Discover history through introductory courses; no prior coursework required.
HIST 11901 Dracula: History and Legend (J. Lyon) Since the publication of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula in 1897, his story of a vampire from Transylvania has often been linked to the history of Vlad III Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Tepes (died 1476 or 1477). Vlad earned a reputation as a bloodthirsty and cruel warrior (even during his own lifetime) as he fought to rule along the dangerous political and military frontier between the Hungarians and the Ottoman Turks. His savage reputation is the reason why he has been identified as the inspiration for the cold-blooded vampire count, but there is much more to the stories of both the historical and the fictional Dracula. In this course, we will examine the life and career of Vlad III Dracula, setting him in the context of the world of fifteenth-century Christian–Muslim interactions in Eastern Europe, before turning to the later Dracula legend as depicted in Stoker's novel and subsequent films. Throughout the course, we will examine the ways in which Transylvania and neighboring regions have straddled the divide between East and West, Christian Europe and mysterious/violent "other" in both history and popular culture. Open to all undergraduates.
HIST 16602 Markets Before Capitalism (A. Bresson) Is the market system a new invention linked to the recent development of modern European societies? Is the market the hero or the villain of the story? Is everything marketable? Is the market the driver for economic development? We will address these and other questions in a deliberately comparative way, focusing on the cases of ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Greece and Rome, and medieval and early modern Europe. We will read excerpts from Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Weber, Polanyi, Braudel, Wallerstein, Geertz, Horden, and Purcell. We will examine the controversies in which these scholars were involved and the echoes they still have in our own contemporary debates. Assignments: Two papers, two quizzes.
HIST 18600 US Labor History (A. Stanley) This course will explore the history of labor and laboring people in the United States. The significance of work will be considered from the vantage points of political economy, culture, and law. Key topics will include working-class life, industrialization and corporate capitalism, slavery and emancipation, the role of the state and trade unions, race and sex difference in the workplace.
HIST 18703 Early America, 1492–1815 (M. Kruer) This course explores the development of American culture, society, and politics from the first contact between Native Americans and Europeans to the emergence of a stable American nation by the end of the War of 1812. It emphasizes the diverse experiences of the many kinds of Americans and the different meanings that they attached to the events in their lives. Topics include the meeting of Indigenous, African, and European peoples, the diversity of colonial projects, piracy and the Atlantic slave trade, the surprising emergence of a strong British identity, the coming of the American Revolution, the range of Americans' struggles for independence, and the role of the trans-Appalachian West in shaping the early republic. This lecture course is open to nonmajors and does not presume any previous history coursework. Assignments: Two papers.