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HIST 290


A study of a special topic with an emphasis on discussion and participation. Descriptions of HIST 290 courses offered in a given semester are available on the History department Website or in the History department office prior to registration for that semester. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

Ryan Bean

290A: Tps:Saints, Sinners, and Revolutionaries in Latin American History

This course surveys the varied religious traditions and cultures of Latin America from pre-Columbian times to the modern era. In Latin America, disparate cultures and peoples from across the globe interacted and grappled with each other, producing vibrant, unique religious cultures still influential today. Paying close attention to the profound roles played by common people, revolutionaries, and women, including peoples of African and indigenous descent, this course highlights how everyday people shaped Latin American religions and societies. Beginning in the pre-Columbian Americas and medieval Spain, we survey Mesoamerican, Andean, and Catholic religions, tracing them through the colonial period asking: How did indigenous religions adapt to the crucible of European conquest and the imposition of Catholicism, and what were native peoples' roles in shaping Catholic institutions and religious cultures in the region? We also explore African religions, focusing on the ways enslaved Africans attempted to recreate their culture in oppressive colonial slave societies, as well as how the Spanish Inquisition and its effectiveness in stamping out religious heterodoxy. Transitioning to the modern period, we investigate the roles that Catholicism played in nation-state formation, paying close attention to issues of secularization. Finally, we consider religion's role in the social, political, and revolutionary struggles of the twentieth-century. Key questions include: How did U.S. empire fuel the spread of Protestantism to the Caribbean and Latin America? What roles did religion and revolutionaries play in social and political change in Mexico and other locales? What is the significance of liberation theology and what is its legacy in the region? In looking at case studies from across Latin America, from the pre-Columbian period to the present, we will come to a better understanding of the religious and cultural worldviews of the region's people.

Spring Semester information

Nahyan Fancy

290A: Tps:History of Science II: Scientific Revolution

This course examines the specific historical contexts that led to the emergence of early modern science. The course will trace the developments in science preceding the publication of Copernicus's On the Revolution of Celestial Orbs (1543) to the beginning of the Romantic Reaction to the Enlightenment at the turn of the nineteenth century. It will raise issues regarding the interaction of science and religion in Western European societies and the role of magic in the development of modern science. We shall also pay close attention to the social and institutional contexts of science during this period. We will also cast a critical eye on the concept of the "Scientific Revolution" itself.

Michael Seaman

290B: Tps:The Italian Renaissance

Julia Bruggemann

290C: Tps:The Holocaust

The Holocaust was one of the defining experiences of the 20th century and the memory of its horrors continues to haunt our imaginations. In this course we will examine the background, development, and the historical and moral impact of the Holocaust in Europe. We will use historical documents and historical scholarship, but also literature, autobiography, films, etc.

Fall Semester information

Leslie James

290A: Tps:Caribbean Religion and Cultures