Course Descriptions

Spring 2019 Course Descriptions

Choose from the tables below for descriptions of the courses, the professors teaching the courses, and the days of the week the courses are offered.


United States History

HIST 3127—The Vietnam Era

TTh 2:00-3:15
Dr. David McDaniel

The theme of this course is reflected in the words of one of the war’s chief architects Henry A. Kissinger who said: “Vietnam is still with us. It has created doubts about American judgment, about American credibility, about American power—not only at home, but throughout the world.” History 3127 will examine the history of the Vietnam War from the perspective of the United States. It will provide the student with the historical background that set the stage for the conflict, the events that led directly to the war, the primary political and military issues involved at home and abroad, and an overview of the major battles. Further, and quite significantly, this course will also consider the non-military aspects of the war, such as the changing political climate in the United States during the late 1960s, the rise of a determined anti-war movement that exerted a profound impact on the outcome of the struggle, the nature of the cultural and political polarization wrought by America’s longest war, and finally the lingering scars caused by division and defeat. 

HIST 4114/5114American Foreign Relations 2

MWF 12:00
Dr. Michael Donoghue

This course examines the rise of the United States from one of the major powers in the early 1900s to the global superpower of the twentieth century.  We will analyze the U.S. entry into World War I, the retreat from intervention in the 1920s, Depression era diplomacy including the Good Neighbor Policy of FDR, the U.S. participation in World War II, the origins of the Cold War, the Korean Conflict, America’s role in the creation and expansion of Israel, the Vietnam War, détente, the Iranian hostage crisis and the conflict with radical Islam, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and America’s confrontation with Iraq both before and after the 9/11 attacks on New York. The course will especially explore the role of race, gender, culture, and ideology in U.S. international relations and the intimate connections between foreign and domestic crises. The course will be reading intensive with a midterm, a final exam, short in-class writing exercises, and 3 short papers.

 HIST 4120/5120American Immigration

MWF 10:00
Dr. Alison Efford

The present hostility to immigration has a history, with anti-immigration sentiment playing out in different permutations over the centuries in North America, so this course takes a long view, beginning in the colonial era and ending in recent decades. Throughout, I encourage you to engage in a dialogue between the past and the present. Through interactive lectures, readings, and discussions, we will explore how immigrants built communities, sought economic security, and experienced cultural change. The class also addresses race construction, empire building, and cultural pluralism. It contextualizes immigration—an issue central to American national identity—within a transnational framework of global labor markets, American incursions overseas, and the worldwide movement of peoples. 

 All students will participate in an in-class Service Learning project. Counts as a Diverse Cultures requirement under the old CORE and an ESSV (2) requirement under the new one.

HIST 6115—The American Revolution and the New Nation

T 2:00-4:30
Dr. Kristen Foster

In this colloquium we will look at the birth and early development of the United States beginning with the French and Indian War when the future states were loyal colonies of Britain and ending in 1831 when a solar eclipse, a bloody slave rebellion in Virginia, and the publication of William Lloyd Garrison‘s Liberator suggested that the strength and durability of the new nation would be tested in the years to come. To this end, we will begin by exploring the ways that historians have explained the colonial break with Britain and ultimately the American Revolution. Then we will explore together the era of the early American Republic: the years of defining the meaning of the Revolution, of nation building, and of national definition. We will see how historians have tested the founding generation‘s reasons for their independence movement against the experiment that they set in motion as the United States. We will also explore the visions that a variety of groups had for the republic's future based on their understandings of revolutionary ideals. We will study the formation of a workable national government, the bid for empire, westward expansion, slavery and its impact on American identity, the rise of democracy and Andrew Jackson, and the endless optimism of young republic. As a colloquium, the emphasis in this course is on shared readings and intense discussion.

HIST 4931-101/FOLA 4931-102Topics in History: Latinx Civil Rights Movement

MWF 1:00
Dr. Sergio Gonzalez

In this course we’ll examine the history of Latinx civil rights movements in the United States. We will trace how understandings of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality have helped to construct, transform, and contest identities and senses of belonging across Latinx communities. We’ll pay special attention to the ways in which these communities have fashioned social movements to respond to issues surrounding migration, civil rights, economic exploitation, feminism, religion, education, colonialism, militarism, popular culture, and more. This course will take a relational approach to Latinx history whereby we will examine how Latinx communities interacted and collaborated with other communities in the United States, Latin America, and beyond. Each class will require active student participation with attention to primary and secondary source readings, writing assignments, and collaborative work.

HIST 4135/5135—African-American History

TTh 12:30-1:45
Dr. Robert Smith

This course is designed to provide students a look into the special relationship between persons of African descent in the United States and the unique role law has played in establishing their status. The class will trace the evolution of race/racism/racial formations pertaining to the African American experience as a function of America’s legal system. The course provides readings, discussions and assignments that encourage students to investigate how the legal history of African Americans has shaped race relations over the past 400 years. The class will nonetheless cover the key moments and scholarly debates regarding African American history by relying on seminal primary and secondary materials. We will also investigate the legal cultivation of race using important court briefs and relevant state and federal legislation. By the end of the class, we will be well-versed in legal developments spanning nearly 400 years. The course also engages Discovery Tier themes of "Basic Needs and Justice" by encouraging students to question how legacies of codified injustice inform current realities, and how longstanding demands for equality have informed and continue to inform emerging definitions of justice.    

HIST 4953/5953—Readings in History: 20th Century U.S. Foreign Relations

M 2:00-4:30

Dr. Michael Donoghue
Description to be added.

HIST 6125—United States in the Twentieth Century

Th 2:00-4:30

Dr. Steven Avella

This graduate-level readings class is intended to acquaint students with the major historiographical issues and works of 20th century U.S. history. We will sample some of the major works on the chronological periods of this epoch and conclude with a study of trends shaping the historical research and writing today.

HIST 6500—Studies in United States History: Atlantic World Wars and Memory

 

M 4:30-7:00

Dr. Patrick Mullins

The ways in which a society remembers its collective past—through culturally constructed “public memory’’—is more often shaped by non-academics like political leaders, monument builders, and filmmakers than by academic historians. To play a useful role in grounding public memory in contextualized primary sources, professional historians should first consider the mechanisms and processes of cultural memory formation historically.

In this readings seminar, we will address the challenges and opportunities posed to academic history by “the turn to memory” through examination of public commemorations of wars that took place in the North Atlantic World during the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Our case-studies for HIST 6500 are the English Civil War, the American War of Independence, the Atlantic democratic revolutions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the American Civil War, and the Second World War and Holocaust. Through this comparative method, we will try to discern patterns in commemorative practices and reach general conclusions about the ways in which public memory of a nation’s wars shape national identity and national policy.

Students in HIST 6500 will grapple with the theme of public memory of modern Atlantic wars through class discussion of monographs and edited volumes, response papers, discussion leadership, and a 15-17 page historiographic essay. For the final paper, each student will select any war or other example of large-scale violence (such as the Atlantic slave trade or displacement of indigenous North Americans) occurring in the modern Atlantic world. Students will analyze the interpretations of the war by academic historians and juxtapose those historiographic trends with public memories of the war, as communicated by film, political orations, monuments, etc.

Readings for HIST 6500 will include:

Erin Peters, Commemoration and Oblivion in Royalist Print Culture, 1658-1667

Edward Vallance, Remembering Early Modern Revolutions: England, North America, France and Haiti

Sarah Purcell, Sealed With Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America

Caroline Janney, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation

John Bodnar, The “Good War” in American Memory

James E. Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning

 

HIST 6954—Seminar in History: Wars, Civil and Uncivil: Conflict, Dissent, and Society

W 4:30-7:00
Dr. James Marten

 War brings out the worst and, according to some, the best in societies.  But it also affects in some way and every institution and every person living in that society.  In recent years, purely military history has given way to the study of war and society; at the same time, the definition of “war” has become more fluid, reflecting the dimming, especially in the twentieth century and beyond, of the line between home front and battlefront and the impossibility of determining when “wars” begin and end.

Students in this course will design, research, and write a 20-25 page paper based on primary sources on a topic broadly related to the effects of war and conflict on society.  For the purposes of this course, “war and conflict” will include declared and undeclared wars, civil disturbances, colonial conquests and rebellions, post-war adjustments, and other circumstances and periods related to war and conflict.  Topics can be drawn from any place or time.

In addition to the major paper, graded components of the course will include discussion of two anthologies with chapters related to war and society; a professional-style book review of a monograph related to their topic; and bibliographies and outlines of their papers. Two books will be required:

--James Marten, ed., Children and War: A Historical Anthology (NYU Press, 2002). Although you’re free to buy this book from the press or from Amazon, you can access a PDF file of the entire book on the Raynor Memorial Library website.

--Mark Grimsley and Clifford Rogers, Civilians in the Path of War (Nebraska, 2002), will be available in the bookstore.

 


European History

HIST 3232—Reaction, Revolution, and Nationalism: 1814-1914

MWF 11:00
Dr. Timothy McMahon
This upper-division lecture course will focus on the major social, political, and cultural changes in Europe during the “long nineteenth century,” between the French Revolution and the outbreak of World War I. We will discuss numerous key themes, including the impact of industrialization, urbanization, gender constructions, social classes and mass culture, imperialism, and the development of political philosophies such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and nationalism.  We will pay particular attention to events in Great Britain, France, the Habsburg Empire, Germany, Italy, and Russia.

HIST 4245/5245—Women in Western Civilization

TTh 2:00-3:15
Dr. Carla Hay

A survey of European women’s experience from prehistoric times to the present with particular emphasis on the period since 1500, the course will analyze the changing roles of women in the family, in the work force, and in the community.  Illuminating the myths and realities of women’s experiences, the course discusses gender as a dynamic component in human institutions and experiences.  The grade in the course will be based on examinations and written assignments.

HIST 4266/5266—Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

MWF 1:00
Dr. Peter Staudenmaier

This course provides an overview of the history of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, with a primary focus on the origins and development of the Holocaust, the attempted genocide of the Jews of Europe. The course concentrates on the conception and implementation of Nazi extermination policies in German-occupied Europe during World War Two, paying attention to both ideological and practical aspects of the ‘Final Solution.’ Previous background in German history is not necessary, but a willingness to engage seriously with difficult material is essential.

History 6250—Twentieth Century Europe

M 2:00-4:30

Dr. Phillip Naylor

Europe’s consequential geopolitical revolutions during the twentieth century (including their global ramifications) will be considered in depth. Furthermore, European social and cultural transformations will receive significant attention. Expect to study not only “classic” historical works, but also novels. Oral reports and an array of interpretive writing assignments will also be assigned.

HIST 4955—Undergraduate Seminar in History: Creative Minds of Modern Europe

M 4:30-7:00
Fr. Michael Zeps, S.J.

Despite being somewhat old-fashioned, this course subscribes to the “Great Man,” or woman, theory of making history.  In other words, someone has an idea, and action follows intention.  Papers and presentations will investigate people who had notable influence on European science, technology, politics and culture.  Culture may include philosophy, theology, literature and music among other disciplines.  Course content can be adapted to the particular interests of individual students. 


Additional History Courses

HIST 3201—Ancient Greece and Rome

MWF 12:00
Dr. Jennifer Finn
This course will trace the history of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, beginning from the Minoan and Mycenaean periods. From the earliest Greek city-states, we will study the wars, institutions, and religions that shaped Greek society, viewing their world through the rich tradition of Homer, mythology, and historiography. A special focus will be placed on Alexander the Great and his legacy in the newly imagined Hellenistic World. From there we will move to the foundation of Rome and follow its progress from a revolutionary Republican government to its expansion as a great empire, studying the characters of its imperial leaders, its transformations in conflict and diplomacy, and the beginnings of institutionalized religion. Our last focus will be the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire, and its legacy to the present day. In addition to primary (in translation) and secondary sources, the course will also focus on material culture, and the students will have many opportunities to discuss and debate the effectiveness, qualities, and lessons of ancient societies.

HIST 4101—Applied History

W 2:00-4:30
Dr. Patrick Mullins

Applied History is an off-shoot of Public History, defined by Thomas Cauvin as the study and practice of history as “applied to present issues, interrogations, audiences, actors, and policies,” which is “problem-solving oriented.” Applied historians are professional historians serving as consultants, researchers, or curators for a client organization, such as a museum, park, historical society, business, or government agency.

This spring semester, the theme of the Applied History seminar is the power of the image in history and for history. We will grapple with the role of images both as causal factors in shaping historical events and as primary sources for connecting us with the past. Students will explore the historical power of still photographic images and film through two class projects in which they will collaborate with graduate History students as well as professionals in the fields of digital technology, photography, and film.

Applied History students will work with a digital technology start-up in the research, analysis, and contextualization of digitized photographs from the voluminous LIFE Magazine collection, which includes some of the most famous photographs of 20th century history. They will also develop an online virtual museum that uses still photos and film along with interpretive text to document the life of writer Ray Bradbury on behalf of the City of Waukegan’s upcoming commemoration of his centenary.

In this experiential, project-centered seminar, students will gain experience in digital technology, creative innovation, professional collaboration, historical research in primary sources (including photographs and film), and effective communication of historical knowledge to the general public. The course is particularly well suited to students interested in 20th century American history (particularly World War II), science fiction and fantasy fiction, digital humanities, or simply the challenge of practical, “real world” problem solving. Grades will be based mainly upon individual and group contributions to the research, development, and completion of the class projects on behalf of their clients.


HIST 4212/5212—The Crusades

TTh 11:00-12:15
Dr. Lezlie Knox

The Crusades represent one of the most fascinating, complex, and troubling episodes in medieval history—how should we understand this mix of brutal warfare and religious motivation?  To start answering this question, this class studies the medieval crusades through contemporary documents and cultural artifacts—the chronicles, sermons, letters, art, and architecture produced by medieval Christians (Western European and Byzantine), Muslims, and Jews in response to the crusade phenomena.  Our main objective will be to understand the origin and motivations for these campaigns, the ways in which they were carried out, the experiences of ordinary crusaders, and the impact of the crusades around the Mediterranean World and Northern Europe, including the experience of being crusaded. The semester will both begin and conclude with an examination of the legacy of the crusades in modern society.   Requirements for the class include regular attendance and active participation in discussions, midterm and final exams, as well as a research project related to the crusades.

HIST 4955—Undergraduate Seminar in History: The Material Turn in History

HIST 4953 (fall 2018) / 4955 (spring 2019)
T 2:00-4:30
Dr. Lezlie Knox

This seminar concludes the year-long linked class and its exploration of the role of objects as historical sources (HIST 4953). Enrollment in this section of 4955 is limited to undergraduates who were enrolled in the fall colloquium.  During the spring semester, students will complete their research on the topic initiated during the fall semester and present their conclusions in a poster session and a formal written paper. 

HIST 3295—"The Great War": World War I, 1914-1918

MW 2:00-3:15
Dr. Julius Ruff

August 2014 marked the one-hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, a conflict known to its participants as “the Great War.” This was a conflict that George F. Kennan, one of America’s foremost scholars of international relations, called “the seminal catastrophe” of the twentieth century. The war destroyed not only a generation of young men, but much of the pre-war world’s economic, political, and social order. Out of the war’s ruins arose Soviet Communism, Fascism in Italy, and Nazism in Germany, as well as the conditions that produced a second world war and problems that still reverberate in our world today. In this course we will examine the long-term causes of the war, the nature of the first “total” war, and the political, social, and economic consequences of the conflict. The course grade will be based on three examinations (75 percent of course grade) and one paper (25 percent of course grade).

HIST 5101—Applied History

W 2:00-4:30
Dr. Patrick Mullins

Applied History is an off-shoot of Public History, defined by Thomas Cauvin as the study and practice of history as “applied to present issues, interrogations, audiences, actors, and policies,” which is “problem-solving oriented.” Applied historians are professional historians serving as consultants, researchers, or curators for a client organization, such as a museum, park, historical society, business, or government agency.

This spring semester, the theme of the Applied History seminar is the power of the image in history and for history. We will grapple with the role of images both as causal factors in shaping historical events and as primary sources for connecting us with the past. Graduate History students will explore the historical power of still photographic images and film, as well as paintings and posters, through class discussions of three monographs:

Alan Trachtenberg, Reading American Photographs: Images as History, Matthew Brady to Walker Evans

George Roeder, The Censored War: Visual Experience During World War Two

Gary W. Gallagher, Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War

These seminar discussions provide the historical and theoretical framework for HIST 5101 students to collaborate with HIST 4101 students on two class projects using images to connect the public with the past. Applied History students will work with a digital technology start-up in the research, analysis, and contextualization of digitized photographs from the voluminous LIFE Magazine collection, which includes some of the most famous photographs of 20th century history. They will also develop an online virtual museum that uses still photos and film along with interpretive text to document the life of writer Ray Bradbury on behalf of the City of Waukegan’s upcoming commemoration of his centenary.


HIST 4355/5355—History of Mexico

TTh 12:30-1:45
Dr. Laura Matthew

This survey focuses on the many, varied regions of Mexico, with occasional reference to its neighbors north and south. We begin with ancient Mesoamerica, home of the famous Aztecs and Maya. We then move to New Spain under Spanish colonial rule (including the Audiencia of Guatemala), the separation of Mexico from Central America after independence, and the development of the modern nation-state of Mexico in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will ask: What are the different regions of Mexico, and how have their histories been distinct from one another? How does indigenous Mesoamerica imprint itself on the modern nation-state? What difference did the arrival of Africans and Europeans make to the region? What is the historical relationship of Mexico with the United States? What major events changed the course of Mexican history? By the end of the semester, you should walk away confident that you can intelligently answer these questions. The course combines standard assessment with a group food project and fiesta in the middle of the semester.

HIST 4555/5555—Modern China

MWF 10:00

Dr. Daniel Meissner

This course examines the unique, complex and compelling issues facing China from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present.  The first half of the course will explore the theme "Reform or Revolution?: Changing Realities in China." We will investigate the internal and external forces which generated and directed political, economic and social change in China prior to Imperial collapse in 1911. The final half of the course will focus on the theme: "Right or Left?: China's New Polity."  We will trace the intricate route of China's search for stable government after the collapse of the Qing, through the turbulent years of Mao Zedong, the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping, the transition era of Jiang Zemin, and the present policies of Hu Juntao. The goals of this course are to develop a comprehensive understanding of China's modern historical development, and to encourage students to analyze current events from a China-centered perspective.