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Haverford College

Course Catalog

History: 2007-2008

DescriptionFacultyMajor RequirementsCourse RestrictionsRequirements for HonorsCooperation With Bryn MawrCoursesDepartment Homepage


The study of history involves the critical analysis of the past. The curriculum in history is designed to encourage the development of reflective habits of mind by balancing emphasis on primary source materials with the study of important secondary works. The department welcomes comparative studies and seeks to relate its courses to the broadest possible spectrum of academic disciplines. In this connection, the history major is easily integrated into the Africana, East Asian studies, education and educational studies, feminist and gender studies, Latin American and Iberian studies, and peace and conflict studies areas of concentration. The department has no specific language requirement, but students who wish to major in history are encouraged to pursue foregin languages to enable advanced research in seminars and theses.Back to Top


Professor Linda G. Gerstein
Professor Emma Jones Lapsansky
John R. Coleman Professor of Social Sciences Paul Jakov Smith
Frank A. Kafker Associate Professor Lisa Jane Graham (on leave for 2007-08)
Associate Professor Paul Jefferson
Associate Professor Alexander Kitroeff (on leave Fall 2007)
Associate Professor James Krippner
Associate Professor Bethel Saler, Chair
Assistant Professor Darin Hayton

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Major Requirements

  1. Two semesters of 100 level work from the following array of courses, in any combination:
    History 111a and b (Introduction to Western Civilization)
    History 114 a and b (Introduction to Global History)
    History 115b (Postcards from the Atlantic World)
    History 118 a (Introduction to the History of Science)
    History 120b (Chinese Perspectives on the Individual and Society)
  2. Seven electives above the 100 level, at least two of which must be at the 300 (seminar) level. At least one of these seminars should be taken by the second semester of the junior year. All majors must complete three of the designated six fields. A student must take two courses within a field to complete each field requirement. The history department currently offers six fields: (1) United States history; (2) Early European history, pre-1763; (3) modern European history; (4) Latin American history; (5) East Asian history, and (6) History of Science and Medicine. In addition, a student may design a field based on courses offered at Bryn Mawr (such as British Colonial, Atlantic World, or African History) or that addresses specific approaches or themes (such as comparative history, women's history, or history of the African diaspora). A student may take only two fields in the same geographic region where such a distinction is relevant.
  3. History 400a and b in the senior year, culminating in the writing of a senior thesis. All history majors will write a senior thesis. Students will receive a full course credit for each semester of the thesis. This decision reflects the work they will be expected to execute each semester with the first semester emphasizing sources (identifying, locating, transcribing) and the second semester focusing on writing (synthesis, argument, eloquence).

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Course Restrictions

All of our 100-level courses are open to all students without prerequisite. Courses numbered 200-299 are open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors; exceptions require the prior consent of the instructor. Courses numbered 300 and above are normally open only to juniors and seniors.

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Requirements for Honors

Honors in history will be granted to those senior majors who, in the department’s judgment, have combined excellent performance in history courses with a good overall record. A grade of 3.7 or above in a history course is considered to represent work of honors quality. High Honors may be awarded to students showing unusual distinction in meeting these criteria.

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Cooperation With Bryn Mawr

The history departments of Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College have coordinated their course offerings. All courses offered by both departments are open to students of both colleges equally, subject only to the prerequisites stated by individual instructors. Both departments encourage students to avail themselves of the breadth of offerings this arrangement makes possible at both colleges.

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  • 111 Introduction to Western Civilization SO
    This course — designed primarily for freshmen and sophomores — has several objectives this semester: first, as always, to introduce students to the craft and practice of history, to the ways in which historians imagine and [re]present the past; second, to survey the development of the modern European world over the past half-millennium; next, to explore the "languages" [of religion, politics, and science — for example] in which the West has come both to understand and to celebrate itsmodernity; and, finally, by reconsidering the factors that explain the "rise of the West," to better appreciate how the past influences the present.
  • 114 An Introduction to Global History SO
    A year-long survey of topics in world history from the era of classical empires (Rome, Han China) to the present; with emphasis on the changing relationships among different regions and peoples of the world, and on the geo-politics of point of view in making history and in understanding it.
  • 115 Postcards from the Atlantic World SO
    An exploration of the movement of peoples, goods and ideas across the four continents that border the Atlantic basin (Africa, Europe, North America and South America) over the transformative periods of exploration and empire from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Prerequisite: None
  • 118 Introduction to the History of Science SO
    Although science is an essential characteristic of the modern world, it took nearly 4000 years to attain that status. This course surveys various sciences in the past focusing on both how and why humans have interrogated the natural world, how they have categorized the resulting knowledge, and what uses they have made of it. Topics can include science and medicine in antiquity, Islamic sciences, Byzantine and medieval sciences, early-modern science and the Scientific Revolution.
  • 120 Chinese Perspectives on the Individual and Society SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    A survey of philosophical, literary, legal, and autobiographical sources on Chinese notions of the individual in traditional and modern China. Particular emphasis is placed on identifying how ideal and actual relationships between the individual and society vary across class and gender and over time. Special attention will be paid to the early 20th century, when Western ideas about the individual begin to penetrate Chinese literature and political discourse.
  • 200 Sophomore Seminar: Methods and Approaches in East Asian Studies HU (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    Prerequisite: Required of East Asian Studies majors and minors; open to History majors and other interested students.
  • 203 The Age of Jefferson and Jackson, 1789- 1850. SO
    This course charts the transformation in American political institutions, economy, and society from the ratification of the Constitution to the eve of the Civil War. Often identified as the crucial period when the American nation cohered around a national culture and economy, this period also witnessed profound social rifts over the political legacy of the American Revolution, the national institutionalization of slavery, and the rise of a new class system. We will consider the points of conflict and cohesion in this rapidly changing American nation. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 204 History of American Women to 1870 SO (Cross-listed in Gender and Sexuality Studies)
    This course surveys the history of American women from the colonial period through 1870. We will consider and contrast the lives and perspectives of women from a wide variety of social backgrounds and geographic areas as individuals and members of families and communities, while also examining how discourses of gender frame such topics as colonization, slavery, class identity, nationalism, religion, and political reform. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 207 American Culture and Cultural Criticism from Tocqueville to Today SO
    This course will look at America's democratic, commercial, popular, and high culture, and the changing American character, from the days of Alexis de Tocqueville and P.T. Barnum to the twenty-first century, with emphasis on the twentieth century. Classes will revolve around discussions of writings by philosophers, novelists, and social critics who have reflected on or judged this culture and character. Besides Tocqueville, those authors could include Emerson, Mark Twain, William James, John Dewey, Frank Lloyd Wright, H.L.Mencken, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson, David Riesman, Daniel Boorstin, Herbert Marcuse, Betty Freidan, Christopher Lasch, Neil Postman, Tom Wolfe, and Jacques Barzun. Prerequisite: Not open to freshmen. Offered occasionally.
  • 209 Modern Latin America SO (Cross-listed in Latin American and Iberian Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies)
    This course surveys Latin American history from the end of colonial rule to the present. Special attention is paid to the social dynamics of class, race, and gender; to the emergence and redefinition of contemporary republics; and to conflict, crisis, and historical change. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.)
  • 227 Statecraft and Selfhood in Early Modern Europe SO
    This course examines the political, social, and cultural responses to the perceived crisis of authority that followed the Reformation era in Europe. The crisis in faith was accompanied by innovations in all areas of human life from political thought and science to art and literature. Topics include the emergence of the royal state, absolutism and constitutionalism, protest and rebellion, religion and popular culture, court society, and Baroque aesthetics. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 228 The French Revolution SO
    Most historians identify the French revolution of 1789 with the birth of the modern world. The French captured international attention when they tore down the Old Regime and struggled to establish a democratic society based on Enlightenment principles of liberty and equality. The problems confronted by revolutionary leaders continue to haunt us around the world today. This course examines the origins, evolution, and impact of the French Revolution with special emphasis on the historiographical debates that have surrounded the revolution since its inception. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 229 Gender, Sex and Power in Europe, 1550-1800 SO (Cross-listed in Gender and Sexuality Studies)
    This course traces the evolving definitions of gender and sexuality in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Primary sources and theoretical readings explore the construction of gender roles and sexuality in different arenas of early modern life such as political thought, law, work, family, art and performance. Topics include masculinity and effeminacy, court culture and power, the rise of print technology and literacy, religious conflict and scientific discovery. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 230 Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Between War and Peace SO
    War was integral to the spread of nationalism and nationalist rhetoric in Europe from the Napoleonic Era to World War II; war also gave rise to a European counter-discourse, best described as patriotic pacifism. This course surveys debates among European politicians, intellectuals, and ordinary citizens in this era about the true interests of the nation. Offered occasionally.
  • 231 The Age of Enlightenment SO
    This course approaches the Enlightenment as a process of political and cultural change rather than a canon of great texts. Special emphasis will be placed on the emergence of a public sphere and new forms of sociability as distinguishing features of 18th century European life. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 233 Perspectives on Civil War and Revolution: Southern Europe and Central America SO (Cross-listed in Political Science)
    A.Isaacs, A.Kitroeff
    Prerequisite: One course in history or one course in political science.
  • 234 Nationalism and Politics in the Balkans SO
    The interrelationship of politics with communism and nationalism in the Balkans. The political legacies of the region; the rise of communism and the way in which communist regimes dealt with nationalist issues in each of the region's nation-states; the sharpening of nationalist conflicts in the post-communist era; focusing on the Yugoslav war and the post war efforts to restore democratic rule and resolve nationalist differences equitably. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 237 History of the Occult and Witchcraft SO
    This course examines the historical situation that produced witchcraft and the occult sciences: How and why did people believe or claim to believe in witches, astrology, and magic? The second goal is to recognize how historians and recent authors (including film makers and artists) have used the past. Why are studies of witchcraft and astrology experiencing such a renaissance today? By combining a close reading of primary sources - ranging from texts to trial records to paintings and literature - with secondary sources, we will confront the challenges these activities pose for our understanding of the past and the present. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 240 History and Principles of Quakerism SO (Cross-listed in Religion and Peace and Conflict Studies)
    The development of Quakerism and its relationship to other religious movements and to political and social life, especially in America. The roots of the Society of Friends in 17th-century Britain, and the expansion of Quaker influences among Third World populations, particularly the Native American, Hispanic, east African, and Asian populations.
  • 243 African American Political and Social Thought: Black Modernism, 1895-1945 SO (Cross-listed in African and Africana Studies)
    This course reconstructs the emergence of a modern African American Intellectual and cultural tradition - in the context of a changing political economy and our national coming of age. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 244 Russia from 1800-1917 SO (Cross-listed in Russian)
    Topics considered include the culture of serfdom, Westernization, reforms, modernization, national identities, and Revolution. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 245 Russia in the 20th Century SO (Cross-listed in Russian)
    Continuity and change in Russian and Soviet society since the 1890s. Major topics: the revolutionary period, the cultural ferment of the 1920s, Stalinism, the Thaw, the culture of dissent, and the collapse of the system. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 247 The Metaphysical Club: American Pragmatism in Theory and Practice SO
    This course will reconstruct the development of [what was both celebrated and criticized as] a characteristically "American" approach to philosophy. Beginning with the writings of Charles Peirce,, we will trace the theorizing of eupraxia in low politics & high culture through the writings of John Dewey, the godfather of modern liberalism. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or instructor permission.
  • 255 American Intellectual History SO
    A two-semester course which reconstructs our national historical “project[s],” from the landing of the first Africans at Jamestown in 1619 and the founding of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 to the present. Our Ariadne's thread will be the persisting problems of race, class, and regional differences for a would-be republican commonwealth. Reading widely in the sources, we will relate the architecture of public discourse in America - its rhetorical scaffolding, its recurrent themes, and its alternative blueprints for a well-ordered society - to the perceived constraints of a changing political economy. This course may be divided, with the instructor s consent. The first semester will cover the years 1620 to the Civil War. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 256 Zen Thought, Zen Culture, Zen History SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies and Religion)
  • 257 The Scientific Revolution SO
    The revolution in the sciences that occurred between 1500 and 1750 completely reshaped our understanding of the natural world and our place in it. Simultaneously, the methods used to interrogate that natural world changed dramatically. This course explores these transformations. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 260 Mid Imperial China (ca.A.D.850-1600) SO
    Surveys the fundamental transformation of Chinese society between the 9th and 16th centuries, with particular stress on exams and the rise of a literocentric elite; Neo-Confucianism's impact on social and gender relations; fraught relations between China and the steppe; and China's role in the premodern global economy. Prerequisite: Not open to first year students.
  • 261 Late Imperial China, 1600-1900 SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    Surveys Chinese culture and society at the height of the imperial era through the 18th century and the ensuing political and cultural crises catalysed by institutional decline and Western imperialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above and at least one prior course in History or East Asian Studies.
  • 263 The Chinese Revolution SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    Places the causes and consequences of the Communist Revolution of 1949 in historical perspective, by examining its late-imperial antecedents and tracing how the revolution has (and has not) transformed China, including the lives of such key revolutionary supporters as the peasantry, women, and intellectuals. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 270 From Empire to Nation: The Ottoman World Transformed SO
    Introduces students to the historical study of empires and the circumstances and consequences of their collapse by focusing on the Ottoman Empire. A cluster of recent studies treat the history of the Ottoman Empire (1453-1923) as a complex, dynamic and changing entity revising the older perspectives that viewed it as epitomizing the supposedly backward, unchanging, and mysterious Orient. Based on the more accessible works among this new literature, the course examines the transformation of the Ottoman Empire in terms of its political structures, its ties with Islam, its social make-up and its economy, as well as its relationship with Europe and its responses to the forces of modernity. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 281 Mexican Cultural History: Ancient and Colonial SO (Cross-listed in Latin American and Iberian Studies)
    This course provides an introduction to Mexican cultural history from antiquity through the colonial centuries. Particular attention will be paid to elite and popular understandings and forms of expression as recorded in visual culture, material objects, and the writings of the colonial era. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or instructor consent.

  • 282 Mexican Cultural History: Modern and Postmodern SO (Cross-listed in Latin American and Iberian Studies)
    This course provides an introduction to Mexican cultural history from antiquity through the colonial centuries. Particular attention will be paid to elite and popular understandings and forms of expression as recorded in visual culture, material objects, and the writings of the colonial era. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or instructor consent.
  • 317 Visions of Mexico SO (Cross-listed in Latin American and Iberian Studies)
    This course investigates representation of Mexico and "Mexicandad" (Mexcianness, or Mexican Identity), with an emphasis on the history of images and visual culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Our goal is to appreciate, but move beyond, art history in order to understand the social, cultural, and historical factors that construct and are preserved in visual images representing modern Mexico, as well as our responses to them.
  • 333 Topics in History and Theory SO
    Prerequisite: Senior or Junior class status or consent. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 341 Topics in Comparative American History: The Early Republic SO
    Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of the instructor.
  • 343 Topics in American Intellectual History SO (Cross-listed in African and Africana Studies)
    Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of the instructor.
  • 347 Topics in East Asian History SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    Prerequisite: Upper-class standing.
  • 349 Topics in Comparative History SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    Seminar meetings, reports, and papers. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Topic for spring 2008: "The Medieval Transformation of Eurasia, ca. 1000-1400."
  • 350 Topics in the History of Science SO
    Seminar meetings, reports, and research paper. Topic for spring 2008: "Universities and Science in Early Modern Europe."
  • 354 Topics in Early Modern Europe SO
  • 356 Topics in Modern European History SO (Cross-listed in Russian)
    Seminar meetings, reports, and research paper. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Topic for spring 2008: "Literature and Society in Modern Russia."
  • 357 Topics in European History SO
  • 400 Senior Thesis Seminar SO
    A two-semester course designed to develop further the research skills students have acquired as history majors, and to guide them through the extended process of writing an undergraduate thesis. Enrollment limited to senior history majors. Prerequisite: Senior History majors only.
  • 480 Independent Study SO
    Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.



  • 101 The Historical Imagination SO
  • 102 Intro to African Civilizations SO
  • 212 Pirates and Travelers SO
  • 225 19th Century Europe: Industry, Empire and Globalization SO
  • 242 American Pol & Soc: 1940-Pres SO
  • 253 Survey of Western Architecture HU
  • 258 Brit Empire: Imagining Indias SO
  • 271 Medieval Islamic Society & Pol SO
  • 283 Modern Mid.east/North Africa Middle East and North Africa SO
  • 285 Sport & Spectacle Anc Grc & Rome HU
  • 318 Topics in Modern European Hist Media Revolutions: Print, Radio and Internet SO
  • 325 Topics in Social History: Sexuality in America SO
  • 336 Topics in African History: Aocial & Cultural History of Medicine SO
  • 357 Topics in British Empire: Race, Nation and the Making of Britain SO
  • 378 Origins Amer Consitutionalism SO
  • 383 Islamic Reform & Radicalism SO
  • 395 Exploring History SO

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