College of Arts & Sciences

Department of History





Course Title





Historical Introduction to Latin America

Richard A. Warren




The Italian Renaissance, 1100-1600

Allison W. Lewin




History of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1861-1991

Melissa A. Chakars




African Ethnicities

Brian J. Yates




America in the Age of Revolutions

Randall M. Miller




American Ideas: From the Colonial Era to the Civil War

Jeffrey Hyson




History of Women in America since 1820

Kathleen Sibley




Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe and the United States

Erik Huneke




Seminar In European History

Christopher W. Close




Seminar In Global/Comparative History

Amber H. Abbas




History 343: African Ethnicities / Dr. Brian Yates

This course is designed to inform students on not only the general schools of ethnic construction, but also Africa’s unique contribution to the development of the field. This course will begin with general themes in ethnic construction and cover pre-colonial ethnic constructions in Yorubaland and continue to trace the development of African ethnicities in the New World. Later themes in this course will detail the forces of nation building, conflict and migration as important factors in ethnic construction. There will be several case studies given in the class which represent some of the extremely varied African experiences with ethnicity. In this course you will receive a very general understanding of ethnic construction that can be used as a foundation for further inquiry. The class will test critical thinking, effective communication and reading comprehension. Knowledge of identity construction is essential in understanding the conflicts that occasionally arise due to them, the diversity of this ever shrinking world and how we define ourselves.

History 389:  Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe and the United States / Dr. Erik Huneke

This course will introduce students to key quandaries and possibilities in the history of gender and sexuality through cross-cultural comparisons focusing on Europe and the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Given the ostensible prevalence and persistence of patriarchal structures across temporal and geographical boundaries, historians of gender and sexuality have had to reexamine fundamental assumptions regarding historical causality and periodization in ways that have informed heuristic approaches in historical inquiry more generally.  Moreover, this course seeks to historicize key assumptions of gender studies and queer theory, such as the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and other categories of identity.  Does “intersectionality” take on a different cast depending on the historical context in which it occurs?  Finally, this course offers a historical backdrop to contemporary debates regarding the relative weight of biological and environmental factors in the etiology of gender norms and sexual subjectivities by examining the continual reinvention of gender and sexuality as social constructs. 


History 472:  Seminar in European History:  The Inquisition / Dr. Christopher Close


A heretic being burned at the stake is one of the iconic images of attempts to punish and suppress religious difference in early modern Europe, an effort commonly referred to as the Inquisition. But while the Inquisition may loom large in the popular imagination as a brutal, monolithic system that oppressed millions, the individual inquisitions in Europe’s different countries displayed widely varying goals and purposes. In this seminar, we move beyond common perceptions of the Inquisition to explore the real history behind early modern criminal justice. We will adopt a thematic approach, addressing some of the most important issues raised by early modern criminal justice while reflecting frequently on the ethical components of studying crime and punishment from a historical perspective. Our first unit will examine historical records of torture and public executions to refine the theory of philosopher Michel Foucault, who has posited a direct relationship between power and punishment in the Inquisition. Next, we will investigate the Spanish Inquisition, the largest and most controversial inquisitorial system in Europe. For the research paper, students can investigate any of the numerous inquisitorial courts in Europe by drawing on a variety of possible sources including trial records, criminal codes, gallows speeches, an executioner’s diary, and images of torture and public punishment.

HIS 478 Seminar in Global/Comparative History: Oral History, Migration and the Archive / Dr. Amber Abbas

This course examines the major themes in Asian American Studies including Migration, Assimilation, Acculturation, Multiculturalism, Discrimination, Gender and Sexuality through an exploration of the experience of South Asian migrants to the United States.  The course begins with an examination of the push-pull factors of migration by looking at the broader world of South Asian migration worldwide. The liberalization of American immigration law in the 1960s provides the platform for continuing the discussion of migration and sets the stage for a thorough examination of the migration of South Asian Americans from various states in the subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal) from the 1960s onward.  These migrants and their offspring populate the remainder of our study, in a very real sense, as we examine the particulars of their experience, through the method of oral history interviews. Students will learn the objectives of oral history and its significance as a research method. They will prepare and conduct an oral history project with a South Asian migrant in the Philadelphia area. These interviews will be linked together in a collection to be archived at the South Asian American Digital Archive, based here in Philadelphia. The interviews that the students conduct, therefore, will add to a growing body of knowledge on South Asian America that they will use to write a culminating research paper incorporating the data from their own interviews, those of colleagues and those available in local and online archives.