Course Offerings

Fall 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

European History, 325-1517

HIST 100 - Vise, Melissa E.

An introductory survey, featuring lectures and discussions of European culture, politics, religion and social life, and of Europe's relations with neighboring societies, from the rise of Christianity in Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance, to the beginnings of the 16th-century Protestant and Catholic Reformations.

China: Origins to 20th-Century Reforms

HIST 103 - Bello, David A.

China's history embodies the full range of experience -as domain of imperial dynasties, target of imperial aggression, dissident member of the cold war Communist bloc, and current regional superpower in East Asia. This course tracks these transitions in political and social organization that, among other things, terminated history's longest lasting monarchical system, ignited two of its largest revolutions, began World War II and produced the most populous nation on earth. A wide range of cultural, political and intellectual stereotypes of China are challenged in the process of exploring its particular historical experience.

History of the United States to 1876

HIST 107 - Myers, Barton A.

A survey of United States history from the colonial period through Reconstruction with emphasis on the American Revolution, the formation of the Constitution, the rise of parties, western expansion, the slavery controversy, sectionalism, secession, Civil War and Reconstruction.

Violence in Pre-Modern Europe

HIST 201 - Vise, Melissa E.

Popular imagination envisions violence in pre-modern Europe as it appears in film and video games like Assassin's Creed 2 -- an age of vendetta, factional and gang violence, constant war, and abuse. Yet the same period witnessed great movements for peace and the creation of a new identity: The Chivalrous Knight. We look at the history of large-scale violence and in particular at warfare, popular revolt, government-sanctioned violence, enslavement, and inter-religious violence from the period 800-1600 CE to begin answering that question. When and why was violence justified or even considered a positive attribute of social life and when and why not?

Germany, 1815-1914

HIST 213 - Patch, William L., Jr. (Bill)

The impact of the French Revolution on Germany, the onset of industrialization, the revolution of 1848, the career of Bismarck and Germany's wars of national unification, the Kulturkampf between Protestants and Catholics, the rise of the socialist labor movement, liberal feminism and the movement for women's rights, the origins of "Imperialism" in foreign policy, and Germany's role in the outbreak of the First World War.

The Making of Modern Scotland: Braveheart to Brexit

HIST 216 - Brock, Michelle D. (Mikki)

A surveys of the history of the Scottish people from the medieval period up to the current debates surrounding the possibility of Scottish Independence and the future of Great Britain.  Along the way, we examine the Wars of Independence, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Scottish Enlightenment, the Highland clearances, emigration to North America, involvement in the British Empire, and the development of Scottish nationalism. Students confront two interrelated questions: How has the history of Scotland been made, manipulated, and romanticized over the last seven centuries, and why do we remain fascinated by this small country across the Atlantic? This class, then, is both an introduction to Scottish history, and an exploration of the thin lines between history, myth, and reality.

Seminar: The Age of the Witch Hunts

HIST 219 - Brock, Michelle D. (Mikki)

This course introduces students to one of the most fascinating and disturbing events in the history of the Western world: the witch hunts in early-modern Europe and North America. Between 1450 and 1750, more than 100,000 individuals, from Russia to Salem, were prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft. Most were women and more than half were executed. In this course, we examine the political, religious, social, and legal reasons behind the trials, asking why they occurred in Europe when they did and why they finally ended. We also explore, in brief, global witch hunts that still occur today in places like Africa and India, asking how they resemble yet differ from those of the early-modern world.

Imperial Russia, 1682 to 1917

HIST 220 - Bidlack, Richard H. (Rich)

From the rise to power of Peter the Great, Russia's first emperor, through the fall of the Romanov dynasty.

The American Civil War

HIST 245 - Myers, Barton A.

The sectional crisis. The election of 1860 and the secession of the southern states. Military strategy and tactics. Weapons, battles, leaders. Life of the common soldier. The politics of war. The economics of growth and destruction. Emancipation. Life behind the lines. Victory and defeat.

 

History of the U.S. Welfare State

HIST 254 - Michelmore, Mary (Molly)

A survey of the history of the U.S. welfare state from the 19th century through today. Topics include Social Security, welfare, the War on Poverty and Great Society, the Reagan-Era War on Welfare. Students analyze contemporary public-policy questions in their historical dimensions, and use historical knowledge to better understand contemporary political and policy debates. 

The History of the African-American People to 1877

HIST 259 - Dennie, Nneka D.

An intensive study of the African-American experience from the colonial period through Reconstruction. Special emphasis is given to the slave experience, free blacks, black abolitionists, development of African-American culture, Emancipation, Black Reconstruction, and racial attitudes.

Women and Slavery in the Black Atlantic

HIST 261 - Dennie, Nneka D.

From the 16th century to the 19th century, over 12 million Africans were shipped to the New World. Of those who survived the Middle Passage, fewer than 500,000 arrived in the United States; the vast majority were dispersed throughout the Caribbean and South America. The experiences of enslaved women, as well as the relationships between free and enslaved women, are as diverse as the African diaspora. Given the broad geographical scope of Africans' arrivals in the New World, this course offers a comparative examination of women and slavery in the Black Atlantic. Topics for consideration include black women's gendered experiences of slavery, white women's roles in slave societies, and women abolitionists. Students also examine how African and European conceptions of gender shaped the institution of slavery in the New World. Particular attention is devoted to slavery in West Africa, Barbados, Cuba, Brazil, and the United States.

Seminar: Topics in History

HIST 295A - Rupke, Nicolaas A.

A seminar offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, in a selected topic or problem in history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2020, HIST 295A-01: Topic: Science, the Paranormal, and the Supernatural (3). Open to all class years and all majors. An exploration of the fascinating history of the uneasy relationship between science and its contested boundaries where fact and fiction overlap. In modern -- and especially late-modern -- times, science has become the adjudicator of truth -- truth in terms of fact and law-like rationality. The result has been a retreat of the occult, of many superstitions, and the uncovering of fallacies and frauds. Yet large sectors of modern society have remained enamored of the paranormal. Even scientific practitioners themselves, including Nobel Laureates, have kept alive a belief in telepathy, precognition, and such-like phenomena. Equally persistent, especially in religious circles, has been the conviction that miracles do happen; and, again, great scientists and medical practitioners have supported these and similar notions. More recently, the study of "wonders" has emerged as a separate field of inquiry: anomalistics. (HU) Rupke.

Seminar: Topics in History

HIST 295B - Rupke, Nicolaas A.

A seminar offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, in a selected topic or problem in history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2020, HIST 295B-01: Topic: Animal Experimentation and Animal Rights in Historical Perspective (3) . As we deal with the place of animals in Western society, we more particularly trace the history of the use of animals as living objects of laboratory experimentation and explore the controversies that vivisectional practices have engendered. Do animals have rights? What might we think of animal-liberation activism? To what extent has animal experimentation been essential to the progress of science, especially medical science? We examine these questions in the wider context of humane movements and of organizations/societies that have been established for the prevention of cruelty to animals. (HU) Rupke .

Seminar in Russian History

HIST 322 - Bidlack, Richard H. (Rich)

Selected topics in Russian history, including but not limited to heroes and villains, Soviet biography, Stalin and Stalinism, the USSR in the Second World War and origins of the Cold War, the KGB, and the decline and fall of the Soviet Union and the re-emergence of Russia. May be repeated for degree and major credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2020, HIST 322-01: Seminar in Russian History: The Soviet Union in the Second World War and Origins of the Cold War (3). An examination of Soviet history from the start of the Second World War in 1939 until the death of Stalin and the armistice in the Korean War in 1953.  Students read and discuss a wide range of primary sources and scholarly studies and write a research paper on a topic of their choice with the instructor's approval. (HU) Bidlack .

Seminar: America in the 1960s: History and Memory

HIST 355 - Michelmore, Mary (Molly)

Hippies, Flower Power, Panthers, Berkeley, Free Love, Free Speech, Freedom Rides, Dylan, Woodstock, Vietnam, Jimi, Janice, Bobby and Martin. The events and images of the 1960s remain a powerful and often divisive force in America's recent history and national memory. This course moves beyond these stereotypical images of the "Sixties" to examine the decade's politics, culture and social movements. Topics include: the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the Great Society and the War on Poverty, Vietnam, the Anti-War movement and the Counterculture, Massive Resistance, the "Silent Majority" and the Rise of the Conservative Right.

Seminar: The Struggle Over China's Environment

HIST 387 - Bello, David A.

The course covers the more recent periods of China's so-called "3,000 years of unsustainable growth" from about A.D. 618 into the present. Themes focus on China's historical experience with sedentary agriculture, fossil fuel and nuclear energy, wildlife and forest management, disease, water control, and major construction projects like the Great Wall.

Advanced Seminar

HIST 395A - Gildner, Robert M. (Matt)

A seminar offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, in a selected topic or problem in history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2020, HIST 395A-01: Advanced Seminar: Dictatorship, Democratization, and Human Rights in Latin America (3).  This course explores the military dictatorships that dominated Latin American politics from the 1960s to the 1980s. We will first study the rise of bureaucratic authoritarianism in light of 1) the social, political, and economic changes underway across the region, and 2) the geopolitical context of the Cold War. Using case studies from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay we will then examine how these governments evoked national security and employed spectacular forms of violence to repress dissent. Finally, we examine the difficult transition to democracy once the dictatorships fell, analyzing such topics as human rights, memory, and impunity. Counts toward the LACS minor. (HU) Gildner.

Honors Thesis

HIST 493 - Michelmore, Mary (Molly)

Honors Thesis. Additional information is available at www.wlu.edu/history-department/about-the-program/honors-in-history .

Honors Thesis

HIST 493 - Brock, Michelle D. (Mikki)

Honors Thesis. Additional information is available at www.wlu.edu/history-department/about-the-program/honors-in-history .

Honors Thesis

HIST 493 - Gildner, Robert M. (Matt)

Honors Thesis. Additional information is available at www.wlu.edu/history-department/about-the-program/honors-in-history .

Honors Thesis

HIST 493 - Vise, Melissa E.

Honors Thesis. Additional information is available at www.wlu.edu/history-department/about-the-program/honors-in-history .

Honors Thesis

HIST 493 - Patch, William L., Jr. (Bill)

Honors Thesis. Additional information is available at www.wlu.edu/history-department/about-the-program/honors-in-history .

Spring 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Dreaming of Paris (Revised as a result of COVID-19)

HIST 207 - Horowitz, Sarah

For the revised Spring 2020 offering:

"The City of Lights." "The City of Love." The capital of fashion. The world's most romantic city. The second most visited city in the world. For centuries, Paris has held an enduring appeal as a city of devoted to pleasure, intellectual life, culture, art and fashion. This course examines the appeal of Paris and some of the mythologies of the city, as well as the reality and the history behind the image.

Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union and the Resurgence of Russia

HIST 222 - Bidlack, Richard H. (Rich)

This course analyzes the reasons for the decline of the Soviet Union commencing in the latter part of the Brezhnev era and its collapse under the weight of the failed reforms of Gorbachev. It further traces the fragmentation of the USSR into 15 republics and the simultaneous devolution of authority within the Russian Republic under Yeltsin. The course concludes with the remarkable reassertion of state power under Putin up to the present. Students write an essay assessing the Yeltsin transition and engage in a class debate at the end of the term on the prospects for Russia's future.

Topics in European History

HIST 229 - Vise, Melissa E.

A course offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, on a selected topic or problem in European history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2020, HIST 229-01: Topic: The World of The Decameron (3). No prerequisite. In 1349, the year after the Black Death visited his homeland, Giovanni Boccaccio began work on the piece of literature for which he may be best remembered: The Decameron . A frame narrative set in plague-ridden Florence itself, the text's protagonists escape to the countryside and tell 100 stories over the course of 10 days. For centuries, historians of the plague turned to Boccaccio's description of the disease to craft their histories of plague. We investigate the historicity behind, historical merits of, and modern engagement with this giant of the Italian literary canon. Students perform a guided reading of most of the individual tales as well as of the structure of the text as a whole, study modern film remakes, complete team-based homework assignments, and submit a final podcast project. (HU) Vise.

 

The Art of Command during the American Civil War

HIST 244 - Myers, Barton A.

This seminar examines the role of military decision-making, the factors that shape it and determine its successes and failures, by focusing on four Civil War battles: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Wilderness. Extensive reading and writing. Battlefield tours.

Seminar: Topics in History

HIST 295 - Rupke, Nicolaas A.

A seminar offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, in a selected topic or problem in history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Seminar in Politics and History: The Machiavellian Moment

HIST 307 - Peterson, David S.

Is it better to be loved or feared? How much of our destiny do we control? When are societies fit for self-rule? Can people be forced to be good? Niccolò Machiavelli, arguably the first and most controversial modern political theorist, raises issues of universal human and political concern. Yet he did so in a very specific context--the Florence of the Medici, Michelangelo, and Savonarola--at a time when Renaissance Italy stood at the summit of artistic brilliance and on the threshold of political collapse. We draw on Machiavelli's personal, political, historical, and literary writings, and readings in history and art, as a point of entry for exploring Machiavelli's republican vision of history and politics as he developed it in the Italian Renaissance and how it addresses such perennial issues as the corruption and regeneration of societies.

 

Seminar: 9/11 and Modern Terrorism

HIST 367 - Senechal, Roberta H.

Terrorism is a form of collective violence famously illustrated in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington on September 11, 2001. This course provides an intensive interdisciplinary examination of the origins of the 9/11 attacks and the terrorist organization that launched them. The course also addresses the impact of the attacks and the future prospects of mass violence against civilians, as well as the role of the media in covering (and dramatizing) terrorism. Much of the course focuses on the social divisions and conflicts that lead to terrorism and its increasingly lethal nature over time. Topics include "old terrorism" (as seen in Northern Ireland and Algeria), "new terrorism" (such as that associated with Al Qaeda), the logic of terrorist recruitment, and the nature of and spread of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Directed Individual Study

HIST 401 - Bidlack, Richard H. (Rich)

A course which permits the student to follow a program of directed reading or research in an area not covered by other courses. May be repeated for degree credit with permission.

 

Winter 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

European History, 1789 to the Present

HIST 102 - Horowitz, Sarah

The French Revolution and Napoleon, the era of nationalism, the rise of socialism, imperialism, World Wars I and II, the Cold War, and European Union.

History of the United States Since 1876

HIST 108 - Michelmore, Mary (Molly)

A survey of United States History from Reconstruction to the present with emphasis on industrialization, urbanization, domestic and international developments, wars, and social and cultural movements.

History of the United States Since 1876

HIST 108 - Senechal, Roberta H.

A survey of United States History from Reconstruction to the present with emphasis on industrialization, urbanization, domestic and international developments, wars, and social and cultural movements.

Modern Latin America: Túpak Katari to Tupac Shakur

HIST 131 - Gildner, Robert M. (Matt)

A survey of Latin America from the 1781 anticolonial rebellion led by indigenous insurgent Túpak Katari to a globalized present in which Latin American youth listen to Tupac Shakur yet know little of his namesake. Lectures are organized thematically (culture, society, economics, and politics) and chronologically, surveying the historical formation of people and nations in Latin America. Individual countries (especially Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru) provide examples of how local and transnational forces have shaped the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of North and South America and the Caribbean, and the cultural distinctions and ethnic diversity that characterize a region too often misperceived as homogeneous.

The World of Islam: 1500 to the Present

HIST 171 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

This course surveys the political, social, and cultural history of the Islamic World from the 16th to 21st centuries, with particular attention paid to the diverse experiences of the various regions that make up the Islamic world. Topics include the emergence of the early modern centralizing states in Iran, Turkey, India, and elsewhere; the spread of Islamic religious and political practices in Africa and Asia; the colonial and post-colonial confrontation between the Islamic World and Europe; and the evolution of new political, cultural, and intellectual movements as Muslim nations in the context of globalization.

The Age of Reformation

HIST 204 - Peterson, David S.

Examines the origins, development, and consequences of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations of the 16th century. The late medieval religious environment; the emergence of new forms of lay religious expression; the impact of urbanization; and the institutional dilemmas of the church. The views of leading reformers, such as Luther, Calvin, and Loyola; and the impact of differing social and political contexts; and technological innovations, such as printing, on the spread of reform throughout Europe. The impact of reform and religious strife on state development and the emergence of doctrines of religious toleration and philosophical skepticism; recent theses and approaches emphasizing "confessionalization," "social discipline," and "microhistory."

France in the 19th and 20th Centuries

HIST 209 - Horowitz, Sarah

Historical study of France from the Revolution through the present, tracing France's revolutionary tradition and the continuing "Franco-French" war it spawned, and the construction of and challenges to French national identity. Topics include the successive revolutions of the 19th century, the acquisition and loss of two empires, and the transformations in French society brought by wars, industrialization, and immigration.

Crime and Punishment in Medieval and Early Modern Europey

HIST 212 - Vise, Melissa E.

An exploration of the history of crime, law enforcement, and punishment during the period of 1200-1650. Our central project is to investigate the deep problems of writing history from a paucity of very biased sources: the criminal records of a world of the past. We begin with the central historical questions: What counted as criminal when, who defined it, and with what authority? What could count as proof of guilt? What constituted acceptable punishment (torture, imprisonment, spectacle executions, penance) and how did this change over time? What role did politics, religion, class, gender, or marginal status play?.

Soviet Russia, 1917 to 1991

HIST 221 - Bidlack, Richard H. (Rich)

The revolutions of 1917, the emergence of the Soviet system, the Stalinist period, Stalin's successors, and the eventual collapse of the USSR.

American Experience with Guerrilla Warfare and Insurgency

HIST 246 - Myers, Barton A.

This course dives headlong into the chaotic, destructive, and brutally violent world that has been American Involvement with irregular warfare. Over the past 400 years, Americans have trained guerrillas, fought as irregulars, and sparked armed insurrections. This course looks at the broad typology of violence known as irregular warfare, including insurrections, violent revolutions, partisan and guerrilla warfare, U.S. Army/Native American conflict, and 20th-century insurgency and low-intensity conflict.

America in the Gilded Age, 1870-1900

HIST 247 - Senechal, Roberta H.

A survey of the transformation of American society under the impact of industrialization and urbanization. It examines how business leaders, workers, farmers, and the middle class attempted to shape the new industrial society to their own purposes. Emphasis is given to social, intellectual, and cultural experiences and to politics.

Great Moments in the History of Medicine

HIST 278 - Rupke, Nicolaas A.

Significant aspects of medicine's development through the ages. Great doctors and the plight of patients are considered, along with major breakthroughs in diagnostic practice and clinical treatment, benefits and costs to humanity, failures and ethical dilemmas. We explore medicine as a situated practice by dealing with its institutionalization, hospitals, psychiatric institutions, and biomedical laboratories. Special attention is paid to some of the many points of friction that are evident when looking at the changing place of medicine in society. 

History of the Caucasus and Central Asia

HIST 280 - Bidlack, Richard H. (Rich)

The peoples who inhabit the Caucasus Mountains region and Central Asia are extraordinarily diverse in their history, culture, language, and religion. The area has been a crossroads of civilizations for centuries, and comprises present-day southern Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. Students study how the Caucasus region and Central Asia have developed from early-recorded history to the present, through close reading and discussion of scholarly texts and primary sources. Students also write an analytical essay from a range of assigned topics and a research paper on a topic of their own choosing.

Key Thinkers on the Environment

HIST 288 - Rupke, Nicolaas A.

"Key thinkers on the environment" are central to this course, ranging from ancient greats such as Aristotle to modern writers such as David Suzuki and E.O. Wilson about the ecosystem crises of the Anthropocene. We highlight certain 19th-century icons of environmentalist awareness and nature preservation, such as Alexander von Humboldt in Europe and Humboldtians in America, including Frederic Edwin Church and Henry David Thoreau.

Seminar: Speech and Censorship in the Middle Ages

HIST 310 - Vise, Melissa E.

What is censorship, where does it happen, and why? To most U.S. Americans, the Middle Ages is an era known for Inquisition, book burning, and the brutal silencing of political and religious dissent. Yet, compared to more modern censoring institutions, the institutions of medieval Europe held much weaker powers of enforcement, different motives for censoring, and ambiguous technologies to do so. What and who could censor (or be censored) in a society without the printing press? Among other topics, we cover the public vs. private spheres; artistic liberty; religious vs. political concerns; gender; and the role of and limitations upon the modern historian investigating a censored past.

Seminar: Revolutions in Latin America

HIST 337 - Gildner, Robert M. (Matt)

Detailed analysis of 20th-century revolutionary movements in Latin America. Examines historical power struggles, social reforms, and major political changes, with in-depth exploration of Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, Peru, Chile, and Nicaragua. Explores the social movements and ideologies of under-represented historical actors, such as peasants, guerrillas, artists, workers, women, students, and indigenous people.

Seminar on Reconstruction, 1865-1877

HIST 346 - Myers, Barton A.

Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and the restoration of the Union. Congressional Reconstruction and the crusade for black equality. Impeachment of the President. Reconstruction in the South. The politics and violence of military occupation. Collapse of Republican governments and restoration of conservative control. Implications for the future.

 

Directed Individual Study

HIST 403 - Myers, Barton A.

A course which permits the student to follow a program of directed reading or research in an area not covered in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit each term of the junior and senior year.

Internship in History

HIST 451 - Michelmore, Mary (Molly)

Graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory . An internship in history at a public or private agency or institution. Students must complete at least 45 hours of on-site work hours, including verification of the number of hours worked. In addition to the internship supervisor evaluation, and any organized classroom activities, students will complete at least one graded assignments (e.g., journal, research report, public presentation, blog) developed in consultation with a faculty supervisor. Because of staff limitations, the department may give preference to history majors. See department head for details. May be repeated with permission for degree credit for a total of six credits, if the topics are sufficiently different. May be carried out during the summer.

Honors Thesis

HIST 493 - Gildner, Robert M. (Matt)

Honors Thesis. Additional information is available at www.wlu.edu/history-department/about-the-program/honors-in-history .