History Course Descriptions
This course provides an in-depth look at a historical event, person, movement, or topic accessible to first and second-year students. Course readings will include both secondary sources and a wide variety of primary sources (e.g. written, visual, oral, audio, video, material culture). It combines a lecture-discussion format to the initial period (1-2 credits) with an opportunity for students to engage in direct research (1 credit) for the last
several weeks of the semester. This directed research can take a variety of forms (paper, blog, podcast, film, etc.)
Covers the period from the first Native American settlements to 1877, emphasizing the origin of the United States and the rise of democratic ideas and institutions.
Deals with the period 1877 to the present, emphasizing the development of the United States as an industrial and a world power.
Surveys selected aspects of World History from the beginning of civilization to the fourteenth century CE. Traces the political, economic, intellectual and cultural institutions and trends of various world societies of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Western Hemisphere
Surveys selected aspects of World History from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. Traces the political, economic, intellectual, and cultural institutions and trends of various world societies of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere.
Surveys selected aspects of World History from the eighteenth century to the present. Traces the political, economic, intellectual, and cultural institutions and trends of various world societies of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere.
This course allows students the opportunity to explore a variety of history-related career opportunities, enhance their professionalism, and develop a career network through visits to various sites (typically within driving distance of Muskingum University's campus). Students will be required to attend classes prior to a field visit to discuss a selected site's content, public history contribution and methodology, and the career possibilities to be highlighted. Faculty will evaluate each student based upon their discussion participation and written responses to assigned course readings, written reflections about the sites visited, follow up correspondence with selected sites' staff members, and development of professional portfolio. Students may earn 1 credit hour per experience, with the possibility of 3 experiences per semester, and an allowance for 4 credit hours applying to graduation requirements. Students receive one credit hour for 40 hours of work. Prerequisite: 28 earned credit hours and declared History major or minor, or permission of instructor. Due to this additional field experiences, there may be additional costs associated with this course.
Explores the history of American women from the colonial period to the present. Course topics address the changing political, social, and economic views of women’s roles and responsibilities over time; the challenges and discrimination women faced (and continue to face) in the struggle to attain equal rights; and the diversity of women’s experiences across race, ethnicity, class, and religion. Three of the most important questions that inform the course are: 1.) How did the “ideal” vision of womanhood mask the diversity of women’s lives? 2.) Did all women share the same goals when it came to their position in American life? 3.) Did the passage of time always signal progress? Students use a survey text of American women’s history and a host of primary source documents from the time periods under study as they read, write about, and discuss the topic over the course of the semester.
Employs a wide variety of secondary and primary sources to examine the causes, development and consequences of the American Civil War.
Provides an overview of the state-sponsored murder of millions of Jews and non-Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. It examines important historical factors that occurred before the Third Reich’s rise to power, the development of policies aimed at Jews and other “undesirable” elements of the population and how those persecuted responded to them, the path of the Final Solution, and the aftermath and legacy of the Holocaust.
Provides an overview of the conflict, beginning with the war’s origins and includes its global reach, particularly through the colonial empires of the European powers. It traces the path of the conflict from 1914-1918, focusing on major battles on land and at sea, and discusses the major military innovations of this era. It examines changes on the home front as well as how the home front had an impact on the war front and vice versa. It analyses the war’s political, demographic, and cultural impact, including its representations in literature, poetry, and film.
Offers the opportunity to travel outside the United States, which enhances a student’s knowledge and understanding of history and world cultures. In conjunction with an approved study abroad trip, students attend pre-trip informational and organizational meetings. While traveling they will complete readings and/or written work and participate in group discussions. Upon return, students submit a reflection paper that describes their activities, discusses their experiences and considers what was learned (both during organized excursions and more informal activities).
Examines the influence of the Cold War on Latin America and the United States, seeking to understand the compex and often fraught relationship between Washington and the nations of Latin America. After tracing the evolution of hemispheric relationships from independence to the mid twentieth century, the class explores how the ideological battle between communist and anti-communist forces shaped the development of regional relationships in the Americas. Revolution, guerilla warfare, counter-insurgency, as well as everyday struggles over press freedom and foreign investment, shaped the lives of Americans north and south of the equator. Students will encounter the changing historiography of US-Latin American relations, learning not only about policy choices and responses at the government level, but also how the Cold War shaped the way that the peoples of Latin American and the United States viewed one another, and how culture was shaped by these interpretations.
Introduces students to the basic skills of historical research and writing. The skills include using databases, locating and evaluating primary and secondary sources, developing a thesis, employing evidence, and proper citation. Prerequisite: Completion of two of the following courses: HIST 105, 106, 111, 112.
Provides an overview of the history of western civilization between c. 4000 BCE and 500 CE. Topics include political institutions, belief/religion, intellectual culture, interactions between societies, and daily life in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It also traces the transformation from Antiquity to the Middle Ages and the role of the so-called barbarians in this transition.
This course covers the long nineteenth century (1789-1914), beginning with the French Revolution and its short and long-term political, social, economic, and cultural implications, including Napoleon. Course materials focus on examining the key building blocks of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions and explaining their political, social, economic, and cultural impact; the emerging ideologies of the nineteenth century (conservatism, liberalism, socialism, and Marxism) and how these interacted through the Revolutions of the 1820s, 1830, and 1848; the development of modern nationalism and its implications for power shifts and state building within Europe; the goals, methods, and justifications for European imperialism and its impact both on mother countries and colonies; and the shifts in gender roles, societal organization, and government control of their implications.
This course covers European History from 1914 through the end of the twentieth century. Course materials focus on the causes, path, and results of the First World War and its longterm legacy for Europe; the development of totalitarian states across Europe in the interwar period, including both fascist and communist regimes; the causes, path, and results of the Second World War; the development, expansion, and demise of the Cold War from political, economic, cultural, and social perspectives; the processes of European mother countries attempting to hold on to and/or divest themselves of their colonial empires and the long-term implications thereof; the pivotal role of the 1960s as a decade of protest and resistance against systems of authority across Europe and its long-term consequences; and the path and results of European integration and the revolutions of 1989.
Introduces students to the use of gender as a historical category of analysis. It encourages students to integrate theory and practice to explore both historical sources (primary and secondary) and historical explanations more deeply through the lens of gender. It explores the social constructions of categories such as feminine and masculine and examines how these binary divisions have had an impact on people, policies, and institutions. It probes the relationship between these categories of analysis and constructions of power and examines how gender has influenced societal constructions of hierarchy, asymmetry, and difference. Topics will include witch trials, industrialization and its impact on work, dueling, reproductive rights and control, betrothal and marriage rituals, civil rights and civil liberties, imperialism, genocide, consumer culture, and wartime experiences. While the focus of this course is on gender, it also includes the diversities of ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.
Examines the origins and development of traditional civilizations of China and Japan to the 19th century. This course emphasizes the development of the Confucian state and society, the rise of Imperial China, the emergence of aristocratic culture in Japan, the transition to Samurai rule, and early contact with the West.
Examines the origins, course, and impact of the Second World War. Beginning with an investigation of the causes leading up to the war, it traces the conflict through the major military campaigns, giving attention to operations in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific. The course examines strategic, doctrinal, and technological developments as well as the war’s impact on civilian populations and the manner in which the conflict transformed selected economic, social, cultural and political realities of domestic life for the major combatants.
Covers the development of Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, the Philippines, and East Timor) in the historical context of conflict between the indigenous societies and the global community of the colonial powers. The course contextualizes and examines the pre-colonial order, the colonial powers in SEA, World War II, and post-war independence movements. Political, social, and intellectual trends with an emphasis on the diversity of experiences are highlighted, but the course is intended as an introduction to a broad and diverse region of the world.
Examines China’s evolution from an imperial state to a revolutionary society dominated by the Chinese Communist Party. Attention is paid to political attitudes and elements of society and culture in contemporary China that reflect links to a past that remained influential both as an inspiration and a stumbling block as China remade itself in the twentieth century. In addition, the course explores discontinuities in modern Chinese history brought about by wars, imperialism, revolution, industrialization, and the other forces that decisively altered the underpinnings of Chinese society. This course’s reading and lectures are built upon five major themes: foundation and success of early Qing dynasty, peasant rebellion and Western imperialism, reform and revolution in the twentieth century, Republican China and its challenges, and the birth and development of the PRC.
Explores the three ways Japan has become an empire during the past two centuries: through the restoration of imperial rule in the nineteenth century, through its imperialist expansion in Asia during the early twentieth century, and through its emergence as a global economic power in the post-War order. To understand these developments, one must examine the interplay between the internal dynamics of change in Japanese society, culture, and politics, on the one hand, and the impact of the West on Japan during these formative events. This course addresses how indigenous changes in Tokugawa, Japan, interacted with pressure from Western Imperialism to cause the imperial restoration and reforms as well as addressing the relationship between Japan’s imperial expansion and rule at home.
Examines the process of encounter between the Old and New Worlds. It focuses initially on Pre-Columbian and Iberian societies prior to 1492, and it examines the social, political, cultural, and economic impact of Spanish and Portuguese colonizations in South America. It devotes particular emphasis to countries such as Mexico, Peru, and Argentina from the colonial to the national periods.
Emphasizes the historical developments which followed political independence in 1810. It centers around the impact of Iberian colonization on contemporary forms of political, social, and economic organization in both Meso- and South America. Themes such as development, social inequality, racial identities, imperialism, and authoritarianism surface frequently as the course moves into the contemporary period.
Studies film as a means to understanding the history of the region. Using film critique and analysis, as well as primary documents and secondary sources, students examine the ways in which films illuminate important themes in Latin American history. Topics include indigenous societies, the European conquest, African slavery, immigration, the relationship between Latin American nations and the international community, and the role of race, gender, and ethnicity in the creation of national identity.
Traces the history of this important Latin American country from the Pre-Columbian era to the present. It focuses on the merging of native groups, such as the Aztecs and the Mayans, with the Spanish colonizers, forming a unique society in the New World. Mexico’s distinctive historical phases, from colonization to independence, are also closely examined to deepen the understanding of the 1910 Revolution and its course throughout the twentieth century.
Surveys the history of Africa with emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa in the period after 1800. Topics include state formation, African systems of belief, colonialism and its legacy, labor, migration, and the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa.
Provides advanced undergraduates with the opportunity to conduct independent research. This research can include deep reading and writing on a specific historical topic or theme that is not offered within the regular curriculum, working with a faculty member on a collaborative research project, and/or conducting research either on campus or off-site for a specific project. Prerequisite: HIST 300.
Examines the colonization and conquest of North America from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. The course employs a comparative approach to the study of North American empires in this era, examining their internal governance and interactions with their neighbors. The course examines both empires constructed by indigenous peoples, such as the Comanche and Iroquois empires, as well as those constructed by European nations, such as the British, French, Spanish and Dutch empires in North America.
A survey of the economic, cultural, political, and social history of Ohio, from prehistoric time to the present.
Provides students with the opportunity to produce histories of local subjects while employing a range of sources. These will include conventional text, image and data-based sources, but the course will require the student to read the built and natural landscapes around them as texts. The course will take place in the classroom but also includes three full Saturday sessions in the field at different locations around the region and state.
Examines the American Revolution broadly, from 1763-1815. It examines the sources of conflict in Britain’s North American empire, the decision of thirteen British colonies to seek independence, and the gradual emergence of a distinct American national identity. It also explores the progress of the war on the military front and the efforts to secure and stabilize the Revolution by political means in the years after independence was achieved. The course ends with a discussion of the War of 1812 as an epilogue to the American Revolution.
Evaluates the changing interpretations of gender and expressions of sexuality in American history from the time of first contact between Europeans and Native Americans. Introducing students to the idea that gender is not a fixed category but rather a concept shaped by culture, the course examines a variety of populations and time periods in US history to highlight the changing understandings of masculinity, femininity, gender identity, and sexual behavior
Investigates US history through the lens of youth experiences. This course examines media, education, and the marketplace to illuminate the changing understandings and expectations of the youth population. The shared – and sometimes conflicting – messages of these influences reveal goals, tensions, and contradictions of broader American culture and society.
Traces the evolution of the concept of the American Dream from the time of the nation’s founding to the present day. Examining elite culture and political views as well as individual perspectives, the course investigates populations who enjoyed easy access to benefits of the Dream as well as those who found the Dream elusive or unfulfilling. Establishing the Dream as a flexible ideal, interpreted and reinterpreted across generations, this course allows students to develop an argument about the Dream’s core components through the exploration of primary source evidence.
Analyzes the history of the 1950s through the lenses of an idealized American Way of Life, alternatives to that ideal, and as a product of historical memory. Topics include suburbanization; the nuclear family and domestic life; expectations of sex and gender; the influence of popular and material culture; generational tensions; the Cold War; and Civil Rights and other rights-based movements. Through examination of historians’ evaluations and primary source evidence of the time period under study, this course allows students to identify how historical narrative and popular views of the past are constructed – both by those living during the time and those who look back on the era.
Evaluates the history of 1960s America with primary focus on social and cultural reflections of contemporary issues via major motion pictures of the time. Analysis and review of the films are informed by historical investigation of the 1960s as a whole. The course is intended both to complicate and complement popular views of the decade as students consider major themes that shaped American film: racial conflict and Civil Rights; the Cold War; and challenges to conventional ideas and established authority. Students think critically about assigned films and evaluate them – via both written work and class discussion – as primary source evidence of 1960s America.
Studies human societies and their relationship to their environment over time. The focus is on the environmental history of North America from pre-Columbian times to the present. Topics explored include the Columbian exchange, evolving concepts of man’s relationship to nature, the government’s role in conservation and preservation, and the emergence of an environmental movement in recent decades.
Deals with selected topical courses such as Early Warfare, Conspiracy in US History, or Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in the Americas.
Allows students to critically examine the past as it is presented in sites of public commemoration. These may include national historic parks, battlefields, museums, living history sites and public monuments. The course is offered only as a part of University approved domestic and foreign study trips.
Designed to offer students supervised history-related work experience. Prerequisite: Prior permission of the instructor.
Permits students to explore historical topics in depth under the direction of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Junior or senior history majors or permission of the instructor.
Emphasizes methodological and bibliographical research techniques in the discipline of history. Students research and write on specific topics to meet acceptable standards of historical analysis and style. Prerequisite: Junior or senior history majors or permission of instructor.