Off-Campus Studies

Members of the History Department faculty often offer J-term courses under the auspices of the Luther College Center for Global Learning. The following are examples of some of the classes that have been taught in the past, or are forthcoming:

Current Courses

Paideia 450: Reconciliation in South Africa
Taught by Guy Nave (Religion) and Richard Mtisi (Africana Studies/History)
Offered in J-Term 2014

Paideia 450This course will examine how South Africans are attempting to overcome their tortured past by examining it and facing squarely the implications of human rights abuses that occurred during apartheid and the violent struggle to topple it. In the course of three weeks in Johannesburg, Kwazulu-Natal, East London, and Cape Town areas, students will meet with journalists who covered the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, judicial officials and religious leaders who ran it, and individuals of all races who bared their pasts to the Commission (and families of victims) in an attempt to receive amnesty from the Commission.  We will also talk with South Africans to get their view regarding if and how things have changed during the course of twenty years of democracy.

Nottingham Program
Brian Caton will be the Nottingham Program Director for 2014-2015

Nottingham ProgramThe Nottingham Year is based on community: students live together in a flat leased by the college and have the opportunity to be involved in a community service project of their choosing. A Luther faculty director lives in a leased house near the student flat and serves as the resident director for the year. The faculty director coordinates/teaches three courses throughout the year which all students take. One of these courses includes significant group travel throughout the United Kingdom and perhaps Ireland. Students also take coursework at the University of Nottingham.

Past Courses

History 299, Environmental History in India
Offered in January 2011, Taught by Brian Caton

Environmental History in IndiaThe field of environmental history has been shaped significantly by scholars and activists working in India, since at least the early 1970s. Our course will investigate the historiography of Indian environmental history and the content of environmental change in India over at least the past three hundred years. We will investigate a series of sites in western India to discover the environmental history of specific places and to see how the process of doing environmental history intersects with the daily lives of people in those places.

History 299:  The Reformation in Renaissance Europe (Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands
Offered in 2009 and 2012, Taught by Victoria and Robert Christman

In this course we will analyze the ideas and trace the steps of some of the key figures of the Protestant Reformation, while observing the sites of some of the Reformation’s central events.  We will begin in Prague, in the Czech Republic, home of the Reformation’s famous forerunner, Jan Hus.  Thereafter we will proceed to Wittenberg and other sites in Eastern Germany associated with Martin Luther, before continuing on to Münster, in western Germany, to explore the ideas and fate of the Anabaptists, part of the radical wing of the Reformation.  The course will end in the Low Countries, with stays in Antwerp, Belgium and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  In Belgium, we will focus our attention on the Counter and Catholic Reformations, the church’s effort to defend itself from the growing Protestant heresy, and redefine itself in its wake.  Finally, in the Netherlands, we will observe important sites in the Calvinist Reformation and explore that reformation’s central premises.

History 351, Viking Life in Scandinavia and Ireland
Offered in 2002, 2004, and 2008, Taught by Marv Slind

J-term 2008This course examined the “Viking Era,” approximately 750 to 1100 CE, with special emphasis on Scandinavia and Ireland.  It covered the essential elements of Viking society and culture, and the technological developments (particularly maritime) that led to the spread of the Viking world.  Topics included: ships and navigation; art; daily life; military techniques; mythology and religion; and literature.   Lectures and readings were supplemented by visits to museums and historical/archaeological sites in the following areas:  Copenhagen and Roskilde, Denmark; Dublin and Cork, Ireland; and Oslo, Norway. 

History 299: European History through the Irish Lens:  The Irish Republic and Northern Ireland
Offered in January 2010, Taught by Marv Slind

J-term 2010Since the prehistoric migrations of peoples in Western Europe, there has been frequent interaction between Ireland and the rest of Europe.  In many cases, Ireland has been the object of other nations’ policies, and subject to the ambitions of outsiders.  At other times, Ireland has been actively involved in the political, conomic, and cultural life of Europe and the world.  This course surveyed the interaction of Ireland with Europe from prehistoric times to the present.  In addition to examining Ireland’s long and difficult relationship with England, it looked at such topics as the role of the Vikings in developing Irish urban culture and trade, Ireland and the Napoleonic Wars, relations with England from the Normans to Independence, the Spanish Armada and the “Flight of the Wild Geese” following the Battle of Kinsale, “the Troubles” and Northern Ireland, and the “Celtic Tiger” and the European Union.  Visits to historical sites and museums were supplemented by guest lecturers from local academic institutions.  There were also regular viewings of contemporary Irish films which explored historical and cultural topics from a national perspective.