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HIST 300


A study of a special topic at an advanced level. This and all 300-level courses are small discussion classes. Descriptions of HIST 300 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
1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Julia Bruggemann

300A: Tps:The Reformation

What does a medieval German monk have to do with the modern world? How do religion, politics, and violence interact?

Exactly 500 years ago this fall, Martin Luther started a conversation about salvation that still resonates today. This course seeks to explore the origins, course, ideas, and impacts of the Reformation that shook up the Western world in the 16th century. Along the way, we will consider the ideas of famous religious reformers, explore the intersection of secular and religious power, the role of gender, the impact of new technologies, and get a sense of the global reach of a transforming Christianity.

Sarah Rowley

300B: Tps:Gender and Politics in U.S. History

In this class we will explore the ways that gender has operated--both consciously and not--within politics throughout U.S. history. How has "politics" been defined in various contexts? How has citizenship been a gendered status? Through what institutions has the state helped shape the gender order and vice versa? In what ways has gender worked within political movements, in terms of organizational structure, ideology, goals, and strategy? How have Americans used gender to articulate a national identity and international role?

We will take as our starting point the assumption that gender is not a peripheral concern but is instead thoroughly woven into the fabric of American political history, even aspects that we normally think of as gender-neutral. Covering the Revolutionary era through the early twenty-first century, topics may include: partisan systems, voting rights, feminism, masculinity and conquest, the private/public distinction in politics, regulations of sexuality, and the intersections of gender with political movements centered on racial equality.

Spring Semester information

Theresa Dazey

300A: Tps:Pilgrims, Traders, & Other Travelers in the Middle East, 1600-1945

The terms 'Near East', 'Middle East', and 'Orient' often invoke fantastical images which bear little resemblance to the realities of most residents' everyday lives, but have enduring influences over how many still think of the people, cultures, and places in North Africa, the southeastern Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Anatolia, Iran, and beyond. We will explore the origins of some of these ideas, and to examine how travelers' journeys and writings about them have shaped their readers' thoughts and feelings about the regions' people and places. The course will also introduce the idea of Orientalism, as well as its limits and modifications, by focusing on accounts by travelers primarily from north-western Europe and North America. We will analyze long-term trends such as changes in motivations, traveling conditions, and geo-political contexts, as well as diversity among individuals' cross-cultural experiences and the accounts of their travels.

Ryan Bean

300B: Tps:From Imperial Towns to Megacities: Urban History in Latin America

This upper-level course surveys Latin American urban history from colonial times to the rise of megacities in the modern era. In Latin America, cities have historically played central roles in the lives of the region's diverse population. They have shaped local identities and cultures; produced and reified racial and class inequalities; policed the racialized "other"; and played seminal roles in the conquest and governance of American territories. Though Latin American cities structured peoples' lives, so too were they shaped and made by people. In this course, we will pay close attention to roles of common people--particularly native peoples, Africans, and women--in shaping and creating Latin America's vibrant and unique cosmopolitan metropolises. Topics include the role of the city in governance; urban planning; rural/urban divides; popular and elite urban cultures; urban poverty; inequalities and racial and class marginalization; modernity, industrialization, and their effects on urban society; immigration and migration; the environmental impacts of urbanization; gender and sexuality in the city; and cultural hybridity and encounters. In looking at cities across Latin America, from the colonial period to the present, we will come to a better understanding of how the region's great cities were constructed and constituted.

David Gellman

300C: Tps:The Law, the Founders, & US

Guns, abortion, sex, speech, race, school prayer. Americans often turn their public policy debates into constitutional ones--seeming to hope that men dead for two centuries will be able to resolve questions that defy consensus. Thus, clashing in the present, people on all sides of issues implicitly make claims about history. This course takes an intensive look at the early history of the U.S. Constitution, clearing the historical air and muddying contemporary waters. We will attend to events leading up to the constitutional convention, the compromises made in Philadelphia, intense debates over ratification, and the creation of the Bill of Rights. We will also consider ongoing controversies and key court cases to see how historians work with the law and how judges work with history.