History

The History major introduces students to major civilizations of the past and develops skills of research, analysis, expression that are essential to students in the Liberal Arts environment. These skills are also relevant to all careers and professions. History majors learn not only what happened in the past, but also how to explain significant elements of continuity and how to analyze moments of profound rupture. Thus a History major develops a deep appreciation for the durable phenomena of world cultures (the persistence of poverty, the transcendence of genius, the corruption of political power), as well as a keen analytical framework for understanding transformative moments in time (the American, Mexican and French Revolutions, the Civil Rights Movement, etc.)

In view of the variety of departmental offerings, History majors are allowed to design their own mix of courses. The department offers guidelines, attentive advising, and carefully selected requirements to ensure coherence in the student's growing mastery of the discipline. Still, much of the choice on specific courses is left up to the individual student. The student's pathway through the major should reflect his or her particular interests, abilities and career plans.

See History Department Web site: https://apps.carleton.edu/curricular/history/

Requirements for the History Major

All majors must complete 72 credits, fulfilling the following requirements:

The History department offers eight broad Historical Fields. Majors select three fields from the eight that best relate to their research interests as their primary field and subfields. Courses can, of course be taken in all eight fields.

  1. Africa & Its Diaspora—People of African descent inside & outside the African continent.
  2. Ancient/Medieval—The worlds of Classical and Hellenistic Greece, Republican and Imperial Rome, the world of Late Antiquity (fourth-seventh centuries), medieval Europe (fourth-fifteenth centuries), and the medieval Mediterranean (including Byzantium, the Near East, and North Africa). History courses in Classics count towards this field.
  3. Asia (East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East)—Covers East, South and Central Asia (Middle East), with additional courses from Political Science.
  4. The Atlantic World—Relationship between Europe, Africa, & the Americas, ca. 1500-1820, through circulation of people, goods, and ideas.
  5. Early Modern/Modern Europe—Early Modern and Modern European history (including Russia) with additional courses in European Studies and Economics taught by historians.
  6. Environment and Health—Environmental history, the history of disease, and the history of medicine.
  7. Latin America—The pre-Hispanic, colonial and post-colonial eras of the region with an emphasis on Mesoamerica, the Andes, the Southern Cone, Brazil, and Cuba.
  8. United States—U.S., AfAm, environment, immigration, labor, public and Women's and Gender History, with additional courses in American Studies and Economics.

Thematic primary historical field

In addition to these fields, a major may also design his/her own thematic primary field (four courses) in consultation with the major adviser to devise a program of study that uses existing courses, relevant courses from other departments, independent studies, and off-campus studies program courses. Examples of thematic primary field topics of past majors: Middle East History, Gender and History, Colonialism, Immigration History, Comparative Revolutions, Economic History, and others. Please note that a thematic historical sub-field (two courses) is not offered.

Please ask the History department chair or your adviser about any courses in Africana Studies, American Studies, Asian Studies, Classics, Cross Cultural Studies, Digital Humanities, Economics, Education, European Studies, Environmental and Technology Studies, Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies, Latin American Studies, Religion, or other special courses offered by an historian in another department if you wish to apply them toward the history major.

Multiple Field Course Tags

Please note, some courses are tagged to count in more than one History field. It is possible to change your primary field or sub-fields should your interests change, and a multi-tagged course might be moved to one of your new fields. However, no course can ever count for more than one field at a time. 

Off Campus Studies Courses

Approved History courses from Off-Campus Study Programs may also satisfy your History field requirements. For approval, please consult the Department Chair.

300-level Courses and Independent Studies

  • If one of your two 300-level courses is counted toward your primary or subfields, you will not need another History course to reach your 72 credits. However, if both of your 300-level courses are counted toward your primary and/or sub-fields, one additional History course that has not been previously counted is required. This additional course can be a History department elective course in any field, or an AP, IB or College and department approved OCS course—any one of which can be used to help you to meet the 72-credit minimum.
  • An Independent Study at any level may count toward your History field requirements with instructor approval. A 300-level Independent Study does not fulfill either of the two 300-level seminar requirements.
  • History 398 does not fulfill either of the two 300-level seminar requirements.


Requirements for the History Minor

Historical knowledge and analysis play a central role in the humanities and social sciences. The skills in research and the evaluation of diverse forms of evidence can be transferred to many other disciplines across the College as well as careers. The global interests of the department’s faculty also means that History is a very good place to develop an interest in a specific region of the world or time-period. The History minor requirements offer students a clear, flexible yet structured exposure to the discipline that provides a valuable complement to their other program/s.

Students must complete a total of 36 credits including:

  • 30 elective credits to be drawn from at least two of our eight existing History fields:
    • United States
    • Ancient and Medieval
    • Early Modern and Modern Europe
    • Asia-South, East, and Central (Middle East)
    • Africa and Its Diaspora
    • Latin America
    • The Atlantic World
    • Environment and Health

  • Courses must be drawn from both the modern and pre-modern eras
  • At least 6 credits must be a Carleton History Department 300-level seminar. Note: a 300-level independent study does not fulfill the 300-level seminar requirement
  • A maximum of two courses from outside the History department or from Carleton or non-Carleton OCS programs may count towards the minor, subject to departmental approval
  • HIST 298: Junior Colloquium (6 credits), to gain an understanding of historical methods and broader developments in the History field.


The progress to completion of a minor will be tracked by the Chair or History department adviser with the assistance of the Administrative Assistant for History, all of whom will serve as resources for minors should they require more specific guidance.

History Courses

HIST 100 Confucius and His Critics An introduction to the study of historical biography. Instead of what we heard or think about Confucius, we will examine what his contemporaries, both his supporters and critics, thought he was. Students will scrutinize various sources gleaned from archaeology, heroic narratives, and court debates, as well as the Analects to write their own biography of Confucius based on a particular historical context that created a persistent constitutional agenda in early China. Students will justify why they would call such a finding, in hindsight, "Confucian" in its formative days. Themes can be drawn from aspects of ritual, bureaucracy, speech and writing 6 credits; AI, WR1, IS; Fall; Seungjoo Yoon
HIST 100 Exploration, Science, and Empire This course provides an introduction to the global history of exploration. We will examine the scientific and artistic aspects of expeditions, and consider how scientific knowledge--navigation, medicinal treatments, or the collection of scientific specimens--helped make exploration, and subsequently Western colonialism, possible. We will also explore how the visual and literary representations of exotic places shaped distant audiences’ understandings of empire and of the so-called races of the world. Art and science helped form the politics of Western nationalism and expansion; this course will explore some of the ways in which their legacy remains with us today. 6 credits; AI, WR1, IS; Fall; Antony E Adler
HIST 100 Food and Public Health: Why the Brits Embraced White Bread Food, health, medicine, public policy and the built environment... all were transformed as Britain industrialized in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This course explores how cultural, social and economic changes shaped the culture of food consumption during this transitional period. We also explore changing ideas in medical history and public health from the early modern to modern period. We will consider how our historical understanding can inform our views of the present through an academic civic engagement project that will connect students to Northfield communities. 6 credits; AI, WR1, IS; Fall; Susannah R Ottaway
HIST 100 Gandhi, Nationalism and Colonialism in South Asia The struggle for independence from colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent involved a wide array of nationalist movements, prominently including the struggle led by M. K. Gandhi, who forged a movement centered on non-violence and civil disobedience which brought down the mighty British empire. We will study this alongside numerous other powerful nationalist currents, particularly those based on Islamic ideas and symbols. A significant part of the course will involve a historical role-playing game, Reacting to the Past: Defining a Nation, wherein students will take on roles of actual historical figures and recreate a twentieth century debate about religious identity and nation-building in the colonial context. 6 credits; AI, WR1, IS; Fall; Brendan P LaRocque
HIST 100 U.S.-Latin American Relations: A Declassified View “Colossus of the North” or “Good Neighbor”? While many of its citizens believe the United States wields a benign influence across the globe, the intent and consequences of the U.S. government’s actions across Latin America and Latin American history offers a decidedly more mixed picture. This course explores the history of Inter-American relations with an emphasis on the twentieth century and the Cold War era. National case studies will be explored, when possible through the lens of declassified U.S. national security documents. Latin American critiques of U.S. involvement in the region will also be considered. 6 credits; AI, IS, WR1; Fall; Andrew B Fisher
HIST 111 Uncharted Waters: The History of Society and the Sea This course introduces students to maritime history, marine environmental history, and issues in contemporary marine policy. While traditional histories have framed the sea as an empty space and obstacle to be traversed, or as a battleground, we will approach the ocean as a contact zone, a space of labor, and as the site of focused scientific research, thereby emphasizing human interaction with the oceans. We will examine how people have come to know, utilize, and govern the world’s oceans across time and space, and we will explore how this history informs contemporary issues in maritime law, governance, and ocean conservation. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Winter; Antony E Adler
HIST 112 Freedom of Expression: A Global History Celebrated as the bedrock of democracy, freedom of expression is often seen as an American or western value. Yet the concept has a rich and global history. In this course we will track the long and turbulent history of freedom of expression from ancient Athens and medieval Islamic societies to the Enlightenment and the drive for censorship in totalitarian and colonial societies. Among the questions we will consider are: How have the parameters of free expression changed and developed over time? What is the relationship between free speech and political protest? How has free speech itself been weaponized? How does an understanding of the history of free speech help us think about the challenges of combating hatred and misinformation in today’s internet age? 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Amna Khalid
HIST 116 Intro to Indigenous Histories, 1887-present Many Americans grow up with a fictionalized view of Indigenous people (sometimes also called Native Americans/American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians within the U.S. context). Understanding Indigenous peoples’ histories, presents, and possible futures requires moving beyond these stereotypes and listening to Indigenous perspectives. In this class, we will begin to learn about Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island and the Pacific through tribal histories, legislation, Supreme Court cases, and personal narratives. The course will focus on the period from 1887 to 2018 with major themes including (among others) agency, resistance, resilience, settler colonialism, discrimination, and structural racism. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 122 U.S. Women's History to 1877 Gender, race, and class shaped women's participation in the arenas of work, family life, culture, and politics in the United States from the colonial period to the late nineteenth century. We will examine diverse women's experiences of colonization, industrialization, slavery and Reconstruction, religion, sexuality and reproduction, and social reform. Readings will include both primary and secondary sources, as well as historiographic articles outlining major frameworks and debates in the field of women's history. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Fall; Annette R Igra
HIST 123 U.S. Women's History Since 1877 In the twentieth century women participated in the redefinition of politics and the state, sexuality and family life, and work and leisure as the United States became a modern, largely urban society. We will explore how the dimensions of race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality shaped diverse women's experiences of these historical changes. Topics will include: immigration, the expansion of the welfare system and the consumer economy, labor force segmentation and the world wars, and women's activism in civil rights, labor, peace and feminist movements. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Winter; Annette R Igra
HIST 125 African American History I: From Africa to the Civil War This course is a survey of early African American history. It will introduce students to major themes and events while also covering historical interpretations and debates in the field. Core themes of the course include migration, conflict, and culture. Beginning with autonomous African politics, the course traces the development of the United States through the experiences of enslaved and free African American women and men to the Civil War. The main aim of the course is for students to become familiar with key issues and developments in African American history and their centrality to understanding U.S. history. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 126 African American History II This course analyzes Black Freedom activism, its goals, and protagonists from Reconstruction until today. Topics include the evolution of racial segregation and its legal and de facto expressions in the South and across the nation, the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance, Black activism in the New Deal era, the effects of World War II and the Cold War, mass activism in the 1950s and 1960s, white supremacist resistance against Black rights, Black Power activism and Black Internationalism, the “War on Drugs,” racialized welfare state reforms, and police brutality, the election of Barack Obama, and the path to #BlackLivesMatter today. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Winter; Rebecca J Brueckmann
HIST 127 Early Africa in the Global Context Africa is woefully misunderstood and stereotyped as inherently violent, poor, grossly corrupt, and uncivilized. In response to these misconceptions and misrepresentations, this survey studies the diverse communities and states which existed across Africa and were part of global networks before the nineteenth century. Broadly, it explores the roots of the global hierarchies of power which perpetuate this positioning of Africa as inferior to the West. We will analyze the representations of Africa and its histories and an understanding of how these representations shape our conscious and unconscious opinions about and perceptions of the continent, its people, and their cultures. 6 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Ptwo Molosiwa
HIST 128 Southern Africa to the Minerals Revolution It is impossible to understand the historical dynamics of southern Africa without an informed knowledge of its extended period of pre-colonial history. This course will take students beyond the confines of contemporary history into the exciting episodes, developments, processes, and dynamics of pre-colonial southern African human history. The focus is to explore the emergence and complex interactions of foraging, herding, and farming societies and examine the sub-region’s contacts with Europe. We will also analyze indigenous state formation and organization and discuss the colonial subjugation of African societies up to the Minerals Revolution. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Ptwo Molosiwa
HIST 131 Saints and Society in Late Antiquity In Late Antiquity (200-800 CE), certain men and women around the Mediterranean and beyond came to occupy a special place in the minds and lives of their contemporaries: they were known as holy men and women or saints. What led people to perceive someone as holy? What were the consequences of holiness for the persons themselves and the surrounding societies? When they intervene in their worlds, what are their sources of authority and power? How did these holy figures relate to the established institutions--secular and religious--that surrounded them? Working with a rich array of evidence, we will explore themes such as asceticism, embodied and verbal pedagogy, wealth and poverty, work, marginality, cultural difference, and protest/resistance. We will journey from the lands of Gaul, Italy, and Spain to North Africa and Egypt and the Holy Land, to Armenia and the Fertile Crescent. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 133 Crisis, Creativity, and Transformation in Late Antiquity This course investigates the dramatic transformations that shaped the eastern Mediterranean world and surrounding regions between ca. 250-850 CE. We will focus in particular on how people in late antiquity used environmental, institutional, socio-economic, and cultural resources to address an ongoing series of changes and challenges in their worlds. It also examines these responses from multiple perspectives: winners and losers, elites and non-elites, people of different ethnicities and cultures, urban and rural populations, and diverse religious groups and sects within these groups. The emergence and implications of Christianity and Islam as major organizing identities will also be explored. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 135 Making and Breaking Institutions in the Middle Ages: Structure, Culture, Corruption, and Reform From churches and monasteries to universities, guilds, and governmental administrations, the medieval world was full of institutions. They emerged, by accident or design, to do particular kinds of work and to benefit particular persons or groups. These institutions faced hard questions like those we ask of our institutions today: How best to structure, distribute, and control power and authority? What is the place of the institution in the wider world? How is a collective identity and ethos achieved, maintained, or transformed? How does the institution as a material community relate to the institution’s mission and culture, the institution as a concept/ideal? What characterizes good and bad leadership? Where does corruption and abuse of power come from and what motivates and advances reform? This course will explore these questions through discussion of case studies and primary sources from the medieval world as well as theoretical studies of these topics. 6 credits; HI, QRE, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 136 The Global Middle Ages Encounter, interaction, and communication across space and between cultures are fundamental parts of the human story yet are often marginalized when we use national, regional, or religious frameworks to shape our study. In this course, we will center our investigation of the medieval time period (roughly 500-1500CE) on interactions among cultures and peoples across Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas. We will think comparatively about how peoples around the globe approached similar questions and problems and ask how a global approach helps improve our understanding of this dynamic and creative period. Extra time required for one field trip. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Spring; Victoria Morse
HIST 137 Early Medieval Worlds in Transformation In this course we will explore a variety of distinct but interconnected worlds that existed between ca.300 and ca.1050. We will interrogate primary sources, especially written and visual materials, as they bear witness to people forming and transforming political, social, religious, and cultural values, ideas and structures. We will work to understand how communities adapt to new conditions and challenges while maintaining links with and repurposing the lifeways, ideas, and material cultures of the past. We will watch as new and different groups and institutions come to power, and how the existing peoples and structures respond and change. Projects in this course will build capacity to interpret difficult primary documents, formulate research questions, and build arguments that combine rigor and humane sympathy. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 139 Foundations of Modern Europe Witch hunts, religious reforms, economic transformation, global expansion... all of these phenomena exemplify the dynamic centuries c. 1500-1750, known as the early modern period in Europe. This course surveys the history of Western Europe from the Renaissance and Reformation through the era of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. We compare the development of states and societies across Western Europe in the larger context of expanding global trade and exchange with the Americas, Africa, South Asia and Japan. 6 credits; HI, IS, QRE, WR2; Winter; Susannah R Ottaway
HIST 141 Europe in the Twentieth Century This course explores developments in European history in a global context from the final decade of the nineteenth century through to the present. We will focus on the impact of nationalism, war, and revolution on the everyday experiences of women and men, and also look more broadly on the chaotic economic, political, social, and cultural life of the period. Of particular interest will be the rise of fascism and communism, and the challenge to Western-style liberal democracy, followed by the Cold War and communism’s collapse near the end of the century. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 145 History of Computing in England Program: World War II History This course will consider the broad context of World War II, from the British perspective. Topics will include a variety of aspects of the British experience both at home and abroad, including military, political, and social; the course will include a number of excursions to relevant sites, including the Churchill War Rooms, Bletchley Park, and buildings damaged or destroyed in the Blitz. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 150 Politics of Art in Early Imperial China Poetry has been playing an important role in politics from early China down to the present. Members of the educated elite have used this form of artistic expression to create political allegories in times of war and diplomacy. Students will learn the multiple roles that poet-censors played in early imperial China, with thematic attention given to issues of self and ethnic/gendered identity, internal exile and nostalgia, and competing religious orientations that eventually fostered the rise of Neo-Confucianism. Students will write a short biography of a poet by sampling her/his poems and poetics (all in translation) from the common reading pool. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 151 History of Modern Japan This course explores the modern transformation of Japanese society, politics, economy and culture from the Meiji Restoration of 1868 to the present. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore basic issues and problems relating to modern Japanese history and international relations. Topics include the intellectual crisis of the late Tokugawa period, the Meiji Constitution, the development of an interior democracy, class and gender, the rise of Japanese fascism, the Pacific War, and postwar developments. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 152 History of Late Imperial China What historical elements made the Industrial Revolution possible? What are the enduring forces that have caused the divergent pathways that China and Europe took from the mid-fourteenth to the mid-seventeenth century? This course examines the prevailing attitudes of the people living in the Ming and Qing period towards technology and science that either facilitated or hindered the country’s preparation for industrialization. It will also consider salient value orientations that came to redefine existing social relations. Analyzing various primary sources (memorials, letters, diaries, travelogues, poems, eulogies, and maps), students will develop skills to frame key historical questions against broader historiographical contexts. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2; Winter; Seungjoo Yoon
HIST 153 History of Modern China This course examines major features of the trajectory of China’s recent past spanning from the seventeenth century through the present. Students will analyze deep socio-cultural currents that cut across the changes in socioeconomic as well as political arenas. Themes for discussion will include state formations, social changes, economic developments, religious orientations, bureaucratic behaviors, and cultural refinements that the Chinese have made. Students are also expected to develop skills to frame key historical questions against broader historiographical contexts by engaging in analyses of many different types of primary sources. 6 credits; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 154 Social Movements in Postwar Japan This course tackles an evolving meaning of democracy and sovereignty in postwar Japan shaped by the transformative power of its social movements. We will place the anti-nuclear movement and anti-base struggles of the 1950s, the protest movements against revision of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty of the 1960s, and environmentalist movements against the U.S. Cold War projects in Asia to see how they intersect with the worldwide “New Left” movements of the 1960s. Topics include student activism, labor unionism, Marxist movements, and gangsterism (yakuza). Students will engage with political art, photographs, manga, films, reportage, memoirs, autobiographies, interview records, novels, and detective stories. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 156 History of Modern Korea A comparative historical survey on the development of Korean society and culture from the nineteenth century to the present. Key themes include colonialism and war, economic growth, political transformation, socio-cultural changes, and historical memory. Issues involving divided Korea will be examined in the contexts of post-colonialism and Cold War. Students are also expected to develop skills to analyze key historical moments from relevant primary sources against broader historiographical contexts. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 157 Health and Medicine in Japan How do Shintoism view childbirth and death? How do Buddhism and biotechnology intersect in the making of Japan? How do Japanese perceptions about health and medicine evolve with settler colonialism? This course examines the meaning of body, health, and medicine in Japan’s recent past when biomedicine came to replace classical Chinese medicine and to gradually occupy a hegemonic position in its pharmaceutical regime. Reading materials are drawn from illustrations, travelogues, and poems, as well as medical journals and reports. Themes include body and modern self, family and reproductive justice, medical colonialism, hygienic modernity, narcotics and ethnopsychology, and national healthcare system. 6 credits; NE, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 159 Age of Samurai Japan’s age of warriors is often compared to the Middle Ages. Sandwiched between the court society and the shogunate, the warrior population in Japan is often compared to the vassals in feudalism. This course examines the evolution of the samurai from the late twelfth to the seventeenth century, with the thematic focus on the evolving dynamics between violence and competing political regimes (monasteries, estate holders, opportunistic households, regencies, cloistered government). With analyses of many different types of primary sources (chronicles, poems, letters, diaries, travelogues, thanatologues, maps) students will develop critical skills to frame key historical questions against broader historiographical contexts. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Fall; Seungjoo Yoon
HIST 161 From Mughals to Mahatma Gandhi: An Introduction to Modern Indian History An introductory survey course to familiarize students with some of the key themes and debates in the historiography of modern India. Beginning with an overview of Mughal rule in India, the main focus of the course is the colonial period. The course ends with a discussion of 1947: the hour of independence as well as the creation of two new nation-states, India and Pakistan. Topics include Oriental Despotism, colonial rule, nationalism, communalism, gender, caste and race. No prior knowledge of South Asian History required. 6 credits; HI, IS; Fall, Winter; Amna Khalid, Brendan P LaRocque
HIST 165 A Cultural History of the Modern Middle East This course provides a basic introduction to the modern history of the Middle East from the late eighteenth century to the present. We will focus on the enormous transformations the region has witnessed in this period, as a world of empires gave way one of nation-states and new political and cultural ideas reshaped the lives of its inhabitants. We will discuss the cultural and religious diversity of the region and its varied interactions with modernity. We will find that the history of Middle East is inextricably linked to that of its neighbors and broader currents of modern history. We will read both the works of historians and literary and political texts from the region itself. 6 credits; HI, IS; Winter; Adeeb Khalid
HIST 169 Colonial Latin America This course examines the formation of Iberian colonial societies in the Americas with a focus on the lives of “ordinary” people, and the ways scholars study their lived experience through the surviving historical record. How did indigenous people respond to the so-called Spanish conquest? How did their communities adapt to colonial pressures and demands? What roles did African slaves and their descendants play in the formation of colonial societies? How were racial identities understood, refashioned, or contested as these societies became ever more globalized and diverse? These and other questions will serve as the starting point for our study of the origins and formation of contemporary Latin America. 6 credits; HI, IS; Winter; Andrew B Fisher
HIST 180 Modern Africa, 1800-Present This course is a general survey of modern sub-Saharan African history from the 19th century to today through primary and secondary sources and works of fiction. The course will challenge recurring colonial stereotypes of modern Africa and its peoples as inherently chaotic, unchanging, poor, diseased, corrupt and conflict-ridden. It starts with an overview of the cultural developments in Africa before 1800, including African slave systems and the Atlantic Slave Trade. It then turns to European conquest of Africa and the dynamics of colonial rule, following which we explore how the rising tide of African nationalism, in the form of liberation movements, ushered out colonialism. Finally, we examine the problems of independent African nations as they grapple with neo-colonialism, China’s presence in Africa and a changing global epidemiology in the face of HIV/AIDS and the Covid-19 pandemic. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Ptwo Molosiwa
HIST 181 West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade The medieval Islamic and the European (or Atlantic) slave trades have had a tremendous influence on the history of Africa and the African Diaspora. This course offers an introduction to the history of West African peoples via their involvement in both of these trades from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. More specifically, students will explore the demography, the economics, the social structure, and the ideologies of slavery. They also will learn the repercussions of these trades for men's and women's lives, for the expansion of coastal and hinterland kingdoms, and for the development of religious practices and networks. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 183 History of Early West Africa This course surveys the history of West Africa during the pre-colonial period from 790 to 1590. It chronicles the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. We will examine the transition from decentralized to centralized societies, the relations between nomadic and settler groups, the institution of divine kingship, the emergence of new ruling dynasties, the consolidation of trade networks, and the development of the classical Islamic world. Students will learn how scholars have used archeological evidence, African oral traditions, and the writings of Muslim travelers to reconstruct this important era of West African history. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 184 Colonial West Africa This course surveys the history of West Africa during the colonial period, 1860-1960. It offers an introduction to the roles that Islam and Christianity played in establishing and maintaining colonial rule. It looks at the role of colonialism in shaping African ethnic identities and introducing new gender roles. In addition, we will examine the transition from slave labor to wage labor, and its role in exacerbating gender, generation, and class divisions among West Africans. The course also highlights some of the ritual traditions and cultural movements that flourished in response to colonial rule. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 194 The Making of the "Pacific World" The Pacific is the largest ocean on our planet, covering thirty percent of the Earth’s surface and bordered by four continents. This course will explore how a “Pacific World” framework can help us understand the movement of peoples, goods, and ideas across an oceanic space. Can we describe the history of the Pacific as having a unified history? This course will explore various topics in Pacific history including the history of exploration and migration, cross-cultural encounters, science and empire, and environmental history from 1750 to the present. While this course will be transnational in scope, it will focus primarily on U.S. exploration, trade, and the making of an American Pacific frontier. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 200 Historians for Hire Designed to give students experiences and skills in public history and history education, this three-credit course offers students a choice among projects connected to local organizations and some partners farther afield. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills connected to archiving, building online materials such as maps and websites, and learning historical methods like oral history interviews or exhibit design. Most projects involve close collaborations with local community organizations, allowing students to become more connected with organizations outside of Carleton. 3 credits; HI, IDS; Winter, Spring; Susannah R Ottaway
HIST 201 Rome Program: Building Power and Piety in Medieval Italy, CE 300-1150 Through site visits, on-site projects, and readings, this course explores the ways in which individuals and communities attempted to give physical and visual form to their religious beliefs and political ambitions through their use of materials, iconography, topography, and architecture. We will also examine how the material legacies of imperial Rome, Byzantium, and early Christianity served as both resources for and constraints on the political, cultural, and religious evolution of the Italian peninsula and especially Rome and its environs from late antiquity through the twelfth century. Among the principal themes will be the development of the cult of saints, the development of the papal power and authority, Christianization, reform, pilgrimage, and monasticism. Prerequisite: Acceptance to Carleton Rome Program. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 202 Oral History Research Methods: Theory, Ethics, and Practice This course introduces oral history methods in historical research. Students will examine power and authority, personal and collective memory, trust, representation, and community benefit in oral history projects. This iteration of the course will emphasize scholarship from Indigenous Studies and Indigenous scholars whose work employs oral histories. Students will deepen and apply their learning through an Academic Civic Engagement partnership with a local Indigenous organization; please note that this course requires some travel to Minneapolis, which will be organized by the professor. While prior coursework in history, Indigenous Studies, or American Studies would be useful, it is not mandatory. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Fall; Meredith L McCoy
HIST 203 American Indian Education This course introduces students to the history of settler education for Indigenous students. In the course, we will engage themes of resistance, assimilation, and educational violence through an investigation of nation-to-nation treaties, federal education legislation, court cases, student memoirs, film, fiction, and artwork. Case studies will illustrate student experiences in mission schools, boarding schools, and public schools between the 1600s and the present, asking how Native people have navigated the educational systems created for their assimilation and how schooling might function as a tool for Indigenous resurgence in the future. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Winter; Meredith L McCoy
HIST 205 American Environmental History Environmental concerns, conflicts, and change mark the course of American history, from the distant colonial past to our own day. This course will consider the nature of these eco-cultural developments, focusing on the complicated ways that human thought and perception, culture and society, and natural processes and biota have all combined to forge Americans' changing relationship with the natural world. Topics will include Native American subsistence strategies, Euroamerican settlement, industrialization, urbanization, consumption, and the environmental movement. As we explore these issues, one of our overarching goals will be to develop an historical context for thinking deeply about contemporary environmental dilemmas. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Winter, Spring; George H Vrtis
HIST 206 Rome Program: The Eternal City in Time: Structure, Change, and Identity This course will explore the lived experience of the city of Rome in the twelfth-sixteenth centuries. Students will study buildings, urban forms, surviving artifacts, and textual and other visual evidence to understand how politics, power, and religion (both Christianity and Judaism) mapped onto city spaces. How did urban challenges and opportunities shape daily life? How did the memory of the past influence the present? How did the rural world affect the city and vice versa? Students will work on projects closely tied to the urban fabric. Prerequisite: Enrollment in OCS program. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 209 Comparative Atlantic World Slavery This course explores the history of slavery in the Atlantic World including West Africa, South and Central American, the Caribbean, North America and Europe. The course examines the intersecting themes of power, labor, law, race, gender, sexuality, and resistance. It will consider how these themes each shaped the construction of different institutions of slavery while simultaneously focusing on the experiences of the enslaved who lived and died within in these systems. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 211 Revolts and Resistance in Early America Far from being a single entity, America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was a world of vibrant, polyglot, globally linked, and violent societies. In this course we will learn how the enslavement of Africans and Native Americans created a state of war that bridged Europe, America, and Africa. We will examine how indigenous resistance to European settlement reshaped landscapes and cultures. We will focus throughout on the daily lives of the women and men who created and shaped the vast world of early America. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 212 The Era of the American Revolution How Revolutionary was the American Revolution? This class will examine the American Revolution as both a process and a phenomenon. For whom, for what, and how was the United States created? We will consider the relationship of the American Revolution to social, cultural, economic, political, and ideological change in the lives of Americans from the founding fathers to the disenfranchised, focusing on the period 1750-1790. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 213 Politics and Protest in the New Nation In the first years of the United States, men and women of all races had to learn what it meant to live in the nation created by the U.S. Constitution. This class will focus on the American attempts to form a more perfect union, paying close attention to the place of slavery, Native dispossession, sexuality, and politics during the years 1787-1840. Throughout the course we will examine the ways in which the politics and protests of the early Republic continue to shape the current United States. 6 credits; HI, IDS, QRE; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 215 Carleton in the Archives: Carleton in China What stories do pictures and voices tell? What roles did Carletonians play in the making of twentieth century China during WWII, the Chinese Civil War, and the Communist revolution? What are the reflux effects of select Carls’ experiences in China under transformation? How do Carls project their voices and images to their audiences? The Gould Library Archives Carleton-in-China Collection consists of photographs, film footage, field reports, interviews, and public lectures. Students will be introduced to a wide range of visual and aural methods to help complete a research paper based on their archival work by the end of the term. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 218 Black Women's History This course focuses on the history of black women in the United States. The class will offer an overview of the lived experiences of women of African descent in this country from enslavement to the present. We will focus on themes of labor, reproduction, health, community, family, resistance, activism, etc., highlighting the diversity of black women’s experiences and the ways in which their lives have been shaped by the intersections of their race, gender, sexuality, and class. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Spring; Rebecca J Brueckmann
HIST 219 Black Revolutions in the Atlantic World The development of the modern world through the lens of Black revolutions is the analytical focus of this class. This course challenges eurocentric narratives of the development of the modern world and instead centers critiques of western civilization from what Cedric Robinson calls the Black Radical tradition and its liberatory project. Black resistance to the development of the Americas and the system of racial capitalism was continuous and evolved over time. Using a series of Black revolutions in the Atlantic World during the age of slavery as case studies, we will study historical manifestations of Black radicalism and use them to theorize new forms of knowledge, history, philosophy, and culture. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 220 From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Black History and/in Film This course focuses on the representation of African American history in popular US-American movies. It will introduce students to the field of visual history, using cinema as a primary source. Through films from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the seminar will analyze African American history, (pop-)cultural depictions, and memory culture. We will discuss subjects, narrative arcs, stylistic choices, production design, performative and film industry practices, and historical receptions of movies. The topics include slavery, racial segregation and white supremacy, the Black Freedom Movement, controversies and conflicts in Black communities, Black LGBTQIA+ history, ghettoization and police brutality, Black feminism, and Afrofuturism. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Spring; Rebecca J Brueckmann
HIST 224 Disease, Health, and Healing in African History This interdisciplinary survey is structured around case studies of epidemics and pandemics from pre-colonial times to the present. It explores the history of disease, health, and healing in the context of changing economic, cultural, and political relations in Africa beginning in the 1800s. Broadly, this course addresses the bigger question of the coalescence of power, agency, race, gender, and environment around health and disease to today. We will also learn about the variety of interventions made by biomedicine in African history to provide students with perspectives on Africa’s place in the history of global health. 6 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Ptwo Molosiwa
HIST 225 Migrant Labor and Masculinities in Southern African History From the second half of the nineteenth century southern African men engaged in temporary migration to provide cheap labor in the gold mines of South Africa. Due to this gendered historical process of male labor extraction, the history of southern African masculinity has become part of the most recent approaches in African gender history. This seminar constitutes the history of southern African gender through the prism of migrant masculinities. It explores important categories of analysis for the history of southern African male migrancy through the reading of academic works that influenced the development of the field of African masculinities. 6 credits; IS, HI; Winter; Ptwo Molosiwa
HIST 226 U.S. Consumer Culture In the period after 1880, the growth of a mass consumer society recast issues of identity, gender, race, class, family, and political life. We will explore the development of consumer culture through such topics as advertising and mass media, the body and sexuality, consumerist politics in the labor movement, and the response to the Americanization of consumption abroad. We will read contemporary critics such as Thorstein Veblen, as well as historians engaged in weighing the possibilities of abundance against the growth of corporate power. 6 credits; HI, IDS, WR2; Fall; Annette R Igra
HIST 228 Civil Rights and Black Power This course treats the struggle for racial justice from World War II through the 1960s. Histories, journalism, music, and visual media illustrate black and white elites and grassroots people allied in this momentous epoch that ranges from a southern integrationist vision to northern Black Power militancy. The segregationist response to black freedom completes the study. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Winter; Rebecca J Brueckmann
HIST 229 Working with Gender in U.S. History Historically work has been a central location for the constitution of gender identities for both men and women; at the same time, cultural notions of gender have shaped the labor market. We will investigate the roles of race, class, and ethnicity in shaping multiple sexual divisions of labor and the ways in which terms such as skill, bread-winning and work itself were gendered. Topics will include domestic labor, slavery, industrialization, labor market segmentation, protective legislation, and the labor movement. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 230 Black Americans and the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction What does a most turbulent period in U.S. history look like from the perspectives of Black women and men? What role did Black thought and resistance play in shaping the outcome of the war? What was interracial democracy during Reconstruction and why was it ultimately overthrown? These are a few of the myriad questions we will seek to answer by studying the central role of Black Americans in the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. We will examine how Black people participated in and shaped the politics of this period and we will critically engage the meanings of freedom, emancipation, and democracy. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 231 Mapping the World Before Mercator This course will explore early maps primarily in medieval and early modern Europe. After an introduction to the rhetoric of maps and world cartography, we will examine the functions and forms of medieval European and Islamic maps and then look closely at the continuities and transformations in map-making during the period of European exploration. The focus of the course will be on understanding each map within its own cultural context and how maps can be used to answer historical questions. We will work closely with the maps in Gould Library Special Collections to expand campus awareness of the collection. 6 credits; HI, WR2, QRE, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 232 Renaissance Worlds in France and Italy Enthusiasm, artistry, invention, exploration.... How do these notions of Renaissance culture play out in sources from the period? Using a range of evidence (historical, literary, and visual) from Italy and France in the fourteenth-sixteenth centuries we will explore selected issues of the period, including debates about the meaning of being human and ideal forms of government and education; the nature of God and mankind's duties toward the divine; the family and gender roles; definitions of beauty and the goals of artistic achievement; accumulation of wealth; and exploration of new worlds and encounters with other peoples. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 233 The Byzantine World and Its Neighbors, 750-ca. 1453 The Byzantine world (eighth-fifteenth centuries) was a zone of fascinating tensions, exchanges, and encounters. Through a wide variety of written and visual evidence, we will examine key features of its history and culture: the nature of government; piety and religious controversy; art and music; the evolving relations with the Latin West, Armenia, the Slavic North and West, and the Dar al-Islam (the Abbasids and Seljuk and Ottoman Turks); gender; economic life; and social relations. Extra time will be required for special events and a group project (ecumenical council). 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2, QRE; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 235 Making and Breaking Institutions: Structure, Culture, Corruption, and Reform in the Middle Ages From churches and monasteries to universities, guilds, governmental administrations, the medieval world was full of institutions. They emerged, by accident or design, to do particular kinds of work and to benefit particular persons or groups. These institutions faced hard questions like those we ask of our institutions today: How best to structure, distribute, and control power and authority? What is the place of the institution in the wider world? How is a collective identity and ethos achieved, maintained, or transformed? Where does corruption come from and how can institutions be reformed? This course will explore these questions through discussion of case studies and primary sources from the medieval world as well as theoretical studies of these topics. 6 credits; HI, IS, QRE; Spring; William L North
HIST 236 The Worlds of Hildegard of Bingen Author, composer, artist, abbess, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) used words, images and sound to share unique mystical experiences with her community and the broader world. At the same time, developments in Christian-Jewish relations, church-state relations, and the arts made the Holy Roman Empire a dynamic environment for religious, cultural, and political innovation. Through close examination of Hildegard’s works (writings, images, and music) and her contemporaries informed by current scholarship, we will investigate this period of creativity, conflict, and possibility, especially for women. Extra time relates to a collaboration with the early music ensemble Sequentia and work with Carleton Special Collections. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Fall; William L North
HIST 238 The Viking World In the popular imagination, Vikings are horn-helmeted, blood-thirsty pirates who raped and pillaged their way across medieval Europe. But the Norse did much more than loot, rape, and pillage; they cowed kings and fought for emperors, explored uncharted waters and settled the North Atlantic, and established new trade routes that revived European urban life. In this course, we will separate fact from fiction by critically examining primary source documents alongside archaeological, linguistic and place-name evidence. Students will share their insights with each other and the world through two major collaborative digital humanities projects over the course of the term. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Austin P Mason
HIST 240 Tsars and Serfs, Cossacks and Revolutionaries: The Empire that was Russia Nicholas II, the last Tsar-Emperor of Russia, ruled over an empire that stretched from the Baltic to the Pacific. Territorial expansion over three-and-a-half centuries had brought under Russian rule a vast empire of immense diversity. The empire's subjects spoke a myriad languages, belonged to numerous religious communities, and related to the state in a wide variety of ways. Its artists produced some of the greatest literature and music of the nineteenth century and it offered fertile ground for ideologies of both conservative imperialism and radical revolution. This course surveys the panorama of this empire from its inception in the sixteenth century to its demise in the flames of World War I. Among the key analytical questions addressed are the following: How did the Russian Empire manage its diversity? How does Russia compare with other colonial empires? What understandings of political order legitimized it and how were they challenged? 6 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Adeeb Khalid
HIST 241 Russia through Wars and Revolutions The lands of the Russian empire underwent massive transformations in the tumultuous decades that separated the accession of Nicholas II (1894) from the death of Stalin (1953). This course will explore many of these changes, with special attention paid to the social and political impact of wars (the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, the Civil War, and the Great Patriotic War) and revolutions (of 1905 and 1917), the ideological conflicts they engendered, and the comparative historical context in which they transpired. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 242 Communism, Cold War, Collapse: Russia Since Stalin In this course we will explore the history of Russia and other former Soviet states in the period after the death of Stalin, exploring the workings of the communist system and the challenges it faced internally and internationally. We will investigate the nature of the late Soviet state and look at the different trajectories Russia and other post-Soviet states have followed since the end of the Soviet Union. 6 credits; HI, IS; Winter; Adeeb Khalid
HIST 243 The Peasants are Revolting! Society and Politics in the Making of Modern France Political propaganda of the French Revolutionary period tells a simple story of downtrodden peasants exploited by callous nobles, but what exactly was the relationship between the political transformations of France from the Renaissance through the French Revolution and the social, religious, and cultural tensions that characterized the era? This course explores the connections and conflicts between popular and elite culture as we survey French history from the sixteenth through early nineteenth centuries, making comparisons to social and political developments in other European countries along the way. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2, QRE; Spring; Susannah R Ottaway
HIST 244 The Enlightenment and Its Legacies The Enlightenment: praised for its role in promoting human rights, condemned for its role in underwriting colonialism; lauded for its cosmopolitanism, despised for its Eurocentrism... how should we understand the cultural and intellectual history of the Enlightenment, and what are its legacies? This course starts by examining essential Enlightenment texts by philosophes such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau, and then the second half of the term focuses on unpacking the Enlightenment's entanglements with modern ideas around topics such as religion, race, sex, gender, colonialism etc. 6 credits; NE, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 245 Ireland: Land, Conflict and Memory This course explores the history of Ireland from Medieval times through the Great Famine, ending with a look at the Partition of Ireland in 1920. We examine themes of religious and cultural conflict and explore a series of English political and military interventions. Throughout the course, we will analyze views of the Irish landscape, landholding patterns, and health and welfare issues. Finally, we explore the contested nature of history and memory as the class discusses monuments and memory production in Irish public spaces. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS, QRE; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 246 Making Early Medieval England This course explores the world of Early Medieval England from Rome's decline through the Norman Conquest (c.400-1066) through its material culture. These six centuries witnessed dramatic transformations, including waning Roman influence, changing environmental conditions, ethnic migrations, the coming of Christianity, the rise of kingdoms, and the emergence of new agricultural and economic regimes. We will look beyond the kings and priests at the top of society by analyzing objects people made and used, buildings they built, and human remains they buried alongside primary and secondary written sources. Students will practice writing history from, and experiment with (re)making early English "things." 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 250 Modern Germany This course offers a comprehensive examination of German history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will look at the German-speaking peoples of Central Europe through the prism of politics, society, culture, and the economy. Through a range of readings, we will grapple with the many complex and contentious issues that have made German history such an interesting area of intellectual inquiry. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 252 Social Movements in Modern China Working with evidence is what allows historians to encounter past societies and people. What kind of evidence we have and our approaches to interpreting it shape the questions we can ask and the interpretations we can offer. This course will provide interested students with hands-on experience in working with various kinds of evidence and learning about the process of writing histories with a focus on the origins and developments of the Chinese Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976. Themes will include practices and reflections on personality formation, knowledge and power, class and nation, legitimatization of violence, and operations of memory.    6 credits; IS, HI, WR2; Spring; Seungjoo Yoon
HIST 253 Social Movements in Modern Korea This course examines rich traditions of social movements in Korea from its preindustrial times to the present. It will analyze how the movement organizers came to claim the space between households and the state by organizing themselves around various groupings (religious societies, labor unions, and SMOs). Thematically, it will scrutinize the intersections of multiple value orientations (e.g., feminist consciousness and fight for democracy and social justice) and unintended consequences (state violence and traumatic memory). Engaging with different sources (e.g., films, testimonies, memoirs, autobiographies, journals, and government reports), students will develop skills to frame key historical questions against broader historiographical contexts. 6 credits; NE, WR2, IS; Winter; Seungjoo Yoon
HIST 254 Migration in Asia-Pacific History Why do people migrate? Is there an East Asian pattern of migration that distinguishes itself from Euro-American ones? This course examines many faces of migration (voluntary to forced; downward to upward) across maritime frontiers evolving from the fifteenth century to the present. It explores various dynamics of on-the-spot human encounters in both sending and receiving societies. Topics include migratory networks, niche economies, colonial mapping and settlements, gendered frontiers, redefinition of health and hygiene, opium regimes, and conflicts and collaboration. Students will have hands-on experience in working with many different kinds of evidence and learning about the process of writing histories. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2; Spring; Seungjoo Yoon
HIST 256 Disaster, Disease, & Rumors in East Asia How are rumors generated and transmitted in a period of high anxiety like disaster? Do rumors and anxiety reciprocate? How do rumors enhance existing stereotypes and prejudices of people? Why do rumors arise in a society that suffers from inadequate information or the complete cutoff in communication? This course classifies the types and nature of rumors at the time of making modern East Asia. Thematically, it examines the interplay between wartime science, environmental conditions, and societal capacities in modern Japan, Korea, and China. Topics include rumor panics generated by epidemic, water pollution, atomic bomb, famine politics, industrial toxins, and lab leaks. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 257 Chinese Capitalism: From Local to Global How did China become a global player in the market economy? This course surveys Chinese business history in the recent past focusing on the origins of industrial development in China, agrarian “involution” and famine, vernacular commercialism, and arguments about China’s economic divergence from and convergence with the rest of the world. Historical examples are drawn from enterprises that produced salt, medicine, cotton textile, machine tools, electricity, automobiles, and the iPhone. Students will pick one of them and write a historical biography of a businessperson, an economic thinker, a company, or an entrepreneurial activity (e.g., operating department stores or advertising companies). 6 credits; HI, QRE, IS, WR2; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 258 Korean History in Films & Testimonies What are the limits and promises of putting history on screen, and vice versa? What would be a better way to convey the sentiments of a human being who must make a moral choice in a distinctive historical circumstance? This course explores the dynamic relationship between testimony-giving and filmmaking about the lived experience in Korea in the recent past. We will focus on the voices of ordinary people, especially those shaped by female and downtrodden citizens. Drawing examples from films, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, eyewitnesses, and/or novels, students will analyze an enduring value orientation of a historical figure of their choice. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 260 The Making of the Modern Middle East A survey of major political and social developments from the fifteenth century to the beginning of World War I. Topics include: state and society, the military and bureaucracy, religious minorities (Jews and Christians), and women in premodern Muslim societies; the encounter with modernity. 6 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Adeeb Khalid
HIST 263 Plagues of Empire The globalization of disease is often seen as a recent phenomenon aided by high-speed communication and travel. This course examines the history of the spread of infectious diseases by exploring the connection between disease, medicine and European imperial expansion. We consider the ways in which European expansion from 1500 onwards changed the disease landscape of the world and how pre-existing diseases in the tropics shaped and thwarted imperial ambitions. We will also question how far Western medicine can be seen as a benefit by examining its role in facilitating colonial expansion and constructing racial and gender difference. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 264 A History of India Through Food Indian cuisine is today famed worldwide and known for its complex diversity. This course will explore food as a gateway through which to understand a broader history of society, economy and politics in the Indian subcontinent. An analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of food and spices, beginning in the ancient era and ending in contemporary times, will allow us to examine community formation, patterns of wealth distribution, and state-building strategies. We will look at topics including farming and the environment, medical and religious systems, culture, caste, and colonialism. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Brendan P LaRocque
HIST 265 Central Asia in the Modern Age Central Asia--the region encompassing the post-Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and the Xinjiang region of the People's Republic of China--is often considered one of the most exotic in the world, but it has experienced all the excesses of the modern age. After a basic introduction to the long-term history of the steppe, this course will concentrate on exploring the history of the region since its conquest by the Russian and Chinese empires. We will discuss the interaction of external and local forces as we explore transformations in the realms of politics, society, culture, and religion. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 266 History of Islam in South Asia While Islam in popular thought is often associated solely with the Arab world, in reality eighty percent of the world’s Muslim population is not of Arab ethnicity. The countries of South Asia--particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh--are collectively home to the largest number of Muslims. After examining the early background of the appearance and growth of Islamic societies and governments, we will explore the rich history of the expansion of Islam into the Indian subcontinent. We will take account of the role of trade and conquest in the early centuries of Islamic expansion and study the development of specifically Indian forms of Islam. The nature and impact of the Indo-Islamic empires will receive our attention, as will the interaction of Muslims with non-Muslim communities in medieval and early modern India. This will be followed by a look at the period of colonial rule, and an analysis of the specific historical contexts that gave rise to specific religious nationalist movements. We will then trace out how, once established, these movements developed according to their changing relationships to national liberation movements, secularism, state administrative systems, global economic shifts, and changing social demands. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 267 Muslims and Modernity Through readings in primary sources in translation, we will discuss the major intellectual and cultural movements that have influenced Muslim thinkers from the nineteenth century on. Topics include modernism, nationalism, socialism, and fundamentalism. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 268 Globalization & Local Responses in India Program: History, Globalization, and Politics in Modern India Indian democracy presents a complicated social and political terrain that is being reshaped and remapped by a wide variety of efforts to bring about economic development, social change, political representation, justice, and equality. In this course we will examine, among other topics, the history of modern India with a focus on political movements centered on issues of colonialism, nationalism, class, gender, and caste. We will also examine changes in contemporary India brought about by globalization, and study how particular groups and communities have reacted and adapted to these developments. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the India OCS Program required. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 270 Nuclear Nations: India and Pakistan as Rival Siblings At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, India and Pakistan, two new nation states emerged from the shadow of British colonialism. This course focuses on the political trajectories of these two rival siblings and looks at the ways in which both states use the other to forge antagonistic and belligerent nations. While this is a survey course it is not a comprehensive overview of the history of the two countries. Instead it covers some of the more significant moments of rupture and violence in the political history of the two states. The first two-thirds of the course offers a top-down, macro overview of these events and processes whereas the last third examines the ways in which people experienced these developments. We use the lens of gender to see how the physical body, especially the body of the woman, is central to the process of nation building. We will consider how women’s bodies become sites of contestation and how they are disciplined and policed by the postcolonial state(s). 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 272 The Mexican Revolution: History, Myth and Art The Mexican Revolution was the twentieth-century’s first major social and political upheaval and a watershed moment in Latin American history. This course examines the factors that precipitated the conflict, as well as its main domestic and international dimensions. It explores how an official myth of “The Revolution” was created and contested by the Mexican state, artists, intellectuals, and peasants through the means of education, murals, photography, protest, commemorations, and shrines. The mythification of martyred agrarian leader and rebel chieftain Emiliano Zapata will be examined. Students will work with the College’s collection of Mexican silkscreen posters created in commemoration of the ninetieth anniversary of Zapata’s assassination in 1919. 6 credits; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 277 The Other September 11th: History & Memory in Chile September 11, 2023 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the coup d’état that deposed the democratically elected government of socialist Salvador Allende and ushered in the seventeen-year dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Students will examine this era through published eyewitness accounts and testimony, oral history projects, documentary film, photography and music. The course covers the rise and fall of Allende’s government, life under both Unidad Popular and Pinochet, the 1980s protest movement against military rule, and the ongoing struggles and debates over human rights, justice, and collective memory. 6 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Andrew B Fisher
HIST 278 The Aztecs and Their World Come explore the world of feathered serpents, smoking mirrors, flower songs, and water mountains! This course examines from multiple disciplinary perspectives the Nahuatl-speaking people of central Mexico under both Aztec and early Spanish rule (spanning approximately the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries). Students will gain experience working with a range of sources produced by Nahua authors, scribes, and artists, including ritual calendars, imperial tribute records, dynastic annals, and translated documents. The College’s rich collection of Mesoamerican codex facsimiles will play a prominent role in our investigation. No prior knowledge is required or expected. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Andrew B Fisher
HIST 281 War in Modern Africa This course examines the causes, features, and consequences of wars across two critical phases of African history, colonial and post-colonial. It covers four cases studies from modern Central, East, and West Africa: the Congo (first under the rule of King Leopold and later the Belgian colonial government), Tanganyika (under German colonial rule), Nigeria (during the first republic through the civil war), and Uganda (under the rule of Idi Amin). Students will learn how certain memories or interpretations of events are narrated, fashioned, truncated, contested, forgotten, or silenced. Students also will learn how different historical actors participated in and experienced war. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 282 History, Culture, and Commerce Africa and Arabia Program: African Diaspora in Arabia This course offers a broad historical overview of African men's and women's experiences as religious, political, and military leaders, as merchants and poets, and in agricultural and maritime industries in Arabia. Situated in Zanzibar and in various Gulf societies, the course will examine long standing historical, cultural, and commercial exchanges between Africa and the Gulf from medieval times to the present day. The course will question the ideologies that assume that Africa and Arabia represent racial and cultural difference. Prerequisite: 100 or 200 level Africana Studies or History course and participation in OCS program. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2, QRE; Spring; Thabiti C Willis
HIST 283 History, Culture, and Commerce Africa and Arabia Program: Thinking Historically in the Present This course explores how people in the countries associated with the Africa-Arabia program use notions of the past, heritage, and culture to forge national identities. It involves foundational reading material based on available field trips and experts. Students also will be tested on knowledge that they amass from a range of sources by the end of the first week of the term. These sources include lectures, museums, and local archives. Students will demonstrate this knowledge during presentations before an audience of their peers and scholars, heritage practitioners, and staff from institutional partners. Prerequisite: Participation in OCS Program. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; HI, IS, WR2; Spring; Thabiti C Willis
HIST 284 History, Culture, and Commerce Africa and Arabia Program: Heritage in Africa and Arabia Through lectures, readings, and visits to museums and archaeological and other heritage sites, this course examines the rich cultural heritage of East Africa and Arabia. Students will investigate a range of sites, reflecting on the deep and enduring connections between Africa's and Arabia's historical trading systems and cultures. The course also examines the influence of various European powers. Prerequisite: 100 or 200 level Africana Studies or History course and participation in OCS program. 4 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Thabiti C Willis
HIST 285 History, Culture, and Commerce Africa and Arabia Program: Critical Historical Research This course focuses on ethnographic research and writing with an emphasis on the practice of fieldwork. Students will conduct group research projects that include actively guiding and evaluating the work of their peers. The content of these projects will include maritime activities, health, music, economics, and heritage. Students will learn the benefits and challenges of examining oral tradition, oral history, poetry, visual art, material culture, and embodied practice. Service or experiential learning is another major point of emphasis. Students will develop their ability to question their knowledge, method, evidence, interpretation, experience, ethics, and power. Prerequisite: 100 or 200 level Africana Studies or History course and participation in OCS program. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Thabiti C Willis
HIST 286 Ecology and Society in African History Scholarship about the multiple arenas in which colonialism wrought wide-ranging ecological transformations in Africa captures imagination. Through the lens of ‘history from below’ approach, this course interrogates African environmental history across pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial temporal spaces. It pays particular attention to how Africans’ indigenous knowledge and practices of natural resource access have been in perpetual conflict with neo-protectionist conservationist policies that threaten Africans’ bio-cultural heritage today. Themes to be addressed include African ideas about landscape, culture-nature relationality, sustainable natural resource utilization, disease ecologies, gender and the environment, resource-based conflicts, climate change, ecological imperialism, and negotiations for environmental justice. 6 credits; Spring; Ptwo Molosiwa
HIST 287 From Alchemy to the Atom Bomb: The Scientific Revolution and the Making of the Modern World This course examines the growth of modern science since the Renaissance with an emphasis on the Scientific Revolution, the development of scientific methodology, and the emergence of new scientific disciplines. How might a history of science focused on scientific networks operating within society, rather than on individual scientists, change our understanding of “genius,” “progress,” and “scientific impartiality?” We will consider a range of scientific developments, treating science both as a body of knowledge and as a set of practices, and will gauge the extent to which our knowledge of the natural world is tied to who, when, and where such knowledge has been produced and circulated. 6 credits; HI, WR2; Spring; Antony E Adler
HIST 288 Reason, Authority, and Love in Medieval France In a series of letters written after the abrupt and violent ending of their sexual relationship, Peter Abelard, a controversial and creative teacher and philosopher, and Heloise, a respected abbess and thinker, explored central questions about the nature of gender roles, love, authority, and the place of reason in human affairs. In other works, Abelard articulated new approaches to ethical judgment (the primacy of intention), the status of universals, and the potential of logical argument to foster interreligious dialogue. Through their use of dialectic, his works modeled new approaches to metaphysics, ontology, anthropology, and the nature and use of authorities. Through close reading and discussion of these works and those of select contemporaries, this course will explore the key philosophical, social, and institutional dynamics of a moment of profound change in medieval thought and culture. 3 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 289 Gender and Ethics in Late Medieval France Acknowledged by contemporaries as one of the leading intellects of her time, Christine de Pizan (ca. 1364-ca. 1431) became an author of unusual literary range, personal resilience, and perceptiveness in a time of ongoing warfare, civil strife, and intellectual ferment. In addition to composing romances, poetry, quasi-autobiographical works, royal biography, and political theory, she became an articulate critic of the patriarchy and misogyny of her world, contemporary patterns and cultures of violence, and a critical voice in defense of female capability. Using Christine's writings together with other contemporary voices, we will examine how contemporaries confronted fundamental questions of identity, status, violence, ethics, and love in domestic and public spheres in late medieval France. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 298 Junior Colloquium In the junior year, majors must take this six-credit reading and discussion course taught each year by different members of the department faculty. The course is also required for the History minor. The general purpose of History 298 is to help students reach a more sophisticated understanding of the nature of history as a discipline and of the approaches and methods of historians. A major who is considering off-campus study in the junior year should consult with their adviser on when to take History 298. Prerequisite: At least two six credit courses in History (excluding HIST 100 and Independents) at Carleton. 6 credits; HI; Fall, Winter, Spring; Serena R Zabin, Andrew B Fisher, Amna Khalid
HIST 301 Indigenous Histories at Carleton Carleton's new campus land acknowledgement affirms that this is Dakota land, but how did Carleton come to be here? What are the histories of Indigenous faculty, students, and staff at Carleton? In this course, students will investigate Indigenous histories on our campus by conducting original research about how Carleton acquired its landbase, its historic relationships to Dakota and Anishinaabeg people, histories of on-campus activism, the shifting demographics of Native students on campus, and the histories of Indigenous faculty and staff, among others. Students will situate these histories within the broader context of federal Indian policies and Indigenous resistance. 6 credits; NE, WR2, IDS; Spring; Meredith L McCoy
HIST 302 Creatures and Cultures: The History of Animals and Society How have animals shaped human societies and cultures, and how have humans in turn influenced the lives of animals? We will examine several historical contexts, cultures, and regions to gain a global understanding of the complexities of human-animal interactions. Other historical topics may include the ethical and political implications of these relationships as well as the impact on human societies and the environment of animal husbandry, wildlife conservation, and the display of exotic animals. Students will write a 25- to 30-page paper based on primary research and will read and critique each other’s papers. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Spring; Antony E Adler
HIST 304 Black Study and the University This course examines the historical relationship between Black intellectuals and the university. We will examine the juxtaposition between institutionalized white supremacy in universities and the work of Black students and faculty as well as the radical implications of Black knowledge production. Beginning with the writings of Anna Julia Cooper and W.E.B. Du Bois, the course traces how Black intellectuals have conceptualized the political utility of higher education and its liberatory potential over the course of the twentieth century. Emphases include the significance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the advent of Black Studies departments, and the role of Black Studies today and in the future. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 306 American Wilderness To many Americans, wild lands are among the nation’s most treasured places. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon – the names alone stir the heart, the mind, and the imagination. But where do those thoughts and feelings come from, and how have they both reflected and shaped American culture, society, and nature over the last three centuries? These are the central issues and questions that we will pursue in this seminar and in its companion course, ENTS 307 Wilderness Field Studies: Grand Canyon (which includes an Off-Campus Studies program at Grand Canyon National Park). Prerequisite: Acceptance in Wilderness Studies at the Grand Canyon OCS program. History 205 is recommended but not required. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Winter; George H Vrtis
HIST 308 American Cities and Nature Since the nation's founding, the percentage of Americans living in cities has risen nearly sixteenfold, from about five percent to the current eighty-one percent. This massive change has spawned legions of others, and all of them have bearing on the complex ways that American cities and city-dwellers have shaped and reshaped the natural world. This course will consider the nature of cities in American history, giving particular attention to the dynamic linkages binding these cultural epicenters to ecological communities, environmental forces and resource flows, to eco-politics and social values, and to those seemingly far-away places we call farms and wilderness. Prerequisite: History 205 is recommended but not required. 6 credits; WR2, IDS, HI; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 315 America's Founding This course is part of an off-campus winter break program that includes two linked courses in the fall and winter. The creation and establishment of the United States was a contested and uncertain event stretched over more than half a century. For whom, for what, and how was the United States created? In what ways do the conflicts and contradictions of the nation’s eighteenth-century founding shape today’s America? We will examine how the nation originated in violent civil war and in political documents that simultaneously offered glorious promises and a “covenant with death.” Our nuanced understanding of the American Revolution and Early Republic will underpin our ability to tell these stories to the wider public. Prerequisite: One previous history course. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Fall; Serena R Zabin
HIST 316 Presenting America's Founding This course is the second half of a two-course sequence focused on the study of the founding of the United States in American public life. The course will begin with a two-week off-campus study program during winter break in Washington, D.C and Boston, where we will visit world-class museums and historical societies, meet with museum professionals, and learn about the goals and challenges of history museums, the secrets to successful exhibitions, and the work of museum curators and directors. The course will culminate in the winter term with the completion of an exhibit created in conjunction with one of the museums located on Boston’s Freedom Trail. Prerequisite: History 315. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Winter; Serena R Zabin
HIST 320 The Progressive Era? Was the Progressive Era progressive? It was a period of social reform, labor activism, and woman suffrage, but also of Jim Crow, corporate capitalism, and U.S. imperialism. These are among the topics that can be explored in research papers on this contradictory era. We will begin by reading a brief text that surveys the major subject areas and relevant historiography of the period. The course will center on the writing of a 25-30 page based on primary research, which will be read and critiqued by members of the seminar. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 331 Regional States: Boundaries and Horizons in Fourteenth-Century Italy We will examine the development of regional states in fourteenth-century Italy. We will explore the social, religious, political, environmental, and cultural aspects of a changing world between the medieval and the modern. The Black Death, a triad of literary greats (Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio), maps, humanism, political theory, water rights, saints, business, and travelers to and from Italy are some of the themes we will engage with as we try to understand how contemporaries conceptualized the political, spatial, and cultural boundaries of their world. Students will conduct original research relating to the seminar topics culminating in a substantial research paper. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Spring; Victoria Morse
HIST 332 Image Makers and Breakers in the Premodern World What roles do images play in premodern societies? What are these images thought to be and to do? Why, at particular moments, have certain groups attempted to do away with images either completely or in specific settings? How do images create and threaten communities and how is the management of the visual integrated with and shaped by other values, structures, and objectives? This course will examine these and related questions by looking in depth at image-making and veneration and their opponents in a range of case studies (from the medieval west, Byzantium, Muslim lands, and Protestant Europe) and by examining theoretical discussions of images, vision, and cognition from the fourth through sixteenth centuries. This course is discussion intensive and each student will develop a research project on a topic of their own design. Prerequisite: Previous history course or instructor consent. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 334 Voyages of Understanding This seminar will examine the phenomenon of travel across historical periods and around the globe. We will look at motivations for travel; ideas about place, space, and geography; travel as site of encounter and conflict with peoples of different religions, ethnicities, and cultures; the effect of travel on individual and group identity; and representations of travel, cultural contact, and geography in texts, maps, and images. We will work on key research skills, and each student will carry out an original research project leading to a ca. 25-page research paper. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Winter; Victoria Morse
HIST 335 Finding Ireland's Past How do historians find and use evidence of Ireland's history? Starting with an exploration of castle archaeology and digital reconstruction, and ending with a unit on folklore and oral history collections from the early twentieth century, the first half of the course takes students through a series of themes and events in Irish history. During the second half of the course, students will pursue independent research topics to practice skills in historical methods, and will complete either a seminar paper or a digital project. 6 credits; HI, WR2, QRE, IS; Fall; Susannah R Ottaway
HIST 338 Digital History, Public Heritage & Deep Mapping How do new methods of digital humanities and collaborative public history change our understanding of space and place? This hands-on research seminar will seek answers through a deep mapping of the long history of Northfield, Minnesota, before and after its most well-known era of the late nineteenth-century. Deep mapping is as much archaeology as it is cartography, plumbing the depths of a particular place to explore its diversity through time. Students will be introduced to major theories of space and place as well as their application through technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), 3D modeling, and video game engines. We will mount a major research project in collaboration with specialists in public history and community partners. 6 credits; HI, QRE, IDS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 341 The Russian Revolution and its Global Legacies The Russian revolution of 1917 was one of the seminal events of the twentieth century. It transformed much beyond Russia itself. This course will take stock of the event and its legacy. What was the Russian revolution? What was its place in the history of revolutions? How did it impact the world? How was it seen by those who made it and those who witnessed it? How have these evaluations changed over time? What sense can we make of it in the year of its centenary? The revolution was both an inspiration (to many revolutionary and national-liberation movements) and used as a tale of caution and admonition (by adversaries of the Soviet Union). The readings will put the Russian revolution in the broadest perspective of the twentieth century and its contested evaluations, from within the Soviet Union and beyond, from its immediate aftermath, through World War II, the Cold War, to the post-Soviet period. The course is aimed at all students interested in the history of the twentieth century and of the idea of the revolution. Prerequisite: One course in Modern European History or instructor consent. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 346 The Holocaust This course will grapple with the difficult and complicated phenomenon of the genocide of the Jews of Europe. We will explore anti-Semitism in its historical context, both in the German-speaking lands as well as in Europe as a whole. The experience of Jews in Nazi Germany will be an area of focus, but this class will look at European Jews more broadly, both before and during the Second World War. The question of responsibility and guilt will be applied to Germans as well as to other European societies, and an exploration of victims will extend to other affected groups. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 347 The Global Cold War In the aftermath of the Second World War and through the 1980s, the United States and the Soviet Union competed for world dominance. This Cold War spawned hot wars, as well as a cultural and economic struggle for influence all over the globe. This course will look at the experience of the Cold War from the perspective of its two main adversaries, the U.S. and USSR, but will also devote considerable attention to South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Students will write a 20 page paper based on original research. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 360 Muslims and Modernity Through readings in primary sources in translation, we will discuss the major intellectual and cultural movements that have influenced Muslim thinkers from the nineteenth century on. Topics include modernism, nationalism, socialism, and fundamentalism. Prerequisite: At least one prior course in the history of the Middle East or Central Asia or Islam. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 383 Africa's Colonial Legacies This course deepens understanding of the causes, manifestations, and implications of warfare in modern Africa by highlighting African perspectives on colonialism's legacies. Drawing from cases in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Algeria, and Sudan, the course questions whether Britain's policy of indirect rule, France's direct rule, and South Africa's apartheid rule were variants of despotism and how colonial rule shaped possibilities of resistance, reform, and repression. Students also will learn how different historical actors participated in and experienced war as well as produce an original research paper that thoughtfully uses primary and secondary resources. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2023-24
HIST 398 Advanced Historical Writing This course is designed to support majors in developing advanced skills in historical research and writing. Through a combination of class discussion, small group work, and one-on-one interactions with the professor, majors learn the process of constructing sophisticated, well-documented, and well-written historical arguments within the context of an extended project of their own design. They also learn and practice strategies for engaging critically with contemporary scholarship and effective techniques of peer review and the oral presentation of research. Concurrent enrollment in History 400 required. By permission of the instructor only. 6 credits; S/CR/NC; HI, WR2; Winter; Annette R Igra, Serena R Zabin
HIST 400 Integrative Exercise Required of all seniors majoring in history. Registration in this course is contingent upon prior approval of a research proposal. 6 credits; S/NC; Winter