Fall 2021 Undergraduate Courses

HIS 141 World History to 1500

Instructor: Prof. Schen
Time: MWF 9:10 AM - 10:00 AM

History 141 explores the development of societies in diverse regions of the world, from earliest times up to about 1500. Because it covers such a long period of time and such a wide range of places, the course is necessarily selective; it examines some themes and places more fully than others. But during these centuries, all parts of the globe saw the emergence of complex societies, cultures, and political arrangements By tracing the ways that process unfolded, History 141 seeks to provide students with a broad overview of world history, while also improving their skills of historical analysis and contributing to their understanding of the contemporary world.

HIS 144 Introduction to Health, Medicine, and Society

Instructor: Prof. Handley-Cousins
Time: MW 10:20 AM - 11:10 AM
Recitations: F 10:20 AM - 11:10 AM (2 offerings), F 12:40 PM - 1:30 PM, F 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

What does it mean to be healthy? What does it mean to be sick? And how have human beings tried to control health and illness? This course explores the many ways that humans have sought to understand bodies, to control disease, to comprehend death, and to deal with atypical bodies and minds. In this class, we will read and talk about the history of medicine, of course, but also touch upon a variety of social and cultural factors that help us to better understand the progress (or lack thereof) of scientific medicine: race, gender, ability, sexuality, class, colonialism, and oppression, among others. We will begin in ancient times and end in the modern era, but take a winding path on our journey, touching on everything from Egyptian death practices to eugenics to HIV/AIDS. The history of medicine is not a straight forward accounting of ingenuity and discovery, but rather a wild, crazy, sometimes gross, often horrifying, story about people and the worlds they lived in.

HIS 161 United States History I

Instructor: Prof. Casteel
Time: To be arranged
Recitations: F 10:20 AM - 11: 10 AM (6 offerings), F 11:30 AM - 12: 20 PM (2 offerings), F 12:40 PM - 1:30 PM (2 offerings), F 1:50 PM - 2:40 PM, F 9:10 AM - 10:00 AM

This is not your high school history class. We won't ignore presidents and generals but we will also push beyond them to look at ordinary people, popular culture, and the unexpected ideas that shaped American history from Native American settlement to the aftermath of the Civil War. We will pay particular attention to the interaction among Europeans Africans and the Native Peoples of the New World. We will also explore historical methodologies, practice critical thinking, and discuss how this history has shaped the country we know today. We will use film, music, and compelling stories to show that history is not just a list of names and dates; it is a gripping drama of individuals and groups from foot soldiers to farmers striving to create a new nation.

HIS 181 Asian Civilization I

Instructor: Prof. Liu
Time: TR 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
Recitations: F 10:20 AM - 11:10 AM (2 offerings), F 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM, F 12:40 PM - 1:30 PM, 

Introduction to major themes and events in the histories of China, Korea, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia in early times. Considers the developments of ways of thought, the emergence of and interactions among states and empires, and artistic and literary movements. Our goal is to understand the historical forces and transformations shaping Asia before about 1600. This course is the same as AS 181, and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. HIS 181 covers the AAL requirement.

HIS 199 UB Seminar

Instructor: Prof Emberton
Time: W 1:50 PM - 4:30 PM

Topic: Handmade History

Knitting! It’s not just for grandmas anymore. More people knit or crochet than ever before — an estimated 53 million people worldwide. 1 in 3 women know how to knit, and men are joining those ranks everyday. Studies show that knitting lowers blood pressure and eases anxiety and depression.  It’s popularity among millennials has sparked a revolution in fiber production, technology, and technique. And recent political upheavals have inspired a craftivist movement. Now you can knit a sweater and save the world!

In this course, we will explore the history of knitting and other forms of textile production through readings, podcasts, and films.

Most importantly, we will KNIT!


If you do not know how, you will learn how to read a pattern, choose the appropriate yarn for your project, cast on stitches, and create both functional and artistic handcrafted pieces.

If you have some experience knitting, this class will give you the opportunity to advance your skills and challenge your creativity.

Instructor: Prof. Stapleton
Time: MWF 10:20 AM - 11:10 PM 

Topic: Memoir and History

All humans constantly create narratives that tie the past to the present and generate meaning out of their personal experiences. Some people go further, sharing their life stories or parts of them with a broader public. In the first unit of this seminar we will consider how and why people construct memoirs and why they appeal to certain audiences. We will practice creating memoirs ourselves. In the second unit we will examine how historian’s approaches to the past differ from memoir writing and explore how historians evaluate and make use of memoirs as they study the past. In the third and final unit, we will learn about the practice of oral history and conduct interviews on some aspect of history possibly experiences of the Covid pandemic as part of group projects designed by the class. In addition to taking part in a group oral history project, everyone will submit a memoir of their own with reflections on how it was created.

Instructor: Prof. Langfur
Time: TR 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Topic: TBA

Instructor: Prof. Muller
Time: MWF 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Topic: TBA

HIS 203 Greek Civilization

Instructor: Prof. Teegarden
Time: TR 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

Elements of Greek civilization analyzed from synchronistic and developmental views to produce a coherent image of that culture as a living and expanding entity.This course is the same as CL 222, and course repeat rules will apply.

HIS 209 The American Civil War

Instructor: Prof. Emberton
Time: MWF 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Introduction to the causes of the American Civil War, its impact on the American nation, and its continued significance for American politics and society. Topics covered include: the role of slavery in antebellum politics and the crisis of the 1850s, army life, the changing nature of warfare and introduction of total war tactics, changes in gender relations and women's political activism, Abraham Lincoln and his assassination, slave emancipation, Reconstruction, and the memorialization of the war from the nineteenth century to the present day. We will read a variety of primary and secondary source documents, as well as literary treatments of the period and films, in order to obtain a fuller cultural understanding of this pivotal moment in American history.

HIS 217 Civil Rights in America

Instructor: Prof. Wolcott
Time: TR 9:35 AM - 10:50 AM

This course will examine the African American civil rights movement in America. Following the call to view civil rights from a local perspective, we will study the movement in a variety of locations: from the rural south to the urban north. In addition to examining the nonviolent struggle for integration in the South we will look at activist demands for better housing, jobs, and economic parity nationwide. Rather than viewing the black power movement as separate and divisive we will intertwine the history of black power and self-determination with the history of civil rights activism. Although the course will focus on the post- World War II period, we will discuss the roots of the movement in early twentieth-century struggles for justice.

HIS 240 Alcohol and Other Drugs in American History

Instructor: Prof. Herzberg
Time: MWF 10:20 AM - 11: 10 AM

In the 21st century, Americans are debating whether to legalize marijuana. But how did marijuana get to be illegal in the first place? Who decided that some drugs are so dangerous we should fight a war against them, while others are so beneficial that entire industries should be devoted to encouraging their use? Why are American debates over drugs so intense and so complex, and why have they produced such a contradictory legal and cultural landscape? This course answers such questions by exploring the rich history of alcohol and other drugs in America: from the Pilgrims? beer riots to Prohibition, from cocainized Coca-Cola to crackheads, from Bayer's Heroin to Purdue Pharmas OxyContin, from the Marlboro Man to vape lounges, from vipers to hippies to ravers. We will track the changing worlds of drug discovery and commerce; drug use and drug-using subcultures; drug regulation and policing (domestic and global); drug treatment and addiction science; and the shifting, racially-charged cultural politics of drugs.

HIS 243 A History of Eugenics

Instructor: Prof. Rembis
Time: TR 2:20 PM - 3:35 PM

This course is designed to give undergraduates an introduction to the history of eugenics and to situate American eugenics in a broader global context. The course begins in 1883 in England, with Francis Galton, the English aristocrat who created the science of eugenics. It then focuses on the United States from the 1880s to the end of World War II. In the second part of the course we explore the expansion of British/American eugenics to Latin America, and Eastern and Western Europe, including Nazi Germany. In the third part of the course, we explore the history of eugenics after World War II, all the way down to the turn of the 21st century, when the mapping of the human genome and developments in genetic science and reproductive technologies fueled new concerns about eugenics in the United States and abroad.

HIS 294 Holocaust: Hist, Culture, Mem.

Instructor: Prof. Pines
Time: TR 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

How did the Holocaust happen? How was the Final Solution developed and executed? How have victims, perpetrators, and bystanders written and re-written the accounts of what happened? And how do we remember this today? This course places the Holocaust in the broad context of Western history, thought, and culture by focusing on a variety of sources that include survivor testimonies, novels, and political theory. We will study classic texts such as Elie Wiesel's Night, Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, and Art Spiegelman's Maus. We will also view selected films, among them Claude Lanzmann's Shoah, and Alain Resnais' Night and Fog. This course is the same as JDS 208, and course repeat rules will apply.

HIS 300 The Age of Exploration

Instructor: Prof. Rhodes
Time: MWF 12:40 PM - 1:30 PM

Bridges the Atlantic by examining European exploration and the founding of European colonies in North and South America, 1400-1800.

HIS 301 Historical Writing

Instructor: Prof. Barclay
Time: MWF 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Instructor: Prof. Casteel
Time: TR 2:20 PM - 3:35 PM

Instructor: Prof. Handley-Cousins
Time: MWF 1:50 PM - 2:40 PM

This course is designed to help students develop the essential skills of good historical writing: the ability to synthesize a wide variety of secondary information, construct nuanced interpretations of primary source material, formulate original historical arguments, and tell engaging, meaningful stories about the past. Students will practice these four foundational areas (synthesis, analysis, argumentation, and narration) through a variety of informal and formal writing assignments, including blog posts, in-class writing, book reviews, and a research essay. In addition, students will gain experience presenting their work orally and visually.

HIS 306 Special Topics: Beastly Histories

Instructor: TBA
Time: MWF 11:30-12:20

What defines a human? What defines an animal? Throughout the course of human history, people have interacted with other animals, not only using them for food, clothing, labor and entertainment, but also associating with them as pets and companions, and even appreciating their behaviors intrinsically. This course will explore the interactions of humans with other animals in the context of the Atlantic World, from roughly the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. We will examine how Indigenous, European, and African descended peoples defined the concepts of “animal” and “human,” as well as their relationships with animals. A key theme in this course is how powerful thinkers used notions of animality and beasts to justify the subjugation and dispossession of certain groups of peoples. In particular, we will explore the various ways in which the oppression of animals and disabled people have overlapped in the early modern and modern eras. Using both Critical Disability Studies and Critical Animal Studies, we will explore the relationships between speciesism, ableism, saneism, and racism in the early modern and modern eras.

HIS 316 Early Modern Europe

Instructor: Prof. Vardi
Time: MW 12:40 PM - 2:00 PM

This course is designed to help students develop the essential skills of good historical writing: the ability to synthesize a wide variety of secondary information, construct nuanced interpretations of primary source material, formulate original historical arguments, and tell engaging, meaningful stories about the past. Students will practice these four foundational areas (synthesis, analysis, argumentation, and narration) through a variety of informal and formal writing assignments, including blog posts, in-class writing, book reviews, and a research essay. In addition, students will gain experience presenting their work orally and visually.

HIS 318 History of Ireland

Instructor: Prof. McDevitt
Time: TR 11:10 AM - 12: 25 PM

This course is an introduction to the history and historiography of Ireland, with an emphasis on Ireland’s social, cultural, and political history from the 1798 United Irishmen’s Rebellion to the 2009 publication of the Ryan Report for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. While the past is important to most modern cultures, it is particularly central to modern Irish society where various interpretations of the past are often used as ammunition in the on-going battle over the relationship between the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland. The goal of the class will be to untangle the intertwined threads of history, legend, propaganda, and folklore that comprise the Irish vision of the past. The goals of this class are to deepen students’ historical knowledge, sharpen their historical skills, and stimulate and enhance their historical thinking. All three learning outcomes will be assessed via class discussion, written assignments, and examinations. Students should come to master the generally accepted facts of the topic, understand the contested nature of the historical record and the relationship of historical practice to the historiographical literature, and finally, demonstrate and improve their critical reasoning via oral and written argumentation.

HIS 322 Latin America: Culture and History

Instructor: Prof. Muller
Time: MWF 1:50 PM - 2:40 PM

The leaders of the newly independent Latin American nations faced a multitude of problems. Geography, culture, economics, and political rivalries doomed most Latin nations to chaos and economic underdevelopment. The first part of this class will focus on the colonial legacy and nineteenth century frustration. The class will examine two unique attempts to grapple with those problems in Haiti and Paraguay. The next two sections will cover failed attempts at reform in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay and then study equally futile revolutions in Mexico, Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. The fourth section of the course will focus on current problems, including drugs, debt, immigration, and the looming pressure of the United States.

HIS 328 History of Brazil

Instructor: Prof. Langfur
Time: TR 9:35 AM - 10: 50 AM

Examines major topics in Brazilian History, including the conquest of Amerindians, the consolidation of Portuguese colonial society, the role of slavery and abolition, the interplay of political independence and economic independence, and the contest between authoritarian rule and democracy. Considers Brazilian women's lives, race and ethnic relations, environmental controversies, and the cultural expressions of religion, music, and sport - all in historical perspective. Covers five centuries of social change, from the arrival of European colonists to the recent past.

HIS 367 Gender and Sexuality in Africa

Instructor: Prof. Mbah
Time: TR 11:10 AM - 12:25 PM

How have African women and men defined their social lives, ascribed gender roles and identities, and practiced sexualities in the modern age? How have African women and men’s reconciliation of gender and sexuality with social categories such as age, seniority, (dis)-ability, and ethnicity enabled them to emerge as agents of social change? Social practices: work, leisure, production, consumption, marriage and political rebellion were contested definitions of gender and sexuality in Africa. The course examines African gender and sexuality in conversation with feminist and masculinity studies, and queer theory. It interrogates the constructions and performances of masculinity, female power/authority, and sexuality in Africa, in contexts such as state formation, religious communities, the Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, African nationalism, apartheid, and post colonialism. It examines the historical production of gendered inequalities and historical methodology of these histories. This course is the same as AAS 312 & HIS 360 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.

HIS 370 Modern Korean History

Instructor: Prof. Nathan
Time: MWF 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

This course looks at the historical transformations that shaped Korean society, culture and politics in the peninsula from the late 19th century to the present. Attention will be given to Korea¿s interconnections with events occurring elsewhere in East Asia and other parts of the world as we examine the fast moving events following Korea¿s forced ¿opening¿ in 1876 by Japan. Included among the major historical events and issues that will be covered in this course on modern Korean history are imperialism and self-strengthening efforts, the period of Japanese colonial rule and its effects on Korean society and politics, the division of the country after 1945 and the Korean War, authoritarianism and military dictatorship in the South, along with the concurrent industrialization and economic development of the 1960s and 70s, student protests and democratization in the South, post-war developments in North Korea, current problems in inter-Korean relations and the prospects for unification in the peninsula. This course is the same as AS 370, and course repeat rules will apply.

HIS 391 China and the World

Instructor: Prof. Liu
Time: TR 9:35 AM - 10:50 AM

Survey of Chinese views of the world order, exchanges in material culture across China's borders, and the ways in which Chinese governments and people have interacted with the world from the imperial era to the present era of the rise of China. This course is the same as AS 391, and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.

HIS 394 Medieval Civilization II

Instructor: Prof. Glodzik
Time: TR 2:20 PM - 3:35 PM

This course forms the second semester of a year-long sequence devoted to an exploration of the medieval European world. It is not necessary that students have previously taken History 393: Medieval Civilization I. History 394 will consider the period from c. 1100 to c. 1450. This course will focus on several historical themes. The main purpose of the course is to understand the culture and society of the medieval world. The course will explore the organization of society and the values expressed within it both from the popular and elite viewpoints. We will also spend significant time focusing on the role of Christianity in medieval society. In considering these matters, less attention will be paid to a narrative of events than to a scrutiny of key developments and transformations. The readings for this course will include both recent interpretive studies and primary sources. In addition to participation in class discussion, two take-home essay exams and a term paper are required.

HIS 395 Special Topics: Power, Suppression, and Identity: Women of Early Modern England

Instructor: Prof. Peck
Time: TR 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

This course will explore the roles of women from 1500 to 1750. From Queen Elizabeth I to those of lowest classes, many women within early modern England possessed areas of autonomy within their society. Topics include medicine, religion, family life, politics, and leadership. Through these examinations, we will explore how these factors along with patriarchal theories about the female body mobilized beliefs that contributed to England’s Witch Craze, theories about monsters, and more.

HIS 403 Special Topics: The Politics of Memory, Violence, and Protest in Cold War Latin America

Instructor: Prof. Trumper
Time: TR 9:35 AM - 10:50 AM

This course explores the history of state-sponsored violence in the Americas paying particular attention to violence, memory, repression and human rights, as well as tireless efforts to contest authoritarian regimes. We begin the class with a range of broad writings that map the contours of growing field of the history and anthropology of violence, and the hemispheric history of the Cold War in the Americas. In the weeks that follow, we pay close attention to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil as case studies that illuminate these larger histories. We set each national case study in historical context, discuss key readings, and watch and analyze a film that develops the themes embedded in each place and time. This hybrid is a class, in which we will “meet” online once a week to watch films, share ideas online, and discuss key questions. We will also meet in person to discuss and debate film and readings, once a week.

HIS 418 Comparative Slavery: Africa, America, and the Caribbean

Instructor: Prof. Mbah
Time: TR 2:20 PM - 3:35 PM

This seminar examines slavery in a global context, by comparing and contrasting systems of slavery and slave experiences from classical Greece and Rome, through Medieval Europe and Islamic Mediterranean, to the Modern Atlantic (Africa, Europe, Americas). It demonstrates how slavery went from a common human practice to a racialized operation in the modern period. It is divided into five parts: old world slavery, colonial slave systems, slave societies, slavery and gender, and slave soldiers. Throughout the course, we will seek to understand how and why the institution of slavery changed over time and why it was different from place to place.

HIS 419 Special Topics: Cultural History

Instructor: TBD
Time: TBD

Course Description: Instructor and specific topic will be announced in June.

HIS 420 Special Topics: Vichy France

Instructor: Prof. Vardi
Time: W 4:10 PM - 6:50 PM

Course Description: TBA

HIS 438 European Intellectual History

Instrucor: Prof. Dewald
Time: MW 1:50 PM - 3:10 PM

An introduction to the intellectual history of Europe since the Enlightenment studied through analysis and important documents of philosophy, political and social theory, literature and art. A central focus of this course will be the consciousness of a crisis of modern society and culture that permeated broad sections of nineteenth and twentieth century thought. The course begins with an examination of the humanistic values of the Enlightenment, traces their fate in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and concludes with the question of their survival in our time. Readings will be selected from a variety of thinkers - Voltaire, Goethe, Hegel, Marx, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kafka, Max Weber, Freud, Brecht, Sartre, Orwell, and Foucault - representing a broad spectrum of philosophic and political opinion. At the same time an attempt will be made to examine the history of ideas within the broader framework of the political, social, economic, and cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

HIS 447 Health and Illness in American History

Instructor: Prof. Herzberg
Time: W 12:40 PM - 3:20 PM

This course traces the experiences of health, illness, and medicine in American history in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will address the shift from traditional to scientific and professional medicine; the experience of being ill and of being a patient; the "medicalization" of everyday experiences; the health impact of modern commercial capitalism; and the use of medicine as a source of cultural authority in ongoing political battles over identity (e.g. citizenship, race, gender, sexuality). Students will have the opportunity to find and analyze historical documents in a substantial research project.

HIS 473 Technology in American Society & Culture

Instructor: Prof. Casteel
Time: M 12:40 PM - 3:20 PM

Subject matter determined by instructor. TBA

HIS 493 Topics in African American History: Racism in American Medicine

Instructor: Prof. Barclay
Time: MW 1:50 PM - 3:10 PM

This course addresses the history of health, healing, and medicine in the United States through the lens of African American history from slavery to the present. It examines institutionalized racism in professional medicine, including public health, clinical research, and education. Race-based medicine responded to the changing politics of race, gender, sexuality, and disability in different historical eras, intersecting with specialties like pulmonology, gynecology, cardiology, and psychiatry as well as public policy. The use of medical discourse to pathologize blackness often contoured social anxieties, policed Black behavior, and justified racial oppression. Because Black communities were not – and are not – idle in the face of health-based injustice, this course also considers the long history of Black-led care and community-based healthcare initiatives, institutions, and organizations.  

HIS 496 Public History Internship

Instructor: Prof. Trumper
Time: Arranged 

Students learn to connect their historical studies with the world outside the academy by doing an internship at a historical site or museum. Students must arrange the internship themselves. The internship site must have a strong connection to history; some local examples include the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, the Amherst Museum, Old Fort Niagara, and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural site. Students register for this course through the History Department's Director of Undergraduate Studies.

HIS 497 Honors Seminar

Instructor: Prof. Daum
Time: F 9:10 AM - 11:50 AM

All seniors in the History honors program are required to take this two-semester sequence. The first semester consists of weekly seminars that will help students choose a good topic and teach research strategies. The second semester involves a research project arranged with and carried out under the guidance of a faculty member.