History Undergraduate Courses

Click on any course title below to read its description. Courses offered in the upcoming semester include a schedule, and are indicated by a label to the right of the title.

Surveys the development of Western society and culture from a.d. 1000 to the French Revolution of 1789. Topics include the development of medieval European society and culture, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the scientific revolution, absolutism, enlightened despotism, and eighteenth-century rationalism.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Deese CAS 229 M 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

A survey of Western society from the French Revolution through World War II, including the Industrial Revolution, nineteenth-century nationalism and imperialism, the rise of working-class movements, international rivalries, and ideological conflict in the twentieth century.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Deese CAS 428 R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Growth of the United States from the colonial wars to the end of the Civil War. Explores British colonial policy, the Revolution, and the Constitution. Analyzes Federalism, Jeffersonian revolution, and westward expansion. Examines sectionalism, slavery, and war.   [ 4 cr. ]

Continues MET HI 151. Analyzes the Reconstruction; economic expansion; problems of transportation, business, agriculture, labor, and finance; the populist movement; the place of the United States among nations; reform legislation; the United States in World War I; the New Deal; and World War II and after.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course explores the origins, events, and consequences of the wars in Vietnam from 1945 to 1979. Special emphasis will be given to the causes of American involvement and the reasons for the failures of U.S. policy. The events of the wars are placed in different contexts demonstrating how ideological, diplomatic, social, cultural, and economic considerations influenced the conduct, duration, and end of the war. Topics include: French colonialism in Vietnam, the outbreak of the Cold War and America's road to Indochina, how the wars were fought, the battlefield experience of American troops, the media and the war, the American antiwar movement, the impact of war on Vietnamese society, Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese nationalism, the roles of the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union, the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia, the Sino-Vietnamese war, cinematic representations of the American War, and the Vietnam War's legacies in South East Asia and in the U.S.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Holm CGS 515 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

This intensive course will broadly survey maritime history, human sea-borne enterprise and the development of sea power since the Age of European Expansion, through the lens of classic works of maritime fiction. Classes will alternate between historic lectures (meant to set the course readings into context) and discussion of the literary motifs and characters found in a selection of timeless tales of the sea.   [ 4 cr. ]

Immigration has made and is remaking America. All Americans, or their ancestors, were at one time immigrants. This course provides a historical survey of this immigration. The first half of the course explores eighteenth- and nineteenth-century immigration movements; the second half focuses on the twentieth century.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Alpert CAS 208 R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This course examines the historical and social context of landmark judicial trials in Massachusetts from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. The background, issues, and outcome of each trial is observed within itself and in relation to the larger context in which it occurred. Certain legal strategies will be discussed, as well as the fairness or unfairness of the outcome of each trial and its effect on the society as a whole.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course introduces the mutual roles of Oil and War in shaping the history and society of the Middle East (Arab Countries, Iran, Turkey and Israel) from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Through primary sources in English, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew it examines how the World Wars, Gulf Wars and internal ethnic and religious crises developed social changes in the Middle East. On the other hands, it sheds light on the role of Oil in attracting the attention of oil companies, powers and superpowers to the region and spreading the flames of the war to other parts of the world. This course approaches the content through interdisciplinary methods to have a more comprehensive introduction to the roles of Oil and War in the world in general and in the Middle East specifically.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Kamali MCS B25 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Analysis of the crucial role played by the nations of Europe in the great international developments of the past century and a half. Special attention to the role and challenges of the diplomacy of war and peace.   [ 4 cr. ]

Middle East history, culture and civilizations. From the Seventh to the beginning of Twentieth Century; Ancient civilizations, advent of Abrahamic faith systems, surge and expansion of Arab-Muslim Societies, Crusaders, Persian and Turkic people, Colonialism and National states. What we learn from yesterday to understand today.   [ 4 cr. ]

International relations. Political, social, and ideological developments in the principal countries of Europe from the Congress of Vienna to the outbreak of World War I.   [ 4 cr. ]

Using historical studies, fiction, and film, this course explores the major twentieth-century European political struggles from the perspective of ordinary citizens. Topics include the cultural impact of mass warfare, the invasion of ideology in private life, sexual politics, and the drive for independence of the colonized peoples. The course stresses the building of writing and discussion skills with the chance to rewrite and to debate interpretations of events and trends with classmates.   [ 4 cr. ]

Middle East history and society from World War I to the present. Emphasis on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, colonial rule in the Arab world, formation of the nation states, rise of nationalism, struggle for independence, discovery of oil, modernization, the Arab and Israeli conflict, revolution, reemergence of Islam as a political ideology, the Gulf War and United States involvement, Arab spring and concept of democracy.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course surveys the history of America at war from pre-conquest Native American warfare to modern times. It covers colonial-era traditions, the Revolutionary War, 19th century wars with Britain, Mexico, and Spain, the Civil War, the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and modern wars in the Greater Middle East. Attention is paid to varying military traditions, military culture and capabilities, from backwoods skirmishing to set-piece battles, to total war on a global scale, to today's fighting against irregular enemies employing evolving combat doctrines and assets. Documentary and other films will enhance class discussion of the evolution of American warfare and of Americans at war.  [ 4 cr. ]

Exploration of twentieth-century China. Emphasis on the conditions inside and outside China that led to the revolution and to the establishment of the present state. The Cultural Revolution and its effect on present-day China.  [ 4 cr. ]

Impact of industrialization; progressive impulse and politics; American imperialism; World War I; reaction and social revolt; technology, prosperity, and fundamentalism; the Great Depression; Roosevelt, the New Deal, and welfare capitalism; and politics and foreign policy.   [ 4 cr. ]

The origins and consequences of World War II; the Truman administration and the Fair Deal; the origins of the cold war; international and domestic issues and conflicts from the 1950s to the 1980s.  [ 4 cr. ]

Historical patterns of racial relations and participation of African Americans in American social, economic, political, and cultural life. Major historical events and institutions: the slave system, Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization, urbanization, the New Deal, and the civil rights movement.   [ 4 cr. ]

The foundations, development, and "fate" of Boston since the colonial period. Explores the architecture, geography, social structure, and economic development of the city, as well as political changes.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Allison CAS 227 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

American women's history from the time of European settlement to the 1980s. Women's changing patterns of family life, paid and unpaid work, political and social involvement, and attempts to change the shape of their world. The goals of the course are to acquaint students with the significant concepts and events in women's history and, through class discussions, to engage students in ongoing debates about their meanings.   [ 4 cr. ]

Historical contexts of the magical world view; charms and spells, oracles and divination, control of spirits, metamorphosis, and alchemy in selected periods of the ancient and medieval world.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course deals with international films about revolution and war, their origins, social consequences, and legacies. It considers films from and about Japan, Africa, India, the Americas and Europe. It explores "the angle of vision" problem in history: who should we trust more, eye-witness accounts, great film recreations, novelists, or traditional historians? Who gets us closest to the "truth" of the human experience and condition?   [ 4 cr. ]

Examines the history of the U.S. through the lens of the United States Supreme Court. The course focuses on the Court's institutional history and functions, its impact on the development of the Constitution, its major rulings, and many of the judges who have served on the nation's highest court. Students will become familiar with controversial legal debates including the changing nature of commerce, slavery, definitions of citizenry, individual rights including the right to privacy, and the dispute over the reach of the Federal Government's power. Finally the course will place the role of the Court within the context of American social, cultural, and political history."   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Holm CAS 222 T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This course provides an introduction to the role of women in European history. Readings and discussion focus broadly on changing attitudes, expectations, and opportunities for women by exploring such topics as convent life, working conditions, charity, the witch craze, and political and religious upheaval. It also examines the challenge of writing women back into history and looks at the lives and strategies of individual women.   [ 4 cr. ]

Significant themes in American social history in the twentieth century, including radical and protest movements, mass media, ethnic movements and conflict, urban disorders, and attitudes. Basic themes vary with the instructor and semester.   [ 4 cr. ]

The increase in scholarly and popular interest in humor during the past several decades demonstrates a heightened awareness of the significance of humor in American culture. This course analyzes the historical and sociological patterns of humor and their relation to social change and conflict in twentieth-century America. Includes readings from the social sciences and humanities and a series of films.  [ 4 cr. ]

This course will focus on the changing institution of the American Presidency from 1901 to the present. As it examines the policies and personalities of modern U.S. presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama, this course will pay special attention to the evolving concept of the "imperial presidency" over the past century. We will also consider how changes in our political culture, driven by the rapid evolution of new communication technologies, have transformed the office of the presidency.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Lynch CAS 237 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm