Check out our current course offerings
This is a partial list of courses. For the semester's complete offerings, see the Registrar's website. The IUB Course Bulletin also has full list of History Department courses past, present, and future.
Students with majors in Business, SPEA, Biology, Media Studies, Social Work, and other cognate areas, might be interested in the following course offerings for Spring 2019.
Progress? Freedom? Disaster! Find out how so many of the things, ideas, and phenomena that we take for granted emerged or became a common sight first in Europe in the last 200 years.
Explore the collision of European, Native American, and African cultures during the period of colonization, and the fierce contests to shape the young nation after the revolution. This introductory course surveys the history of the place that became the United States between the “discovery” of the “New World” in 1492 and the eve of the Civil War in 1865.
We hear a lot from people like Mark Cuban about how humanities majors with technical skills will take over the world when many other jobs are automated. This class gives students a chance to improve their humanities understanding of the world through narrative storytelling, historical contextualization and personal interpretation, and then integrate those humanities skills with practical digital skills like data mining, mapping, and social network analysis in a hands-on project focused on the IUB community. We’ll write the history of an object that came to campus with each course participant, tie those objects to similar objects that are in the IU archives with traditional and digital-history research, and prep a digital exhibit of our research results.
This class provides a history of US social justice movements. We will examine the nature and meaning of race in U.S. society and its affect on the lives of Americans. Our aim is to understand that the concept of race is of recent origin, resulting from the ways of thinking that emerge in Europe and North America over the past few hundred years. We focus on race as a social and cultural category for the manner in which it shapes contemporary American life.
Ordinary people lived their lives during times of stability and catastrophe, reform and revolution, war and peace. Through clothes and fashion, food and drink, communal apartmetns and country noble estates, we'll discover Russian urban and village life, housing and domesticity, work and play, family and marriage in the late Imperial and Soviet periods.
What does it mean to be rich? Are the rich really different from the rest of humanity? What is the impact of wealth on individuals and society? To answer these questions, we will explore the history of wealthy men and women around the world from antiquity to today, from Croesus and Crassus to the Medici and Musa of Mali, and on to the Vanderbilts, Hetty Green, Wang Jianlin, and Trump.
Wars are common in world history, and they originate from social and political institutions. The social and cultural expectations that bring people to the battlefields shape their behavior there. These social and cultural factors often have more influence on who wins than the cleverest military leaders. We will examine the social history of wars from ancient Greece and China to the American Civil War to current wars. The course will foreground the often colorful and poignant stories of individuals who participated in war.
Cities and villages, castles , monasteries, and cathedrals--learn who lived there, what the community looked like, and what aspects of medieval life, politics, and culture they represented.
What did the Great Wall represent in Chinese history? In our minds, it separates a rich, beautiful China, a place of high civilization, productivity, and the state, from a China that is poor, marginal, and hardscrabble. Yet throughout Chinese history, ordinary people straddled the line between heartland and frontier: settlers, immigrants, merchants, missionaries, runaways, and nomads. What dynamics defined the historical relations between settled and mobile communities in China? How was everyday life shaped by these dynamics?
Winston Churchill. Queen Elizabeth. Manchester United. Brexit. Americans today associate these things with our longterm ally, Great Britain. They are just parts of the story of a nation that witnessed the first industrial revolution and the rise and fall of a worldwide empire. This course will study the dynamic history of the British Isles from the 1700s to the present day.
Pointed hats, flying brooms, and cauldrons for brewing potions; it sounds like Harry Potter. It also sounds like Europe in the 15th through 17th centuries, a time when most people earnestly did believe in magic and witches. These witches were believed to have made a deal with the Devil, intending to thwart the growth of the church and cause harm to the good people around them. Something had to be done. And from this time we get not only the European Witch Craze and its excessive religious violence, but also many of the tropes that we see in our culture today.
What Is History? delves into the ideas, practices, and joys of history common to the study of all places, time periods, and themes. Emphasis will be on developing the skills historians use in research and writing, including locating and interpreting sources, using scholarly resources, and arguing persuasively. We will engage with stories that offer a fascinating way to think about past worlds, as well as our own. Along with short written and in-class assignments, students will develop a semester-long research project on a topic of their own choosing.
For 1600 years, Constantinople/Istanbul served as the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. In the last half century, it has risen to the status of a global financial and cultural hub, and became one of the top travel destinations in the world. Throughout this course, we will discuss the relationship between empire-building and religion; the dynamics of multi-ethnic and multi-religious empires and cities; the role of cities in fostering global political and economic connections; the creative uses of urban spaces throughout history; and the urban transformations brought by modernity and capitalism.
We'll tackle history through the prism of baseball and think about baseball from a global-historical perspective
You don't know Jack. Hearty Jack Tar, that is. He, the Ladies of Edenton, White Eyes and Cornstalk, Molly Pitcher and the "Ethiopian" regiment are just a few of the patriots, loyalists, scoundrels and rogues who will join us in Revolutionary America.
Why do Russians take pride in their past? In the West, it is often portrayed as one of misery and oppression alone, but the splendid Russian Empire ruled over one sixth of the earth’s land surface and extended across eleven time zones in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It had the most powerful land army on earth, was the fifth largest industrial power, produced many of the world’s greatest artists, writers, composers and scientists, and exuded confidence and pride in its status as a European Great Power. It was also riven by conflict, conflicting priorities and visions, and the site of a growing revolutionary movement. It was Europe but also Asia….and it collapsed in 1917, bringing on a revolution that altered the course of twentieth century across the globe. This course examines the paradoxes and contradictions of modern Russian history, the legacies of Imperial Russia to the twentieth century, both daily life and high politics, the dilemmas of a latecomer to global modernization, the alternative visions of Russian thinkers and activists, the status of women, minorities, and the various classes, and the key events that shaped Russia’s nineteenth and early century.
If we want to understand how one of the most horrific and challenging events of the 20th Century happened, we have to rethink the way we imagine that the Holocaust operated. We have assumptions about the Holocaust's role in progress and modernity, but new research gives us a different view of the origins and implementation of the Holocaust and also at the legacies and memories of the event. This class asks "How could the Holocaust have taken place" by examining a wide range of pressures and factors that drove the leadership of a major modern industrial nation to believe that the murder of millions of noncombatants was the best way to secure their country's future. We also have a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNYT4_9i9Z4&feature=youtu.be">video introduction of the course</a> on YouTube.
From the ashes of a republic scorched by civil war, autocracy rises. A new ideology, culture, economy and political system will dominate the ancient Mediterranean for centuries.
Interested in better understanding how the dialogue and struggles between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism shaped modern Europe and its relationship with the Middle East? Wondering why Hungary is so intent on rejecting all refugees from the Middle East? The Balkans became the stage for many of these developments, and this course will guide you through the political, economic, and cultural processes during the nineteenth century that led to: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire from great power to nation-state; the rise of several nation states in the region, from Greece to Serbia; the international realignment of European great powers around conflicts in the Balkans; and the beginning of World War I.
All over the world, millions of people participated in World War II, as soldiers, mothers, factory workers, propagandists, political leaders, and survivors. To understand how the war altered people’s lives and the society in which they lived we will look at war-time files, written documents, propaganda posters and postwar writings, images, and monuments.
Military conquests, intensifying interregional and global economic connections, and the spread of Christianity and Islam to new parts of the continent have all helped shape and reshape African social and economic relationships in the 19th and 20th centuries. Specific focal points will include the Atlantic slave trade, Africa in the world wars, the rise of the apartheid state in South Africa, and African wars of liberation from the 1960s to the 1990s, “blood diamonds,” Ebola, Darfur, and child soldiers.
Mexico is our most populous neighbor, and Mexico and the United States have many strong cultural, economic, political, and even culinary connections. This course will introduce the major themes of Mexican social, economic, and political history. We will pay particular attention to social history, including that of women. The course ends with a look at the links between the lives of ordinary Mexicans and ordinary Americans today. We will also work on analytical and communication skills. Students will read various documents, two brief secondary books, and an oral history. We will also watch several dramatic films.
From Tecumseh to Richard Lugar, from Madame CJ Walker to Kurt Vonnegut, the residents of Indiana have broken cultural and political ground for more than two centuries. Their land—from the Indiana Dunes to the Falls of the Ohio—abounds with key sites in American history. Yet Hoosiers themselves will tell you that this is just an average place, full of hardworking people minding their own business. What is the "real" story behind the Hoosier image? How has this state shaped the US—and how will it face the environmental, political, and social challenges to come? This class welcomes natives and newcomers alike to join in a historical discovery tour and take part in a frank discussion of the Hoosier Way…from the 1700s to the day after tomorrow.
Does music matter? Music is everywhere in American life, but it is “just” music, a kind of entertainment, isn’t it?<p>Not necessarily. This course explores how music, partly because it is seemingly so unimportant, has played a critical role in the transformation of American society from the 1940s to the present.
A bygone civilization? A dragon awoken? The rising superpower? From an old empire to a modern state, come explore how China transformed.
Decline and Fall? or Fall and Decline? What "fell" and what remained the same? And who were those barbarians anyway?
This course's primary aim is to aid students to research and write historical research papers, with a focus on revolutions and counterrevolutions. The class readings will focus on the impact and relationship between the Cold War and Latin American revolutionary movements during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. They will address several questions: What were the goals of modern revolutionary movements? What role did the United States play in fomenting counterrevolutionary responses to the revolutionary movements? How successful were the counterrevolutionary movements (and regimes) and why? Did U.S. President Carter’s human rights policy represent an alternative? We will evaluate the argument of some scholars and policy makers that radical movements provoked the repression that led to the outbreak of guerrilla warfare.
No matter where you stand on the political-ideological spectrum, the modern state—as a powerful (some would argue too powerful) organization and instrument—is already part and parcel of your life. We simply cannot ignore it as a key factor shaping the world we live in, and we rely on it for the modern life to function. Here we use two main themes—warfare and welfare—to explore what (and why) the modern state does, how it becomes the way it is, why it is powerful, how it influence various aspects of our lives, and how people react to and interact with it from a historical perspective. We explore the modern state as an organization and institution that evolves over time, being changed by people who controlled it but also by those who were controlled by it. Empirical studies we read in the class would be drawn mostly from European, Asian and American experiences.
In the last 50 years, environmental problems have become unavoidable features of everyday life across the globe. Staggering growth, unprecedented opportunity, and a sense that people have never been so rich have been compromised by pollution and the loss of natural and national heritage. How has the environment shaped our history? And to what degree is global environmental history integrated with global trends in other arenas? To find answers, we'll survey climate change, resource management, water conservancy, public sanitation, and changing understandings of “nature” in culture and science.
Recovering the past as history – this is what J425 empowers you do. The course provides senior History majors with the opportunity to hone their skills in historical research and writing. Whether there is a historical question that has always fascinated you or one you have just discovered, J425 gives you the opportunity to explore in depth a historical topic of your choosing. At the end of this course, you will have researched and produced a piece of original historical scholarship. This capstone seminar is required for all History majors and should be taken in your final year.
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