Degrees and Programs

The History Department offers a variety of options to pursue the degree that best suits their future career goals. Faculty members offer courses in their regional  and geographic areas of expertise including the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Islamic world, and Africa. Faculty also specialize in North American West and borderlands history and the history of indigenous peoples and Native Americans. In addition, the History Department faculty offer courses in their thematic specialization, including global/comparative studies, colonialism and nationalism, race, class, and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and environmental history and the history of medicine. Students can choose from several different undergraduate program paths. The History Department also offers a graduate program at the Master of Arts level to students interested in continuing their training. 

Graduate Public History Program Information Coming Soon! 

Spring 2014 Course Descriptions are Now Available! 

Sp14 Course Desc

Snapshots of Recent History Courses

  • HIS 312: Gandhi's India

    Dr. Sanjay Joshi's course covers the period from the mid 1700s to 1947.  In addition to Gandhi’s ideas and activities, the course examines the material and ideological structures of British imperialism, and the many strands of nationalism in British India.  One of our objectives is to understand nationalisms in the PLURAL rather than a singular nationalism – and to realize that nationalism could mean different things to different people. Looking at this history will not only afford insight intot he life and work of Gandhi, but also allow us to better evaluate the nature of the transition that took place in 1947.

  • WGS/HIS 355: History of Feminisms and Feminist Historiography

    Dr. Sanjam Ahluwalia introduces students to the issues and debates animating feminist movements and activisms across the globe from the nineteenth century to contemporary times.  The course focuses on multiple feminist interventions adopted over time and space to transform/alter the social, cultural, political, economic, and sexual scapes.  While paying close attention to multiple local and national histories of feminisms across the globe, we will conclude our class discussions by examining how activists and scholars have sought to build alliances and initiate conversations across various cultural and political borders.  

  • HIS 366: The Holocaust

    Dr. Martin Kalb focuses on the Holocaust in this course.  Tracing its origins in the pre-WWII period, it covers motivations, experiences, and legacies.  The term Holocaust is broadly defined and includes a variety of victims of National Socialism and War.  The persecution of the Jews plays, among other groups, a key role.  Thematically, we will focus on the experiences of ordinary men and women.  We will analyze the roles of persecutors, bystanders, and victims, asking if these categories are feasible.  We will contextualize and complicate the history by discussing nuanced historical questions and covering numerous facets of the Holocaust.

  • HIS 381: The US-Mexican Borderlands

    Dr. Eric Meeks traces the historical development of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands semi-chronologically and thematically, beginning with the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century and its impact on New Spain’s indigenous peoples, and ending with a discussion of contemporary issues in the borderlands such as race, immigration, international trade, and labor.  Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on the effects of overlapping conquests – first by Spain and then by the United States – and on the conflicts and inter-ethnic exchanges between the region’s indigenous, Euro-American, and Mexican populations.

  • HIS 394: The United States and the Cold War

    Dr. Leilah Danielson's course explores how the U.S.’s efforts to win the Cold War affected domestic culture, politics, and society and how culture and ideology – understood as the beliefs, values, perceptions, and ideas about gender, race, religion, nation, and so forth – shaped U.S. foreign relations.  In so doing, we consider some of the major historiographic debates surrounding the Cold War, such as how and why it started, how it influenced U.S. foreign policy toward Third World countries, and how it played out within the United States.

  • HIS 405: Topics in Environmental History: Environmental History of the US and Atlantic World from 1492-1920

    Dr. Marcus Burtner's environmental history course approaches connections between the broader Atlantic World and the emerging communities that shaped Colonial North America and the United States before World War I. Readings focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and help develop major themes in environmental history such as the Columbian Exchange, the struggle over the enculturation of landscapes, the relationship between labor, nature, and social power, the role of non-human nature in shaping the past, links between idealizations of nature and national identity, and transforming ideas about nature.

  • HIS 468: Topics in the History of the United States: Studying Material Culture

    Material Culture refers to the objects, resources, and spaces that people use to define their culture.  Others define material culture as a culture's "things" or simply as society's "stuff."  Dr. Michael Amundson's seminar examines the history of US material culture from the colonial era to the atomic age to help students understand how objects communicate ideas and messages about past cultures in the same ways as other primary sources.

  • HIS 496: Race and Ethnicity in US History

    Dr. Eric Meeks's seminar examines why and how notions of race and ethnicity have formed, evolved, and been challenged over several centuries of U.S. history; and how the formation of ethnic identity and race have intersected with other political, economic, and cultural processes.  As such, the course stresses the culturally and historically contingent nature of race and ethnicity. While the emphasis will be on the United States and the Americas, we will also integrate theoretical readings and scholarship with a comparative and/or global perspective.

  • HIS 580: Readings in Latin American History: Plus Ultra: Historiography of Spanish Colonialism

    Plus ultra (Go further) became the motto of the Spanish Crown in the sixteenth century.  The phrase illustrated that the Spanish Empire was built on exploration, expansion, and conquest.  Dr. Ryan Kashanipour's graduate seminar examines the historiography of the Spanish Empire from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.  Since the earliest periods of conquest, historians have debated the justification, nature, and purpose of the Spanish Empire. Recent scholarship highlights that the margins and frontiers of authority, whether they be territorial, judicial, or social, helped shape the overall nature of the colonial empire.

  • HIS 590: Readings in US History: Politics and Culture in the 20th Century United States

    Dr. Leilah Danielson's course is a reading-intensive graduate seminar designed to introduce students to 20th-century United States history. Our broad theme will be the intersection between power and culture. As a result of taking this class, students will gain a more sophisticated understanding of the evolution of American politics and the state over the course of the twentieth century; the role of race, class, gender and sexuality in U.S. history; the power of culture; historiographical trends and debates; the various methodologies and theories for historical inquiry; and future directions for historical scholarship.