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Students may complete a major or minor in History.


Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, Associate Professor and Chair
Robert Jacobs, Instructor
Madhavi Kale, Associate Professor
Kalala Ngalamulume, Associate Professor
Daniel Schwartz, Instructor
Elliott Shore , Professor
Jennifer Spohrer, Lecturer
Sharon R. Ullman, Associate Professor

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 B102 Introduction to African Civilizations

The course introduces students to African societies, cultures and political economies in historical perspective, with emphasis on change and responses among African people living in Africa and outside. (Ngalamulume, Division I)

HIST B155 Islamic Civilization: A Literary Introduction

(Kim, Division III; cross-listed as COML B155 and GNST B155)

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) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B201 U.S. History: Settlement to Civil War

This course begins at the moment when this part of the world was a colonial playground for various competing world powers. We will look at the relationship between those powers and the native populations, continue on to the development of the political entity known as the United States and conclude at the moment when that political unit collapses in 1860. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B202 American History: 1850 to the Present

Covering U.S. history from the 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 2007-08.

HIST B203 High Middle Ages

An introduction to the major cultural changes in the societies of Europe and the Mediterranean basin from circa 1000 C.E. to 1348. (staff, Division I or III) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B205 Greek History

( Edmonds , Welser, Division III; cross-listed as CSTS B205) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B206 Society, Medicine and Law in Ancient Greece

(Gottesman, Division I or III; cross-listed as CSTS B206)

HIST B207 Early Rome and the Early Republic

(Scott, Division III; cross-listed as CSTS B207) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B208 The Roman Empire

(Scott, Division I or III; cross-listed as CSTS B208)

HIST B212 Pirates, Travelers and Natural Historians: 1492-1750

In the early modern period, conquistadors, missionaries, travelers, pirates and natural historians wrote interesting texts in which they tried to integrate the New World into their existing frameworks of knowledge. This intellectual endeavor was an adjunct to the physical conquest of American space, and provides a framework though which we will explore the processes of imperial competition, state formation and indigenous and African resistance to colonialism. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III)

HIST B213 The Byzantine Empire

This course focuses on the social, cultural and religious history of the Byzantine Empire with particular attention to Byzantium 's interaction with its neighbors. (Schwarts, Division I or III)

HIST B220: Modern Chinese Culture: Modern China Through Literature, Art and Film

(Lin; cross-listed as EAST B225)

HIST B225 Nineteenth Century Europe : Industry, Empire and Globalization

The 19th century was a period of intense change in Europe . Some of the questions this class considers are: the relationship between empire, plantation-style agriculture and industrialization; the development of transportations and communication networks; multinational companies, a mass press, film and tourism as early markers of globalization. (Spohrer, Division III)

HIST B226 Twentieth Century Europe : United in Diversity

In 2000, the European Union adopted “United in Diversity” as its motto. In this course we will look at the social, demographic, material, economic and political forces that united and divided Europe in the 20th century, such as war, migration, mass production, mass media and decolonization. We will also look at the policies of unity, division, homogenization and diversity that Europeans pursued in an attempt to manage these forces. (Spohrer, 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, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B227) Not offered in 2007-08.

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 2007-08.

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 2007-08.

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)

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; 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. (staff, Division I or III; cross-listed as CSTS B239) Not offered in 2007-08.

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 III) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B242 American Politics and Society: 1940 to the Present

From a country devastated by economic crisis and wedded to isolationism prior to World War II , America became an unchallenged international powerhouse. Massive grass roots resistance forced the United States to abandon racial apartheid, open opportunities to women, and reinvent its very definition as it incorporated immigrants from around the globe. In the same period, American music and film broke free from their staid moorings and permanently altered global culture. We will explore the political, social and cultural factors that created modern American history. (Ullman, Division I or III)

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) Not offered in 2007-08.

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 2007-08.

HIST B247 Topics in German Cultural Studies

(Kenosian, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B247and GERM B223) Not offered in 2007-08.

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. (staff, Division I or III) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B252 Introduction to Korean Culture

(staff, Division III; cross-listed as EAST B234) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B256 Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages

Surveys the history of Christianity from its inception until the beginnings of European colonial expansion in the first half of the 16th century. We begin in the first century and trace the growth of Christianity as it spread throughout the Mediterranean basin, into Mesopotamia, Africa, Europe and central Asia, and eventually to sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Americas. (Schwartz)

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) Not offered in 2007-08.

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)

HIST B261 Palestine and Israeli Society: Cultural and Historical Perpsectives

(Neuman, Division I; 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) Not offered in 2007-08.

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)

HIST B271 Medieval Islamic Society and Politics

Examines the rise and fall of medieval 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, Division I or III)

HIST B278 American Environmental History

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

HIST B281 Issues in U. S. Foreign Policy

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as POLS B281) Not offered in 2007-08.

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. (staff, Division I or III) Not offered in 2007-08.

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 B285 Sport and Spectacle in Ancient Greece and Rome

(Scott, Wright, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B255, CITY B260 and CSTS B255)

HIST B286 Themes in British Empire: Birth of Nations, Nationalism and Decolonization in South Asia , 1880s-1970s

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. 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. Prerequisites: HIST 257 or 258, or permission of instructor. (Kale, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B286 and POLS B286)

HIST B290 Israel and the Palestinians

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as HEBR B233 and POLS B233) Not offered in 2007-08.

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? 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. We will discuss how past developments help explain current science and its relation to society. (staff, Division I or III) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B303 Topics in American History: Cold War Political Culture

In the 20 years following World War II, Americans were faced with unexpected fears and anxieties. Most famous as the era of McCarthy persecutions, Cold War political culture also produced the Civil Rights movement, debates over the role of the individual and the state, critiques of conformity, and challenges to social status quo through personal politics and cultural revolutions in art, film and music. This course will focus on the ways in which Cold War political culture offered a fundamentally new — and profoundly influential — paradigm for modern American life. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B318 Topics in Modern European History: Media Revolutions: Print, Radio and Internet

This seminar provides an introduction to the issues raised by the history of technology and media through a comparison of three so-called “media revolutions.” We will look first at general theories about the relationships between technology and social change, “modernism,” and communication. Some of the questions we will consider are: What historical explanations is given for the development of these different media technologies? Are media inherently revolutionary or can they be tools for stabilization and consolidation of power as well? What is the relationship between media and the nation state? Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Spohrer, Division I or III)

HIST B319 Topics in Modern European History: Consumers, Fashion and Class, 1800-1950

From the 1700s to the present, Europe underwent a series of sweeping changes in how people used and related to goods: how consumer goods were produced, where they came from, how they were marketed, who could afford them, and who set the standards for fashion and taste. This seminar looks at the social and economic forces behind changes in consumption in this period, and the social anxieties and tensions they produced. Our texts include historical scholarship on European economies, consumer goods and society and treatises, novels, films and texts created by contemporaries in this period. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Spohrer, Division I or III)

HIST B325 Topics in Social History: Sexuality in America

This course addresses the social history of sexual practices, societal and governmental regulation of sex, and the changing cultural meaning of sex, from the 16th century to the present. We will survey some the historical literature in areas such as the constructions of heterosexuality and homosexuality, the intersection of race and sexuality and sexuality as commodity. Our focus will be on sexuality as an arena for the expression of social inequality in America and as a foundation for the social construction of gender. Enrollment limited to 15 students. Preference given to senior History majors and senior Gender and Sexuality concentrators. (Ullman, Division I or III)

HIST B326 Topics in Chinese History and Culture

(Wooldridge; cross-listed as EAST B325)

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; cross-listed as ANTH B327) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B336 Topics in African History: Social and Cultural History of Medicine

This course examines disease and illness, and health and healing, in an African context. We will begin by focusing on indigenous understandings of disease that extend the causes of illness beyond the patient's body, into society and the spiritual world. The course will also include a discussion of the influences of missionary and colonial medicine, and emphasize the pluralistic nature of medicine in postcolonial Africa and the African diaspora. We will also look at examples of epidemics in Africa , including the AIDS pandemic. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Ngalamulume, Division I)

HIST B337 Topics in African History

Topics vary. Recent topics have included social history of medicine; women and gender; and witchcraft ideology, fears, accusations and trials. (Ngalamulume, Division I or III) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B339 The Making of the African Diaspora — 1450-1800

The early modern transatlantic slave trade played a key role in several world-historical processes. Taking in an Americas-wide geographic scope, the course explores how the trade operated and changed over time; the contours of culture in the diaspora; slave resistance; and the formation of maroon communities. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Gallup-Diaz, Division I or III)

HIST B349 Topics in Comparative History

(Kale, Division I or III) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B355 Topics in the History of London

(Cast; cross-listed as CITY B355 and HART B355) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B357 Topics in British Empire: Race, Nation and the Making of Britain

Using a wide range of visual and literary sources, this seminar on British empire will explore the politics of race and nation — both “at home” and “away” — in the making of Britain in the 20th century. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Kale, Division I or III)

HIST B368 Topics in Medieval History: Intellectual Culture

The social significance of education will be explored by examining literacy rates, who the recipients of education were, and the avenues of political and cultural life that were open to those excluded from education. We will also consider the material culture of education, such as writing implements and book production. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Schwartz, Division III)

HIST B369 Topics in Medieval History: Crusaders, Jihadis and the Byzantines

This course provides an introduction to the development of the concept of holy war in medieval Christianity and Islam. While particular attention will be given to the Crusades of the Latins in the Levant (1095-1270), the course also seeks to situate this material within the context of the late antique world in which Christianity and Islam developed. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Schwartz, Division III)

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) Not offered in 2007-08.

HIST B378 Origins of American Constitutionalism

(Elkins, Division I or III; cross-listed as POLS B378)

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 to day. 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. Enrollment limited to 15 students. (Jacobs, Division I or III)

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. Two sections offered. (Gallup-Diaz, Kale, Division I or III)

HIST B403 Supervised Work

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

HIST B425 Praxis III: Independent Study



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