PURCHASE COLLEGE CATALOG 2016–18
Draft in progress
Western Civilization I
HIS 1010 / 4 credits / Fall
The ancient world to the beginning of the modern world at 1500 A.D.: an amalgamation of Celtic, Jewish, Greek, Roman, and German historical traditions.
Western Civilization II
HIS 1020 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A study of texts and events that have shaped Western society and culture since 1500.
Development of the United States I
HIS 1200 / 3 credits / Every semester
Examines the history of the United States from European colonization and initial contact with Native Americans through the Civil War. Subjects include the diversity of settlement experiences; European-Native American relations; the development of slavery; the causes and consequences of the American Revolution; social, political, and cultural changes in the 18th and 19th centuries; the sectional crisis; and the significance of the Civil War.
Development of the United States II
HIS 1205 / 3 credits / Every semester
Examines the history of the United States from Reconstruction through the end of the 20th century. Subjects include changes in race and gender relations; industrialization, urbanization, and suburbanization; the emergence of new social and political movements; the impact of war on American institutions; and America’s rise to world power.
Living in Early America
HIS 1400 / 3 credits / Alternate years
Students explore objects, behaviors, and ideas to learn about the daily lives and worldviews of three foundational early American cultures: Native American, African American, and European. This course draws heavily on visual and aural materials as well as artifacts to illustrate the ideas and physical realities that shaped early American art and architecture, music, food, landscapes, domestic interiors, family relationships, and pastimes.
Chinese Culture and Social Life
CHI 1505 Refer to Chinese Courses for description.
Introduction to Latin American Studies
HIS 1600 / 4 credits / Fall
An introductory survey of the history of Latin America from colonial times to the present. Topics include geography, indigenous peoples, colonization and nation formation, society, politics, economy and culture of contemporary Latin America, and its place in today’s world.
Special Topics in History
HIS 1850 / 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Topics in history to be determined each semester.
Modern Latin America
HIS 2005 / 4 credits / Every year
Explores major social, cultural, economic, and political developments in Latin America from the period following the Wars of Independence to the present. The historical roots of such problems as racism, persistent poverty, and political repression are examined, focusing on “subaltern” groups (e.g., peasants, workers, women, and people of color).
The Ancient Middle East
HIS 2035 / 4 credits / Every year
Explores the ancient civilizations of the Middle East, including those of Egypt, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. Students examine cultural, social, and political movements using texts as well as archaeology as sources.
Jewish Culture and Civilization
HIS 2040 / 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
Examines how early Jewish interactions with various cultures affected the development of Judaism. Interactions with Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, Christian, and Muslim cultures are explored. Topics include conflicts with external powers, exile, and diaspora.
Princes, Priests, and Peasants
HIS 2120 / 3 credits / Alternate years
A survey of the history of Europe in the Middle Ages (1000–1400). Topics include the expansion of the frontiers of European civilization, the changing forms of intellectual and religious life, and the growth of towns and trade.
History of Journalism
JOU 2150 Refer to Journalism Courses for description.
Colonial Latin America
HIS 2170 / 3 credits / Alternate years
An introductory survey of the history of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest and colonization of the Americas from 1450 to 1810, i.e., from the late preconquest period to the Latin American struggle for independence. Lectures, readings, and discussions provide an overview of the economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions of colonization.
Renaissance and Reformation Europe
HIS 2210 / 3 credits / Alternate years
Examines the origins of modern Europe from the Renaissance in Italy through the Protestant Reformation and the age of religious wars, using both primary source readings and secondary historical scholarship.
Latinos and Cities in the Americas
HIS 2215 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Focuses on the history of Latinos in urban centers across the U.S. and Latin America. Students explore how Latinos established and maintained distinctive social and cultural identities in the Americas. The historical definition of “Latinidad” is also discussed through the study of colonization, immigration, diaspora, globalization, and the history of the racialization of Latin American descendants.
The Rise of Modern Europe
HIS 2220 / 3 credits / Alternate years
Explores the political and social transformation of Europe between the religious wars of the 16th century and the French Revolution. Topics include the growth of commercial capitalism and the scientific revolution.
Introduction to Asian Studies
HIS 2250 / 3 credits / Fall
Examines the history of Asia and its peoples’ interactions with each other and with other nations in the world, focusing on major issues in modern and contemporary times. Asian views and perspectives are introduced and discussed.
First Peoples to European Contact: New World Archaeology
HIS 2320 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Focuses on the prehistory of the Americas from the first peoples through 1492, beginning with the Ice Age cultures of the New World and moving forward chronologically. South, Central, and North American cultures are examined, including the Olmec, Woodlands, and Mississippi Valley cultures, pueblo culture, and the Maya, Aztec, and Inca.
The Atlantic World, 1450–1888
HIS 2330 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores the encounters and interactions of the major populations who lived on the landmasses rimming the Atlantic Ocean (native peoples, Africans, and Europeans) from 1450 to 1888. Topics include migration, religion, slaves and enslavement, lived lives and material culture, foodways and folkways, the age of revolutions, and the fight for abolition.
HIS 2420 / 3 credits / Alternate years
How are we to understand the century that has just ended? This course examines the political, social, and ideological forces that have shaped Europe since World War I. Special attention is paid to the impact of war and revolution, economic change, the Nazi dictatorship, the Cold War and its demise, and the changing role of Europe in world affairs.
The Sixties: Dreams and Dissent
HIS 2461 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
In this examination of the turbulent decade of the 1960s, students explore key social, political, economic, and cultural issues of the era. Specific topics include various struggles for civil rights and social equality; the escalation of the U.S. presence in Vietnam; the sexual revolution; the vision and limitations of the Great Society; and the rise of the New Right.
Women in America
HIS 2490 / 4 credits / Every year
Covers the experience of American women from colonial times to the 20th century, from political, social, religious, cultural, and economic points of view.
Society and Culture in Modern Brazil
HIS 2540 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Covers the history of Brazil from independence to the present. During this period, Brazil has transformed from a colonial, agrarian, slave society to a predominantly urban, industrialized nation and an aspiring world power. Students explore slavery, racism, urban life, immigration and industrialization, changing gender roles, political repression and military rule, carnaval and popular culture.
History of Modern Japan
HIS 2600 / 3 credits / Alternate years
An introduction to modern Japanese history, from the end of the Tokugawa period in the mid-19th century to the present. Japanese imperialism, Japan’s spectacular economic growth after World War II, and U.S.-Japanese relations are discussed.
Expansion and Conflict: The U.S. in the 19th Century
HIS 2660 / 3 credits / Alternate years
A survey of social, economic, and political history from the ratification of the Constitution through the “crisis” of the 1890s. Topics include republicanism and competing visions of “America”; economic development and class conflict; slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction; continental expansion and the settlement of the West; and urbanization and the origins of consumer culture.
Ancient Greece and Rome
HIS 2800 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Covers the history and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Topics include Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period, Etruscan civilization, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, Roman interactions with neighbors, the birth of Christianity, and the early years of the Byzantine Empire. This course also addresses how to read primary sources, the historiography of antiquity, and how to use archaeological sources.
Issues in the Study of the Holocaust
HIS 2815 / 4 credits / Alternate years
How was the Holocaust possible in the 20th century? This course responds to the question by examining specific issues: German anti-Semitism; Hitler’s rise to power; the genocide process; responses to Nazism and the news of the Holocaust in Jewish and international communities; resistance and collaboration; and theological and moral questions.
Introduction to Chinese Arts and Culture
HIS 2820 / 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A survey of Chinese arts and culture that introduces approaches to and connoisseurship of painting, calligraphy, sculpture, gardens, and architecture in dynamic relation to dynastic changes, literati-scholar tradition, cosmological and aesthetic concepts, and influences of Taoism and Buddhism during the period 221 B.C. to 1950. Knowledge of Chinese language is not required or expected.
Modern East Asia
HIS 2830 / 3 credits / Every year
Examines the histories of China, Japan, and Korea from the disintegration of the traditional order through the transition to modern nation states. Asian views and perspectives are introduced and discussed.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
HIS 2870 / 3 credits / Every year
Considers the profound influence Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have exerted on the social, cultural, and political history of the East and the West. This course examines the historical developments, tenets, and scriptures of the three religions.
Cinema and the Archive
CIN 3005 Refer to Cinema Studies Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.
Representations of Latinos and Latinas in American Film, 1930–2000
HIS 3005 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Cinematic representations of Latinos and Latinas are explored as crucial elements in the configuration of “America” as a national community, taking into account key historical moments in the relationship between the United States and Latin America.
History and Its Publics
HIS 3023 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
What is the role of history in a community, and how does the public understand it? This course examines how collective memory is created, interpreted, and presented in different media, venues, and other forms of public communication. In addition to reading theoretical work and exhibit pamphlets, students participate in group and individual projects, critique websites, and design hypothetical exhibits.
HIS 3045 / 4 credits / Every year
Examines European social, political, and cultural developments since the 1950s through history, sociology, literature, and film. Themes include the Cold War, the evolution of the Common Market, youth, women and feminism, consumerism, immigration and labor migration, national identity, attitudes towards America, and Germany and Eastern Europe since the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
Colonial and Revolutionary America
HIS 3050 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the founding and development of the British colonies in North America and the causes of the American Revolution. The course considers the political, social, religious, and institutional history of colonial America through 1783.
The Lives of Women
HIS 3080 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the contributions of women who have defied gender barriers and made lasting changes to their societies. Intensive primary-source readings focus on case studies of selected women in America, England, and France from the 12th century to the present.
Prerequisite: One course in women’s history and permission of instructor
U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1898
HIS 3105 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Is the United States now, or has it ever been, an empire? Students explore this question and others as they examine diplomatic, political, economic, and cultural aspects of U.S. foreign relations since the Spanish American War in 1898. The lecture/discussion format draws upon fiction, films, and other images, as well as traditional historical writing.
Sex Radicals in the 19th-Century U.S.
HIS 3115 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the lives and actions of people who challenged gender and sexual conventions in 19th-century America. What objections did they raise to normative social constructions? What alternative visions did they articulate, and how did they seek to turn those visions into reality? Groups explored include suffragists, dress reformers, free-love advocates, and members of utopian societies.
Chinese Cinema and History
HIS 3145 / 4 credits / Fall
An overview of the development and tradition of Chinese cinema through representative screenings of important films from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and political context(s) that informed the creation and reception of these films and learn critical scholarly terminology and historical issues related to the analysis of Chinese film.
War and Gender in 20th-Century Europe
HIS 3165 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines how war changed gender relations in 20th-century Europe. For instance, how did mobilization reinforce or undermine masculine and feminine norms? How did total wars that blurred the line between fighting front and home front challenge notions of chivalry and turn noncombatants into warriors of sorts? Did new job opportunities outweigh the trauma and grief suffered by women during wartime?
British Culture and Society in the 20th Century
HIS 3180 / 4 credits / Alternate years
A team-taught course in British society and cultural development from World War I to the present, examined from the different perspectives of literature and history. Topics include war and social change, construction of class and gender, evolution of the state, intellectuals and politics, popular culture since 1945, feminism, and immigration and race. Readings in history and the works of such authors as Virginia Woolf are complemented by the viewing of films.
Jews in American Society and Culture
HIS 3209 / 4 credits / Alternate years
A survey of American Jewry from the 1650s to the present, with emphasis on immigration patterns, economic accomplishment, interaction with non-Jews, and the Americanization of Judaism.
Religion and Politics in Europe
HIS 3225 / 4 credits / Every year
Explores the complex ways in which religion and politics have been intertwined in European history, from the persecution or expulsion of “infidels” and “heretics” in the Middle Ages to the cleansing of “ethnic minorities” in the 20th century. Topics include religious affiliations that have been used to mark political differences, and countervailing forces that have allowed for religious coexistence and cultural pluralism.
Women in the Biblical/Ancient World
HIS 3235 / 4 credits / Alternate years
An exploration of gender issues in the ancient world. Beginning with the ancient Near East and the biblical world in particular, students discuss portrayals of women, as well as their actual roles in society. Using textual and archaeological evidence, the course branches out to the related cultures of Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Modern European Jewish History
JST 3240 Refer to Jewish Studies Courses for description.
The Land of Israel: Ancient to Modern
HIS 3245 / 4 credits / Alternate years
An exploration of the peoples, religions, cultures, places, and monuments of the land of Israel. Home to three major world religions, the land has been embraced, fought over, and conquered repeatedly throughout history. Why? Students explore the reasons for Israel’s prominence and discover how its position and importance in the worldview is constantly being reinvented.
Latin American Cinema
CIN 3246 Refer to Cinema Studies Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.
Biblical History 1200–200 B.C.
HIS 3255 / 4 credits / Alternate years
The historicity of the Hebrew Bible is explored, from the protohistory of the Israelites as related through the Pentateuch and early prophetic works, through the period of the Monarchies, to the 6th-century B.C. exile, the birth of early Judaism, and the books of prophets and writings. Issues relating to historiography and biblical criticism are essential elements in this course.
Ideas and Society in the Age of Enlightenment
HIS 3260 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Major trends in the intellectual history of Europe from the latter part of the 17th century through the end of the 18th century, including changing perceptions of the relationship of the individual (male and female) to society, in the context of social change.
Vietnam and Modern America
HIS 3269 / 4 credits / Every year
Decades after its end, the legacy of the Vietnam war—America’s second longest war and a defining episode in its history—is still felt and hotly debated. Using documents, memoirs, fiction, poetry, song, and film, this course explores the war’s origins, development, ultimate conclusion, and aftermath, while paying special attention to those who experienced it both “in country” and at home.
The 18th-Century Revolutions
HIS 3280 / 4 credits / Alternate years
A comparative view of revolutions and revolutionaries in 18th-century America, France, Britain, and Holland. Both documents and secondary literature show the origins and development of democratic revolutions.
Travelers to the Holy Land
HIS 3295 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores the phenomenon of Westerners traveling to Palestine as explorers and pilgrims. Students concentrate on the journeys and their perils, the cultural and religious clashes they embodied, and the motivations of the individual travelers, including religion, politics, and personal gain. The course begins with travelers of the Middle Ages and quickly moves toward the 19th century.
Politics and Literature in Modern China
HIS 3310 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the role of Chinese literature in relation to politics. Readings include masterpieces of modern Chinese literature in translation and a couple of typical “propaganda pieces.” The class also sees, discusses, and compares several Chinese films.
Cross-Cultural Interactions: U.S. and East Asia
HIS 3315 / 4 credits / Alternate years
A general historical survey of the relations between the United States and East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam) from the mid-19th century to the present. The course examines the roots of the diplomatic, political, and cultural interactions and conflicts across the Pacific Ocean.
Encounter and Conflict: History of Jewish-Christian Relations
JST 3325 Refer to Jewish Studies Courses for description.
The Archaeology of Ancient Israel
HIS 3335 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Covers the archaeology of the land of Israel from the Neolithic Period to the end of the Iron Age, marked by the destruction of the first Jewish temple. This long period witnessed major events in the history of ancient Israel. This course uses archaeological and other forms of evidence, focusing on how that evidence is analyzed and treated.
Politics and Archaeology
HIS 3337 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores the relationship between politics and archaeology. Topics include who owns antiquities; fakes, forgeries, and the manipulating of history; presentations of archaeology to the public; buying, selling, and auctioning of antiquities; and archaeology in wartime. The geographic range of topics includes Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Syria, and other countries in region, as well as Greece and Rome.
Classic Hollywood, Early America
HIS 3345 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Students explore the underlying historical narratives of films from 1930 to 1960 that address topics from early America. These narratives are compared to the ways Hollywood recast historical lessons to suit modern circumstances and to promote “American values” challenged by economic depression and the rise of fascism and communism. Special emphasis is on the works of Ford and Capra.
Global Modernity: Empire and Its Aftermaths
HIS 3365 / 4 credits / Alternate years
An exploration of the legacies of imperialism through the dual perspectives of history and literature. Readings include literary and historical texts, films, and essays that illuminate the key terms: global, empire, and modern.
“Aren’t I a Woman?”: The Construction of Womanhood in the U.S.
HIS 3375 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Traces competing images of American womanhood from the colonial era to the present, paying particular attention to groups outside of the mainstream: the poor, slaves, people of color, immigrants, and women’s rights activists (including radical feminists and lesbians). The course revolves around questions like: What constitutes womanhood? Who is excluded? What are the implications of their exclusion?
Paris, Vienna, Berlin
HIS 3380 / 4 credits / Alternate years
European cultural and intellectual history are examined by focusing on three “storm centers of modern culture”: Paris in the 1860s and 1870s, fin de siècle Vienna, and Berlin in the 1920s. Topics include representations of bourgeois society in art and literature; psychoanalysis; and the auditory and visual revolution in mass culture produced by film, radio, photography, and recorded sound.
HIS 3390 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Analyzes political, social, and cultural developments in 19th-century England through a wide variety of historical, literary, and other contemporary writings.
Nation and Revolution in Latin America
HIS 3395 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Introduces students to cultural and political history in Latin America from the end of World War I to the Sandinista Revolution in 1979. Focusing on the role of intellectuals, students explore debates on nationalism, immigration, culture, modernization, and development in the context of the consolidation of new Latin American states, the Alliance for Progress, the Chinese and Cuban Revolutions, and the student and guerrilla movements.
Modern and Postcolonial France
HIS 3424 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Twentieth-century social, political, and cultural life in France and French (ex-) colonies in the Caribbean and Africa are examined through history, literature, and film. Topics include Paris as an intellectual center, France under German occupation, modernization and consumerism, family life and gender roles, decolonization, and multiculturalism and changing definitions of what it means to be French.
The Second World War
HIS 3425 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the origins, course, and legacy of World War II in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Topics include the expansion of German and Japanese power; war economies; occupation, resistance, and collaboration; genocide and atomic warfare; the shaping of a postwar order; and the construction and significance of personal and collective memories of wartime. Sources include film and fiction as well as historical readings.
The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany
HIS 3435 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the political culture of Germany after World War I. Topics include culture and ideology during the Weimar Republic, the lives of Hitler and other leading Nazis, racial policies, the structure of the Nazi regime, and the creation of a “New Order” in Europe. The course explores changing historical interpretations of the Third Reich and recent scholarly controversies, including debate about the relationship between memory and history.
HIS 3440 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
German politics, society, and culture from the 18th century to the present. Through history and literature, the course examines themes like the creation of a unified state, the two world wars unleashed from German soil, the rise and fall of Nazism, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, the division into two states during the Cold War, and the role of reunified Germany in today’s Europe.
Archaeological Issues in the Southern Levant
HIS 3455 / 3 credits / Summer (offered in Israel)
The remains of architecture, ceramics, and other material culture are explored in this survey of the archaeology of the Southern Levant (ancient Canaan, Israel, Judah, Transjordan). The timeframe spans prehistory through the Ottoman Period, concentrating on the Bronze and Iron Ages. Students also examine the growth of the discipline of archaeology and the subspecialties needed to interpret and analyze artifacts and stratigraphy.
Methods and Techniques in Field Archaeology
HIS 3456 / 3 credits / Summer (offered in Israel)
In this field school for archaeology in Israel, students participate in all aspects of excavation. Students learn techniques of fiel /ibrd archaeology, including skills necessary for proper excavation: stratigraphic analysis, field recording, lab registering and processing archaeological materials, use of the grid system, surveying, archaeological drawing, basic ceramic analysis, and basic methods for processing and preserving artifacts.
Emergence of the Modern U.S.: 1877–1945
HIS 3465 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines some of the political, social, and economic transformations in the United States between 1877 and 1945. Topics include immigration, the expanding international role of the U.S., reform movements, urbanization, and technological change. Analysis of a range of primary sources, from paintings to film, is emphasized.
To Enjoy Our Freedom: African American History Since 1865
HIS 3466 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The meaning of freedom and citizenship is a central theme in this examination of the social, political, economic, and cultural forces that have shaped the lives of African Americans since the end of the Civil War. Topics include Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights and black power movements.
The History of Ireland
HIS 3475 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The social, political, economic, and cultural development of Ireland from 1610 to the present is examined. Topics include the effects of conquest and land confiscation, survival techniques, the creation of Anglo-Irish society, the rise of nationalism, the legacy of the Great Famine, the Celtic cultural revival, the cost of Irish independence, and the emergence of the “Celtic Tiger.”
Chinese Intellectual and Cultural History
HIS 3505 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly, summer, in China)
The development of Chinese thought from the first millennium B.C. to the period before China’s encounter with the West in the 19th century. The course covers the major thinkers of the pre-Qin period (Confucius, Mencius, Lao Zi, Zhuang Zi, etc.) and includes discussions on Neo-Confucianism, Neo-Taoism, and Chinese Buddhist thought. The major schools of Chinese philosophy are studied against the background of the arts, history, and literature of the times, with emphasis on their philosophical, political, and social impact. Studies are supplemented by direct experience of Chinese art through research in the Shanghai Museum.
China in the Modern Age
HIS 3510 / 4 credits / Every year
Examines transformations of Chinese society and culture since the early 19th century. Themes include the impact of the West; the rise of Chinese nationalism; modernization, reforms, and revolution; and rapid economic growth in the 1990s.
Film, History, and Trauma
CIN 3513 Refer to Cinema Studies Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.
The Blue and the Gray: U.S. Civil War
HIS 3535 / 4 credits / Alternate years
The Civil War was arguably the most controversial and traumatic event in American history. This course considers how and why the war developed, its long-term results, and why it is such an important part of America’s cultural heritage. Through an examination of novels, films, diaries, and letters written by Civil War participants, students analyze the impact of this war and our continuing fascination with it.
African Diasporas in the Americas
HIS 3555 / 4 credits / Alternate years
While many African-descended peoples throughout the world identify with a particular nationality—being Brazilian or Cuban, for example—many have also forged connections with each other across national boundaries and have recognized commonalities that transcend national contexts. To comprehend their shared experiences, students explore the history of the linkages created by Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-North Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries, using fiction, memoir, and recent historical scholarship.
The New Nation: America, 1788–1850
HIS 3565 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines crucial factors that shaped the U.S. from the ratification of the Constitution to the Compromise of 1850, a period that witnessed the spread of democracy, the development of capitalism, and the expansion and consolidation of slavery in the South. Special emphasis is placed on race and class, technological developments, and the period’s influential movements and personalities.
History of Popular Culture in the United States
HIS 3575 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the development of popular culture and the major cultural industries in the U.S. from the early 19th century to the present. Students are also introduced to theoretical approaches to popular culture and learn how to apply these tools to selected texts from various periods and media.
Archaeology of Empires: The Ancient World
HIS 3585 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Introduces the largest unit of political organization, the empire, and its early appearances in various regions of the world. The focus is on Akkadia in Mesopotamia, Egypt’s New Kingdom, the Qin Dynasty in China, and the Inca Empire in South America (also known as the Inka Empire). The course reviews theories of sociopolitical organization and development drawn from anthropological archaeology, economics, ecology, and political science.
Slaves and Enslavement in the Americas
HIS 3625 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines processes of enslavement and emancipation in the Americas, with particular attention to Brazil and the Caribbean. Emphasis is on the everyday aspects of life in slave societies, the cultural history of the African diaspora, and slavery as a “political” question, broadly defined. Students also explore the implications of slavery for subsequent labor systems and race relations in the Atlantic world.
Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in the U.S.
HIS 3635 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines conflicts and controversies over the issue of American identity from the early 19th century to the present, emphasizing the links between Americanism and “whiteness.” Students explore how immigrants and people of color contested their exclusion from the symbolic national community, and how these groups have been incorporated into a larger national community during the last century.
The American Frontiers
HIS 3645 / 4 credits / Alternate years
The history of the American West is surveyed from its beginnings to the present. The focus is interdisciplinary: art, the popular novel, film, and historical documents are examined as a way of understanding the role of the West in the American mind. Writing is an integral part of the course.
Intellectuals in an Age of Crisis
HIS 3655 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the responses of European intellectuals to the Russian Revolution, Great Depression, spread of fascism, two world wars, and genocide. Themes include: the ideological conflict between communism, fascism, and democracy; race and empire; attempts to rethink socialist and capitalist economics; and reappraisals of human nature and modern progress in the light of the savageries unleashed in these decades.
America in Recent Times
HIS 3670 / 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of American society, culture, and politics from World War II to the present. Topics include the Cold War, Vietnam, and the rise of a global order dominated by America; economic development and its social and cultural consequences; movements of the 1960s and their legacy in American politics; and the triumph of conservatism and emergence of a “postliberal” era.
Sex and Gender in Latin America
HIS 3685 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the new historiography on gender and sexuality in Latin America. It is organized around the themes of changing gender roles and shifting constructions of masculinity, femininity, and honor, with particular attention to issues of sexuality, sexual preferences, constraints, and transgressions.
History of Gender and Sexuality in the United States
HIS 3695 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores changes in the construction of femininity, masculinity, the family, and sexual norms in the U.S. from the Colonial era to the present. The focus is on how these changes were shaped by—and in turn influenced—industrialization, urbanization, and the rise of consumer culture.
Slavery and Social Status in the Atlantic World
HIS 3705 / 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of the interplay of class, race, gender, and status in the Atlantic world from 1500 to 1860. Students are introduced to the ideas, beliefs, and formal philosophies that defined who were “haves” and “have nots” and explore the ways in which these notions were questioned and eventually challenged.
Local History Workshop
HIS 3721 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Combines classroom learning with practical experience. Lectures, discussions, and reading in urban, regional, and local history alternate with library and on-site archival education. Students spend half the semester on campus and half the semester at the Westchester County Archives.
History of Feminist Movements
HIS 3727 / 4 credits / Alternate years
This reading-intensive seminar traces the history of feminist movements in the U.S. and Europe from the 18th century to the present and also examines postcolonial global feminisms. Students are expected to master the basic historical narrative of Western feminist movements and to wrestle with the questions of race, class, and region that postcolonial feminist movements have raised.
Prerequisite: One course in gender studies or history
Wives, Widows, Workers
HIS 3730 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Explores the place of women in Western society, from ancient Greece to the 17th century. The roles covered range from the prescribed (wife and mother) to the actual (intellectual and worker). Lectures are supplemented by discussion of primary sources.
Wives, Workers, Warriors
HIS 3740 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Explores the place of women in European society, from the Enlightenment through the 20th century. Topics include the emergence of a women’s movement, the effects of industrialization on women, and the impact of both democratic and totalitarian regimes on women. Lectures are supplemented by discussion of primary sources.
HIS 3770 / 4 credits / Every year
Explores traditional Chinese civilization, including the shaping of the strong imperial tradition; Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism; arts and literature; and China’s relations with other Asian countries before the modern age.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict
HIS 3780 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the background of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the historical demographics of the “Holy Land”; the emergence of Zionist and Palestinian nationalist movements; the rise and fall of British Mandates in the Middle East; the war of 1948; Palestinian and Jewish refugee problems; and the subsequent wars and uprisings of 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1987, and 2000. Various peace initiatives and negotiations are also discussed.
Oral History Workshop
HIS 3855 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Develops students’ interviewing and interpretive skills in the field of oral history. Students learn the theory and methodology and work on a final research project that seeks to bring forward the voices of those frequently excluded from more typical historical sources. Students also learn to produce archival quality interviews, and the final project includes some form of public presentation.
Junior History Seminar
HIS 3880 / 4 credits / Spring
Students read selections from the works of major historians and examine new techniques and methodologies. Designed to help juniors prepare proposals for their senior projects. Required for junior history majors and intended exclusively for them.
Senior Project I and II
SPJ 4990 and 4991 / 4 credits (per semester) / Every year
Required for all history majors in the senior year. Two semesters (8 credits total).
For updates during 2016–2018, please visit www.purchase.edu/