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Haverford College

Course Catalog

History: 2009-2010

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 Studies, East Asian Studies, Education and Educational Studies, Gender and Sexuality 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 foreign languages to enable advanced research in seminars and theses.

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Professor Linda G. Gerstein
Professor Emma Jones Lapsansky
John R. Coleman Professor of Social Sciences Paul Jakov Smith (On leave for Fall 2009)
Frank A. Kafker Associate Professor Lisa Jane Graham
Associate Professor Alexander Kitroeff
Associate Professor James Krippner, Chair
Associate Professor Bethel Saler
Assistant Professor Darin Hayton
Assistant Professor Andrew Friedman

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Major Requirements

  1. 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 (Origins of the Global South)
    History 115 (Postcards from the Atlantic World)
    History 117 (Modern Mediterranean History)
    History 118 (Introduction to the History of Science)
    History 120 (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 above the 100 level 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, religious 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, eloquencesing 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 an excellent 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 its modernity; and, finally, by reconsidering the factors that explain the "rise of the West," to better appreciate how the past influences the present.

    114 Origins of the Global South SO
    Explores the first phase of "globalization" in world history, with particular emphasis on the years 1300-1700. The course analyses the trans-regional processes that connected Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas during these centuries, while constantly interrogating the links between history ("what happened") and historiography (the writing of history). Topics include oral versus written history, empire, trade and technology, the spread of world religious traditions, labor systems and social change, and debates over conquest and colonization in the early modern world. In addition to a variety of primary and secondary sources, we shall also use literature and film to help us imagine the past.

    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

    117 Modern Mediterranean History SO
    An examination of how countries in the mediterranean region faced the challenges of modernity from the 1800s to the 1970s. The region includes countries that followed the western European pattern of development and also countries that experienced imperialism and decolonization. The study of this region exposes students to responses to modernity from a global perspective while its approach highlights the ways historians analyze primary sources to explain social change over time and how they assess the relevance of specific causes e.g. agency or structure, economics or politics and the role of individuals and social classes.

    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 Gender and U.S. 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.

    209 Modern Latin America SO (Cross-listed in Latin American and Iberian Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies)
    This course introduces students to modern Latin American history from the 19th C demise of Spanish & Portuguese colonialism through the present. We shall discuss all the major regions & cultural zones of contemporary Latin America, though in varied depth given the inevitable constraints of time & disciplinary boundaries. Particular attention will be paid to the interplay of gender, race, and class in specific contexts, and we shall examine how social conflict has influenced historical change.

    215 Sport and Society SO
    A.Kitroeff, G.Kannerstein
    This course examines the evolution of sport in the Americas and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries from its amateur beginnings to its transformation into a lucrative business with a global scope in the late 20th century. The course is divided into three broad chronological sections: the 19th century, the 20th century through World War II, and the post-1945 era. In each of these segments we are concerned with the way of social changes affected the way sport was played, administered, experienced as a spectacle, and how it was treated as an important social institution. Prerequisite: An introductory social science course.

    225 Europe: 1870-1914 SO
    Topics included are Marxism, The Dreyfus Affair, Imperialism, Sexual Anxiety, and Art Nouveau. Offered occasionally.

    226 Twentieth Century Europe SO
    The emergence of the culture of Modernism; revolutionary dreams and Stalinist nightmares in Russia; Fascism; the trauma of war 1914-1945; the divisions of Cold War Europe; and the challenge of a new European attempt at re-integration in the 1990s.

    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. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. 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. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. 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.

    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.

    253 A01 The History of the U.S. Built Environment, 1870 to the Present
    This course looks at the history of the U.S. though its built environment, or the physical spaces and landscapes through which Americans constructed their habits, hopes, and divisions. We will investigate how struggles over the U.S. polity came to be reflected in the built world. Topics include the creation of property, the building of the metropolis, the making of the suburbs, electrification and the highways, urban crisis, and the postindustrial landscape.

    254B Harvest of Empire: US History, 1898 to the Present
    In this interdisciplinary course, students will study the history of U.S. foreign policy and the history of U.S. migration as a single body of national experience. Conceiving the international history of the country broadly, we will explore how the U.S. formed itself and how it was formed as a nation in a world context.

    256 Zen Thought, Zen Culture, Zen History HU (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.

    259 Collecting and Displaying Nature SO
    Collecting, classifying and displaying natural artifacts acquired new significance in early-modern Europe and played an important role in the development of modern science. This course explores the motivations and contexts for such collecting and classifying activities. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent.

    260 Mid Imperial China (ca.A.D.850-1600) SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    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 catalyzed by institutional decline and Western imperialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and one course in either 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.

    265 Modern Japan SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    Explores selected topics in the rise of modern Japan from the late-16th century to the Pacific War, including the creation of the centralized Tokugawa state, the urban culture of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Meiji Restoration and modernization in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, and the sources and consequences of Japanese imperialism.

    268 Transformations of Medieval Afro-Eurasia, 10th to 15th centuries SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    This course uses literature and travelers' accounts to trace the rise and displacement of a multi-polar Afro-Eurasian system of trade, communications, and cultural encounters during the 10th through 15th centuries, and the internal social transformations that accompanied those exchanges. Prerequisite: At least one introductory history course.

    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.

    310A Political Technologies of Race and the Body
    This course examines the technologies, ideologies, and material strategies that have created and specified human beings as radicalized and gendered subjects in the U.S. Readings cover biopolitics, disability studies, material culture, histories of disease, medicine, violence and industrialization. In our discussions and research, we will aim to decode the production of "reality" at its most basic and molecular level.

    317 Visions of Mexico SO (Cross-listed in Latin American and Iberian Studies)
    This course investigates representations of Mexico and “Mexicanidad” (Mexicanness, 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 produced in modern Mexico from its 19th-century origins through the mid-twentieth century. The course will introduce you to the theoretical debates surrounding the use of visual culture—painting, photography, film and other images—for the study of history, while providing a thorough introduction to modern Mexico.

  • 333 Topics in History and Theory SO
    Seminar meetings, reports, and papers. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Topic for Fall 2005: Colonialism and Culture. This seminar will look at recent theories that have informed historical accounts of colonialism. This class combines theoretical readings with historical text. Prerequisite: Senior or Junior standing 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.

    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)

    350 Topics in the History of Science SO

    354 Topics in Early Modern Europe SO
    Prerequisite: One prior course in Hist or consent.

    356 Topics in Modern European History SO (Cross-listed in Russian)

    357 Topics in European History SO

    358 Topics in Enlightenment History SO
    Prerequisite: Junior or senior status and at least one prior course in history.

    400 Senior Thesis Seminar SO
    History 400 is designed to expose students to different historical methods and guide them through the conceptualization of a topic, the research, and the writing of a thesis proposal.

    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 Mideast/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: Social & 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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