The History of the United States History From 1865 to the Present
17th Century Atlantic America
19th Century American Social and Cultural History
Jewish History I: The Ancient and Medieval Experience
This course offers an overview of Jewish history from biblical antiquity to the beginning of the modern period (ca. 1550), examining the social, religious, economic, political and cultural dimensions of the pre-modern Jewish experience. We will focus on the questions of how Jews around the world and throughout time have defined themselves in relation to their own historical past and the interactions between Jews and the various societies and cultures in which they have lived. Topics will include the biblical heritage, Jewish life in the Greek and Roman worlds, the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.), the growth of the global Jewish Diaspora, the emergence of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, Jewish communal life under medieval Islam and Christianity, medieval Jewish philosophy, literature, and religious thought, mysticism, anti-Judaism, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Spanish and Portuguese expulsions and the emergence of the early modern Jewish world. This is an introductory course that assumes no prior knowledge of Judaism or Jewish history. We will read and critically analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources, including religious and legal writings, archeological and artistic images, and modern scholarly interpretations. Readings will be drawn from a variety of sources, including selections from the Bible, Talmud, and medieval Jewish religious, legal, and philosophical writings, as well as a number of other texts, possibly including Rader Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World; Barnavi, Historical Atlas of the Jewish People; Schaffer, The Jews in the Greco-Roman World; Shanks, Ancient Israel. Requirements include three five-page papers in response to primary sources, a midterm exam, and a final exam. HIEU 209 is followed in the spring by HIEU 210, Jewish History II: The Modern Experience (though the two courses may also be taken separately).
Environmental History of the Americas
Religion in 20th Century American Life
This seminar will introduce students to the advanced practice of history through a close examination of religion in 20th century American life. We will read a mixture of primary and secondary sources that probe the nature of spiritual experience and religious organization, both in private and public life. The seminar will move chronologically, but will center thematically on the problem of secularization, particularly among intellectuals; increased religious diversity twinned with the continued assertion of America’s identity as a Christian nation; and the rise of the religious right. Episodes to be considered include the 19th-century inheritance, the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the 1920's, the rise of neo-orthodox theology, the development of religious conservatism, the Cold War and Christianity, the post-1965 growth in nontraditional and non-Western religions, and the intersections between gender, politics and religion. We will also spend some time thinking about the practice of religious history. Is religious history its own kind of history? What issues and concerns are unique to studying our religious past?
The course will be writing intensive, with weekly written assignments and at least two short papers. (This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.) Participation is particularly important, and will be an important part of the final course grade. Through our weekly conversations we will create a community of inquiry, visiting common themes throughout the semester. Our university setting provides a unique opportunity to talk about issues that are too often simplified or obscured by controversy. Students of all faith traditions, or none in particular, are encouraged to enroll.
Because assigned books may not be available in campus bookstores by the beginning of the semester, students are advised that the following books will be used in the first weeks of class: Roger Finke and Rodney Starke, The Churching of America (please bring to first class meeting), Edward Larson, Summer for the Gods. These texts may be ordered on-line. Students should also have a copy of the Bible handy for easy reference throughout the semester.
9/11 and American Foreign Relations
In this course we will examine the impact of 9/11 on the evolution of U.S. foreign policy.
We will look at some of the books on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the "War on Terror." But we will also explore the impact of 9/11 on other aspects of U.S. foreign relations. During the first part of the course we will read several of the most important accounts on the Bush administration and U.S. foreign policy, e.g. James Mann's, The Rise of the Vulcans, George Packer's, The Assassins' Gate, Bob Woodward's, Bush at War, Thomas E. Ricks', Fiasco, Ron Suskind's, The One Percent Doctrine, and Ali Allawi's, The Occupation of Iraq. But the focus of the course will be on the preparation of a major research paper based on primary sources. Students will be expected to examine congressional hearings, memoirs, newspapers, the electronic data bases of various government agencies, and other records and integrate these findings with insights gleaned from the recent secondary literature. Early in the semester students will submit a research proposal and a working bibliography. Later in the semester students will discuss drafts of their paper with the entire seminar. They will then have a chance to revise their drafts and submit a final essay of about 25-30 pages, plus notes and bibliography.