Digital Course Booklet

Below you will find in-depth descriptions of many History courses being offered for Fall 2021. For the full, official KU History course listings, visit the link below.

Fall 2021 Courses

Elective Course Information

M/W 3:00-3:50 (plus Friday discussion sections)

Instructor: Rachel Schwaller

 

This course introduces students to the broad field of “Western History” through the lens of religion in the United States. Students will cover the wide swath of Western History by focusing on the role of religious interpretation within Indigenous nations, colonialism and conversion tactics, slavery, resistance, women’s rights, immigration economics, civil rights, and globalism. While we will focus on the United States, students will also consider Central and South American and Caribbean religious influences. Through this class, students will discover that “Western History” has been indelibly linked and created through its interactions with a much larger Global world, especially Africa.

HIST 101 will operate as a lecture and discussion course. Mondays will consist of interactive lectures. Wednesdays will delve deeper into a single case study that exemplifies our main theme for the week. Students will discuss in groups with interactive assignments and with the professor on Wednesday. Fridays are full discussion days. Discussions will center on course readings. Course readings are all provided on Blackboard. They will consist primary sources, written by people at the time period we are studying. These readings will be exciting and dynamic as professor and students will grapple with and uncover hidden histories. We will focus on primary sources written by non-white authors, again demonstrating that Western History is a history that primarily includes the contributions and histories of people of color. Pages will not exceed 10 pages per week.

Students will demonstrate mastery of the material through different types of assignments including in-class discussion, journal entries, a reflection paper, and a final paper that asks students to construct an original historical argument using our primary sources.

HIST 101 satisfies Core Goal 1.1.

No textbook will be required for this class.

M/W 3:00–3:50 (plus Friday discussion sections)

Instructor: Rachel Schwaller

This course introduces students to the broad field of “Western History” through the lens of religion in the United States. Students will cover the wide swath of Western History by focusing on the role of religious interpretation within Indigenous nations, colonialism and conversion tactics, slavery, resistance, women’s rights, immigration economics, civil rights, and globalism. While we will focus on the United States, students will also consider Central and South American and Caribbean religious influences. Through this class, students will discover that “Western History” has been indelibly linked and created through its interactions with a much larger Global world, especially Africa.

HIST 101 will operate as a lecture and discussion course. Mondays will consist of interactive lectures. Wednesdays will delve deeper into a single case study that exemplifies our main theme for the week. Students will discuss in groups with interactive assignments and with the professor on Wednesday. Fridays are full discussion days. Honors students will have their own discussion section with the professor and together they will delve more deeply into more primary sources. Course readings are all provided on Blackboard. They will consist primary sources, written by people at the time period we are studying. These readings will be exciting and dynamic as professor and students will grapple with and uncover hidden histories. We will focus on primary sources written by non-white authors, again demonstrating that Western History is a history that primarily includes the contributions and histories of people of color. Honors students will also be assigned an addition secondary source work that will exemplify the theme for the week. Pages will not exceed 20 pages per week.

Students will demonstrate mastery of the material through different types of assignments including in-class discussion, journal entries, a reflection paper, and a final paper that asks students to construct an original historical argument using our primary sources.

No textbook will be required for this class.

8-week Online, First Half

Instructor: Hannington Ochwada

 

This is a thematic African course introducing students to social, political, and economic developments from the origins of humanity to contemporary times. It cultivates an appreciation of the continent of Africa, its inhabitants, cultures, and economic experiences as part of the global village. Using different approaches, including lectures and group discussion, the course enlivens past and present patterns of African immigration within the continent and impact on the diaspora. We use a variety narratives and archival sources of past eras, contemporary scholarship, and popular discourse to capture the African experience at home and the diaspora.

This course satisfies Goals 1.1 and 3H of the KU Core.

T/R 11:00-12:15

Instructor: Robert Schwaller

This course surveys the history of the formerly colonized territories of Spanish, Portuguese, and French America since the late eighteenth century. It assumes no prior knowledge of this region and its peoples; therefore, part of its purpose is to investigate stereotypes and how these come into being. The course explores three related questions: What does it mean to be “Latin American”?  What does it mean to be “modern”?  How have Latin Americans followed their own unique paths to modernity when compared to the rest of the world? Key topics include the Age of Revolutions and independence movements, neocolonialism and nationalism (with a focus on popular music and dance), populism & mass politics, and Latin America in the Cold War. We will also read a couple classic books by Latin American authors, including The Cosmic Race (by José Vasconcelos) and I, Rigoberta Menchú. Majors and minors in History and Latin American Studies can also take this course for 300-level credit.

HIST 121 satisfies Goal 3H of the KU Core.

M/W 1:00-1:50 (plus Friday discussion section)

Instructor: Drew Isenberg

This course examines major themes in American history from the beginning of European colonization of North America to the end of the Civil War.  We will cover subjects including encounters between Native Americans and European colonists, the American Revolution, the making of the new republic, the settlement of the West, and the Civil War.  While covering the broad expanse of American history through the Civil War, we will focus on four pivotal moments of change:  1) the witchcraft trials in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692; 2) the American Revolution and the creation of the Constitution; 3) the California Gold Rush; and 4) the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the 1860s.  We will approach these subjects as historical problems:  What caused the witchcraft trials?   Why did the Constitution contain undemocratic features?  How did the U.S. become a continental empire?  What caused emancipation?

This course meets Goal 3H of the KU Core.

M/W 2:00-2:50 (plus Friday discussion sections )

Instructor: Rachel Schwaller

This course will cover the history of the United States, from the Civil War to as close to the present as we can get. However, this class will be different than many history surveys you may have taken. This course follows an “uncoverage” model. History isn’t just names and dates! This is about wrestling with the past! Uncoverage models primarily work to uncover the way historians DO history. Students will be introduced to the process of historical thinking, how historians think about and uncover the past, and how to come up with their own historical questions and theses!

But, this class will also work to uncover hidden histories and narratives of the United States by focusing on unheard voices in US history. We’ll spend less time talking about “Great men” or “big events” and instead turn our attention to cultural and social histories. The point of this class is to introduce you to how historians are thinking about the past, how we analyze the past, and how we apply the past.
We will also be considering U.S. in light of the larger global events—the history of the U.S. is part of a larger narrative!

History 129 will read a combination of primary and secondary sources. We’ll use case studies from US history to radically challenge the way we think and remember. On Mondays, students will receive a brief but interactive lecture about an Historical skill through the lens of a particular historical event. Wednesdays will be entirely group discussion as we interactively unpack secondary sources of the period and get deeper into what was going on and how events unfolded. Fridays, students will meet with class instructors to wrestle with and deeply read complex primary sources! Reading will not exceed 20 pages per week.

Come reimagine what a “history class” is with us this semester. Do a deep and interactive dive with the past in order to understand why our society looks the way it does today.

HIST 129 satisfies Goal 3H of the KU Core.

No textbook will be required for this class. No exams in this class!

T/R 1:00-2:15

Instructors: Sheyda Jahanbani and Erik Scott

 

Two decades into the twenty-first century, the Cold War may seem like a curious footnote in history. And, yet, the half-century-long Cold War conflict shaped almost every major issue that impacts our world today, from the expansion of global capitalism, to the costs of nation-building in the Middle East, to the resurgence of authoritarian politics across the globe, to the existential crisis of climate change.

This course—team taught by KU’s two historians of the Cold War—provides an immersive introduction to the global Cold War and its legacies. It explores how the contest between capitalism and communism unfolded not only in the United States and the Soviet Union, but also in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Through interactive lectures, discussions, and role-playing games, you will learn to “think globally,” gain an understanding of imperialism, nationalism, and decolonization, and discover how the Cold War shaped culture, economics, politics, the environment, and the international system in ways that remain relevant today.

This course satisfies KU Core Goal 3.

8-week Online, First Half

Instructor: Eric Rath

 

Foods and drinks such as chocolate, coffee, curry, and olive oil have changed the world in ways that transcend national boundaries; this course follows their stories tracing routes of imperialism and globalization while attentive to the impact of these foods on indigenous peoples.  Each week offers new foods and new discoveries drawing from cases globally to ask why people choose certain foods, what that says about their culture, and how foods and drinks have changed historically.  Besides learning how food can be a window to history and gaining an introduction to the interdisciplinary methodology of food studies, this course will help you understand the consequences of what you eat in terms of your own body, the environment, and communities a world away.

Online lectures, asynchronous, eight-weeks (Aug 23 – Oct 15)

T/R 11:00-12:15

Instructor: Hannington Ochwada

This is an interactive course using a selective thematic approach to introduce students to West African history. The course invites students to read texts before class and engage in open discussion of the major historical patterns that have given rise to contemporary West Africa as an integral part of world history, especially the regions relations with rest of Africa, Europe and Americas among others. The course pays special attention to anthropological, geographical, and technological developments that have influenced political and socioeconomic changes in West Africa.

This course satisfies Goals 4.2 and 3H of the KU Core.

Online M/W 3:00-4:15 (Full Semester, Synchronous)

Instructor: Nishani Frazier

We’re Takin’ It To the Streets! This course will explore American social, cultural, and political history in the 1960s. The 1960s period, its ideals and policies, continue to be a contested era in American society.  The focus of this course is a bottom-up history of 1960s movement. Though presidents play an important role, they form the backdrop of people’s movements. Students will read and analyze the literature from the people who shaped this era in order to better historically frame and unravel the complexities which define this decade.  The course will offer a thematic/chronological approach and will address such issues as Northern segregation, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and race relations, the people’s power movements, feminism, student revolt, Counter-Culture, and the conservative movement. 

This course will introduce you to the 1960s via multiple pathways that include: film, lecture, music, and in-person discussion. The course mainly incorporates primary sources, so that students can hear from and understand the movement from the vantage point of the people who were there. 

  • Students will gain a more complex understanding of the 1960s people and movements that defined one of the most vibrant years of American history.
  • This class will also enhance student understanding of how 1960s ideologies and protests continue to play themselves out in current American politics and culture. 
  • Additionally, students will learn to think critically about activism and community organizing.

This course meets Goal 4.1 of the KU Core

M/W 11:00-12:15

Instructor: Hannington Ochwada

This course centers on the making of African modernity since the late nineteenth century to present, interrogating challenges posed to African nationhood and globalism. Modern Africa is designed to introduce students to modern African history and cultivate appreciation of the continent, its inhabitants, cultures and experiences as part of the global village. We employ a variety of sources used by historians to imagine and create a cogent narrative about Modern Africa. The course encourages student to develop their own answers to pertinent questions, fleshing out their thoughts and arguments through discussion, and historical writing based on primary and secondary sources.

HIST 300 satisfies Goal 4.2 of the KU Core.

8-week Online, Second Half

Instructor: Kim Warren

 

Women have been at the forefront of activism and social change in the United States throughout the country’s history.  Using interdisciplinary materials, this course will focus on a broad range of women’s experiences in order to interrogate the notion of diversity in the United States.  Students will work on papers and audio/visual projects (rather than exams) during the semester.

Topics include:

  • Doctor Mom Chung, the first Asian American woman doctor in the United States
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, a Laguna/Pueblo Native American writer and poet
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book about an African American woman, whose cells were harvested and ended upproviding the foundation for polio vaccines and other medical breakthroughs
  • Wonder Woman, a feminist superhero with an extraordinary backstory
  • Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, before she was notorious, she succeeded in getting the US Supreme Court to consider sex discrimination

This course meets Goal 4.1 of the KU Core.

8-week Online, Second Half

Instructor: Marta Vicente

In this course students will examine shifting ideas about gender and sexuality in the Ancient Mediterranean and Western Europe from ca. 700 BCE to 1600 CE. Through the study of primary texts, from Euripide’s Medea to The Hammer of Witches, questions in class discussions, quizzes, assignments, and the final analytical paper students will analyze and evaluate assumptions, claims, evidence, arguments, and forms of expression, as well as select and apply appropriate interpretive tools. They will address questions such as: How do we best address the limitations of our evidence? What makes one interpretation better than another? How does studying the history of women and gender challenge us to re-valuate concepts like “civilization” and “progress”?

This course meets Goals 1.1 and 3H of the KU Core.

8-week Online, First Half

Instructor: Marta Vicente

Women as witches or nuns, as sexualized luring creatures or fertile mothers: Why has women’s relation to their bodies been constructed in such opposites? Has the body shaped women’s identities, their ability to relate to their social environment? Has society’s understanding of the female body changed throughout time? This course examines different notions about women and their bodies from a historical perspective. We will study the elements that have shaped womens lives in relation to their bodies, and womens responses to it. Topics and readings will include the world of witches and midwives, the lives of nuns and prostitutes, women and art, and women’s relation to food.

T/R 9:30-10:45

Instructor: Marie Brown

This course places the pre-modern Middle East (600-1800CE) in a global context and asks us to consider how the legacies of that era continue to inform and influence our lives. It begins with the establishment of Islam in the seventh century and ends with early America’s struggles with North African privateers in the eighteenth century. Throughout the semester, we will examine key moments in the Middle East and Arab-Islamic world, including: the expansion of Islam as a global power; enduring myths of the Crusades in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and America’s War on Terror; a debated golden age of tolerance in Muslim Spain; and the connections between women’s sexual and political power in the Ottoman Empire.

My teaching focuses on big questions, rather than dates or the names of battles or treaties. I ask how historical change was felt and lived, rather than “what happened?” Wherever possible, I assign literature or films for our weekly reading. Graded assignments for HIST 327 include: a map quiz, two short papers, and midterm and final exams.

HIST 327 satisfies Goal 4.2 of the KU Core.

M/W 11:00-12:15

Instructor: Adrian R. Lewis

This course covers the inter-war period and World War II, 1939 to 1945. It is divided into three periods, the European War, the American-European War, and the American-Japanese War. We will focus primarily on the Allied war efforts (British, American, and Soviet/Russian) in the Western European, Eastern European, Mediterranean, and Pacific theaters. The campaigns on the ground, in the air, and at sea are studied, analyzed, and discussed. This course is a study of the military conduct of World War II: hence, we will study the Normandy Invasion, Operation Barbarossa—the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the British and American Strategic Bombing Campaigns, the Stalingrad Campaign, the Holocaust, the U.S. Navy’s Midway Campaign, the Marine Corps’ battle for Iwo Jima, the decision to drop the atomic bomb and other major campaigns and battles. The political, social, diplomatic, and cultural aspects of the war are examined in relation to the military conduct of war. In this course we will study, analyze, and discuss the evolution of air, ground, and naval operations, doctrine, strategy, technology, tactics, command and control, and leadership. Students are required to attend lectures, complete required reading, view required documentaries, participate in discussions, and complete midterms and final exams.

T/R 2:30-3:45

Instructor: Jonathan Hagel

Economic crises, mass unemployment, rising right-wing authoritarianism at home and abroad, and raging fights over the meaning of America itself—the Great Depression resonates with our own era in fundamentals ways. Through readings and watchings and class discussions (there are no lectures in this class), you will learn how your forebears survived the ‘worst hard times’ and came out stronger on the other side. 

M/W 3:00-4:15

Instructor: Jonathan Hagel

You’ve heard the myths and legends; now it’s time to dive deep into the history. Bleeding Kansas and the Border War; the Populist Revolt; the Dust Bowl; Brown v. Board of Topeka, Kansas. While class sessions will be discussion-based, many sessions will feature on-site archival research, visit museums, and other expeditions to find history beyond the classroom.

M/W 11:00-12:15

Instructor: Christopher Forth

Does it really matter who you are? Let’s face it, we’re all angry these days, or supposed to be, and encouraged on a daily basis to become angrier still. It’s sometimes said that white men are the angriest of all, that they feel aggrieved and unable to adjust to changing realities of gender and race for fear of losing their privilege. Like it or not, “the angry white male” is a prominent figure in our cultural imagination and, as such, a phenomenon worthy of study. Where does he come from? What's he angry about? Is his anger misplaced? Is he blaming the right people? How long has this been going on? Is he a global phenomenon? And how do we move forward? This course seeks to answer these and other questions by exploring the historical background to white male anger in modern America and how it is manifested in the wider world today.

HIST 364 explores the messy world we live in. To do so it employs tools from disciplines like history, sociology, philosophy, social psychology, and gender studies. Critical thinking, careful reading, informed reflection, and methodological empathy are all skills that will be developed, along with the ability to entertain different points of view and discuss them in a civil manner. Although each week will feature at one least lecture, discussion is strongly encouraged. Coursework includes brief response essays, discussions, and a research project.

T/R 9:30-10:45

Instructor: Titus Firmin

From smoothbore muskets to satellite guided missiles, how the United States military fights its nation’s wars is a reflection of American values and technology. This course will survey the history of the United States through combat. Students will analyze notable battles in American history, and study the principles of war and strategies utilized by the U.S. military, with an emphasis on the U.S. Army. The course is primarily lecture, though students can expect a field trip to Fort Leavenworth to conduct a battlefield staff ride.

This course fulfills the Army ROTC history requirement.

M/W 11:00-12:15

Instructor: Megan Greene

This course on China’s Communist revolution considers the evolution of Maoism, or Chinese Communism, from its ideological origins through its implementation during and after the Chinese Communist revolution and examines the ways in which Chinese Communism has changed in the period since Mao’s death. The course focuses mainly on the major Maoist movements of the 1940s-70s such as Land Reform, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the cult of Mao. It also looks at the globalization of Maoism by examining examples of other Maoist revolutions and revolutionaries in places like the US, Cambodia, and Peru.

HIST 397 will mostly operate as a very interactive discussion course. Discussions will center on course readings. In addition to two complete memoirs, you will also read short primary sources and excerpts from scholarly works that are posted on Blackboard. Most of these readings are pretty engaging and a lot of them are primary sources written by people who participated in the events we will be discussing. Written work for the class will focus on the production of an 8-10 page research paper on a subject of your choice. You will write two short papers that serve as building blocks towards the research paper. The course also has a midterm and a final.

HIST 397 course satisfies Goals 1.1 and 4.2 of the KU Core.

8-week Online, Second Half

Instructor: Eric Rath

Japan’s warrior class, the samurai, dominated politics and society for more than half of recorded history.  This course traces the history of the samurai from their origins to the dissolution of their class in 1877, examining their military role, philosophy, and cultural contributions.  It also considers continued references to the “spirit of the samurai” today and other modern myths about them.  By taking this course, students will gain an understanding of the contributions of the samurai to Japanese history and familiarity with the methods historians use to study them.  Though background in the topic will be helpful, this course does not require prior knowledge about Japan or Asia.

Online lectures, asynchronous, eight-weeks (Oct 25- Dec 17)

HIST 399 satisfies Goals 1.1 and 4.2 of the KU Core.

M/W 12:30-1:45

Instructor: Adrian R. Lewis

This course covers the American Civil War, the antebellum period, the war, 1861 to 1865, and Reconstruction. We will study, discuss, and analyze the causes, conduct, outcome, and consequences of the Civil War. The war will be analyzed from the policy, strategic, operational, and tactical levels. The focus of this course is on the military conduct of the Civil War, explaining the outcome of the Civil War: hence, we will examine and analyze Lee’s Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns, Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign, Sherman’s March to the Sea, the generalship of Lee and Grant, the strategy and policies of Lincoln and Davis, and other significant strategic decisions, campaigns, and battles that determined the outcome of the war. We will also discuss and analyze the institution of slavery (its economic and cultural impact), Lincoln’s influence on the Constitution, and the results of Reconstruction. The historiography of the Civil War is vast and growing. This course will not only examine the events that took places, but also the evolution of the interpretations of those events, for example, the Myth of the Lost Cause, and the Gone with the Wind interpretations. Students are required to attend lectures, complete required reading, view required documentaries, participate in discussions, and complete required midterms and final exams.

Online: M/W 11:00-12:15 (Full Semester, Synchronous)

Instructor: Nishani Frazier

The Civil Rights Movement course is an examination of the black freedom movement in 1960s American History. This course will frame the early origins of the movement from the 1940s through the early 1970s. Emphasis is placed on the activities of Civil Rights organizations, activists, legislation and legal efforts, impact on other freedom movements of the period, and the tensions between integrationist and black power forces. It is a semester long study on the strategies, groups, and people who fought for freedom, equality and power in politics, economics, education, and culture in the United States.

This course will introduce you to the civil rights movement through via pathways that include: film, lecture, discussion, music, and in-person conversation with actual activists from the civil rights movement. The course mainly incorporates primary sources, so that students can hear from and understand the movement from the vantage point of the people who were there.

  • Students will gain a more complex understanding of the black freedom movement.
  • The course will also introduce you to a bevy of “unknown” soldiers of the movement.
  • Additionally, students will learn to think critically about activism and community organizing.

Students will learn to analyze historical documents, understanding historical context, author, and audience. They will gain further knowledge for how to establish veracity in materials produced by newspapers and the government.

T/R 11:00-12:15

Instructor: Elaine Nelson

How do the words, work, and experiences of women give meaning to early American history?

This course provides students with an overview of the history of women in early American history. Through lectures and discussion we will engage in dynamic reading and writing assignments to examine gender as a system of power relations that has been integral to the shaping of politics, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, environment, health, activism, human rights, and economics in U.S. history.

HIST 530 satisfies Goal 4.1 of the KU Core.

T/R 1:00-2:15

Instructor: Betsy Kuznesof

This course studies the changing economic conditions in Latin America from Colonial times to the present and the effect of these conditions on Latin American society. Emphasis will be on the major theoretical issues of development economics, state actions, patterns of growth, and suggested strategies for economic development. Analysis will center on changes in agriculture, industry, labor, finance, transportation and technology, urbanization, immigration, role of women, export and commerce, and international and foreign involvement.  Much of the course will be organized around class debates.  Since economics is so controversial, this allows for a fuller understanding of the factors involved.  No exams will be given, but pop quizzes will be frequent.  A paper will be required.