History Department


Courses of Study

[HI106]    Greek History Listed as Ancient History 158. Three or four credit hours. H.
[HI111]    Europe from the Classical World to the Religious Wars An interdisciplinary survey of European history from preclassical Greece to 1618. We will examine changing attitudes toward gender and sexuality; concepts of persecution, repression, and tolerance; religious conflict; reactions to disease; and economic disparity and slavery. Larger themes include the classical legacy; development of law codes; church and state; revival of cities; Crusades; the New World; and the Renaissance, Reformation, and religious wars. Focus is on the critical analysis of primary sources, class discussion, and development of writing skills. Four credit hours. H, I.
HI112s    Mentalities, States, and Societies in Europe since 1618 Does modern European history advance toward specific goals (such as democracy, freedom, rationalization, social equality, secularization, mass consumerism, integration)? How have mentalities, state forms, ways of living changed? What has set Europe apart from the wider world? An introduction to four centuries of an eventful and exciting history that has shaped not only Europe but the world of today. Seeks to promote understanding for, and appreciation of, different mindsets and social circumstances in an ethnically and culturally diverse, evolving environment. Four credit hours. H, I. Scheck
[HI120A]    Spotlight on History: The Lincoln Assassination On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln while the president was enjoying a play at Ford's Theater. The crime threw the nation—torn by civil war—into further chaos and, by bringing Andrew Johnson to the presidency, exerted a powerful effect on Reconstruction specifically and American history more broadly. Students will learn about the assassination and about the discipline of history: how historians do research using a variety of sources, analyze their findings, write in discipline-specific ways, and situate their scholarship within the pertinent literature. Students will also learn how to use the College libraries' abundant resources in the most effective way. Four credit hours. H, W1.
[HI120C]    Spotlight on History: The Holocaust and Genocide in Europe What do the Armenian genocide, mass violence in the Stalinist Soviet Union, the Holocaust, and "ethnic cleansing" in Yugoslavia have in common? What differentiates them? Focus is on survivor testimony and historians' debates on the motives of the perpetrators, the experience of victims, and ways of coming to terms with the past. Four credit hours. H, W1, I.
[HI120D]    Spotlight on History: Becoming Chinese American In mines and factories, on plantations and railroads, Chinese immigrants helped build the United States. Driven abroad by turmoil in China, but often intending to return home, they found themselves caught between competing nations, their stories often wrapped in and erased by Orientalist discourses of exoticism, peril and deviancy. This process-oriented writing course explores the contested spaces of Chinese American history, with particular focus on the relationship between writing and the production of historical knowledge. Student research and daily writing will focus on archival and primary source materials including newspapers, congressional hearings, photographs, memoirs, and Chinese American literature. Four credit hours. H, W1, U.
HI120Es    Spotlight on History: World Revolutions World revolutions in the 20th century transmitted the energy of ideological fervor, violent iconoclasm and radical justice beyond the bounds of Europe. The great socialist revolutions in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America can be viewed as the diffusion through ideological and artistic forms of a utopian tradition that sought to change the world by reinterpreting it. Revolutionary activism was made accessible to the masses as visual art, political pamphlet, literary narrative, film and slogan. This process-oriented, archive and object-centered course foregrounds research with these primary sources, enabling student engagement with methodological questions of how we understand, historicize, and curate revolution as a global phenomenon. Global lab. Four credit hours. H, W1. Parker
HI120Ff    Spotlight on History: Mao's Red Guards China, 1966: Chairman Mao's Red Guards, student activists turned paramilitaries, spearheaded the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Sanctioned by Mao and protected by the People's Liberation Army, they embroiled the country in mob violence, political purges, iconoclastic destruction, and mass executions. Defined by loyalty to Mao, their ideological crusade saturated daily life, violently enforcing an orthodox interpretation of Mao's writings as the sole criterion of historical truth — before the Red Guards themselves faced reeducation as "sent down youth" in the countryside. This writing-intensive course explores these studentsʁ experiences, foregrounding the role of language, rhetoric, and genre in the Red Guards' formation, power, and identity. Four credit hours. H, W1. Parker
HI131f    Survey of U.S. History, to 1865 A general overview of key issues and events in U.S. history from the age of settlement through the Civil War. Four credit hours. H, U. Jacobson
HI132s    Survey of U.S. History, 1865 to the Present The rise of national power and its implications for American democratic values. Four credit hours. H. Weisbrot
HI138f    America from the Roaring 20s to the Great Depression Why did racial, religious, cultural, and regional tensions tear at American society in the years after World War I, a time of soaring production, consumption, and living standards? Why did the nation's vaunted prosperity give way in 1929 to the greatest economic collapse in American history? How did people cope with hard times over the next decade? How did their responses transform American values, culture, and politics? Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Cinema Studies 138 and English 138. Elect Integrated Studies 138. Four credit hours. H. Weisbrot
[HI140]    Sharia (Islamic) Law An introduction to how Islamic law functions and why it takes the shape that it does. We will explore the nature of religious, as opposed to secular, law. How is sharia formulated? Who has control over it? How is it applied and how have its applications changed over time? To answer those questions, we will consider different philosophies of law, explore a variety of approaches to the interpretation of law, and examine different institutional embodiments of law. We will see that the Islamic legal systems are pluralistic and see how they differ from the U.S. legal system. Four credit hours. H.
HI141f    Genocide and Globalization: 20th-Century World History The terms genocide and globalization aptly describe the long 20th century in world history, which begins in the 19th century with the "opening" of China and Japan, German unification, and the onset of imperialism. By focusing on the roots and the context, the history of the 20th century as well as present tensions in the Middle East, Ukraine, South China Sea, etc. are easier to understand. The focus will shift from national (Germany, United States, China) to regional (Europe, Africa, Americas, Asia) to global perspectives. Introduces the major relevant ideologies and systems, such as nationalism, National-Socialism, fascism, communism, capitalism, social democracy, imperialism, decolonization, total war, genocide, and globalization. Four credit hours. H, I. van der Meer
HI143s    Maritime History of the World Although humans may be terrestrial mammals, humanity as a whole is amphibian. This course explores the role of the sea in shaping the material and intangible aspects of human culture. Topics covered include the sea as a source of sustenance and resources, a means of communication and transportation, a site of spiritual devotion and artistic inspiration, and as a battlefield. Students will also analyze the gendered aspects of human interactions with the sea, the impact of pollution and climate change, and will examine especially closely the lives of littoral and maritime communities. Students will attend lectures, engage in class discussions, complete reading assignments and essays, and work with primary sources to put together a final research presentation. Previously offered as History 198 (Spring 2020). Four credit hours. H. Shmagin
HI149f    Modern Utopias: From the Satanic Mills to Silicon Valley Looking at England's "dark Satanic Mills" in the early 1800s, the poet William Blake proclaimed that he would not sleep "till we have built Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land." We will examine attempts to reshape states, economies, urban space, and individuals during the last two centuries. Topics will include early forms of "utopian" socialism, the modernization of 19th-century Paris, the New Town movement in Britain, Hitler's plans for Berlin, Soviet cities, industrial and agrarian utopias in post-colonial Africa, and Silicon Valley's techno-utopianism. Satisfies the Historical Studies (H) requirement. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Government 149A and 149B; elect IS149. Four credit hours. H. Meredith
[HI154]    Roman History Listed as Ancient History 154. Three or four credit hours. H.
HI173f    History of Latin America, 1491 to 1900 Listed as Latin American Studies 173. Four credit hours. H, I. Fallaw
HI183f    History of the Premodern Middle East The history of the Middle East from the rise of Muhammad to the rise of the Ottomans and Safavids. The spread of Islam, the development and application of religious and political authority, the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties and their successors, the development of Islam in both its formal and more folk forms, the development of literature, art, science, and society. Gives a broad and deep understanding of the Middle East that will allow for more nuanced interpretations of current events grounded in an understanding of the long historical context. Four credit hours. H, I. Turner
HI184s    History of the Modern Middle East The history of the Middle East from the post-Suleymanic Ottoman Empire to the present. Examines the fall of the Ottoman and Safavid empires, the rise of Western dominance, the struggle for independence, attempts at reform, the Arab-Israeli conflict, oil, the Iranian revolution, the Gulf War, the rise of Islamist movements, and ongoing repercussions. Particular focus on the interplay between religion and politics and the nature of power and authority. Designed to give the historical background necessary for understanding current events in the Middle East in their proper context. Four credit hours. H, I. Turner
[HI211]    Lawgivers, Pharaohs, and Philosophers: Ancient Civilizations Study of ancient civilizations (from c. 3100 BCE to 350 BCE) beginning with the first urban developments and legal systems of Mesopotamia, extensive study of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty of the Old Kingdom through the New Kingdom, Bronze and Archaic Age Greece, and the classical age. Emphasis will be on the concept of civilization, construction of laws and kingship, gender and ethnic diversity, and how the cultures of ancient civilizations influenced political, cultural, and economic developments in the Western past. Four credit hours. H.
[HI212]    Games of Thrones: Medieval England and France Thematic study of medieval England and France from 1000-1500, with topics including the Norman Conquest; the Anarchy; the Becket controversy; Marital and Familial Conflict; wars within Britain; Regicide and Revolt; Hundred Years War; and the Wars of the Roses. Four credit hours. H.
HI217s    Tudor England, 1485-1603 Focuses on the social, religious, political, economic, and nationalistic changes after the fall of the Plantagenet dynasty in 1485. After reading numerous biographies and primary sources, it will culminate in a research paper studying the history of one year based on primary sources from the period. Numerous out-of-class films will supplement class discussion and lectures. Previously listed as History 316. Four credit hours. H. Taylor
HI224f    Germany and Europe, 1871-1945 What went wrong with Germany from the first unification to the catastrophe of Nazism? Examining the question of German peculiarities within the European context and the debate on continuities in recent German history. Focus on critical reading and writing skills and on understanding historical processes including patterns of exclusion and intolerance. Four credit hours. H, I. Scheck
HI226j    Cities from Scratch: A Global History of New Towns What does an ideal city look like? During the twentieth century, urban reformers believed that they could answer that question. They created holistic new towns that countered the sprawling, squalid, unjust, and polluted conditions of the metropolis. This course will explore the planners' goals for their cities and the messier realities, as well as how planned cities often became vehicles for political propaganda. Students will acquire a grasp of modern urban history, methods of analyzing both written and visual sources, and conduct a historical research project on a new town. Previously offered as HI297C (Jan Plan 2019). Three credit hours. H. Meredith
HI227f    Russian History, 900-1905: Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality The cultural and social history of Russia. Topics include Kievan Rus', the rise of Moscovy, the westernizing influence of Peter the Great, and the development of serfdom and autocracy. Focus on Russia's self-identity as Western or Eastern and on the challenges of building civil society. Four credit hours. H, I. Josephson
HI228s    The Russian Empire: Soviet History and 20th-Century Revolutions The people of the Soviet Union lived through three revolutions (1905, 1917, 1991) and two world wars. Their leaders forced the pace of modernization and subjected their own citizens to class war, arrest, and execution. An exploration of the last days of Tsarism, of Leninism and Stalinism, and of the forces leading to the Gorbachev revolution and breakup of the Soviet empire. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. H, I. Josephson
HI229j    America's Whitest State? Immigration in Maine, Yesterday and Today Maine is often called "America's whitest state," a term that obscures the state's rich history of immigration. In this interactive, discussion-based course, students will explore how the state and its residents have responded to and been shaped by various waves of immigration to the state, from English and French farmers in the early 19th century to Irish and French Canadian mill workers and Lebanese Christians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to Somali, Iraqi, and Syrian immigrants today. In addition to studying books, articles, and films, students will deliver an oral, multimedia presentation. They also will have the opportunity to meet many "New Mainers" as guest speakers and explore the diverse cultures of Waterville, Augusta, Lewiston, and Portland. Previously offered as HI297J (Jan Plan 2020). Three credit hours. H, U. Asch
[HI231]    American Women's History to 1870 An examination of key themes in the varied lives of women in America from colonial times to the end of the Civil War, such as their relationship to the public sphere and politics; women's work in the contexts of household production, early industrialization, and slavery; women and citizenship in the new republic; and women, religion, and social reform. Four credit hours. H, U.
[HI232]    American Women's History, 1870 to the Present An exploration of critical topics in the history of women in America from Reconstruction to the present, including the struggle for suffrage, black women in the aftermath of slavery, women and the labor movement, the impact on women of two world wars, birth control and reproductive freedom, women's liberation, the feminization of poverty, and the backlash against feminism. Four credit hours. H, U.
[HI233]    Native Americans to 1850 Through readings, discussions, and films, students will examine how native peoples actively sought to preserve their lands, cultures, and identities and will consider their social and cultural contributions to American life. Topics may include pre-contact Indian societies; contact and conflict with explorers, traders, missionaries, and settlers; warfare and society; the struggle against early American expansion; Indian removal in the East; and the Trail of Tears. Four credit hours. H, U.
[HI234]    Native Americans since 1850 Through reading, discussion, and film, students will examine how native peoples actively sought to preserve their lands, cultures, and identities and will consider their social and cultural contributions to American life. Topics may include warfare and removal in the West, cultural repression, boarding schools, Indian soldiers and code talkers, urban migration, termination, Indian activism and revival in the 1960s and 70s, and the ongoing struggle for sovereignty, recognition, and prosperity. Four credit hours. H, U.
[HI239]    The Era of the Civil War A social, political, and cultural survey of the Civil War, its origins, and its aftermath. Was the war a watershed in American history, as historians have commonly suggested? And if so, what kind of watershed? Four credit hours. H, U.
[HI241]    History of Colby College Through readings, lectures, discussion, presentations, and independent research, students will learn about the history of Colby since its founding in 1813. Students will participate in writing the College's history by doing independent research projects on Colby's past using the abundant resources in Special Collections and elsewhere. Who is your residence hall named after? Why are our sports teams called the Mules? How did town-gown relations change when the College moved to Mayflower Hill? Who was Janitor Sam? Who was Mary Low? Discover answers to these and a multitude of other questions you never thought to ask. Four credit hours. H.
HI243s    History of the U.S. West This class considers how the West is a mythic place that has created many American icons and narratives, including the frontier, Hollywood, and the so-called Wild West. We will also investigate how the West is a historic place where conquest, violence, and convergences of unlikely people have all unfolded. This course will examine the historic and mythic West over the course of several centuries. Using novels, histories, first-hand accounts, visual art, and film, we will explore thematic topics that illumine how the West has changed over time, the diverse people who have called it home. Previously offered as HI297 (Fall 2019). Four credit hours. H. Jacobson
HI245s    Science, Race, and Gender Historical analysis of the concepts of race and gender in four different ways: their institutional basis, their scientific content, epistemological issues that surround notions of race and gender, and the cultural and social background of the scientists and science that developed from 1800 to the present. Consideration of importance of historical issues for contemporary society. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. N, U. Josephson
[HI246]    Luddite Rantings: A Historical Critique of Big Technology Adopting a technologically determinist argument, the instructor will subject to withering criticism the way in which Westerners, and in particular Americans, have embraced such technologies as automobiles, computers, reproductive devices, rockets, and reactors, with nary a thought about their ethical, moral, political, or environmental consequences. Students will be encouraged to argue. Four credit hours. H, U.
HI247f    African-American History, from Slavery to Freedom Explores the experience of blacks in American society from colonial times through the present. Subjects focus on racism, slavery, the role of African Americans in shaping the nation's history, and the ongoing struggle for equality. In exploring these historical developments, the course aims to expose students to a range of primary and scholarly sources; to hone critical thinking and interpretive skills; to help students write clearly, concisely, and precisely; and to foster clear, logical, and informed exchanges of ideas. Four credit hours. H, U. Weisbrot
[HI248]    Nuclear Visions, Environmental Realities Examines the environmental history of nuclear power, peaceful and military. Using a variety of materials from a variety of disciplines and genres of human expression, students will consider the impact of military and civilian nuclear technologies on the environment, including human, machine (nuclear technology), and nature interactions. In a strongly interactive approach, using such primary sources as films, maps, archival documents, political cartoons, letters to the editor, beauty pageants ("Miss Atom!"), and photographs, they will engage questions of energy, nature, and landscape. Environmental humanities course. Four credit hours. H, I.
[HI250]    History of Modern China: Everyday Life and Revolution Introduces students to the history of modern China from the Qing Dynasty to the present day, focusing on the changing relationship between revolution and everyday life. Lectures and discussions will introduce a big picture survey of Chinese history, as well as opportunities for in-depth investigation into select case studies that illuminate the everyday lives of Chinese people on the ground. Students will master the chronology of modern Chinese history and develop skills in critical historical analysis. Four credit hours. H, I.
HI255s    Histories of Southeast Asia: Slavery, Diasporas, and Revolutions Southeast Asia is one of the most dynamic economic and cultural regions in the world and central to Obama's pivot to Asia. Consisting of the modern states of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the region has been a crossroads for people, cultures, flora, and fauna for millennia, making it one of the most diverse in the world. We trace its long history from the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms that produced Angkor Wat and the Borobudur to the present by focusing on three cohesive themes: slavery, diasporas, and revolutions. Four credit hours. H, I. van der Meer
HI266f    Introduction to African History, 1800-1994 Traces the history of Africa from colonization to decolonization and beyond. We attend to Africans' resistance to colonization and the emergence of African nationalism, as well as to major themes within the scholarship on modern African history, including childhood and youth, gender and sexuality, medicine and technology, migration and urbanization, poverty, memory and reparation, and labor. Students will acquire a grasp of modern African history; an understanding of how the field of African history has changed over time; and a knowledge of the methods developed by historians to study African history. Four credit hours. H, I. Duff
HI272f    Mexican History: Justice, Rights, and Revolution Listed as Latin American Studies 272. Four credit hours. H, I. Fallaw
HI276fs    Patterns and Processes in World History An introduction to patterns and processes in world history. Themes include the evolution of trade and empire, global balances in military and political power, impacts of disease, the evolution of capitalism, slavery and its abolition, global migrations, industrialization, imperialism, and decolonization. Students read essays and study maps of historical patterns and processes and write essays to hone their critical-thinking and writing skills. Four credit hours. H. Duff, van der Meer
[HI277]    The Maya Listed as Latin American Studies 277. Four credit hours. H, I.
[HI285]    Foundations of Islam A comprehensive introduction to the Islamic religious tradition focusing on the formative early period (seventh-11th centuries CE) and to contemporary interpretations and adaptations. Explores the nature of religion, religious knowledge, practice, identity, law, gender, and the nature of the divine. Analyzes the foundational beliefs, diversity, and social constructions within Islam by examining the early texts (the Qur'an, hadith/sunna), their interpretations, and their application through time. No prior knowledge expected. Four credit hours. H, I.
HI297f    A History of the Samurai It is difficult to find a person unaware of the samurai. However, most people, both in Japan and abroad, engage with their idealized images rather than as an actual historical phenomenon. The aim of this course is to bring the samurai to life as a distinct status group that left an indelible mark on the history of Japan, and thereby to separate fact from fiction. We will also explore the creation of iconic images of the samurai, which continue to influence worldwide popular culture. Four credit hours. H. Shmagin
HI297Jj    Europe and the Second World War An exploration of the origins of World War II, its military, civilian, and diplomatic aspects, and its effects. With a special focus on foreign occupations during the war and on the bloody aftermath of the conflict. Goal is to understand history in its dramatic and unsettling open-endedness - important, as the outcome of the war was initially hard to predict, leading many Europeans to make decisions based on expectations that turned out to be false. Although the focus of the class is on Europe, the global dimensions of the war receive ample consideration. Focus on critical reading and writing skills and on understanding historical patterns of oppression, violence, and resistance. Three credit hours. H, I. Scheck
HI2XXCs    Modern Japan Four credit hours. Shmagin
HI314s    Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Venice from Beginning to End From its beginnings as a republic, Venice faced the challenges posed in the Book of Revelation: Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. A major political, economic and cultural power from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, its marginalization began in the 17th century with the Ottoman Wars and its inability to compete with other European colonial powers. With the fall of the republic after the Napoleonic invasion, VeniceƩs cultural influence continued unabated, but because of its unique geography it now faces a lethal crisis caused by environmental issues, corruption, and over-tourism that has decimated its population. Four credit hours. H. Taylor
[HI319]    Sexuality and Disease in Premodern Europe An exploration of the attitudes toward the body from late antiquity to the end of the 19th century. We will focus on the attitudes of church, state, and ordinary people toward sexuality. How were men and women judged differently? How did medieval and early modern people conceive of their bodies in relation to others and to God? What were attitudes toward homosexuality, prostitution, and non-marital relations? How did law treat what they saw as sexual offenses? We will also study the growth of medical faculties at universities, diseases, gynecology, contraception/abortion, and childbirth. Four credit hours. H, I.
[HI320]    Joan of Arc: History, Legend, and Film A critical examination of one of the most famous figures in history within the context of 15th-century French history and particularly the Hundred Years War with England. Focus will be on the role of narrative and interpretation in the understanding of history from the time of Joan of Arc to our own through extensive reading of primary sources. Four credit hours. H, I.
HI321f    The First World War Covers the origins of the war, its impact on European societies, the experience of soldiers and of civilians on the home front, and the war's long-term legacy in Europe and the wider world. Focus on the meaning of total war, patterns of intolerance and persecution, the crusading spirit, and the sheer scale of violence. Includes an individual research component. Prerequisite: A W1 course. Four credit hours. H, W2, I. Scheck
[HI322]    Europe and the Second World War Seeks a deeper understanding of the origins of the war, its military, civilian, and diplomatic aspects, and its effects. Focuses on Nazi-dominated Europe and the dynamics of repression, resistance, collaboration, and accommodation. Includes debates on crucial aspects of the war and a strong research component. Goal is to understand historical processes in their dramatic and unsettling openness—important, as the outcome of the war was initially hard to predict, leading many Europeans to make decisions based on false expectations. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. H, W2, I.
[HI324]    History of Gender and Sexuality in Antiquity This seminar will focus on ideals and realities of gender and sexual roles in the classical tradition of Greece and Rome and the impact of Christianity in its first four centuries. In the classical world, how were masculine and feminine roles defined? How did society deal with transgression of gender norms? How did philosophers, playwrights, satirists and commentators address pederasty, same-sex relations, and heterosexual behavior? In the first two centuries of Christianity, women had a prominent role that became circumscribed as the Church Fathers delineated the 'proper' roles of men and women and increasingly emphasized virginity and chastity as the desirable goal for Christians. Four credit hours. H, I.
[HI327]    Daily Life under Stalin Many workers and peasants, and of course political elites, supported the Stalinist system, overlooking, discounting, or even justifying the great human costs of collectivization, industrialization, and the Great Terror as needed to create a great socialist fortress. An examination of the nature of regime loyalty under Stalin, making extensive use of primary sources. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. H.
[HI328]    Daily Life Under Putin Most students know of Vladimir Putin through American mass media and consider him to be undemocratic. Yet they know little of his domestic and foreign policy, or the sources and rationale behind them. Based on close reading and discussion of primary and secondary sources, we shall examine the importance of the Soviet cultural and political heritage for Putin and Putinism, Putin's efforts to recreate a new Russian superpower, and the sources of public approval for his rule. We will examine continuity and change in economic programs, institutions, political culture, and Russian values and beliefs. Four credit hours. H.
[HI330]    Global Histories of Food How do we write the history of food? Not only does food encompass a range of activities and ideas, but it is also intertwined with how we construct identities, formulate relationships, and organize societies. This course focuses on how food is implicated in the making of gendered, racial, and ethnic identities, and particularly in the contexts of imperialism and nationalism, slavery, nineteenth- and twentieth-century migration, and industrialization. Provides students with an overview of some themes in food history, and will teach them how to think with food. Students will also learn how historians conduct research. Four credit hours. H, I.
HI334f    The Great Depression: America in the 1930s The Depression of the 1930s was the most devastating economic collapse of modern times. How did it happen? The 1920s had been the most prosperous time in American history, and many forecast ever-higher living standards. Instead the economy went into a tailspin that affected every group and region and posed a crisis of faith in capitalism. How did Americans cope and how did the experience shape their values and behavior? In what ways did the federal government respond, to what ends, and with what consequences? In exploring these questions, the course will also help students to read critically and to write clearly, concisely, and precisely. Four credit hours. H, U. Weisbrot
[HI337]    The Age of the American Revolution The American revolutionary period (c. 1760-1820), blending political, social, intellectual, and cultural history from 18th-century America as a society built on contradictions (liberty and slavery, property and equality, dependence and independence) through the rebellion against Britain to the democratic, slave-owning, egalitarian, libertarian, and hyper-commercial world of the early republic. Four credit hours. H, U.
[HI338]    History in Reverse: Backwards through the Records from Now to Then Professional historians are often drawn to the field by their interest in or concern about current affairs, whose historical roots they seek to understand. Similarly, we will begin by focusing collectively on a contemporary issue, problem, or development (such as the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton or the collapse of the paper industry in central Maine), and then trace backwards through the relevant historical records for evidence of causation and contingency. Students will then choose a topic of interest and repeat the process, developing skills in effective research, clear and precise writing, critical source analysis, and oral presentation. Four credit hours. H.
HI339s    South African Women's Memoir We trace South African womens involvement in the struggles against segregation and apartheid, paying attention to womens use of memoir as a powerful tool not only for inserting themselves into histories of national liberation, but also for challenging nationalist visions of the state and nation. The course has two goals: first, students will be introduced to South African womens history; second, they will be introduced to the genre of memoir as a primary source available to historians, which has the potential to open up histories of people often marginalized in mainstream accounts of the nation and liberation movement. Four credit hours. Duff
HI341f    U.S. Empire Thomas Jefferson famously described the U.S. as an "Empire of Liberty," to distinguish the U.S. from negative examples of imperial power. Yet, scholars have shown how the U.S. was and is an empire — and not just Jefferson's exceptionalist version. This course will interrogate and explore the U.S. as an empire, in both its continental expansions in the nineteenth century and its global expansions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will explore interpretations of the U.S. as empire through multiple case studies, including what is now the U.S. West, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Hawaii. Special attention will be paid to the central role of culture, religious and humanitarian impulses, the environment and public health, and traditional political concerns. Previously offered as History 398C (Spring 2020). Four credit hours. H, U. Jacobson
HI342s    Crisis and Reform: American Society and Politics in the 1960s The utopian hopes for government during the Kennedy and Johnson years, both in solving social problems and in containing communism around the world. Readings focus on the shaping of federal policies, their domestic and global impact, and the cultural and political legacy of this era. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. H. Weisbrot
HI348s    U.S. Environmental History We will consider nature's role in shaping history. How do our stories change when we include microbes, pigs, and the climate, alongside subjects like presidents, wars, and ideas? We will also ask what nature has meant to a range of people including the Comanche on the Great Plains, settler-farmers in New England, and coal miners in Colorado. The aim is that you begin to think about nature differently: how ideas about nature have changed, how nature surrounds & nourishes us and has been used to justify violence & racism, and how nature impedes on our lives. Four credit hours. Jacobson
HI356f    Cultures and Identities of the British Empire Asks students to examine the construction, maintenance, and blurring of the boundaries of culture and identity within the British Empire over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Explores how empire not only produced new, allegedly stable ethnic and racial identities, but also how these were constantly undermined and challenged, and were subject to change over both time and space. The course will do this by reading and discussing a series of novels written over the course of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries—both during empire, in other words, and in its wake. Boundaries and Margins humanities theme course. Four credit hours. H, I. Duff
[HI362]    History of Egypt Focus on the cultural, social, and political development of Egypt from the seventh-century conquest to the fall of Mubarak. Particular points of focus are state formation, development of nationalism, definition of religious and political identities, power relations, the struggles for control over resources and for independence, and Egypt's place in the power matrix of the Middle East. Through reading primary sources and secondary scholarship, students will come to a deeper understanding of the nature of history and historical processes. They will learn how to critically assess the arguments of history and the deployment of historical memory and how to articulate their assessments through writing papers and sitting exams. Four credit hours. H, I.
[HI377]    Imperialism, Decolonization, and Modernity in Southeast Asia Explores the fascinating multicultural history of Southeast Asia—crossroads of the world and one of the fastest growing economic and cultural regions in the world today—from the 18th century to the present. By studying the processes of exchange beginning in the period of colonialism and imperialism, students will trace the emergence of Southeast Asian states—foremost Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam—and their hybrid national cultures through decolonization into our contemporary era. Four credit hours. H, I.
HI381s    Women and Gender in Islam A comprehensive introduction to the construction of gender in the Islamic Middle East. Puts the lives of contemporary Muslim women and men into a deeper historical perspective, examining the issues that influence definitions of gender in the Islamic world. Through monographs, essays, novels, stories, and film, examines the changing status and images of women and men in the Qur'an, hadith/sunna, theology, philosophy, and literature. Traces changes and developments in those constructions of identity beginning with the rise of Islam and continuing through contemporary understandings. Four credit hours. H, I. Turner
[HI389]    History of Iran Focus on the cultural, social, and political development of Iran from the rise of the Safavid dynasty to the election of Muhammad Khatami in 1997. Particular points of focus: state formation, the influence of the West on 19th-century economic and intellectual development, 20th-century internal struggles between the religious and political elite, the effects of oil and great power intervention, the rise of activist Islam and the revolution, the war with Iraq, and life after Khomeini. Four credit hours. H, I.
HI397f    A Global History of Manga and Anime Japanese comic books and cartoons are known throughout the world by their Japanese names: "manga" and "anime." This is no accident, but a reflection of their enormous global popularity. Why are they so popular? What does their popularity say about the place of Japan in today's global culture? How did these two phenomena emerge and develop, and how do they influence each other? Our class will explore these and other related questions through readings, screenings, discussion, and original research. Four credit hours. H. Shmagin
HI397Bf    The Great Plague, 1347-1351 Discussion course focusing on the Great Plague that swept Asia/Europe in the 14th century, killing at least 50 million people. Topics include the Great Famine, the catastrophic spread of bubonic/pneumonic plague, medical knowledge/treatments, apocalyptic preaching, scapegoating/pogroms, and responses to the unknown that ranged from quarantines to isolation to attitudes of "eat, drink and be merry." We will then study the aftermath, including increasing class divisions, peasant revolts, and ultimately the end of serfdom in W. Europe. The last part of the course will consider its historical relevance for later pandemics, including COVID-19. Prerequisite: Sophomore or above standing. Four credit hours. H. Taylor
HI414f    Research Seminar: History of Fear in Europe, 1300-1900 An exploration of how fear and different forms of communication or rumor influenced the course of European history in the medieval and early modern period. Case studies involve instances of anti-Judaism and anti-Islam, reactions to leprosy and syphilis, misogyny and demonology, xenophobia, and fear of death in all its forms from 1321 to 1888. Explores how changing communications from oral to semiliterate to journalistic culture influenced and changed history, marginalizing those outside the religious, gendered, ethnic, medical, and socioeconomic norms of society at a given time and place. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing; prior course in ancient, medieval, or early modern history recommended. Four credit hours. H. Taylor
HI421s    Research Seminar: Debating the Nazi Past Explores the political and social dynamics of the Third Reich, the charisma and importance of Hitler, the choices of ordinary Germans, the genesis and execution of the Holocaust, and the problems of postwar Germans in dealing with the Nazi past. Focus on critical research, reading, and writing skills, and on understanding historical processes including patterns of exclusion and intolerance and charismatically underpinned violence. Includes major individual writing project. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. Four credit hours. H, W3, I. Scheck
[HI424]    Research Seminar: Death in the West: A History This seminar will explore historical attitudes to death, burial and the afterlife from ancient Egypt to early modern Europe, comparing and contrasting beliefs about the body after death, folklore about the undead and ghosts, ideas of rebirth and resurrection, heaven, hell and purgatory [in Christianity] and rituals associated with the dead, including relatives, saints and sinners. We will examine changing attitudes toward dissection, preservation of the body, and capital punishment. As science dzprogressedǾ in the early modern period, we will look at the practice of body snatching for medical purposes and the popularity of anatomical theatres. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours.
[HI435]    Research Seminar: The American Civil War An in-depth study of the Civil War in America, with a series of common readings on the war, including its causes, its aftermath, significant military and political leaders (e.g., Grant, Lee, Longstreet, Sherman, Lincoln, Davis), the experiences and impact of the war for women and African Americans, the impact of defeat on the South, and the ways in which Americans remember and reenact the war. Four credit hours. H, U.
HI438s    Research Seminar: Global Commodities The history of mundane commodities as coffee and spices offers an insightful prism for the study of world history. Commodity histories illustrate the increased interconnectedness of the human experience by stressing interactions across and between societies. Global commodity histories illustrate the importance of trade, empires, technology, the exchange of flora, fauna, and diseases, and consumerism. These histories also demonstrate the constructed nature of identities—racial, gender, and national—and their transformation over time. These histories are not about regions or states, but interconnections and shared experiences. Seminarians will create a digital interactive map or timeline that captures the intricacies of a commodity history. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. Four credit hours. H. van der Meer
[HI483J]    History Honors Program Noncredit.
HI491f, 492s    Independent Study Individual projects in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One to four credit hours. Faculty