Course Descriptions

HIST 100 — Introduction to History I: An introduction to the skills and methods of historical study. Each section of the course may differ in content by era, nationality, region or topic, but all sections include common goals and requirements. Students will be asked to reason historically, think clearly and analytically, read critically, and convey their understanding of change and continuity through clear and concise essays. They will apply the skills learned by writing a critical or comparative book review in which they judge how another historian has applied those skills. Applicable toward the AOK requirement when combined with HIST 101. Education minors seeking elementary or secondary social science certification should not enroll in this course but should take HIST 111-112 instead. Offered annually. Three hours.

HIST 101 — Introduction to History II: A continuation of HIST 100. This course builds on the skills and understanding developed in HIST 100 and extends them through more complex reading assignments and a re- search project in which students fashion their own interpretation of a period, person or an event. Historical skills are interrelated and cumulative. Sections may vary in content by era, region, nationality, or topic; students may enroll in any section of the course. Applicable toward the AOK requirement when combined with HIST 100. Prerequisite: HIST 100. Education minors seeking elementary or secondary social science certification should not enroll in this course but should take HIST 111-112 instead. Offered annually. Three hours.

HIST 111 — Foundations of the Modern World I: This course is a survey of history from the end of the classical era to the end of the 18th century. It explores the development of the principal social, economic, political, religious, and intellectual concepts that underlie today’s global society. Emphasis is on the development of European civilization, its interaction with Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East, and its rise to world dominance. The course also develops students skills in reading and writing, and in historical methodologies: chronology, narrative, analysis, and abstract thinking. Applicable toward the AOK requirement when combined with HIST 112. Required for teacher certification in elementary and secondary social science. Offered annually. Three hours.

HIST 112 — Foundations of the Modern World II: This course continues the themes of HIST 111 into the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis is on the conservative, liberal, radical, industrial, nationalistic, and imperialistic forces of the 19th century; it includes 20th century topics such as: the First and Second World Wars, Communist Revolutions, the emergence of the Cold War, the collapse of European Imperialism, and the end of the Cold War. Applicable toward the AOK requirement when combined with HIST 111. Required for teacher certification in elementary and secondary social science. Offered annually. Three hours.

HIST 211 — United States to 1865: This course analyzes the cultural, economic, political, and social developments of the European North American colonies and the United States through the Civil War. It emphasizes the origins of American nationalism and republican ideology during the colonial and revolutionary periods, the rise of the two-party system, their maturation in the Federalist, Jeffersonian, Jacksonian eras, and the social, economic, cultural, and political tensions that culminated in the American Civil War. Offered alternate fall semesters. Three hours.

HIST 212 — United States Since 1865: This is a continuation of HIST 211, but may be taken out of sequence. The Civil War was a watershed moment for the American people and marks the beginning of “modern” America. This course traces that transformation, emphasizing the dramatic late-19th century social, economic, and political changes wrought by industrialization, immigration, and expansion and that forged the powerful nation of the 20th century–a century of conflict at home and abroad that challenged and redefined American ideals. Offered alternate fall semesters. Three hours.

HIST 226 — Warfare in Antiquity: Most of Ancient History is military history, and much of Greek and Roman art and literature treats wars, warriors and their impact on society. This course will examine the practice of warfare in the Greek Polis, the Macedonian Kingdoms, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Themes include the technical aspects (logistics, intelligence, strategy, naval warfare and armor), but we will also examine the literary and artistic interpretations of war and the sociological and psychological aspects. No prior knowledge of military history or Greco-Roman history is expected or required. Same as CLAS 226. Three hours.

HIST 241 — England to 1690: This course begins with a rapid survey of England’s geography, medieval experience and continues with a more detailed analysis of the Tudor and Stuart reigns. Emphasis is on the origins of the English nation and on the 17th century Revolution. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 242 — England Since 1690: – From the Glorious Revolution, this course extends the study of England into the modern era. The semester’s emphasis turns on the Industrial Revolution with its 18th century origins, the creation of a working class, and the impact of the empire receiving special attention. The semester concludes with Britain’s gradual decline in the 20th century. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 243 — The Holy Roman Empire, 1500-1789: Centered on the Thirty Years’ War, this course focuses on the history of the Habsburg Lands from the Reformation (1510s) to enlightened despotism under Frederick the Great & Maria Theresa (1740–1780s). It addresses the impact of the Reformation on society, politics, and diplomacy in the Holy Roman Empire, the negotiations and conflicts over religious and secular power, the transition to the modern-state systems after the Thirty Years’ War in 1648, the rise of absolutism, and the effects from the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. Offered occasionally. Three hours.

HIST 245 — Royal France: The growth and development of the French nation from ancient Gaul through the reign of Louis XIV– Charlemagne and the rise of feudalism; the first Capetians; Louis IX, Philip IV, and the foundation of absolute monarchy; the Hundred Years’ War; Francis I and the French Renaissance; Henry II and the religious civil wars; Henry IV, Richelieu, Mazarin and the consolidation of monarchical power; and Louis XIV, the majesty of Versailles and the legacy of the Sun King. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 248 — Modern Russia: This course examines the history of Russia and neighboring regions from the mid-19th century. It introduces students to the historical geography and diverse peoples of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the geopolitical changes to the region in the modern era. Topics include Russian imperialism, nineteenth-century social-property relations and the emancipation of serfs, the origins of Russian socialism and Marxist-Leninism, World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism and the Great Patriotic War, Soviet nationalities policy, the Cold War and the expansion of Soviet spheres of influence, everyday life in the USSR, and the collapse of state socialism and emergence of post-Soviet successor states. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 249 — The Lives of Wives: Marriage is one of the central institutions of society in Western Europe and the United States. While the practice has endured for centuries, societies have continually negotiated and renegotiated the definition and purpose of marriage as well as debated the appropriate behaviors of spouses. This course will examine how the lives of married women in Europe and the American colonies evolved from the early modern era to the contemporary period in the context of these continuous debates about marriage and women's roles in it. Topics include how marriages were made (courtship, dowries) and ended (divorce, and widowhood), pregnancy and childbirth, wives and work, the ideal wife, wives in power and politics, and female spirituality and religion. Other issues, such as sexuality, education, and child rearing, will be woven into these main themes. This course can count towards the European OR American requirement on the History major and minor as well as a historical emphasis course on the Women's Studies major and minor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 250 — Women in European History: Did women have a Renaissance? Have the great events and movements of European history affected women in the same ways as men? Were women too busy giving birth and caring for children and homes to have a role in, or an effect on, European history? In this course we will survey Europe from the Middle Ages to the present to answer these questions and discover women’s place in European history. Cross-listed with WMST 250. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 251 — Colonial Latin America: This course provides an overview of Latin America through the 1820s, beginning with the pre-1492 American and Iberian backgrounds. Topics include: Spanish and Portuguese conquest and colonization; Iberian imperialism and the Atlantic World; race and slavery; socio-economic and cultural patterns; and the struggles for independence and nation building. Offered every three years. Three hours.

HIST 252 — Modern Latin America: This is a continuation of HIST 251, but may be taken out of order. Beginning with the independence movements during the early 1800s, this survey course addresses the major developments in Latin America through the 20th century.  It emphasizes the socio-economic legacies of independence, the mid-19th century political ideologies and struggles, the position of Latin America in relation to the U.S., the major social and economic concerns of the 20th centuries, and the rise and demise of authoritarian regimes.  Offered every three years. Three hours.

HIST 281 — Islam to the 14th Century: This course provides an overview of the development of the Middle East from the birth of Islam to the rise of the Ottoman Empire. Its seeks to acquaint students with the political, socio-economic, cultural, and religious forces that shaped the lives of Middle Eastern peoples during this period. Topics include: the life of the Prophet Muhammad; Islamic belief (Sunni and Shi’i) and institutions; the foundation of the Islamic states; the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires; the Mongol invasions; and the Crusades. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 282 — The Modern Middle East: An examination of the Middle East (Egypt and the Arab East, Turkey, Israel, and Iran) from the 19th century to the present. An effort is made to relate recurring upheavals in the area, including conflicts between ethnic-religious groups and economic classes, to structural transformations. Topics include: the end of the Ottoman and Safavid empires; Western imperialism and colonialism; Middle Eastern nationalism; the Arab-Israeli conflict; the economics and politics of oil; the Islamic revival; the U.S. invasion and Iraq; and women’s history. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 303 — Roman Britain: An interdisciplinary survey of the Roman occupation of the British Isles based on readings of the historical sources in translation, study of modern analyses, and close examination of the archaeological and artistic remains. When taught in England, the course includes frequent visits to museums and Roman and Celtic sites.Offered alternate years. Same as CLAS 303. Three hours.

HIST 311 — Greek History: A chronological survey of the political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of Greek history from the Minoan and Mycenean beginnings to the period of Roman domination. Offered alternate years. Same as CLAS 311. Three hours. 

HIST 312 — Roman History: A chronological survey of the political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of Roman History from the foundations to the end of the ancient world. Offered alternate years. Three hours. Same as CLAS 312.

HIST 319 — Geographical History: This thematic course illustrates how geographic methods and approaches can further our understanding of past societies and civilizations. Course topics will vary among instructors, but each offering will analyze and compare the relationships of peoples to the places they inhabited and came to inhabit in the early modern and modern eras, as well as the intraregional, interregional, and transoceanic networks that connected societies. Offered alternate fall semesters. Three hours.

HIST 320 — Native American History: This course explores the major political, economic, social and cultural themes in Native American history from the precontact era through the 20th century and provides students with the opportunity to conduct fruitful research into specific themes. The course will consist of lectures and discussions surveying Native American history and methods of researching it as well as guided student research and presentations on chosen projects. Prerequisite: HIST 211 or HIST 212 or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 321 — Colonial America to 1763: This course will emphasize the European background of the American colonies and the story of the settlements in North America from the late 16th century through the mid-18th century. Attention will be given to precontact North America, the social and cultural attributes of colonial life and the developments of colonial government and economies. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 322 — The American Revolution, 1763-1789: A continuation of HIST 321. The chief subjects of discussion will be the development of British imperial reorganization beginning in the 1760s, the growth of American resistance to the mother country, the campaigns in the War for American Independence, the efforts at government building, and the socio-cultural changes brought forth by revolutionary ideologies. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 323 — The Early American Republic, 1789-1824: The Constitution was only the starting point in the establishment of a national government; equally important were the economic, social, and political precedents set by the first generation. This course analyzes the forging of the United States and the strains and conflicts that arose in the process--some of which remain unresolved. This course examines the development of our republican governmental system, the sectional tensions accompanying expansion, the political and diplomatic dilemmas the young nation endured, and the beginnings of the shift away from an agrarian economy. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 324 — The Age of Jackson, 1824-1846: This course surveys the history of the United States from the election of 1824 to the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846. Primary emphases include: the rise of democracy, the growth of the market, and the ferment of social reform; Indian removal and territorial expansion; the Bank War and the Nullification Crisis; the growth of southern sectionalism; and the development of competing definitions of the Republic. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 325 — The Crisis of the Union, 1845-1861: This course surveys the history of the United States from the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846 to the out-break of the Civil War in 1861. Primary emphases include: the debate over territorial expansion and the spread of slavery; the collapse of the Second American Party System; the general political upheaval of the 1850s; the election of Abraham Lincoln; the secession of the southern states; the formation of the Confederacy; and the outbreak of civil war. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 326 — The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860-1877: This course surveys the history of the United States from the outbreak of Civil War in 1861 to the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Primary emphases include: the military history of the war; the political and social history of the Confederacy and the Union; and the history of Reconstruction in the South. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 327 — The Gilded Age, 1877-1920: This course surveys the history of the United States from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Primary emphases include: the rise of big business and the organization of labor; the growth of cities and the creation of urban politics; the agrarian revolt and the Progressive reform movement; the transformation of American manners and culture; and the emergence of the United States as a world power. Three hours.

HIST 328 — The United States in the Twentieth Century: This course will narrate the changes in modern American economic, social, political, and intellectual realms. Although HIST 212 is not a prerequisite, it is strongly recommended. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 332 — The Problem of Slavery: This course surveys the history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere. Primary emphases include: the role of slavery in the colonial expansion of Europe; the emergence of a unique ideology of slavery in the southern United States; and the creation of Afro-Caribbean and African-American cultures that enabled Blacks to challenge slavery. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 333 — The Antebellum South: This course surveys the development of Southern society from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the outbreak of Civil War in 1861. Discussion will emphasize the origins and expansion of slavery, the rise of the plantation economy, the relations between masters and slaves, the character of Southern religion and thought, and the politics of secession. Offered every three years. Three hours.

HIST 337 — African-American History Since 1865: This course provides the opportunity for students to gain a chronological and thematic understanding of African American history since the Civil War. It examines and evaluates the legacy of slavery, the nature and evolution of African-American culture and thought, the promise and perils of emancipation, the accomplishments and failures of Reconstruction, the origins and consequences of segregation, the struggle for civil and political rights, and the ongoing effort to create an integrated society. Offered every three years. Three hours.

HIST 338 — The Black Novel as History: This course uses fiction to explore the nature and meaning of African American history. Novelists studied will vary. Writers considered in the past have included Charles Chesnutt, James Weldon Johnson, Richard Wright, Chester Himes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Charles Johnson, and Walter Mosley. Three hours.

HIST 339 The Blues: The blues is predominantly, though not exclusively, African-American music. Having numerous antecedents, such as slave songs, spirituals, and gospel, as well as white folk ballads, the blues emerged as a distinctive musical style around the turn of the 20th century. It grew out of, and reflected, the conditions that blacks faced in the United States during the period of racial tension and violence that followed Reconstruction. Under these circumstances, blacks, although freed from slavery, had few means by which to express their hopes and their humanity. Religion was the safest and most important outlet for blacks, but the blues was the secular response to discrimination, oppression, and hard times. In HIST 339, we shall examine the origins, history, nature, transformation, and meaning of this important form of American music. Not open to students who successfully completed The Blues as HIST 100. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 342 — "The Godfather" as History: Few novels and films have influenced American popular culture as deeply as has “The Godfather.” More than a lurid expose of organized crime, “The Godfather” is a tragedy in the classical sense, which unmasks persistent truths about human nature, society, and history that complexities of modern life obscure. In this course, students will examine “The Godfather” to discern the insights the novel and film offer into such perennial questions as the nature of power, the sources of individual and social corruption, the consequences of sin, the character of the good society, the meaning of virtue, the efficacy of religion, and the relations between traditional culture (Gemeinschaft) and modern society (Gesellschaft). Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 343 — The Great War in Fiction and Film: Historians have long regarded the First World War (1914- 1918), which contemporaries called “The Great War,” as a defining event in the history of the 20th century. The war changed everything. In this course, we shall investigate the moral, intellectual, and cultural impact and legacy of the war as it has been expressed in fiction and film. Three hours.

HIST 354 — The Renaissance: During the 14th century, the Italian peninsula witnessed an explosion of intellectual and artistic creativity as classical forms were rediscovered and reinterpreted for contemporary purposes. This course will explore this movement which came to be known in later centuries as the Renaissance. Some of the topics covered are civic and Christian humanism, Renaissance self-fashioning, courtly culture, the Scientific Revolution, the evolution of the artist as hero, conspicuous consumption, and the development of “taste.” Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 355 — The Reformation: In 1500 most of Europe officially subscribed to one brand of Christianity, the one articulated by the Catholic Church in Rome. The events of the 16th century, the so-called “Iron Century,” demonstrated that the ties that bound Church, societies, and people could be, and in many cases, were broken. This course examines how other expressions of Christianity emerged in Western Europe during the early mod- ern period, and the impact that these expressions had on the way people approached God, society at large, and each other. This course covers the Lutheran, Reformed, English, Radical, and Catholic Reformations. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 361 — Modern Egypt: Described as the only true “nation” in the Arab world, Egypt has provided the modern Arab world with cultural and political leadership even as it has preserved its unique identity and historical experience. This course examines such crucial issues in modern Egyptian history (beginning in the mid-18th century) as Egypt’s relationship with the great powers, state industrialization, Islamic reformism, Arab nationalism, and Arab socialism, Third Worldism, cultural production, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the experiences of “ordinary” Egyptians. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 367 — Arab-Israeli Conflict: At its heart, the Arab-Israeli conflict has revolved around different national- isms struggling for exclusive control of the same piece of territory, alternately called Palestine or Israel. This course explores the contending Arab and Zionist claims to the land during the 19th and 20th centuries and dis- cusses the course of the resulting struggle. It also examines by-products of the conflict, including socio-economic, political, and psychological ramifications for Jews and Arabs both in Palestine-Israel and beyond. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 381 — Special Topics in History: These courses focus on areas of history not otherwise covered in the curriculum. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Three hours.

HIST 387 — Problems in Contemporary Europe, 1900 to the Present: A study in the history of modern Europe. Special emphasis on the causes and consequences of war, fascism, communism, the European Union, and Europe’s colonial withdrawal. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 396 — Modern China, 1800 to 1949: This course will examine China’s geography, traditional society, the penetration of Western Civilization, and the rise of Chinese nationalism. The course ends with the Long March. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 397 — Modern China, since 1949:A continuation of HIST 396, this course takes a close look at the goals, achievements, and problems of China since the Long March. It examines topics such as: education, political structure, the economy, population, and women. Prerequisite: HIST 396 is recommended but not required. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

HIST 401 — Capstone: A culminating experience in which a history major will integrate, extend, and apply knowledge and skills from the student’s general education and major programs. Capstone projects may include one of the following: student teaching, a study abroad experience of one semester or more in duration, an independent research experience, or a significant research project completed in conjunction with a regularly scheduled major course. Prerequisites: senior status or junior status with consent of instructor. One hour.

HIST 450-451 — Internships in History: Qualified students may combine their classroom knowledge with practical experience in internship placements in government, business, law, museum, research institutes, or other fields. Students will complete a project mutually agreed on by the student, the internship site supervisor, and the instructor. Open to juniors and seniors with the permission of the department. Application required; see Internship Program. Three hours each.

HIST 481-482 — Special Topics in History: These courses focus on historical topics not specifically covered in the general curriculum and are designed to meet the individual needs of advanced students. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Three hours each.

HIST 491-492 — Independent Study:An independent study under the guidance of a member of the department. At least a 3.25 cumulative GPA and approval by the curriculum committee are required. Offered on request. Three hours each.

HIST 497-498 — Senior Project:This individual study program for history majors is designed to give students an introduction to historical bibliography and the techniques of historical research. Conferences and a major research paper will be required. Offered on request. Six hours.

History Courses Offered Through the Randolph-Macon Study Abroad Program in England at Wroxton College

HIST 3422- Britain in the Modern Era: A history of Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, which will focus on the political, social, economic, and cultural developments that have made contemporary Britain. Three hours.

History Courses Offered Through the Randolph-Macon Study Abroad Program in France at the Sorbonne

HIST 375 — History of France from the Middle Ages to the XVIII Century: This course includes two series of lectures. The first, the Historical Evolution of France, offers a study of the origins of French civilization from the Gallo-Roman era to the beginning of the 18th century. The aim of the second series of lectures entitled History of Ideas is to present the fundamental traits of French civilization through 1) a study of important French philosophers, 2) an analysis of the evolution of concepts such as civilization, progress, and the philosophy of history, and 3) discussion of the implication of these concepts in France’s history from the 15th century to the 19th century. Prerequisite: FREN 232. Students taking this course may not take FREN 261. May be counted toward a major in history. Three hours.