Reed College Catalog


At Reed, history is treated as a basic component of general education. The department attempts to include in its course offerings as many periods and areas of study as student enrollment and available faculty make possible. The priority, however, is on diversity of approach—constitutional, intellectual, economic, social, diplomatic, cultural—rather than on specific coverage of conventional fields. The aim is to arouse sufficient interest in history to stimulate a student’s independent inquiry and the necessary analytical thought and perspectives that go with historical study.

The department tries to inculcate students with a sense of history—to impress them with the legacy, conscious or unconscious, that each present has inherited from its past, as well as the many perspectives one can have on that legacy. While many graduates have become prominent as professional historians and teachers of history, it is even more as a fundamental contribution to liberal, humanistic education and the development of a critical intelligence, carried through in many different professions and ways of life, that the department program is conceived and directed to majors and nonmajors alike.

The department expects students to develop competence in various periods and areas of history, as specified in the course requirements below, and to attain analytical skills common to all fields of history. The junior qualifying examination in history requires students to analyze a significant piece of recent scholarship in the discipline. The examination is offered once each semester, in the first week of classes. Students in the major ordinarily take the exam in the first week of the second semester of their junior year. The department encourages but does not require its students to pursue the study of a foreign language.

For students who wish to pursue interdisciplinary study in American history and some other area—for example, literature, economics, or government—Reed offers an American studies major. Among other possible programs are interdisciplinary majors involving history, such as history–literature and international and comparative policy studies.

Requirements for the Major

  1. Humanities 210, 220, or 230. This course is considered part of the major field of study and may not be used to satisfy the Group A or Group B requirement.
  2. Six semesters (six units) of history courses. (Lower-division history courses taken outside Reed College may be included only with the consent of the department.) These history courses must be distributed so as to include, chronologically, at least one unit before 1800 and one unit after 1800, and geographically, at least one unit in each of the following areas:
    a. Europe
    b. United States
    c. Areas outside Europe, the United States, and Canada
    The same course may fill both a geographical and a chronological requirement. No more than two cross-listed courses from other departments may be included.
  3. One semester of a junior seminar, to be taken during the junior year (History 411 or 412). (The junior seminar counts as one of the six required units in history.)
  4. History 470.

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Note: 300-level history courses are ordinarily open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and to first-year students only with the consent of the instructor.

History 220 - Late Imperial China

Full course for one semester. This course surveys the history of late imperial China (sixteenth through nineteenth centuries) by examining several critical issues in the historiography of this period. Weekly discussions will address the following topics: despots, ritualized rulers and the growth of a “bureaucratic monarchy”; global economic crisis, peasant rebellion, and the Ming–Qing cataclysm; ethnicity, violence, and exchange on Chinese frontiers; lineage formation, strategic marriages, and the consolidation of gentry rule; local magistrates and scholars and their popular tales; migration, mobility, and social anxiety in a prosperous age; gender and sexuality in Qing Confucian ideology; exploration, trade, and emigration on the south China coast; and the challenge of seaborne imperialists in the nineteenth century. Conference.

History 221 - Modern China

Full course for one semester. This course examines the numerous transformations in nineteenth- and twentieth-century China from the perspective of both Euro-American and Sinified modernities. We will begin by rethinking both “modernity” and “nation,” locating through that process new enigmatic local subjects for historical study, such as nuxing/women qingnian/youth, nongming/peasants, or renmin/people. Major discussion topics will include imperialist wars, semicolonialism, and anti-imperialist movements; the rise of a new historical consciousness; constructions of Manchu, Chinese, and other ethnic identities; contested nationalisms; peasant rebellions and recurring political revolutions; cultural iconoclasm and cultural revolution; Communist mobilizing in rural and urban settings; and Chinese socialism and socialist China. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 230 - Empire and Liberty: The United States in the Nineteenth Century

Full course for one semester. This course will ask to what extent nineteenth-century Americans shared in an expanding circle of freedom, the “empire of liberty” as Thomas Jefferson conceived of it. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the United States was a tenuously united confederation of states bounded on the West by the Mississippi River. By the end of the century, the country had expanded westward to the Pacific Ocean, fought a civil war over slavery, and emerged on the other side with a powerful federal government, an ascendant industrial economy, a diverse population of native-born Americans and immigrants from all shores, and new imperial interests overseas. Tracing major political and social changes in the American republic, in this course we will consider the nineteenth century’s most significant battles for freedom and rights fought by wageworkers, immigrants, African Americans, Indians, women, and farmers. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 270 - Nature, Culture, and Society in American History

Full course for one semester. This course introduces students to the major themes, questions, and methods in American environmental history. Environmental historians see the natural world as both a material place and a historical and cultural idea. This course considers how human societies have shaped the natural world, how the natural world has shaped human societies, and how ideas about nature have been created, challenged, and changed in American history. Conference.

History 276 - Culture and Society in Twentieth-Century America

Full course for one semester. Chronological survey of selected social, cultural, and political developments in the United States, 1890s to 1940s. We will be especially concerned with the interaction of the society (defined here as social, economic, and political institutions) and culture (the values, ideals, and structures of meaning) through which Americans understood and interpreted private and public life.

Topics include the ideals and reforms of the Progressive era; a comparison of World War I and the influenza pandemic; the 1919 race riot in Chicago; domestic culture in the 1920s; the respective economic and cultural effects of the Great Depression, Dust Bowl, and New Deal; U.S. prosecution of World War II abroad and its effects on the home front; and the global and domestic legacies of the war.

The course is open to sophomores considering the history major and transfer students; others, including students in their first year, will be admitted as space permits by consent of the instructor. Conference with occasional lectures.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 278 - U.S. Politics and Culture, 1929–1979

Full course for one semester. Examines the immediate and long-term social, cultural, and political effects of the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, and the changing political landscapes of the 1960s and 1970s. Topics include the rise and fall of organized labor, the emergence of the civil rights movement, suburbanization, the economic and legal status of women, new immigrants after 1965, and the cultural roots of the new American right. The course is open to sophomores considering the history major and transfer students; others, including students in their first year, will be admitted as space permits by consent of the instructor. Conference with occasional lectures.

History 302 - Origins of the Second World War

Full course for one semester. The course will examine the question of how Europe emerged from one world war only to enter another 20 years later, and how far the outbreak of the second war can be traced to diplomatic, ideological, economic, political, military, and other factors. We will consider the structure of international relations from the Versailles Conference of 1919 through the “appeasement” period of the late 1930s, and the sources of continuity and instability in the European system; how the major powers, both policy makers and publics, thought about and dealt with the challenges of foreign policy and diplomacy; and the interpretive controversies that have exercised contemporaries and historians—e.g., how the “orthodox” interpretation of the origins of the war has fared in recent historiography. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 303 - The Cold War

Full course for one semester. A survey of the diplomatic, strategic, and ideological conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, from the last years of the Second World War through the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The course will emphasize the early years of the Cold War and the sources of Soviet–American antagonism; other topics will include the atomic bomb in 1945 and the subsequent nuclear arms race; the Cold War in American society and politics; the Cuban missile crisis of 1962; the Vietnam war; and in general the role of ideology, public opinion, military strategy, and domestic politics in American and Soviet policy making. There will be discussion throughout of the controversies among historians. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 307 - War and Peace in Europe, 1700-1914

Full course for one semester.  This course examines the cultures of war in Europe in the period leading up to World War I, and explores changes in the historiography as well as the history of warfare in this critical period.  We will examine theories of peace and the rise of philanthropic organizations alongside developments in military recruitment, technology, and mobilization to question the relationships between military and society, and between pacifism and militarism.  Key themes will include the influence of the press and public opinion on European wars, the role of women in modern warfare, and the relationship between war, diplomacy, and the development of national and European identities.  Note: Because the majority of this class will focus on the period from 1789 to 1914, this class should be considered a post-1800 course for history majors seeking to fulfill chronological requirements. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 308 - Special Topics: War and Society in the Twentieth Century

Full course for one semester. Each semester will cover a different specific topic within twentieth-century history to examine how modern Western societies have experienced war, hot and cold, and the interrelationships between armed forces and the states and societies from which they have emerged. Questions will include: civil-military relations in a period of mass democracy and totalitarianism; the effect of advanced industrialization and technological change on war preparation and war fighting; the role of institutions, values, and ideologies in civilian and military policy making; and how far one can speak of the militarization of modern society. Conference.

The Vietnam War

An examination of different aspects of “America’s longest war”: its historical and diplomatic background; its connection to the Cold War and to indigenous political and social factors in southeast Asia; the battlefield experience for Americans and Vietnamese; the course and dynamics of American policy making; and the traumatic interaction between the war and American society and politics. Not offered 2011-12.

The First World War

An examination of World War I in Europe and the United States as the first experience of “total war”: how major societies dealt with modern industrialized warfare and war economies, the militarization of mass society, civil-military relations, and the cultural climate of modern warfare. Not offered 2011-12.

History 311 - Food in American History: Burgers, Fries, and Apple Pie

Full course for one semester. This course is an exploration of food production and consumption in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We will use food as a lens through which to view the social, cultural, and environmental history of the United States. We will consider the physical needs and sensual pleasures associated with food as well as the cultural and social associations that have developed around the acts of obtaining, distributing, and eating food. The course will be organized around three broad themes. How did (and do) Americans get their food?  What were the environmental, cultural, and social impacts of those processes? How have our society’s concepts about food and the proper ways of producing and consuming it changed over time? Topics will include the rise of industrial agriculture, meat, and dairy; racialized and gendered foodways; dieting and health; and the organic revolution and genetically modified foods. Readings will emphasize recent historical scholarship with some primary sources. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 312 - The Environmental History of the American West

Full course for one semester. The American West, with its majestic beauty, strange landscapes, and abundant natural resources, has inspired wonderment, desire, and fear in those who traveled there. This course will focus on the theme of land, water, and power in the West. We will examine the intersection of natural resource use, property rights, politics, and values in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will ask questions about how natural resources are regarded and claimed, how institutions governing resource use arise and evolve, and the impact on the communities who need, use, and/or control the resources. Topics will include the political battles over Indian land cessions; land speculation and urbanization; water rights, irrigation, and fishing; and the rise of conservationism and preservationism. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 313 - Race and Region in American History

Full course for one semester. This course will consider how notions of racial and ethnic difference in the United States have changed over time and place. Through primary and secondary readings and films, we will explore the experiences of Indian, Anglo, Irish, African American, Asian American, and Latino peoples in the North, South, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Far West, and places in between. We will ask how regional variation has changed the lived experience of race and ethnicity in the United States from the colonial period to the civil rights movements and culture wars of the 1960s and 1970s. We will also ask how an attention to region has changed the historical scholarship on race and ethnicity. Conference.

History 314 - Health, Disease, and Medicine in American Society

Full course for one semester. This course will explore how Americans have understood what it means to be healthy, and how the quest to promote healthiness and avoid disease shaped American history and culture from the colonial era to the twenty-first century. Using a variety of sources and an interdisciplinary approach, we will examine the relationship of health and environment, disease outbreaks and the responses to them, and battles over health policy. Topics will include the role of disease in American aboriginal depopulation, the catastrophic outbreaks of yellow fever and cholera in the early republic, the doctor-patient relationship, the role of medicine in sustaining slavery, movements for dietary and health reform, the effects of urbanization on American health, debates over quarantine and immigration policy, the contemporary anxiety over avian flu, and the role of the media in spreading information and misinformation about preserving health. Conference.

History 316 - Maritime America

Full course for one semester. The founding myth of American society is one of westward expansion across the continent, informing everything from the geographic bounds of the nation to the creed of manifest destiny. But the sea has always exerted its own powerful influence on national development. From the colonial era to the present, Americans have worked, played, and lived with the ocean. Using both literary and historical methods, we will examine the tides of American history and culture, and attempt to sketch out how Americans have related to the ocean and how the maritime world has shaped national identity. Topics will include exploration, the political economy of the sea, maritime labor, piracy and privateering, naval warfare, marine ecology and science, and the beach. Conference.

History 321 - Support the Qing, Destroy the Foreign: Interpreting and Remembering the Boxer Uprising

Full course for one semester. In 1900, a massive uprising swept through, China’s capital and much of northern China, as discontented Chinese directed their ire at foreigners and their local associates. These events marked one of the crucial turning points in modern Chinese history, and yet their origins, progress, and repercussions are often misunderstood. This course will explore the rise of the Boxer movement, how it was interpreted by observers caught up in the events, and how it has been remembered, through a combination of texts, memoirs, and visual sources. It will examine how the Boxer Uprising encompassed social, political, and economic trends of late imperial Chinese history, and served as a catalyst for subsequent changes. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 322 - Nineteenth-Century Treaty Port Communities

Full course for one semester. The treaty ports of China and Japan (such as Shanghai or Yokohama) were critical nodes in the complex web of commercial, political, and cultural networks that enabled multilateral exchange across East Asia in the nineteenth century. Yet these cities were also colonized and ghettoized spaces, governed by disparate legal frameworks, and built with a range of native and foreign architectural styles. This course will examine the multiethnic, multinational communities that emerged from this new environment. Central topics will include: tribute-trade legacies, mixed courts, and extraterritoriality; coastal ghettos and hybrid architecture; business and taxation by proxy; civilizing missions and reform agendas; commercial photography and tourism; sex and interracial intimacy; treaty port journalism; and scientific collaboration in multinational entrepots. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 323 - Japanese Modernities

Full course for one semester. A historical investigation of Japan’s competing modernities, 1870–1960. Major topics will include Meiji Westernization and its critics, statist narrations of modern Japanese subjectivity, hierarchy and individualism in modernist reform ideologies, territorial and ethnic displacements within the Japanese empire, cosmopolitan literariness and nostalgia for cultural and spiritual homelands, ethnic nationalism in the cultural sciences, and transcendence of the past in Japanese painting and films. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 325 - The Family in China and Japan

Full course for one semester. This course explores the visions and myths, manifestations, and transformations of the family in China and Japan from the seventeenth century to the present. Major topics will include: classical statements on filiality, ancestors, and the family as paradigm for social and political theory; demographic change and family "life cycles"; household and lineage interactions; marriage and adoption practices; familial authority, inheritance regulations, and household management strategies; domestic rituals; child rearing and child-parent relations; gender and generational conflicts; social impact of population control; and the effect of modern revolutions on the family and its manifestations. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 326 - Imperialism and Colonialism in East Asia

Full course for one semester. This course will introduce some of the theoretical literature on imperialism and colonialism before examining East Asian experiences with such exploitation and control in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Major topics will include imperialist policies; economic imperialism; colonialism as a system of values and social relations; the relationship of culture and power in the colony; colonial elites and nationalist movements; gender, race, and class in both colonial and nationalist agendas; colonial writers and their literature; and the promises of decolonization and postcoloniality. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 327 - Meiji Restoration/Revolution

Full course for one semester. Few events in Japanese history receive more attention than the Meiji Restoration (or Revolution). A critical marker in Japanese political history, the restoration is also perceived as a major watershed in economic, social, and cultural developments. This course will examine the specific drama of imperial restoration, the modernizing revolution initiated from above thereafter, and the historical contexts that help to explain both. Major topics will include agrarian uprisings, new religious movements, and ee ja nai ka dancing; nativism and world rectification thought; the “opening” of Japan and the effect of international trade and diplomacy on internal Japanese conflicts; bakafu attempts at political reform and the avoidance of foreign invasion; the military rebellion of “loyalist” samurai; and the transformative changes initiated by the Meiji oligarchy after 1868. Readings will include both participant observations and post-Meiji assessments. Conference.

History 328 - Chinese Frontiers and Border Crossings

Full course for one semester. This course will explore the nature of the geographical and epistemological boundary transgression from 1400 to 1800.  Major topics will include: Zheng He’s fifteenth-century maritime explorations; merchants without empire; travelers, emigrants and illegal crossings; Chinese cartographic technologies; Confucian governors and native chieftains in Yunnan and Guizhou; the Sino-Dutch colony of Taiwan; Qing conquest of central Eurasia; and the construction of textual landscapes and ethnographic portraits in these Chinese frontiers. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 329 - Cameras and Photography in Nineteenth-Century East Asia

Full course for one semester. This course examines the early history of photography in China and Japan. Attention will be given to the complex (and disparate) technological histories of the medium, the varied uses to which the camera was put, and the impact of this new technology upon visual cultures in China and Japan. The dissemination of photographs into other media and the impact of consumer preferences upon content and style will also be examined. Travel landscapes, studio portraits, ethnographic photographs, and documentary images, by EuroAmerican, Japanese and Chinese photographers are among the visual data to be analyzed. Other sources include optical treatises, travel literature, government reports, and early ethnographies. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 330 - Transnational Identity in Early Modern Europe

Full course for one semester. This course seeks to examine questions about the development of national, regional, and religious identities, as well as the growth of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism, through accounts of early modern Europeans who moved beyond their borders as missionaries, colonists, naturalists, soldiers, tourists, and émigrés. Through primary and secondary sources, we will consider how transnational movement in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries influenced the rise of nationalism, as well as the expansion of international commercial and scholarly networks; we will also explore approaches to history that transcend the traditional borders of the nation. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 331 - Violence in Early Modern Europe

Full course for one semester. From the outbreak of religious violence in the sixteenth century to the terror of the French Revolution, the early modern period in Europe gave rise to dramatic violence that brought tensions between cultures, classes, and faiths to the fore. This course will examine the issue of violence in early modern Europe, with a particular focus on how histories of violence have been written. We will consider various forms of violence including popular violence, symbolic violence, execution, and war, in an effort to investigate the relationship between violence and authority, legitimacy, and society in this period. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 332 - Early Modern British Social History: Villages, Towns, and Cities, 1500–1700

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on the history of rural and urban communities in the context of the great religious, political, social, and cultural upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: the Reformation, the political revolutions of the seventeenth century, and the development of commercial society and empire. Drawing on a wide range of historical and literary sources, we will pay special attention to examining the processes of social, political, and cultural change that helped the British Isles emerge from the seventeenth century with a powerful state and a modernizing economy, both centered in England. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 333 - Europe and the Americas in the “Age of Discovery,” 1400–1700

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on the history of the Atlantic peoples, nations, and states from the earliest period of contact, conquest, and colonial settlement to the growth of settled commercial networks and systems of communication, the establishment of formal and informal imperial regimes, and the emergence of new societies with their own regional and cultural identities. Topics examined will include the impulses behind early European voyages of “discovery,” the sociopolitical and cultural characteristics of native peoples living in the Americas, the history of first encounters and the development of social and cultural relations between indigenous peoples and Europeans, the place of slavery as a system and the development of new patterns of enterprise in the Atlantic world, and the effects of contact on the social, political, and cultural life of Europe and the Americas. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 334 - The English Renaissance

Full course for one semester. Did the English experience a “renaissance” in the Tudor and Stuart age? Through examination of a variety of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writings and artifacts, the course explores the cultural history of England and the English from the time of King Henry VIII to King Charles II. Particular attention will be paid to works concerned with the representation of authority, community, gender, social rank, and personal identity. The course will analyze the role of the literary and visual arts in the shaping of culture, the relationship between elite and popular cultural forms, and the development of new religious ideas and practices and new ideologies and mentalities. Conference.

History 336 - The Enlightenment in Context

Full course for one semester. This course will introduce students to the eighteenth-century enlightenment(s) and counterenlightenment in Europe, focusing especially on Britain and France. Integrating both primary and secondary sources, the class will engage with debates about what the Enlightenment was, and what its legacies continue to be. We will consider the ideas, practices, and social spaces of the Enlightenment, and integrate scientific inquiry, aesthetics, and literature into our discussion of the eighteenth-century public sphere. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 337 - On the Shoulders of Giants: Ancients vs. Moderns in Early Modern Culture

Full course for one semester. The quarrel of the ancients and moderns, focusing on whether thinkers, writers, and artists should imitate the classics or exercise the freedom to innovate, was a recurring feature of European culture from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. This interdisciplinary course, concentrating on the period from 1500 to 1800, examines some of the key vehicles—artistic works as well as literary and philosophical texts—through which the legacies of the ancient past were conveyed to early modern Europeans. The course explores the history of debates about the value, merit, and utility of these ancient and early Christian authorities through a study of how the ideas, models, and cultural practices they embodied were used, adapted, or rejected in addressing the new social, religious, and culture environments of the early modern era. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 338 - Crisis and Catastrophe in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Europe

Full course for one semester. Between 1720 and 1870, a series of natural and manmade crises disrupted the political and intellectual worlds of Europeans, threatening and transforming their ideas about progress, religion, and political authority, and restructuring the relationships between man and the natural world. This course will consider the political, religious, intellectual, and cultural ramifications of disaster and crisis, including financial collapse, revolution, war, earthquakes, disease, and famine. We will explore religious and scientific explanations for these crises, consider their representations in the artistic and literary spheres, and examine the changing relationship between state and society, and metropole and colony, in the wake of disaster. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 339 - Community, Authority, and Culture in Europe's "Wars of Religion"

Full course for one semester.  Concentrating on the history and culture of northern Europe (especially the British Isles, France, the Netherlands, and Germany) between 1500 and 1700, this course focuses on the formation of the characteristic ideologies and mentalities regarding society, politics, religion, culture, and the person in the era of Europe’s “wars of religion.” Using documents, texts, and visual sources from the period as well as modern historical interpretations, the course will introduce students both to the major developments and to the historical interpretations and controversies they generated. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 340 - Transnational Identity in Modern Europe

Full course for one semester. This course seeks to examine questions about the development of national, imperial, and religious identities through accounts of Europeans who moved beyond their borders as missionaries, colonists, naturalists, soldiers, tourists, émigrés, and traders. Through primary and secondary sources, we will consider how transnational movement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in the South Pacific and the Mediterranean, influenced the rise of nationalism, challenged ideas about cosmopolitanism, fostered international commercial and scholarly networks, and shaped imperial ideologies.  We will also explore approaches to history that transcend the traditional borders of the nation-state. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 343 - Art and Politics in the Weimar Republic

Full course for one semester. The course examines the Weimar Republic (the period in German history between 1918 and 1933) on its own terms as a center of intellectual and artistic innovation, political experimentation, and social change. The legacies of the Weimar Republic have endured until the present day and have defined what it means to be modern. Using fiction, film, art, and architecture, students will explore the emancipatory ideas of the “golden 20s” and the lives of ordinary individuals who struggled to come to terms with profound political and cultural change.  Prerequisites: HUM 110, sophomore standing, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 345 - Whole Earths, Globalizations, and World Pictures

Full course for one semester. Hear the word “Earth” or “world” and the image likely to flash through the mind is a photo known as “Whole Earth” (1972), which reveals the disk of our terraqueous planet suspended alone in the void. It is reputed to be the most widely disseminated photograph in human history, and together with other views of the Earth from beyond has prompted a revolution in the global imagination. The aim of this seminar is to assess the plausibility of that claim, by situating these images in their diverse historical contexts. These contexts include the history of humankind’s imaginative self-projection into the beyond from ancient times to our day; how the “whole earth” image has been mobilized by environmental campaigns, political movements, and commercial enterprises; how the view of Earth has figured in economics, anthropology, philosophy, biology, chemistry, cartography, and art; and how this pictorial imaginary has become integrated into the unthought ways we inhabit our natural and human-built worlds. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 346 - Technology and Social Thought in Twentieth-Century Europe

Full course for one semester. “The fully enlightened Earth radiates disaster triumphant.” So the German philosophers Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer argued in 1944, just before Hiroshima provided an eerily literal proof. Their unease was shared by many. Something about humanity’s attempt to master the world by technological means had gone seriously awry. This course will examine how European intellectuals of the twentieth century revisited notions of culture, nature, politics, economics, and religion as part of a wide-ranging reassessment of the modern age prompted by the rise of technocracy. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 348 - The Holocaust in History and Memory

Full course for one semester.  This course examines the genocide of European Jewry and the politics surrounding the memory of it. The first half of the course explores the nature of modern anti-Semitism, the rise of Hitler’s Third Reich, and the evolution of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” The second half looks at the constructed and contested meanings of Holocaust memory. How have local, national, and global politics shaped narratives of the Holocaust that differ across time and space? Was the genocide of European Jewry a uniquely German phenomenon or the product of the modern industrial age? These are some of the important questions that students will wrestle with in this course. Prerequisites: HUM 110, sophomore standing, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 351 - France and Its Colonies in the Age of Absolutism (1598–1760)

Full course for one semester. This course traces the complex and often tumultuous processes that established France as one of the preeminent political, cultural, and economic powers in Europe and the Atlantic in the seventeenth century, and its gradual decline during the first half of the eighteenth century. In the process, we will analyze the causes and consequences of the royal state’s expansion under Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV; the ideology and realities of “absolute monarchy"; the vexing religious problems posed by Huguenots and Jansenists; and transformations in elite and popular culture. Particular attention will be devoted to the constantly evolving relationship between center and periphery, both in the French provinces and the kingdom’s growing colonies in North America (Canada, the Illinois Country, and Louisiana) and the Caribbean, where divergent economic, social, racial, and political imperatives often strained royal authority, and even the very notion of French identity, to its limits. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 352 - Renaissance and Religious War in the French World (1494–1610)

Full course for one semester. This course will examine France’s rise from the devastation of the Hundred Years' War to a position of prominence in early sixteenth-century Europe, focusing particular attention on the reign of Francis I, when France became a center of Renaissance culture and a major rival to the Habsburgs. From there we will trace the spread of the Reformation in France and the subsequent crises that spawned four decades of religious civil wars, two royal assassinations, and the near collapse of the monarchy, culminating in a religious and political settlement that promised toleration for France’s Protestant minority and the accession of the Bourbon dynasty to the throne. The course will also examine French explorations of the Americas; the effects of religious and political tensions on efforts to establish settlements in Canada, Florida, and Brazil; and the influence of these experiences on French culture and society. Conference.

History 353 - The French Revolution, 1775–1800

Full course for one semester. Within a generally chronological framework, this course will focus on the social and cultural history of the French Revolution. Particular attention will be given to the ideological origins of the Revolution, the question of class, the popular movement, revolutionary culture, gender and citizenship, the role of terror, and the nature of counterrevolution. Another focus of the course will be the historiography of the French Revolution. Works from both traditional historiography and contemporary revisionist historiography will be included on the syllabus. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 359 - Representing Indians in American Culture

Full course for one semester. This course examines European and Euro-American representations of Indians from the colonial period through the early twentieth century. From the moment of first contact in 1492, Europeans and Native Americans sought to make sense of each other. Sometimes this entailed using older, familiar concepts and words to make sense of the unfamiliar and new. Part of this process of understanding involved recording, through text and/or image, representations of the “other.” Topics include how historical precedents for encountering the “other” shaped European understandings of Indians; how the “discovery” of the Americas changed European conceptions of themselves, the natural world, and human history; the persistence of the idea of the “noble savage”; gender; race; colonialism and westward expansion; and the phenomenon of “going Native” and appropriating Indian culture. In concert with secondary readings, we will analyze a wide range of primary sources depicting Indians and Indian culture, including art, literature, photography, and film. To a lesser extent, we will also consider how Indians represented Europeans and Euro-Americans. Conference.

History 361 - Mapping Colonial America

Full course for one semester. This course considers the significance of space and geography to the history and historiography of colonial America. Major questions include: Why is geography such an important—perhaps the most important—organizing principle in early American historiography? How important should it be? How did cartographic knowledge shape colonial power, and vice versa? How did Indians, Africans, and Europeans give meaning to the various “new worlds” in which they found themselves? How did the convergence of different peoples in key locations give rise both to hybrid cultures and devastating violence? How did the diverse peoples of colonial America seek to order not only the physical landscape, but also domestic spaces and human bodies? This course focuses on negotiations for space and power in British North America, alongside comparative perspectives from other colonial contexts, including New France, New Spain, the Caribbean Islands, South Africa, and the early United States. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 362 - Revolutionary America

Full course for one semester. In the late eighteenth century, 13 North American colonies severed their colonial ties to Britain and constituted a new nation. This course will assess the causes of these changes, as well as the extent to which they altered the political, economic, social, and cultural landscape of North America. We will address major conflicts of the period from 1763 to 1815, including the tensions between libertarian ideology and institutionalized slavery, household dependence and national independence, centralized authority and local control, enlightenment rationalism and evangelical religion, private property and communal interests, and Indian sovereignty and American expansionism. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 363 - American Social Reform from Revolution to Reconstruction

Full course for one semester. Countless nineteenth-century Americans participated in movements for social reform. What made it possible for ordinary people to believe that they should and could change their world? What were the boundaries of their reformist visions? How did reformers balance radical and conservative impulses within their movements? This course considers these questions with reference to temperance, abolitionism, women’s rights, health reform, and other reform agendas. In contextualizing these movements, the course will consider the transnational dimensions of American reform, as well as connections between social reform and the rise of market capitalism, evangelical Christianity, and democratic politics in the early republic. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 365 - Consumer Cultures in Historical Perspective

Full course for one semester. We will examine the ways in which historians have employed various theories about the economic, social, and cultural meanings of consumption and commodities to describe the material worlds and mentalities of the past. Historians’ debates about when identifiable consumer cultures emerged will be explored, with emphasis on how these debates illuminate our understanding of the development of Western capitalism. We will consider changes in production as well as consumption, and how such developments altered peoples’ understandings of self, class, and community. Readings focus on cases in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with some comparative material from earlier periods and Britain. The course is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with preference given to majors in history and the social sciences. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 366 - Gender and Consumer Culture

Full course for one semester.  We will read mainly secondary works of historical analysis, with some primary material.  We will explore the changing social and cultural meanings of consumption and commodities, with a focus on how different activities (production, shopping, budgeting) have been seen as gendered.  Topics include the value assigned waged and unwaged work done by men and women (e.g., manufacturing, household labor, retail); gendered campaigns for ethical production and consumption; the emergence of home economics as a social movement and profession; commercial advertisers’ successful and unsuccessful attempts to sell “masculine” and “feminine” products; and how women got credit cards in their own names by the late twentieth century.  Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 367 - Sources and Methods in Early African American History

Full course for one semester. What do historians know about the early African American past (c. 1619–1865), and how do they know it? This course will explore major problems in African American historiography, including the relationship between the rise of slavery and the development of racial ideology; the nature of slave resistance, rebellion, and revolution; the transmission of African cultural forms and the creation of black culture(s); the social dynamics of the slave plantation; and the significance of regional differences in the historical experience of African Americans. We will study various historians’ interpretations of these problems, as well as the primary sources that form the basis of those interpretations. While analysis of written texts remains a mainstay of historical practice, scholars in this field have also drawn on less traditional forms of evidence, such as DNA, demography, folklore, oral history, material artifacts, and human remains. We will critically assess the possibilities and pitfalls of using these diverse sources to reconstruct the early African American experience. Students will apply what they have learned from other scholars’ methods to produce their own primary source–based research papers. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 369 - Slavery and Freedom in the Native American Southeast

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on the history of slavery among Native Americans, in what is today the U.S. Southeast, from the precontact era through the nineteenth century. Native Americans participated in the unfolding tragedy of American slavery—as slaves, slave traders, and slaveholders—and it will be our aim to explore this long and complex history. We will begin by studying precontact Native American practices of slavery and consider how these practices changed with the arrival of Europeans and Africans. We will also consider the trade in Indian slaves that developed in the colonial Southeast, in which Indians played a significant part both as captives and as captors. Another set of readings examines the institution of racial chattel slavery in the Native American Southeast, and we will consider the extent to which slavery among Indians was similar to or different from slavery among whites. Finally, we will study the experiences of African-descended people owned by Indians, in slavery and in freedom. Conference.

History 372 - U.S. Women’s History, 1890–1990

Full course for one semester. This course examines transformations in women’s economic status, political participation, educational opportunities, and familial and reproductive lives from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century in the United States. We consider how structural changes and political movements involved and affected women of different classes, races, and ethnic groups. Major topics will include: women’s increased participation in the paid labor force, especially wage work by married women with children; political struggles for equal rights (e.g., woman suffrage, pay equity); the separation of sexuality and reproduction; and the intellectual origins and development of feminism, as well as the arguments of those who opposed it. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 373 - The Progressive Era Reconsidered

Full course for one semester. The United States from the 1890s through 1920 used to be characterized by historians as “the Progressive era.” Yet a look at the social and political history of this epoch reveals much that seems contradictory or even repressive. Direct democracy was established, even as Jim Crow laws, enforced by lynchings, shored up racial segregation. Women emerged as reform professionals and wageworkers, yet lacked full suffrage. Recent immigrants and their children were sought out by settlement house workers who wanted to “Americanize” them, and vilified by nativists who wanted to restrict immigration. Proponents of war and imperialism met opposition. To understand these tensions, the course will compare old and new secondary works on this period, and make extensive use of primary documents and key works published at the time. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 374 - Gender and Sex

Full course for one semester. Examination of the changing ideas about gender and sex roles in the context of key transformations from the late nineteenth through the late twentieth centuries in America. These include the second industrial revolution, which enabled women and men to live on their own outside of household economies; the emergence of modern consumer culture; service in same-sex militaries during two world wars; the rise of social scientific and psychological experts who named and quantified “deviant” and “normal” sexual practice; and the so-called sexual revolutions of the 1960s and beyond. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 375 - 1968: Origins, Actions, Afterlives

Full course for one semester. A global revolution or an interpretation in need of an event? The year 1968 has been characterized as both and much in between. This course situates the tumultuous events of the late 1960s in a broader story about the evolution and transformation of movements for social change in Europe and the U.S. following the Second World War. We will trace its intellectual roots in debates about decolonization, civil rights, the welfare state, and the Cold War. We will also pursue some of its legacies: left-wing terrorism, the global environmental movement, the neoconservative reaction, and the myth of the 1960s itself. Reading includes memoirs, manifestos, political philosophy, and social thought, complemented by classic secondary accounts, music, and film. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 377 - Nationalism and Transnationalism in Gilded Age America

Full course for one semester. The course will interrogate the nature of nations and national identity in the three decades after the American Civil War, the so-called “Gilded Age.” As a battle over the nature of union, the Civil War was part of the wave of nationalistic movements that swept through Europe and the Americas in the mid-nineteenth-century. Mobilization for the Civil War in the United States encouraged new economic institutions, technological advancements, and centralized power. With the war’s conclusion, these domestic factors combined with global political, social, and cultural trends to produce an unstable notion of American nationalism. Through primary sources and secondary scholarship, we will discuss American nationalism in a wide array of Gilded Age contexts: Reconstruction and the memory of the Civil War; the legacy of the Mexican American War; conflict and compromise with Indian nations; “new” immigration and border control, and American overseas imperialism. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 378 - Gender and Family

Full course for one semester. The course begins with the rise and spread of waged labor, with emphasis on how new economic structures altered household and familial life. Families under slavery will be considered, especially African Americans under slavery and in transition to freedom. Migration and resettlement in the West shaped families on the frontier and workers in male-dominated mining towns. The legal and political meanings of marriage also changed; we will examine arguments for and against married women's ownership of property, and Mormon polygamy, to see how nineteenth-century Americans understood the relationship between patriarchy (legal rights of fathers and husbands over children and wives) and democracy. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 379 - The 50s in America

Full course for one semester.  We will use a range of secondary texts and primary documents to focus on key events and different historical approaches to the study of this era.  The 50s were shaped by the Great Depression and World War II, and we will look back at those cataclysmic events.  Topics include the Cold War, and its effects on domestic politics; the baby boom and the ideology of the American family; civil rights battles in the legal and political arenas; medical and public health responses to polio; and the political and economic ramifications of postwar consumer culture. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 382 - Sixteenth-Century Peru and Mexico: Conquest and Cultural Synthesis

Full course for one semester. Few moments have so radically altered the course of history as Spain’s encounter with the Americas. The first century of contact changed Europe’s economy, agriculture, and diet; it altered the balance of power between European empires, and upset European ideas about history, geography, and nature. The effects on the Americas were even more profound: European diseases decimated indigenous populations while Spain’s people, language, and religion spread throughout the Western Hemisphere. Spain built its American empire on a foundation of Inca and Aztec civilizations, making Peru and Mexico its New World capitals and co-opting native leaders into the colonial hierarchy. Missionaries spread literacy among indigenous elites, initiating an exchange of ideas still accessible to historians. This course will study early Spanish and indigenous writings about the conquest, and the conditions of life in the hybrid society that emerged thereafter. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 384 - The Mexican Revolution

Full course for one semester. This course examines the roots, development, and effect of the Mexican Revolution (1910–17), from the Porfiriato through the institutionalization of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) rule. Principal themes include regionalism and tensions caused by centralization; industrialization, economic development, and dependency; class conflict; gender, citizenship, and political participation; and the production of a modern Mexican identity. Conference.

History 385 - Catholicism and Counter-Reform in the Spanish World

Full course for one semester. This course examines the development and maturation of counterreform Catholicism in the Spanish world during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Topics include the collapse of religious pluralism in medieval Iberia and the emergence of militant intolerance, the intellectual and theological challenges provoked by the conquest of the Americas, the varieties and gendering of elite religiosity, church-state relations, and popular religion in both Spain and the Americas. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 387 - The Maya to 1900

Full course for one semester.  Focusing on the Maya peoples of southern Mesoamerica, this course addresses fundamental questions in the preconquest, colonial and republican histories of Latin America, and in the discipline of ethnohistory.  We will start with a brief overview of classical Maya civilization, particularly concerning political structure and cosmology and the historiographical debates thereon. The bulk of the class will examine the effects of Spanish conquest and the evolution of colonial Maya society. We conclude with a study of the Mayas’ relations to and positions in the postcolonial republican states of Guatemala and Mexico. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 388 - Borderlands in the Spanish World

Full course for one semester. The term “borderlands” usually describes the southern frontier of Anglo-America and the northern frontier of Mexico—a crossroads for indigenous and European cultures. This course seeks a broader understanding of Spain’s many borderlands, taking into account colonial experience in North America, South America, and Asia. We will study Spain’s encounters with Comanches and Apaches, but also with Mapuches and Filipinos. Chile’s Bío-Bío river was the dividing line between Spanish colonial governance and the lands of the Mapuche—a place of violence but also of cultural and economic exchange. The Philippines was a frontier for Spain and later for the United States—a vast archipelago whose complex population included Chinese merchants, Muslim princes, farmers, fishermen, and small bands of hunter-gatherers. We will consider these and other “borderlands” raising comparative questions about war, trade, and colonization on the unstable periphery of empire. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 391 - Ancient History: Greece

See Classics 371 for description.

Classics 371 Description

History 393 - Ancient History: Rome

See Classics 373 for description.

Not offered 2011–12.

Classics 373 Description

History 395 - Special Topics in Greek and Roman History

See Classics 375 for description.

Not offered 2011–12.

Classics 375 Description

History 396 - Marx and Jesus in Modern Latin America

Full course for one semester. Few ideological forces have been as influential in shaping Latin America as Christianity and Marxism. Sometimes mutually antagonistic and sometimes compatible, the Marxist and Christian traditions have both inspired selfless moral acts and excused moral atrocities. In this course we will study the origin of modern, secular, liberal economies in the nineteenth century and the consequent debates among Marxists and Christians over property, the stages of history, the legitimacy of state authority, and the standards of just war. At the heart of the course are the mass movements of the twentieth century—movements as varied as the Cristeros of the 1920s (who fought to defend the Catholic church and private property from the secular state) and the liberation theology movements of the 1960s and 1970s (many of which found a mandate for revolution in the example of Jesus and the historical analysis of Marx). Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 397 - Whole Earths, Globalizations, World Pictures: Advanced Topics

Full course for one semester.  This seminar is designed for students who wish to undertake advanced study and research (both individual and collaborative) in the fields and themes covered in History 345. Students will explore new media and research tools for analysis and presentation. Prerequisite: History 345 or consent of instructor. Interested students are urged to contact instructor for details. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 398 - Animals: An Intellectual and Cultural History

Full course for one semester. This class traces the history of the relation between humans and animals, principally as it has emerged in Western thought and culture. What does it mean to be an animal? How have our answers to this question figured in the development of our moral, political, and religious traditions? How have we made recourse to the notion of animality to make sense of what it means to be human? What could it possibly mean for an animal to be free? What is the historical and conceptual relation between animal liberation and human liberation? How have these issues played out in practices such as zoo keeping, husbandry, slaughter, sex, consumption, companionship, ritual, jurisprudence, or dressing your dog in silly little sweaters? These are some of the foremost questions broached by the burgeoning academic field of “animal studies,” and we will address them by means of primary source readings (complemented by secondary readings and the occasional film) that span time from the ancients to our day. Conference.

Not offered 2011–12.

History 411 - Junior Seminar

History as a Discipline: Historical Scholarship in Europe, ca. 1400-1850
Full course for one semester. Thinking and writing about the past has been a feature of culture from the earliest times, but in Europe the subject of history only took on the characteristics of a scholarly discipline, distinct from related forms and modes, during the early modern era. By the early nineteenth century, the study of history had come to be understood among Europeans as governed equally by “reason” and “imagination.” Accordingly, as was said at the time, a “perfect” historian needed to possess an ability to write a vivid and affecting narrative, and yet be content to do so only from material remains of the past. Along with a gift for argument and storytelling, therefore, historians were said to require proficiency in the description, critique, and analysis of records, documents, artifacts, and archaeological finds. Their finished works were expected to combine these aspects in equal measure. Although this view of historical scholarship is now familiar as one of the most recognizable forms of modern historiography, it had only recently taken on this character by the 1820s. Prior to this moment, its varied modes remained distinct and were involved in an interplay, and often a clash, of historical genres to which Renaissance and Enlightenment historiographers and early modern philosophers, fiction writers, collectors and antiquaries made their separate contributions. Using examples of historical scholarship and writing from this period of gestation as well as works of recent scholarship tracing and analyzing the different methods and modes of historical study and writing of the age, the aim of this seminar is to explore these major cultural and intellectual developments of the early modern era. Prerequisite: junior standing history majors, and two history courses at Reed. Conference.

History 412 - Junior Seminar

Community and Culture in South China, 14001820
Full course for one semester. Economic development and political openness since the early 1990s has stimulated an explosion of new historical research on the society and culture of south China and its emigrant communities in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.  Combining extensive documentary analysis with intensive fieldwork experience, this new research has transformed previous understandings of collective association, migration patterns, cultural standardization and state-society relations during the Ming and Qing dynasties. This course will discuss selective topics from that new historiography, including land reclamation patterns and conflicts; the emergence of lineage society and its related practices and institutions; temple organization, religious festivals, and ritual orthopraxy; ethnicity, acculturation, and marginalized communities; local spaces, seaborne migrations, and translocal connections; trade and commercial networks across the south China sea; and pirates and the business of violence.  Participants will design and write an extended research paper. Prerequisite: junior standing history majors. Conference.

History 470 - Thesis

Full course for one year.

History 481 - Individual Study

One-half or full course for one semester. Individual study in fields either more specialized than the regular courses or not covered by them. Individual reading also may be done in connection with a regular course for one or two units additional to the course. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and approval of instructor and division.