History Courses

HIST 101 Introduction to the History of the United States for Elementary School Teachers

4 hours

This course provides a basic survey of the social, economic, political, and diplomatic history of the United States for students with little background in U.S. history. Answering the questions: What is America and what does it mean to be American? What is the nature of U.S. democracy? How do the lives of ordinary people intersect with the great events of our past? The course will emphasize content that will be of greatest use for students preparing to teach social studies in the upper elementary grades. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 111 Survey of US History to 1877

4 hours

This course surveys American history from the early colonial period to the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Topics are wide-ranging and include society, politics and culture but the overall theme emphasizes the evolution of the New England colonies, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake, and the Lower South into coherent regions with different economies, social structures and cultural attributes. The course then explores how these various regions successfully cooperated with one another long enough to engage in an independence movement that separated them from Great Britain and created the United States. These regional differences lived on into the nineteenth century, however, and became the basis for the sectional conflict which erupted into Civil War in 1861. The course closes with the successes and failures of Reconstruction policy as a bridge to later American history. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 112 Survey of U.S. History Since 1877

4 hours

This course surveys American history since Reconstruction, exploring transformations in American politics, society, and culture. Though it is wide-ranging, it has as a unifying theme the question of how and why people have defined the American nation in different ways, and how those ideas have related to race and gender. Topics covered include the end of the westward expansion after the Civil War and Indian resistance, industrialization, immigration, World War I, African American migration and cultural innovation, the cultural turmoil of the 1920s, the Depression and New Deal, the Second World War at home and abroad, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, feminism, other social movements, the Vietnam war and the anti-war movement, cultural politics in the 1970s, the new conservatism and 1980s culture wars, the 1990s, 9/11, the Gulf War, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. (HBSSM, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 126 Human Geography

4 hours

A survey of world geography combining the regional and topical approaches, the natural factors that shape the environment, such as climate, landforms and resources, will be considered, along with their impact on people, as studied in the fields of political, economic, and cultural geography. The primary focus of the course will be on basic concepts in cultural geography that will be of greatest use for students preparing to teach middle school and high school social studies. (HBSSM, Intcl)

HIST 135 African-American History

4 hours

This course is a survey of African-American history from the 15th century to the present. Eras and topics include the trans-Atlantic slave trade, slavery in the Americas, the Civil War and Emancipation, segregation, the Great Migration, the Great Depression and World War II, the modern black freedom struggle, and the post-civil rights era. The class emphasizes how African Americans constructed individual and collective selves, created livelihoods, formed families, communities, and institutions, fashioned cultures, defined citizenship, and consistently defied notions of a monolithic "black community." Centering African Americans' words, actions, and artistic creations and the ways they interacted with other cultures and peoples within the Americas and abroad, this course investigates how African Americans shaped and were shaped by the many worlds they traversed. (Same as AFRS 135) (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 139, 239, 339, 439 Special Topics

Credit arr.

HIST 149 Europe to 1648

4 hours

An introductory survey of European history from ancient Greece to the end of the "Religious Wars" (and the Peace of Westphalia) in 1648. Topics will include: Greece from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Empires, Ancient Rome (Republic and Empire), Medieval Europe, the Renaissance, and the Reformation and Age of Religious Wars. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 150 Europe, 1648 to the Present

4 hours

An introductory survey of European history from the end of the wars of religion in the 17th century to the present. Topics will include: the Scientific Revolution; the Enlightenment; Absolutism and the Emergence of the Parliamentary Government; the French Revolution and Napoleon; Reaction and Revolution in the early 19th Century; the Industrial Revolution; Nationalism and Unification; the "New Imperialism" and the Coming of World War I; the "Thirty Years War of the 20th Century"; Postwar Europe: Cold War and Integration. (HBSSM, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 161 East Asian History

4 hours

An introduction to the basic themes and content of East Asian history from the earliest times to the present. Students will explore the lives of both great and ordinary people who lived in what are now China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Students will consider how empire, international trade, relations of production, and ideologies affected the construction and reproduction of social and cultural groups. Offered alternate years. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 162 South Asian History

4 hours

An introduction to the basic themes and content of South Asian history from the earliest times to the present. Students will explore the lives of both great and ordinary people who lived in what are now Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Students will consider how empire, international trade, relations of production, and ideologies affected the construction and reproduction of social and cultural groups. Offered alternate years. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 163 Modern Middle East History

4 hours

Students in this course investigate the history of the Middle East, including Iran, Turkey, and northern Africa. The course begins with the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258, but its focus on the 19th and 20th centuries allows students to understand the cultural and material processes that inform current events. The course provides important historical context for intellectual discussion among the Abrahamic traditions and requires students to consider social, economic, and cultural factors that may find expression in religious canon and practice. Offered alternate years. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 171 History of Africa to 1880

4 hours

Survey of African history from the earliest times to roughly about 1880. The course begins with the historical development of Africa's still-vital cultural, linguistic, social, and economic systems and moves on to examine the Islamic and Christian impact on these systems through the era of the Atlantic slave trade. The course concludes by discussing the ways in which early European colonialism affected the African past. (Same as AFRS 171) (HB, Hist)

HIST 172 History of Modern Africa

4 hours

This course surveys the history of sub-Saharan Africa from the 1880s to the present. The course examines African life under European colonial domination (from about 1880 to about 1960) and under independent states which succeeded colonial governments after 1960. A primary aim of this course is to explore the diversity of human experience in Africa during the Colonial and post-Colonial periods. The course makes use of several primary documents to portray ways in which men and women have dealt with the challenges of living in 20th- and 21st-century Africa. (Same as AFRS 172) (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 185 First-Year Seminar

4 hours

A variety of seminars for first-year students offered each January Term.

HIST 225 Golden Age of Atlantic Piracy

4 hours

Our fascination with seafaring outlaws often begins with characters such as Long John Silver and more recently, Captain Jack Sparrow but also actual historical figures such as Captain Kidd and Blackbeard. This course examines the popular image of pirates and compares it to the lives and culture of real-life pirates who plied their trade across the Atlantic world between 1550 and 1730. Through readings, lectures, movies, and class discussions we will address the major themes of the course, which include the reasons behind the rise of buccaneering during the early modern era, ships and seafaring culture during this period, the developing economy of the Atlantic world, the social structure of pirate society on sea and land, definitions and attitudes toward authority, liberty and violence among pirates, and the increasing military efficiency and reach of the early modern state that eventually spelled the end of widespread piracy in this part of the world by the 1730s. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 226 History and Material Culture

4 hours

This course explores how the study of material culture—objects made or modified by human beings—can inform us about how people thought, lived, and behaved in the past. The course draws upon the multidisciplinary nature of material culture studies to offer as a fresh approach to history by using insights from folk art, anthropology, and the decorative arts to augment and broaden what historians have learned through the use of written records. Significant attention is given to the ways in which museums contribute to the study of material culture by collecting, preserving, identifying, exhibiting, and interpreting these objects. Required for museum studies students. Offered alternate years. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 227 Public History

4 hours

This course explores the various ways in which history is created, incorporated into and presented in U.S. popular culture. The course will combine hands-on work with local historical societies, museums, and other public history venues with academic study of public history techniques and ethical challenges. Topics may include the ways in which historical road markers, entertainment corporations (such as the History Channel and Disney), local and regional history associations present history to the public and how the public interacts with these discourses on history. A comparison of the differences in purpose and audience between public and scholarly presentations of history is a central theme of the course. Offered alternate years. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 235 Destiny or Deliverance? Civil Rights and Black Power in the United States.

4 hours

In this course, we will ask whether the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Era were America's destiny (toward which it has always been headed), a deliverance rescuing America from its racist past, or something altogether different. Did the end of Jim Crow change American life or did it actually hide fundamental, ongoing racial strife in American society? In an attempt to answer these questions, we will cover the mass protests of the 1930s and '40s, the direct action campaigns of the 1950s and '60s, and black liberation struggles that stretched into the '70s. We will do this by analyzing media such as speeches, music, film, television, oral histories, and photography. (Same as AFRS 235) (HB, Hist)

HIST 241 Rome: Republic and Empire

4 hours

A survey of the Roman Republic and Empire, concentrating on the social and economic background of Rome's rise and fall as well as on the military and political aspects of expansion and decline. Special emphasis on the Punic and Macedonian wars, civil war and the end of the republic, Roman influence on France and Britain, Christianity in the imperial period, and Roman interaction with the Germans. Offered alternate years. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 242 Medieval History

4 hours

An introduction to medieval European history from the dissolution of the Roman Empire to the end of the Great Schism. The class focuses on western Europe, but pays close attention to its encounters with the Muslim east and the Viking north. Special emphasis is given to the flowering of medieval culture (monasteries, mystics, villages, and universities) as well as the crises of the period (crusades, heresy and inquisition, Hundred Years' War, and the Black Death). Offered alternate years. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 250 History of Great Britain

4 hours

Beginning with the Glorious Revolution and ending with the Second World War, this class focuses on the social, political, and religious history of Great Britain. Special attention is paid to the Enlightenment, Imperialism, the Industrial Revolution, and the nation at war. Offered alternate years. (HBSSM, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 256 Scandinavian Immigration History

4 hours

A study of the history of immigrants to the United States from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, and their descendants. Drawing on the rich ethnic resources of Luther College and Vesterheim museums, this course examines the nature of the immigration experience and the development within immigrant communities of a sense of old world ethnicity combined with a rising U.S. nationalism. Offered alternate years. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 262 Everybody Loves Gandhi

4 hours

M. K. Gandhi remains the Indian most indelibly associated with India, one of the most frequently-quoted thinkers of all time, and one of the most important figures in developing the theory and practice of non-violent resistance. However, Gandhi's ideas and philosophy have managed to become detached from the historical context in which they were created, and indeed from the human being who created them. This course examines Gandhi's life, political positions, and political legacies in India and globally, in an effort to re-evaluate his achievements and failures, to place his life within the broader historical context of India in the early twentieth century, and to consider the reasons why some people, since his death, have variously beatified and demonized the man and his ideas. (Hist, HB)

HIST 271 African Diaspora

4 hours

This course explores the global experiences of people of African descent. Students will study the human experiences of Africans in the Indian Ocean world, the trans-Saharan trade, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Geographical areas include Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Particular attention will be given to the web of interrelated histories, social dynamics, political, and economic processes affecting and reflecting world cultures and histories. (Same as AFRS 271) (HBSSM, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 285/295 Directed Study

2, 4 hours

An opportunity to pursue individualized or experiential learning with a faculty member, at the sophomore level or above, either within or outside the major. HIST 285 can be taken only during January Term, HIST 295 can be taken during the fall, spring, or summer terms.

HIST 290 Gender and Women’s History

4 hours

Faculty teaching this course will focus on the history of gender within their own period of expertise. The course will examine such gender questions as: Why and how should we study the history of gender? What do gender roles from the past tell us about our own gender experience? How do the histories of men and women as gendered persons intersect? The course will focus on these questions as they are related to the history of work, family, politics, and social behavior for the particular period and nation the instructor selects. (Same as WGST 290) (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 291 Environmental History

4 hours

This course introduces students to the field of environmental history. Students will examine the ways in which humans, plants, animals, and microbiota have acted as agents in the history of the world. The course emphasizes historical developments after 1300 and especially investigates the roles of science, colonialism, capitalism, and the state in changing the physical state of the environment and the ways humans understand their surroundings. Offered alternate years. (HBSSM, NWNL, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 299 Topics in History—Abroad

4 hours

In-depth study of selected topics in history, taught during January Term as part of Luther's study-abroad offerings. Individual subjects will vary depending on faculty member and location. Possible subjects include: Viking life in Scandinavia and Ireland; reading local history in India; the Holocaust; and the Reformations in Europe. Prerequisite: sophomore status or above. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 321 Topics in U.S. History

4 hours

In-depth study of a selected topic in U.S. history. Instruction in this course will require students to read and assess monographs written by prominent historians related to the topic. Students will write an eight-to-10-page research paper on a subject linked to the selected topic. Topics may include but are not limited to: Revolutionary America, disease in the American past, history of the American family, U.S. immigration history, the Vietnam War. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 337 Pan-Africanism

4 hours

An introduction to the ideas and movements that developed in efforts to unite African people spread throughout the world by the slave trade. The course examines key African and Diasporic African intellectual and ideological responses to enslavement and colonization, and subsequently to economic, social, and political marginalization. The course starts with an exploration of African American separatist discourse during the Americans' Revolutionary periods, moves through New World emancipation of slaves, colonization in Africa, and concludes with national movements and liberation struggles in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (Same as AFRS 337) (HB, HEPT, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 338 Slavery and Emancipation in the Americas: A Comparative History

4 hours

Slavery has often been a feature of human societies across the earth. But slavery as it existed in the Western Hemisphere between the 16th and the 19th centuries occupies a prominent and important place in the institution's long and sordid history. Focusing on North America, the Caribbean, and Brazil, the course explicitly compares the reasons why slavery developed in these different places, the growing prominence of racial categories, the work that slaves performed, slave culture, slave control and slave resistance, the lives of free black people in these various societies, and finally, the different means and mechanisms by which slavery came to an end. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (Same as AFRS 338.) (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 348 Vikings in History

4 hours

This course covers the "Viking Era," approximately 780–1070 CE. It will examine Viking society, religion and mythology, social structure, maritime technology and shipbuilding, political developments, literature and arts, and Viking expansion. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 351 Topics in European History

4 hours

In-depth study of selected topics in European history, covering such themes as economic, social, political, intellectual, and military history. Possible subjects include: the Carolingians; medieval mystics; the Black Death; the Dutch Golden Age; Islam and Christianity: historical encounters; the history of Spain; the Age of Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment; the French Revolution and Napoleon; British history (different periods depending on instructor); Hitler and Nazi Germany. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HB, Hist)

HIST 352 Scandinavia and the Baltic

4 hours

A survey of Scandinavian and Baltic history (including Finland and Iceland), beginning with the Viking age and ending with the current status of the welfare state in the relevant countries. Special emphasis on the Great Power periods of Denmark and Sweden in the 16th and the 17th centuries, and on the emergence of Norwegian and Finnish national movements in the 18th and 19th centuries. Discussion as well of current political and economic issues in Scandinavia. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 354 Russian History

4 hours

A general survey of Russian-Soviet history from earliest times through and beyond the Soviet period to the present day. Special emphasis given to the Russian Revolution of 1917, rise of Stalin, World War II, reconstruction and collapse of the Soviet state. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HB, Hist, Intcl)

HIST 355 The Reformation in Renaissance Europe

4 hours

An in-depth analysis of the various elements of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations in the context of Renaissance Europe. The focus is on the traditions, beliefs, values, and theologies of the Christian religious reformation and the influences on that reformation from the many cross-cultural currents in the 16th century, in particular the ideas and methods promoted by the Renaissance thinkers. The course will also include various aspects of social, economic, and political history, as part of the effort to contextualize the reformers' ideas, as well as their impact across society. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (Rel, HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 361 Topics in East Asian History

4 hours

In-depth study of a selected topic in East Asian history. Topics may cover the whole history of a particular country or may focus on a more limited time period in that country's history. Topics may also investigate diplomatic, economic, or cultural interactions between countries or explore themes common to multiple East Asian states. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 362 Topics in South Asian History

4 hours

In-depth study of a selected topic in South Asian history. Topics may cover the whole history of a particular country or may focus on a more limited time period in that country's history. Topics may also investigate diplomatic, economic, or cultural interactions between countries or explore themes common to multiple South Asian states. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 371 Topics in African History

4 hours

In-depth study of a selected topic in African history. Instruction in this course will require students to read and assess monographs by African historians on the topic. Topics may include but are not limited to apartheid in South Africa and Zimbabwe, decolonization, nationalism, environmental history of sub-Saharan Africa. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (HBSSM, Hist)

HIST 380 Internship

2–8 hours

Supervised on- or off-campus work situations in public or private organizations.

HIST 395 Independent Study

1, 2, or 4 hours

HIST 480 Internship

Credit arr.

HIST 485 Junior/Senior Seminar

4 hours

A detailed study of specialized topics in African, Asian, European or U.S. history depending on instructor. Selections of topics may also focus on themes and ideas that transcend national boundaries. Students will engage in original research; case studies have a strong emphasis on historical writings. Prerequisite: 16 credits in history or consent of instructor. (R, W)

HIST 490 Senior Project

2 hours

Projects build upon students' previous experience with scholarly research and include both a substantial piece of writing as well as an oral presentation of the findings. Senior projects will be written under the direction of the faculty member most appropriate to the research topic. Each student will make individual arrangements with that professor.

HIST 493 Senior Honors Project

4 hours

A yearlong independent research project. Applications are completed on the Honors Program form available at the registrar's office, requiring the signatures of a faculty supervisor, the department head, the honors program director, and the registrar. Interdisciplinary projects require the signatures of two faculty supervisors. The project must be completed by the due date for senior projects. The completed project is evaluated by a review committee consisting of the faculty supervisor, another faculty member from the major department, and a faculty member from outside the major department. All projects must be presented publicly. Only projects awarded an "A-" or "A" qualify for "department honors" designation. The honors project fulfills the all-college senior project requirement. (R, S)