Amy Tillerson-Brown, department head
Clayton Brooks, Mary Hill Cole, Katharine Franzèn,
History is the study of past and present worlds that we explore in their own contexts through written, oral, and material evidence. Using primary sources and engaging in historical debates, historians analyze and interpret the actions, thoughts, values, and challenges of people in different cultures and eras. The discipline of History emphasizes the importance of historical perspective and context in seeking to understand the past. We encourage the study of other cultures through academic travel and learning foreign languages. History majors pursue careers in a variety of fields, including law, teaching, business, the arts, government, and foreign service.
Requirements for the Major in History
36 semester hours
One 300-level history course
Six additional courses in history above the 100-level
Note: HPUB 230 and HISP 226 may count toward the history major. Teaching assistantships (no more than 3 s.h.) may count toward the major. Students must complete HIST 101, HIST 102, HIST 111, and HIST 112 before enrolling in HIST 400.
Senior Requirement: Students fulfill the senior requirement by successful completion of HIST 400. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 in History courses before enrolling in HIST 400, and they must have passed at least 9 semester hours of MBU history courses.
Requirements for the Minor in History
21 semester hours in history
Three history courses above the 100-level
Note: The department urges history majors to complete foreign language study through the intermediate level. Directed inquiries, teaching assistantships and internships in History can be arranged on an individual basis.
Virginia Program at Oxford
The History and English departments co-sponsor the Virginia Program at Oxford. Working with British tutors in courses devoted to Tudor-Stuart England, students can earn 3 s.h. of history credit and 3 s.h. of English credit that count toward the History and English majors and minors. History majors are urged to apply to this program. For more information, see Mary Hill Cole.
Civic Engagement Opportunities
Students may develop their historical skills by working as interns in local museums, arts organizations, and historical societies. Other opportunities for civic engagement include working with MBU History faculty on oral history projects in the local community, and serving as a Changemaker Student Research Archivist. For their civic engagement in HPUB 230 and HISP 226, students may receive community service credit in the common curriculum.
History Course Descriptions
101 Western Civilization to 1648 (3 s.h.) (H)
A survey of the civilization of Western European history from classical antiquity to the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Topics include Greek and Roman empires, transmission of cultures, organization of Christianity, medieval dynasties, and the Reformation.
102 Western Civilization from 1648 (3 s.h.) (H)
A survey of the civilization of Western European history from the scientific revolution to the present. Topics include the English Civil War, the French Revolution, nationalism and imperialism, the two World Wars, the Russian Revolution, and the rebuilding of postwar Europe.
111 Survey of U.S. History to 1877 (3 s.h.) (H)
A survey of the principal events, in chronological order, of U.S. history to 1877. Students are introduced to the historical method of asking questions about the past, analyzing events, and interpreting them.
112 Survey of U.S. History from 1877 (3 s.h.) (H)
A chronological survey of the principal events of U.S. history from 1877. Students are introduced to the historical method of asking questions about the past, analyzing events, and interpreting them.
203 Women in American History (3 s.h.) (G)
A thematic study of the history of women in America. This course examines the events and trends that have special significance for women in American history. *Prerequisite: HIST 111 or HIST 112 or permission of Instructor.
204 Religion in America (3 s.h.)
An introduction to the history of religion in America, its forms, and the interaction of religious convictions and American culture. Students will learn to analyze and compare religious ideas and environments. Cross listed as REL 204.
211 The United States: The Colonial Experience, 1500–1763 (3 s.h.)
In 1692, Tituba, a Native-American slave, was tried as a witch in the town of Salem. This course examines how this came to be by tracking the experiences of the Native peoples of North America; the Spanish settlement of the West Indies; the settlement of Jamestown; the Puritans of New England; and the process by which slavery came to be entrenched in the North American colonies. This course examines the ideas, cultural practices, and people who brought sweeping changes to the world in the aftermath of European contact with the Americas.
212 The United States: The Revolutionary Generation, 1763–1817 (3 s.h.) (W)
When we think of how this nation was created, we think of the founding fathers. But while Madison, Jefferson, Washington, and Adams were all important, what about the other founders — the men and women who not only debated what it would mean to be a citizen of the United States, but who built the towns and cities, plowed the fields, and taught the next generation exactly what it would mean to be an American? This course examines the events and people who participated in the nation’s founding, both the elites and the non-elites. It explores the processes of western expansion, the challenges faced by Native Americans confronting this new nation, and ideas about the nature of freedom, citizenship, and government in the period of near constant turbulence from the end of the Seven Years War, which set in motion the events that led to the Revolution, to the end of the War of 1812, which finally created a truly independent nation.
213 The United States: Civil War and Reconstruction (3 s.h.)
A study of the United States from the 1830s–1880s. This course examines the causes and consequences of the Civil War, political implications of disunion, national and regional understandings of slavery and race including colonization efforts, personal experiences during the war and emancipation, and the challenges of Reconstruction.
216 The United States: Global America, 1929 to the Present (3 s.h.)
A study of the United States from the Great Depression to the present. Course examines the Great Depression, the rise of the welfare state, internationalism, changing roles of women, racial and ethnic subcultures, the Civil Rights movement, political change, the Cold War, and modern problems of security and peace.
217 The American West (3 s.h.) (D)
The American frontier experience has provided fuel to an endless number of popular portrayals, from Davy Crockett to Deadwood. This lecture/discussion course seeks to complicate these images of cowboys and cattle trains by examining the social, political, and economic dimensions of the United States’ various frontiers in order to integrate these peripheral places into the larger narrative of American history. Beginning with the American Revolution, and ending with World War I, this course emphasizes the conjunction of place and time in influencing the development of different frontiers, while at the same time examining what factors were common to all American frontiers. Problems to be addressed include geography, technology, warfare, international politics, and Indigenous/European relations.
222 History of American Art and Architecture (3 s.h.)
For course description, see ARTH 222 in the Art History listing.
224 Diplomatic History of the United States (3 s.h.)
A study of the foreign relations of the United States from the American Revolution to the Iraq War. *Prerequisite: HIST 111 or HIST 112 or permission of Instructor.
227 History of the American South (3 s.h.)
History of the American South from its founding to the present; its geography, settlement, economy, politics, and culture. Focuses on the rise of sectionalism and secession, race and slavery, reform and Jim Crow, reconciliation and modernization, civil rights, immigration, and the Sunbelt.
230 American Immigration History (3 s.h.) (D, R)
Watch a television news program or read a newspaper’s opinion page, and it seems that someone will always be talking about immigration. Whether in favor of open borders or proposing to electrify the fence between the United States and Mexico, it seems that these debates are a major issue of our time. But the issue of immigration and the role of immigrants within the United States is not a new question: since 1790, the United States have decided who can and who cannot (legally) immigrate to the United States. The goal of this course is to demonstrate the historic role of immigrants in the United States; to examine the hardships and prejudice they have faced; and to explore strategies for adapting and thriving in their adopted homeland. Throughout the course, we will focus on the intertwined relationships of law, race, gender, and prejudice in American immigration policy and practices. Field trip to New York City highly suggested.
235 Body, Mind, and Spirit: Renaissance and Reformation Europe, 1350–1650 (3 s.h.) (T)
This course focuses on the changes during three centuries that reshaped the European world: the devastation of the plague, a cultural explosion of artistry (theatrical, visual, and musical), the growth of learning and literacy through the spread of the printed word, the political power of newly centralized monarchies, the Protestant challenges to Catholicism, and the religious tensions that erupted into civil wars. At the same time, intellectual and scientific discoveries altered old views of the human body, the universe, and the natural world. We will focus on the intersecting topics of learning, instruction, education, and acquisition of skills as we explore the educational experiences of women and men in universities, convent and grammar schools, guilds, and at home.
238 Tudor-Stuart England, 1450–1660 (3 s.h.) (R)
An exploration of politics, culture, religion, and society. Topics include the Wars of the Roses, Parliament and monarchy, Henry VIII’s marital and religious policies, Elizabeth I’s court, the Civil War, family, sexuality, and gender. Recommended for students taking English literature courses and the Virginia Program at Oxford.
239 Voices of Protest and Authority: Europe 1600–1800 (3 s.h.) (O)
An exploration of the controversies that divided Europeans during the Enlightenment. Through texts and images of the period, we will explore debates on the nature of political power, absolutism, education, women, race, and family. In addition the course will examine the popular culture, satires, and autobiographical accounts that challenged ideas of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
241 British History to 1688 (3 s.h.) (H)
British history from the Romans to the Glorious Revolution that introduces historical methods, sources, and key debates among historians. Topics include the Norman invasion, English law, the monarchy, medieval town and village life, women’s roles, gender relations, the Reformation, the Civil War, and Restoration. This course offers historical background for English literature courses and for the Virginia Program at Oxford.
242 British History from 1688 (3 s.h.) (H)
A survey of British history from the Glorious Revolution to the present. Topics include the power of the landed elite, party rivalries, imperial expansion, the role of women in politics and industry, and British cultural myths. This course offers an historical background for courses in English literature.
243 The French Revolution (3 s.h.) (T)
An intensive study of the first six years of the French Revolution, 1789–1794. Explores major events and figures; economic, social, political, and intellectual conditions; and interpretations of the accomplishments of the era. No knowledge of French language is required; however, students who do their research in French can receive credit toward the French major. A key component of the course is participation in all discussions and projects.
246 Europe in the Twentieth Century, 1900–1939 (3 s.h.) (I, R)
A study of Europe from the early twentieth century to the outbreak of the Second World War. Topics include the Great War and Russian Revolution, women’s movements, sexuality and gender relations, the rise of fascism, the Spanish Civil War, and appeasement. Exploring European culture through foreign-language films is a key component of the course.
247 Modern Europe, 1939–Present (3 s.h.) (I, R)
A study of Europe from the beginning of the Second World War to the present. Topics include World War II and the Holocaust, the development of the Cold War, women’s movements and culture wars, European relations with the superpowers, the revolutions of 1989, and German reunification. Exploring European culture through foreign films in English is a key component of the course.
255 The History of Russia (3 s.h.) (I)
A survey of the Russian state from its Kievan origins to the present. Topics include Peter the Great’s westernization program, the expansion of the Muscovite state under Catherine the Great, the Russian Revolution, Lenin and Stalin, communism, and the current crises within the former Soviet Union.
264 Introduction to the African Diaspora (3 s.h.) (T)
A survey course that investigates the dispersal of African peoples to Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas since ancient times. We will explore the processes of acculturation and resistance among people of African descent and the connections and relationships between Africa and the rest of the world. Major themes include race and culture, the Mediterranean and Atlantic Slave Trades, African Liberation, and interactions between diasporic Blacks and Africans.
265 Survey of African-American History to 1877 (3 s.h.) (D, R)
This course presents a chronological survey of principal events in African-American History from its beginning in Africa, through the Civil War with particular focus on how Blacks experienced, and responded to, the “peculiar institution” of slavery in the Caribbean, Central and South America and the United States. We will examine the development of slave culture, formation of free communities, rise of abolitionism, and life in the immediate post-Emancipation era discussed with emphasis on the action and experiences of people of African descent. The African-American experience was not monolithic; location, condition of servitude, class, and gender must all be considered when analyzing the African-American past.
266 Survey of African-American History from 1877 (3 s.h.) (D)
Using lectures, reading and writing assignments; in class discussion and structured debates this course surveys the history of African Americans from the end of Reconstruction to the present. The course critically analyses decisive political, social, and cultural events specific to African-American History through the examination of primary and secondary sources. Emphasis is placed on the construction of “race” in each period as well as the diversity of the Black experience in America.
267 History of the Harlem Renaissance (3 s.h.) (D)
This course surveys the cultural, political, literary, and artistic activities and celebrated figures from the Harlem Renaissance era, late 1910s to mid-1930s. We will analyze the unprecedented artistic outpouring of this era; how politicians, civil rights activists, writers, artists, musicians, and ordinary people explore the character of the “New Negro”; and the implications of race, gender, and skin color. This course will use primary source documents, documentaries and music to study this era.
277 Colloquium (3 s.h.)
Colloquia focus on specialized methods in history such as archaeology, oral, family and local history, or special topics. Emphasis placed on class discussion and presentations. Limited enrollment.
302 Virginia History (3 s.h.) (D, R)
A survey of Virginia life and culture during the first four centuries of the colony and commonwealth. Students conduct research about specific events or topics in Virginia history and present their findings in a research paper. *Prerequisite: HIST 111 or HIST 112 or permission of Instructor.
325 Jacksonian America (3 s.h.) (T, W)
Jacksonian America looks at a volatile and exciting period in American history considering the theme of Democracy and Division, questioning how nationalism and participatory democracy can be fostered when faced with challenges (and opportunities) of considerable gender, racial, regional, class, and religious divisions. Students will learn how to locate, evaluate, and utilize primary and secondary sources to hear these diverse historical voices. Through guided steps, students will hone research and writing skills by turning their source findings into effective thesis arguments.
340 Revolutionary Europe, 1789–1901 (3 s.h.)
Topics include the French Revolution, Napoleon, industrialization, Marx, political ideologies, suffrage movements, women, and the family.
346 European Women’s History from 1700 (3 s.h.) (G, R)
With an emphasis on primary sources and class discussion, we examine women’s lives in the workplace, at home, in the professions, and in politics. Topics include the education of women, laws governing marriage and property, women’s family relations as wives and mothers, and the dynamics of class and gender. *Prerequisite: one of HIST 102, HIST 242, HIST 246, HIST 247; or permission of instructor.
365 History of the Civil Rights Movement (3 s.h.) (T)
The struggle for African Americans to enjoy the rights of United States’ citizens has been an arduous battle waged in the face of systematic racism and domestic terrorism. This course analyzes the history of the American Civil Rights Movement (1940–1965) placing emphasis on the following: The involvement of ordinary citizens; the centrality of religion in the movement; decisive events and personalities; tactics; and consequences of the contemporary civil rights movement. This course will use primary source documents, documentaries and music in order to study this important protest movement. *Prerequisite: one of HIST 112, HIST 302, HIST 266; or permission of instructor.
400 Senior Seminar (3 s.h.) (W, M)
An examination of the method of historical analysis and its specific application to a research problem. Students prepare and defend their senior history seminar paper during the course. Research theme varies from year to year. *Prerequisites: HIST 101, HIST 102, HIST 111, HIST 112. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 in history courses before enrolling in HIST 400.
Note: Directed inquiries, teaching assistantships and internships in history can be arranged on an individual basis.