Courses


Lower Division

United States History I
Western Civilization I


Upper Division
America: From Invasion to Rebellion 
The Early American Republic
The United States during the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction
American Cultures and Ideas
Senior Research Seminar
Historical Methods

Course Descriptions

America: From Invasion to Rebellion

HIST 359 

This course will examine the process of colonization on the North American continent.  As the diverse Native American, European and African peoples encountered and navigated among each other in this new and changing environment, they created a new world, through their interactions was unfamiliar people and their ways.  This world was neither completely divorced from nor identical to the world they previously had knew or left behind.  Issues which will be considered include:  the world views of the people who eventually lived together in North America, the retentions, borrowings and changes in cultures during colonization, the varied Native American responses to the diverse incoming Europeans and Africans, the increasing commitment to racial slavery and the enslaved’s responses to this, the wide array of assumptions European empires held toward this continent and colonization, the relationship between the colonies and the empire, the peculiar nature of life in North American colonies, and the motivations for decisions made throughout the continent during these years.   



The Early American Republic
HIST 352

This course will examine the diverse paths taken while attempting to create and develop a new nation.  After the former British colonies united in opposition to the monarchy, they quickly realized the fragility of their wartime unity.  The debates, conflicts, collaborations and consensus during this critical time for the experimental young republic interpreted the meaning of the revolution and shaped the path for future national development.  Over the course of the semester, we will examine the interconnected issues of: redefining laws and methods of governance, the rise of industry and its effects on labor, the geographical expansion of the nation, immigration, urbanization, the commitment to and development of racial slavery, the need to create and develop a national culture and identity, and the emergence of uniquely American religious ways and reform impulses.


The US during the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction
HIST 353

Although this class will center around the American Civil War (1861-1865), it will even more so be a history of the United States from approximately 1820 through 1880, in order to effectively place the war in its appropriate historical contexts of the political, economic, social, and cultural history of the mid-nineteenth century.  This course will examine the nature and creation of regional distinctiveness in the United States, the centrality of race and slavery to the nation, the causes of disunion, the nature and character of the Civil War which followed, the war’s diverse effects on the whole American populous, the nation’s attempt at reconstruction, and the war’s legacies that still inform our nation today.  

American Cultures and Ideas

HIST 362 

This course will examine American history through an exploration of its culture.  Throughout this course we will work towards defining what culture is, how it shapes expectations and assumption, how it motivates human actions and interactions, and how it is bound by time and place.  We will explore the diverse cultures that existed in and came to Colonial America and the United States, paying special attention to moments of encounter and the nature of the adjustments all people experienced as they dealt with difference. Culture’s ability to create conflict, give meaning to, and refashion old ways should lead us notice how culture is shaped by a person’s race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, age and region, to name a few.  Topics dealt with will range from art, creolization, nationalism, slave culture, nativism, minstrelsy, transcendentalism, modernism, jazz culture, advertising, the sixties, consumerism, and popular culture.  Throughout this course you will be challenged to deeply read a wide variety of cultural sources, including poetry, paintings, cartoons, song lyrics, material objects, jokes and advertisements, which more often imply rather than explain the cultural attitudes of an era.  Each student’s ability to critically read cultural sources from an appropriately historical frame of reference will be tested in a variety of assignments, including weekly readings, writing assignments, active class participation, and a research project.


Research Seminar
HIST 401

This class will prepare students for and guide them through the research and writing of an original piece of history.  This will be accomplished in stages, with multiple components of the process due throughout the semester.  This will also be facilitated through diverse approaches and activities including:  presentations, discussions, peer evaluations, quizzes, practice activities, group work, and individual consultations with the professor.  How to create good history is the common shared inquiry this seminar will revolve around. The four main segments of this course are: Thinking of good ideas, Finding good sources, Considering sources historically and creatively, and Writing good history.  

The objective of History 401 is to facilitate the improved research, writing and thinking skills of the student-historian, and practice the craft of the historian. The ultimate goal of all this preparatory work is a twenty to twenty-five page history research paper, original in its research and perspective, and placed into the appropriate historiography.  This final paper should contribute something new to our knowledge about the past.


Historical Methods--American Slavery
HIST 301

This course is designed to acquaint students with the basic elements of historiography, and to give them a more focused appreciation and knowledge of the discipline of history.  We will do this  by engaging with the history and historiography of American slavery. The final goal is to prepare students to do better research in their senior thesis course, by showing them how historians do their work. The course will examine the questions of: What is history? How do historians create history? Why does history matter? The course will be divided between lectures, in class activities, discussion and research.  You will be required to engage with both primary and secondary source material on a weekly basis and contribute consistently to our seminar style classroom format.