History

  • Department Information

    History

    Joanna Drell, Chair
    Professors Ayers, Brandenberger, Drell, Summers, Yanikdag
    Associate Professors Bischof, Loo, Meyer, Sackley, Seeley, Watts, Yellin
    Assistant Professor Kahn 
    Affiliated Faculty: Howard (Center for Civic Engagement), Stevenson (Classics)

  • Major

    The History Major

    Note: A grade of not lower than C (2.0) is required in each course of the major.

    10 units, including

    HIST 199 Elements of Historical Thinking

    One course in United States history

    One course in European history

    One course in the histories of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East or Africa

    HIST 400 Research Seminar for Majors

    Two units at the 300-level

    Three additional history electives

    Notes

    • At least seven units must be above the 100 level. Students may count no more than two HIST 199 courses toward a history major.
    • History courses at the 100, 200 and 300 level may be applied to the U.S., Europe, and Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern or African history requirement.
    • Students may apply to the major up to two courses from study abroad for a semester's study, three for a year's study.
  • Minor

    The History Minor

    Note: A grade of not lower than C (2.0) is required in each course of the major.

    Five units, with no more than two at the 100 level. Three of the five courses in the minor must be taken in residence in the history department of the University of Richmond. No more than two courses for the minor can be drawn from study abroad.

  • Honors

    Honors Program

    Majors who meet the School of Arts and Sciences requirements for departmental honors may apply to pursue the honors program in history. To earn honors in history a student must complete three and a half units in honors courses:

    HIST 398 Historiography

    HIST 411 Honors Thesis Prospectus

    HIST 412-HIST 413 Honors Thesis

    Honors students meet the capstone History requirement by successfully completing History 413, but must satisfy all other requirements for the major. HIST 398 may replace one 300-level course.

  • Internships

    Internships

    The Department of History has a program of prearranged individual internships. Interested students should inquire in the department or check the department website for details

Courses

Expand All
  • HIST 199 Elements of Historical Thinking

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSHT)

    Description

    Introduction to aims and methods of historical thinking. Through concentrated exploration of a particular historical issue, students develop their understanding of the nature and limits of historical evidence, various legitimate ways of approaching it, and the art of making persuasive claims about it. No more than two History 199 courses may apply to the major or minor. Each course must be on a different topic.

  • HIST 200 Colonial America

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of colonial history from earliest British settlements to the end of French and Indian War in 1763.

  • HIST 201 The American Revolution

    Units: 1

    Description

    Study of the War of Independence and formation of the Republic, 1763-1788.

  • HIST 202 The Early American Republic

    Units: 1

    Description

    An exploration of the history of the Early American Republic from the beginnings of the American Revolution through the Ware of 1812 and its aftermath. Examines the beginnings of the United States, with particular attention to the formation of governments, the expansion of wage labor and the domestic slave trade, the implications of settler colonialism for native people, and the nature of politics in the early national period. What were the consequences of the imperial crisis and the American Revolution for the continent's diverse inhabitants What was the nature of the federal government that Americans created, and how did their definition of "the people" change over time? Particular attention will be paid to the commodification of both natural resources and human beings.

  • HIST 204 The Civil War and Reconstruction

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of slavery, sectional controversy, secession, the war, and the political, economic, and social problems of Reconstruction.

  • HIST 215 United States and the World Since 1945

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of the history of the United States since World War II in transnational perspective. Topics will include the Cold War, the interrelationship between foreign policy and domestic politics, American involvement in the developing world, migration, citizenship, and economic and cultural globalization.

  • HIST 216 American Cultural and Intellectual History Since 1865

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of American ideas and culture since the Civil War. Topics will include the "social questions" of the 19th century; visions of the self and society; the role of science and expertise in American life; political debates over freedom and the market; and cultural battles over pluralism and American identity.

  • HIST 217 Vietnam Wars

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examines the twentieth-century wars that consumed Southeast Asia and remade nations and international politics. While emphasizing the "American" War (1964-1973) and its impact on US politics and foreign policy; also explores the multiple histories, perspectives, and experiences that shaped the conflict and legacies of war in popular culture and national memory.

  • HIST 218 State and Society in Modern America

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of United States political and social development in the twentieth century. Topics include immigration and ethnicity, the American labor movement, the New Deal, World War II, urban crises and suburbanization, the postwar civil rights movements, the politics of gender and sexuality, the career of the modern American welfare state, and how all of these movements intertwined and connected to form the political and social the ideas of twentieth-century America.

  • HIST 219 Work in Twentieth-Century America

    Units: 1

    Description

    Exploration of the connections between work and political, economic, and cultural life in America in the last century, addressing such questions as: How did the meaning of work change for Americans in the twentieth century? How did work generate protests, legislation, electoral triumphs, and political falls from grace?

  • HIST 220 Reagan's America

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of United States political and social movements in the late twentieth century. Does not focus exclusively on Ronald Reagan himself but rather the time period, the development of new conservatism in America, and the political climate that led to the Reagan Administration. Topics include The Great Society, race and racism, the rightward shift in American politics, second wave feminism and abortion politics, the rise of the "moral majority," AIDs, and welfare reform.

  • HIST 221 Classical Greece

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of Greek history from end of the Bronze Age through career of Philip II of Macedon.

  • HIST 222 Hellenistic Greece and Republican Rome

    Units: 1

    Description

    Investigation of rise of the Roman hegemony in context of the Hellenistic Mediterranean. Special attention given to role of Hellenistic kings.

  • HIST 223 The Roman Empire

    Units: 1

    Description

    Study of how the Romans and their Byzantine followers maintained an empire in the hostile atmosphere of the first five centuries of our era.

  • HIST 225 Medieval Italy

    Units: 1

    Description

    Study of Italy from the formation of the communes to the first stirrings of the Renaissance. Emphasis on the development of the commercial economy, differential development between North and South, the emergence of a strong Papal State, and the causes and effects of the Great Plague.

  • HIST 227 The High Middle Ages

    Units: 1

    Description

    Overview of some of the principal social, political, and cultural developments in Europe c. 1000-1300 with special attention to the increasing vitality of urban culture, the varying position of women, the formation of bureaucratic "states," and the emergence of such concepts as romantic love and individualism.

  • HIST 230 The Renaissance

    Units: 1

    Description

    Overview of the culture, politics, economics, modern science, and overseas expansion of the Renaissance, especially in Italy.

  • HIST 233 Reformation Europe

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of the Protestant and Catholic reformations with emphasis on the social, political, and cultural implications of church reform.

  • HIST 236 Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and After

    Units: 1

    Description

    Political, social, diplomatic, and cultural overview of the fate of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union from the Napoleonic Wars through the end of the Cold War with special focus on nationalism, socialism, Stalinism, and the fall of the USSR.

  • HIST 238 France: The Age of Absolutism, 1610-1780

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of the growth of the French state under the Bourbon monarchy and the centralizing policies of ministers Richelieu, Colbert and Fleury that saw the expansion of venal office holders and robe nobles as well as the critical counter voices of Enlightenment thinkers and the protests of unruly commoners. How did Louis XIV help to make France a world power? What contributed to its vibrant culture emulated throughout Europe? How did the claims of absolute rule give way to liberal ideas of equality and liberty?

  • HIST 239 The French Revolution

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of the social, political, economic and cultural aspects of the Revolution of 1789 in France with particular attention to ideas of liberty and equality and their implementation in the early and later, more radical, phases of revolution, ending with the rule of Napoleon as child of the Revolution and Emperor of France.

  • HIST 240 Human Rights and Revolution in the Atlantic World (1750-1850)

    Units: 1

    Description

    An exploration of the Western concept of human rights and how it emerged in an era of revolution from 1750 to 1850. Born of philosophical inquiry, political debates, public protests, and mass uprisings, the claims of political and civil rights for marginalized peoples took center stage for newly declared nations in America, France, and Haiti. On what basis were rights claimed? Under what means could equality and liberty be guaranteed to all people? Focuses on the rights of women, Jews, free blacks and enslaved peoples, drawing on case studies to emphasize how radicals disrupted and disputed prejudice and sought (sometimes violent) change. Cross-listed with WGSS 203.

  • HIST 242 Modern Germany

    Units: 1

    Description

    Study of Prussia and Germany from 1848 to present. Emphasis on unification, political movements, Nazism, and origins and effects of World Wars I and II.

  • HIST 244 Propaganda State

    Units: 1

    Description

    An examination of the deployment of propaganda in peacetime and war across the span of the twentieth century through the investigation of a series of case studies and broader theoretical readings. Ultimately, the course attempts to offer a definition of propaganda, an examination of the concept in dialogue with other terms such as ideology, persuasion and public relations, and a broader context-based understanding of the phenomenon over the course of the twentieth- and early twenty-first century.

  • HIST 246 Russia in Revolution, 1905-1934

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of Russia in revolution from the attempts at reform in 1905, through the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 and the subsequent consolidation of power under Lenin and Stalin. Special emphasis on the nature of "revolution" and questions of agency and contingency.

  • HIST 247 Nineteenth-Century Europe

    Units: 1

    Description

    An exploration of the rising tides of industrial capitalism and humanitarianism, imperialism and anti-imperialism, nationalism and democracy in Europe between the French Revolution and the outbreak of the First World War. Particular attention will be paid to how radical forms of democracy gave way to authoritarian backlashes while uprisings in the empire reminded imperial powers of just how fragile their rule was.

  • HIST 248 Europe in Crisis, 1881-1949

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSHT)

    Description

    A survey of the history of the first half of what is often called the "long 20th century" (1881-2001) from a variety of subdisciplinary perspectives: political history, social history, cultural history and diplomatic history. Case studies are also examined on the history of gender, race and empire.

  • HIST 249 Cold War Europe, 1945-1991

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSHT)

    Description

    A survey of the history of the second half of what is sometimes referred to as the "long 20th century" (1881-2001) from a variety of subdisciplinary perspectives: political history, social history, cultural history and diplomatic history. Case studies are also examined in the history of gender, race and decolonization. The Cold War itself is addressed from a European, rather than U.S or Soviet, point of view.

  • HIST 250 Modern East Asia: 1600-1960

    Units: 1

    Description

    Exploration of the journeys that China, Korea, and Japan took that have resulted in the shape of East Asia as we know it today, examining their long history of interconnection and philosophical, cultural, and political traditions and the different ways they respond to similar issues at the same time.

  • HIST 251 Chinese Revolutions

    Units: 1

    Description

    Study of the several Chinese revolutions that together spanned the better part of the twentieth century and changed China in fundamental ways, with particular focus on the life and work of the main instigator of those revolutions, Mao Zedong.

  • HIST 252 Modern China: 1900-1940

    Units: 1

    Description

    Investigation of the period 1900-1940, during which many aspects of the modern Chinese state and society were established. Includes the emergence of Chinese national identity, Chinese vernacular, and the political ideologies that continue to define China today. Also studies the emergence of a sophisticated urban culture in cities like Shanghai, and radical transformations in the social fabric of Chinese society.

  • HIST 255 Meiji Japan: An Emperor and The World Named for Him

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of the reign of the Meiji emperor (1868-1912), considered to be the period in which modern Japan emerges, as a loose unifying metaphor for the many radical shifts in Japanese society, politics, and culture that occurred in his time.

  • HIST 260 Colonial Latin America

    Units: 1

    Description

    Exploration of the multiple meanings and impacts of the complex, cataclysmic and often times bloody encounter between conquering Iberians (people from Spain and Portugal), Africans and the indigenous people of the Americas and the development of Latin America colonial societies until their national independence in the early nineteenth century.

  • HIST 261 Modern Latin America

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introductory survey of Latin American history from independence; focus on the quest for political stability, economic development, and social change.

  • HIST 262 The Making of Modern Brazil

    Units: 1

    Description

    Study of how modern Brazil came to be with special attention to comparative issues in the study of slavery, race, gender, and ethnicity.

  • HIST 265 Gender and Sexuality in Latin American History

    Units: 1

    Description

    Exploration of the socio-political, cultural and economic processes through which gender, sexuality, class, and ethnic/cultural dynamics are interconnected and constructed in Latin America from the colonial era to the contemporary period. Focus will be on the complicated relationships between historically specific ideologies and socio-economic systems of production and domination, and the respective privileged or unprivileged positions of women and men under the colonialist, capitalist, socialist, and neoliberal states of Latin America.

  • HIST 270 Early Islamic World

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement FSHT

    Description

    Introduction to the major institutions that evolved under the aegis of Islamic Civilization from the advent of Islam in the early seventh century C.E. through the Mongol invasion in 1258. Since "Islam" in this context encompasses an entire cultural complex, the course will examine religious, political, economic, and social institutions.

  • HIST 271 The Modern Middle East

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of Middle East from last years of Ottoman Empire to the present. Emphasis on culture, Zionism, Arab nationalism, diplomacy, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

  • HIST 272 The Ottoman Empire

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of the history of Ottoman Turkish power from its origins as an obscure band of frontier warriors (ghazis), to its emergence as a world-empire and its eventual collapse in the aftermath of World War I.

  • HIST 281 Africa, c. 1500 to c. 1900

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduction to economic, social, political, and intellectual history of Africa from time of trans-Atlantic slave trade to colonial conquest.

  • HIST 282 Africa in the Twentieth Century

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSHT)

    Description

    Introduction to economic, social, political, and intellectual history of Africa from colonial period to present.

  • HIST 290 Britain and the World

    Units: 1

    Description

    Survey of British history from the late eighteenth century to the present day, including Britain's relationship with its empire and the wider world. Topics include social relations during industrialization, imperial crises in Jamaica and India, feminism, the world wars, and the making of the welfare state.

  • HIST 299 Special Topics: Periods and Regions

    Units: 1

    Description

    First-time or one-time courses in regions and periods not covered or not yet covered in the history program.

  • HIST 300 Claiming the American Revolution

    Units: 1

    Description

    Consideration of the changing interpretations of the American Revolution and its legacies over time, from 1783 to the present. Explores key moments when early Americans argued over the meaning of the war in the first few decades after its conclusion. Examines the ways in which historians--and the public--have clashed over interpretations of the Founding Era.

  • HIST 301 The Civil War in Film and Literature

    Units: 1

    Description

    Comparison of historians' treatments of the Civil War with its portrayal in documentaries, feature films, and literature.

  • HIST 306 American Identities

    Units: 1

    Description

    Thematic exploration of historical issues of identity development and construction in the twentieth-century United States, focusing on such questions as: What do historians mean by "identity"? How do they use categories like race, class, and gender to understand the American experience? How have they approached issues of status, power, and individuality?

  • HIST 321 History of Work in Europe

    Units: 1

    Description

    Historical study of the world of work in early modern and modern Europe. Focus on the nature of work itself, how it framed mentalities, created social classifications, informed economic thought, and shaped the political process. Topics include history of wage labor and guilds, early industry from countryside to cities, working class formation, division of labor in industry, and policing labor.

  • HIST 323 Gender and Sexuality in Europe

    Units: 1

    Description

    Critiques the standard "Great Man" narrative of Modern European history through the lens of gender and sexuality, emphasizing the intersectionality of race, religion, and nationality. Works chronologically from 1750 to the present, exploring topics including: Enlightenment ideas about anatomy and sex organs; feminist interpretations of the French Revolution; marriage and domesticity; masculinity and effeminacy; the relationship between gender and (dis)ability; imperial-era sexual encounters; the policing of prostitution, masturbation, and pornography; early theories of homosexual and trans identities; fascism, sexual violence, and the world wars; and discourses surrounding immigrant sexualities. Includes study of historiography¿the changing theories and methods that historians have used to understand the past¿and examines how the fields of "women¿s history," "gender history," "the history of sexuality," "the history of homosexuality," and "queer history" have developed from the 1970s until today.

  • HIST 325 Food and Foodways: The History of food, Diet, and Taste in Europe and the Atlantic World, 1500-1900

    Units: 1

    Description

    Explores various historical approaches to the topic of food in Europe and the Americas. Introduces a variety of historical methods and theoretical frameworks that inform the history of food and foodways. Topics include New World foods and their adaptation in European diet; the politics of subsistence and provisioning; dietetics, food therapy and public health; culinary literature as a source for social history; the cultural construction of taste and connoisseurship in the realm of gastronomy; and the migration and adaptation of various alimentary regimes in the Atlantic World.

  • HIST 326 Communism

    Units: 1

    Description

    An examination of the historical and philosophical issues surrounding the modern communist experience via the work of nearly two dozen major thinkers. A course in intellectual history, it pays special attention to the changing makeup of this supposedly monolithic ideology.

  • HIST 329 Brexit: A History

    Units: 1

    Description

    Explores what it has meant to be British in the past two centuries as a way of shedding light on contemporary debates over Brexit.

  • HIST 341 History and Memory: WWII in East Asia

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of the lingering controversies surrounding the history of WWII in East Asia. The focus is on the intersections of history and memory, and the politics of remembering and representing difficult historical events associated with the war. Issues include the Nanjing Massacre, comfort women, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Battle of Okinawa.

  • HIST 361 Madness and Society in the Modern Era

    Units: 1

    Description

    Historiographical examination of such questions as: What is insanity? How do we define the normal and the pathological? Who in society is best suited to determine psychological health and sickness? Can there be sciences of the emotions and sexuality? How do class, race, religion, and gender influence our views of human mental functioning? Can the human mind know itself? How did the sciences of the mind (i.e. psychiatry, psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychopharmacology, and the cognitive neurosciences) claim tremendous scientific authority and exert enormous cultural influence at the turn of the twentieth century? A variety of settings will be considered, including continental Europe, North America, Latin America, and Africa from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

  • HIST 370 Contending Visions of the Middle East

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of major debates in the field of Modern Middle Eastern and Islamic History, exploring what the main approaches and their critiques are, how the field (especially recently) came to be polarized and politicized, and where more fruitful middle ground might be found between these hardened categories. Topics will include Orientalism and its discontents, the rise of political Islam, nationalism, and "civilizational identities."

  • HIST 390 Food and Power in Africa and Asia

    Units: 1

    Description

    Comparative exploration of the connection between food (cultivation, processing, distribution, consumption, and denial) and political legitimacy, social institutions, and individuals' identities and values in Asia and Africa from antiquity to present.

  • HIST 391 Transnational Social Reform

    Units: 1

    Description

    Exploration of the ideas, institutions, and social networks around which movements for transnational reform have been built. Students will examine the history of four movements for transnational social reform since the early 19th century: abolitionism, women's rights, anticolonialism, and environmentalism.

  • HIST 392 Humanitarianism and Development

    Units: 1

    Description

    Seminar examining how the categories of "humanitarian," "human rights," and "development" emerged; how they became integral to the work of nation states, multilateral institutions, and NGOs; and how they have shaped local politics and the lived experience around the globe.

  • HIST 395 The Historian's Workshop

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduction to various tools used by historians in their work. Topics covered might include digital methods, the nature of the archive, quantitative methods, paleography, oral history, genealogy, cartographic investigation, and exhibition design.

  • HIST 398 Historiography

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduction to principles and practices of historical writing. Although some attention is paid to the history of historical writing since classical times, focus will be on contemporary modes of historical writing.

  • HIST 399 Special Topics: Focused Themes

    Units: 1

    Description

    First-time or one-time colloquia on focused topics not covered or not yet covered in the history program.

  • HIST 400 Research Seminar for Majors

    Units: 1

    Description

    Required seminar for majors taken in junior or senior year. Investigation of a topic of limited focus culminating in substantial paper based on common reading and individual research in primary and secondary materials. Topics and instructors vary. See departmental Web site for seminar topics. Enrollment limited to 12 students.

  • HIST 401 Directed Study

    Units: .5-1

    Description

    Individually designed reading or research program conducted under faculty supervision.

    Prerequisites

    Five courses in history and permission of department.

  • HIST 402 Individual Internship

    Units: .5-1

    Description

    Practical history-related work combined with some academic study.

    Prerequisites

    Permission of department.

  • HIST 406 Summer Undergraduate Research

    Units: 0

    Description

    Documentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 8 weeks, the student must engage in the project full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.

    Prerequisites

    Approval for summer Arts and Sciences fellowship by faculty mentor

  • HIST 411 Honors Thesis Prospectus

    Units: .5

    Description

    Preparation of research prospectus for honors research seminar under direction of appropriate faculty.

    Prerequisites

    History 410 and admission to departmental honors program.

  • HIST 412 Honors Research Seminar

    Units: 1

    Description

    Research and writing of honors thesis in history.

    Prerequisites

    History 410 and 411 and admission to departmental honors program.

  • HIST 413 Honors Research Seminar

    Units: 1

    Description

    Research and writing of honors thesis in history.

    Prerequisites

    History 412.