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Course Descriptons By Program

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HIS101 - History of the U.S. to 1877

American history from the Pilgrims to the age of modern industry: the Colonial heritage, American Revolution, the emergence of a new nation, westward expansion, Civil War and postwar Reconstruction. (3 crs.) Fall and spring.

HIS102 - History of the U.S. Since 1877

The emergence of modern America, its achievements and its problems: prosperity and depression, war and social unrest, World War I through the Vietnam era and beyond, and the computer age and its challenges. (3 crs.) Fall and spring.

HIS104 - History of Western Civilization to 1500

Western society from its origins in the Near East to the Renaissance is covered in this course. It is intended to impart basic knowledge of historical events crucial to the development of Western civilization before 1500. (3 crs.) Fall and spring.

HIS106 - History of Western Society Since 1500

This course is a survey lecture course intended to impart a basic knowledge of historical events crucial to the development of Western civilization from the Reformation through the present day. Fall and Spring. (3 crs.)

HIS111 - World Civilization to 1500

The process and interplay of the major world cultures in their evolution: Indian, Muslim, East Asian (China, Korea, Japan), Slavic, Western European, Latin American and African. (3 crs.)

HIS112 - World Civilization Since 1500

Significant factors influencing change in the world's major cultural areas: industrialization and urban conflict, the democratic revolution, and the rise of charismatic leaders from Napoleon to Hitler. (3 crs.)

HIS200 - History of Pennsylvania

The history of Pennsylvania from Colonial times to the present: the changes involved in social, economic and political life are treated from internal and external points of view. (3 crs.)

HIS240 - History of the Cold War

The origins and continuance of Soviet-American rivalry since World War II. Confrontation in Europe; NATO; the Warsaw Pact; the growing nuclear arsenal; regional conflict in Africa, Latin America and Asia; the Congo, Angola, Cuba, Iran, China and Vietnam; the politics and leadership of both nations; the emergence of Russia as a global power. (3 crs.) Spring.

HIS288 - Local History

An introduction to the location, evaluation and significance of local history by using the problem-solving and genealogical approach. Specific topics are analyzed in order to get to know at firsthand the importance of local and family history at the grassroots level. (3 crs.)

HIS295 - The Craft of History

This course acquaints students who are considering history as a major or minor field of study with basic historiography and historical methodology. Students receive a hands-on introduction to historical research and writing, and learn about various schools of history to prepare them for upper-level history courses. (3 crs.) Fall only.

HIS303 - Military History through Wargaming

This course uses military simulations (usually referred to as “wargames”) to examine the military side of history. The wargames involved are complex simulations which allow both recreations of historical battles and also the exploration of what might have happened had historical events turned out differently. Students will study and discuss the conflicts under consideration in class before and after each simulation/game session, and will prepare written reports analyzing how their simulations of the battles worked out, why, and what they did right and wrong.

HIS304 - Great Depression and World War II

The stresses and strains of the 1930-1945 period of United States history using recent trends in scholarship. (3 crs.)

HIS305 - Contemporary History of the U.S.

The unprecedented changes that have occurred in the United States since the end of World War II. (3 crs.)

HIS308 - History of American Constitution

The growth of the American constitutional system, with special emphasis on those aspects of constitutional growth that relate closely to the fundamental structure of American government and social order. (3 crs.)

HIS309 - History of Gender in Latin America

This course will examine the construction of gender in Latin America. Gender will be defined as the social and historical construction of both feminine and masculine identities. Readings will span the Colonial period to the present and will explore themes such as sexuality, marriage, property, revolution, labor, feminism, human rights, homosexuality, machismo and marianism. (3 crs.)

HIS310 - Christianity to 1500

This course explores Christianity's role in transforming Western society from earliest times to the end of the 15th century. It explores Christianity's role in transforming society through study of the events of early Christian history (including its roots in Judaism), its belief system, the early growth of monasticism and the institutional church, the development of the medieval church, and issues of dissent and reform leading up to the Reformation. Prerequisites: HIS 104 or equivalent is recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS311 - Introduction to Public History

This course is an overview of the methods and arenas of the public historian. Through hands-on experience in such areas as museum design, collection development, museum education, archival management, historic preservation and historical editing, the student will gain an understanding of the challenges and rewards of the public historian. (3 crs.)

HIS312 - Women in Europe

A study of the lives and attitudes of women living in ancient and medieval times, from classical Greece to late medieval northern Europe. Social, cultural, religious, economic and political matters will be discussed, with special consideration given to the role women played in the shaping of Western civilization. Prerequisites: HIS 104 is recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS314 - History of Scientific Thought and Technological Innovations

This course explores scientific thought and technological innovations throughout Western history, from ancient civilizations through the modern era. The course focuses on how science and technology have impacted societal change, including military innovations, political and economic revolutions, religious and philosophical thought, and labor relations. Open to students of all disciplines. Prerequisite: HIS 104 or HIS 106 are recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS316 - Twentieth-Century U.S. Foreign Policy

This course traces the political and social history of U.S. foreign affairs from the Spanish-Cuban-American war to the modern War on Terrorism. Readings consist of a mixture of primary and secondary readings. The course traces the evolution of US foreign policy and attempts to analyze the causes of this evolution.

HIS317 - African-American History to 1877

This course explores great western African civilizations, the three continents involved in the transatlantic slave trade with special attention on the middle passage. Particular attention will be paid to African retention, African-Americans and the Colonial period and the new nation, the construction of race, the peculiar institution of slavery, free black populations, black resistance to subjugation, abolitionism, gender dynamics, blacks during the Civil War and the Reconstruction eras. The course also offers analysis of African-American literature, spirituals and other cultural manifestations. (3 crs.)

HIS318 - African-American History Since 1877

The course surveys African-Americans in the aftermath of Reconstruction and during the Nadir period, the Great Migration, black urbanization, black cultural manifestations and movements, the rise of black protests, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and African-American involvement in 20th century war efforts and postindustrial America. This course also examines themes of identity, gender dynamics, leadership, pan-Africanism, nationalism, American politics and economic issues as they all pertain to African-Americans. Additionally, this course will examine the massive African-American literary canon, as well as two of the most significant cultural epochs, which include the proliferation, demise, and legacy of the Harlem Renaissance, as well as the permanence of hip-hop. (3 crs.)

HIS320 - Anatomy of Dictatorship

The basic, social, economic, psychological and political elements that make up the modern dictatorship. (3 crs.)

HIS322 - U.S. History: Religious Persecution

Religious tolerance and religious persecution have been recurring themes in U.S. history; from the first encounters with Native Americans to continuing controversies over school prayer, religion has played a major role in the development of American culture. This class will examine the diverse groups that sought to practice their religions freely in the U.S. and how they suffered forms of persecution; it will also explore the meaning of the First Amendment and claims of religious freedom. (3 crs.)

HIS323 - World Environmental History

Traces the impact of the environment and environmental change on major world cultures and historical events from the Stone Age to the present through the examination of select case studies; explores the impact of different modes of production; the Columbian exchange; and different cultural conceptions of civilization. (3 crs.)

HIS324 - History of Women, Gender and Sexuality in the Modern World

This class will look at comparative women's history, focusing on topics such as sexuality, marriage, beauty and motherhood. Examples will be drawn from all over the world - and from various time periods from 1300 to the present.

HIS325 - Women in U.S. History

A study of women's lives in America from the Colonial era until the present, this course places special emphasis on non-elite women, whose lives have often been hidden or devalued in the annals of history. Topics explored include reform, abolition, political activism, working conditions and contemporary issues. (3 crs.)

HIS327 - History of the Civil War & Reconstruction

The American Civil War is the most critical event in the creation of the United States. This watershed ended forever the practice of chattel slavery that had significantly shaped the country. The South as a distinct region changed considerably due to the war in ways that reverberate to the 21st Century while the North also embarked on a new course forward. The process of reuniting the country proved almost as divisive and the war itself. Reconstruction was a complex period that reveals a great deal about 19th Century America. This course examines the history of this national crisis and evaluates how it shaped the nation as a whole. (3 crs.)

HIS329 - History Internship

The internship is a supervised real-world experience. Faculty advisers are required to help orientate students to the process, regularly offer support and guidance to both students and host sites, maintain contact with the internship site and the internship student, and create assignments (written or oral) that encourage the students to reflect on their experience. Prerequisite: Approval of Instructor (Variable 3-12 crs.) Fall, Spring, Summer

HIS331 - Ancient Greece

This course provides an overview of the history of ancient Greece, from its earliest foundations in Minoa, through Mycenae, the Greek Dark Age, archaic Greece, classical Greece and the Hellenistic period. Prerequisites: HIS 104 or equivalent recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS333 - Film and History

Film in History is a course that assesses the important political, economic and cultural roles that film and the film industry play in the world. This study of cinema includes the importance of film in shaping our attitudes toward history as well as its central place in determining the visual language of cultures. (3 crs.)

HIS341 - Early Middle Ages

This course traces the story of civilization and culture from late antiquity to the beginnings of the High Middle Ages and the First Crusade. Prerequisites: HIS 104 is recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS342 - High and Late Middle Ages

This course will focus on the development of the civilization of medieval Europe from approximately AD 1100 to 1500, with supporting material both before and after the period. Prerequisites: HIS 104 is recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS345 - Rise & Expansion of Islam

This course traces the history of the Islamic world from its foundation by Muhammad in the seventh century to the last siege of Vienna in the 17th century. Emphasis is on the Near East, Europe and North Africa and on interactions between the Muslim and Christian worlds. Prerequisite: HIS 104. (3 crs,)

HIS347 - Race and Ethnicity in the United States

This course focuses on the changing ethnic and racial make-up of the American population from colonial times to the 20th century. We will consider who came to America and why, how people define their own ethnicity and the ethnicity of others, how ethnicity and race relate to each other, and how cultural diversity has shaped life in the U.S. (3 crs.)

HIS348 - History of Sport

This course offers the history of sport as a subject for scholarly study. It presents sport as a pervasive facet of our popular culture, as a social institution, as an arena of human activity, as drama, even spectacle. The course emphasizes the history of sport as a study of cultural values and value conflict, and also examines the relationship of sport to social change. It investigates, among other things, the literature of sport, the economics of sport, and the influence of modern sport on our language, politics, religion and education. (3 crs.)

HIS350 - Adolf Hitler

The philosophical and psychological elements that led to the rise of National Socialism, and its impact upon the Western world. (3 crs.)

HIS352 - Native American History to 1850

A survey of the history of Native Americans. The class will focus on the major tribal groups that interacted with and impacted the course of American history. We will look at various aspects of Indian life such as gender divisions, political expression, and social organization. A major point of the course will to be recognize the contributions of native peoples in shaping the development of the American nation before 1850. (3 crs.)

HIS353 - Native American History from 1850

A survey of the history of Native Americans. The class will focus on the major tribal groups that interacted with and impacted the course of American history. We will look at various aspects of Indian life such as gender divisions, political expression, and social organization. A major point of the course will to be recognize the contributions of native peoples in shaping the development of the American nation after 1850. (3 crs.)

HIS356 - Colonial & Revolutionary America

The founding centuries of our nation shaped the course of the United States. The combination of native inhabitants and immigrants created a unique society which experimented with new ideas for the future. The course will explore American history from the arrival of Europeans to the closing days of a successful rebellion against Britain. (3 crs.)

HIS366 - History of Modern Latin America

The emergence of modern Latin America from independence to Castro; economic and social development of the region in the 20th century; struggle for social justice among diverse cultures; conflicts within Latin American political life; military dictatorships; parliamentary democracy; guerrilla warfare; and counterterrorism. (3 crs.)

HIS367 - Conquest of the Americas

This course examines the cultural, political and social organization of pre-conquest Iberia, Mesoamerica, Brazil, Andean highlands and West Africa. It explores the multiple interpretations of the conquest through the eyes of Spanish conquistadors, their Indian allies, Incas, Mexicans, Tainos, Mayas, Tupis, Guarani and West Africans, and analyzes the multiethnic institutional foundation of New Spain, Brazil and Peru which was governed as an unequal partnership between Europeans and indigenous elites. (3 crs.)

HIS370 - Topics in Atlantic History

Atlantic studies focuses on the circum-Atlantic flow of peoples, cultures, goods and capital. It explores the interaction and interdependencies of Atlantic cultures from Africa to Europe and across the Americas and the Caribbean. Topics may include, but are not limited to, migration/immigration; slavery; trade/production/consumption; freedom; citizenship; nationality/nationalism; imperial boundaries; cultural production; self-fashioning/representation; translation; kinship/family; creolization; race, class and gender; and religion. (3 crs.)

HIS375 - Pittsburgh History

Examines the history of the City of Pittsburgh from 1750 to the present. The course focuses on the evolution of Pittsburgh first into a quintessential industrial city, then into a pioneer renaissance city, and finally into a postindustrial, service-oriented city. Therefore, the course affords a unique urban perspective on the social, spatial and political implications of both industrialism and postindustrialism. Pittsburgh History features lectures and field trips, as well as class discussions. (3 crs.)

HIS379 - Special Problems in History

Topical historical studies determined by departmental faculty. (3 crs.)

HIS380 - Readings in African American Studies

This course will examine the history and evolution of the discipline, key scholars, ideas, themes, central disciplinary questions and debates, and prominent theoretical and methodological frameworks used by scholars of African-American Studies (or alternatively Black Studies, Diasporic Studies Africana Studies and African Studies). Students will also evaluate social and political thought and literary, cultural, and aesthetic forms of expression. In all, students will acquire the necessary skills to critically engage each other on the interdisciplinary scholarship within African American Studies.

HIS402 - 19th Century America

This course focuses on major events and trends in United States in the 19th century. Major topics of study include slavery, abolitionism, the Civil War, industrialization and reform. (3 crs.)

HIS410 - Crusades

This course examines the wars fought by Christians in defense of Christendom, from the confrontation between the Byzantines and Arabs in the seventh century to the siege of Vienna in 1683. Special attention is paid to expeditions to the Holy Land in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. Prerequisites: HIS 104 or equivalent required, HIS 341 or 342 recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS416 - History of Britain

This course explores political, social, religious, cultural and military developments in the British Isles from the Anglo-Norman period to the modern era. Prerequisites: HIS 104 or 106 are recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS418 - History of Bourbon France

This course examines the Bourbon monarchy in France from its late 16th century origins to the French Revolution. The cultural, social and political influences that shaped France and Europe from 1598 to 1789 are discussed in their historical context. (3 crs.)

HIS420 - Renaissance and Reformation in Europe

This course is a study of the Renaissance and the Reformation in Europe from the 14th to 16th centuries, with an emphasis on the Italian Renaissance, northern humanism, and the appearance and character of the principal branches of Protestantism. Prerequisites: HIS 104 and 106 or equivalent are recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS422 - History of Antebellum South

The American South is a distinct region that played a major role in the history of the country. The south was wealthy, powerful and unique. The idea of chattel slavery evolved in the American South and caused the entire nation to debate the values and beliefs that they would live by. In the years leading up to the Civil War the south came to define itself as a region with particular politics, economy, and social and racial structure. This course examines the history of that uniqueness and evaluates how it shaped the nation as a whole. (3 crs.)

HIS423 - History of American West

The United States had a concept of "the west" or the frontier through much of its history. The region outside of civilization played a powerful role in shaping a growing nation and became a distinct region with its own politics, economy and culture. (3 crs.)

HIS425 - Topics in Latin American Cultural History

Latin American culture is an amalgamation of the cultures of its many peoples. This course examines the historical roots of Latin America's cultural heritage by focusing on the struggle between mainstream middle- and upper-class culture and lower- and working-class countercultures. It also examines the impact that the Spanish, African, indigenous, Muslim, Jewish, German and Italian, among other communities had on mainstream culture. Finally, it looks at the impact of U.S. cultural imperialism on Latin America.

HIS430 - Topics in Modern Asian Cultural History

This course focuses on the modern Asian cultural histories of India, China and Japan. Major topics include Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Legalism, Confucianism, Islam, Bushido, Shintoism, Jainism, imperialism (and Anti-Imperialism) and industrialization and their impact on Asian culture and politics.

HIS435 - History of Law

This course will trace the origins of Western law from the Roman Republic's Law of the Twelve Tables to the American Articles of the Confederation. Students will gain an understanding of Roman, feudal, Canon, English common, German, French and Spanish legal traditions.

HIS440 - U.S. at War: 19th century

This class examines the principal causes for U.S. foreign wars (declared and undeclared) in the 19th century and the lasting consequences of those engagements, including political, legal, social, cultural, and economic factors. Students will study competing historical explanations for America’s foreign wars, drawing their own conclusions about the efficacy of waging war. In addition to personal narratives of soldiers in combat, the class will focus on changes to society on the home front, racial or gender discrimination, war opposition, media portrayals, and the war’s effect on U.S. territorial expansion or foreign policy. [Note: the U.S. Civil War was arguably not a “foreign” war and will be excluded from careful examination] (3 crs.)

HIS441 - U.S. at War: 20th Century

This class examines the principal causes for U.S. foreign wars (declared and undeclared) in the 20th century and the lasting consequences of those engagements, including political, legal, social, cultural, and economic factors. Students will study competing historical explanations for America’s foreign wars, drawing their own conclusions about the efficacy of waging war. In addition to personal narratives of soldiers in combat, the class will focus on changes to society on the home front, racial or gender discrimination, war opposition, media portrayals, and the war’s effect on U.S. foreign relations. (3 crs.)

HIS445 - Social History of the U.S.

This course is a study of the lives of ordinary Americans throughout the history of the exploration, colonization, inception and proliferation of the United States. It will mainly focus on the adjustment of American communities and social groups (encompassing dynamics of immigration, race, ethnicity, gender, class, age and region) surrounding major wartime eras in U.S. history. (3 crs.)

HIS491 - Readings in History

This course presents a series of guided readings in history, with emphasis given to the significant trends in the writing of history and historical scholarship since the mid-twentieth century. This is a writing-intensive course. HIS 295 is recommended. (3 crs.)

HIS495 - Seminar in History

This course is a study of historians and their writings; changing interpretations of major topics in history; and historical research and writing. This course is a writing-intensive course. Prerequisistes: HIS 295. (3 crs.)