Course Descriptions for History Fall Semester 2014

History 311: Ancient Greece (3 Credits)                                        Dr. Gerish (MWF Noon)

Ever wonder how ancient Greek culture has affected our world today?  Your high school teachers probably told you that the Greeks invented democracy--which is true only up to a certain point.  In this class, we'll see how Greeks set up their religion, their politics, their economy, and their sex lives.  We'll learn how either/or dichotomies shaped their understanding of the physical world, which has affected present-day philosophy.  Readings will include selections from Herodotus and Thucydides, the first people to call themselves historians, along with one of the raunchiest comedies you'll ever encounter and the story of a prostitute taken to trial for pretending to be a citizen.

History 316:  Age of Revolutions (3 credits)                                   Dr. Lovett (TR 11AM)

The course enables students to understand the role played by the Enlightenment and the subsequent Revolutions in the Americas and Europe from 1775 through 1848.  The course will emphasize the American Revolution, the French Revolution and Napoleon, the Haitian Revolution, and the struggles in Europe from 1820 through 1848.

History 333:  Kansas (3 credits)                                                      Dr. Thierer (TR 12:30)

This course will focus upon the historical development of Kansas and its place within the historical context of our nation's history.

History 340: Origins of Colonial American (3 credits)               Dr. Miracle (MWF 10AM) 

Explores the interactions between various European and tribal powers leading to the creation of multi cultural enclaves and empires within the New World. Special attention will be paid to Spanish, French, and English colonial efforts and the responses of Native Americans as their cultures faced unprecedented challenges.  One of the driving questions of this class is: "what was life like for different social groups in colonial America -- and how did these groups change during the period before the revolution?" The United States has a complicated and complex past.  In this course we will endeavor to "stop the clock" at various times in history to examine what life was like for different people at different times in life and gain an understanding of the major issues of the day.

History 344:  Gilded Age/Progressive Era (3 credits)                     Dr. K. Smith (ONLINE)

The years between 1877 (the end of Reconstruction) and 1920 are known to American historians as the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.  This course will cover a diverse array of the period's fascinating issues, such as art and architecture, urban growth, immigration, labor, Jim Crow laws, American Indian policy, women's reforms, world's fairs, sports, and utopian experiments, as well as the more standard Gilded Age and Progressive Era subjects: populism, progressivism, big business, industrialism, political parties, the presidency, socialism, and imperialism.  Students completing this course will have excellent control over the period's chronological sequence, using the traditional date markers of wars, presidential terms, legislation, and political parties in power.  They will also mark social and legislative changes, including federal policies affecting race relations, imperial ventures, and landmark events in labor and immigration.

History 426: Holocaust (3 credits)                                                Dr. Lovett (Tues 6PM)

The Holocaust was an event that has marked the twentieth century as one of the most violent in human history.  The tragedy began with the rise of Hitler in 1933 and continued to the final collapse of the Third Reich in 1945, between those events nearly five and six million person of the Jewish faith perished as well as millions of others--Slavs, homosexuals, gypsies, and all those that the Nazis considered subhuman.  The purpose of the holocaust is to explain the historical origins of the Shoah as well as Jewish resistance, the German euthanasia program, the possibility of Allied intervention to stop the mass murders, the Nuremberg Trials, and the history of genocide in the postwar world.

History 430:  Country Folk and the Land (3 credits)                         Dr. Thierer (ONLINE)

History 444: Southen History to 1865 (3 credits)                            Dr. Miller (ONLINE)

If you were to peruse a college course catalog, you would probably find few classes that focus on a specific geographic region within a nation.  Yet, the American South has sparked hundreds of books, millions of hours of discussion and countless courses across the globe that continually work towards understanding the meaning of southern identity.  Where exactly is the South?  Do you enter the South once your tea gets sweeter and the grits get cheesier?  What makes the South southern? Is the South defined by the type of food you eat, the extent of your accent, the sweetness of your tea, your views on race, religion and politics? Is the South a monolithic unit or are there many Southern areas?

This course will explore the history of the American south from its native origins through the American Civil War.  We will focus on the lives of the individuals who called the South home, whether they were Native Americans, white colonists or Africans brought to the South against their will.  We will explore how whites, blacks and Native Americans interacted with one another, evolved their thinking over time and how each group worked to secure a dominant position in the permanent settlement of the South.  Our class will also pay particular attention to the changing roles of men and women and how the worked within slavery had a direct impact on the yeoman farmers and landless whites who lived outside the plantation society.  By using the voices of those who called the South home, we will engage in a rigorous examination of the political, social, cultural and economic history of the region.  Topics for exploration include: what the Southern frontier looked like, the development of slavery, the revolutionary South, the crisis over the tariff, the process of Indian removal, a formation of a pro-slavery ideology, the causes of ramifications of the American Civil War and the opportunity of emancipation and freedom for African Americans and how freedom would ultimately change the Southern landscape forever.  With slavery and the Civil War as paramount issues in Southern history, both topics will be explored in detail, allowing students to grasp how the destruction of slavery and the military failure of the Confederacy challenged and changed southern history forever.  Students will engage in brisk readings each week, vigorously participate in discussions, tackle quizzes and examinations, construct elegant prose in the form of a paper, and do a project that lets them discover the South on their own terms.

History 475: Modern China (3 credits)                                    Dr. Schneider (MWF 1PM)

How did China develop in the period from 1800 to the present? What obstacles blocked the development of the empire and how was China impacted by the West during the 19th century? What has been the impact of revolution on modern China and the rule of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping on China's path towards modernity? How has China become one of the leading economic powers in the modern world?  These questions and many more topics will be covered in a survey of Chinese history from 1800 to the present. There are no prerequisites and knowledge of Chinese language is not a requirement for the course.

History 480: Intro to Women's Studies (3 credits)                      Dr. K. Smith (MWF 11AM)

This course will introduce students to the field of Women's Studies, its issues, themes, theories and applications, and contribute to our understanding of women's lives in many areas: work, family, life cycle, sexuality, religion, politics, and the law.  The class will focus on women in United States society, encompassing both the commonalities of American women's experiences and the differences created by race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation and age.  We will examine the changes in American society brought about by feminist activism, and, wherever possible, we will attempt to view American women's lives and issues in a global context.  Utilizing the work of leading writers and theorists in Women's Studies, students will explore short articles, fiction, poetry and film by and about women.  They will also engage in writing exercises, discuss highly controversial subjects, practice critical thinking, and express their ideas in a number of areas pertaining to the lives and contributions of American Women.

History 488: Sexuality in Early America (3 credits)                      Dr. Miracle (ONLINE)

People in colonial and revolutionary America thought about sex a lot.  They talked about it openly, practices it freely (sometimes to the chagrin of the establishment and sometimes not), and used it as a political tool.  Sexual "indiscretions", between men and women and men and men helped make the period one of the richest for studying the interplay between sex and power.  This class will explore both how restrictions on the practice of sex in early America changed and how various people used the concept of gender to justify access (or denial) to woman's body -- and this in turn reinforced and justified a variety of policy decisions -- regarding slavery, rape, and marriage to name a few.

History 503/815: Rsch Seminar: WWI (3 credits)                          Dr. Lovett (Tues 2 PM)

HI 503/815, Research Seminar, is a required 3-credit course for undergraduate majors in history and social sciences, and a required course for graduate students in history.  The research seminar is designed to assist students in producing an original and significant piece of historical writing.  The course will focus on researching topics on the Great War and the conflict's impact on Kansas, culminating with a research paper on some component of the conflict.  The seminar will demonstrate how an assassination in a distant part of the globe had a profound impact on Kansas and communities in the state.  Trips to the Kansas Historical Society and State Archives are planned as well as to the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO.

History 510: Readings: Intro to Latin (3 credits)                        Dr. Gerish (MWF 1 PM)

Latin is one of the most fascinating and influential languages known to humanity.  Although many consider it a dead language, it still lives in our everyday world-- in the Romance languages of Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian; in the Vatican, as the universal language of the Roman Catholic Church; in thousands of words and grammatical constructions of modern English.  Once you know Latin, you will better appreciate English.  Once you know Latin, you can more easily learn other Romance languages.  Keep in mind that when I refer to "knowing" Latin, I really mean that you can read it.  This course, unlike courses in modern languages, will focus on reading and writing.  You will not learn how to buy a loaf of bread or find the bathroom.  You will learn grammatical constructions and vocabulary so that you can break down and translate texts written in Classical Latin, the language of the Roman Empire.  By the end of the semester, you should be able to

History 540/740: Readings: Civil War America (3 credits)              Dr. Miller (ONLINE)

Historical scholarship pertaining to the Civil War has moved in surprising new and innovative directions in the last few years.  Thus, this course will examine what historians have had to say about the Civil War, focusing on a few areas: the causes of the war, the nature of combat, the experiences on the home front and how the era has been remembered, up to the present day.  Students will seek to understand if social historians have truly lost the war and if  new military history has anything to tell us about a period that has been dominated by lengthy military and battle studies covering each minute of  major and minor battles and conflicts.  We will also delve into the dark shadows of the Civil War by engaging the literature that explores suffering, damage, and destruction.  By the conclusion of the semester, students will have a thorough grasp of the literature pertaining to the Civil War era in recent years and where Civil War studies are headed.  At the same time, they will be asked to consider how methodologies utilized by historians can shape their own work, whether pertaining to the Civil War or any area of history.

Undergraduate students taking this course will have a significantly reduced reading load (a book every two weeks), will engage in vibrant discussions via a discussion board and will write a final paper that incorporates all of the readings for the course to answer a specific question.  Graduate students will read a book or its equivalent per week (many times, you will have a choice from a few titles so you can select works that best fit your own historical  interests or curiosities), rigorously participate in discussion boards and complete a large 20-25 final paper that assesses the reading of the course.

History 740: Readings: Country Folk and the Land (3 credits)          Dr. Thierer (Online)

History 740: Readings: Normalcy and New Deal (3 credits)          Dr. Schneider (Online)

This graduate readings course focuses on some of the key historiographical debates and historical topics concerning America in the 1920s, the Great Depression and the New Deal.  The focus will be on a selection of readings designed to expose the student to these debates and to cover key issues on the problems in 1920s America and the changes wrought by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies.