Courses and Requirements
The goal of Hamilton's History Department is to introduce students to the histories of a broad range of cultures, peoples, places and times while honing their skills in writing, speaking and research.
A concentrator’s courses must include at least one course focused on the U.S., at least one course focused on Europe, and at least three courses focused on areas outside of the U.S. and Europe. A concentrator in history must also take one course in pre-modern history. The Department encourages concentrators to develop competence in a foreign language and to use that competence in their historical reading and research.
Beginning with the class of 2020, concentrators shall fulfill the Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies requirement by taking two courses that consider structural and institutional hierarchies. These courses, like all others fulfilling concentration requirements, are listed on the department’s Blackboard site.
Research Seminar (401). Concentrators may fulfill the Senior Program requirement through satisfactory completion (a grade of at least C-) of the research seminar. This course emphasizes the critical evaluation of scholarship in a specific field, culminating in either a historiographical essay or an original essay based upon primary sources and informed by the relevant scholarship.
Independent Senior Thesis (550). Concentrators may pursue an individual project under the direct supervision of a member of the department upon achieving a grade point average in the concentration that is normally 3.5 or higher and with the approval of the department chair and the faculty member supervising the project.
To earn departmental honors, concentrators must earn a grade of A- or higher for the independent senior thesis and make a public presentation of the thesis. They must have a departmental grade point average of 3.5 or above upon graduation, and they must have completed at least one year of college-level study in a foreign language.
A minor in history consists of five courses. Beginning with the class of 2019, one of these five courses must be a Writing Intensive 100-level course. Only two 100-level courses will count toward a minor. At least one course must be at the 300 level or higher, as approved by the department.
A student wishing to be certified to teach social studies in grades 7-12 should contact the Education Studies Program as early as possible.
Murder, Civil War, and Opera.
Ivan the Terrible murdered his heir, and left Russia to face economic collapse and mass hunger without a stable government. Then things got really bad. Did Boris Godunov murder Tsarevich Dmitri? Was the First False Dmitri for real? Only Pushkin knew for sure, but it took Modest Mussorgsky to wrap it up in the greatest Russian opera of all time. This course will explore the relationships between history, art and national identity in Russia. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Russian Studies 100.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Atlantic World in the Era of the Slave Trade.
Survey of the development of the world economy from the 15th to the 19th centuries, with emphasis on the interrelations of Western Europe, Africa and the Americas. Stress on basic skills in the study of history. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Europe and its Empires, 1500-1960.
A survey of European exploration, imperial expansion and post-colonial society. Examines European debates over the principles and objectives of imperialism in the Americas, the Pacific and Africa. Illuminates changing views toward culture, economics, race, gender and nationality. Stress upon basic skills in the interpretation of historical texts and writing. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Early Modern Western Europe, 1450-1800.
Survey of transformation of Western Europe from the Renaissance through the French Revolution. Focuses on social, political, economic and intellectual developments; examination of primary sources and secondary studies. Stress on basic skills in the study of history. (Writing-intensive.) Ambrose.
An Introduction to the History of the United States, 1492-1861.
Introduction to U.S. history and the exploration and settlement of British North America, the encounter between Europeans and Native Americans, the colonial era, the American Revolution, the Federalist Era, and 19th-century U.S. history including the growing national division over slavery, concluding with the onset of the Civil War.
An Introduction to the History of the United States, 1861-2001.
Introduction to U.S. history and an overview of the Civil War and Reconstruction, the emergence of the U.S. as a global power, progressivism and the New Deal, the Cold War, the liberal and radical insurgencies of the 1960s, and the conservative revival of the 1970s to the present. Simons.
The Civilizations of Greece and the Near East.
An introduction to the legacy of ancient Greece and the Near East through the study of history, literature, philosophy and art. (Same as Classics 115.) Weiner.
Europe Since 1815.
A survey of European history in a global context since the Napoleonic period. Focuses on political, social, economic and cultural developments. Stress on basic skills in the study of history. (Writing-intensive.) Grant.
An introduction to the history and culture of ancient Rome. Stress on social history and basic skills in the study of history. (Same as Classics 120.) .
The silk roads were a network of trade routes from China to the Mediterranean Sea. This course explores ancient Eurasian trade, language, religion, art and power as Chinese, Turks, Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Mongols and many others interacted across vast distances. We will study how historians think, considering texts, archeology, linguistics, and art as sources of evidence. (Writing-intensive.) Stress on basic skills in the study of history. Maximum enrollment, 20.
This seminar interrogates the role of cities in African-American life. Through course readings and assignments, we will develop an alternative genealogy of black urban life that pushes against predominant narratives of urban crisis and dysfunction to consider instead how cities have also fostered black community, culture, and creativity. At the end of course, using census data, newspapers, city directories, novels, photographs, and oral history interviews, students will work in groups to map the history of black social, cultural, and political institutions on the South Side of Chicago (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Conquest of the Americas.
This class follows the violent emergence of a new society in the Americas in the half-century from Columbus’s encounter with the Caribbean in 1492 through Cortés’s and Pizarro’s lightning conquests of the Aztec and Inca Empires. It examines the interactions between indigenous peoples and Europeans in conjunction with Spain’s moral crisis over the brutality of its own imperial regime. Analyzes primary sources (Spanish, indigenous, and mixed) and explores how historians make meaning out of the past by using texts, records of warfare, bodies, and the environment as sources of evidence. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Hispanic Studies 126.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Cooley.
An introduction to origins, essential beliefs, popular practices and institutions of Buddhism. Examines the life of Buddha, his teachings (Dharma) and Buddhist communities through a range of Buddhist texts, art and archaeological sources. (Writing-intensive.) Open to all students (Same as Religious Studies 144.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Philip Friedrich.
Christianity to 1500.
A survey of the origins and development of the Christian religion in its social, political, and cultural contexts from the first century CE to the eve of the Protestant Reformation. Special consideration will be given to questions of orthodoxy versus heresy, the cult of saints, and the impact of Christian theology on the construction of class, gender, and identity in medieval Europe. Stress on basic skills in the study of history. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Myth and History of the Middle Ages.
The Middle Ages continue to be one of the most tantalizing, but misunderstood, periods in European history. This course takes on some of the biggest preconceptions and myths about medieval culture -- religious violence, barbarian hordes, witch hunts, intellectual stagnation -- and subjects them to critical scrutiny using original sources. What we discover is that the "real" Middle Ages was a far more fascinating, and perhaps stranger, period than you imagined. (Writing-intensive.) Stress on basic skills in the study of history. Maximum enrollment, 20. Eldevik.
The Megacity in Global Perspective: Power, Space, and Everyday Life.
Today the world has 28 megacities, with populations of 10 million or more people. Sixteen of these cities are in Asia. By 2030 there will be 41 megacities, with Tokyo and Delhi the largest urban conglomerations with 37 and 36 million people. Drawing upon novels, ethnographic accounts, historical documents, architectural and design plans, the course explores space and economic opportunities, contestations over infrastructure, and attempts to address gender, ethnic, and income disparities, human resourcefulness and entrepreneurship. (Writing-intensive.) Stress on basic skills in the study of history. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Making Modern Cities.
This course examines the design of buildings and cities by professional architects, urban planners, and developers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also addresses utopian projects and theoretical texts that have influenced modern design. We will furthermore illuminate in western and non-western contexts the relationships between the architecture of cities and economic and political processes. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first-year students only (Same as Environmental Studies 156.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Trivedi.
Environmental History: An Introduction.
This course introduces students to environmental history by examining both foundational scholarship and new research in the field. It will explore the methods and sources—including texts, images, sounds, artifacts, and site visits—that historians use to uncover the natural environment’s past. As an introduction to the history of the natural environment, this course equips students to pursue new areas of inquiry and provide them with a different lens through which to view familiar topics. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Environmental Studies 157.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Simons.
America in the Two World Wars.
This course examines the involvement of the United States in the two world wars of the twentieth century, 1917-1918, and 1941-1945. It combines military history with an in-depth consideration of the impact of the wars on U.S. politics, society, economics, and international relations. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) (Open to first-year students only) Maximum enrollment, 16.
Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean.
This introductory survey traces the history of the medieval world following the breakup of the Roman empire in the fifth century through the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Special emphasis will be given to the Mediterranean as an evolving locus of cultural and religious interaction, exchange, and conflict between the Latin West, Byzantine East, and Islamic realms of North Africa and the Middle East. Readings for the course will be drawn mainly from primary sources.
Exploring Culture in the Great Cities of Asia.
An interdisciplinary exploration of Asian cultures through cities in China, India and Japan from early times to the 20th century. Examines the history and geography of greater Asia; its diverse peoples and their philosophical and literary traditions; their religious and commercial practices; and their art. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Asian Studies 180.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Trivedi and Wilson.
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Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.
The Dark Ages aren't what they used to be! This course surveys the social, economic and religious history in Europe and the Mediterranean from ca. 200 to 1000 AD, with particular attention to questions of continuity between the Roman Empire and its successors states in the east and west, the rise of Christianity and Islam, and the creation of new ethnic identities and social structures in the post-Roman world.
African-American History to 1877.
Traces African-American history from the slave trade through the end of Reconstruction. Course material will include secondary and primary sources, including slave narratives, court documents, photography, music, and advertisements. The course will consider broad themes, including agency and resistance, the relationship of race to categories of gender, class, and sexuality, and the meaning of freedom. (Same as Africana Studies 203.)
African-American History from 1877 to the Present.
Examines the history of African Americans in the post-emancipation United States, looking closely at black communities during periods of industrialization, migration, war, and globalization. Lectures and discussion will draw on primary sources, including films, novels, poetry, radio and television, and speeches. Conversations will focus on the diversity of experiences and identities that have comprised the African-American experience in the United States. (Same as Africana Studies 204.)
Slums and the City.
This course examines the relationship of the slum to the city, and of slum dwellers to urban life and economy in the Asian continent, which has the largest share of the world’s slums. It focuses on the cultural, social, economic, and political processes that shape this urban housing form, introducing students to theories on low-income housing and enhancing our knowledge of prevailing regional and global politics and economies.
Modern Germany: 1789 to the Present.
Political, cultural and social developments, with emphasis on the authoritarian versus the liberal tradition, unity and modernization, the World Wars, Nazi tyranny, postwar division and unification. Kelly.
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the transatlantic world experienced a period of unprecedented upheaval, which, arguably, ushered in the modern world. The word “revolution” itself was transformed in meaning. This course will explore at both a theoretical and empirical level four revolutions: the American Revolution, the French revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the Spanish American wars of liberation. What accounts for the disaffection? How did the causes, content, and consequences of these movements differ?
The American Civil War.
Examines the causes, conduct and legacy of the American Civil War, with particular attention to the debate over slavery, the divergent social, economic and cultural development of the southern and northern states, the religious dimension of the war, battle front strategy and home front mobilization, the politics of emancipation, reconstruction, redemption and reconciliation, and the Civil War in popular memory down to the present. Isserman.
Contemporary Culture and Politics in India.
Cultural and political-economic dynamics in post-colonial India. Traverses early and more recent anthropological approaches to rural village social structure, including dimensions of hierarchy, gender, religion, communication and economy; relatively recent transformations in expressions thereof that are national in scope; and relatively new considerations of the importance of media, including cultural productions disseminated through audio-cassettes, film and television, as the economy undergoes neo-liberal transformations. Prerequisite, one course in anthropology, History/Asian Studies 180 or consent of instructor.
Early Russian History From Rurik to Alexander II.
A survey of Russian history from Kievan Rus’ to the Great Reforms of Alexander II. Emphasis on the development of Russia from scattered principalities to empire and the struggle for an identity between Europe and Asia. (Same as Russian Studies 221.) Keller.
Modern Russian History.
Russia from the 1861 emancipation of the serfs to the present. Study of revolution and continuity throughout the modern period, with an emphasis on the multi-national character of the Russian/Soviet state. (Same as Russian Studies 222.) Keller.
Gender and Violence in the Middle Ages.
This course serves as an introduction to the field of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Drawing on multiple disciplinary perspectives, including those of literature, law, history, and art, we will examine the intersection of ideas about the body, gender, and violence in the European Middle Ages. Readings may include the Bible and early patristic writings; the lives of saints; poems and advice manuals on courtly love; depictions of women in the Crusades; Icelandic sagas; and perspectives on the trial of Joan of Arc. Prerequisite, One 100-level course in literature or history, or AP 4 or 5 in English or history. (Same as Literature 223 and Medieval and Renaissance Studies 223.) Maximum enrollment, 24.
The Art of Empire: Vienna, 1683-1945.
This course explores the history of the Hapsburg Empire and Austria through the art, architecture, literature, and music of its great capital, Vienna, with a particular focus on its role as a center of artistic and cultural production in the long nineteenth century. Readings will include authors like Zweig and Freud, as well as listening to the music of Beethoven and Mahler, and viewing the art of Klimt and Kokoschka, among others. Course includes one required, day-long Saturday excursion to the Neue Galerie museum in New York City. John Eldevik.
History of European Thought, 1345-1789.
European philosophy, science, and politics in the early modern period laid the foundations for the modern world. This course focuses on major texts written by innovative thinkers to illuminate centuries-old conversations about fundamental questions concerning the use of power, the nature of knowledge, and the boundaries of personhood. Beginning in the early Renaissance, the course spans the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment.
History of Ideas: Science and Revolution from the Enlightenment to the present.
This course examines the development of modern science and philosophy with emphasis on the ideas, objects, and institutions that shaped natural knowledge between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries. Rapid socio-economic and technological change disrupted traditional systems and hierarchies in communities around the world, generating new ideas about personhood, nature, and the divine. This course explores the intersection of practice and knowledge creation in a global context, combining study of original texts and experiential learning, including visits to special collections. Cooley.
Environment and International Relations.
International relations are inseparable from the natural environment. Whether it’s claiming access to land and resources, responding to natural disaster and disease, or crafting foreign policy, the natural world both shapes and is shaped by interactions among state and non-state actors. Lectures and discussions in this historically focused course will explore the environmental underpinnings of international relations through topics such as food and agriculture, energy, foreign aid and development, and climate change. Simons.
The American Founding: Ideals and Reality.
An intensive analysis of the philosophical ideals of the Founding Era (1763-1800) and their uneven realization. Social histories of various races, genders and classes will help illuminate the inherent ambiguities, weaknesses, strengths and legacies of the social and political philosophies of late 18th-century America. Prerequisite, Government 117, Philosophy 117 or a 100-level course in history. May count toward a concentration in either history or government. Not open to students who have taken History 240 or 374. (Same as College Courses and Seminars 229 and Government 229.) Maximum enrollment, 24.
Britain, Ireland, Empire, 1485-1701.
This course examines the shifting boundaries of sovereignty and religion in Britain and Ireland in the period from the founding of the Tudor monarchy to the Glorious Revolution. It simultaneously shows how England developed its power overseas through trade, colonization, and privateering. This course illuminates the disparate, multicultural societies over which the English monarchy extended its rule, demonstrating how tumultuous struggles to consolidate and sustain political authority in the ‘Atlantic archipelago’ corresponded with the global expansion of British commerce.
Britain, Ireland, Empire, 1688-2007.
This course examines the fraught relationship between Great Britain and Ireland from the Glorious Revolution to the era of New Labour and the Good Friday peace accord. It shows how British society was transformed by commerce and industrialization, and how the development and eventual collapse of the overseas empire influenced British politics and culture. In addressing the post-imperial era, the course places emphasis on the Cold War, the effects of the decline of Britain’s industrial economy, and immigration from the Commonwealth.
Laozi and Confucius in History.
Examination of the two most significant figures in Chinese history and the disciples and schools that traced their origins to them. Discussion of the texts attributed to Laozi and Confucius, the conflicting interpretations of their teachings from ancient times to the present, and the proliferation of schools that claimed to transmit their original meanings. An eminent Chinese historian once said, “Every era has its own Confucius. There are many different Confuciuses in any one era.” This adage, as we shall see, applies to both. Prerequisite, One course on Asian history, religion, or philosophy, or consent of instructor.
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Women in Modern Asia.
Key dimensions of women’s relationships to colonial and national states in Asia during the 20th century. Introduction to distinct cultural systems in Asia with emphasis on how religion, ethnicity and class shape lives of women in Asian societies. Roles of women in politics, economics and social reform under both colonial and national states. Extensive use of biography, autobiography and memoir. (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 235.)
The Making of Modern India, 1526-1947.
An intermediate-level survey of the history of South Asia from the Mughal Empire to independence. Comparative emphasis upon changes in social identities, political systems and economic life. Primary documents draw forward the perspective of rulers, merchants, women, reformers, workers, colonial officials and nationalists. Not open to first-year students in the fall. Trivedi.
American Colonial History.
A survey of early America from European contact through the Revolution, with emphasis on Indian relations, settlement patterns, political, economic and social development, religious and cultural life, and regional similarities and differences. Not open to first-year students.
The Old South.
Examination of the development of Southern society from European settlement through the Confederacy. Emphasis on evolution of slavery and political development; religious, intellectual and cultural life; slave life and resistance; gender and family relations; secession; and the legacy of Southern history. Paquette and Ambrose.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote one of the most influential assessments ever written about politics and culture in the United States. Tocqueville traveled widely and his insights into religion, slavery, private association, democratic procedure, individualism, and the American mind and character have been recited and explored by legions of writers.This course will center on reading Tocqueville's work to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the text. Not open to first-year students. Ambrose.
Is religion a source of conflict in the modern world? Investigates examples of religious difference and negotiation from Asia and Europe. Focus on political and religious differences over sacred space, conversion, and Love-Jihad, and interactions among Hindus and Muslims in India. (Same as Religious Studies 244.) Abhishek Amar.
Environment and US Global Expansion.
The geography of the continental United States seems like the result of inexorable sea-to-sea growth. This survey of environmental history of the American frontier aims to upset this inevitability and approach US expansion as the accumulation of foreign landscapes that Americans shaped into the United States. The course challenges the idea of a westward-moving frontier that disappeared in 1890, instead following it as it moved overseas, into popular culture, and even beyond the earth. Simons.
"Cracking India:" Historical and Literary Perspectives on Partition.
Interdisciplinary seminar investigates the 1947 partition of British India into the independent nations of India and Pakistan from multiple perspectives and drawing on a variety of sources, including conventional and oral histories, memoirs, fiction and film. Focus on gender and class as well as religious differences. Prerequisite, an introductory course in either history or literature.
Architectures of Occupation and Resistance.
What does the architecture of buildings and cities tell us about systematic oppression and political control? What options for resistance exist in structures of occupation and dispossession? This course examines how the design of the built environment is shaped by social hierarchies and political agendas. We will also examine how occupation and resistance are in constant flux, and how the dispossessed find ways to act politically and to resist strategies of domination through their everyday spatial practices and tactics. Students who have taken HIST 366W Space, Society and Power are ineligible to enroll for this course.
A survey of American life from 1789 to 1900, with emphasis on the origins of political parties, the growth of democracy, sectional conflict and war, and the transformation of America from an agrarian to an industrial state.
Recent American History: The United States, 1941 to the Present.
A survey of American political, economic, cultural and social life from the start of the Second World War to the present. Topics include the Second World War, the Cold War, McCarthyism, the Civil Rights Movement, the sixties and their aftermath, and the Reagan Revolution and its aftermath. Isserman.
Islam and Modernity in South Asia.
This course develops a nuanced understanding of Islam and its role in shaping socio-religious and political landscape of modern and pre-modern South Asia. Questioning misconceptions of Islam, it examines its mideast origins, Qur'an, theology, law, religious practices, Shi'i and Sufi traditions, expansion in South Asia, colonialism, and modernity. Readings include secondary, literary, architectural and archaeological sources. Next offered Fall 2018. Not open to students who have taken RELST 213: Islam and Modernity in South Asia (Same as Religious Studies 256.)
Priests, Warriors and Commoners in Early/Ancient India.
A factual and analytical study of South Asia History from the rise of the Indus Valley Civilization to the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate (ca. 2500 BCE-1200 CE). Introduces major processes, narratives and interpretations of early India by exploring urbanization, empires and regional states, mercantile and trade networks, and development and transformation of Buddhism and Hinduism. Adopts a multi-disciplinary examination of literary, archaeological and art-historical sources. Of interest to students of history, art history, literature and religion.
What is nature? This course examines the rise of modern science with emphasis on the ideas, objects, and institutions that shaped natural knowledge between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Natural knowledge took on new forms in the hands of natural philosophers such as Leonard Da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon, and Sir Isaac Newton. The course examines a wide range of historical sources to trace new means of collecting, experimenting, and observing in Europe and its expanding overseas empires.
Modern Middle Eastern History.
A survey of the Middle East from Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 to the present. Examines Muslim responses to European imperialism, political and cultural developments, the impact of the Cold War and the continuing Arab-Israeli rivalry. Keller.
Conservative Thought in the United States.
Survey of major conservative thinkers and their writings from the founding of the United States to present. Focuses on various strains of right-of-center thinking, the growth of a mainstream conservative worldview in the antebellum South, the rise of the modern conservative movement under William F. Buckley after World War II, and fissures in the movement after the fall of the Soviet Union.
South Africa: From Colonialism to Democracy.
Survey from the first Dutch settlement on the Cape in 1652 through the first multiracial democratic election in 1994. Issues will be explored through the experiences of indigenous peoples, such as the Khoisan, Zulu and Xhosa, migrant laborers from Asia, the “coloured” community, Afrikaners and British settlers. (Same as Africana Studies 278.) Grant.
Emperor, Gentryman, and Commoner in Ming-Qing China.
Study of Chinese cultural and social history during the Ming and Qing dynasties (thirteenth to the nineteenth century) from the perspectives of the emperor, the Confucian gentry, and commoners. Focuses on the ritual roles of the emperor and civil officials, and the range of commoner experiences. Considers the intersection of religious practices among the emperor, Confucian officials, and commoners; the decline of the medieval aristocracy and emergence of the Confucian gentry; the family, gender, and foot binding. No previous knowledge of Asian history required.
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Rebellious Union: Britain and Ireland, c 1688-1998.
A survey of the political relationship between Britain and Ireland, situated in the broader context of the British Empire. Examines this relationship from the colonial era through the Good Friday agreement of 1998, with emphasis upon the development of national cultures, political parties, rebel movements, and government institutions and policies. Prerequisite, one 100-level history course or consent of instructor.
Modernity and Nationhood in China.
Examination of the social and cultural forces contributing to the decline of imperial institutions beginning in the 19th century, as found in the Taiping Rebellion, cultural interaction with Western missionaries, traders, and military and nationalist revolutions in the 20th century. Readings and class discussions consider the coherence of nationhood in Chinese identity and reexamine the “Western impact” as a force in the formation of modernism in China. Wilson.
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The Byzantine Empire.
For more than 1000 years following the breakup of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, preserved the legacy of imperial Rome in the medieval Mediterranean. This lecture-discussion course will explore the history of the Byzantine Empire, from the reign of Constantine the Great (ca. 330) to the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Religious, social, and political developments will be considered, along with medieval Greek contributions to the economy and culture of the wider Mediterranean world. Eldevik.
Classics of Modern Social Thought.
Reading and discussion of major thinkers in the development of modern Western social thought. Authors include Machiavelli, Rousseau, Burke, Marx, Darwin, Weber, Freud, Mannheim and de Beauvoir. Emphasis on class presentations, debates, book notes and class protocols. Works examined from historical, sociological, psychological and philosophical perspectives. Prerequisite, one course in history or sociology. May count toward a concentration in either history or sociology. (Same as Sociology 290.) Maximum enrollment, 24.
For nearly 400 years, Christian knights dreamed of recovering Jerusalem and the Holy Land from its Muslim occupiers. Their campaigns, though mostly unsuccessful, profoundly transformed the Mediterranean world and relations between Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Through a close examination of the primary sources, this course will study the origins and progress of Crusades as both a series of military campaigns as well as a framework medieval observers from the Latin, Greek, and Arabic worlds used to understand interreligious conflict and interaction. Eldevik.
Christianity in America, 1600-1890.
Examination of Christianity in America from the era of European settlement to the end of the 19th century. Topics include encounters with Native American religions, revivalism, sectarianism, slavery and antislavery, religion and politics, theological developments, popular beliefs and practices, and the rise of unbelief.
The Philosophy of History.
This historiography course examines such enduring issues as causation, general laws, fact and explanation, objectivity, pattern and meaning, uniqueness and the role of the individual. Readings from classic and contemporary texts, with emphasis on the practical, historiographical implications of philosophical theories. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, two 200-level history courses or one 100-level history course and one course in philosophy. (Same as Philosophy 301 .) Maximum enrollment, 20.
A History of Work.
How do we understand the rise of modern industrial society? Examines the narrative of industrialization in a comparative historical framework. Emphasis is placed on the history of industrialization through an examination of the rise of key industries, the formation of middle and working classes, the role of colonialism in economic development, and the relationship of class and gender in the modern world. Students read monographs, as well as a variety of primary sources including memoirs, government documents, and reformist literature. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
The History of Hamilton College.
Examination of the history of Hamilton College from its founding as the Hamilton Oneida Academy in 1793 to its bicentennial celebration in 2012. Topics include Samuel Kirkland’s mission to the Oneida, curricular reform, the College in the wider world, the rise and fall of Kirkland College, campus life and politics. Students will make extensive use of the College archives and write a research paper on some aspect of Hamilton’s history. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200 level U.S. history course or permission of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
This research course examines the origins of the Nazi movement, Hitler and the Nazi Party, daily life in the Third Reich, origins and causes of World War II and the Holocaust. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 212 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Competition and Coexistence: Exploring Inter-Religious Dynamics in South Asia.
Examination of interactions among diverse religious traditions of South Asia and of issues linked to socio-religious identities and political landscape. Analyzes interactions and dialogues among multiple religious orders including the Vedic Priests, Renouncer orders (i.e., Buddhism and Jainism), Hinduism and Islam. Investigation of strategies adopted by different religious traditions to compete, critique, borrow, modify and appropriate literary and material cultural elements from each other, examining literature, epigraphs, sacred imagery and reconfigurations of sacred landscape. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one history course. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Power and Lordship in Medieval Europe.
This historiography course examines the social and economic development of early European society, with a focus on peasant life, ecclesiastical institutions and aristocratic power in the context of contemporary medieval intellectual debates about justice, order and inequality in a Christian society. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course. Maximum enrollment, 20. Eldevik.
Russia’s Destiny: Political Thought from Peter to Putin.
Russian thinkers have long been tormented about where they belong in the world. Imperial Russia wanted to be a great European power, but the Slavophiles argued that Russia had a unique destiny that was neither European nor Asian. The Soviet Union suppressed but never destroyed these ideas, and Putin uses them to legitimize his government. This historiography seminar will study Russian political philosophy with an emphasis on the meaning of history. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, Any 200- level history course. This course will next be offered in Spring 2018. Maximum enrollment, 20.
"The Making of American Scripture".
An intensive examination of the relation between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from the time of the founding to the end of the Civil War. How did the founders and framers understand the relation? What key political and legal events changes that understanding? How did leading thinkers and activists frame the ideas of liberty and equality? What role did slavery play in the debate? Did Abraham Lincoln change the meaning of the Union? (Writing-intensive.) First-year students can register only with permission of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Rebels, Radicals and Reformers in Pre-Modern Europe.
Tackles the problem of religious deviancy and political dissent in Europe between about 1000 and 1650 with several key questions in mind: How did people cope with the conflicting demands of authority and social justice in the world, and reconcile flawed earthly institutions with the idea of an eternal heavenly order? How can modern historians recover the intentions and thoughts of people whose ideas were often intentionally scrubbed from the historical record? Readings will consist of primary source material as well as recent scholarly literature on the subject. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Seminar: Confucian Traditions.
Examination of Confucian thought and ritual practice from classical times to the early 20th century. Emphasis on reading philosophical and ritual texts in translation in order to understand the various ways that Confucians understood their place in Chinese society. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, relevant coursework in history, Asian studies or religious studies, or consent of instructor. (Same as Philosophy 337.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Topic: Seminar in American Religions.
Topic for 2018: Mormonism in America and the World. The United States is one of the most religious of the world’s industrialized nations, so understanding the nation requires an understanding of religion’s role in American history and culture. This course provides an in-depth examination of selected themes in American religious history, culminating in student-driven research projects. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in American history or Religious Studies, or instructor consent. (Same as Religious Studies 338.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Newell.
Columbus’s Library: Texts, Travel and the Medieval Imagination.
Examination of works of geography, natural history, travel, and exploration that informed how medieval readers imagined the wider world and its peoples as Europe embarked on an era of unprecedented expansion and growth. Special attention to texts read by Columbus in preparation for what he thought would be a voyage to East Asia, such as Pliny’s Natural History, Travels of Marco Polo, and Travels of Sir John Mandeville, but other traditions, such as Alexander Romance, the legend of Prester John, apocalyptic theology, Crusader histories, and Arab travel literature will also be considered. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in history or Asian studies. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Topic: Studies in American Colonial History.
Topic for Fall 2018: Culture and Community in Early America. This historiographical course focuses on one of the central questions of American history: How did migration to America affect the cultural and social values and practices of migrant peoples? We will concentrate on peoples from Europe and Africa who came to North America, both willingly and unwillingly, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. To what extent did transplantation result in cultural persistence and change? How have historians explained the processes of acculturation and identity formation? (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level course in American history or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Ambrose.
The Minds of the Old South: Southern Intellectual History, 1700-1877.
Investigation of the intellectual and cultural history of white and black southern Americans from 1700 through Reconstruction. Topics include religious beliefs and practices, literary production and consumption, political and social thought, and relation of southern thought to national and transatlantic developments. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Ambrose.
The Soviet Union as a Multi-National State.
The USSR claimed to be a revolutionary political form: a state based on the voluntary union of workers from over 100 different nationalities. The Bolsheviks intended to lead Russian peasants, Kyrgyz nomads and Chechen mountaineers together into the bright Communist future. What they actually achieved is another question. Explores the concepts of nation, empire and modernization in the Soviet context. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 221, 222 or consent of instructor. (Same as Russian Studies 345.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Keller.
Slavery and the Civil War.
A study of the causes and consequences of the Civil War, with emphasis on antebellum society, sectional tensions, Abraham Lincoln and military strategy. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 251, Africana Studies 101 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Race, Science, and the Origins of the Modern World.
This historiographical seminar traces theories of race from their origins in the Renaissance to the present. It examines how race, in conjunction with sex and gender, developed as an idea through the natural sciences in the context of Europe’s global imperial expansion. Subjects include natural history, breeding livestock, taxonomy, racial typology, evolutionary theory, and genetics. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level history course or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Cooley.
Seminar on the Sixties.
Examination of a critical period in recent U.S. history, with special attention to the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, campus protest and the origins of the women’s movement. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in American history. Maximum enrollment, 20.
The History of American Exploration and Outdoor Adventure.
This research course examines how the history and culture of the United States is bound up with that of the discovery and exploration of the New World. A focus on the meaning of that legacy for Americans from the 19th century on. Topics covered will include military exploration and surveys of the west, the development of a wilderness and a conservation ethic, and the growth of mountaineering and similar outdoor endeavors. (same as Environmental Studies 354.) (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level U.S. history course, or consent of instructor. (Same as Environmental Studies 354.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Histories of Human Rights.
This research course examines how human rights have been defined by governments and non-governmental organizations, and how human rights have been advanced and contested as matters of foreign policy since the late nineteenth century. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level history course, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Grant.
Seminar: Death, Dying and the Afterlife.
How do humans prepare to die? What happens to the soul after death? What techniques are used to achieve immortality or better afterlife? Examines death and the afterlife from medical, philosophical and religious perspectives, focusing on Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. (Writing-intensive.) Not open to those who have taken Religious Studies 119 or 248 (Same as Religious Studies 357.) Maximum enrollment, 12. A Amar.
The Early Republic, 1787 to 1815: From Philadelphia to New Orleans.
An intensive examination of the early history of the great American experiment in republican government from the Constitutional Convention to the Battle of New Orleans. Focus on the origin and ratification of the Constitution, rise of the first party system, slavery and its expansion, foreign relations, Jefferson's presidency, and War of 1812. The Federalist to be read in its entirety. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 100-level history course. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Colonial Encounters in Asia.
This research course examines encounters between Asian and Western peoples from Marco Polo to the present. Consideration of problems of orientalism/occidentalism and reassessment of the myth of the Western “impact” on Asia by learning how Asian peoples understood the West and the ways that Europe, too, was affected by these encounters. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level course in History or Asian Studies or consent of instructor. No knowledge of Asian history required. Maximum enrollment, 12. Trivedi.
Power, Space, and Society: From the Industrial to the Global City.
This research and historiography course explores industrial, metropolitan, colonial, and post-colonial cities in order to understand the roles of architecture and urban planning in political power and society since the nineteenth century. It examines how spatial organization and the built environment have been used to maintain social control, shape social behavior, and foster national identity. Each student shall determine in consultation with the faculty whether his or her written work will focus on research or historiography. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level course in History or Asian Studies or consent of the instructors. Students who have taken HIST 249: Architectures of Occupation and Resistance are ineligible to enroll for this course. Maximum enrollment, 20. Trivedi.
The History and Literature of Himalayan Mountaineering, from the 19th Century to the Present.
Examines Himalayan mountaineering over the past 150 years, and its roots in imperial expansion, national competition, and cultural and social evolution. Topics include mountaineering in the age of empire, George Leigh-Mallory’s death on Everest, American mountaineering in the Himalaya, conquest of the 8,000 meter peaks, Sherpas' role in mountaineering, and the rise of commercial mountaineering. Special attention to mountaineering on Everest. Includes an optional two-week, spring break trip: students, supervised by Hamilton's Outdoor Leadership program, will trek in Nepal's Everest region. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Environmental Studies 367.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Maurice Isserman.
Topics in South Asian History: Photography, Women, and Labor in India.
Exploration of the theory and process of museum exhibition curating, taught in conjunction with the preparation of a photography exhibition the Wellin Museum. Emphasis on the early 20th century history of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, including that of the textile industry, nationalist politics, social reform, and women’s labor, as well as the history photography and the repurposing of archival imagery. Students will work collaboratively on exhibition materials, including image selection and layout, catalog and wall text production, and multimedia materials such as podcasts Prerequisite, One 200-level history course or permission of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Environmental Catastrophes and US History.
This research seminar examines how environmental catastrophes—both natural and human made—have changed the course of U.S. history. Through its exploration of inundations, conflagrations, famines, epidemics, and other disasters, the course will consider how Americans made sense of these events and in turn remade their landscapes, institutions, and social relations or-in some cases-chose not to in order to demonstrate their power over the natural world. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in history or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Gandhi: His Life and Times.
This research and historiography course examines primary sources written by Mohandas K. Gandhi and his associates, as well as Gandhi’s autobiography and other scholarly works. Emphasis will be placed on different approaches to understanding Gandhi’s philosophy, his significance and his legacies in India, South Africa and the larger world. Topics include non-violence, the role of the individual in history and nationalist historiography. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Black business: African-American culture and the making of the US economy.
Seminar investigates the economic and material underpinnings of African-American culture from the end of slavery through the late-twentieth century, focusing in each historical era on the systems of production, distribution, and consumption that ensured its centrality to the US and world economies. Discussion topics will include the economy of antebellum nostalgia, the commercialization of gospel, “race records,” and hip-hop, African-American beauty firms, and the growth of the black press. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level history course or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Violence, Law, and Justice in the Middle Ages.
Telling a prisoner that you’re going to “get medieval” on them does not have positive connotations. At the same time, medieval texts like Magna Carta are held up as having made fundamental contributions to liberal political theory. This research seminar invites students to explore key issues in the development of legal thought and practice in the medieval West that help us understand how various communities and institutions addressed the problem of violence, administered justice, and created social and religious order through law. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level history course. Maximum enrollment, 20.
US International Relations: Race, Empire, and Transnational History.
This research course examines US international relations in the twentieth century. Course discussions focus on the reproduction of race alongside the growth of US economic, cultural, political, and military power overseas, including Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The course traces how imperial networks have shaped racial categories in the United States, and it examines the formation of transnational political and cultural affiliations such as Pan-Africanism. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level history course or consent of the instructor. (Same as Government 379.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Topics in British and Irish History.
Courses on different subjects and themes in British and Irish history. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course, or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Foucault: History, Sexuality, and Power.
This course examines the work of Michel Foucault and the impact of his genealogical method on the discipline of history. Discussion of the birth of the prison and the spread of its disciplinary practices throughout society since the 18th century and the shift in his understanding of power from formal institutional mechanisms imposed on individuals to disciplinary practices that served to construct the self as an ethical subject. The course considers Foucault’s impact on the historiography of sexuality and colonialism through writings of scholars influenced by and critical of his work. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level course in History or Philosophy, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Wilson.
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Paris Noir: Twentieth-Century Black Internationalism.
This historiography course explores the transnational connections between African-American and African diasporic histories in Paris. It draws on a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and primary sources, including literature, music, film, and visual art, to consider the development of diasporic politics, the vogue for black exoticism, jazz, the Harlem Renaissance and négritude, civil rights and decolonization, and the global dimensions of Black Power. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, A course in history, Africana Studies, or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Topics in American Religious History: Church and State in America, c 1607-1900.
This historiography course examines the relation between religion and politics in America from era of English colonization through the 19th century. Topics include colonial church establishments; Roger Williams; Revolution and disestablishment; Jefferson and the “wall of separation”; providentialism and nationalism; nativism and anti-Catholicism; and the limits of separation. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course or consent of instructor. This course is repeatable. Maximum enrollment, 20.
The Crusades in History and Literature.
From the twelfth century the Crusades and crusading ideology produced a remarkable body of historiography and literature that provides insight into changing social, cultural, and religious sensibilities in Europe and the Muslim world. This seminar asks students to engage in close reading and analysis of medieval and modern sources reflecting the intellectual, religious, and political questions raised in representing the Crusades and the perceived existential struggle between Christendom and Islam. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level history course. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Seminar: History of Gods.
This historiography course offers a comparative study of how gods have been conceived and venerated in early Mediterranean and Asian societies. Students read liturgical texts, hymns and myths to consider the variety of conceptions of gods and the range of ritual forms used to venerate them across the Euro-Asian continent. Draws from theoretical readings to consider such problems as polytheism and monotheism, myth and ritual. Each student shall determine in consultation with the faculty whether his or her written work will focus on historiography or research. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level History course. Maximum enrollment, 16. Wilson.
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Lives Against Apartheid.
This research course examines the experiences and objectives of protest against the apartheid regime in South Africa through the autobiographies and memoirs of leading participants in the anti-apartheid movement. Illuminates the different aspects of resistance to apartheid and demonstrates how autobiographies now contest the politics of protest and the legitimacy of authority in the post-apartheid, “non-racial” South African democracy. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course or consent of instructor. 278 strongly recommended, though not required. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Research Seminar in History.
Critical evaluation of scholarship on a selected topic, culminating in a historiographical essay, or primary research on a selected topic, culminating in an original, interpretive essay. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, concentration in history or consent of instructor. Open only to seniors. Maximum enrollment, 20. Day Moore.
Research Seminar in History.
Critical evaluation of scholarship on a selected topic, culminating in a historiographical essay, or primary research on a selected topic, culminating in an original, interpretive essay. This section is open only on an as-needed basis. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, H401 and consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Keller.
A project limited to senior concentrators in history, resulting in a thesis supervised by a member of the department. Prerequisite, A GPA in the concentration of 3.7 or higher. Required of candidates for departmental honors. Grant.
A project limited to senior concentrators in history, resulting in a thesis expanded beyond the work of 550. Prerequisite, 550 and consent of instructor. Keller.
(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)