Course Catalogs

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2012-2013 Course Catalog


Majors, Minors & Degrees:


Given the strong humanities emphasis within Nebraska Wesleyan’s history program, typically a degree in history is taken as a Bachelor of Arts. Students who combine history with a degree in the Social or Natural Sciences, however, usually take their degree as a Bachelor of Science.

Modern foreign language study is expected of all history majors. Transfer students must earn in residence a minimum of 12 hours in history, 6 hours of which must be at the upper level (200-299).


A survey of United States history beginning with precontact cultures, examining the varied colonial and native cultures, and tracing the political, economic, social, and cultural development of the United States, and concluding with Reconstruction.

(Normally offered each fall semester.)

A survey of United States history beginning with post-Civil War expansion into the trans-Mississippi West, tracing political, economic, social, and cultural development to the present, emphasizing the emergence of a dominantly urban-industrial society, the expanded role of government, increasing government in the lives of individuals, and the increasing involvement of the United States in the world.

(Normally offered each spring semester.)

An in-depth study of one timeframe across world cultures. The course is designed to introduce students to the uniqueness and interconnectedness of cultures in the global community. Historical dimensions of today's ethical and political concerns will be examined in order to foster responsible world citizenship.

(Normally offered each semester.)

An introduction to historiography. This course is designed for majors and students interested in the theories and techniques utilized by historians to investigate the past. The first half of the course is devoted to reading and analyzing basic theoretical approaches to understanding the past. The second part of the course focuses on research methods, resources, and the composition of a research essay.

(Normally offered each spring semester.)

An examination of the Latin American experience from precontact and the earliest Spanish exploration and colonization. The course will examine the progress of Indian/Spanish, Church/State, Spanish/Portuguese/English/French and Spanish/English/United States relations from the mid-1400s into the 20th century. The dynamics of political, religious, and agrarian movements throughout the many Latin American nations will also be discussed, as will the historic trends behind current events in Latin America.

A study of Western Civilization from the Ancient World through the era of the Reformation focusing on the history of Western religious beliefs. Through the reading of religious texts, students investigate the varying conceptions of God or the gods as well as the relationship of the divine to the physical universe and humanity. In the process, students will learn basic features of Western religion and how the circumstances of human existence and broader cultural forces have shaped religious belief in the West.

(Normally offered each fall semester.)

A chronological survey of Western Civilization from 1500 to the present, focusing on the literary record which exemplifies changing societies; artistic and literary styles; and philosophical, religious, and political patterns. The course will include a reexamination of Biblical texts in the Reformation, the revival and imitation of classical texts in the Renaissance, absolutism and its critics, the revolutionary and Romantic movements, ethnic minorities, colonialism, the crisis of Western thought in the twentieth century, and the impact of totalitarianism.

(Normally offered each spring semester.)

Introduction to the experiences of women in the United States from colonization to the present, with an examination of cultural meanings attached to gender; various social inequalities in access to institutions, activities, and resources; and women's status, well being, and power in American society. The course investigates the lives of women from various social, ethnic, and racial groups, analyzing the ways that they affected one another. The course emphasizes sexuality, reproduction, and maternity, and also covers politics, law, work, education, and other issues in women's lives.

An introduction to Japanese culture, politics, and social history with an emphasis on the post-Tokugawa era. Japan's response to the Western intrusion, rapid modernization, adherence to traditional values, and participation in world events during the twentieth century will be covered.

HIST 150 U.S. West (3 hours)

An exploration of the "real" U.S. West, in contrast to the Hollywood version. The course will focus on Native Americans from the days when precontact Native American societies flourished, to subsequent European and Russian domination, and finally their loss of sovereignty under the U.S. government. The course will also emphasize the nineteenth century when the West became a mecca for many people to whom the West represented different visions; to the Chinese, it was the "Golden Mountain;" to Spaniards and Mexicans, it was "El Norte;" to the newly-emancipated Africans, the West represented freedom; to many other newly arrived immigrants, it was a land of opportunity; to the Native Americans, it was their sacred home. Special emphasis will be placed on the above images which have often clashed and erupted into conflict beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing throughout the twentieth century.

A broad survey of the major themes and issues in African American history from the early slave trade through emancipation to the present. Major topics include the creation of a diverse African American culture, resistance to the dehumanization of slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the movement from Civil Rights to Black Power and contemporary issues such as reparations for slavery.

This course will serve as an overview of American Indian history from precontact to the present. It will explore numerous themes including cultural diversity, initial contact with Europeans, the different styles of interactions (Spanish/English/French), accommodation and dispossession, the American treaty process, concentration, wardship, education, land allotment, termination and relocation, and modern American Indian issues. Utilizing assigned readings, discussion, and some short films, this class will eradicate misconceptions about American Indians and therefore eliminate the roots of discrimination and prejudice against the original Americans.

(Normally offered each spring semester.)

A study of environmental history focusing primarily on the United States and including Canada and Mexico as they involve border environmental conflicts. Emphasis will be placed on environmental philosophy, ethnic minorities, power and politics, regionalism, industrialism, gender, and literature. Course format will be lecture, class discussions based on assigned readings from assigned texts, as well as supplemental sources, reports, videos, and field trips.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-001 or HIST-002, or permission of the instructor.

This course will investigate the influence of disease on historical development, and look at the issues involved in the historical study of disease in the past. Themes will include the following: early human settlement and disease, disease as an agent of change, the emergence of new diseases and patterns of pandemics, and changes in diseases over time. We will also consider how the historical record might inform our understanding of the threat of emergent diseases today.

This course is designed to introduce students to commonalities and differences among the countries of East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan. We explore the classical Chinese civilization to accommodate their own indigenous traditions. Our objective is to understand the dynamic process of invention and interpretation that have shaped the major social and cultural traditions of East Asia over the ages. Students are encouraged to draw on their knowledge of Western civilization and engage critically with East Asian ways of thinking about topics including governance and institutions, human nature and the relationship between the individual and society, and what constitutes an ethical way of life.

Gruff warriors, elegant courtiers, industrious peasants, urban sophisticates, and bold modernizers-these are just some of the characters we will encounter in this survey of premodern and modern Japanese history. In addition to weekly lectures on major narrative themes, we will analyze and discuss a wide variety of primary sources including early records of the Japanese people; official proclamations; the acerbic diary of a Heian courtier; tales of medieval samurai and the surprising autobiography of a warrior living in a time of peace; classics of premodern and modern Japanese literature; and an anthropologist's analysis of contemporary popular culture.

An intermediate-level course designed to treat subject matter not covered in any of the established history courses. The title, content, and credit hours will be determined by current mutual interests of faculty and students.

After consultation with the department chair, a student may engage in a supervised independent study or library research. Independent study may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.

Colonial powers invaded previously occupied America as early as the fifteenth century. The colonial powers dictated the colonists' encounters with indigenous peoples, just as indigenous cultural traditions dictated responses to the colonial regimes. The course will necessarily investigate and compare the colonial experiences of Spain, France, Holland, Russia, and Great Britain in the Americas, as well as indigenous traditions and responses to the colonial invaders.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 001 United States History to 1877.

A study of the growth of the United States from 1877 to World War I, emphasizing the emergence of industrialism and big business and their impact on social, political and intellectual life. The course will also deal with the U.S.'s adaptations to industrialization and urbanization including social reform and social legislation, the changing role of the family, immigration patterns, religious movements, developments in education, the economy, and entertainment.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-002.

A study of society and politics during the early 20th century emphasizing the transformation of the United States from a rural to an urbanized society. The course begins with an overview of World War I, emphasizes the inter-war period - the 1920s, the Great Depression, and the New Deal- and concludes with the U.S. entry into World War II.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-002.

A study of society and politics from World War II to the present emphasizing the atomic age and the Cold War, domestic issues of the fifties and sixties, the United States' involvement in Vietnam, and concluding with contemporary issues.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-002.

A study of chattel slavery in the United States through the words and remembrances of enslaved people from 1600-1877. The course will focus on slave narratives from the Colonial and Antebellum era. Topics include African slavery, the slave trade, slave culture, family life, motherhood, methods of resistance, religion, self-emancipation and the Reconstruction period. The course also explores regional differences between slavery in the urban north, the Chesapeake, the South Carolina low-country and rice country.

An examination of a historical topic through the study of biography, emphasizing historical background, comparison and contrast of leading figures, and an analysis of motivations and character.

A study of the role that myths have played in the United States history. The course covers U.S. history from colonization to the present, and emphasizes both the positive and negative aspects of stereotyping, images, and assumptions written into U.S. history.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-001 and HIST-002.

The course will investigate American Indian history from the 1790s until the first decades of the early twentieth century, often called the Reservation Era. The course is designed to provide an in-depth analysis of the Reservation experience for American Indians. This is the most popularized period in American Indian history, yet also the most misunderstood and misrepresented in popular culture.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-001 or HIST-156, or the permission of the instructor.

An examination of the political, social, and intellectual worlds of ancient Greece and Rome. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the seminal contributions of antiquity to the Western tradition. The course will concentrate on the setting and content of Greek culture from the age of Homer to the rise of the Macedonian Empire, and the development of Rome from city republic to empire.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-115.

A survey of European culture and society from the fall of the Roman Empire to the advent of the Renaissance. The course will focus on the creative religious, political, and social movements of this period, and their influence on the development of the West. Among the subjects covered: the Germanic tribes, the Carolingian Empire, the Church in the High Middle Ages, the culture of the High Middle Ages, the growth of centralized monarchy, the Crusades, and the evolution of the social order in the Middle Ages.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-115.

A seminar on early modern European culture up to the French Revolution, with emphasis on changing family relations, political structures, religious and scientific thought, and social and economic conditions, culminating in the Enlightenment and religious revivals.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-116.

This course will look at how the growth of institutional religion in the Middle Ages led to growth of heresy and religious authoritarianism. Against that backdrop we will look at the religious revolts of the Sixteenth Century, and the way the breaking of religious uniformity resulted in social and political conflict and violence.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-115.

An examination of Germany in the twentieth century focusing on the rise of Adolph Hitler, the weakness of the Weimar government, the institutions of the Nazi regime, and the events of World War II and the Holocaust.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-010 or HIST-116 or permission of the instructor.

This course highlights women's experiences in the American West from precontact to present, and explores topics of myth and stereotypes; women's roles in the home, family and community; and racial, class and ethnic differences in women's experiences.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-001 and HIST-002 or permission of the instructor.

A survey of the social, cultural, and political history of Nebraska with special emphasis on local and community histories.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-001 and HIST-002.

(Normally offered each spring semester.)

This course will focus on the history of Mexico through the study of many sub-themes including cultural identity, conquest, stereotypes, economic and political development, the role of the Catholic Church, gender, and political upheaval and reform. This course will rely upon lecture, class discussions based on assigned readings from our text and supplemental sources, reports, and videos to enhance student learning.

Prerequisite(s): HIST-110 or permission of the instructor.

The nineteenth century was a pivotal era in the history of East Asia. China, Korea, and Japan responded to pressures at home and abroad in ways that left each country dramatically transformed by the beginning of the twentieth century. This seminar is intended as an introduction to the breadth and depth of the changes that took place in the three countries during this period, with particular emphasis on linkages across national borders. We will read a wide variety of scholarly studies and primary sources in translation as we examine topics including: the legacy of early modern political and cultural forms; encounters with Western imperial powers; the rise of nationalism; rebellions; and the emergence and regional consequences of Japanese imperialism.

An upper-level course designed to treat subject matter not covered in any of the established history courses. The title, content, and credit hours will be determined by current mutual interest of faculty and students.

After consultation with the department chair, a student may engage in a supervised, independent reading program.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

After consultation with the department chair, a student may engage in a supervised independent study or library research. Independent study may not duplicate courses described in the catalog.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

On-the-job training for advanced history majors in settings such as archives, museums, archeological sites, libraries, or historical societies. The student will arrange for the position in accordance with the guidelines established by the department.

Pass/Fail only.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

To be taken during the spring semester of the junior year or the fall semester of the senior year, this seminar is designed to aid students in the development of their senior thesis topics. Each will prepare a research proposal and a plan of study.

Pass/Fail only.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.

To be taken during the senior year, the student will utilize this semester to research the topic developed in HIST-298 and complete the senior thesis.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the department chair.