Michael P. Breen

Early modern France; Renaissance Italy; political, cultural, and legal history. On sabbatical and leave 2007-08.

Jacqueline Dirks

American social and cultural history, U.S. women’s history.

Ralph Drayton

Medieval and Renaissance Europe, history of science and medicine.

Douglas L. Fix

Modern China and Japan.

David T. Garrett

Latin America and early modern Spain.

Brian Kassof

Modern Russia and Europe, cultural and media history.

Benjamin Lazier

Modern Europe, intellectual history. On leave 2007-08.

Margot Minardi

Colonial and revolutionary America, nineteenth-century United States.

Joel W. Revill

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century France and Modern Europe, intellectual history.

David Harris Sacks

Early modern Britain and Europe, Atlantic world.

Edward B. Segel

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe, diplomatic history, war and society, the Cold War.

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 non-majors alike.

The junior qualifying examination in history is a critical essay dealing with a given issue or problem within a particular historical field and period. The department expects students to develop some competence in various periods and areas of history, as specified in the course requirements below. The department administers the junior qualifying examination only in November and April of each academic year. Exceptions are made only for students returning from leave away from campus, or for other circumstances beyond the student’s control. The department encourages but does not require its students to pursue the study of a foreign language.

For students who wish to combine American history, literature, economics, and 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.

History Course Descriptions

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