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History Department

Course Description

Please note: THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO 3/C HISTORY MAJORS WHO HAVE NOT YET TAKEN HH200x: THE HISTORIAN'S CRAFT. Organized around a topic of the instructor's choice, this first of three required History Major seminars introduces 3/C majors to the intellectual and structural origins of the modern discipline of history, including subfields of history and methodological approaches.

Students pose a research question and pursue a research design, including a mini-prospectus along with an annotated bibliography. This section examines the atomic destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in August 1945 during the closing days of the Second World War.

What You Will Learn

Students learn to analyze scholarly articles and monographs and to critically read and interpret original primary sources (written and visual). They also learn how to do online historical research and how to navigate traditional and digital archives.

Intended Audience

3/C HHS majors

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Course Description

Following the Persian Wars of the early 5th c. BCE, the Athenians produced great works of art, architecture, literature, and philosophy. We tend to think of these things as a testament to democratic culture.

While there is no doubt that this flowering of what is generally known as Classical Greece was a great achievement, it was only possible because of an oppressive naval empire.

What You Will Learn

The history of the Athenian Empire - Sharpening critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills by examining themes such as the interrelationship of democracy and empire, military ethics, and the nature of power.

Intended Audience

Upper level elective takers or upper level history majors

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Course Description

Britannia no longer rules the waves. But the world which we inhabit has been to a remarkable degree shaped by the British Empire of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Hundreds of millions of lives were touched by the empire and the legacies of colonial development and exploitation remain with us. To understand the modern world - and the places where you will be deployed - understanding the British Empire is an unparalleled place to start.

What You Will Learn

  • The military campaigns of the empire
  • The political and economic development of the empire
  • The influence of the empire on ideas of race, gender, sex, and civility
  • Violent and nonviolent resistance to the empire
  • The legacies of the empire in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East
  • And the heated debates over the morality of the empire

Intended Audience

Upper Level Elective

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Course Description

European artisits, writers, philosophers, and public intellectuals drew much of their creative energy from their interaction with "modernity." Modernity is an amphorous term for the experience of living in flux and continual change. Most artistis saw modernity as the immediately present--an uncharted region of now. It was a space where the past ended and future began, but the destruction of the past meant a lack of guides for navigating the flux of modernity. Modernity as an impulse for intellectual and artistic creativity was also a very urban event. In this course, students will examine the fear, excitement, and the absurdity of being "modern" in the Europe.

In particular, we will look at the urban experience of German speaking Central Europe through the cities of Berlin and Vienna. Both cities are new creations out of destroyed pasts (Berlin capital of the Weimar Republic out of 2nd Empire Germany and Vienna capital of the Austrian Firsrt Republic out of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Students will look at leading intellectuals/artists and at the socio-economic space in which creative answers to what comes next were answered--from S. Freud and modernist architecture and from B. Brecht to German Expressionist film.

What You Will Learn

Students will learn the chronological development of Central European democratic republics in the interwar period. They will read and discuss the works of key intellectuals and how they related social, political, and economic change to the artistiic or intellectual idea of modernity. They will examine in what ways the idea of a pastless and undefined present/future depended in reality on their understanding of the past. They will do primary source analysis of an individual or a movement that will allow them to make a claim about how a conception of modernity helps us to understand more fully the political development (and ultimately failure) of democracy in interwar Central Europe. This individual research will include some examination of historiography, some primary sources analysis, and a final research prospectus.

Intended Audience

Upper Level elective--students with an interest in art, literature, and philosophy

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Course Description

In the nineteenth century, imperialists presented Europeans as spreading western civilization to advance colonial societies and to improve the moral character of native populations. As part of this civilizing mission, they exported European ideas about gender and the family that created a sharp division between "civilized" colonists and colonial subjects. This course will explore how culturally distinct ideas about gender sparked violence in European colonies and impacted the nature of warfare. It will also examine how the process of decolonization raised new questions about gender in former colonies.

What You Will Learn

  1. Midshipmen will examine how Europeans used ideas about gender to justify the projection of military and economic power and to structure colonial societies.
  2. Midshipmen will analyze how differing views about gender impacted colonial violence and warfare between Europeans and native populations.
  3. Midshipmen will learn to identify differences in ideas about gender based on regional, cultural, and religious histories.
  4. Midshipmen will consider how decolonization and the withdrawal of European powers influenced the experience of gender in former colonies.

Intended Audience

Upper Level Elective

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Course Description

HH353 American Social History examines American life and culture and the forces (especially race, sex, gender, social movements, labor, and religion) at play that shaped the development of American society. There will be a special emphasis this semester on Utopias. A utopian society, as defined by Robert V. Hine in California's Utopian Colonies, includes "a group of people who are attempting to establish a new social pattern based upon a vision of the ideal society and who have withdrawn themselves from the community at large to embody that vision in experimental form."

Along with a number of individual alternative societies, the course will also look at the so-called American experiment set up by the founding generation as a type of "utopia under construction."

What You Will Learn

  • Students will learn about the historical development of various segments of American society (racial, gender, religious, class) from the colonial era through the present.
  • Students will analyze how the United States can be viewed as a type of utopian experiment
  • They will also investigate how diversity, inclusion and exclusion challenged that experiment
  • They will determine why some utopias work and others fail by analyzing utopian societies from the Revolution through the present day.
  • They will select and analyze an individual utopian society or a more recent planned community to research

Intended Audience

2nd Class history majors

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Course Description

Surveys U.S. foreign relations from the colonial era to recent times, focusing on America's transformation from a colony to a preeminent world power. Examines the causes and international consequences of this dramatic shift, with particular emphasis on the twentieth century--the era of America's greatest influence on world affairs

Intended Audience

Upper Level Elective

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Course Description

One of the ways heritage has long been used is to stake out political positions on various social, economic, or cultural issues. In American history there are endless examples of pundits, critics, and members of the public who have compared the US to Rome. The Founders had the fall of the Republic in mind when they crafted the Constitution, and lots of people compared the post-WWII United States to the apogee of the Roman Empire. This course will approach the so-called Romerica through a few different lenses and time periods, but ultimately it is much more about America and how Americans saw themselves than Rome.

What You Will Learn

  • We will learn about Roman historical actors and events that Americans considered important enough to know about and compare themselves to.
  • We will explore the difference between comparative history and "historical memory," and how heritage-type focus enforces specific historical understandings and perspectives on others.
  • We will identify and study how Americans remembered Rome and how they used (or misused) that history in specific periods, such as the Revolutionary era, Age of Jackson, and Gilded Age. At the end of the course, we will turn this lens towards the Global War on Terror, and examine what Roman analogies were used by Americans then.
  • Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    Examines the evolution of the American South from the colonial era to the present with specific focus on the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. Concludes with an analysis of history, heritage and memory.




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    Course Description

    Possessing the two holiest sites in Islam as well as some of the largest petroleum reserves in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents an important global power. This course examines the evolution of the Saudi state since its inception in the 1700s, with particular emphasis on the puritan Wahhabi Islamic movement on which it was founded. In the mid-eighteenth century Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab founded on the Arabian Peninsula an Islamic reform movement that continues to shape the world today.

    From its beginning the movement proved controversial and violent, as adherents spread their faith and fury outward from the Nejd desert of central Arabia, evoking military responses from neighboring powers. When in the 1920s the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz --Ibn Saud -- captured the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, he enshrined there Wahhabism as the preferred strand of Islam, after which the ideas of the Puritan movement spread further around the world, intensified in the late 20th century as Saudi Arabia's oil wealth and global influence grew. Today, adherents of widely dispersed Islamist movements harbor beliefs and practices, many violent, that stem in part from Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's teachings.

    This course aims to explore the history and ethical claims of the Wahhabi movement, many of whose adherents claim to represent orthodoxy in the contemporary Islamic world.

    What You Will Learn

    History of Saudi Arabia and the puritan form of Islam that grew in it, Wahhabism.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    In 2011 many Egyptians took to the streets, demanding the "downfall of the system". But to what system were they referring? Did they mean simply the ruling "regime", as is the most common translation in Western sources? Or were they referring to something deeper? Cries for "bread, freedom, and social justice" were also heard in 2011. Were these new demands? This course tries to answer these questions, and many more. It traces the history of Egypt over the last 500 years, with particular attention paid to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    It approaches Egyptian history through several historiographic lenses including environmental, gender, intellectual, military, medical, economic and subaltern histories. It grapples with the legacy of colonialism and its lingering impact on the Egyptian state and security apparatuses. This course explores how Egyptians have understood and reacted to their historical experiences. It also calls attention to the challenges of decolonizing history and transcending imperial narratives.

    What You Will Learn

    • You will be able to identify and explain factors that shaped change over time in modern Egypt, particularly the impact of colonialism.
    • Understand Egyptian history in a regional and global context.
    • Have a deeper understanding of how Egyptians have wrangled with Egyptian identity and its relationship to Europe and the "West".
    • Have a better understanding of the challenges facing Egypt today.
    • Be exposed to a range of unique perspectives and methodologies for analyzing history.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    This course explores the modern history of the Middle East, with all its twists and turns, and with a particular focus on Syria -- a country which was once described as 'the beating heart of Arab nationalism' but which has recently descended into civil war and became the theater of a regional conflict.





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    Course Description

    HH373 examines the history of Christianity from its origins to the early 20th Century. It pays particular attention to problems of authority and text; to the development of doctrine and practice; and to the vast diversity of the tradition within and across cultures. This academic, non-sectarian course is intended for anyone--Christian or not, religious or not--curious to know more about the complicated, messy, and endlessly fascinating history of Christianity.

    What You Will Learn

    Students will complete HH373 with:

    • An awareness of the tremendous variety of cultural expressions of Christianity.
    • An understanding of the problems of authority and interpretation that have been present in Christianity from its origins to the present day.
    • Experience in discussing religious questions impartially, critically, and empathetically.
    • An understanding of Christianity's often problematic relationship with politics and political institutions.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    May 16, 2021: Rear Admiral Ali Khan announced the CDC's planned response to the threat of a coming Zombie Apocalypse. How do people respond to catastrophes--pandemics, bombings, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and the looming end of the world as we know it?

    This course examines key moments in the history of reactions to disaster including examples from religion, film, and survivalist sub-cultures. Historical xamples include events such as 9/11, COVID-19, Wildfires in southern California, Asian Tsunami of 2004, the volcanic eruption of 526 CE, and the 1906 San Francisco Fire and Earthquake. What does it mean that the world is ending? And how do we prepare?

    What You Will Learn

    • What is the Zombie Apocalypse and why is the CDC preparing for one?
    • How do you prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse
    • Why do people react to catastrophes the way they do
    • What are the major disasters that have shaped history

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    Course Description

    This course provides a basic introduction to the field of wargaming in historical context, emphasizing its use in the applied history of the U.S. Navy's strategies and operations. It begins with the fundamental principles of wargaming and game design. Students will be exposed to a range of design philosophies which vary in purpose, style, and format. The course centers on student teams researching, designing, developing, and play-testing an original educational wargame on a topic related to the history of the U.S. Navy. Course instruction will be a combination of lecture, gameplay, and discussion – drawing upon both professional and commercial wargames.

    Assignments will guide the development and refinement of the students' original wargames to teach and inform your fellow students about a focused aspect of U.S. Naval history. Students will be graded for completeness of their wargames, their creativity, the rigor of their research, and the playability of their wargame. At the end of the semester, students will demonstrate and run their wargames for an audience of defense and military professionals and students in similar courses at other institutions. Circumstances permitting, the course will provide external wargaming opportunities – such as participation in other student wargames, attending wargames, and demonstrating student wargames for military personnel.

    Overall, the course will consider a wide range of questions in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of wargaming and its uses: what makes a good or bad, more or less insightful wargame? What design philosophies, techniques, and tools can be used to craft wargames? How can wargaming be leveraged as an educational tool? What are the strengths and weaknesses of wargaming as a methodology for studying history? And how can wargaming improve decision-making and stimulate clearer thinking?

    What You Will Learn

    • Develop working knowledge of wargame design;
    • Sharpen research skills, critical thinking, and analytical skills;
    • Create an original educational strategic wargame.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    HH382: Warfare in the Age of Sail examines the history of warfare on sea and land, both in Europe and European colonies, from the dawn of European expansion through the era of Napoleon. Tactical, logistical, technological, and professional developments of Western navies and armies are studied in their political, economic, social, and cultural contexts.

    The course particularly explores the fundamental questions: What role did Western weapons and warfare, both on land and at sea, play in the development of Europe’s various maritime empires and Europe's eventual global dominance? Why did certain states come to dominate regionally and globally? How and why were professional militaries and navies created?

    What You Will Learn

    Important topics include the rise of gunpowder weapons; exploration; European expansion, colonialism and trade; the "Military Revolution;" the rise of national armies and navies; maritime technology; the rise and fall of the maritime empires; economic change and evolution during the early modern era; and the lives of sailors and soldiers.

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    Course Description

    Surveys the dimensions of warfare and civil-military relations from the end of the World War II to the present. The course will focus on the military aspects of Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Falklands conflict, and U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the larger "Long War."

    What You Will Learn

    A working knoweldge of different types of post-WW II miltiary conflcit--nuclear weapons and associated issues of deterrance; naval and expeditionary warfare in the missile age; and counterinsurgency, stability, advising, and counter-terrorism operations in the social media era.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    The Korean War is probably the only War that has been technically going on for over seven decades since its outbreak on June 25, 1950. The war involved many nations across the globe and has since created a physical division of a once unified nation on the Korean Peninsula. Controversies over the outbreak, the process, and the Armistice of the war continue to dominate academic and political conversations.

    To that end, this course is not just about the War in Korea. It will look into the history before and development after the war and the impact of the war on the Korean Peninsula and the world at large. This course intends to introduce major issues, legacy, and the forthcoming solutions relating to the war and its aftermath. Discussions will be devoted to various views from parties involved in the war, including those from the United Nations, the United States and its allies, South Korea, North Korea, Communist China, and the former Soviet Union.

    What You Will Learn

    • The origins of the war and immediate major responses to the Civil War on the Korean Peninsula from the U.S., and nature of the United Nations Command under the U.S. flag in the war;
    • Political and military motivations behind Communist China's entry into the Korean War. Military structure, deployment of the Chinese People's Volunteers army;
    • How the war became stalemated and major issues under negotiations during the armistice talks. Major features of the "Negotiating while Fighting" period. The POW issue.
    • Scholarly discussions of the origins, courses of the war, the armistice negotiations, and the postwar demilitarized zone.
    • Major issues and developments concerning future unification on the Korean Peninsula.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    For the Americans, Vietnam was only the war. But for the Vietnamese, it is their country. This course is not just about America's war in Vietnam. It is, as Loren Baritz puts it, about "how American culture led us into Vietnam and made us fight the way we did." It is about the study of two different cultures, which came into contact, collided in ideology and on the battlefield, not only before and during but also after the Vietnam War.

    Our primary mission in this course is to "Reinterpret the Vietnam War" through individual understanding and scholarship discussions, and through identifying major problems in the war, postwar developments in the U.S. and unified Vietnam, and important lessons we have learned.

    What You Will Learn

    • Major policymaking processes of both Washington and the North Vietnamese leadership regarding military campaign strategies and peace negotiations;
    • U.S. home front sentiment over the war in Vietnam that impacted Washington’s decision-making process;
    • Psychological preparation and political motivations of North Vietnamese military and civilian during and after the war.
    • How both countries coped with the war and made efforts to heal the wounds of the war through understanding and introspection;
    • Different political theories and scholarly interpretations over the Vietnam War, and postwar Vietnam's political and economic reforms.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    Naval History is filled with examples of what we think of today as "transformative" innovations. While many of these developments are quite well-known, the difficulties involved in making effective use of them are far less so. Through examination of primary and secondary sources, we will seek to understand how some of the most famous paradigm shifts in 19th and 20th century naval history--steam propulsion, long-range gunners, wireless communication, carrier airpower, and others--came into their own. In doing so, we will develop an understanding of why some innovations succeed (and become famous) while others fail and lead to disaster.

    What You Will Learn

    Students will develop a working definition of innovation and its effects through historical case studies. Their ultimate objective is to apply what they have learned to a contemporary problem facing the U.S. military.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    Insurgency and counterinsurgency are hardly new phenomena. The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the history, theory and doctrine of irregular warfare, with a focus on modern counterinsurgency warfare. The course will also explore factors that have influenced U. S. irregular warfare success/ failure as well as introducing the concept of a globalized insurgency to prepare students for the challenges of dealing with emergent non-state entities.

    What You Will Learn

    1. Context. Successful counterinsurgents must understand the operational and strategic environments, especially the socio-cultural aspects of the indigenous population groups. Additionally, insurgency and counterinsurgency may occur within the context of larger events or grievances.
    2. Dynamics of Insurgency. The dynamics of insurgency are a framework to evaluate insurgencies over time. The dynamics include: leadership, objectives, ideology, operational approaches, external support, internal support, phasing, timing and organization.
    3. Principles of Counterinsurgency. Certain principles of counterinsurgency provide a framework to evaluate specific campaigns over time. These principles include: understanding the strategic and operational environments, legitimacy, unity of effort, political primacy, intelligence driven operations, isolation of insurgents, expropriation of the insurgent cause, security under the rule of law, long-term commitment, management of the narrative and expectations, use of the appropriate level of force, learning and adapting as an organization, empowerment of the lowest levels in the chain-of-command and support of the host nation.
    4. Efficacy. One of the key outcomes for this course is for the students to be able to evaluate the efficacy of specific insurgency and counterinsurgency campaigns. What worked? What did not? Why? These are key questions for your future.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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    Course Description

    Secrecy has become a god in this country, and those people who have secrets travel in a kind of fraternity and they will not speak to anyone else." William Fullbright's quote on the murkey world of intelligence and information. This class will take a look behind the vale of secracy that surrounds the intelligence community. It traces the roots of America's entangled desire for information and protection of information from the Early American Republic to the Special Operations and Counterterrorism focus post 9/11.

    What You Will Learn

    1. Students will be able to trace the historical creation, development, and changes over time of the American intelligence apparatus.
    2. Students will be able to see how societies and leaders view and relationship with the intelligence community has vacillated over time.
    3. Students will understand the difficulty and context behind key decisions in American history using the lens of intelligence.
    4. Finally, students will develop their written and research competency by exposing them to new research sources of declassified intelligence documents.

    Intended Audience

    Upper Level Elective

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