Students of history learn, above all, the skills of the historian—to read, analyze and express themselves well. They study the past to learn from it and to prepare for a variety of future careers. While students focus on a variety of subjects (culture, military, gender, race, politics) or a specific geographic region in their major, they leave here with a broad, international perspective on history. The major is flexible and works well with other majors and minors. It also offers students the ability to study abroad.
- Research, write and present a senior project following professional guidelines.
- Present and defend a historical argument in a public setting.
- Prepare a career-planning portfolio.
- Participate in at least one off-campus co-curricular activity in which students demonstrate connections to their study of history.
HIST-111 United States History to 1877
Covers the emergence of an independent American state, the development of a distinctively American society and culture, the conflict over states' rights and slavery, and the Civil War. Considers changes in the lives of diverse American peoples. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives.
HIST-112 United States History Since 1877
Considers industrialization, immigration, domestic politics, foreign relations and changing definitions of citizenship in the United States since the late 19th century. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives, Diversity Intensive.
HIST-115 African American United States History
A survey of United States history with African-American experiences as its centerpiece. By adopting cultural, economic, political, and social approaches to the past, the course emphasizes themes of identity, strategy, and agency. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives, Diversity Intensive.
HIST-131 Europe 800-1648
European history from about 800 to the middle of the 17th century. Pays particular attention to major epochs during this lengthy period-medieval, Renaissance, Reformation. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives, Team Intensive.
HIST-132 Europe, 1648-Present
Modern Europe from the dawn of science and Enlightenment thought to the end of communism and after. Focuses on political, intellectual, cultural and social developments, showing the ways in which ideas shaped people's daily lives. Pays special attention to the human impact of the modern state's development, as well as industrialization, empire building, modernism, world war and genocide. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives.
HIST-151 Traditional East Asia
An introduction to the civilization of East Asia from earliest times to the 17th century, surveying major political, social and cultural developments in China, Japan and Korea. Special attention is given to the origins and the evolution of civilizations; the relationship between state, society and religion; and the writing of history. The course provides students with a better understanding of different cultures, to awaken them to world developments and to encourage cross-cultural analysis and appreciation. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives.
HIST-152 Modern East Asia
A survey course that introduces the foundation and development of modern East Asia from the 17th century to the present. It emphasizes the transformation of political and economic institutions and the social and cultural trends of modern China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. It studies how international diplomatic, commercial, military, religious and cultural relationships joined with internal processes to direct the development of East Asian societies. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives.
HIST-171 African Civilization
Survey of key developments in early African history from the agricultural revolution to the advent of trade with Western Europe. This course covers the topics of technology, economy, politics, constructions of gender and religious institutions between circa 16,000 B.C.E. up to 1,400 C.E. 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives.
HIST-172 Early Modern Africa
An examination of the processes of change that have led to modern political, economic and social institutions in Africa. Topics include the analysis of the historical development of urbanization, state formation, the slave trade, monetary systems and leisure culture. This course focuses on issues of continuity and change between 1400 and the present. The central questions addressed are: How have African communities viewed modernity? and How have different people endeavored to create a modern Africa? 4 SH. CC: Historical Perspectives, Team Intensive.
HIST-180 Latin America, 1492-1825
An examination of Latin America from pre-Columbian times to independence. Traces developments fundamental to the establishment of colonial rule, the formation of colonial society and the origins of the independence movements in Spanish America and Brazil. Topics include contact period, the cultural and political assimilation and resistance of indigenous and African peoples, the role of the church, government and economic systems in colonial organization. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive, Historical Perspectives.
HIST-181 Latin America 1825-Present
Study of Latin America from the era of independence to the present. Focuses on Latin America and the global economy; revolutions and their consequences; ethnic, cultural and socio-economic diversity of the region; the relationship between the U.S. and Latin American nations; and changing politics of citizenship. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive, Historical Perspectives.
HIST-215 The Civil War in the American Experience
This course considers the Civil War in its economic, political and cultural contexts. Students focus on the war as a human struggle with roots in racial, class, gender and regional identities. The course also emphasizes historians' debates about causes and consequences. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH.
HIST-218 Work and Play in the U.S.A.
This course examines the connections between the history of labor and leisure in the United States from the early 19th century to the late 20th century. Particular emphasis is placed on social and cultural analysis of labor and leisure systems. Students read several historical case studies and synthesize course material in an original research project on a topic of their choosing. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH.
HIST-226 Soviet and Russian Politics
Looks at Russian and Soviet politics and foreign policy. The Soviet Union is examined, with particular emphasis on the policies of Gorbachev and the 1991 disintegration of the U.S.S.R. The post-Soviet period is also studied, especially the challenges of democratization and of moving toward a market economy. While primary attention is paid to the situation in Russia, issues in other former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe are discussed. Same as POLI-226. 4 SH.
HIST-258 Modern China
A history of China from the fall of the last imperial dynasty to the People's Republic. It covers the major political events and revolutions, such as the Opium War, the Republican revolution and the Communist revolution. It also emphasizes the social and cultural lives of various human actors and social institutions, such as peasants, workers, women, ethnic minorities, migrants within and beyond China, educational system, and nationality laws. It explores such questions as what is Chineseness and what modernity means to different people at different times. It also studies China as an integral part of world history. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Diversity.
HIST-300 History Methods
A study of the research methods employed by historians: searching for sources with electronic and published retrieval systems, annotated bibliographies, and methods of citation. A consideration of epistemological issues, such as fact, truth, inference and synthesis. Completion of a historiographical essay, a short research project and other writing in order to build and refine skills. History Methods is a critical course in the professional development of historians; therefore, the intended audience is history majors and minors. Prerequisite: 100-level history course. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive, Writing Intensive.
HIST-313 Social History of the United States
Studies the changing group setting for individual Americans, including family, community and class and race/ethnicity, with a dual focus on popular culture and the process of industrialization/urbanization. Also examines historians' models of social change. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH.
HIST-314 The Long Civil Rights Movement
This course examines the twentieth-century movements of African Americans to secure legal,social, and economic equality in the United States. Course readings and assignments focus onthe structure of social movements, including their political, legal, and identity-basedaspects, and specific case studies since the 1910s. The course also considers the nature ofAfrican-American agency and its limitations over time. Prerequisite: 100-level history course orinstructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive.
HIST-316 Making a Multicultural United States
This course examines United States history through the lens of ethnic and racial interplay. Students consider the experiences of a diverse set of historical actors, emphasizing shifting definitions of national identity, citizenship and opportunity in America. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive.
HIST-321 European Union
Examines the post-World War II development, institutional structure and policies of the European Union and its predecessors in the movement toward European integration, with a special emphasis on the current situation. Same as POLI-321. 4 SH.
HIST-322 Pennsylvania History
An examination of the history and government of Pennsylvania. In addition to analyzing political developments and the structure of the state constitution, students consider the experiences of a diverse set of historical actors who co-existed from the colonial period to the late 20th century. The course emphasizes the ways in which these groups interacted, as well as the means by which individuals made sense of such widespread changes as industrialization, demographic shifts and urbanization. Students may not receive credit for both HIST-322 and HIST-324. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH.
HIST-323 History of American Medicine
An analysis of the history of American medicine from the colonial period to today. In addition to studying professional medical practice, the class investigates the following topics: Native American medicine, enslaved healers, alternative medical practices, gender and medicine, race and medicine, class and medicine, and disease. Using both primary and secondary sources, students analyze several important questions: What is medicine? What is disease? How did race, gender and class affect American medical care? How has medicine changed or stayed the same over time? What is unique about American medicine? Prior knowledge of medicine or American history is not required. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive.
HIST-324 Pennsylvania's Pasts and Their Publics
This course examines Pennsylvania history by considering how the state's past can be conveyed via diverse media for multiple audiences. Students analyze the political and social history of the colonial, early republic, and industrial eras while considering the experiences of a diverse set of historical actors who co-existed in what is now Pennsylvania. The course features research projects that move beyond the traditional paper format and take the form of museum exhibits, walking tours, and interactive digital media. Students may not receive credit for both HIST-324 and HIST-322. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and one 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
HIST-330 The Middle Ages
Focuses on the social, economic and intellectual changes and developments during the time of enormous creativity and transition from the 9th to the 14th centuries. Examines the social and intellectual synthesis of the medieval period as an essential link between the classical and modern worlds. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH.
HIST-338 The Holocaust
Examines the origins, implementation and consequences of the Nazi program of mass murder over the course of the 20th century. Students study various primary and secondary sources of the Holocaust and consider the lasting impact of how we represent and remember these events. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. Same as JWST-338. 4 SH.
HIST-370 American Women
This course traces the history of American women from the 17th through the 21st centuries. It considers the history of American women in relation to gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation and religion. Same as WMST-370. 4 SH.
Pirates have long been a fear and fascination of communities mythologized in popular culture. From literature to film to music and even fashion, pirates are a favorite inspiration. In this course we examine, from several philosophical and cultural perspectives, piracy in its various forms. We also examine how several disciplines have approached and/or defined the subject; the disciplines include history, anthropology, law, literature and art. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and one of the following: ANTH-162, a 100 or 200-level course in economics, or a 100-level course in history, philosophy, political science, or religious studies. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
HIST-381 Film and History
This interdisciplinary course unites film studies and history as a way to understand two things: the ways that film functions as history and the ways we use film to consider history. Using films therefore as primary and secondary sources, it will analyze one epoch in detail. Students will use the tools of the historian to study film and the tools of the film scholar to analyze film's function in shaping perspectives on history. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and either one course in history or one course in film. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
HIST-383 Popular Music and History in the 20th Century
Merging the study of music and history, this interdisciplinary class offers a unique way to understand people's lives in Europe and the United States in the 20th century. The focus on popular music, in particular, looks at recorded music, which helps minimize differences in students' abilities to read and analyze music. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and either a 100-level history or 100-level music course (ideally both), or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
HIST-389 Enlightenment and Revolution
This seminar traces the history of the Enlightenment and French Revolution from a comparative perspective. Using and analyzing secondary and primary sources, the class will explore various themes related to the Enlightenment, including the importance of science, the role women played, the rise of print culture, and the impact of the philosophes. In the second half of the semester, the class will turn its attention to the French Revolution, revolution in the French colonies, and how Americans viewed the Revolution. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Diversity.
HIST-390 Topics in History
Topics vary according to instructor. Recent topics included film and history, African diaspora, intellectual history of Europe, Islam in Africa, Indian Ocean history, Latin American revolutions, American women and global migrations. Prerequisite: Completion of at least one history course or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Diversity when the topic is Asian American History: 1850-Present.
HIST-401 Collective Inquiry in History
Collective work that bridges the courses History Methods and Seminar in History and helps students construct their senior thesis topic. Also emphasizes editing, publishing, Web work and attention to career choices. Prerequisite: HIST-300 or instructor's permission. 3-4 SH. CC: Team Intensive.
HIST-410 Seminar in History
The capstone course that brings together students' work in various classes, employing especially their research, analytical, interpretative, communication and writing skills. Students create a substantial research project in conjunction with a faculty member and present their work publicly. Required for history majors. Prerequisite: HIST-300 or instructor's permission. 4 SH. Capstone. CC: Oral Intensive, Writing Intensive.
HIST-420 Internship in History
Supervised work in fields related to history, including museum work, publishing and editing, historic site surveys, and other activities in public history. Not for Central Curriculum credit. Variable credit up to 8 SH.
HIST-501 Independent Study
Detailed exploration of a selected historical period, topic or problem under a faculty member's direction. Involves either a reading program or a major research paper. Open to all majors. Prerequisite: Department permission. Variable credit.
HIST-502 Honors Conference
Writing a thesis under the personal supervision of a department member. 4 SH.
Honors. Students may earn departmental honors by obtaining at least a 3.50 overall GPA and completing a senior research project deemed outstanding by members of the department.