Fall 2022 Undergraduate Courses

HIS 141 World History to 1500

Instructor: Faculty
Lecture: MW 9:00-9:50
Recitation options: F 9:00-9:50 (x2), 11:00-11:50, 12:00-12:50

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. PRE

HIS 144 Introduction to Health, Medicine, and Society

Instructor: Prof. Rembis
Lecture: TR 2:00-2:50
Recitation options: F 10:00-10:50, 12:00-12:50, 2:00-2:50

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. USH

HIS 161 United States History I

Instructor: C. Casteel
Lecture: MW 1:00-1:50
Recitation options: F 9:00-9:50 (x2), 11:00-11:50 (x2), 1:00-1:50 (x2)

Instructor: T. Thornton
Lecture: TR 9:30-10:20
Recitation options: F 9:00-9:50 (x2), 11:00-11:50 (x2), 1:00-1:50 (x2)

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. USH

HIS 181 Asian Civilization I

Instructor: Prof. Liu
Lecture: TR 12:30-1:20
Recitation options: F 10:00-10:50, 12:00-12:50, 2:00-2:50

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. McDevitt
Topic: Social and Cultural History of Soccer
Time: MW 10:00-11:20

*This section is reserved for Honors College students only.

This first-year seminar probes the recent history of soccer to analyze larger social, political, cultural, and economic processes. The main concerns of the course are wide-ranging, and include exploring the relationships between sports and politics, popular culture and national identity, gender and equality. We will explore the following questions: How and why did soccer become the world’s most popular sport? How has the growth and professionalization of the sport influenced the construction of race, gender, and national identities? How has soccer reshaped debates about human rights, equality, and citizenship? And, how do debates over the team composition, designation of home locales, and even playing styles of the U.S.'s men's and women's national squads reflect, and potentially recast, larger conversations about citizenship and national identity?

These questions signal the need to think broadly and historically about the ties between sport and society. They are intended as starting points, and will be complemented by new questions and concerns that students will raise in discussions and individual assignments, group presentations, and research papers. The aims for this course are threefold. First, students will strengthen critical reading and writing skills through weekly assignments designed to sharpen written and oral communication. Second, students will acquire first-hand historical research experience through the production of an original research paper. This process immerses you in the thick of scholarship, and will enhance awareness about methodology and historiography. And, finally, in framing this course in an Americas perspective, I invite students to think about the interconnected and transnational arenas through which ostensibly local (and national) histories of soccer play out.

Instructor: Prof. Seeman
Topic: History of Ghosts
Time: TR 11:00-12:20

This course examines the history of ghosts in Europe and North America from the medieval period until today.  Ghosts can tell us a great deal about a society’s attitudes toward religion, death, and the afterlife, but only if we listen carefully to historical informants who report supernatural visitations.  Central to this course will be the analysis of continuity and change over time.  Ghosts in medieval Europe, colonial British North America, and the twenty-first-century United States are all described in very different ways, yet similarities remain in the messages that ghosts bring from the other side.  This course uses art, literature, film, and traditional historical sources such as newspapers and diaries to interrogate ghost stories.  At the same time, the course introduces students to a variety of methodologies, including intellectual history, social history, and cultural history.

Instructor: Prof. Wolcott
Topic: American Utopias
Time: MF 10:00-11:20

Oscar Wilde wrote, “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at.” Since the colonial period Americans have embraced utopia as both a literary form and as an opportunity to live their ideals in intentional communities. By the twentieth century American utopian thought pervaded architecture, theme parks, and university campuses. In this course we will read and discuss a variety of utopias, looking for similarities and differences that helped define American visions for the future. In addition, students will be introduced to historical methodologies and have an opportunity to create their own utopia in a group project. We will also take time in class to discuss and implement time management skills, research skills, and other components that lead to success in the classroom.

HIS 203 Greek Civilization

Instructor: Prof. Teegarden
Time: TR 9:30-10:50

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. PRE

HIS 240 Alcohol and Other Drugs in American History

Instructor: Prof. Herzberg
Time: MWF 10:00-10:50

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. USH

HIS 290 History of Antisemitism: From Antiquity to the Present

Instructor: Prof. Pines
Time: TR 2:00-3:20

The course examines the history of antisemitism from antiquity to the present by focusing on central questions such as: What is the definition of antisemitism and what are its historical origins? How did anti-Jewish attitudes develop over time in non-Jewish societies? What are the main historical events associated with antisemitism? And what role does antisemitism play in the world today? The course will examine antisemitism as a central phenomenon of Western history, and survey its different manifestations in the pagan world of antiquity, medieval Christian society, as well as in modern Europe and North America. This course is the same as JDS 275 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. EUR

HIS 293 The Second World War

Instructor: Prof. K. Zubovich
Time: TR 5:00-6:20

The Second World War was the most destructive and profoundly transformative conflict of modern world history. This course will examine the origins, key decisions, major turning points, and consequences of the war from several perspectives. Because war constitutes one of the most terrible and all-embracing aspects of the human experience, considerable time will also be devoted to non-military aspects: daily life, propaganda, culture, and some of the ethical and practical dilemmas faced by ordinary people and leaders alike. EUR

HIS 301 Historical Writing

Instructor: Prof. Barclay
Time: MW 3:00-4:20

Instructor: Prof. Casteel
Time: TR 9:30-10:50

Instructor: Prof. G. Zubovich
Time: TR 3:30-4:50

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 307 History of Paris

Instructor: Prof. Vardi
Time: TR 3:30-4:50

The objectives of the course are to provide students with insights both into European urbanization and the specific development and cultural importance of Paris. The course covers four different time periods:  the Middle Ages, the eighteenth century, the second half of the nineteenth century (from Haussmanization during the Second Empire to the 1889 World's Fair and the Eiffel Tower), ending with the post-WWI influx of Americans, known as The Lost Generation. The main text for the course will be Colin Jones' History of Paris. Students are encouraged to write a research paper on an American in Paris from a list of important visitors. EUR

HIS 308 Special Topics Film and Literature in Iran

Instructor: Prof. Khafipour
Time: MWF 11:00-11:50

This course explores the history of contemporary Iran through the study of social tensions created by tradition-modernity, poverty-wealth, religion and politics as reflected in the films and literature of the country. We will examine poetry, short stories, and film by prominent thinkers and writers of Iran. The theoretical approach of the course allows students to extrapolate broader patterns and insights, which can be applied to the study of other societies in the Middle East.  

HIS 317 History of Early Modern Britain

Instructor: Prof. Blakeley-Clark
Time: MWF 9:00-9:50

This course surveys British history between c. 1485 and c. 1800, between the end of a civil war and the dawn of an industrial and imperial world power.  We will study topics from among the following: social changes that affected women, the family, and household; political transformations that shaped the relationship of King and Parliament, government and people; religious reformations that made Britain an officially Protestant country; cultural developments that contributed to philosophy, science, the arts, and literature; and economic revolutions that impacted agriculture and spurred industry. PRE

HIS 328 History of Brazil

Instructor: Prof. Langfur
Time: TR 2:00-3:20

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. AAL

HIS 344 Spain, Portugal, & the World

Instructor: Prof. Pack
Time: MWF 1:00-1:50

Broad historical survey of the Iberian Peninsula from prehistory to the present. Topics include: geography of Iberia; complex institutional. Cultural, and religious interactions of the medieval period; the rise and historical development of the Spanish and Portuguese empires; numerous crises that beset the peninsula in the modern period; and the return of stability and prosperity over the last half-century. PRE

HIS 347 Renaissance Italy

Instructor: Prof. Glodzik
Time: 2:00-3:20

This course concentrates on the Renaissance in Italy from the fourteenth through the early sixteenth century. The focus will be on intellectual world, exploring the understanding of human potential in both the active and the contemplative life as well as the influence of classical and Christian antiquity. Attention is also be paid to the social and political context in the urban centers of Venice, Florence, and Rome. PRE

HIS 391 China and the World

Instructor: Y. Liu
Time: TR 3:30-4:50

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. AAL

HIS 393 Medieval Civilization I

Instructor: TBA
Time: MWF 2:00-2:50

The first semester of a two-semester sequence devoted to an exploration of the medieval European world. This course examines the earlier Middle Ages, from c. 450 to c.1100 AD, that is from the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West and the disintegration of classical civilization to the First Crusade.  This course will focus on certain kinds of historical themes and issues and will adopt a certain approach to historical inquiry. The main purpose is to understand the culture and society of the medieval world. How was society organized? What was the mental outlook? What values were assumed or articulated? In particular, what was the role of Christianity, and how did Christianity as a set of beliefs and as a set of institutions influence, and in turn become influenced by, 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. We will look at the barbarian world, the Carolingian Empire, the Vikings, the development of feudalism, and the circumstances that led to the First Crusade. PRE

HIS 394 Medieval Civilization II

Instructor: Prof. Devlin
Time: TR 9:30-10:50

The second semester of a yearlong sequence devoted to an exploration of the medieval European world. It is not assumed, however, that students enrolled in the course have previously taken HIS 393 Medieval Civilization I. HIS 393 examined the earlier Middle Ages, from c.450 to c.1100. HIS 394 will consider the later period, from c.1100 to c.1500. This period was marked by new patterns of spiritual and intellectual life, by the emergence of new ideals of aristocratic demeanor and behavior (chivalry and courtly love), by the growth (and the decline) of papal authority, by the re-emergence of cities, and the revival of monarchical power. This course will focus on certain kinds of historical themes and issues and will adopt a certain approach to historical inquiry. The main purpose is to understand the culture and society of the medieval world. How was society organized? What was the mental outlook? What values were assumed or articulated? A particular focus will be the role and significance of Christianity. How did Christianity as a set of beliefs and as a set of institutions influence, and in turn become influenced by, medieval society? PRE

HIS 409 Voyages of Discovery

Instructor: Prof. Vardi
Time: R 12:00-2:40

Europeans have always been on the move, visiting or trading with other parts of the world, or bent on conquest as during the medieval Crusades. With the discovery of the New World, a new era nonetheless opens when the accumulation of territory and goods would appear boundless, inciting further voyages to find places as yet "undiscovered" and "unclaimed." Through primary readings of explorers' accounts and through secondary analyses, we will chart the changing aims and justifications for such explorations: what drove them, what stimulated individuals who undertook them, who financed them and to what ends. PRE

HIS 429 History of the American Landscape

Instructor: Prof. Thornton
Time: T 12:30-3:10

Introduces students to the historical study of the human-made landscape.  Focusing on phenomena ranging from Puritan town plans to streetcar suburbs, and domestic architecture to shopping plazas, students learn to evaluate the landscape as the historical artifact of human activity and human choices, shaped by a shifting mix of cultural values, economic patterns, technological developments, and government policies. USH

HIS 440 Special Topics: Stalinism

Instructor: Prof. K. Zubovich
Time: T 12:30-3:10

The Stalin era was one of the most turbulent periods in Soviet history. Between 1928 and 1953, the Soviet Union was dramatically transformed by rapid industrialization, collectivization, state violence and terror, and war. In this seminar, students will explore the major events and turning points of this period. We will also learn about key debates and themes in the historiography of Stalinism. EUR

HIS 447 Health and Illness in American History

Instructor: Prof. Daxenbichler
Time: MW 4:10-5:30

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 healthcare as a form of ¿biopower,¿ that is, as a tool of governance in American social hierarchies of citizenship, race, gender, class, and sexuality. Students will have the opportunity to find and analyze historical documents in a substantial research project. USH

HIS 472 Topics in the History of Science

Instructor: Prof. Daum
Time: F 9:00-11:40

What constitutes “science” in the modern era?  What role do society and culture—including institutional support, ideological interests, political goals, and gender roles—play for generating and legitimizing scientific research?  What happens when science enters the public sphere, becomes “popular,” and serves as a reference point for political discussions? Our seminar pursues such questions by focusing on three themes: Charles Darwin and concepts of evolution in the 19thCentury; medicine and public health in Nazi Germany; science and technology in the Cold War.

All participants are expected to read critically secondary literature and selected sources; write three essays throughout the semester; analyze and present selected films; and participate actively in the class discussions. EUR

HIS 473 Technology in American Society & Culture

Instructor: Prof. Casteel
Time: T 12:30-3:10

We live surrounded by technologies. We rely on them for much of our daily routine, but we often take the technologies for granted. What exactly is “technology?” And what is its place in both our past and our present?  In this course we will be exploring the relationship between people (particularly in the United States) and technology. To do this we will examine technology from a variety of perspectives (makers, users, maintainers). USH

HIS 482 Problems in Japanese History

Instructor: Prof. Nathan
Time: W 2:00-4:40

This course explores the complex interplay between Japanese imperialism, colonial occupation, and the formation of modern Korean nationalism. It begins with a brief examination of the historical relationship between Korea and Japan, the changes that occurred in late nineteenth-century East Asia, and an overview of Japanese colonialism in Korea during the early twentieth century. It then shifts to a consideration of the theoretical approaches to imperialism, nationalism and Orientalism. Students will be asked to assess the applicability of these theories to the historiography of Japanese colonialism in Korea with respect to national consciousness, identity formation, gender, class, socio-economics and industrialization, resistance and collaboration, and law. AAL

HIS 485 Twentieth-Century China Politics

Instructor: Prof. Dodge
Time: WF 10:50-11:20

China changed more radically, arguably, than any other country in the twentieth century. This seminar explores these changes, which have had and will continue to have major impacts across the world. After a broad and rapid survey of Chinese social and political history in the 19th and 20th centuries, subsequent units examine particular topics in greater depth. Students will complete research projects based in part on primary sources in English translation. AAL

HIS 496 Public History Internship

Instructor: Prof. Daum
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.  Herzberg
Time: W 1:00-3:40

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.