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Students may complete a major or minor in History.


Michael S. Bjornlie, Lecturer
Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, Associate Professor
Robert Jacobs, Instructor
Madhavi Kale, Associate Professor
Mara Lazda, Lecturer
Kalala Ngalamulume, Associate Professor
Elliott Shore, Professor
Sharon R. Ullman, Associate Professor and Chair

A primary aim of the Department of History is to deepen students' sense of time as a factor in cultural diversity and change. Our program of study offers students the opportunity to experience the past through attention to long-range questions and comparative history.

HIST 101, (taken preferably before the junior year) aims to address specific disciplinary concerns and objectives as well as general College-wide curricular needs by introducing students to the study of history as a field. Within this framework, each instructor highlights specific themes, periods, traditions, texts and contexts to introduce students to the discipline of history.

In the 200-level courses, the department offers students the opportunity to pursue interests in specific cultures, regions, policies or societies, and enable them to experience a broad array of approaches to history.

The department's 300-level focused topical courses build on students' knowledge gained in 200-level classes and gives them the chance to work in a small seminar setting.

The capstone sequence of HIST 395 and 398 is a year long thesis project. In the fall, senior majors work together to hone their research skills as they prepare to write their own thesis - a process they complete in the spring.

Major Requirements

Eleven courses are required for the history major, three of which must be taken at Bryn Mawr. These are The Historical Imagination (HIST 101), which majors are encouraged to take before their junior year; and the capstone sequence - Exploring History (HIST 395) and the Senior Thesis (HIST 398), which are taken in the senior year.

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 Departments of History 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.)

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 Department of History, and include the following - HIST 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. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III)

HIST B131 Chinese Civilization

(Kim, Division I or III; cross-listed as EAST B131 ) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B200 European Expansion and Competition: History of Three Worlds: The Atlantic World

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; cross-listed as ANTH B200)

HIST B202 American History: 1850 to the Present

Covering U.S. history from Civil War to the present, this course is designed to provide an overview of the central political and social changes that have produced the modern American nation. (Ullman, Division I or III) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B203 High Middle Ages

An introduction to the major cultural changes in the societies of Europe and the Mediterranean basin from circa 1000 to 1348. (Staff, Division I or III) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B205 Greek History

(Edmonds, Division III; cross-listed as CSTS B205) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B206 Society, Medicine and Law in Ancient Greece

(Chiekova, Division III; cross-listed as CSTS B206) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B207 Early Rome and the Early Republic

(Edmonds, Scott, Division III; cross-listed as CSTS B207)

HIST B208 The Roman Empire

(Scott, Division I or III; cross-listed as CSTS B208) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST 219 The 'Other' Side of Medieval Society: Gender, Poverty and the Excluded

Although the marginalized and excluded of medieval society have contributed less directly to the historical record of the Middle Ages than we would have it, their presence nonetheless impacted the dominant culture in profound ways. This course will consider ways in which that dominant culture became defined by the unrepresented margins by examining the lives of women, the poor, Jews, heretics and homosexuals. Our inquiry will begin with late-Roman attitudes toward the excluded and progress to the culture dominated by the high medieval Church. (Bjornlie, Division I or III)

HIST B225 Europe's Long 19th Century: Revolution and Progress

Beginning with the "dual revolutions" of France in 1789 and industry in England , this course will examine the key ideas and forces that contributed to Europe 's religion of progress in the age of its worldwide dominance before World War I. We will examine political ideologies, the nation-state, developments in science, culture and art, imperialism, domestic life, urbanization, consumer society and other themes. The long-term influence of these forces in evident in current events, from demonstrations on immigrant rights worldwide to debates on social engineering. (Lazda, Division III)

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 will 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. (Lazda, Division I or III)

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

This interdisciplinary class looks at the forms and social roles of public spectacles in America from the end of the Civil War to the present and introduces a range of theoretical approaches to cultural analysis. We will focus on the relationship between technological change and the development of commercialized leisure and look at the construction of national identity through popular forms such as the circus, expositions and fairs, museums, malls and especially the cinema. (Ullman, P. White [Swarthmore], Division I or III; cross-listed as ENGL B227)

HIST B228 Benjamin Franklin: His Life and Legacy

The readings for this course will center on Ben's own Autobiography , which will be assigned to be read before the class begins, and biographies of him through the last 300 years. We will discuss the man, his legacy, his meaning to generations of U.S. citizens, his place in the scientific world and in popular culture. Assignments will center on the varying interpretations of his life through the last three centuries. (Shore, Division I or III) Not offered in 2006-07.

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 2006-07.

HIST B236 African History: Africa Since 1800

The course analyzes the history of Africa in the last two hundred years in the context of global political economy. We will examine the major themes in modern African history, including the 19th century state formation, expansion or restructuration; partition and resistance; colonial rule; economic, social, political, religious and cultural developments; nationalism; post-independence politics, economics, and society, as well as conflicts and the burden of disease. The course will also introduce students to the sources and methods of African history. (Ngalamulume, Division I or III)

HIST B237 Themes in Modern African History: 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 I or III; cross-listed as CITY B237)

HIST B239 Dawn of the Middle Ages

Described as Late Antiquity or the Early Middle Ages, the period from Constantine to Charlemagne (roughly 300 to 800 C.E.) represents an age of dynamic cultural transition sometimes viewed as a crucible for the blending of Roman, barbarian and Christian. This course will examine key categories of cultural change including urban and rural landscapes, court society and elites, the movement of migrant peoples, education and literary practices, art, diverse religious practices and Church authority. (Bjornlie, Division I or III; cross-listed as CSTS B239)

HIST B241 American Politics and Society: 1890-1945

While the 20th century has often been called the American Century (usually by Americans), this century can truthfully be looked to as the moment when American influence and power, for good and ill, came to be felt on a national and global scale. While much of this "bigfoot" quality is associated with the post-WWII period, one cannot understand the America of today - at the dawn of the 21st century - without looking at this earlier moment. This course looks closely at the political, social and cultural developments that helped shape America in these pivotal years. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B242 American Politics and Society: 1945 to the Present

This is a lecture course focusing on America after World War II that explores the political, social and cultural factors creating recent American history. Special attention will be paid to social movements and foreign policy. (Ullman, Division I or III) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B243 Atlantic Cultures: Maroon Societies

The course explores the process of self-emancipation by slaves in the early modern Atlantic World. What was the nature of the communities that free blacks forged? What were their relationships to the empires from which they had freed themselves? How was race constructed in the early modern period? Did conceptions of race change over time? Through readings and discussion we will investigate the establishment of autonomous African settlements and cultures throughout the Americas, and examine the nature of local autonomy within a strife-torn world of contending empires and nation-states. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III)

HIST B244 Great Empires of the Ancient Near East

(Ataç, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B244, CITY B244 and POLS B244) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B247 Topics: German Cultural Studies

(Kenosian, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B247 and GERM B223) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B250 Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

This course examines political, cultural and socioeconomic factors in the creation of the Third Reich and the mass murder of European Jews as well as the memory and representation of the Holocaust. (Lazda, Division I or III) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B257 British Empire I: Capitalism and Slavery

Focusing on the Atlantic slave trade and the slave plantation mode of production, this course explores English colonization, and the emergence and the decline of British Empire in the Americas and Caribbean from the 17th through the late 20th centuries. It tracks some of the intersecting and overlapping routes - and roots - connecting histories and politics within and between these "new" world locations. It also tracks the further and proliferating links between developments in these regions and the histories and politics of regions in the "old" world, from the north Atlantic to the South China sea. (Kale, Division I or III)

HIST B252 Introduction to Korean Culture

(Kim, Division III; cross-listed as EAST B234) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B253 Survey of Western Architecture

(Hein, Division III; cross-listed as ANTH B254, CITY B253 and HART B253) Not offered in 2006-07.

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). 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 a few examples). The course uses primary sources, scholarly analyses and cultural productions to explore the political economies of knowledge, representation and power in the production of modernity. (Kale, Division III) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B261 Palestine and Israeli Society: Cultural and Historical Perspectives

(Neuman; cross-listed as ANTH B261, GNST B261 and HEBR B261)

HIST B264 Passages from India: 1800-Present

This course explores the histories and effects of migration from the Indian subcontinent to far-flung destinations across the globe. It starts with the circular migrations of traders, merchants and pilgrims in the medieval period from the Indian subcontinent to points east (in southeast Asia) and west (eastern Africa). The focus of the course is on modern migrations from the subcontinent, from the indentured labor migrations of the British colonial period (to Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific) to the post-Independence emigrations from the new nations of the subcontinent to Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. (Kale, Division I or III)

HIST B265 Colonial Encounters in the Americas

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 2006-07.

HIST B267 History of Philadelphia, 1682 to Present

This course will focus on the intersection of the sense of Philadelphia as it is popularly understood and the Philadelphia that we can reconstruct individually and together using scholarly books and articles, documentary and popular films and novels, visual evidence, and visits to the chief repositories of the city's history. We will analyze the relationship between the official representations of Philadelphia and their sources and we will create our own history of the city. Preference given to junior and senior growth and structure of cities and history majors and those students who were previously lotteried out of the course. (Shore, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B267) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B271 Medieval Islamic Society and Politics

This course examines the rise and fall of Islamic empires, focusing on political, social and religious movements within the Islamic world from the early conquests until the early Ottoman state. Considers the role of geography in history, state formation and consolidation, the change from tribal societies into settled empires, the place of the medieval Islamic world in a global context and the social and sectarian divisions that caused political turmoil. (Jacobs)

HIST B278 American Environmental History

(Stroud, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B278)

HIST B282 Women and Gender in Modern Europe

Investigates the participation of women in European history from the French Revolution to the present and examines how gender analysis informs narratives of the past. Topics include: gender and nationalism, socialism and feminism, women and war, femininity and masculinity. Course counts toward gender and sexuality studies concentration. (Lazda, Division I or III) Not offered in 2006-07.

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

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as HEBR B283 and POLS B283)

HIST B290 Israel and the Palestinians

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as HEBR B233 and POLS B233) Not offered in 2006-07.

HIST B303 Topics in American History: Immigration and Ethnicity

How we understand the history of immigration to the territory now known as the United States has been transformed by recent explorations of the notion of "whiteness." This course will be framed by the ways in which this powerful lens for interpretation has helped to recast the meaning of ethnicity as we focus on individual immigrant groups and the context which they both entered and created from the 17th century to the present. The first half of the semester will concentrate largely on the "century of immigration," from the early 19th through the early 20th century. (Shore, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B303)

HIST B318 Topics in Modern European History: Totalitarianism in Modern Europe: Stalinism and Nazism

This course compares different manifestations of totalitarianism - communism, fascism and National Socialism and how these regimes shaped 20th-century European societies. We will examine how totalitarian leaders sought to establish total control from above as well as how individuals collaborated, resisted and simply sought to survive. We will discuss the theoretical and historiographical debates on totalitarianism as a category of analysis. Finally, we will conclude the course with an examination of the memory of totalitarianism through an analysis of literature and film. (Lazda, Division I or III)

HIST B319 Topics in Modern European History: Film, Propaganda and Power

This course will view modern European history through the lens of film, addressing how film depicts the past from revolution and war to everyday life. We will also discuss larger topics about the relationship between film, power and European identity, including: film as propaganda; the use of film to challenge traditional historical narratives; and the role of film in shaping regional, national, and European identities. (Lazda, Division I or III)

HIST B325 Topics in Social History: American Radicals

Americans have often resisted injustice through radical means. Although commonly erased by history or marginalized in memory as ineffective, in fact radical political actions have profoundly transformed the course of American history. From John Brown to the Black Panthers to ACT UP, American radicals have changed America. This seminar focuses on key radical movements and actors from the ante bellum era through today. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B327 Topics in Early American History: Indians of the Americas

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, Division I or III; cross-listed as ANTH B327)

HIST B337 Topics in African History: Social History of Medicine in Africa

The course will focus on the issues of social history as well as the issues of the history of medicine. We will explore various themes, such as the indigenous theories of disease and therapies, disease, imperialism and medicine, medical pluralism in contemporary Africa, the emerging diseases, medical education, women in medicine and differential access to health care. We will also discuss the questions regarding the sources of African history and their quality. (Ngalamulume, Division I or III)

HIST B355 Topics in the History of London

(Cast; cross-listed as CITY B355 and HART B355)

HIST B357 Topics in British Empire: End of the Raj and Birth of the Nations

This advanced topics seminar in history of the British empire explores the politics and genealogies of nationalist movements in the Indian subcontinent from the late 19th century through the establishment of sovereign nations after 1947, and on into the present. Course texts will include the political manifestos, short stories, poetry, plays and films of contemporaries (both well-known and obscure) as well as recent scholarship on the histories and politics of the nations in the region. (Kale, Division I or III)

HIST B368 Topics in Medieval History: Urbanism and Urban Violence in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The cities of antiquity and medieval Europe localized and intensified cultural changes that periodically culminated in outbreaks of political dissent and intense violence. Such flashpoints have a range of causes - demographic shifts, political opportunism, social injustice and religious rivalry. This course will examine a series of case studies for urban violence including religious riots in late-antique Rome and Alexandria, circus riots in Constantinople, factional violence between families in medieval Tours, Jewish pogroms during the Crusades and student uprisings in medieval Paris. (Bjornlie, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B368)

HIST 369 Topics in Medieval History:The History and Archaeology of Decline and Fall - Putting the 'Dark Ages' in Perspective

Recent decades have produced a formidable amount of scholarship on the transition of the Roman Empire into a society of medieval kingdoms. Depending on a scholar's perspective, Europe is either described as experiencing decline and fall gradually over centuries or spasmodically as the result of catastrophic intervention. This course will examine the often widely divergent interpretations of material and documentary evidence (primarily from the 5th and 6th centuries) offered by classicists, historians and archaeologists. Our inquiry will attempt to shed light on the nature of the 'Dark Ages.' (Bjornlie, Division I or III; cross-listed as ARCH B369 and CSTS B369)

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, Division I or III)

HIST B381 The Arabian Peninsula Since 1700

The Arabian Peninsula has been important to world history and trade long before the discovery of oil. This course examines the history of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the Gulf states from 1700 until today. Topics include provincial Ottoman politics; colonialism and trade; the changing relationship between sectarianism and monarchy; the transformations of society following the rise of the Wahhabis and the discovery of oil; dissident movements in the various peninsula countries; and finally, the role of the peninsula states in world politics and history today. (Jacobs)

HIST B383 Two Hundred Years of Islamic Reform, Radicalism and Revolution

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as POLS B383) .

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. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B398 Senior Thesis

The second semester of a year-long sequence. This semester students research
and write a thesis on a topic of their choice. Enrollment is limited to senior history majors. (Ngalamulume, Shore, Division I or III)

HIST B403 Supervised Work

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

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