Course Descriptions

Fall 2023 Course Descriptions

Choose from the tables below for descriptions of the courses, the professors teaching the courses, and the days of the week the courses are offered.

United States History

HIST 3107—United States in the Twentieth Century 1

TTh 9:30-10:45

We are well into the 21st century and many of you have no living memory of the previous century. This class survey the politics, economics, foreign relations, social and cultural highlights of the previous epoch. We will focus on important figures, the implications of various presidential elections, and the United States’ continuous transformation into a world power. Topics covered: reform movements, presidencies, the evolution of political parties, race, gender, and ethnic/immigration issues. Chronologically we will cover material from the end of the 19th century down to the Great Depression/New Deal of the 1930s.

HIST 3118—American Military History

TTh 2:00-3:15
Dr. David McDaniel

History 3118 will undertake an analysis of the military history of the United States from the colonial period to the present. This course considers the role of the U.S. armed forces in relation to the social, cultural, political, economic, and technological development of the United States. It will not only address such themes as wartime strategy, operational tactics, and combat technology, but also the impact of warfare on society and the reflections of ordinary men and women in uniform.

HIST 4113/5113—From Colony to Empire: U.S. Foreign Relations 1776-1914

MWF 10:00-10:50

Dr. Michael Donoghue

This course will examine the rise of the United States from colony to empire from the years 1776 through 1913.  We will analyze the imperial context of British colonists prior to the Revolution, the diplomacy of the War for Independence, U.S. attempts at maintaining neutrality during the 1790s, the Louisiana Purchase, the War of 1812, conflicts with Amerindian nations, the Mexican War, westward expansion and Manifest Destiny, the diplomacy of the Civil War, the imperialist surge of the 1890s-1910s, the Open Door controversy in China, and the building of a U.S. empire in the Caribbean Basin.  This course will especially explore the intimate connections between foreign and domestic policy, the role of slavery in U.S. international relations, and the influence of racial and gendered ideologies in the formation of American empire.  The course will be reading intensive with a midterm, a final exam, short in-class writing exercises, and 3 short papers.

 HIST 4155/5155—History of Native America

M 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Dr. Bryan Rindfleisch

In this course, we will explore the Indigenous cultures of North America from the pre-Columbian era to the present day. In particular, we will consider the collective experience of Native Peoples – “Indians” – while also appreciating the complexities that made, and continue to make, each indigenous people and culture distinct from one another. This class will also focus on the themes of colonization and decolonization, settler colonialism, cultural inclusivity, violence and intimacy, removal and “survivance,” assimilation and allotment, along with sovereignty and self-determination. Altogether these themes provide the core narrative for a history of indigenous America. In addition, this class will grapple with contemporary issues related to Native mascots, treaties, casinos, cultural representation, and more. As part of our objectives, students will engage with the past by analyzing and interpreting primary sources, after which they will communicate how those documents speak to the broader themes and issues we will discuss throughout the semester. Naturally, this will be accomplished through weekly interaction with primary and secondary sources, discussing how sources fit into the larger historical narrative, and completing a series of projects that testify to a student’s ability to understand and contribute to the Native past. 

HIST 4953—Readings in History: "Got to Revolution": The U.S. 60s

TTh 2:00-3:15
Dr. Kristen Foster

This colloquium will focus on the domestic upheavals of the “the Sixties” in the United States and ask to what extent these events became a revolution.  Each week we will meet to discuss shared readings, film, and music, and examine together how the upheavals of these years shaped a culture that left the United States changed forever. What makes change revolutionary?  What differentiates these changes from chaos and anarchy?  What might make these years in American history truly revolutionary, or not revolutionary at all?  Topically, we will explore the post-World War II years and the culture of conformity that Americans tried to forge in the fires of this devastating conflict. The majority of the course, however, will be spent examining the voices that challenged conformity on all levels.  The Beats, the Civil Rights Movement, the Counterculture, the New Left in general, Women’s Lib, and the Vietnam War will all receive our careful attention.  As a colloquium, you can expect demanding reading assignments, intensive discussions, and shorter papers. 



European History

HIST 3210—Imagining the Middle Ages

MW 2:00-3:15
Dr. Lezlie Knox

The Middle Ages is a figment of our imaginations. This generative claim could be made for just about any period of history, of course.  Humans created historical periodization and assigned corresponding values.  Whether you think of castles and knights, sunlight pouring through a wall of stained glass, or assume that dirt and disease defined a millennium, you are imagining the Middle Ages, a period which has been particularly prone to revisionism and romanticization (medievalisms).  This class evaluates how, when, and why ideas about the centuries between the end of the Classical world and the emergence of the modern developed, and how individual and collective memories have created historical meanings that have changed over time.  It is organized around the analysis of medieval sources (texts and objects), but it also examines how these medieval events and imagery are used and misused in the shaping of modern identities and ideologies.  We will explore how historical memories of the Middle Ages have been deployed in the modern period for claims about racial identities (whiteness), religion (Christianity), and gender (patriarchy).  Students thus will investigate the various ways we have imagined the Middle Age and ask why they matter.  

This class fulfills the Humanities requirement for the MCC Discovery tier theme of Cognition, Memory, Intelligence.  It also fulfills European and elective requirements in the History major, as well as an elective for the Interdisciplinary minors in Medieval Studies and in German Studies.

HIST 4251/5251—Art and Power in 18th-Century Britain

MWF 11:00-11:50

Dr. J. Patrick Mullins

The subject of this course is the history of cultural politics in Britain over the long 18th century, from the Glorious Revolution to the French Revolution, focusing on the rise of the British Empire and the American Revolution. We will explore the many ways in which power was exercised—high politics and street politics, war and revolution, science and invention, trade and slavery, class, and gender relations, etc.—while using art as our lens. Students will study art as an active force for exercising power and materializing memory. The course will consider a wide range of material culture, including high-style oil paintings and raunchy cartoons, architecture and landscape design, war monuments and household ceramics, while addressing key artists, art movements, and iconic works. Students will learn through lecture, discussion, field research with museum collections, and particularly object analysis as a means of cultivating “visual intelligence.” This course serves as a Public History Minor elective and MCC credit in the Humanities Area of the Discovery Tier, under the theme of “Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence.”                         

HIST 4255—The British Empire

MWF 1:00-1:50

Dr. Timothy McMahon

HIST 4255 provides an overview of the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth since the 1750s, including several significant selected themes: the complex interactions of peoples in inherently unequal power relationships; the difficulties of administering a vast multi-national empire in an age of nationalist ferment; and the often stark clash between pre-independence nationalist expectations and post-colonial realities.  To achieve these rather ambitious aims, we will examine Empire through three lenses: an imperial lens; a lens that probes the interactions between colonizer and colonized as expressed through official state actions and through popular culture; and a subaltern lens that focuses on indigenous peoples whose “pre (British)-imperial” histories and experiences of empire varied enormously and continue to shape their relationships in the present. HIST 4255 satisfies upper-division credit for the History major, and it is approved in the Discovery Tier of the University Core (under the theme of Crossing Boundaries). HIST 4255 has also been revised as an “Honors for all” course, open to any undergraduate with sophomore standing but offering Honors elective credit. We will ultimately address how historical thinking and political decision-making informed each other in the 19th and 20th centuries, enabling Britons to justify their Empire and its excesses, by asking the question “How did ‘good’ people, acutely concerned with their consciences, preside over systematic exploitation and repeated atrocities?” 

HIST 4266—Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

Th 11:00-12:15

Dr. Peter Staudenmaier

This course provides an overview of the history of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, with a primary focus on the origins of the Holocaust, the attempted genocide of the Jewish people. The class concentrates on the development of Nazi extermination policies in German-occupied Europe during World War Two, paying attention to both ideological and practical aspects of the ‘Final Solution.’ Previous background in German history is not necessary, but a willingness to engage seriously with difficult material is essential.  


Additional History Courses (Global, Transnational, and Comparative Histories)

HIST 4460/5460—Race and History of South Africa

TTh 12:30-1:45
Dr. Chima Korieh

The history of South Africa represents a microcosm of many of the greatest problems of the 20th-century world. In this Writing Intensive course, created as part of the Marquette core, students will explore the relationship between history and race in South Africa, especially how the state-dictated system of racial separation and discrimination affected the lived experience of South Africa’s diverse population of whites, colored, Asians and the vast majority of Africans. Students will explore the intersection of race and history, especially how race shaped historical reconstruction, national identity, and intergroup relations. While focusing on South African experiences, students can make connections between race and history in other societies such as the United State. It connects to the theme of cognition by drawing from foundational reading on race theory and the impact of race on national identity; how groups have drawn upon racial ideas to create boundaries of social, economic, and political differences, and how these ideas have shaped the history of societies. Topics will include establishment of European settlement and colonization, mineral discoveries and their impact, industrialization and social change, race and the apartheid system, African resistance, transitional justice, and race in post-apartheid South African society.

HIST 4525—The Age of the Samurai

MWF 12:00-12:50
Dr. Michael Wert

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to basic themes in pre-1900 Japanese history, in particular the time when Japan was ruled by samurai.  Topics include the rise of the military government, regional and global interaction, as well as changes in culture, economy and society throughout ancient, medieval and early modern Japan.  I want us all to improve our critical thinking skills and question the assumptions we have about Japan and the pre-modern world in general.  Even though this class is about “old Japan” there will be a constant dialog with modern-day issues.  This class will consist of lectures and discussion. 

HIST 4955—Undergraduate Seminar in History: Borderlands in Historical Transition

W 2:00-4:30

Dr. Michael Donoghue

In this course we will explore how peoples, states, cultures, and identities have interacted and conflicted along and across borders from the early modern period in Europe and the Americas to the present day within the context of different continents, regions, empires, and emerging nation-states. Key to this analysis is the decentering of state and/or imperial power along border regions which have frequently displayed a surprising ability to reshape and transform larger state projects and particular identities and goals to their own advantage in periods of crisis, conflict, and intense interaction that include immigration, militarization, trade, both legal and contraband - and adversarial community formation. Race, gendered, and ethnic difference typically play a major role in such intersections along borders and frontiers. Students and the instructor will read, analyze, and discuss a set of common readings over a 5-week period before students are set free to research and write an original 16 to 20 page paper, using mainly primary sources that focus on their topic.  Students will also give formal oral presentations on their papers in the last two weeks of our course in which fellow students and the instructor will critique and provide helpful commentary on strengthening final papers before they are submitted.          

HIST 6100—The Art and Craft of History

T 4:30-7:00 
Dr. Peter Staudenmaier

This seminar offers an introduction to the study of history at the graduate level. Our goal is to become conversant with the range of theories and methodologies used by twenty-first century historians. We will examine different approaches to historical research and analysis, debates around the nature and meaning of history as a discipline, and the potentials and pitfalls of academic scholarship about the past. Through readings, discussions, and participatory activities, we will explore the full spectrum of history in theory and practice.  

HIST 6545—Studies in Global History: Early Modern World History

W 4:30-7:00
Dr. Michael Wert

This course will introduce students to the historiography of the early modern world. Topics include: the rise of capitalism, diverging trajectories among world regions, the construction of spatial categories, state-building, colonization, and the relationship between societies and the environment. In addition to studying broader historiographical themes we will learn how to incorporate questions raised in world history into our own projects, and discuss approaches to teaching world history.

HIST 6954—Seminar in History: Empires, Colonies, Resistance

M 4:30-7:00

Dr. Timothy McMahon

This graduate seminar raises questions about the phenomena of empires in various parts of the world at different moments in time. We will begin the term with a series of readings aimed at familiarizing students with several different empires in order to find commonalities and difference among them. We will be cognizant of how the timing and assumptions of scholars has shaped our views of empires, and we will also discuss various forms of resistance to empires deployed by indigenous peoples in different eras. Students will then design research projects based in their areas of regional interest to interrogate a specific empire or the interactions of multiple empires at a particular point in time.