Students must complete two 300-level history seminars in order to complete the major. Here are our seminar offerings for the 2012-2013 academic year.
History 314.01 "The U.S. Civil War: History and Memory."
Students in this seminar will complete major research projects about the U.S. Civil War and/or its presence in public memory. The Civil War was a major watershed event, and students will study a number of important recent trends and debates in its historiography before defining their own topics of research. We will consider new approaches to analyzing the military, economic, social, gender, and racial dimensions of the war as well as topics such as popular culture, geography, immigration, and transnational history. In addition to studying the war itself, students will also consider how Civil War commemorations continued to shape U.S. history and culture during Reconstruction and beyond. Prerequisites: Any 100-level history course and HIS 214. 4 credits. Ms. Purcell
History 329.01 "Latin America and the United States."
As the saying goes, Latin America lies too far from God and too close to the United States. This proximity has affected Latin American economics, demographics, culture, and politics. The seminar will begin with common readings. This year those common readings will focus on US attempts–both official and unofficial–to democratize and modernize the region. Students will then write a research paper using primary documents. These papers could focus on anyone of a number of issues that were central to US-Latin American relations such as hemispheric security, economic affairs, democracy, and socialism. A reading knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is helpful but not required. Prerequisites: Any 100-level history course and HIS 201, 202, or 204. 4 credits. Mr. Silva
History 373.01 "Chimerica: The History of a Special Relationship."
This seminar will address the history behind China and America's tumultuous - and increasingly symbiotic - bilateral relationship by examining American/Chinese interactions over the course of the 20th century. After reviewing the rich historiography on international, economic, and intercultural contact between these two Pacific states, we will turn to mapping out a collaborative research agenda based on available resources at Grinnell and surrounding libraries and archives. Students will then write individual research papers focused on some aspect of China-U.S. relations, with an eye toward explaining how contemporary patterns have been anticipated by historical interaction. Our penultimate goals will thus include: 1) extensive drafting and re-writing of a substantive, paper-length work of original research, and 2) developing an understanding of U.S.-China relations which accounts for the multiple levels of exchange, meaning, and past precedent at work in shaping our global present. Prerequisites: Any 100-level history course and any 200-level course on East Asian history or United States History. 4 credits. Mr. Johnson
History 312.01 "Race in Early America."
This seminar examines the social construction and significance of race during the colonial and early national periods in North America. In what ways did the concept of race in early America differ from our twenty-first century assumptions about race? How did Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans understand race? How did their experiences with one another shape their ideas about race? The readings are meant to introduce students to the various ways in which historians have examined race. Each student will be challenged to develop a historical question related to race. Students will then write a research paper to answer that question. Prerequisites: Any 100-level history course and any 200-level American History course, or permission of instructor. 4 credits. Mr. Lacson
History 323.01 "U.S. History." TBD.
History 336.01 "The European Metropolis."
This seminar examines the blossoming of new urban spaces in Europe from roughly 1850-1930, spaces characterized by unprecedented population density and diversity, radical shifts in infrastructure and communication, and vertiginous social and cultural developments. Using London, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin as case studies, we examine political developments, social theory, the visual arts, film, literature, architecture, consumer culture, and music. Concentrating in particular upon the ways that artists and intellectuals grappled with the idea and the experience of the metropolis, we consider such themes as community and alienation, the fluidity of the self, spectacle and entertainment, disease and criminality, and gender and class. Over the course of the semester students will complete substantial individual research projects on any topic related to the European metropolis. Prerequisite: Any 100-level history course and any 200-level European history course including British or Russian history. 4 credits. Ms. Maynard
History 361.01 "Sacred and Secular History in the Modern Middle East."
At the turn of the twentieth century, communities across the Middle East began to call for independence from the Ottoman Empire, European colonial authority, or both. That they did so on the basis of national identity and self-determination signaled a profound transformation in how these communities understood the nature of history and, as a result, how they “did history.” This transformation specifically, the development of secular historical narratives about the nature of community had tremendous implications for the place of religion in society, the political economies of communities in the Middle East, and the nature of government in the region. This course will begin with readings providing a common foundation in historiographic traditions in the Middle East and the appearance and contestation of nationalisms in the region. Students will then pursue research projects on a range of topics. Possibilities include (but are not limited to) comparison of sacred and secular historiographic traditions, particular nationalist histories, economic development programs, critiques of secular historical narratives from within the Muslim community, and the place of colonialism and international institutions in the emergence of nationalism in the Middle East. Prerequisite: Any course on the history of the Middle East. 4 credits. Mr. Elfenbein