Religion & Culture

HIST 10102  Introduction to African Civilization II  (K. Hickerson)  African Civilization introduces students to African history in a three-quarter sequence. Part two examines the transformations of African societies in the long nineteenth century. At the beginning of the era, European economic and political presence was mainly coastal, but by the end, nearly the entire continent was colonized. This course examines how and why this occurred, highlighting the struggles of African societies to manage internal reforms and external political, military, and economic pressures. Topics include the Egyptian conquest of Sudan, Omani colonialism on the Swahili coast, Islamic reform movements across the Sahara, and connections between the end of the transatlantic slave trade and the formal colonization of the African continent. Students will examine memoirs of African soldiers, religious texts, colonial handbooks, and visual and material sources, including ethnographic artifacts, photographs, and textiles. Assignments: team projects, document and material analyses, response papers, essays, and written exams. The course will equip students with a working knowledge of the struggles that created many of the political and social boundaries of modern Africa.

HIST 13001  History of European Civilization I  European Civilization is a two-quarter sequence designed to use close readings of primary sources to enrich our understanding of Europeans of the past. As we examine the variety of their experiences, we will often call into question what we mean in the first place by “Europe” and “civilization.” Rather than providing a narrative of high politics, the sequence will emphasize the contested geographic, religious, social, and racial boundaries that have defined and redefined Europe and its people over the centuries. We will read and discuss sources covering the period from the early Middle Ages to the present, from a variety of genres: saga, biography, personal letters, property records, political treatises, memoirs, and government documents, to name only a few. Individual instructors may choose different sources and highlight different aspects of European civilization, but some of the most important readings will be the same in all sections. The two-quarter sequence may also be supplemented by a third quarter, in which students will have the opportunity to explore in greater depth a particular topic in the history of European civilization.

HIST 13600  America in World Civilization II  The American Civ sequence examines America as a contested idea and a contested place by reading and writing about a wide array of primary sources. In the process, students gain a new sense of historical awareness and of the making of America. The course is designed both for history majors and non-majors who want to deepen their understanding of the nation's history, encounter some enlightening and provocative voices from the past, and develop the qualitative methodology of historical thinking. The nineteenth-century segment of America in World Civilizations asks: What happens when democracy confronts inequality? We focus on themes that include indigenous-US relations; religious revivalism and reform; slavery, the Civil War, and emancipation; the intersection between women's rights and antislavery; the development of industrial capitalism; urbanism and social inequality.

HIST 23407  Comparative Kingship: Rulers in 12th-Century Europe  (J. Lyon)  The purpose of this course is to examine the different forms that kingship took in the Latin Christian kingdoms of Europe during the twelfth century. In the first half of the course, we will read and discuss a broad range of primary and secondary sources that will give us the opportunity to analyze critically kingship in England, France, and Germany (the Holy Roman Empire). In the second half of the course, we will broaden our discussion to consider how other kingdoms in Europe—including Scotland, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Sicily, Aragon, and Castile—do and do not conform to more general models of twelfth-century European kingship.

HIST 24806  History of Japanese Philosophy  (J. Ketelaar)  What is philosophy and why does looking at Japanese philosophy make a difference? By examining Buddhist, Confucian, Shinto, and modern academic philosophical traditions, this course will provide a history of ideas found in Japan and central to thinking about being/nonbeing, government, ethics, aesthetics, economics, faith, and practice.

HIST 24905  Darwin's On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man  (R. Richards)  This lecture-discussion class will focus on a close reading of Darwin's two classic texts. An initial class or two will explore the state of biology prior to Darwin's Beagle voyage, and then consider the development of his theories before 1859. Then we will turn to his two books. Among the topics of central concern will be the logical, epistemological, and rhetorical status of Darwin's several theories, especially his evolutionary ethics; the religious foundations of his ideas and the religious reaction to them; and the social-political consequences of his accomplishment. The year 2019 was the 210th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 160th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.