 4
Advanced Studies in Pre-Modern European History (HIST-300). Intensive study of selected periods or topics in Ancient, Medieval, or Early Modern History at the advanced level. May be taken more than once. 4
The Crusades (HIST-301). A seminar that studies the crusading movement from different contemporary perspectives: crusader, eastern Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. The course examines some of the approaches that historians have taken to studying the crusades and the interpretive challenges they face. Topics include: who the crusaders were and what inspired them; how the ideas and practices of crusading were extended from the Levant to the Iberian peninsula, Constantinople, the Baltic, and even to those within Europe who were considered heretics and enemies; and how the Crusades have been understood in the modern world. 4
The Renaissance and Reformation of the 12th Century (HIST-303). An intensive research seminar that considers both the ecclesiastical reforms and cultural and intellectual revival that marked the "long twelfth century" in Western Europe. Topics include ecclesiastical reform, medieval humanism, theologians and philosophers, mysticism, the discovery of the individual, the reception of Aristotle, the revival of Roman law, Gothic architecture, and the rise of the universities. 4
Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages (HIST-305). A seminar that examines the relationship between Jews and Christians in medieval Europe. Through a wide range of primary sources, written by medieval Christians and Jews, we will attempt to reconstruct how Christians and Jews imagined each other and what motivated them to act in the way that they did. We will examine some of the contexts for Jewish-Christian interaction and will explore the interdependence of Jews and Christians, economically, politically, and psychologically. Topics will include the medieval church and Jews, the legal status of Jews in the medieval state, economic roles, biblical exegesis, forced disputation, conversion, the crusades, accusations of host desecration and ritual murder, and expulsion. 4
The Reformation (HIST-306). The Protestant and Catholic Reformations were major movements in early modern Europe with far-reaching effects still felt globally today. In the sixteenth century, religious arguments interacted with political concerns, economic fluctuations, and social tensions to transform European states and societies. In 1500, the idea of a unified European Christendom, though imperfect, could still be defended. By the beginning of the seventeenth century, while Europeans as a group still believed in God, the influence of the Roman Church and of the Christianity more generally had begun to change. This course examines the religious ideas and arguments that burgeoned in the sixteenth century, the social and political contexts in which they developed, and the transformations in European society, culture and religious practices that resulted. Course materials focus especially on examining the relationships between ideas and actions/practices in order to understand the wide-ranging social impacts of the religious changes during the Reformation. 4
Origins and History of World War I (HIST-313). An examination of the causes and conduct of The Great War. The course addresses diplomatic and political events that led to the war and studies the military evolution of the war. The course also focuses extensively on the cultural mood before, during, and after the war. 4
Origins and History of World War II (HIST-314). An examination of the causes and conduct of the Second World War, this course explores key features of the military history of the war as well as archetypal human experiences during this period of global, total war. 4
Ethnicity and Nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe (HIST-316). This course explores the complex relationship of ethnic and national identity in Central and Eastern Europe from World War II to the present. This region experienced a tumultuous history during this time period, afflicted by war, occupation, dictatorship, and the displacement of populations. The late twentieth-century also witnessed a period of revolution and was at the centerpiece of the demise of the Cold War. In this context, questions of national belonging loomed large. Ethnicity played and continues to play a central role in the development of nationalism and historical memory. This course explores the experience and meaning of ethnicity in the context of shifting political realities and national contexts. Course topics include the impact of World War II on Central and Eastern European ethnic groups, the experience of ethnic minorities in USSR-dominated Cold War Europe, late twentieth-century revolutions in the region, and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. 4
The Revolutionary Transformation of America: 1763-1800 (HIST-322). A comprehensive study of the political philosophy, constitutional development, revolutionary excitement and military events of the American Revolution. 4
The Age of Jefferson: The United States, 1800-1828 (HIST-323). The United States as both a nation and a political state was forged during the two decades following the American Revolution. The foundations of the federal government were established during the 1790s and under the Republican administrations of Jefferson and Madison. Facing serious diplomatic challenges, the United States began to establish itself in the international community. The era also witnessed fundamental changes in racial, ethnic, and gender relations within American society. The course will offer a close examination of this pivotal period in American history. 4
The Age of Jackson: The United States, 1828-1848 (HIST-324). The early decades of the 19th century witnessed fundamental structural changes in the economy, society, and politics of the United States. This course will examine the consequences of this rapid growth. It will trace the evolution of capitalism, the rise of a middle class culture, the development of a two-party political system, and the national quest for self-identity and unity. 4
The Civil War and Reconstruction: The United States, 1848-1877 (HIST-325). An exploration of the causes and consequences of the Civil War. The course will examine such topics as the breakdown of the political process in the 1850s, the secession crisis, the transformation of Northern and Southern societies during wartime, and the African-American experience of emancipation. 4
American Intellectual History to 1865 (HIST-326). An exploration of American philosophy, literature, religion, and social and political theory from the seventeenth century through the Civil War. The course examines the underlying themes manifested throughout these different expressions of culture. Attention will be given to several themes such as the split between the genteel and vernacular traditions. 4
The United States in the Progressive Era (HIST-331). This course examines the political, economic, social, and cultural history of the Progressive Era in the United States (1890s-1920s). Topics include: responses to industrialization, varieties of reform, popular political participation, racism and segregation, and U.S. foreign policy. 4
Dancing in the Street: African-American Urban History (HIST-335). This course explores the history of the African-American urban experience. In the mid-18th century, the African-American community began to transition from a rural to an urban population. By the mid-20th century, African-Americans had become an overwhelmingly urban group. The course examines the process of the rural-to-urban transformation of African-Americans and the ways in which they have confronted, resisted, and adjusted to urban conditions of housing, employment, education, culture, and public space. 4
The Civil Rights Movement (HIST-336). This seminar will examine the struggle for African-American equality from the 1930s to 1970. The course will begin with the origins of the Civil Rights Movement during the New Deal and World War II. We will then explore the key campaigns, figures, organizations, and guiding themes of the Movement. Special attention will be paid to the processes by which grassroots activism forced responses from the federal, state, and local governments. 4
The History of Black Power: From Marcus Garvey to Chuck D (HIST-337). This course explores the history of the ideology of Black Power and its various dimensions and incarnations from its origins in the early 20th century to its significance in the present. Topics to be addressed may include, but are not limited to: definitions of Black Power, applications of this ideology to politics and economics, artistic aesthetics, gender dynamics, key figures and organizations, current manifestations, meanings for the African-American community, and reactions from the larger American society. 4
The Confucian Classics (HIST-341). An examination of the basic Confucian texts of the East Asian cultural tradition that define the distinctive traits of what makes us human, and what norms define healthy and happy human relations. We shall read the Four Books of the Neo-Confucian tradition. In plumbing the subtleties of these texts we shall replicate the learning techniques employed in classical Confucian academies. Research essays concluding the course may focus on a Confucian thinker or concept in the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Vietnamese cultural traditions of East Asia. (Not offered 2011-2012) 4
Cold War in East Asia (HIST-348). Japan’s military occupation of most of Pacific Asia halted with Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945. Indigenous nationalism naturally emerged in each country or region Japan had occupied: China, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In many countries the post-colonial hatred of outside domination was the greatest force at play. The freezing winds of the Cold War generated by the United States and the USSR had to find support within this nationalist anger. The course will end with a look at today’s post-Cold War trade networks in East Asia that are less dependent on Japan and its inseparable ally, the United States. 4
Sex and Sexuality in Latin America (HIST-383). This course critically examines of gender and sexuality in Latin America. Particularly it will explore the various attempts by the ruling elite to define acceptable and deviant gender roles and sexual identities, how the non-elite resisted the imposition of those elite notions of propriety to create their own codes of conduct, and how those conflicts have changed over time. Cross-listed with WMST 383. 4
Race and Ethnicity in Latin America (HIST-384). This course critically examines the history of the social construction of race and ethnicity in Latin America. In it, we will explore how historians have employed race and ethnicity as methodological categories in order to elucidate the histories of Latin America from the pre-Hispanic era through the modern period. Particularly we will focus on the various attempts by the ruling elite to deploy race in the ordering of society; and, how the non-elite resisted the imposition of those elite conceptions of racial and ethnic hierarchies to create their own codes of conduct, and how those conflicts have changed over time. 4
Comparative Slavery in the Americas (HIST-391). For many, the history of slavery is synonymous with the United States South. But slavery was not limited to the US and by approaching slavery from a comparative perspective, we will deepen our understanding of slavery as an institution, slaves as historical actors, and therefore the legacies of slavery throughout the Americas. We will explore regional differences within slaves' opportunities to form families, to create cultures, to rebel, and to labor for their own benefits; as well as the interactions of African cultural visions and Christianity. 4
Comparative Imperialisms (HIST-395). This course centers on a comparison of British colonial rule in India and the United States involvement in Latin America. We will explore the construction of hegemonic relationships among nations, focusing particularly on the role of racial and gendered ideologies. We will analyze the definition of "empire," and discuss whether such a label applies to the United States - not only with regard to Latin America, but in its global affairs generally. 4
Women, Sex, and Power in the Modern World (HIST-396). This course focuses on histories of women around the world since the eighteenth century in order to examine the various ways in which women have struggled first to claim and then to maintain power over their bodies and experiences. The course analyzes sources that speak to women's efforts to assert political, economic, cultural, and personal power in society and in their own lives. Topics include a study of the development of organized women's movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and an examination of the extent to which women have been successful in building coalitions to achieve power. The course also examines the role of other categories of identity in these struggles for power, including race, class, nationality, sexual orientation, and religion. Cross-listed with WMST 396. (Spring) 4
Senior Seminar (HIST-430). Required of senior history majors. The senior seminar will provide students with a significant research experience culminating in the writing of a substantial research paper and the public presentation of their work. 4