Reed College Catalog

Michael P. Breen

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

Jacqueline Dirks

American social and cultural history, United States women’s history.

David T. Garrett

Latin America and early modern Spain.

Joshua P. Howe

Environmental history, history of science, twentieth-century United States. On leave spring 2023.

Benjamin Lazier

Modern Europe, intellectual history.

Liz Matsushita

African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian history and humanities.

Mary Ashburn Miller

Revolutionary-era France and Europe, modern European cultural and intellectual history.

Margot Minardi

Colonial and revolutionary America, nineteenth-century United States.

Radhika Natarajan

Modern imperial Britain. On sabbatical 2022–23.

Padraig Riley

Nineteenth-century United States, slavery, political history.

Brian Tyrrell

U.S. environmental and social history, history of animals.

Xue Zhang

Modern and early modern China, nineteenth century Qing Empire, Chinese frontiers.

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 conjunction with the junior seminar. Students in the major ordinarily take the exam in the first four weeks of the semester in which they are enrolled in Junior Seminar (History 411). 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 220, or Humanities 211 and 212, or Humanities 231 and 232. 
  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). (The junior seminar counts as one of the six required units in history.)
  4. Junior qualifying examination.
  5. History 470.

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 205 - The Twentieth-Century Middle East through Music

One-unit semester course. This course is a survey of the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa region, using the lens of music to approach that history, from the early twentieth century to the present. The course will focus on the Arabic-speaking countries of the region, particularly the Maghrib (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), Egypt, and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, Jordan). Taking a critical cultural approach, we will learn how music can be a window into a broader understanding of political and social histories, and how musical traditions have shaped and been shaped by their historical contexts. Special attention will be given to race, gender, class, religion, colonialism, nationalism and state-building, Orientalism, and the politics of knowledge production in the region’s history. Lecture-conference.

History 210 - Educating Americans in the Long Nineteenth Century

One-unit semester course. What does it mean to be educated? Is education a system of social control or a pathway to liberation? Should schooling cultivate collective values and traditions, nurture democratic citizens, or encourage economic productivity? What is the relationship between “education” and “school”? In this course, we will investigate how Americans from the revolution to the end of the nineteenth century grappled with these questions. We will examine a variety of educational institutions (such as chartered academies, female seminaries, Native American boarding schools, and freedpeople’s schools), but we will give special attention to the rise of public education (the common school system), considering both why some Americans in the early republic thought that mandatory public schooling was essential and why others resisted it. We will also study the myriad ways that Americans were educated outside formal schooling, including apprenticeship and the “binding out” of children, the lyceum and Chautauqua movements, libraries and reading societies, Sunday schools, settlement houses, and clandestine education under slavery. Along the way, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which educational practices and philosophies in the United States either exacerbated or mitigated social inequalities along the lines of gender, race, and class. By closely considering how education worked (and didn’t) in the nineteenth century, we will aim to develop greater insights into what we want from education—on an individual and societal level—in the twenty-first century. Conference.

History 220 - Late Imperial China

One-unit semester course. 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 2022–23.

History 221 - From Treaty Ports to Megacities: Chinese Urban History

One-unit semester course. In China today, few environments change more rapidly than those in major metropolitan centers. Uncontrollable hypergrowth, large floating populations, and insufficient resources and infrastructure all make efficient urban planning and healthy community development difficult to achieve. This course will examine the origins of these current challenges, as well as solutions posed to solve earlier problems, both imagined and real. Topics to be addressed will include imperial models and spatial legacies; treaty ports, bunds, and foreign concessions; rural migration, sojourning, and movement between cities; hinterlands, regional networks, and global connections; revolutionary hygiene and public health; department stores, desire industries, and Shanghai fashion; the interwar lifestyles of petty urbanites and Westernized capitalists; covert political communities and urban labor organizing; wartime destruction and relocation; purifying the decadent city via socialist governance; hutongs, alleyway houses, and rebuilt residential space; and reassessing the colonial past and the globalized present in China’s megacities. Conference-laboratory.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 223 - Early Modern China and the World: 1300–1900

One-unit semester course. This course surveys the history of China from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries, tracing the rise and fall of the Ming dynasty, the Manchu conquest, and the disintegration of the Qing empire. This course will not only “discover history in China,” but also situate China in a global context by discussing the flow of peoples, goods, and ideas into and out of China. After the Silk Road connecting the Eurasian continent declined with the end of the Pax Mongolica, China continued to be an engine of the Afro-Eurasia network and began to interact with the Americas. However, since the Great Divergence in the 1750s, China has scrambled to join a new international order. By analyzing the exchanges between China and other regions, students will understand how the concept of China was in flux and the dynamic role of China in the early modern world. Conference.

History 231 - Crime and Law in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

One-unit semester course. How are societal norms defined and transgressions proven and sanctioned? Why are some wrongdoers forgiven for violating the law and reintegrated into the community, while others are deemed “criminals” who merit stern (even capital) punishment? How can the study of criminal justice and the law help us better understand medieval and early modern European societies and cultures? Through an analysis of law codes, court records, and other historical sources, this course will trace the development of criminal law and justice in premodern Europe. In particular, we will examine how medieval practices such as trial by ordeal, feuds, and the payment of blood prices (weregelds) gave way to more “rational” processes, such as trial by jury, inquisitorial procedure, and the use of judicial torture. We will also discuss the importance of religious attitudes and community norms in shaping the practical application of criminal justice in this period, as well as Enlightenment efforts to standardize criminal justice, abolish torture, and eliminate capital punishment. Conference.

History 240 - World Environmental History

One-unit semester course. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 251 - Slander, Censorship, and Surveillance in Modern European History

One-unit semester course. This course seeks to historicize and interrogate the limits on, and protections for, free speech in modern Europe. We will explore topics including libel laws, censorship and public morality, the development of ideas about natural rights, and the influence of changing technologies on practices and beliefs surrounding the liberty of expression. The class will focus on France and Britain between 1644 (the publication of Milton’s crucial text, Areopagitica) and 2016, when the EU adopted a code of conduct for regulating online hate speech. Conference.

History 256 - Migration Histories in the British Imperial World

One-unit semester course. The British Empire was built on migrations both forced and free, and in this course we will examine particular migration stories in wider imperial and global contexts. Some of the migrants that we will examine include settler colonists, enslaved persons, transported radicals, colonial officers, missionaries, and indentured and migrant laborers. The course will present a broad chronological survey of the British imperial world since 1700, paying attention to political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics. The final project for this course will be a digital exhibition to which students will contribute content and explanatory material. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 270 - Introduction to American Environmental History

One-unit semester course. 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 271 - U.S. Politics and Culture, 1964–2004

One-unit semester course. Like most of U.S. history, the 40 years between the 1964 presidential election and Illinois state senator Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention were times of change and conflict. We will explore this time period using secondary works and primary documents. The last baby boomers were born in 1964; Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z were still to come. U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam was underway; after September 11, 2001, a war on terror would be waged. Women’s labor force participation (including that of married women and married mothers) was on the rise. Americans grappled with grassroots protests and political partisanship, persistent economic inequality, divisive foreign policies, and the so-called culture wars. In 1964, network TV and national and local radio and newspapers provided entertainment and news; by 2004, digital technologies would democratize and fragment access to information. We will examine all these changes, and more. Conference.

History 272 - Gender and the American Family

One-unit semester course. Historians can chart the numbers: from the changing demographics of birth and marriage rates to the rise in divorces and the number of households headed by single parents (usually mothers), families in the United States have changed dramatically in the past century. This course will explore the changing forms and meanings of “family.” We will examine changing family and household structures and look at how gender roles are built into and reproduced through social, legal, and political discourses. Topics include the shifting meanings of marriage and singlehood and the social value placed on children. Policy makers and social scientists privileged some families over others, and we will consider how constructions of race and ethnicity determined welfare benefits. We will also consider adoption practices and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Conference.

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

One-unit semester course. 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 2022–23.

History 282 - The Mexican Revolution

One-unit semester course. 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, race, citizenship, and political participation; and the production of a modern Mexican identity. Lecture-conference.

History 283 - Latin America and the United States

One-unit semester course. Since their respective independence, relations between the United States and the Latin American republics have been of great importance to the domestic politics in both, and have disproportionately affected the political and economic trajectory of the latter. Topics addressed will include competing visions of the proper relationship between the two regions; overt and covert U.S. military intervention; foreign investment in economic ties; and popular attitudes toward the United States in Latin America, and vice versa. Lecture-conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 284 - Latinx History in the United States

One-unit semester course. This course is a survey of Latina/o/x history in the United States from the pre-Columbian period to the present. It will examine the historical, social, political, cultural, and economic roots of several Spanish-speaking communities that reside in the U.S. Attention will be given to issues of race, class, gender, labor, immigration, community building and identity, political activism, and transnationalism. The class will focus primarily on the histories of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans, the three largest Latina/o/x groups in the U.S.; but it will also discuss the histories, experiences, and contributions of communities of Central American, South American, and Caribbean backgrounds to U.S. society, culture, politics, and the economy. Conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 284.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 286 - Histories of Immigration and Migration in the United States

One-unit semester course. This course will cover U.S. immigration and migration histories from 1882 to the present. We will discuss forces that brought people from various parts of the globe to the U.S. and the movements of people within the country; their experiences in migrating and, in subsequent generations, enduring racial and ethnic hierarchies; and the impact of immigration and migration histories on U.S. economics, politics, culture, and society. Conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 286.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 298 - Music and the Cold War United States

See Music 238 for description. 

Not offered 2022–23.

Music 238 Description

History 303 - The History of the Sahara

One-unit semester course. This course will examine the history of the Sahara, a region that is often treated as a “blank space” or only peripherally included in histories of the Middle East/North Africa and Africa. Beginning in the early Islamic period and the heyday of the trans-Saharan trade (eighth to seventeenth centuries), we will trace the region’s history up to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and the formation of nation-states and (often contentious) political borders. Employing textual primary sources, literary and cultural representations, ethnographies, and music, we will outline a history that counters the myth of a “blank space” and instead reveals a vibrant and diverse region characterized by long histories of exchange and mobility. While being attentive to themes of race, religion, colonialism, state formation, trade, and environment, we will also problematize the depiction of the Sahara as a natural “borderland” between an imagined North and sub-Saharan Africa, instead bringing the histories of these two areas together. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Lecture-conference.

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

One-unit semester course. 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 310 - Water and the American West

One-unit semester course. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 313 - Wildlife in America

One-unit semester course. Humans and wild animals have lived together in North America for more than 14,000 years. During that time, around 150 native species have gone extinct, and thousands of exotic species have colonized the landscape. Some formerly rare species have become common, and some common ones have become rare. Wild animals have served as food, clothing, shelter, servants, companions, weapons, and totems. This course will explore the turbulent, contested, and colorful history of wildlife in North America. It will span from the Pleistocene to the present and cover the entire continent. The goal of this course is for students to develop a sophisticated understanding of the changing relationships between people and wild animals over time. There are no easy answers for why things happened the way they did, and no simple lessons for what we should do in the future. But it’s a good story, and one that offers myriad, often unexpected insights for serious students of history and environmental studies. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Lecture-conference.

History 315 - Defining and Defying Difference: Race, Ethnicity, and Empire

One-unit semester course. From the origins of the British Empire in the sixteenth century, the encounter between Britons and colonial subjects demanded explanations of human difference. In this course, we will consider race and ethnicity as contingent and contested categories shaped by political and economic circumstances. Topics will include the international slave trade and abolition, caste and community in South Asia, color and class in the twentieth-century Caribbean, and immigration and multiculturalism in late twentieth-century Britain. Throughout we will pay attention to gender. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, sophomore standing, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 385.

Not offered 2022–23.

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

One-unit semester course. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 320 - Merchants and Mariners on the Water Frontier, 1400–1820

One-unit semester course. Indigenous mariners and merchants had traversed the oceans of East and Southeast Asia long before Europeans first ventured into those seas. By 1600 Chinese and Japanese sea lords and interlopers had created vast networks of migration and exchange, peppered with conflict and violence, from Siam and Malacca to Ryukyu and Nagasaki. This seminar explores the social and cultural history of this early modern maritime world. Selective topics include Zheng He’s Indian Ocean voyages; designated ports and unruly hinterlands; seaborne migrations and translocal connections; regional cults and sea goddesses’ miracles; merchants, supercargoes, and the vicissitudes of maritime trade; competing maritime cartographies; pirates and the business of violence; ocean archaeology and mariculture ethnographies; and hybrid identities in a maritime world. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 322 - China‘s Frontiers Since 1600

One-unit semester course. The Qing empire (1644–1911) more than doubled the territory of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and bequeathed its vast territory to twentieth-century China. How did the Qing become an empire that straddled Inner and East Asia? How did China manage to claim and retain these non-Han frontiers in its transition from an empire to a modern state? How did these frontiers and ethnic minorities become “problems” for contemporary China? These are the central questions we will explore in this course. In the first half of the class, we will chronologically investigate how the Qing empire originated from Manchuria and then annexed Manchuria, Mongolia, Taiwan, the southwestern borderlands, Tibet, and Xinjiang. In the second half, we will explore how the Qing empire and the Chinese state ruled these non-Han frontiers. Conference.

History 323 - Rice in East Asia

One-unit semester course. This course examines the history of rice in East Asia as crop, food, commodity, genetic resource, and symbol. How were institutions of social cohesion in China and Japan influenced by the particular demands of, and a commitment to, small-scale, labor-intensive riziculture? When and how were relations between consumer tastes and rice markets mediated by “rice masters”? What roles has rice played in linking the histories of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the world between 1000 and the present? How did the “green revolution” alter that regional regime of rice cultivation, exchange, and consumption? These and other questions will be explored in multidisciplinary fashion with a broad range of original data and recent historiography. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 324 - Early Modern South Asia

One-unit semester course. Whether admired or reviled, there is little doubt that the Mughal dynasty fundamentally changed South Asia and ushered it into the modern world. Connecting Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and South Asian histories, this course will introduce students to the many political, cultural, and social worlds of this dynastic empire that was founded in the sixteenth century and endured until 1857. Beginning with an introduction to the Mughal state and its political alliances, we will then turn to questions of culture. We will read travelogues and courtly poetry, analyze miniature paintings, and think through early modern identities by attending to processes of translation, migration, and the production of scientific knowledge. By the end of the course we will be prepared to scrutinize modern representations of the Mughals in film and political discourse. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 327 - Meiji Restoration/Revolution

One-unit semester course. 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 2022–23.

History 328 - Popular Culture in Interwar Japan, 1905–1937

One-unit semester course. Between Japan’s stunning defeat of Russia in 1905 and its invasion of northern China in 1937, citizens of Japan rushed headlong into all manner of modern culture, creating and consuming the forerunners of several well-known forms of contemporary Japanese cultural production. After a brief introduction to the social and economic transformation of Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this course will address the following topics: silent film and benshi narrators; photography for everyone; detective fiction as a source for modern Japanese novels; cosmetics, advertising and design in department stores; popular songs and jazz; the “modern girl” and the eroticized cafe waitress; the gender-bending Takarazuka Revue; the origins of Japan’s national love affair with baseball; and “middle-classness” and the reform of everyday life. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

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

One-unit semester course. 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 Euro-American, 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 2022–23.

History 332 - Science and Society: Europe and the Wider World, 1620–1850

One-unit semester course. This course will examine the social spaces and cultural practices through which natural knowledge was gathered, affirmed, and circulated between 1620 and 1850, with an emphasis on the relationships between science and the developing empires of western Europe. The opening pages of Francis Bacon’s Great Instauration (1620), often considered a foundational text in the development of empirical scientific methods, portrayed a ship voyaging on the seas, charting paths to new lands and new knowledge. From the start of the so-called Scientific Revolution, European states’ dual projects of exploring and colonizing new lands and acquiring knowledge of the natural world went hand in hand. This class will consider the changing practices of experimentation and modes of communication among natural historians in Europe and between Europe and the wider world, and the reception and circulation of scientific ideas, including in art and literature. Particular attention will be paid to the material objects that made natural inquiry both possible and increasingly popular, including botanical illustration, objects collected on imperial voyages, and museums dedicated to natural history. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 334 - Race and the Politics of Decolonization

One-unit semester course. This course examines how the struggle for decolonization in the British Empire was shaped by the politics of race. How did colonial subjects imagine freedom, and how were those visions of freedom constrained by the racial hierarchies of empire? How did they look to other movements within and without the British imperial world to theorize what political, economic, and intellectual decolonization might be? Topics will include intellectual critiques of empires, transcolonial movements, the transfer of power, the postcolonial nation-state, and the Commonwealth. We will pay attention to gender throughout and consider the legacy of the formal era of decolonization in the present day. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 384.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 335 - Development: An Imperial History

One-unit semester course. Improvement and welfare have not always been the work of government. This class traces the origins and uneven history of development through the moments when colonial governments in the British Empire became interested in raising the material and social quality of life of colonial subjects. More than a matter of administering policy, attempts to better conditions arose through political circumstances and impacted the lives of colonial subjects in ways that administrators could not have foreseen. We will consider development as a broad category through efforts to manage and improve education, the economy, and maternal health. We will pay attention to the importance of colonial ethnography to know populations; the way development emerged as a rationale for empire; the international contexts of development; and continuities of colonial development after formal decolonization through nongovernmental organizations such as the World Bank and Oxfam International. Our examples will be drawn from metropolitan Britain; subject colonies such as India, Kenya, and the West Indies; and international organizations working with postcolonial nation-states. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 336 - The Aftermath of World War I in the British Empire

One-unit semester course. While for many years the main historiographical question surrounding World War I concerned its origins, recently scholars have turned to the consequences of the war, particularly the postwar settlements that remade national, imperial, and international politics. The war demanded the mobilization of millions of men and women throughout the world; what was owed to these individuals for their service? In this class, we will approach this question in a variety of contexts and braid together the political and social history of the interwar period. Topics will include the League of Nations, the Commonwealth, anticolonial nationalist movements, international women’s movements, humanitarianism, development programs, and the welfare state. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 337 - Battle of the Books: The Beginnings of the Modern Sciences, c. 1500–c. 1800

One-unit semester course. The early modern period, covering the three centuries between 1500 and 1800, is often characterized as the era of “the Scientific Revolution,” which scholars who use the term portray as overturning traditional philosophy and ancient beliefs about creation and the role in it of the divine and replacing them with radically new forms of knowledge making and conceptions of nature. However, Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), who early in his life declared “truth” to be his “best friend,” also proclaimed: “Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend.” Along with his researches in mathematics and physics, his studies included alchemy, astrology, biblical chronology, and theology. “If I have seen further,” he said, “it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” In this period, 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 joined by debates about the relationship of new discoveries in the natural sciences to the arts, history and humanities, and religious scholarship. It was an age, itself a product of the invention of printing, the rise of print culture, and the emergence of new institutions of learning, and of cross-cultural contact and global trade, that brought new facts, methods, and ideas to the arts, literature, philosophy, and historical and religious studies. Rather than a “revolution,” it was a “battle of the books,” embracing knowledge gathered from across the globe, in which rivals clashed about the value, merit, and utility of old and new ideas. This course, focusing on early modern case studies in the several disciplines and drawing on texts, documents, images, and artifacts from the period as well as on recent scholarship will consider these changes in the context of the worldwide advancement of knowledge. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 338 - Crisis & Catastrophe in Modern Europe

One-unit semester course. Between 1720 and 1870, a series of natural and manmade crises forced Europeans to question the purpose of violence in a supposedly “improving” society and the role of rational individuals in a world sometimes beyond their control. This course will consider the political, religious, intellectual, and cultural ramifications of disaster and crisis, including financial collapse, revolution, war, earthquakes, disease, and famine. These crises disrupted the political and intellectual worlds of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europeans, threatening and transforming their ideas about risk, progress, religion, and political authority, and restructuring the relationships between man and the natural world. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 339 - Science and Islam: Global Histories

One-unit semester course. This course will introduce students to the hybrid origins, circulations, and translations of the secular sciences in the Islamic world from the Greco-Arabic translation projects to the high point of European empires. Covering a broad historical sweep from the tenth to the nineteenth century, this course will revolve around several core questions: What has science meant in different places and times? What has been the relationship between religious institutions and scientific thought and practice? How have beliefs about the beautiful, and the human body, found expression in the Islamic sciences? We will work through these questions by studying specific sciences, including medicine, astronomy, cartography, and architecture. By the end of the course we will appreciate the entangled histories of cultural exchange that preceded modern scientific revolutions. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 341 - An Intellectual History of Animality

One-unit semester course. This class traces a genealogy of ideas about animality as they have emerged in Western thought and culture. The narrative of the course proceeds from ancient ideas about animality, soul, and dominion to their reception in medieval philosophy and theology, and later in early modern and Enlightenment philosophy, science, and law (“animal trials”); to the Darwinian revolution; to post-Darwinian arguments about animal lives (intelligence, interests, experience), deaths (food, slaughter), laws (rights, legal status), and loves (companion species). Throughout, we will consider the question: How has recourse to the notion of animality helped make sense of what it means to be human? Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 343 - The Human Condition

One-unit semester course. This course undertakes a systematic study of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition (1958), both in its own terms and as a portal into the history of the modern West. We will examine the book’s architecture, along with its conceptual apparatus: earth and world alienation; the vita activa and vita contemplativa; the conditions of natality, mortality, and plurality; the activities of labor, work, and action; the realms of public, private, and the social. We will explore the contexts Arendt invokes—including the ancient world and early modern science—as well as those she doesn’t. That is, we will read in light of Arendt’s own experience: as a German emigre in Cold War America, writing in the shadow of the Nazi death camps and the atom bomb; witnessing the expansion of the welfare state, the acceleration of automation, and the launch of Sputnik. Finally, we will locate the work intertextually, critically assessing Arendt’s readings of Marx, Heidegger, and others. Prerequisite for history credit: Humanities 110. Conference. Cross-listed as Political Science 390.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 344 - Freud and the Psychoanalytic Tradition

One-unit semester course. This class explores how the psychoanalytic tradition inaugurated changes in what we mean when we call ourselves human beings. The first half of the course reviews Freud’s thought as it evolved in the context of clinical practice. The aim is to consider how influential ideas about the unconscious, love and sexuality, dreams, fantasy, and the organization of the psyche developed in response to the peculiar kind of suffering Freud called neurosis. The second half of the course asks what is to be learned by situating psychoanalytic thought in its scientific, cultural, and social contexts, and by following its international dispersion in the work of those who extended (and revised) Freud’s ideas in ways he did not foresee. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 345 - Whole Earths, Globalizations, and World Pictures

One-unit semester course. 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.

History 353 - The French Revolution, 1775–1800

One-unit semester course. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 355 - Heretics, Witches, and Inquisitors: Deviance, Orthodoxy, and the Law in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

One-unit semester course. This course will examine the evolution and operation of one of medieval and early modern Europe’s most infamous religious and legal institutions—the Inquisitions of Heretical Depravity. Initially established in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries to affirm the Roman Church’s spiritual authority and to repress religious heterodoxy, Inquisitions could be found across much of Catholic Europe by the early sixteenth century. This course will examine several of the most prominent examples: the Inquisition of medieval Languedoc, the Roman and Venetian Inquisitions, and the Spanish Inquisition, to compare how they functioned as hybrid legal and religious institutions in distinct historical contexts. We will also explore the complex interplay between inquisitors, secular authorities, and the populace by looking at their treatment of a specific heretical crime—witchcraft—during the early modern period. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 356 - Justice and the Law in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

One-unit semester course. “Those who are even a little bit above the common find it impossible to escape the law courts,” lamented one seventeenth-century writer. From the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century, men and women across Europe and its colonies flocked to courts of law in staggering numbers as plaintiffs, defendants, or witnesses. Why did Europeans from all social ranks increasingly seek justice through legal tribunals when other, more traditional methods were readily available? Was the “rule of law” imposed by social elites and political authorities, or did it emerge from premodern Europeans’ use of litigation and other legal practices to manage credit, defend reputations, air marital grievances, remedy injuries, and generally maintain order in their families and communities? What can the “uses of the law,” in other words, tell us about political authority and social relations in medieval and early modern Europe? Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 360 - Histories of Anthropocene

One-unit semester course. Anthropocene. What kind of a word is that? For geologists, Anthropocene refers to the proposition that the history of the planet has entered a new epoch, in which human activity has come to exert the power of a geological force. The proposition has also produced some of the most interesting theoretical work on the practice of history in recent years, animated by the question, is it possible to conjoin human history with geohistory, and if so, how? This class will survey the most prominent answers thus far, above all, efforts inspired by postcolonial and subaltern studies to imagine new histories of capitalism. The class will build on that foundation by considering how phenomenology, a tradition of thought that aims at a thick description of lived experience, can also be of use in writing histories of the Anthropocene. Here, the focus will be on human experiences that embody both the conjunction and disjunction of scale—human time and geological time, human places and planetary spaces—at once. Students will have the opportunity to research and write minihistories of Anthropocenic episodes. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 362 - Revolutionary America

One-unit semester course. 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 2022–23.

History 363 - American Social Reform from Revolution to Reconstruction

One-unit semester course. 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 2022–23.

History 367 - Sources and Methods in Early African American History

One-unit semester course. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 369 - Race and the Law in American History

One-unit semester course. Ranging from the colonial period to the recent past, this course examines the role of the law and the courts in the construction of racial categories and the production of racial inequality in the United States. We will read scholarship from history and other fields concerning the relationship between law and social practice and the possibilities and limitations of law as a means for resisting racism and securing equality. While we will engage a range of primary source material, we will devote particular attention to landmark Supreme Court decisions concerning civil rights, segregation, and immigration and naturalization. Other topics include regional variations in racialization in the United States, race making beyond the Black-white binary, and historical methodology applied to the realm of law. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 389.

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

One-unit semester course. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 371 - American Inequality, 1865–Present

One-unit semester course. The United States today is as unequal a society as it has been since 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression. Three billionaires—Bezos, Gates, Buffett—own more wealth than 160 million people, or half the population. How did so great a concentration of income and wealth at the very top come to be? Is such stratification the inevitable result of market processes in a globalized world, forces that, whatever their adverse consequences, lead to the most efficient allocation of society’s resources? In this course, we will get at some of these questions by exploring issues of wealth inequality in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. We will organize our exploration into the history of inequality around three analytical dimensions: ideas, institutions, and social forces. The course examines the roles of social scientists and other experts in identifying the causes of and cures for inequality, while also paying attention to the lived experiences of Americans from all income brackets. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Lecture-conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

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

One-unit semester course. 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.

History 374 - Gender and Sex

One-unit semester course. 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 2022–23.

History 375 - Hannah Arendt and Origins of Totalitarianism

One-unit semester course. Hannah Arendt was one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century, and her book The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) is habitually invoked as one of the century’s most important works of nonfiction. The aim of this class is to provide entry to Arendt’s thought and to the history and theory of totalitarianism by way of a close reading of her seminal work and some of its historical and philosophical intertexts. Arendt’s work addresses topics like the rise of anti-Semitism and race thinking in nineteenth-century Europe, mass politics, propaganda, mob-elite alliances, the concentration camp, and terror as a mode of government. We will also consider texts from some of the leading thinkers of Arendt’s time attracted to authoritarianism, such as Carl Schmitt, Georges Bataille, Ernst Jünger, and the Italian futurists. Last, we will consider the reception and extension of Arendt’s work in postwar arguments about Zionism, Nazi criminality, and the Cold War. Throughout, we will ask if Arendt’s work can help us understand contemporary movements in the United States and Europe that explicitly or implicitly seek a renovation of totalitarian rule. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Political Science 385.

History 376 - The United States in the 1970s

One-unit semester course. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 379 - The Fifties in America

One-unit semester course. 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. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

History 381 - Race and Ethnicity in the U.S. since 1865

One-unit semester course. The course focuses on the construction of race and the practices of racial oppression in the U.S. since 1865. We will discuss how racialization, racism, and constructions of race and ethnicity were experienced by different groups at significant points in U.S. history; race relations among groups; and how gender, sexuality, and class intersect with race and ethnicity to shape identities and life experiences. Each week, we will analyze, compare, and contrast the experiences of different groups: Native Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinx, as well as their complex interactions and interracial and interethnic relations. Conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 381.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 383 - Race and Oral Histories in the United States

One-unit semester course. This course examines the history of race and ethnicity in the U.S. through a number of different texts—oral histories, autobiographies, testimonies—to gain insights into the different lived experiences of individuals and communities in the past and present. Students will encounter sources that use oral histories as a method to gain insight into the impact of race and ethnicity on society, preparing them for an oral history project of their own centered on race and social justice in the present. Conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 383.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 385 - Catholicism in the Early Modern Spanish World

One-unit semester course. This course examines the central role of the Catholic church, of Catholic belief and practice, in the Spanish world of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We start with the transformation of Iberia from a center of religious pluralism to the bastion of Catholic orthodoxy with the expulsion of Jews and Moslems and extreme hostility to Protestantism. The first half of the course looks at the role of the Church and the Inquisition in society; popular religion; and personal spirituality. We then turn to examine the role of the Church in intellectual debates surrounding the colonization of the Americas; Indigenous religion and the campaigns and infrastructure of conversion; and the role of the Church in creole culture. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 388 - Race and Ethnicity in the Andes

One-unit semester course. This course explores the ethnic and racial organization of Andean society from Inca times to the present, and Andean discourses on race. Beginning with the ethnic pluralism of the Inca Andes, we turn to the creation of the colonial categories of “Indian” and “Spanish” and the imposition of two racialized legal republics from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. We then examine the development of “creole republics” that instituted unified republics with deeply racialized hierarchies; the indigenista critiques of that ordering in the twentieth century; and the emergence of Indigenous and ethnic politics over the past few decades. While attention will be paid to Afro and Asian Andeans, the course focuses on the categories of Indigenous and European. The central focus is on Peru, although ethnicity and race in Ecuador and Bolivia will also be considered. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. This course is recommended for students interested in critical race and ethnic studies. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies 388.

Not offered 2022–23.

History 389 - Labor in Modern Latin America

One-unit semester course. 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 390 - Music and the Black Freedom Struggle, 1865–1945

See Music 360 for description.

Music 360 Description

History 391 - The Greek World from 776 to 404 BCE

See Ancient Mediterranean Studies 371 for description.

Not offered 2022–23.

Ancient Mediterranean 371 Description

History 393 - The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

See Ancient Mediterranean Studies 373 for description.

Ancient Mediterranean 373 Description

History 394 - The Athenians and the “Other”

See Ancient Mediterranean Studies 374 for description.

Ancient Mediterranean Studies 374 Description

History 397 - Women in the Ancient World

See Ancient Mediterranean Studies 377 for description.

Not offered 2022–23.

Ancient Mediterranean 377 Description

History 411 - Junior Seminar

One-unit semester course. Variable topics. See specific listing for prerequisites. Conference. 

Cold War America
One-unit semester course. Between 1948 and 1991, the ideological conflict between American capitalism and its Soviet socialist counterpart helped to shape nearly every aspect of American cultural, political, and economic life. This course will use that half-century conflict as a lens through which to consider the study of postwar American history. In addition to engaging with—and questioning—the geopolitical trends and events that have traditionally defined “Cold War history,” students will also explore the relationships between Cold War foreign policy and the major domestic political struggles of the period, including those over civil rights, the Vietnam War, gender equality, and the environment, among others. Students will develop, research, write, and present a substantial research paper using primary and secondary sources. Prerequisite: junior-standing history major, and two history courses at Reed. Conference.
Experiment and Enlightenment: History of Science, 1660–1860
One-unit semester course. This course examines the development and diffusion of scientific practices and ideas in Europe in the 200 years between the founding of the Royal Society of London, a society dedicated to the pursuit of natural knowledge, and the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. During this time, individuals throughout Europe debated how best to understand the natural world and how to verify and confirm that knowledge: should it be observed or manipulated through experimentation? How would a “fact” be proven? Who constituted a legitimate authority? And were there limits to what man could, and should, know about the natural world? This class will examine these changing practices of experimentation and modes of communication among natural historians in Europe and the reception and circulation of scientific ideas, including in art and literature. Particular attention will be paid to the material objects that made natural inquiry both possible and increasingly popular, including scientific instruments, botanical specimens collected on imperial voyages, and museums dedicated to natural history. Students will develop, research, write, and present a substantial research paper using primary and secondary sources. Prerequisites: junior-standing history major, and two history courses at Reed. Conference.

History 421 - Topics in Historiography

Empires of Law: Legality, Society, and Imperialism in the Early Modern World
One-unit semester course. “The social world is fundamentally a human construct,” the legal historian Christopher L. Tomlins has observed, and “law furnishes one of the most powerful technologies of construction.” Inspired by the work of Tomlins, Lauren Benton, Brian Owensby, and others, historians of early modern British, French, and Iberian colonialism have increasingly focused on the ways various conceptions of law and justice shaped interactions between settlers, imperial officials, Indigenous peoples, and others in the centuries following the Columbian encounter. In this seminar, we will examine several recent works that interrogate how European and Indigenous jurispractices and legalities provided frameworks for constructing, contesting, and co-opting imperial authority, as well as mechanisms for regulating, negotiating, and navigating daily life in a variety of colonial societies. Prerequisites: two history courses at Reed, one of which must be at the 300 level. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

History 470 - Thesis

Two-unit yearlong course; one unit per semester.

History 481 - Individual Study

Variable (one-half or one)-unit semester course. 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.