ChairR. Nemes
DEPARTMENT SITE

Today the study of human history is critical to global survival; the experiences of others serve as guides to present and future conduct. At the same time, exposure to rigorous historical method and clear narrative style develops conceptual skills, research competence, writing fluency, and sensitivity to the uses and abuses of language and historical knowledge. The history department curriculum includes courses on African, Asian, Caribbean, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and North American subjects, and on contact and interaction among these societies. Majors are encouraged to take courses in related departments and programs. Competence in at least one foreign language is also desirable.

Advanced Placement

Colgate course credit is awarded to students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP European History exam and the AP U.S. History exam. Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP European history exam receive a total of one course credit for HIST 101 (0.5 course credits) and HIST 102 (0.5 course credits). Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP U.S. history exam receive a total of one course credit for HIST 103 (0.5 course credits) and HIST 104 (0.5 course credits). AP credit results in graduation credit but does not count towards the history major. 

Students considering a major in history may begin with 100-level surveys or 200-level courses. The 100-level survey courses introduce students to the college-level study of history. Prospective majors with AP history credit should consider enrolling in 200-level history courses that pique their interest.

For further details, see the University Catalog, or contact the department chair, Professor Robert Nemes at rnemes@colgate.edu

Courses

 

Professor Cooper 

Late Medieval England: Piety, Imagination, and Revolt 

In the years after the Black Death, English society underwent profound change. War, political upheaval, and social revolt all changed the way in which people looked at themselves and the world around them. Students examine the rich and varied texts from the period to try to explore the mentalities, fears, and dreams of late-medieval men and women and to reconstruct their world-view on the eve of modernity. The texts to be studied include the Canterbury Tales, the writings of female mystics, John Mandeville’s fabulous travel yarns, the earliest stories of Robin Hood, and the conflicting accounts of the Peasants’ Revolt. Poetry, political satire, chronicles, religious polemics, visions, court records, family letters, maps, music, architecture, and paintings will all be encountered. No prior knowledge is required; a passion for the subject is vital, however, as active classroom participation will be a major part of your grade. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive credit for HIST 199 and satisfy one half of the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents are of inquiry requirement. 

Professor Alan Cooper is a historian who works on the intersection of cultural history and the history of power in the European Middle Ages. His current project is about how psychological trauma caused the rhetoric of the Crusades to enter European politics.

 

Explores the social, economic, political, and cultural history of Europe over the last two centuries. Topics include the revolutions of 1848, nationalism and the unification of Italy and Germany, the Industrial Revolution and the growth of socialism, imperialism and the alliance system, the Russian Revolution and the two World Wars, Stalinism and the fall of the Soviet Empire after 1989, and the development of the European Union. (EU)

A survey of United States history from the era of Reconstruction to the present. Topics include post-Reconstruction racial retrenchment in the South; immigration; the rise of industrialism and the response to it by farmers and workers; Populism and Progressivism; women's suffrage and the modern women's movement; the World Wars, the Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam; the New Deal and public policy; the cultural convulsions of the 1920s and 1960s; the victories and frustrations of the Civil Rights movement; and the post-Cold War period. (US)

Introduces students to the rich interdisciplinary array of historical, theoretical, and practical topics that comprise this fast-growing field. Major themes include the history of museums from cabinets of curiosity to the Museum of Modern Art; the post-colonial critique of museums; and the practical aspects of museum management, education, and curating.

Trains students in historical methods by focusing on research, writing, and communication skills. Students learn to understand historiographical debates, assemble and assess bibliographies, find and interpret primary sources, construct effective written arguments, cite sources correctly, and develop appropriate oral communication skills. Depending on the instructor, the course may also include the use of non-traditional sources such as film or material culture, as well as the interpretation of historic sites, monuments, and landscapes.

The Middle Ages were a period of enormous transformation and creativity in Europe. This course examines the emergence of medieval civilization from the ruins of the ancient world and the subsequent evolution of that civilization into modern Europe. Themes to be covered include the fall of Rome, the spread of Christianity and the conflicts within the medieval church, the rise and fall of Byzantium, the challenge of Islam and the crusades, the Vikings, the development of the medieval economy, the feudal revolution, the 12th-century Renaissance, the origins of law and government, the effects of the Black Death, and the Italian Renaissance. (EU)

U.S. foreign relations from the entry into the Great War to the present. Topics include the unquiet "normalcy" of the 1920s, origins of U.S. participation in the Second World War, the atomic bombs, the Cold War, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, arms control, the end of the Cold War, and the new world of terrorism and conflict. (US)

In 1485, Henry Tudor became king of England. A second-rate power in Europe, his kingdom had been torn apart by dynastic struggles and civil war. By 1714, when the last of the Stuart monarchs died, everything had changed. England was now part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which included Scotland and Wales, and whose king also ruled over the neighboring island of Ireland. The medieval feudal kingship had been replaced by a well-established parliamentary monarchy, with many stops along the way. Britain was now a world power, at the center of a far-flung empire, and competing with France for dominance in Europe and beyond. This course will explore precisely how these monumental changes came about, taking a close look at British history over the long 16th and 17th centuries from a number of different perspectives: political, religious, social, cultural, commercial, and intellectual. (EU)

Typically, American history is told from the perspective of European colonizers, with the story beginning on the east coast and expanding west across the continent. How does American history look different when we reverse this perspective and put the continent's original people at the center of the story? What has been the experience of American Indian people, both before and after European contact? And why is this history essential for understanding the world we live in today? With these questions in mind, students will examine the history of indigenous peoples in what is now the United States from 1492 to the present day. Particular focus will be placed on American Indians' history of adaptation and resilience in the face of European and American colonialism.

Focuses on the range of experiences of women in Europe, from the Renaissance to the present day. Topics include the experiences of women in the workforce and the family, the witch craze, women and religion, women’s involvement in politics and reform movements, the exercise of state control over women’s bodies, and the changing priorities of feminism and feminist ideologies. (EU)

While the discipline of history is often approached as a collection of static, undisputed facts, the past is constantly re-interpreted and re-written to suit the needs of those living in the present. Far from being an apolitical exercise or a straightforward empirical investigation, history is contested and hijacked by individuals and groups who seek to use it to advance their interests and promote their agendas. History is not only subject to intense and divisive public debates, it frequently appears at the center of both latent and active inter-group conflicts. Through close readings of key texts and hands-on engagement with contemporary case studies, this course aims to provide a broad overview of the politics of history. The scope of the course is global, and the methodological approach is multi-disciplinary, spanning such fields as history, political science, public and international affairs, memory studies, museum studies, and peace and conflict studies. (TR)

Surveys the history of South Asian from the expansion of the Mughal Empire in the early modern period and the rise of the British colonial power in the 18th and 19th centuries to the emergences of modern nation states. The course also looks at the different political, economic, and cultural trajectories that these nation states, particularly India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, have taken since independence. With the aim of developing a historical perspective to the complex and often paradoxical social, religious, and political identities that the region of South Asia exhibits today, this course introduces students to a diverse set of primary sources ranging from Mughal court chronicles, European travel accounts and autobiographies to public speeches and official correspondences. Although this course complements the survey of the ancient and medieval history of South Asia taught in HIST 268, no prior background in South Asian history is required. (AS)

Introduces students to the rich interdisciplinary array of historical, theoretical, and practical topics that comprise this fast-growing field. Major themes include the history of museums from cabinets of curiosity to the Museum of Modern Art; the post-colonial critique of museums; and the practical aspects of museum management, education, and curating.

Typically, American history is told from the perspective of European colonizers, with the story beginning on the east coast and expanding west across the continent. How does American history look different when we reverse this perspective and put the continent's original people at the center of the story? What has been the experience of American Indian people, both before and after European contact? And why is this history essential for understanding the world we live in today? With these questions in mind, students will examine the history of indigenous peoples in what is now the United States from 1492 to the present day. Particular focus will be placed on American Indians' history of adaptation and resilience in the face of European and American colonialism.