Spring 2023 Undergraduate Courses

HIS 142 World History Since 1500

Instructor: S. Pack

This course will examine major civilizations in world history since roughly 1300, with particular attention to the foundational ideas and beliefs that have both inspired and challenged them. Human civilizations have been continuously evolving, adapting, expanding, fragmenting, and interacting with one another for thousands of years. Understanding the history of civilizations requires attention not only to material and technological changes over time, but also to the belief systems, ideologies, and structures of power that have defined civilizations and shaped our lived environments. Has the rising intensity of global interaction over the past several centuries led us on a path of convergence toward a single civilization? Or does the past demonstrate that despite high levels of contact and exchange, human civilizations remain as varied as ever? PRE

HIS 143 Global Inequality and Power

Instructor: D. Muller
 
The increasing interaction of peoples and nations we call globalization benefits some more than others. This course focuses on the historical origins and consequences of a world divided between the rich and poor, the privileged and excluded, the mainstream and the marginalized. Fundamentally, it asks why some members of global society are considered more human and treated more humanely than others? Students will consider the divergence of a small number of developed nations, primarily in the northern hemisphere, from many more impoverished ones, primarily in the south. They will study the resulting hierarchies and tensions that structure social life around the globe and define the ¿human¿ in ways that privilege some and disadvantage others. Topics may include racial, ethnic, and gender relations; religious and sectarian conflict; unequal access to technology, education, and health care; environmental degradation; and mass displacements of workers and refugees. The course emphasizes how individuals, communities, and societies have challenged dominant understandings of humanity, advanced alternative perspectives, and struggled for social justice. Concentrating first on the encounter of diverse peoples and cultures brought about by European expansion after 1400, we will proceed to analyze the historical forces set in motion by this meeting of North and South, West and East, including colonialism, imperialism, industrialization, nationalism, and decolonization. Our inquiry will also serve as an introduction to the study and practice of history. AAL

HIS 162 US History 2

Instructor: C. Casteel
Instructor: D. Herzberg

This is not your high school history class. We won't ignore presidents and generals, but we will push beyond them to look at ordinary people, popular culture, and the ideas that shaped American history from the end of the Civil War to the present. From Robber Barons and Captains of Industry; to radical unionists and free-lovers; from the rise of Jim Crow to civil rights activism; from Victorian bustles to flappers and feminists; from the New Deal to the Tea Party; we cannot understand the present without understanding how these stories have transformed America over the last century and a half. We will use film, music, and compelling stories about men and women living through the issues of their day to show that history is not just a list of names and dates. USH **NOTE: HIS 161 is not a prerequisite for HIS 162. Students may register for one, both, and in any order.

HIS 182 Asian Civilization 2

Instructor: M. Nathan

Introduction to major themes and events in the histories of China, Korea, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia in recent centuries. Considers the impacts of colonialism and imperialism, the emergence of nationalist and revolutionary movements, decolonization and the Cold War. Our goal is to understand the historical forces and transformations shaping contemporary Asia, the common experiences that different areas of Asia have shared in the recent past, and what distinguishes the histories of particular Asian nations within a comparative perspective. This course is the same as AS 182 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. AAL

HIS 202 Roman Civilization

Instructor: J. Dugan

Survey of Rome's mythical beginnings to the time of the emperors that covers the full spectrum of Roman cultural expression. Topics covered are not only literature, painting, sculpture, and architecture but also details of everyday life in the Roman world, as well as the roles played by marginal figures (women, slaves, foreigners). This course is the same as CL 223 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. PRE

HIS 208 US in the World

Instructor: G. Zubovich

This course focuses on the relationship of the United States with the broader world from the War of 1898 to the ¿War on Terror¿ in the early 21st century. During this period the United States emerged as a global superpower whose military, economy, and culture had a broad, transformative impact on much of the world. At the same time, the projection of American power overseas changed life in the United States dramatically. This course focuses on the overt and subtle connections between the United States and the world. It will enrich our understanding of American foreign relations, along with the myriad of ways Americans have engaged with peoples abroad¿as soldiers, missionaries, tourists, traveling musicians, corporate executives, activists, and immigrants. Among the major themes and topics discussed will be wars, diplomacy, the global economy, the growth of international organizations, human rights, pandemics, environmental crises, consumer culture, the Cold War, human rights, terrorism, and globalization. USH

HIS 209 The American Civil War

Instructor: C. Emberton

Introduction in 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. USH

HIS 225 France History Since 1815

Instructor: E. Pack

This course examines the emergence of Modern France from the fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the present. It assesses the challenges of national integration and the transformations of French society and economy in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course also follows the rise of France as colonial power and its role in the two World Wars, as well as the impact of decolonization processes and France’s complex alignment with the new Europe after 1945.

HIS 244 American Business History

Instructor: C. Casteel

This course analyzes the historical development of business in the United States from the time of the country's founding until the present, with a particular focus on the twentieth century. In addition to tracking important changes in the American business growth and activity, the course also explores impact of technological change, the relationship between business culture and society, race, class, and gender, consumerism and the role of the worker. Much of our discussion will explore the ways in which managerial decision making, technological choices, and relationships between capitalists, workers, government, and consumers have been shaped, and also shape, culture and society. USH

HIS 274 Bodies at War

Instructor: S. Handley-Cousins

War creates the perfect setting for health crises. Militaries are disease vectors, transporting germs to new lands. Soldiers living in close quarters and poor conditions suffer from dysentery, trench foot, and malaria. And of course, the central aim of warfare is to inflict bodily injury. Since ancient times, wars have created public health problems, ranging from the Plague of Athens to the spread of sexually transmitted infections during the World Wars and Vietnam. Soldiers have been used as test subjects, helping to shape ideas about ideal intelligence and body types. As military technology advances, so does the damage that new weapons create, evidenced by the devastating wounds inflicted by mini balls and improvised explosive devices. This course explores the many ways that health, disability, and war have intersected across history. From the Peloponnesian War, to the Hundred Years War, to Operation Iraqi Freedom, we will discuss topics including physical and mental war wounds, sexuality, public health, the rise of military medical authority, eugenics, and chemical and biological weapons. USH, PRE

HIS 294 Holocaust: History, Culture, and Memory

Instructor: N. Pines

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. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. EUR

HIS 301 Historical Writing

Instructor: C. Casteel
Instructor: S. Handley-Cousins
Instructor: K. Mages

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 302 American Colonial History

Instructor: H. Langfur

A survey of the conquest and colonization of Latin America from Pre-Columbian civilizations through independence in the early nineteenth century, this course focuses on the creation of new societies in the Americas, shaped by the interaction of Europeans, Indians, and Africans. We will concentrate on the three great poles of colonial development in the New World-central Mexico, highland Peru, and coastal Brazil but our inquiry will also include the Caribbean and other regions. Emphasis is on social and cultural history, including such topics as popular religion, native labor systems, slavery and the slave trade, race relations, marriage and the family, and the challenges of daily life. AAL, PRE

HIS 308 Special Topics: Imperial Russia

Instructor: K. Zubovich

This course explores the history of the Russian Empire from 1682 to the fall of the Romanov dynasty in 1917. We will examine the modernizing efforts of Peter I and Catherine II, the expansion and consolidation of the country’s vast and diverse empire, and the powerful ideas and movements that threatened to topple Russian autocracy in the nineteenth century. In the final weeks, we will explore the revolutions of 1905 and 1917.

HIS 314 Modern Africa: Globalization and Imperialism Since 1800

Instructor: V. Nachreiner

The second of two introductory surveys of African history offered by the Department of History. In this course, we focus on African history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course covers the increasing encroachment on African by European colonialism and the historical responses of Africans to colonial rule. Among the larger themes that the course will focus on are the responses of African societies to the ending of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Islamic reform and activism in the nineteenth century, colonial political economies, religious change, labor mobilization and migration, urbanization, African political mobilization, and anti-colonial nationalism. The course will also consider some of the historical outcomes in post-colonial Africa. This course is the same as GGS 322. AAL

HIS 322 Latin America: Culture & History

Instructor: C. Trumper

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. AAL

HIS 324 Medieval Judaism

Instructor: S. Dolgopolski

Medieval Judaism is an exploration of Judaism as a minority religion living between the Crescent and Cross, the Islamic and Christian empires between the 9th to 16th centuries. We will explore the dual nature of the medieval period for Jews: part intellectual and cultural flourishing and part persecution and tragedy. Topics to be discussed include: the origins of anti-Semitism, the crusades, philosophy vs. mysticism, the Maimonidean controversy, Jewish-Christian dialogue and polemics, the inquisitions, marranos, responses to tragedy and the Renaissance. This course is the same as JDS 329 and RSP 329, and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. PRE, EUR

HIS 327 The City in American History

Instructor: V. Wolcott

American cities reflect America's complex culture. Studying cities can reveal the ideals of generations of intellectuals, planners, reformers, and immigrants who viewed the city as a center of their utopian dreams. Studying urban life, however, also reveals how racial prejudice, concentrations of wealth, and political corruption have shaped the American city. This course will explore these contradictions through an examination of the growth and development of urban centers in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Major American cities will also be compared to cities in Europe and Latin America. USH

HIS 348 Special Topics Indigenous Perspectives on U.S.

Instructor: R. Caldwell

This course is a survey of the history of what is now known as the United States from indigenous perspectives, covering the genesis of the European colonial enterprise, war of Independence and founding documents of the United States, and territorial expansion, to the continuing colonial period of the present. In addition to content, the course introduces students to relevant pedagogy, historiographical theory, and ethnohistorical methodology.   

HIS 374 History of Christianity in Asia

Instructor: M. Dodge

This course traces the introduction and spread of Christianity in Asian history, focusing primarily on East Asia and giving special attention to Korea. It begins with an examination of Jesuit missions to Japan and China, as well as the role that India played in the establishment and maintenance of these missions. The different Jesuit strategies for accommodating or rejecting indigenous religious beliefs and customs are compared and considered, as well as the Nestorians in China much earlier. Then we turn to the unique way in which Catholicism was subsequently established in Korea, where Christianity has enjoyed unparalleled success in East Asia. We will look closely at how Christianity has affected and been affected by socio-political developments, its interactions with and influence upon traditional Asian religions, its relationship to nationalism since the late 19th century, and its tensions and conflict with colonialism and Communism in the 20th century. It concludes by asking what factors might have enabled Christianity to have such success in Korea (and the Philippines) and compare these to the situation in China and Japan. This course is the same as AS 374 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. AAL

HIS 375 The U.S. and Asia

Instructor: H. Khafipour

Asia from the eighteenth century to the present. Depending on the instructor, the course may focus on East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, or West Asia (the Middle East).

HIS 379 African American History 1877-Present

Instructor: J. Barclay

This course analyzes the history of African-Americans from 1877 to present. It addresses a number of themes including the experiences of freed persons during the period immediately following slavery, the legal and socio-economic development of racial segregation and discrimination, along with the persistent and varied forms of resistance that African Americans engaged in as avenues of redress. The course also treats the arts and discusses the development of black vernacular arts during the period, linking, for example, the rise of musical forms such as blues and jazz to the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement. USH

HIS 403 Special Topics: Great Muslim Empires of the Near East & India

Instructor: H. Khafipour

The course examines the common intellectual heritage of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal societies through the study of their political institutions, religious doctrines, economic structures, and cultural sources. In addition to reading modern scholarship, we will examine primary sources from the fields of theology, political science, literature, and the arts in order to gain a more intimate knowledge of the ideological trends of the period. This course provides an overview and context for a deeper understanding of modern Middle East through a close study of its history and culture in the early modern period.  

HIS 403 Special Topics: Frontiers and Borderlands

Instructor: H. Langfur

This seminar explores the comparative history of frontiers, borderlands, and their indigenous and settler inhabitants throughout the Americas, ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.  We will consider how Europeans, enslaved Africans, and their descendants encountered Amerindians, interacted, collaborated, and competed for land, labor, resources, and cultural authority.

HIS 412 Topics In Women's History

Instructor: S. Handley-Cousins

This course will explore the history of women in the United States. Seminar readings will begin with the colonial period and continue through the mid-20th century. Topics of focus include women's work and family lives; women's political movements and relationship to the state; differences and conflicts across race and class; the expression and regulation of female sexuality; and changing definitions of femininity and womanhood. We will also read articles on feminist theory that are relevant to historical interpretation. USH

HIS 419 Special Topics: Rage Against the Machine

Instructor: D. Muller

Rage Against the Machine is a class that explores the history of white supremacy in and beyond the United States over the course of the 19thand 20thcenturies. In addition to learning about this topic, students in "Rage" will have the opportunity to work on a project with peers in a CSE 440/441/540 Machine Learning and Society. Students from both classes will work together on an Impossible Project aimed at ending white supremacist radicalization online and will present their ideas to a public audience in Buffalo, where our city has recently been devastated by white supremacist violence during the Tops massacre in May of 2022. No knowledge of computing is necessary for this class. However, students in “Rage” will receive the following: A high level overview of the main steps involved in building a Machine Learning (ML) model, an opportunity to work with Google Colab notebooks that create ML models from data, the experience of contributing to the creation of a better ML model. The option to continue research on the project with funding during the summer of 2023 will be provided.  

HIS 426 Special Topics: History of European Jews

Instructor: L. Vardi

This course is an introduction to Jewish History from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. Through weekly readings we will discover how Jews fared in these various time periods. While the story is always in dialogue with antisemitism and discrimination, the course will also give space to Jewish integration, especially once European countries emancipated them in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the process we will encounter Jews in France, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland and Rumania. We will look at the rise of the ghetto in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the shtetl [village] of Eastern Europe, Spinoza's Amsterdam in the seventeenth century and Wittgenstein's Vienna in the late nineteenth century. We will analyse the Dreyfus Affair and read the diary of Mihail Sebastian, tracing the rise of antisemitism in France and Rumania that will lead us to the Holocaust. Students should expect weekly readings of 150-200 pages. Selections will be made from longer books. The assignments will include response papers, comparative paper, and a research paper on a memoir, biography, or work of fiction that addresses the Jewish condition.

HIS 439 Gender and the Cold War

Instructor: V. Wolcott

This course will examine how the cold war's politics and culture, including its foreign policy, shaped gender relations and sexuality in the United States. In addition to readings, we will analyze various forms of popular culture and social policy. Students will also discuss the significance of gender and the cold war for understanding contemporary American politics and culture. This course is the same as GGS 439 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. USH

HIS 449 American Cold War History

Instructor: G. Zubovich

This seminar will deal with the history of the U.S., both internationally and domestically, from the end of the Second World War to the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. in the early 1990s. Topics will include the post-war competition in Europe between the Americans and the Soviets in the immediate post-war years, the Korean War, the Red Scare, the nuclear arms race and protests against nuclear testing, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam and the anti-war movement, and the roles of Gorbachev, Reagan, and the nuclear freeze movement during the arms race of the 1980s. USH

HIS 454 Special Topics: Freedom of Speech & Expression in American Law and History

Instructor: D. Gerber

The First Amendment to the American Constitution states that Congress cannot pass laws, “… abridging the freedom of speech, of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” These words, the foundation of core American freedoms, have become known as guarantees of “freedom of expression.”  But it is by no means clear precisely what they mean. How broad are those freedoms? What do they include or exclude?  How and why have they developed to go beyond limiting Congress to limiting state and local government activities?  Americans have spent many decades seeking to answer those questions, mostly without resolutions that please everyone. In this seminar we will read and analyze key Supreme Court decisions of the last century that have attempted to answer just those questions. A feature of this seminar is that in simulated court hearings students will plead and decide upon the law suits that are the bases for the Court’s decisions.

HIS 460 Special Topics: Road to Freedom The Antislavery Struggle and Antebellum American Society

Instructor: R. Newman

This class will examine the antislavery struggle between the American Revolutionary era and Civil War. While it is often conjured in public memory as a singular band of activists, the antislavery struggle was a broad, complex and diverse movement that changed drastically over time. It was also a much contested part of American politics and society – a radical movement for social change in the North as well as the South that we are still reckoning with in the 21st century. To capture its dynamism and societal impact, accomplishments and failures, we will study the antislavery struggle from a variety of illuminating perspectives. We will consider the earliest abolitionists, especially enslaved people who rebelled against bondage in both American and Atlantic contexts; the rise of more militant abolitionist groups in 19th century America who condemned both southern slavery and northern racism; internal abolitionist debates over tactics, strategies, and movement leadership; and the lingering meaning of the antislavery struggle in American politics, culture and memory. Throughout we will focus on the visionary work of African American reformers (including such notable figures as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman) and meditate on the challenging nature of the eternal emancipation struggle in American history and culture.

HIS 462 The New Europe: 1945-Present

Instructor: S. Pack

This seminar examines major themes in European history since the end of World War II. Through extensive readings of primary documents and secondary works, the course will cover the following topics: the transition from war to peace; the consolidation of a democratic West and a socialist East; the rise of mass consumer society in both blocs; the end of the European empires and transition to multilateralism; the challenges of political and ethnic violence; and the rise of a new cultural pluralism across the continent in the early twenty-first century. (EUR)

HIS 468 Black Women in U.S. History

Instructor: M. Ogunbowale

Examines the history of black women in the United States from the slave era through the reform movements that occurred after World War II. Focuses on the range of demands placed on black women during the Gilded and Progressive eras - the founding of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896, their participation in the women's suffrage movement, black struggles for liberation in the United States and in the African Diaspora, cultural movement, war, labor force participation, and health. Also explores black women's interaction with male-dominated groups and feminists from other racial and ethnic groups. Students will analyze black women as leaders, their leadership styles and the impact that they have made on constituents. This course is the same as AAS 460 and GGS 460, and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. USH