History Courses

Course offerings in history are intended to familiarize students with both the American and Western heritage, as well as with some aspects of the history of the non-Western world. The study of history is presented as a means of integrating college experiences and developing certain perceptual and analytical skills. Students are exposed to a broad range of modern historical methodologies, making connections between history and many other academic disciplines. The study of history is aimed at students who are motivated by diverse goals. It offers excellent preparation for careers in law, civil service, journalism, business, foreign service, museum work, and archives, and for graduate study, including law school.

History Courses (HIST)

101  Introduction to U.S. History (4)
This topics course is an introduction to the study of United States history. While taking a focus on a particular topic or era during each semester, the course gives special attention to the doing of history through introduction to the materials and methods of historical inquiry. Offered every semester.

103  Introduction to Non-Western History (4)
This course is an introduction to the study of non-Western history. While taking a focus on a particular topic or era during each semester, the course gives special attention to the doing of history through an introduction to the materials and methods of historical inquiry. Offered every semester.

113  History of the U.S. to 1877 (2)
A brief survey of the first half of American history, from early Native American history to Reconstruction. Designed for students who need only one half of the American history survey to fulfill a graduation requirement. Students may not take both HIST 113 and 116 for credit. Offered on demand.

114  History of the U.S. Since 1877 (2)
A brief survey of the second half of American history, from Reconstruction up to the present. Designed for students who need only one half of the American survey to fulfill a graduation requirement. Students cannot take both HIST 114 and 116 for credit. Offered on demand.

219  Topics in Asian History (4)
An examination of selected topics in the history of Asia that varies from year to year and focuses on such areas as China, Japan, India, and the Near East. May be repeated for credit as designated topics change. Offered spring of odd-numbered years or on demand.

220  The Civil War and Reconstruction (4)
Examines the causes, experience, significance, and lasting legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Topics include the ongoing crisis of sectionalism and nationalism, the political, ideological, and moral conflict over slavery, the impact of expansionism, the ideological development of a revolutionary South, and the impact of the war on national politics, culture, and memory. Heavy emphasis is given to the war itself: the battles, leaders, common soldiers, tactics, diplomacy and economics of this great conflict. Finally, students explore the mixed results of this war for the victorious North, the defeated South, and the restored nation during Reconstruction and beyond. Offered spring of even-numbered years.

222  History of Modern Korea (4)
An overview of Korean political, economic, social, and cultural history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Pays special attention to the impacts of colonialism and the relationship of Korea with the rest of the world during the period of globalization. The course features a study away trip to Korea. Offered every spring.

223  Modern Japan Study Away (2)
Provides an overview of Japanese political, economic, social, and cultural history combined with a 10-day immersion study away trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Hiroshima. The class includes study of Japanese intangible cultural heritage in the forms of food, music, and art. Offered summer term of odd-numbered years.

233  African American History to Reconstruction (4)
This course examines the major ideas, individuals, and institutions shaping African American life from the mid-fifteenth century until following the Civil War. It explores the growth of the Atlantic slave system, the political and economic decisions supporting its institutionalization, and the formal and informal modes of resistance practiced to combat it. Offered spring of odd-numbered years.

234  African American History since the Civil War (4)
This course examines the major ideas, individuals, and institutions shaping African American life from the end of the Civil War to the 1990s. It discusses institution building and debates over black political leadership, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Freedom Movement, and the post-Civil Rights era, among other topics. Prerequisite: ENG 105; Offered spring of even-numbered years.

243  World History to A.D. 1600 (4)
A study of selected topics in history from the emergence of early cultures to the 16th century. Emphasizes the variety of human societies and the ways in which Old World societies influenced one another. Prerequisite: first year/ sophomore status or consent. Offered every fall.

245  World History: The Modern Era (4)
Explores world history since 1600, focusing on intercultural exploration and appreciation. Examines many critical political events in world history, including the two world wars. Students also learn about key historical trends such as the waning of traditional societies, industrialization, Marxism, nationalism, and imperialism. Significant attention is devoted to studying cultural developments, especially how ordinary people experienced major historical events. Prerequisite: International Studies or History and Social Science majors or by consent. Offered every spring.

247  History of the United States (4)
A survey of the history of the United States from approximately 1400 to the present. Examines the major political, social, cultural, intellectual, religious, and economic trends over the course of the nation’s history. Designed primarily to fulfill state competency requirements for prospective teachers. Prerequisite: Comprehensive Liberal Students – Curricular Emphasis majors, history majors, history - social Science majors, or consent. Offered every semester.

250  Topics in American History (4)
Applies skills in historical analysis to a variety of geographical, chronological, cultural, social, and political topics. Students learn how societies change over time, analyzing primary documents in their historical context and developing independent arguments based on primary sources. Requires an 8-10-page paper based on primary source evidence. Topics for HIST 250 sections are available from the History Department before registration begins each semester. May be repeated for credit as topics change. Prerequisite/Corequisite: ENG 105. Prerequisite for January Term: successful completion of ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher.

251  Topics in European History (4)
Applies skills in historical analysis to a variety of geographical, chronological, cultural, social, and political subjects. Students learn how societies change over time, analyzing primary documents in their historical context and developing independent arguments based on primary sources. Requires an 8-10-page paper based on primary source evidence. May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Topics and descriptions are available from the History Department before registration begins each semester. Prerequisite/Corequisite: ENG 105. Prerequisite for January Term: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher. Offered every semester and in selected January Terms.

252  Topics in Non-Western History (4)
Applies skills in historical analysis to a variety of geographical, chronological, cultural, social, and political subjects. Students learn how societies change over time, analyzing primary documents in their historical context and developing independent arguments based on primary sources. Requires an 8-10-page paper based on primary source evidence. May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Topics and descriptions are available from the History Department before registration begins each semester. Prerequisite/Corequisite: ENG 105. Prerequisite for January Term: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher. Offered every semester and in selected January Terms.

260  Historical Thinking (4)
Students analyze the differing schools that have developed around various historical questions and learn how to enter into historical debates by engaging other historians. They also are exposed to some of the most important methodologies in the discipline of history. Prerequisite: a declared major in history and social science, the history minor, or the social science minor. Offered every spring.

262  Seminar in the History of European Cities (4)
Investigates the history of various European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London, Vienna, and Prague. Focuses on the history of art, architecture, city planning, and public spaces. Through walking tours, visits to museums and key landmarks, and musical performances, students investigate the historical developments of the cities, especially the conflicts radiating from the construction and destruction of the urban landscape. Begins at VWU with an on-campus component in which students prepare for an on-site study of the city. This study is followed by travel to the destination. Offered in selected January Terms.

286  Banned Books (4)
An interdisciplinary exploration of banned books; the legal battles in U.S. history that created, supported, and ended censorship; and the literary, legal, aesthetic, and socio-political contexts that influenced both the artists and the changing conceptions of obscenity that marked their works as controversial. Students may not also receive credit for ENG 286. Offered in selected January Terms and spring semesters.

303  17th- and 18th-Century America (4) W
A study of the social, cultural, religious, and demographic changes that took place over two centuries in early American history. Topics studied include Native American life; encounters between whites and Indians; the political, economic, and social formation of the colonies; free and enslaved black life; African, European, and American cultural development; and religion, among others. Prerequisite: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

306  Seminar in Asian History (4)
An examination of selected topics in the history of Asia that varies from year to year and focuses on East, Central, or Southeast Asia.  Includes consideration of intangible cultural heritage and traditional music and dance. May be repeated for credit as designated topics change.  Offered fall of even-numbered years or on demand.

313  19th-Century America (4)
An intensive exploration of major themes, events, and individuals in United States history between Thomas Jefferson’s presidency and the Spanish-American War. Topics include territorial and governmental expansion, the politics of slavery and freedom, the Civil War and its aftermath, the industrial revolution, urbanization, imperial adventurism, and other transformations that marked this tumultuous and fascinating time in history. Emphasizes historiographical interpretations of the historical changes and their meanings. Prerequisite: sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

314  First and Second Great Awakenings (4) W
A study of the social, cultural, religious, and demographic causes and consequences of the First and Second Great Awakenings. Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered spring of even-numbered years.

316  Medieval Europe (4)
A survey of the cultural, religious, political, and economic changes that Europe underwent from the “fall” of Rome to the Black Death. Prerequisite: sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered spring of odd-numbered years.

317  History of Virginia (4)
An exploration of the history of the Common-wealth of Virginia. Topics include Powhatan culture, early colonial life, the origins of slavery and the construction of race, gentry and slave culture, the Civil War, and the 20th century. May require field trips to historic sites. Prerequisite: sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered every fall.

319  Early Modern Europe, 1300-1789 (4) W
An investigation of European history during the transition from medieval to modern forms of political, cultural, religious, and social dimensions of life. The course explores the concept “early modern” as it emerged in the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment movements. Prerequisites: successful completion of ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered spring of even-numbered years.

322  Religion and Social Issues in American History (4)
An interdisciplinary examination of major social issues in American history such as slavery, racial equality, and the status of women. Explores the religious influences, background, and context of these social issues which have had a profound effect on American history and continue to reverberate in American society today. Prerequisites: at least 6 semester hours in history, religious studies, political science, English, interdisciplinary studies, philosophy, or sociology and junior status or consent. Offered on demand.

323  Tudor England (4) W
A detailed introduction to the history of 15th- and 16th-century England that explores the political, social, economic, religious and intellectual trends responsible for the renaissance of culture that characterized the Elizabethan Age. prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

325  Radicalism, Terrorism, and Violence in American History (4) W
An examination of dissent, radical politics, terrorism, and political violence in American history from the colonial era to the present. Examines the impact and influence of historically important forms of violence, political crime, and state repression on American politics, culture, society, and economy. Other topics include the rise of different radical political ideologies and parties, mob violence, slave uprisings, filibusters, lynching, vigilantism, strikes, police and military repression, assassination, terrorism of the left and right, apocalyptic sects, and the role of violence in producing or forestalling social change and reform. Includes discussion of the different theoretical approaches developed by historians to explain the meaning of radicalism, terrorism, and violence in American history. Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered fall of odd-numbered years.

328  United States Foreign Relations 1763-1919 (4) W
An examination of the major themes, events, ideas, and consequences of American foreign policy from the French and Indian Wars through Woodrow Wilson’s attempt to re-shape international relations in the aftermath of World War I. Emphasizes the strategic, ideological, economic, sectional, and racial dimensions of U.S. relations with other nations and peoples, and the connections between foreign and domestic politics. Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered spring of odd-numbered years.

346  History of South Africa (4)
An exploration of the South African past, from earliest settlement by African and European peoples through the British Colonial and Afrikaner union periods, to the establishment and dismantling of apartheid in the 20th century. Prerequisite:
sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

347  History of Modern France (4) W
Focuses on France’s attempts to achieve “liberty, equality, and fraternity,” exploring the history of France from the beginning of the 18th century to the present. Examines the various political regimes, beginning with Absolutism under Louis XIV, through the series republics and the two Napoleonic empires. Emphasizes the many revolutions that have left indelible stamps on the history of France. The political narrative is supplemented by a social analysis of French society, including the history of the working classes, women, Jews, and immigrants. Examines the cultural milestones in French history, in popular culture, and in national political symbolism. Prerequisites: successful completion of ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered on demand.

348  History of Modern Germany (4)
Explores the meaning of modern Germany since its unification as a modern nation-state in 1871. Topics include the political outline of German history, the social and cultural histories of Germany, German identity, ethnic groups, the Holocaust, and Germany’s national borders. Prerequisite: sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered spring of even-numbered years.

349  Topics in U.S. History (4)
Applies advanced historical exploration of a variety of geographical, temporal, cultural, social, and political subjects in U.S. history. Students focus on understanding how societies change over time, analyze primary documents in their historical context, and develop independent arguments based on analysis of primary sources. Courses may be repeated as topics change. Prerequisite: Successful completion of ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher.

350  Topics in European History (4)
Applies advanced historical exploration of a variety of geographical, temporal, cultural, social, and political subjects in European history. Students focus on understanding how societies change over time, analyze primary documents in their historical context, and develop independent arguments based on analysis of primary sources. Courses may be repeated as topics change. Prerequisite: Successful completion of ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher.

351  Topics in World History (4)
Applies advanced historical exploration of a variety of geographical, temporal, cultural, social, and political subjects in world history. Students focus on understanding how societies change over time, analyze primary documents in their historical context, and develop independent arguments based on analysis of primary sources. Courses may be repeated as topics change. Prerequisite: successful completion of ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher.

352  U.S. Women’s History (4) W
Examines the history of women in the United States from the colonial period to the present. Focuses on how women’s roles and ideas about femininity have changed over time in the context of the social, economic, political, and cultural development of the United States. Takes account of what American women have shared, as well as how they have differed across lines of class, race, ethnicity, and region. Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and junior/senior status. Offered spring of even-numbered years.

353  History of Women in Europe Since 1700 (4) W
Explores the history of women in Europe from the 18th century to the present. Focuses on women’s roles in society, both public and private. Examining women in the spaces they have historically occupied, students probe some of the central questions concerning the history of women in Europe: how did society define “woman,” and why was she generally seen as the “other”? How did society construct women’s roles, and to what extent did women contest traditional gender roles? How did industrialization shape women’s lives? To what extent did women participate in political struggle, and how did their political goals and means of struggle vary from those of men? How did contemporaries view the female body? Why did some women oppose “emancipation”, as defined by feminists?  Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore /junior/senior status. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

360  Junior Research Seminar (4) W
Designed to provide history majors with skills for producing research within the discipline, culminating the following fall semester in HIST 460. Students begin the process of designing their research project, produce a historiographical review of their topic, and craft a research proposal for review and discussion. Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher, a declared major in history or history and social science and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered every spring.

380  Dos Passos’ USA (4)
An intensive exploration of John Dos Passos’ great trilogy, U.S.A.: The 42nd Parallel: 1919: The Big Money. Students read and discuss the books, explore and evaluate Dos Passos’ innovative narrative and experimental styles, his political agenda and social critique, his understanding of the flow of American history, his enduring appeal, and his great utility to the student of American history. Using the books as a guide and a lodestar, they construct an understanding of the American experience before, during, and after the First World War and gain insight into the connections between literature and history and between art and memory. Offered in selected January Terms.

381  The South of Erskine Caldwell (4)
An intensive reading and discussion seminar which explores the tenor of early 20th century Southern life and culture through the fiction and non-fiction works of Erskine Caldwell, a much-overlooked genius of American letters. Caldwell stands alongside William Faulkner as one of the two most important interpreters of life, culture, and society in the South during the early 20th century. Covers rural Southern life, the race question in the South, radical Georgia politics, social change during the Great Depression, and the broader flow of events in American history between 1900 and 1945, along with other important topics. Prerequisite: sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered in selected January Terms.

385  Seminar in the History of Socialism,Communism, & Marxism in Europe (4)
Explores the development of socialism in Europe from the late eighteenth century through today. Examines the theoretical origins of socialism in the late eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Includes an analysis of Marxism and Communism as developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-nineteenth century, as well as critical socialist thinkers after Marx, including August Bebel, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, and Geog Lukacs. Includes an analysis of socialist/communist feminism, aesthetics, literary theory, and home furnishing. Investigates the historical application of socialist theory to the political world from the mid-nineteenth century to the Russian Revolution, to the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe in the 1990s. Prerequisite: sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered in selected January Terms.

400  The Civil Rights Movement (4)
This seminar includes intensive reading and writing about scholarship on the Long Black Freedom Struggle. Students will critically examine previous narratives of the movement that tend to focus on overly simple dichotomies (violence vs. non- violence, Malcolm X vs. King), and arrive at nuanced understandings of the complexities of the movement. Prerequisite: Junior/senior status or consent. Offered spring of odd-numbered years.

415  Comparative Colonial Empires, 1500-1800 (4) W
Introduces students to the major topics and themes arising from the innumerable connections that existed between peoples who crisscrossed the Atlantic Ocean between 1500 and 1800. Students examine topics such as encounter, environment, migration, piracy, slavery, and revolution in Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. Prerequisite: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher. Offered spring of even-numbered years.

417  History of the Old South (4)
An intensive study of life, politics, culture, economics, gender, and race in the American South between the Civil War. Topics include life in the Antebellum South; the experience of the frontier, mountain, Tidewater, piedmont, and Gulf Coast; the complex relationships among Black, White and Native Americans; the notion of Southern honor; the interplay of sectionalism, radicalism, Southern nationalism, and expansionism; and the experience of plantation life for master and slave. Students analyze an array of historiographical interpretations and schools of thought on the history of the Old South. Prerequisite: senior status or consent. Offered fall of odd-numbered years.

418  History of the New South (4)
An intensive study of life, politics, culture, economics, gender, and the race question in the American South between the end of Reconstruction and the present. Topics include the shifting legacies of the Civil War and of Reconstruction, the Jim Crow segregation system, New South ideology, the life and working experiences of Southerners, and globalization in the South. Students analyze an array of historiographical interpretations and schools of thought on the history, meaning, and memory of the New South. Prerequisites: 3 semester hours in history and senior status or consent.

425  Brother Can You Spare a Paintbrush? The Arts Programs of the New Deal (4) I
Students use the creative projects and administrative documents available in online archives to pursue intensive research and analysis of the arts programs of the Works Progress Administration. They examine the cultural, social, and political significance of these projects in the context of one of the most dynamic and fascinating periods in modern American history. They also create New Deal-style art, individually and in groups, which is presented to the campus community at the end of the January Term. Prerequisite: senior status. Offered in selected January Terms.

426  European Heresy and the Witch-Hunt (4) I, W
An intensive examination of the varying themes and viewpoints historians grapple with in their study of religious dissent in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Includes a formal research paper in a student-led seminar format. Prerequisite: senior status or consent. Prerequisite: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher. Offered spring of odd-numbered years.

433  Globalization and Empire in American History (4) I
Traces and evaluates the development of systems of liberalized trade, cultural exchange, communication, and transportation known as globalization and the related American pursuit of empire and power in this capitalist world system. Topics include the legal, administrative, political, ideological, cultural, and military systems and strategies created over time by policymakers in the United States to shape and dominate an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Students analyze and dissect the different theoretical approaches developed by legal and foreign policy historians to explain the meaning of globalization and empire in American history. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

440  Seminar in American History (4) W
Intensive study of selected topics that vary from semester to semester. May be repeated for credit as designated topics change. Prerequisite: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher and sophomore/junior/senior status. Offered on demand.

450  Seminar in European History (4)
Intensive study of selected topics that vary from semester to semester. Prerequisite: senior status or consent. Offered on demand.

451  History of the Holocaust (4) I
Examines the Holocaust from a variety of perspectives based on the General Education Frames of Reference. Topics include the history of anti-Semitism, the emergence of racial ideologies at the end of the 19th century, the conditions that contributed to the rise of the Nazi Party, and the memory of the Holocaust. Includes a class project that commemorates Kristalnacht on November 9, which develops students’ historical knowledge, communication skills, and aesthetic sensibilities. Prerequisite: consent. Offered fall of odd-numbered years.

460  Senior Thesis Seminar (4) W
A workshop in which senior history majors apply previous learning. Each student selects a historical problem, develops appropriate research methodology, and carries out the project under faculty supervision and in close contact with other members of the seminar. Students are encouraged to consider a variety of approaches to historical investigation, including oral history, quantification, and archival research. Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher, senior status, and HIST 360 or consent. Offered every fall.

489  Pop and Rock Music Seminar (4) I
Examines the history of Western popular music in the twentieth century. Situates pop and rock music in their socio-cultural contexts, investigating the nexus between socio-political developments and musical expression. Focuses on the interactions between different cultures, the development of international youth styles, music as political expression, and cultural imperialism. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and consent. Offered spring of odd-numbered years.