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2004-05 and 2005-06

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Jane Caplan
Elliott Shore

Associate Professors:
Madhavi Kale
Sharon R. Ullman, Chair

Assistant Professors:
Ignacio Gallup-Diaz
Kalala Ngalamulume

Julian Bourg

Affiliated Faculty:
Deborah Harrold
Youngmin Kim
Russell T. Scott
Paula Viterbo

A primary aim of the History Department is to deepen students’ sense of time as a factor in cultural diversity and change. Although the department cannot cover the world if it is understood as a collection of regions or cultures, we have nonetheless designed a program of study and a major that exposes students to long-range and comparative history.

The department curriculum is best represented in its bookend courses: The Historical Imagination (History 101), taken preferably before the junior year, and the senior capstone sequence of Exploring History (History 395) and the Senior Thesis (History 398).

History 101 aims to address specific disciplinary concerns and objectives as well as general College-wide curricular needs by introducing and situating contemporary historical practices within a range of approaches to recording, narrating, preserving and recuperating pasts, across both time and space. Within this framework, each instructor highlights specific themes, periods, epistemological traditions, texts and contexts to introduce students to the contingencies and historicity of what they encountered, through 12 years of primary and secondary schooling, in the name of "history."

In the 200-level courses, the department offers students thematically more contained encounters with historical practice and with recuperations of specific pasts. These courses allow students to pursue interests in specific cultures, regions, policies or societies, and enable them to experience a broad array of pedagogical and methodological approaches to history.

The department’s 300-level courses develop the specific disciplinary analytical skills and experience in research methods and historiography necessary for students to undertake their own research project in their senior year.
In the capstone sequence of History 395 and 398, senior majors reconsider as a group the methodological and epistemological questions they have encountered in their coursework within the department. These courses take seriously the diversity of questions, approaches and tools that characterize contemporary historical practice in general.

Major Requirements

Eleven courses are required for the history major, three of which must be taken at Bryn Mawr. These are The Historical Imagination (History 101), which majors are encouraged to take before their junior year; and the capstone sequence — Exploring History (History 395) and the Senior Thesis (History 398), which are taken in the senior year. History 101 and 395 present, examine and interrogate disciplinary practice at different levels of intensity, while History 398 gives majors the opportunity to develop and pursue, in close consultation with department faculty, their own article-length historical research and writing projects (7,000 to 8,000 words in length).

The remaining eight History courses may range across fields or concentrate within them, depending on how a major’s interests develop. Of these, at least two must be seminars at the 300 level offered by the History Departments at Bryn Mawr, Haverford or Swarthmore Colleges or the University of Pennsylvania. (It is strongly recommended that at least one of these advanced courses be taken with Bryn Mawr history faculty, as it is with one of them that majors will be working on their senior thesis.) Courses taken elsewhere will not fulfill this requirement.

Only two 100-level courses may be counted toward the major. Credit toward the major is not given for either the Advanced Placement examination or the International Baccalaureate.


Majors with cumulative GPAs of at least 2.7 (general) and 3.5 (history) at the end of their senior year, and who achieve a grade of at least 3.7 on their senior thesis, qualify for departmental honors.

Minor Requirements

The requirement for the minor is six courses, at least four of which must be taken in the Bryn Mawr History Department, and include the following – History 101, at least one 300-level course within the department, and two additional history courses within the department.

HIST B101. The Historical Imagination

Explores some of the ways people have thought about, represented and used the past across time and space. Introduces students to modern historical practices and debates through examination and discussion of texts and archives that range from scholarly monographs and documents to monuments, oral traditions and other media. Majors are required to take this course, preferably before the junior year. (Ngalamulume, Kale, Division I or III)

HIST B131. Chinese Civilization

(Kim, Division I or III; cross-listed as East Asian Studies 131)

HIST B200. European Expansion and Competition: History of Three Worlds

The aim of this course is to provide an understanding of the way in which peoples, goods and ideas from Africa, Europe and the Americas came together to form an interconnected Atlantic World system. The course is designed to chart the manner in which an integrated system was created in the Americas in the early modern period, rather than to treat the history of the Atlantic World as nothing more than an expanded version of North American, Caribbean or Latin American history. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III)

HIST B201, HIST B202. American History, 1600 to the Present

Covering U.S. history from Columbus to the present, this course is designed to coax a satisfying sense of our national life out of the multiple experiences of the people — all the people — who built this land. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B203. High Middle Ages

An introduction to the major cultural changes in the societies of Europe and the Mediterranean basin from ca. 1000 C.E. to 1348. (staff, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B205. Greek History

(Edmonds, Division I or III; cross-listed as Greek, Latin and Classical Studies 205) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B208. The Roman Empire

(Scott, Division I or III; cross-listed as Classical Studies 208) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B226. Europe in the 20th Century: From Catastrophe to Coexistence

This course will explore the history of Europe in this century from a number of vantage points and through themes that involve going backwards and forwards in time. This will allow us to revisit issues or periods from different perspectives, and to study the history of issues that may currently be in the news. Topics covered will include Europe's 20th-century wars; revolution in Soviet Russia and counter-revolution in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany; Europe's "others," including Jews, colonial peoples and post-imperial diasporas; welfare states; the 1960s; and post-Cold War Europe. (staff, Division I or III)

HIST B227. American Attractions: Leisure, Technology and National Identity

A construction of a cultural history of the forms and social roles of visual spectacles in America from the end of the Civil War to the present, and an introduction to a range of theoretical approaches to cultural analysis. (Ullman, White, Division III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B235. Africa to 1800

The course explores the development of African societies to 1800. Themes will be drawn from across the continent. We will discuss issues related to the creation, maintenance or destruction of a social order (small-scale societies and states), production, social reproduction, explanations, identities, conflicts, external contacts and social change, and examine selective narratives, documents, debates and films. (Ngalamulume, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B237. Urbanization in Africa

The course examines the cultural, environmental, economic, political and social factors that contributed to the expansion and transformation of preindustrial cities, colonial cities and cities today. We will examine various themes, such as the relationship between cities and societies, migration and social change, urban space, health problems, city life and women. (Ngalamulume, Division III; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 237)

HIST B239. Dawn of the Middle Ages

An introduction to the major cultural changes in the societies of Europe and the Mediterranean basin from ca. 300 C.E. to ca. 1000. (staff, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B241. Twentieth-Century American Society Between the Wars

(Ullman, Division III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B243. Atlantic Cultures: Free African Communities in the New World

An exploration of the process of self-emancipation by slaves, and an investigation of the establishment of autonomous African communities throughout the Americas. Taking a comparative framework, the course examines developments in North America, South America, the Caribbean and Brazil. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III)

HIST B245. Recent U.S. History: Disease and Modern Life

(Ullman, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B247. Germany on Film/Film on Germany, 1945-1989: A Visual History of Germany, East and West

This course will explore the history of Germany from the collapse of National Socialism in 1945, through the division of Germany in 1949 and the development of the Federal Democratic Republics, up to their unification in 1989. The course will draw on the rich archive of German documentary and feature films from this period to examine how these successive Germanys represented themselves and each other, and how they imagined the future and confronted the past. Preference will be given to students with a prior course in European history, German studies or film studies. A reading knowledge of German is desirable but not required. Enrollment limited to 25 (Caplan, Division III; cross-listed as German and German Studies 223) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B248. German Histories

Introduction to the history of modern Germany with emphasis on social and political themes, including nationalism, liberalism, industrialization, women and feminism, labor movements, National Socialism, partition and postwar Germany, East and West. (Caplan, Division III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B252. Introduction to Korean Culture

(Kim, Division III; cross-listed as East Asian Studies 234)

HIST B257. Unreal Cities: Bombay, London and New York

(Kale, Division I or III; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 257) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B258. British Empire: Imagining Indias

This course considers ideas about and experiences of "modern" India, i.e., India during the colonial and post-Independence periods (roughly 1757-present). It is not imagined as a survey of either Indian or British imperial history as such. Rather, while "India" and "Indian history" along with "British empire" and "British history" will be the ostensible objects of our consideration and discussions, the course proposes that their imagination and meanings are continually mediated by a wide variety of institutions, agents and analytical categories (nation, religion, class, race, gender, to name just a few examples). The course uses a range of primary sources, scholarly analyses and cultural productions about and around "India" to explore the political economies of knowledge, representation and power in the production of modernity. (Kale, Division III)

HIST B263. Impact of Empire: Britain 1858-1960

(Kale, Division III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B264. Passages from India: 1800-Present

An exploration of the contested terrains of identity, authenticity and cultural hybridity, focusing on migration from India to various parts of the world during the 19th and 20th centuries. The significance of migration overseas for anti-colonial struggles in India and elsewhere in the British Empire, and for contested, often conflicting, notions of India and nationhood during and after colonial rule is also considered. (Kale, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B265. Colonial Encounters in the Americas, 1492-1800

The course explores the confrontations, conquests and accommodations that formed the "ground-level" experience of day-to-day colonialism throughout the Americas. The course is comparative in scope, examining events and structures in North, South and Central America, with particular attention paid to indigenous peoples and the nature of indigenous leadership in the colonial world of the 18th century. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B267. Philadelphia, 1763 to Present

(Shore, Division I or III; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 267) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B283. Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as Hebrew and Judaic Studies 283 and Political Science 283)

HIST B290. History, Politics and the Search for Security: Israel and the Palestinians

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as Hebrew and Judaic Studies 233 and Political Science 233)

HIST B291. La Civilisation française

(Mahuzier, Division III; cross-listed as French and French Studies 291) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B292. Women in Britain Since 1750

Focusing on criticism, theories and narratives about the ostensibly transparent and stable categories of "women," and "Britain" from the mid-18th century forward, this course explores the ongoing production, circulation, contestation, refraction and reproduction of discourses on not only gender and nation, but also race, class, sexuality, identity and modernity by a wide range of agents and observers over the course of the last 250 years. Assigned texts may include Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Monica Ali's Brick Lane, as well as historical studies of specific subjects in time, theoretical analyses that historicize the production of the categories of "woman" and "Britain," and critical interventions that look at modern historical practice itself as historically engendered. (Kale, Division III)

HIST B296. Science in Western Society Since 1500

Science has become an indispensable tool to understand the world we live in. Our society depends on science-based technology and medicine. But if science has shaped society, it has also been shaped by social factors. How did this system develop? In this survey, we will look at the development of modern science, from its inception during the so-called Scientific Revolution until our days. We will examine foundational theories and methods of physics and biology in their social and historical context. Who has practiced science? How has it been practiced? What for? We will discuss how past developments help explain current science and its relation to society. Throughout the course, students will develop their skills in historical interpretation and writing. (Viterbo, Division I or III)

HIST B303. Topics in Social History: Medicine and Society in America — Differences Across Gender, Class, Ethnicity and Culture

The history of medicine of the last two centuries, as portrayed in many history and medicine textbooks, reads like a coherent success story, soon to provide cures to all diseases. But healthcare is not only about scientific progress, it is primarily about treating people. In this course we will see that different people have been differently affected by medical developments, according to what social constituency they belong to (e.g., women vs. men, rich vs. poor, whites vs. non-whites). Assessing the social impact of medicine is not an easy task: this course focuses on the methods used by social historians and emphasizes the advantage of combining historical tools with approaches from other disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and women's studies. (Viterbo, Division I or III)

HIST B318, HIST B319. Topics in Modern European History

Topics include: Fascism; National Socialism and German Society; Marxism and History; Socialist Movements and Socialist Ideas. (staff, Division I or III)

HIST B325. Topics in Social History: History of Sexuality in America

This course addresses the social history of sexual practices, societal and governmental regulations of sex, and the changing cultural meaning of sex from the 16th century to the present. This course focuses on such topics as gay and lesbian history and the construction of heterosexuality. We will pay close attention to the intersection of race and sexuality and the ways in which sexuality has been a prime arena for the expression of social inequality in America. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B325. Topics in Social History: Comparative History of Advertising in the U.S. and Europe, Between 1850 and 1920

This seminar, which is limited to 12 students, addresses the history of advertising through autobiographies, works of fiction, polemical works, original sources and the books and articles by historians and literary scholars in this growing field. We will concentrate mostly on the history of advertising in the U.S. but we will also look at developments in England, Germany and France. The course has an extensive reading list and requires its participants to be active in class discussion through the preparation of readings and presentation of advertisements contemporary to the weekly discussions. (Shore, Division I or III; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 325)

HIST B326. Topics in Chinese History and Culture: Modern Chinese Intellectual History

(Kim, Division III; cross-listed as East Asian Studies 325)

HIST B327. American Colonial History: Conquest, Colonization and Conversion

This course explores the complex nature of the "religious conquest" of indigenous peoples that was an adjunct process to the physical conquest of territory in the early modern period (1500-1800). We will investigate the indigenous religious systems as they existed before contact, the modes of Christianity that the European missionaries worked to impose upon the "conquered," and the nature of the complicated forms of ritual practice and spirituality that arose in the communities of those peoples that survived the conquest. (Gallup-Diaz)

HIST B337. Topics in African History

Topics include: Women and Gender; and Witchcraft Ideology, Fears, Accusations and Trials. Topic for 2004-05: Social History of Medicine in Africa. (Ngalamulume, Division I or III)

HIST B339. Atlantic Crossings: The Making of the African Diaspora, 1450-1800

The course provides an examination of the complex interplay of cultural, political and economic forces that combined in shaping the African Diaspora in the Americas. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B355. Topics in the History of London

(Cast, Division I or III; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 355 and History of Art 355) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B357. Topics in the British Empire

This course will focus on gender in the material and discursive production, consolidation and defense (from the 17th century to the present) of both the British empire and the "imagined communities" that constitute such contemporary nations as the United Kingdom; the republics of India, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ireland; and the United States. (Kale, Division I or III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B368, HIST B369. Topics in Medieval History

(staff, Division III) Not offered in 2004-05.

HIST B371. Topics in Atlantic History: The Early Modern Pirate in Fact and Fiction

This course will explore piracy in the Americas in the period 1550-1750. We will investigate the historical reality of pirates and what they did, and the manner in which pirates have entered the popular imagination through fiction and films. Pirates have been depicted as lovable rogues, anti-establishment rebels and enlightened multiculturalists who were skilled in dealing with the indigenous and African peoples of the Americas. The course will examine the facts and the fictions surrounding these important historical actors. (Gallup-Diaz)

HIST B395. Exploring History

An intensive introduction to theory and interpretation in history through the discussion of exemplary historiographical debates and analyses selected by the instructor. The coursework also includes research for and completion of a prospectus for an original research project. These two goals prepare senior majors for their own historical production in the spring semester, when the senior thesis is completed and presented. Enrollment is limited to senior history majors. (Gallup-Diaz)

HIST B398. Senior Thesis


HIST B403. Supervised Work

Optional independent study, which requires permission of the instructor and the major adviser.

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