Courses

This page displays the schedule of Bryn Mawr courses in this department for this academic year. It also displays descriptions of courses offered by the department during the last four academic years.

For information about courses offered by other Bryn Mawr departments and programs or about courses offered by Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, please consult the Course Guides page.

For information about the Academic Calendar, including the dates of first and second quarter courses, please visit the College's calendars page.

Fall 2024 HIST

Course Title Schedule/Units Meeting Type Times/Days Location Instr(s)
HIST B101-001 The Historical Imagination Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:40 PM-4:00 PM MW Kale,M.
HIST B218-001 Memories, Memorials, and Representations of World War I Semester / 1 Lecture: 10:10 AM-11:30 AM TTH Kurimay,A.
HIST B234-001 An Introduction to Middle Eastern History Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM-2:30 PM MW Salikuddin,R.
HIST B242-001 American Politics and Society: 1945 to the Present Semester / 1 Lecture: 10:10 AM-11:30 AM TTH Vider,S.
HIST B243-001 Topics: Atlantic Cultures: Maroon Communities - New World Semester / 1 LEC: 1:10 PM-2:30 PM MW Gallup-Diaz,I.
HIST B274-001 topics in Modern US History: History of Reproductive Health Semester / 1 LEC: 8:40 AM-10:00 AM TTH O'Donnell,K.
HIST B303-001 Topics in American History: Readings in Queer and Trans History Semester / 1 LEC: 1:10 PM-3:00 PM TH Vider,S.
HIST B319-001 Topics in Modern European History: History of Sexology Semester / 1 LEC: 1:10 PM-3:30 PM T Kurimay,A.
HIST B325-001 Topics in Social History Semester / 1 Lectture: 1:10 PM-4:00 PM W O'Donnell,K.
HIST B327-001 Topics in Early American History: Indigenous Peoples Semester / 1 LEC: 1:10 PM-4:00 PM TH Gallup-Diaz,I.
HIST B398-001 Approaches to Historical Praxis Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:10 AM-12:00 PM F Dept. staff, TBA
ARCH B212-001 Visual Culture of the Ancient Mediterranean Semester / 1 LEC: 1:10 PM-2:30 PM MW Dunn,S.
CSTS B205-001 Greek History Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:40 PM-4:00 PM MW Edmonds,R.
EALC B263-001 The Chinese Revolution Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM-2:30 PM TTH Jiang,Y.
EALC B325-001 Topics in Chinese History and Culture: Rituals in Imperial China Semester / 1 LEC: 12:10 PM-2:00 PM M Wu,Y.
ENGL B359-001 Dead Presidents Semester / 1 Lecture: 11:40 AM-1:00 PM MW English House Lecture Hall
Schneider,B.
GERM B223-001 Topics in German Cultural Studies: Gender and Artificial Life Semester / 1 LEC: 2:40 PM-4:00 PM TTH Strair,M.
HART B310-001 Topics in Medieval Art Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:10 PM-4:00 PM M Dept. staff
ITAL B218-001 Early-Modern Intersections: a New Italian Renaissance Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:40 PM-4:00 PM TTH Zipoli,L.
MEST B100-001 Introduction to Middle Eastern, Central Asian and North African Studies Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:40 PM-4:00 PM MW Salikuddin,R.

Spring 2025 HIST

Course Title Schedule/Units Meeting Type Times/Days Location Instr(s)
HIST B105-001 Introduction to Digital Humanities 1 Dept. staff, TBA
EALC B131-001 Chinese Civilization Semester / 1 Lecture: 11:40 AM-1:00 PM TTH Jiang,Y.
EALC B200-001 Major Seminar: Methods and Approaches Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM-2:30 PM TTH Old Library 118
Jiang,Y.
MEST B215-001 Iran: History, Culture, and Politics Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:40 PM-4:00 PM MW Salikuddin,R.
MEST B315-001 Empire in the Premodern Middle East Semester / 1 Lecture: 12:10 PM-2:00 PM W Salikuddin,R.

Fall 2025 HIST

(Class schedules for this semester will be posted at a later date.)

2024-25 Catalog Data: HIST

HIST B101 The Historical Imagination

Fall 2024

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.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B102 Introduction to African Civilizations

Not offered 2024-25

The course is designed to introduce students to the history of African and African Diaspora societies, cultures, and political economies. We will discuss the origins, state formation, external contacts, and the structural transformations and continuities of African societies and cultures in the context of the slave trade, colonial rule, capitalist exploitation, urbanization, and westernization, as well as contemporary struggles over authority, autonomy, identity and access to resources. Case studies will be drawn from across the continent.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B105 Introduction to Digital Humanities

Spring 2025

Digital Humanities includes a variety of ways that computers can be used to explore, analyze, and publish human histories and cultural objects (literature, art, music, and more), as well as the study of computer technologies through humanistic frameworks. This course will provide a general introduction to digital humanities through a combination of reading, discussion, and hands-on digital making. We will begin with digital publication and digitization (multi-modal scholarship, digital collections, creative coding, immersive/3D models, and more) by discussing examples and building our own small-scale projects. We will ask: how can understanding and situating the digital infrastructures we inhabit every day help us imagine new ones? Then we will turn towards humanities data: how are cultural objects represented digitally, and how can computational analysis methods provide insights? What are the limitations and possibilities of these data-centered approaches? Assignments will include visual essays, simple websites, and data visualization; students will learn to work in command line, Python, and HTML, among other digital skills.

Course does not meet an Approach

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HIST B129 The Religious Conquest of the Americas

Not offered 2024-25

The course examines the complex aspects of the European missionization of indigenous people, and explores how two traditions of religious thought/practice came into conflict. Rather than a transposition of Christianity from Europe to the Americas, something new was created in the contested colonial space.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Latin American,Iberian,Latinx

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HIST B156 The Long 1960's

Not offered 2024-25

The 1960s has had a powerful effect on recent US History. But what was it exactly? How long did it last? And what do we really mean when we say "The Sixties?" This term has become so potent and loaded for so many people from all sides of the political spectrum that it's almost impossible to separate fact from fiction; myth from memory. We are all the inheritors of this intense period in American history but our inheritance is neither simple nor entirely clear. Our task this semester is to try to pull apart the meaning as well as the legend and attempt to figure out what "The Sixties" is (and what it isn't) and try to assess its long term impact on American society.

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HIST B200 The Atlantic World 1492-1800

Not offered 2024-25

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.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward Latin American,Iberian,Latinx

Counts Toward Peace, Justice and Human Right

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HIST B203 The High Middle Ages

Not offered 2024-25

We're becoming used to the idea of environmental crisis. Drought, floods, storms, and extinctions constantly remind us that humans can be terrifyingly effective at shaping the world in which we live. But the interplay between human agents and the rest of the world is as old as humanity. This course explores how people in the European Middle Ages - mostly the peasants left out of the history books - lived with and made decisions about limited natural resources, looming overexploitation, customary common rights, and shared responsibilities, all within the narrow margins which characterized their immediate and taxing relationship with their landscapes. The period is alien in many ways: it was an age of faith, oaths, and lordship. Horsepower was measured in literal horses (or in human muscle). But the decisions its people made, and the assumptions they held, have shaped our own world in ways we don't always see. How did people in another age work within the constraints set by their environments? How did they change those environments to suit their desires? And whose desires were being pursued? Who was left out? Through attention to cultivation, climates, plague, and human conceptions of the natural world, we'll consider these questions, and seek to gain glimpses of the human-to-human and human-to-non-human relationships that dominated the medieval experience.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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

Not offered 2024-25

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.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Environmental Studies

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward Latin American,Iberian,Latinx

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HIST B218 Memories, Memorials, and Representations of World War I

Fall 2024

The course considers the historical origins and experience of Word War I from a social and cultural perspective. We will think about why some people anticipated and willingly went to war while others were caught by surprise and also, how the experience of war differed on the home front and battlefront. Second, the course will look at the political, social, economic, and cultural consequences of the so-called, Great War. How did the end of the war affect people at the individual and community levels as well as nations as a whole? Finally, we will examine the various historical factors that influence how (and when) WWI has been remembered in modern Europe.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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HIST B226 Topics in 20th Century European History

Section 001 (Fall 2023): Gender- Modern European State
Section 001 (Spring 2024): History of Fascism: Then & Now

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Course content varies.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B234 An Introduction to Middle Eastern History

Fall 2024

This course serves as an introduction to the history of the modern Middle East. We will also explore the narratives and debates that have shaped the field of Middle East history. Topics include orientalism, colonialism, political reform, social, cultural, and intellectual movements, nationalism, and the Cold War. Readings will be drawn from the fields of history, anthropology, politics, and literature.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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HIST B236 African History since 1800

Section 001 (Fall 2023): Africa since 1800

Not offered 2024-25

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.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B237 Themes in Modern African History

Section 001 (Spring 2024): Public History in Africa

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Course content varies

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward Museum Studies

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HIST B238 From Bordellos to Cybersex History of Sexuality in Modern Europe

Not offered 2024-25

This course is a detailed examination of the changing nature and definition of sexuality in Europe from the late nineteenth century to the present. Throughout the semester we critically examine how understandings of sexuality changed-from how it was discussed and how authorities tried to control it to how the practice of sexuality evolved. Focusing on both discourses and lived experiences, the class will explore sexuality in the context of the following themes; prostitution and sex trafficking, the rise of medicine with a particular attention to sexology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis; the birth of the homo/hetero/bisexual divide; the rise of the "New Woman"; abortion and contraception; the "sexual revolution" of the 60s; pornography and consumerism; LGBTQ activism; concluding with considering sexuality in the age of cyber as well as genetic technology. In examining these issues we will question the role and influence of different political systems and war on sexuality. By paying special attention to the rise of modern nation-states, forces of nationalism, and the impacts of imperialism we will interrogate the nature of regulation and experiences of sexuality in different locations in Europe from the late nineteenth century to the present.

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HIST B241 America 1890-1945

Not offered 2024-25

This course focuses on the first half of the twentieth century in the United States. An intense period of violent struggle over race, immigration, labor, income inequality, gender, and the very survival of American democracy in the face of global fascism, the early years of the twentieth century set the stage for the American society of today. One cannot fully understand what has happened to the U.S. right now without spending time in the first 40 years of the twentieth century.

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HIST B242 American Politics and Society: 1945 to the Present

Fall 2024

This course examines transformations in American culture, politics, and society from World War II to the present, focusing on flashpoints of government policy, popular culture, and social activism. We will trace this history with a focus on four central themes: (1) U.S. domestic and foreign policy and the fear of annihilation, from the Cold War, the specter of nuclear warfare, and the War in Vietnam to the War on Terror and climate change; (2) the growth and convergence of movements for social justice, including African American, Latinx, Asian American, indigenous, feminist, and LGBTQ+ rights and liberation; (3) the rise of the New Right, neoliberalism, the reshaping of party politics, and their impact on social welfare, healthcare, and the environment; and (4) the politics of popular culture, especially television, music, and digital media. Across these themes, we will consider where government leaders and popular culture have worked to reinforce social norms and sharpen political divides and how social movements have reshaped American politics and society.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B243 Topics: Atlantic Cultures

Section 001 (Fall 2024): Maroon Communities - New World

Fall 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies.

Current topic description: 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 freed themselves? How was race constructed in the early modern period? Did conceptions of race change over time?

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

Counts Toward Latin American,Iberian,Latinx

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HIST B250 Media and Medicine in Modern America:

Not offered 2024-25

Have you ever turned to TikTok for health advice? Are you a fan of medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy? This course explores of the co-development and evolution of modern medicine and the media in the United States, from the late nineteenth century through the present day. Students will delve into a wide range of media formats, including advertising, newspapers, radio, film, television, and the Internet, to analyze the media's long-standing influence on perceptions and practices of medicine. Special attention will be paid to the shifting cultural authority of medicine, as well as the stakes of communicating health information and implications for public health.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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HIST B258 British Empire: Imagining Indias

Not offered 2024-25

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.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B263 Impact of Empire: Britain 1858-1960

Not offered 2024-25

Is empire (on the British variant of which, in its heyday, the sun reportedly never set) securely superseded (as some have confidently asserted) or does it endure and, if so, in what forms and domains? Focusing on the expanding British colonial empire from the 17th century on, this course considers its impact through the dynamics of specific commodities' production, and consumption (sugar and tea, for example, but also labor and governance), their cultures (from plantations and factories to households to the state), and their disciplinary technologies (including domesticity, the nation, and discourses on history and modernity).

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

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HIST B264 Passages from India: 1800-Present

Not offered 2024-25

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). However, 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 Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B265 Colonial Encounters in the Americas

Not offered 2024-25

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.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward Latin American,Iberian,Latinx

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HIST B274 topics in Modern US History

Section 001 (Fall 2023): History of Reproductive Health
Section 001 (Fall 2024): History of Reproductive Health

Fall 2024

This is a topics course in 20th century America social history. Topics vary by half semester

Current topic description: History of Reproductive Health. An exploration of reproductive health in American history from the colonial era through the present day, with an emphasis on the long 20th century. Topics covered include gender, medicalization, and medical authority; battles over abortion rights and reproductive justice; evolving practices regarding pregnancy and childbirth; the role of technology in reproduction; and entanglements of reproductive health with social and political categories of race, gender, disability, and national identity.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

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HIST B279 Power, Freedom, and the Ties that Bound in medieval Europe

Not offered 2024-25

People in the Middle Ages cared about power, freedom, and the relationships that bound men and women to each other. But their concepts of each, and the way they evaluated the goodness and the purposes of their exercise, were very different from our own. So, what did freedom mean in the Middle Ages? What made power good or bad? How did people try to create reliable structures so that they would use what freedom or power they had for good? And how did they twist those structures to serve selfish aims? In this course we will explore these questions through deep dives into four case studies: the relationship between lords and vassals (often described as "feudalism"); servitude and freedom in the rural world among the bulk of the population, who were peasant farmers; the ties of power, obligation, and affection that structured marriage and family life; and the (ideally) voluntary relinquishment of freedom by monks and nuns in ordered religious life. At the end of the course, each student will create a final project investigating similar questions in a relationship or situation of their choosing. Possible topics include teachers and students, masters and apprentices, craft guilds, trade partnerships, and law courts with their required participation (as well as pomp and circumstance).

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

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HIST B280 History of Witchcraft and Magic

Not offered 2024-25

This course examines the social, cultural, and legal history of witchcraft and magic throughout European history. We will examine the values and attitudes that have influenced beliefs about witchcraft and the supernatural, both historically and in the present day. This course will pay specific attention to the role of gender and sexuality in the history of witchcraft, as the vast majority of individuals charged in the witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were indeed women. We will also study accusations of witchcraft, breaking down the power dynamics and assumptions at play behind the witch trials, and the effects of these trials on gender relations in European society. This class will track the intersections of magic and science throughout the early modern period, and the reconciliation of belief systems during the Enlightenment. We will carry our analysis into the modern period, touching on Victorian spiritualism and mysticism, the emergence of Neo-Paganism, and the return to the figure of the goddess. Our final foray will be and examination of the political "witch-hunts" of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and the enduring trope of the "witch" in modern political culture.

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HIST B284 Movies and America: The Past Lives Forever

Not offered 2024-25

Movies are one of the most important means by which Americans come to know - or think they know-their own history. We look to old movies to tell us about a world we never knew but think we can access through film. And Hollywood often reaches into the past to tell a good story. How can we understand the impact of our love affair with movies on our understanding of what happened in this country? In this course we will examine the complex cultural relationship between film and American historical self-fashioning.

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HIST B292 Women in Britain since 1750

Not offered 2024-25

Focusing on contemporary and historical narratives, this course explores the ongoing production, circulation and refraction of discourses on gender and nation as well as race, empire and modernity since the mid-18th century. Texts will incorporate visual material as well as literary evidence and culture and consider the crystallization of the discipline of history itself.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B299 Exploring History

Not offered 2024-25

This course is designed to introduce history majors to the debates governing the production of historical knowledge which dominate the discipline. Although undergraduates often read history monographs as finished and "complete" projects, in fact each of these works is always deeply contested - both in terms of method and product. The goal of this course is to not only reinforce habits of critical textual reading but to provide students the tools to critically "read" the entire project of writing history. Required for History Majors.

Writing Intensive

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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HIST B303 Topics in American History

Section 001 (Fall 2024): Readings in Queer and Trans History

Fall 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies. Recent topics have included medicine, advertising, and history of sexuality. Course may be repeated for credit.

Current topic description: In this seminar, we will read and analyze both classic and new work in queer and trans history to consider the history of LGBTQ+ identities, communities, and politics, as well as the theory and methods that have shaped LGBTQ+ history and history of gender and sexuality as fields of scholarship. We will also consider the politics of LGBTQ+ history: what has historical knowledge meant for LGBTQ+ people in the past and the present as an extension of queer and trans activism, particularly in sites of public history and memory? We will focus especially on queer and trans history in the United States within a transnational frame, while examining intersections of LGBTQ+ history with histories of race, class, and disability.

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HIST B307 Topics in European and Britain Cultural History

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Course content varies.

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HIST B319 Topics in Modern European History

Section 001 (Fall 2024): History of Sexology

Fall 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies.

Current topic description: The course examines the history of sexology in Europe from the late 19th century to the present. We will explore the emergence and development of sexology as a scientific discipline, tracing its cultural, social, and medical roots. Through the works of pioneering works of figures like Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Havelock Ellis or Sigmund Freud to less known but equally influential sexologists like Kurt Freund and Vilmos Szilágyi, the course traces the evolution of sexology in both Western and Eastern Europe. We will consider both the societal contexts that influenced the development of sexological theories and the impact of these theories on broader cultural attitudes toward gender and sexuality.

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B325 Topics in Social History

Section 001 (Fall 2023): American Health Politics

Fall 2024

This a topics course that explores various themes in American social history. Course content varies. Course may be repeated. Current topic description Health care in America has always been political. From historical debates to modern controversies, this course explores the social and cultural dimensions of American medicine and public health, with particular attention to their politics. Incorporating analysis of primary historical sources, we will examine issues such as health activism, health insurance reform, medical civil rights battles, reproductive justice, the doctor-patient relationship, and the rise of modern bioethics.

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

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HIST B327 Topics in Early American History

Section 001 (Fall 2024): Indigenous Peoples

Fall 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies.

Current topic description: A seminar exploring indigenous societies and cultures of the Americas through interdisciplinary scholarship. The course's aim is to explore the evolution of several indigenous societies and cultures in order to frame Native peoples as actors on historical playing fields that were as rich, complex, and subject to change as those that the European intruders and their descendants later occupied.

Counts Toward Latin American,Iberian,Latinx

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HIST B337 Topics in African History

Section 001 (Fall 2023): Cities, Epidemics, Pandemics
Section 001 (Spring 2024): Hist of Global Health Africa

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Topics vary.

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Gender/Sex Studies (Min/Conc)

Counts Toward Health Studies

Counts Toward International Studies

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HIST B341 Go Burbs: Local Histories of Modern America

Not offered 2024-25

If "all politics is local," then so too is all history. This course takes a local approach to the history of the United States, focusing on the nearby Philadelphia suburbs as a microcosm of modern American society and culture. Paying particular attention to Delaware County, students will investigate local history and local cultural sites and integrate them into a broader historical context.

Writing Attentive

Course does not meet an Approach

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

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HIST B349 Topics in Comparative History

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Topics vary.

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HIST B357 Topics in British Empire

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Topics vary.

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

Not offered 2024-25

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.

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HIST B398 Approaches to Historical Praxis

This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to consider different ways of "doing history." In conversation with the professor and using the resources of the College (archivists, librarians, digital specialists, Praxis Program) students will articulate a historical question, research it, and produce a final project. This project may be a final research paper, but might also take the more public form of a digital project, an exhibit, a short film, or an internship in a local museum, oral history center, or archive.

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HIST B403 Supervised Work

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

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HIST B420 Praxis Seminar

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ANTH B327 Caste and Race: Analogies and Intersections

Not offered 2024-25

With the global spread of the Black Lives Matter movement, and since the publication of American journalist Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, there has been a renewed interest in thinking comparatively about caste and race. This course will examine the intertwined histories and legacies of caste and race as imaginaries deployed both to create and enforce social inequality and hierarchy, and to describe and analyze it. In the first half of the course we will examine how analogies and comparisons between caste and race have been made at various moments over the long 20th century. In the second half of the course, we will explore how caste and race have intersected in lived experience, using historical sources, ethnography, and memoir. In tracking intersections of experience and the production of knowledge, our course will bring together history, anthropology, sociology, and related fields, as well as different world areas- India/South Asia and the U.S./Western hemisphere- that have traditionally been held apart in the modern academy. Prerequisite: One course in Anthropology or History or related Social Science or Humanities departments, or permission of the instructors.

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ARCH B212 Visual Culture of the Ancient Mediterranean

Fall 2024

This course explores the visual culture of the ancient Mediterranean world from the second millennium BCE to early Roman times. Drawing from an extensive variety of extant evidence that includes monuments, sculpture, paintings, mosaics, and artifacts deriving from culturally and geographically distinct areas, such as the Minoan world, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, Tunisia, and Spain, the course explores how such evidence may have been viewed and experienced and how it may have, in turn, shaped the visual culture of the well-interconnected ancient Mediterranean world. Focusing on selected examples of evidence, including its materials, style, and methods of production, the course will also consider how past and current scholarly attitudes, approaches, and terminology have affected the understanding and interpretation of this evidence.

Writing Attentive

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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ARCH B244 Great Empires of the Ancient Near East

Not offered 2024-25

A survey of the history, material culture, political and religious ideologies of, and interactions among, the five great empires of the ancient Near East of the second and first millennia B.C.E.: New Kingdom Egypt, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia, the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires in Mesopotamia, and the Persian Empire in Iran.

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CITY B250 Topics: Growth & Spatial Org of Cities

Section 001 (Spring 2024): Urban Morphology

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Course content varies.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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CITY B345 Advanced Topics in Environment and Society

Not offered 2024-25

This is a topics course. Topics vary.

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CSTS B108 Roman Africa

Not offered 2024-25

In 146 BCE, Rome conquered and destroyed the North African city of Carthage, which had been its arch-enemy for generations, and occupied many of the Carthaginian settlements in North Africa. But by the second and third centuries CE, North Africa was one of the most prosperous and cultured areas of the Roman Empire, and Carthage (near modern Tunis) was one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean. This course will trace the relations between Rome and Carthage, looking at the history of their mutual enmity, the extraordinary rise to prosperity of Roman North Africa, and the continued importance of the region even after the Vandal invasions of the fifth century.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

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CSTS B205 Greek History

Fall 2024

This course traces the rise of the city-state (polis) in the Greek-speaking world beginning in the seventh-century BC down to its full blossoming in classical Athens and Sparta. Students should gain an understanding of the formation and development of Greek identity, from the Panhellenic trends in archaic epic and religion through its crystallization during the heroic defense against two Persian invasions and its subsequent disintegration during the Peloponnesian war. The class will also explore the ways in which the evolution of political, philosophical, religious, and artistic institutions reflect the changing socio-political circumstances of Greece. The latter part of the course will focus on Athens in particular: its rise to imperial power under Pericles, its tragic decline from the Peloponnesian War and its important role as a center for the teaching of rhetoric and philosophy. Since the study of history involves the analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of the sources available for the culture studied, students will concentrate upon the primary sources available for Greek history, exploring the strengths and weakness of these sources and the ways in which their evidence can be used to create an understanding of ancient Greece. Students should learn how to analyze and evaluate the evidence from primary texts and to synthesize the information from multiple sources in a critical way.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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EALC B131 Chinese Civilization

Spring 2025

A broad chronological survey of Chinese culture and society from the Bronze Age to the 1800s, with special reference to such topics as belief, family, language, the arts and sociopolitical organization. Readings include primary sources in English translation and secondary studies.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward East Asian Languages & Culture

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EALC B200 Major Seminar: Methods and Approaches

Spring 2025

This course is a writing intensive course for EALC majors and minors to introduce some foundational ideas and concepts in the study of East Asia. Beginning with close readings of primary source texts, students are introduced to the philosophy and culture of China, and its subsequent transmission and adaptation across the vast geographical area that is commonly referred to as "East Asia." Students will gain familiarity with methods in this interdisciplinary field and develop skills in the practice of close critical analysis, bibliography, and the formulation of a research topic. Required of EALC majors and minors. Majors should take this course before the senior year.

Writing Intensive

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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EALC B263 The Chinese Revolution

Fall 2024

Places the causes and consequences of the 20th century revolutions 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.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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EALC B264 Human Rights in China

Not offered 2024-25

This course will examine China's human rights issues from a historical perspective. The topics include diverse perspectives on human rights, historical background, civil rights, religious practice, justice system, education, as well as the problems concerning some social groups such as migrant laborers, women, ethnic minorities and peasants.

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EALC B325 Topics in Chinese History and Culture

Section 001 (Fall 2023): Law and Society/Imperial China
Section 001 (Fall 2024): Rituals in Imperial China

Fall 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies.

Current topic description: This seminar offers students a distinctive perspective from which to understand Chinese society. It investigates rituals performed in various societal domains in imperial China. Through the study of texts, the screening of videos, and the examination of artifacts, the course delves into four principal themes: the significance of rituals in Confucianism; the ideology and role of rituals in imperial governance; the impact of rituals in community construction and family relations; and rites of passage in imperial China. Additionally, using rituals in imperial China as a special lens, this course engages in dialogues with the existing scholarship on general issues such as the relations between beliefs and performance, rituals and emotions, and rituals and social change.

Counts Toward International Studies

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ENGL B359 Dead Presidents

Fall 2024

Framed by the extravagant funerals of Presidents Washington and Lincoln, this course explores the cultural importance of the figure of the President and the Presidential body, and of the 19th-century preoccupations with death and mourning, in the U.S. cultural imaginary from the Revolutionary movement through the Civil War.

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GERM B223 Topics in German Cultural Studies

Section 001 (Fall 2024): Gender and Artificial Life

Fall 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies. Taught in English.

Current topic description: Gender and Artificial Life: Monsters, Machines, Lovers and Others: Beginning with Pygmalion's animated sculpture, the creation of artificial life from dead matter stages a gendered dynamic between the creator and creation--a dynamic that was renegotiated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and continues to be revisited today. Whereas Cartesian thought celebrates the perfectibility of automata and anthropomorphic machines, Romantic stories featuring animated dolls of women and Doppelgängers reveal a deep skepticism toward artificial life, bound to key aesthetic and philosophical questions that intersect with conceptions of the feminine at the time. Early film at the turn of the century both deploy and upend these characterizations, uncovering an aesthetic anxiety in the face of technological innovations and the quickly evolving life in the Metropolis--depicting Others along racialized and gendered lines. In the present day, recent blockbusters such as the Barbie movie feature created life and simulacra and extend these questions beyond those of mere human autonomy to the very nature of visuality and representation. This course will feature works by Ovid, ETA Hoffmann, Edgar Allen Poe, Sigmund Freud, Eichendorff, Goethe, the Grimms, as well as expressionist and recent films.

Writing Attentive

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

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HART B268 Telling Bryn Mawr Histories: Topics, Sources, and Methods

Not offered 2024-25

This course introduces students to archival and object-based research methods, using the College's built environment and curatorial and archival collections as our laboratory. Students will explore buildings, documents, objects, and themes in relation to the history of Bryn Mawr College. Students will frame an original group research project to which each student will contribute an individual component. Prerequisite: An interest in exploring and reinterpreting the institutional and architectural history of Bryn Mawr College and a willingness to work collaboratively on a shared project.

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HART B310 Topics in Medieval Art

Section 001 (Fall 2023): Art and Medieval Jewish Communities
Section 001 (Spring 2024): Africa & Byzantium

Fall 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies. Prerequisite: one course in History of Art at the 100- or 200-level or permission of the instructor. Enrollment preference given to majors and minors in History of Art.

Course does not meet an Approach

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ITAL B218 Early-Modern Intersections: a New Italian Renaissance

Fall 2024

The period or movement commonly referred to as the Renaissance remains one of the great iconic moments of global history: a time of remarkable innovation within artistic and intellectual culture, and a period still widely regarded as the crucible of modernity. Although lacking a political unity and being constantly colonized by European Empires, Italy was the original heartland of the Renaissance, and home to some of its most powerful and enduring figures, such as Leonardo and Michelangelo in art, Petrarch and Ariosto in literature, Machiavelli in political thought. This course provides an overview of transnational Italian culture from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century by adopting a cross-cultural, intersectional, and inter-disciplinary approach. The course places otherness at the center of the picture rather than at its margins, with the main aim to look at pivotal events and phenomena (the rise of Humanism, courtly culture, the canonization of the language), not only from the point of view of its protagonists but also through the eyes of its non-male, non-white, non-Christian, and non-heterosexual witnesses. The course ultimately challenges traditional accounts of the Italian Renaissance by crossing also disciplinary boundaries, since it examines not only literary, artistic, and intellectual history, but also material culture, cartography, science, technology, and history of food and fashion.All readings and class discussion will be in English. Students will have an additional hour of class for Italian credit.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Power, Inequity, and Justice (PIJ)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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MEST B100 Introduction to Middle Eastern, Central Asian and North African Studies

Fall 2024

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on analytical approaches, methods, and tools. Students consider the dynamics of the region in the premodern and modern periods and become familiar with the major issues and debates that dominate various disciplinary approaches to the Middle East. Readings include both important canonical and alternative scholarship in order to examine the limits and possibilities of the field.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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MEST B208 Introduction to the History of the Medieval Middle East

Not offered 2024-25

This course will provide an overview of the political and social history of the Middle East and North Africa from the sixth century C.E., in the Late Antique Period, with the tensions between the Byzantine and Sasanian empires and the rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, to the fourteenth century C.E., with the Mongol invasions marking the end of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad. While students will be introduced to the political figures and frameworks of this period, there will also be a focus on social and cultural developments among the diverse populations that lived in the medieval Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa, their relationships with one another, and how they interacted with their neighbors. Issues of political and religious authority and legitimacy, the development of social and cultural institutions, the production of artistic and literary works will also be explored.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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MEST B210 The Art and Architecture of Islamic Spirituality

Not offered 2024-25

This course examines how Muslim societies across time and space have used art and architecture in different ways to express and understand inner dimensions of spirituality and mysticism. Topics to be studied include: the calligraphical remnants of the early Islamic period; inscriptions found on buildings and gravestones; the majestic architecture of mosques, shrines, seminaries, and Sufi lodges; the brilliant arts of the book; the commemorative iconography and passion plays of Ashura devotion; the souvenir culture of modern shrine visitation; and the modern art of twenty-first century Sufism. Readings include works from history, religious studies, anthropology, sociology, and the history of art and architecture.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

Counts Toward Visual Studies

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MEST B215 Iran: History, Culture, and Politics

Spring 2025

This course explores the history, cultures, and politics of Iran from the time of the Arab Conquest in the 7th Century CE to the Iranian Revolution in 1979 CE. It introduces students to Iranian civilization through its changing political systems, rich intellectual and religious movements, and vibrant cultural developments that spanned this long period of time. It will examine the various ethnic, religious, and cultural groups that have called Iran home and look at the ways that the diverse inhabitants of the region have interacted with one another. This course will also pay special attention to important religious and intellectual thinkers including the mystic Bayazid Bistami, the Illuminationist Shihab al-din al-Suhrawardi, the poet Sa'adi Shirazi, the philosopher Mulla Sadra, the founder of the Baha'i faith Baha'ullah, and modern social theorist Ali Shariati.

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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MEST B302 The Legacy of Genghis Khan: The Mongols & Their Successors

Not offered 2024-25

This course examines the political, intellectual, and social history of Genghis Khan, the Ilkhanid Mongols, and their successors in the Middle East and Central Asia from the thirteenth century to the sixteenth century CE. We will consider the formation of new political norms, changing trends in trade, and an increasingly hybrid cultural and artistic production that characterize this period.

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MEST B305 Merchants, Pilgrims & Rogues: Travels through the Mid East

Not offered 2024-25

This course will critically approach the various ways that people have traveled to and within the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa in the medieval and modern periods. It will explore the many reasons that induced people to travel by looking at travelogues produced by these various travelers, the material culture of travel (e.g. pilgrimage scrolls, architecture and infrastructure that facilitated travel and lodging, movement of commodities, postcards, etc.), and scholarly work on travel, tourism, and migration more broadly. This course will include travels by merchants, pilgrims, adventurers, scholars, conquering armies, imperial powers, oil tycoons, and refugees.

Writing Attentive

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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MEST B315 Empire in the Premodern Middle East

Spring 2025

This course focuses on empire in Late Antique, medieval, and early modern Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, including that of the Sasanians, Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Ilkhanids, Safavids, and Ottomans. It will explore the rise, politics, economics, longevity, social relations, and cultural production of these empires. While examining the histories of these empires, students will also interrogate the very category of empire, its meanings, its institutions and actors, and its usefulness in studying the region. It will also consider how premodern empires differed from those of the modern period and how the legacies of these empires might continue into the present.

Writing Attentive

Counts Toward MECANA Studies

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flowers

Contact Us

Department of History

Professor Ignacio Gallup Diaz
Department Chair
Old Library 138
Email: igallupd@brynmawr.edu
Phone: 610-526-5037