HIS 103: American Rebels

Rebels founded its first colonies and a group of rebels led those colonies to independence and the eventual creation of a new global order. The rebel tradition has continued with legions of dreamers and activists: Confederates and abolitionists, muckrakers and suffragettes, beats, hippies and yippies and the founders of new religions. This course explores rebels famous and less known, giving students the opportunity to locate and explore rebels that interest them and share their research.

HIS 104: American Nightmares and Dreams

People have seen the United States as the land where all could achieve the dreams of freedom and prosperity. For many the American Dream has been a nightmare. Dreams of racial supremacy, gaining endless wealth, protecting the traditional family, territorial expansion, defending the nation and procuring overseas markets have all meant nightmares for some. This course explores American dreams and nightmares from the discovery of the New World through today.

HIS 209: Hollywood History

Movies and films shape popular notions about history. Scholars often reject movies as lacking historical value because film makers are not historians. Students debate the veracity and historical value of movie depictions of the past and explore differences and similarities between the work of historians and film makers. Students consider films as visions and producers of national mythology and popularly held understandings of the past.

HIS 212: God’s Country: Religion in America

The U.S. Constitution establishes a separation between church and state and yet religion and churches remain important components of the American culture and the nation’s politics. This course considers debates about the spirituality of the founding fathers and their intentions regarding the wall separating church and state. This course considers religion-political debates over such issues as abortion, gay rights, prayer in the schools and state support for religious schools.

HIS 218: The West and the World

This course is a general survey of western civilization from the early modern era through the present, with special focus upon developing a better understanding of how the modern era unfolded and upon the interaction between western civilization and the wider world. Students learn how to use their understanding of the past as a means for developing a critical understanding of the present.

HIS 222: American Popular Culture

From the X Men to Mad Men, from Facebook to the Social Network, from Elvis Presley and Little Richard to Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, from Mary Tyler Moore to the Kardashians. Popular culture is often dismissed as low brow and lacking any redeeming value. This course analyzes the history of American popular culture, drawing on a variety of disciplines including sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies, anthropology and cultural studies.

HIS 309: America in the Sixties

What were the Sixties really like? This course examines the turbulent 1960s, one of the most significant decades in American history. Using primary and secondary readings, documentary films and oral history, the course focuses on the social movements of the Sixties, the civil rights movement, the New Left, the counterculture, the peace movement, feminism, environmentalism, the Vietnam War, liberalism and the conservative backlash and popular culture.

HIS 317: Revolutions and Revolutionaries

Our world is the child of revolutions and revolutionaries. The French and English revolutions created modern politics. The Commercial and Industrial Revolutions spawned a global market economy. Marxism, nationalism and other ideologies have sparked revolutionary efforts to create new societies. This course explores revolutions and the people who have inspired and led them. Students study what events lead to these upheavals, what new societies revolutionary governments have created and what changed and what remained the same.

HIS 319: Modern Mexico

United States and Mexican commerce continues to grow, especially with NAFTA, making Mexico the nation’s third-largest trade partner. Numerous Americans visit Mexico as tourists while, every year, thousands of Mexicans immigrate to the United States, exercising an increasing and controversial impact on politics, the economy and culture. In this course students become more literate about Mexico, familiarizing themselves with the basic events, people and ideas that have shaped Mexican culture.