Department of History Course Descriptions
B.A. History – Course Descriptions
Course may be repeated.
Course may be repeated.
Course may be repeated.
This course is a survey of Western civilization from its foundations to the eighteenth century, including the evolution of Western society, politics, culture and ideas will be examined.
This course is a survey of Western civilization since the eighteenth century including the emergence of modern thought, politics, economy, society and empire.
This course explores special topics in Western Civilization.
This course is an exploration of war and society in Western Civilization from Rome to the present. The course will examine the nature of war and warfare, in addition to the social and cultural dynamic of conflict in the west.
This course is an analysis of economic factors and commercial activity in Western Civilization from the Ancient World to the present. These factors will be used as the prism through which the class will study the transformation of societies in Western Civilization.
This course is a survey of Native American contact with Europeans, cultural interactions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the Revolution that created the United States.
This course is a survey ranging from the presidency of Thomas Jefferson through World War I. This class will explore a variety of expansions that occurred in the United States over this period, including territorial increase and its consequences, the extension of markets, transportation and industry across the continent, the enlargement of the voting public and its access to the political system, and the shift in individual and community perspectives as the nation grew from a collection of relatively isolated rural communities into a mobile and increasingly connected national populace.
This course is a survey covering World War I through the present day. This course will investigate America’s rise to a world power during the 20th century, paying particular attention to moments when popular, groundswell movements either bolstered America’s strength or shook its very structures. Topics covered will include: the state and social reform; structural expansion (physical and economic/domestic and international); (re)division of racial and gender roles; communist containment; the liberal arc and the reinvigorated right; and America’s global role at the dawn of a new century.
This course addresses the major themes in African history from earliest times through African independence. The course examines traditional African social, economic, religious, and political institutions, the African slave trade and the Continent’s encounter with the West, the conquest of Africa, colonial rule, and decolonization and self-rule of African states.
This survey aims to introduce students to the cultural foundations of East Asia. In a chronological order, it will illustrate and discuss the origins and evolution of East Asian traditions such as Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Shinto religion and their role in shaping institutions such as the state and family.
This course is a general introduction to the history and society of the region. Major topics to examine are the development of the pre-Columbian civilizations, the Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, the modern societies, and the current challenges of globalization.
This course examines the history of the Middle East from the time of Muhammad and the establishment of Islam in the early seventh century, through the Arab conquest and the time of the Arab caliphates, the time of the Ottoman Empire, the age of European imperialism, and into the modern era.
This course will explore the military history of the Second World War in the Mediterranean, European and the Pacific Theaters. It will examine the origins and course of the war, strategy, operations, occupation policy and the Holocaust.
This course is a survey of Britain from the earliest times until the Restoration in 1660. Featured will be studies of constitutional development, the role of religion, and interplay with the continent of Europe.
This course is a survey of Britain and its empire from Charles II to the end of Mrs. Thatcher’s term as prime minister. Featured will be studies of growth of parliament, the economic transformation of Britain, the creation and end of empire, and Britain as a world power.
This course will explore the factors that have helped Americans to shape their own biographical identities and how those factors have changed over time. Students will examine a variety of biographical and autobiographical projects as a vehicle for exploring the disparate methods for constructing an American identity.
A course focused on particular years or decades in American history, studying decisive events, people, and changes in the context of broader themes in the United States. The course will focus on the chronological moment and its legacy in historical and popular memory. [Selection of chronological moments will vary with the assigned instructors for the sections of the course.]
This course addresses selected topics in the history of the state of North Carolina, its people, and its role in national and international contexts.
A study of exploration, exchange, and settlement as Native Americans and newcomers negotiated over territories and land usage, and a newly created United States developed continental ambitions. Students will explore the geography of expansion and land use, cultural clashes and exchanges, debates and negotiations over control, and many intermediary contested grounds
This course is a comparative exploration of several slave systems in the world (African/Southwest Asian/American) with consideration of slavery’s development and evolution over time. Students would have readings on all topic areas, discussions, and both topically specific AND comparative paper assignments based on scholarly secondary sources.
This course explores systems of labor, exploitation, and racism, which developed in the American colonies and early United States. We will also study African American cultures and anti-slavery movements emerging in America during the enlightenment and revolutionary age.
This course will trace the origins, experience, and legacies of the independence movement of the American colonists from England. We will explore the tensions leading to the break, the many participants and their quests, and the contests over the meaning and memory of the revolution and creation of the American republic.
This course will provide an introduction to the history of American law and its relationship to other aspects of American society. We will explore topics such as the origins of American law, the legal aspects of revolution and building a new federal nation, the impact of law on the territorial and economic expansions of the nineteenth century, and the rise to prominence of issues of civil rights and civil liberties during the twentieth century. In addition, students will learn introductory components of legal research, reading and writing.
This course examines the rise of American industry across the 19th and early 20th century, the development of monopoly capitalism, and the managerial middle class and the consequent creation of a working-class consciousness and the labor union movement. Coverage would include both agricultural and industrial labor from the late colonial period through the 20th century; the importance of technology; the labor union movement and labor struggles; women’s labor; and the impact of globalization. Students would, of course, have readings in all areas and written papers; but would also have possibilities of individual or group projects, including oral histories of farmers/industrial workers/skilled craftspeople/union or anti-union supporters, etc., taken in the general High Point/Central Carolina area and used for class reports/papers.
This course will explore sectional discord and secession, the war and its impact on the soldiers and the home front, the efforts to reconstruct the nation in the decade after the war, and the contests over the meaning and memory of war.
This course will serve as an introduction to America’s relationship with the broader world, with a specialized sub-focus on policy developments in one of four regions: Asia; Latin America; the Middle East; and Europe. Special attention will be paid to the concept of the nation-state and discussion surrounding empire, imperialism, colonialism (Orientalism, colonial and postcolonial theory), containment, dependency theory, and globalization.
This course will allow students to evaluate the role gender has played in shaping American society, with particular attention paid to how moments of stability (peace) or instability (war) prompted either the revision or affirmation of standard gender roles. Topics covered will include: Seneca Falls Women’s Convention, the Civil War’s impact on femininity, the emergence of the Dandy and the Fop, Progressivism and birth control, Depression-era manhood, Rosie the Riveter, the Feminine Mystique, NOW, Roe v. Wade and the ERA.
Popular conceptions of the civil rights movement center around the 1950s and 60s: Brown v. Board of Education, Greensboro’s Woolworth sit-in, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., SNCC and CORE. But equal rights agitation did not appear whole cloth postwar. This course will introduce students to the long civil rights movement. Students will chart, from the turn-of-the-century forward, the ways the movement started and stalled, changed players and paths, and finally birthed the action of the 1960s and beyond. Particular attention will be paid to local individuals and locations for case studies and sources.
In this course, students will examine a variety of events, issues, and eras of American history as seen through the lens of Hollywood studios. Students will be introduced to the field of history and memory as we watch one film each week, compare the film treatment to other interpretations of the same subject, and discuss how our collective memories of our past are constructed and revised.
This course examines Canadian history from the perspective of the peculiar arrangement of its population. Approximately eighty percent of Canada’s population resides in a ribbon about one hundred miles deep and about three thousand miles wide. This pattern underpins the study of Canadian history and its institutions.
This course surveys the origins and evolution of the Chinese nation from ancient times to the early 20th century. It will discuss and explain the emergence of the Chinese nation, the development of Chinese culture in the pre-modern period and the revolutionary transformation of Chinese culture in modern times.
This course surveys the origins and evolution of the Japanese nation from ancient to modern times. It will illustrate and explain topics such as the beginnings of the Japanese nation, the rise of the Yamato state, Japanese adoption of Chinese culture in medieval times, the Meiji Revolution and Japan’s self-destruction in the 20th century.
This survey explores the history of the region after the ‘discovery’ of the New World. This course explores the interactions between Amerindians, Europeans, and Africans. The experiences of Spaniards and Portuguese are contrasted and compared as well as the vibrant and creative responses of the native populations.
The independence of Latin American countries marks a turning point in the history of the region. This course examines the significant changes occurred from the 1820s to the present times. Changes in terms of economy, politics, ideas, and society are some of the major issues discussed in this course.
This course examines political, economic, intellectual and religious, and cultural developments that have occurred in the Middle East from the late seventeenth century through recent times. The course emphasizes the challenges that political and economic modernity as well as imperialism have made to indigenous institutions and the responses that arose to such challenges.
This course is required for all history majors, and will initiate the student to the method and orientation of historical research. Prerequisites: History majors with sophomore or advanced standing; or permission of instructor.
This course attempts to integrate the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation through a focus on humanism and its role in the creation and spread of the Reformation. Prerequisites: HST-1100 level OR permission of instructor
The course will explore the history of Early Modern Europe from 1603-1789. It was an age of profound change that included the Military Revolution, absolutism, Enlightenment, state-building, cultural and social developments, and the emergence of commercial economies. Prerequisites: HST-1100 level OR permission of instructor
This course will explore the political, diplomatic, military, social and intellectual impact of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era upon France and Europe. Themes will include the origins and course of the Revolution, the Reign of Terror, Europe’s response to the Revolution, and the rise and fall of Napoleon’s empire. Prerequisites: HST-1100 level OR permission of instructor
The course will examine the political, diplomatic, economic, social, military and intellectual development of Europe from the Congress of Vienna to the First World War. The industrial revolution, the revolutionary movements, unification of Italy and Germany, and the age of imperialism are all topics to be explored. Prerequisites: HST-1100 level OR permission of instructor
This course will explore the political, diplomatic, military, social and economic developments in Europe from World War I through World War II. Themes will include the changing nature of European politics and society, the rise of Communism, Fascism and Nazism and the impact of the World Wars upon Europe. Prerequisites: HST-1100 level OR permission of instructor
This course is a study of political, economic, social, and intellectual developments that occurred in Russia and the former Soviet Union during the last two centuries. Prerequisites: HST-1100 level OR permission of instructor
This course will be an examination of the role economic activity played in the rise of Europe in world affairs. The course will review the “early Renaissance” of the 11th and 12th centuries along with a critique of medieval commerce prior to a more thorough examination of how the “commercial revolution” and banking changes of the early Renaissance era began the integration of the European economy. The course will end with the creation of the integrated European community, post WWII. Featured in the length of the course will be studies of the industrial revolutions, technological changes, modern banking, alteration of government laws to facilitate trade, and the role of empire in economic strength. Prerequisites: HST-1102 OR permission of instructor
This course will focus on a single topic in American legal history; possibilities include constitution writing, the history of family law, or interpretations of the 14th Amendment. Through this more focused process, students will gain more insight into the factors that cause interpretations of law to change over time. Prerequisites: HST-2223 OR permission of instructor
This class will introduce students to the ideas that have shaped American cultures. Students will explore writings, paintings, films, and other forms of expression in an effort to understand how the ideas of both elites and less reputable members of society become absorbed into the mainstreams of American society. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
A study of American historical geography and the importance of place and space in American history. Topics will include the study of rural, urban, and suburban regions, their development, and their relationships, regionalism and regional identities, and the role of expansion in American history. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This seminar will introduce students to the experiences of Asian Americans. In an interdisciplinary approach, it will combine history with literary texts to demonstrate and explain the trials and triumphs of Asian immigrants and their descendants in the United States. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This is a reading/discussion/writing course—with a heavy emphasis on cultural development and gaining a better understanding of America’s connections to the world. The Atlantic World in Transition is an examination of European, Native American and West African cultures from the immediate “pre-exploration” period of the early 15th century, through first contact situations and the transitional period of cultural exchange from the 17th through 18th centuries. Concentration is given to 1) Western European societies (Spain/Portugal/England/France/The Low Countries) from the eve of exploration through early colonization efforts, including the developing rivalries over territory in the Americas; 2) Meso-American and Eastern Woodland civilizations in the pre-contact period, the effects of early contact and how relationships evolved with various European arrivals; 3) West African societies and the changes wrought in them by increased European contact, both at home and in the transition of enslaved populations to the Americas. The final portion of the course covers the development of creolized societies in the Caribbean and the early settlements of North, South and Central America as the various cultures cross, intertwine and blend. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
Cases studies in the intermingling of rational and traditional perspectives as science and enlightenment are developed and unevenly applied in an era of discovery. The case studies will focus on science, discovery, and exploration; popular traditions; the emergence of religious freedom; and clashes and alliances of reason and revelation. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This class will explore the growth of consumer culture in the United States. Topics addressed will include corporate efforts to nurture consumption, shifting ideas about the propriety of consuming and about the intersection of consumption and gender, and conflicting interpretations of the positive and negative impacts of consumerism on American society during this period. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
In this seminar students will examine the relationship between the urban environment and women’s history. Special attention will be paid to changes in work-working conditions, types of employment offered, the shifting nature of domestic labor-and leisure. Sample class activities include film viewings and analysis of physical structures (such as multiple readings of New York’s Central Park-a place for genteel gender performance in the early 20th century or a dangerous urban wilderness in the 1980s?) Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
Ernest Hemingway once said, “in terms of beauty, only Venice and Paris surpass Havana.” Indeed, from the 1930s to late-1950s, Havana, Cuba was the destination of choice for Americans of means. Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper, and Marlene Dietrich made it their retreat while gangsters like Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano ran the hotels’ gambling scenes. All of this changed with the Revolution of 1959. This course will chart the cultural relationship between Cuba, Russia, and the United States over the past fifty years as well as evaluate the ways minor isolation may have nurtured a particular brand of Cuban cultural development. Specific attention will be paid to the relationship between the state and the arts under Castro. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
How does a nation win a war without military action? As “containment” came to dominate post-war American foreign policy, it became clear both to American politicians and the public that perception and propaganda would play an important, if not the most important, role in fending off the Soviets and protecting the American Way of Life. This course will introduce students to major battles of the Cultural Cold War; amongst them the activities of Voice of America, Texan pianist Van Cliburn, the exchange of the New York City Ballet and the Bolshoi, and the international tours of artists Martha Graham, Dizzy Gillespie, and the musical Porgy and Bess. Particular attention will be paid to issues of cultural hierarchy, government support of the arts, conceptions of the “American” or “Soviet,” the role of consumer culture, and the relationship between the Cold War and civil rights. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
Students will be introduced in this course to the study of postwar U.S. history through the lens of consumption: what we buy, where we buy it, how we pay for it, and why purchasing power is important personally and politically. Special attention will be paid to the emergence of credit, the development of overseas markets, the landscape of consumption, and contemporary advertising. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This seminar explores the origins and development of the relationship between the United States and East Asia. Major topics dealt with in this seminar include the development of trade between the U.S. and China, the opening of Japan, the United States and the Chinese Revolution, world wars in the Pacific world, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Cold War in East Asia. Prerequisites: HST-1501 OR permission of instructor
This seminar explores the origins, evolution, and decline of the Chinese revolution in the 20th century. Major topics dealt with in this course include the Chinese republican revolution, the early Chinese republic, the rise of the Chinese communist movement, the Chinese civil war, the early People’s Republic, and the Great Cultural Revolution. Prerequisites: HST-1501 OR permission of instructor
This seminar explores the experiences of the Japanese in modern times. In an interdisciplinary approach, it will explain the foundations of modern Japan, the Meiji Revolution, Japan’s continental expansion to its defeat in World War II and its transformation in the post-WWII period. Prerequisites: HST-1501 OR permission of instructor
This course studies four of the major civilizations of the pre-Columbian world: Mayas, Aztecs, Chibchas, and Incas. This course explores their ideology, economic organization, religion, social structure, and government. Finally, this course also discusses the legacy of these four civilizations. Prerequisites: HST-1601 OR permission of instructor
This course focuses on the enduring legacy and complexity of the native societies from the colonial to the contemporary scenario. This course examines the cases of Mesoamerica, Brazil, the Caribbean, and the Andes. Topics to be discussed are the colonial conquest, native responses, and the ways in which the Amerindian societies have participated into politics during the modern period. Prerequisites: HST-1601 OR permission of instructor
This course examines the relevance of consumption and the study of ‘objects’ (material cultural) to understand the Latin American past. History is not only the study of ‘written’ documents. Topics such as environmental management, garbage, architecture, urban planning, consumerism, cuisine, clothes, fashion, and visual arts are important ingredients of this course. Prerequisites: HST-1601 OR permission of instructor
A survey of the Mexican history since the pre-Conquest period. This course examines the most significant events of Mexican past. This course also examines the rise of the idea of ‘Mexicanness’ and shows the complexity, diversity, and vibrant elements of the Mexican culture. Prerequisites: HST-1601 OR permission of instructor
The largest country in Latin America (and the third one in the Americas) has a complex and rich history. This survey explores the history of the ‘Terra de Santa Cruz’ from the pre-Columbian nomadic civilizations to the modern period. Major topics include the Africanization of Brazil, the Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch rules, the Empire, the question of the Amazonia, race relations and the concept of ‘racial democracy.’ Popular culture is also an important issue of this course. Prerequisites: HST-1601 OR permission of instructor
This course is a diplomatic, political, and economic history of American involvement in the Middle East and Europe since World War II. The course presents different interpretations of the role the United States has played in the region. Prerequisites: HST-1701, HST-2701, OR permission of instructor
This course is an examination of the dispute that arose between Arabs and Jews from the time of Zionist colonization during the late nineteenth century and the developments that have occurred in this controversy through recent times. Prerequisites: HST-1701, HST-2701, OR permission of instructor
In this course, students will gain hands-on experience of how historians pursue their craft. Students and the professor will spend the semester working collaboratively to research, interpret, and present their findings on a single historical problem selected by the professor. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This course will introduce students to the production of history using analytical categories such as race, class, or gender. Students will investigate how the method emerged, its basic theories, and most importantly-how the category changes the type of questions history can ask and the evidence used to answer. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This course is an introduction to the theory and practices of public history, including applications in museum work, historical sites, and archives and public records. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This class will introduce students to the research technique of oral history. Students will study the benefits and pitfalls of oral history as a source of historical evidence, take a seminar that trains them to conduct oral history interviews, and interview local community members on a topic collaboratively constructed by the student and professor. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
A course that will combine an intensive classroom experience with an experiential learning trip to historical sites. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course OR permission of instructor
This course emphasizes active student involvement in the research and writing process with a student working individually with a member of the department faculty. Prerequisites: One 1000 or 2000 level history course, 3.45 minimum GPA, and permission of both the instructor and the department chair
This course is required of all history majors. It is a reading and discussion course that covers a specific topic in history. The course emphasizes historiography and considers various interpretations. The student’s work in the course will culminate in a substantial research paper done with the close collaboration with a faculty member from the department. Prerequisites: History majors with senior standing OR permission of instructor