Fall 2017 Course Offerings

HIST 101: Introduction to Historical Thinking and Analysis

History “Boot Camp.” Provides an introduction to the discipline and craft of history and prepares majors for the senior research and methods seminar. Explores a particular area of historical study and teaches the fundamentals of historical inquiry – theoretical and practical. Take early in your first semester as a history major!

Section 1: New World Slavery and Freedom, Benjamin Johnson MWF 8–8:50AM

Uses the comparative study of slavery, freedom, emancipation, and exclusion in the New World to illustrate the key tools of the historian's trade. We will spend particular time on the comparative histories of Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, and the US during and after emancipation.

Section 2: The Twenties, Roberta L. Wollons, TTh 12:30PM– 1:45PM

This course is an introduction to the discipline and craft of history. This section will focus on “The Twenties,” including such topics as Prohibition, the new youth culture, the conservative religious and social backlash, immigration restrictions, and the economics that lead to the Great Depression.

HIST 160L: East Asian Civilizations to 1850

Luman Wang  TTh 9.30-10:45AM

This survey course explores the histories of China, Korea and Japan from 1500 BC to 1850 CE through three themes: fluidity in East Asian culture and “tradition;” political and socio-economic continuity and change over three millennia; encounters between East Asia and the world

HIST 210L: Labor and Working Class History in the United States

Steve Striffler T/Th 9:30AM–10:45AM

HIST 211: Foundations of Western Civilization    

Elizabeth McCahill MWF 11:00AM–11:50AM

This course uses case studies to survey themes of European history from the 12th century BCE to 1650, especially politics, cultural history, and the ways the legacy of antiquity was understood and appropriated by later ages.

HIST 212: Modern Western Civilization

This course explores, thematically, how the term “Western Civilization” has been defined and redefined over the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.

Section 1: Ruth Miller T/Th 11:00AM-12:15PM

Section 2 (at Copley Square): Thomas Johnson W 6:00PM-9:00PM

HIST 213: World History to 1800

Maryann Brink Online

“Around the World in Sixteen Weeks”: from Blombos, Africa to the Tang Dynasty, from Mauryan India to the Incan Empire, from the American and French Revolutions to the Haitian Revolution and Bolivar in South America. Don't'll miss a decade!

HIST 214: Modern World History

Section 1: Jennifer Sutton T/Th 8:00AM–9:15AM

Section 2: Gary Miller T/Th 4:00PM–5:15PM

At Copley Square: Gary Miller M 6:00PM-9:00PM

Online: Maryann Brink

This class will explore world history during the past two centuries, concentrating on the transformation and modernization of the traditional, hierarchical, rural society of Europe during the period of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, and the interaction between western and non-western societies during the age of imperialism and colonialism.

HIST 224G: Revolutionaries

David Hunt MWF 1–1:50PM

This course will analyze the costs and achievements of the Soviet experiment from the Russian Revolution of 1917 to the disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991, with additional attention to the post-Soviet Russian Republic and to the Cuban Revolution, considered as offshoots of international communism.

HIST 230L: Ancient Egypt

Kellee Barnard MWF 12–12:50PM

This course examines the cultures of ancient Egypt from the period of its first political organization (c. 3200 BCE) until the death of its last true pharaoh, Queen Cleopatra VII, and the country’s first years as a Roman colony in the 1st century BCE.  

HIST 255L: Gods and Slaves: Latin America before 1800

Benjamin Johnson  MWF 10:00-10:50AM

This course introduces students to the history and cultures of early Latin America, an area of the world that includes Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America), South America, and the Caribbean. In this class we will examine the political, cultural, and social dimensions of the major Pre-Columbian civilizations; the causes and consequences of Spanish and Portuguese colonization; the establishment of New World societies and economies in the sixteenth century; and the vastly divergent forms of mature colonial society across the continent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

HIST 262: American Indian History to 1783

Maria John   MWF 11:00AM–11:50AM

This course examines the histories of indigenous peoples of North America from their perspective, including the peopling of the Americas; pre-Columbian societies and civilizations; first contact encounters and exchanges with non-Natives; strategies American Indians used to confront expanding European and indigenous powers; and ways indigenous North Americans engaged global markets, diplomacy, and competing empires.

HIST 265: American History before 1877

Lisa Vox Online

Covers the European settlement of North America, its impact on American Indians, and the development of the United States as well as its emergence as a modern nation.

HIST 266: American History since 1877

Meaghan Duff Online

From the aftermath of Civil War and Reconstruction through urbanization, immigration, industrialization.  American imperialism and rise to world power cycles of economic change and the Great Depression World Wars and Cold War worldwide and domestically; wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan; modern US culture.

HIST 290G: Globalization in Historical Perspective: Food & Empire

Heidi Gengenbach T/TH 2:00PM-3:15PM

This seminar will take an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approach to the relationship between food and empire in world history. Focusing on the Global South, and engaging with local food institutions and activists, the course explores the politics of food consumption and controversy in the last 500 years, and why we eat the way (and what) we do today.

HIST 315: Europe 1900-1945

Spencer Di Scala Online

The period discussed witnessed some of the greatest changes in society and the rise of ideologies that have shaken the world.  They include the modern scientific revolution, World Wars I and II, and the rise of fascism and communism.  Readings and discussions will analyze these developments, put them fully into context, and help explain why we are still feeling their effects.

HIST 318: Advanced Topics in History Section 1: Age of Jackson

Julie Winch T/Th 2:00–3:15PM

Using a wide range of primary sources, we will explore the turbulent era in this nation’s history from the bitterly contested election of 1824 to the eve of the Civil War.

HIST 318: Advanced Topics in History Section 2: World War II as a Global War

Steve Puleo MWF 9:00AM–9:50AM

The Second World War was certainly the 20th century’s seminal and most cataclysmic global event, its effects felt on every continent. Although this course will explore all aspects of the Second World War, it will focus heavily on the role of the United States as part of the Allied cause, including examining the political, social, and industrial aspects of the war on the American homefront.  This will include a view both from the “homefront out” – how activities in the United States affected events across the world and changed the course of history – and also from “overseas back” – how the war changed America and the world, from a foreign and domestic perspective. This course will discuss the impact of the war, as well as how the war has impacted the United States and the world in the years since 1945. 

HIST 322: Shakespeare’s London

Olivia Weisser  MW 1:00PM-1:50PM F Online

This course draws on artifacts, literature, and first-hand accounts to recover life in London from 1550-1700, including taverns and coffeehouses, the experiences of the working poor, and urban crime. This course does not entail reading Shakespeare, but it will give new context for his plays.

HIST 346: Women & Gender in African History

Heidi Gengenbach T/Th 11:00AM-12:15PM

This course explores how gender shapes the lives of women and men in African history, and how women’s voices and experiences challenge stereotypes of Africa’s past. Drawing on life stories, fiction, and film, along with documents from precolonial and colonial times, the class will examine debates around sexuality, slavery, colonialism, HIV/AIDS, human rights, and civil war from a gender perspective.

HIST 357: The Vietnam War

David Hunt MWF 10:00AM-10:50AM

This course covers the period from 1945 to 1975. We will devote attention to Vietnamese revolutionary organizations and popular movements that shaped history and society in both the northern and southern parts of the country and to the efforts of other nationalist leaders who attempted to build a viable polity in South Vietnam. We will also explore the US role, from policy makers to the citizenry and with special attention to Americans who fought in the war and Americans who fought against the war and to debates that arose from the beginning and have continued down to today about what it all meant.

HIST 359L: Women in Modern China

Judith Babbitts Oline

This course examines the social and cultural roles of Chinese women, and their changes over time. Emphasis is given to twentieth-century China, especially the People's Republic period.

HIST 360L: Traditional China

Luman Wang T/Th 12:30PM-1:45PM

This course, organized in chronological-thematic format, explores the history of China from the Bronze Age to the long eighteenth century.

HIST 377: The American Progressive Era, 1890-1920

Roberta Wollons Online

This course is on the origins of modern America focusing on the Progressive Era between 1890 and 1920. It includes such topics as the design of cities, urban diversity and immigration, suffrage, and the struggle between labor and industry.

HIST 389: The History of Modern Terrorism

Paul Bookbinder  T/Th 11:00AM-12:15PM

The course will trace the history of modern terrorism from the Russian Anarchists  of the late nineteenth century to the current members of Al Qaeda  and the Islamic state. There will be a case study of the IRA as one of the longest-lived terrorist groups.     

HIST 395: History of Boston (at Copley Square)

Mike Rush  T 6:00-9:00PM

HIST 478: Special Topics Seminar: Title TBA

Spencer Di Scala MW 4-5:15PM

This course examines European Diplomacy, 1871-1914, from the Bismarck Era to World War I.  Readings and discussions will reveal the secrets of the diplomacy of this period and—by linking it to the changes in society and power relationships within and between nations, the process by which the greatest war the world had ever known broke out—thus creating our modern world.

HIST 481: Research & Methods

Capstone course focused on research and writing and the production of an independent research project. As with HIST 101, each section focuses on a different historical problem. Take in your last semester or two.

Section 1: Paul Bookbinder TTh 4:00–5:15PM

This course will focus on the Holocaust and Genocide. We will investigate these mass murder campaigns the events themselves, their causes and world reactions to them.

Section 2: Elizabeth McCahill MW 4:00PM–5:15PM

This course interrogates the claim that modern Western conceptions of individualism emerged in Europe between 1400 and 1700. We will look at arguments about this topic as a model for how historians develop and support their theories.


The History Department is offering a summer course on Natucket! The Whaling Women of Natucket


See the bulletin board outside the History Dept main office. 


Check out this helpful list of course offerings in History organized by theme



Course Sequence

Students declaring their History major should take History 101 as soon as possible. They should also take one or two survey courses before moving on to 300-level courses. Below is a complete list of undergraduate courses in History. We expect to be adding a number of new courses over the next few years, and this list will be updated to reflect those new courses.

Courses in History

Below is a full list of course offerings in History