Reed College Catalog


Michael P. Breen

Old Regime France; early modern European legal, social, and cultural history; Renaissance Italy.

Jacqueline Dirks

American social and cultural history, United States women’s history. On sabbatical fall 2012.

Simon Finger

Colonial and early republic U.S., history of medicine, maritime history.

Douglas L. Fix

Modern China and Japan.

David T. Garrett

Latin America and early modern Spain.

Joshua P. Howe

Environmental history, history of science, twentieth-century United States.

Benjamin Lazier

Modern Europe, intellectual history.

Mary Ashburn Miller

Revolutionary-era France and Europe, modern European cultural and intellectual history. On sabbatical and leave 2012–13.

Margot Minardi

Colonial and revolutionary America, nineteenth-century United States.

David Harris Sacks

Early modern Britain and Europe, Atlantic world. On leave spring 2013.

Max Whyte

Modern European intellectual history and political thought, theories of fascism, modern German history, nineteenth- and twentieth-century German philosophy.

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.

Not offered 2012-13.

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.

History 240 - World Environmental History

Full course for one semester. This course approaches the study of “world environmental history” as a fascinating problem of historical methodology. We begin by introducing environmental history at its largest scales of time and space, investigating how climate, biodiversity, natural resources, and commodities have affected human history on a global level. We will then move on to a series of more specific case studies that complicate these large-scale historical analyses. As we visit the pastoral landscapes of Nazi Germany, the toxic waters and fields of modern Japan, the denuded countryside of imperial China, and the socially stratified villages of northern India, we will see how culture, memory, religion, and power shape reciprocal relationships between humans and their geographically unique surroundings in a number of different ways. Finally, we will investigate how these different valances of environmental history have informed a twentieth-century regime of global environmental governance—a regime born of good intentions, but one replete with problems of efficacy, equitability, and justice. Conference.

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 2012-13.

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.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 304 - Fascism in Europe

Full course for one semester. Fascism was the major political innovation of the twentieth century, and the source of its greatest catastrophes. This course will investigate the meaning and significance of the rise of fascism in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. It will trace the historical, political, and ideological roots of fascism; the success of specific fascist movements after World War I in Italy, Germany, France, and Romania; and the attempt to create a fascist Europe (under German auspices) during World War II. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources (including texts, images, and films), we will examine themes including fascism and modernity; fascist aesthetics, ideology and propaganda; fascism and gender; fascism and war; and race theory, genocide, and the Holocaust. The course will also raise a number of methodological questions about the coherence of fascism as a political ideology, its use and viability as a generic concept in historical scholarship, and diverging interpretations of the “fascist minimum.” Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 310 - Water and the American West

Full course for one semester. This course uses the environmental and political history of America’s rivers, streams, reservoirs, and aquifers to introduce students to important issues in water history and contemporary water policy. We will begin by exploring a series of different frameworks for understanding the complex relationships between water, labor, land, and political power as those relationships have changed over time. As we build a deeper and more critical understanding of water as a natural, cultural, and political entity in American history, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which history has helped to shape the way we allocate and regulate water across a geographically and politically diverse continent. Armed with the dual weapons of history and basic legal doctrine, we will then begin to tackle some of the key issues in twentieth-century American water policy, starting with the Columbia and Colorado River basins. Looking toward the future, we will also explore the problems and potential solutions on the cutting edge of water politics both in the Colorado River basin and elsewhere, including groundwater policy, water marketing, and an extended discussion of the potential water implications of global warming. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 317 - The American Earth: U.S. Environmental History in the Twentieth Century

Full course for one semester. This course will address the concurrent histories of American environmental politics and the changing environment itself in twentieth-century U.S. history. We will approach the American continent both as a unique constellation of material and geographical spaces and as a changing and historically contingent cultural construct dependent on ideas about power, labor, identity, and morality. Topics will include nature and American nationalism, cultural constructions of nature, the American environmental movement, science and environmental management, and climatic change and sustainability in modern environmental politics. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 332 - Early Modern British Social History, 1500-1700: Reformations and Revolutions

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on the great religious, political, social and cultural upheavals in the British Isles three kingdoms (England, Scotland, and Ireland) during 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.  Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 341 - The American City, 1700-2000

Full course for one semester. This course will explore urban development in the United States, incorporating social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental perspectives on the rise of the city from the colonial era to the present day. Examining exemplary cities from various eras of American history, participants will explore topics including city planning; municipal politics; the role of cities in American territorial expansion; the place of cities in regional, national, and global economies; reform movements; urban environments; the formation of neighborhood cultures; and the literature of cities. Prerequisite: 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 350 - Marxism after Marx

Full course for one semester. Ambiguities and lacunae in Marx’s own writings left much room for debate and disagreement on the precise meaning of his theories of history, economics, and politics. In addition, ever-changing historical circumstances raised new issues for the theory of Marxism and imposed new demands on its practical application. This course will examine the shifting theoretical trends of twentieth-century Marxism alongside a historical analysis of the rise and fall of Communism. We will begin with an introduction to Marx’s thought (“Marx before Marxism”), before turning to the unfolding legacy of Marxism in Europe and beyond. Topics under investigation will include the Second International and the “revisionist controversy”; Lenin and the Russian Revolution; the struggle for power between Stalin and Trotsky; the Frankfurt school and critical theory; Marxism, existentialism, and psychoanalysis; Maoism and the Cultural Revolution in China; Marxist anti-imperialism and Marxist cultural criticism. The course will conclude with an analysis of the fate of Marxist theory following the collapse of “actually existing socialism” and a discussion of whether Marxism is still relevant today. Prerequisite: 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 370 - The Tragedies of American Diplomacy: U.S. Foreign Policy since 1893

Full course for one semester. Building from the framework laid out in William Appleman Williams’ hallmark essay, “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy,” this course will explore the history of American foreign policy since Frederick Jackson Turner declared the end of the American Frontier in 1893. Beginning with Turner’s “Frontier Thesis” and John Hay’s famous “Open Door Note,” we will investigate how the flexible, economically oriented policies of the late nineteenth century became the sacred political ideologies at the heart of twentieth-century American imperialism. Topics will include the Spanish-American War, policies leading up to each of the two world wars, the advent of and decision to drop the atomic bomb, the Marshall Plan, and a variety of political, economic, and military issues associated with the Cold War, including its origins, its institutions, its many phases, and its ultimate end. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 376 - The United States in the 1970s

Full course for one semester. For many years U.S. historians neglected the 1970s to focus on the political and cultural shifts in the 1950s and 1960s. Drawing on a wealth of new historical studies, we will look at the 1970s to assess the successes and defeats of movements that originated in earlier decades. These include civil rights, feminism, gay and lesbian rights, environmentalism, and organized labor. We will examine transformations in party politics in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate, and chart the changing fortunes of liberals and conservatives. This was a time of economic turmoil and anxiety, and we will consider how inflation, deindustrialization, and the oil crises in 1973 and 1979 influenced the lives of working Americans. We will also look at the changing demographics of families, households, and suburbs in this epoch. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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 2012-13.

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.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 379 - The Fifties 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.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 383 - Colonial Spanish American Intellectual History

Full course for one semester. This course examines central topics in colonial Spanish American intellectual history. We will begin by examining the first accounts of America by Colón and Cortés, and the impact of the discovery on Iberian scholasticism. We then study the production of histories of preconquest politics in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and the polities of these inquiries. Further topics include elite and popular religious belief and performance, and poetics and elite literary production. Readings include primary sources in English translation and recent criticism and intellectual history. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

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.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 389 - Labor in Modern Latin America

Full course for one semester. This course examines the social relations of labor, labor organization and militancy, and the political and cultural importance of the working classes in twentieth-century Latin America. Particular topics include the emergence of organized labor and its relation both to earlier guild-based relations and to oligarchic rule in the early twentieth century; the role of organized labor in Mexican, Bolivian, Peruvian, and Chilean revolutionary movements; alliances between labor and bureaucratic-authoritarian states; the position of rural laborers in these modernizing economies; the relationship between race, ethnic, and class identities; and the effects of the vast “informal” working class on postmodern Latin American societies. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 391 - Ancient History: Greece

See Classics 371 for description.

Not offered 2012-13.

Classics 371 Description

History 393 - Ancient History: Rome

See Classics 373 for description.

Classics 373 Description

History 395 - Special Topics in Greek and Roman History

See Classics 375 for description.

Not offered 2012-13.

Classics 375 Description

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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2012-13.

History 398 - Animals: An Intellectual History

Full course for one semester. This class traces the history of the relation between man and animal, principally as it has emerged in Western Thought. It poses a series of questions. 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? How have these issues played out in practices such as science, slaughter, sex, consumption, companionship, ritual, jurisprudence, and dressing your dog in silly sweaters? These are some of the questions broached by the burgeoning field of "animal studies," and we will address them by means of primary source readings, complemented by secondary readings and film. The narrative of the course proceeds as follows: from ancient ideas about animality, soul, and dominion; to their reception in medieval, early-modern, and enlightenment philosophy, theology, science, and law; to the Darwinian revolution; to post-Darwinian arguments about animal lives, laws, and loves; and finally to recent efforts to rewrite the history of Western thought through the prism of the human-animal boundary. Conference.

History 411 - Junior Seminar

Law and Society in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Full course for one semester. In this course, we will examine the rich, active, and evolving historical scholarship on the multifaceted relationship between the world of the law and European culture and society during the late medieval and early modern periods. At the same time, we will explore how historians have used legal records and related materials to shed new light on gender relations, family history, popular culture, state formation, and other topics. Particular attention will be devoted to the analysis and interpretation of evidence from both a legal and a historical standpoint, as well as the possibilities and limitations of different genres of historical research and writing. Prerequisite: junior standing history majors, and two history courses at Reed. Conference.

History 412 - Junior Seminar

The United States in the 1840s 
Full course for one semester. Many narratives of the nineteenth-century United States present the era’s turning point as the Civil War, with the preceding decades labeled as "antebellum." This course asks what happens to our narratives of the nineteenth century if we shift our gaze to an earlier decade. In the 1840s, the problems of slavery and sectionalism preoccupied Americans alongside and in competition with numerous other issues. It was an era of religious and cultural ferment, of large-scale migration and long-distance travel, of imperial ambition and millennial anxiety, of agitation for both war and peace. As the nation’s territorial boundaries expanded and its population diversified, Americans wondered what held them together as a nation, and they grappled to comprehend their young republic’s place in the world. We will read scholarship stressing various historiographical approaches and problems, with emphasis on recent efforts to situate American history in a global context. Students will produce a substantial research paper based on primary and secondary sources. Prerequisite: junior standing history majors, or consent of the instructor. 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.