Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
History Department

Course Description

This course will familiarize students with the world of those who fought, prayed, and worked in western, eastern, and southern Europe between about 1000 and 1350 CE. In particular, the class will focus on the development of lordship, rulership, and medieval states; power and coerciveness in the medieval countryside; the appearance and forms of medieval chivalry; the variability of medieval Christianity and the enthusiasm and anxieties it produced; encounters and conflict with religious and ethnic "others" in medieval minds and experiences; and the global aspects of the medieval world.

Back to Top


Course Description

Ancient Rome's effect on the modern world can hardly be overstated. We owe the Romans many of our most cherished philosophical and political ideas of liberty and citizenship, as well as a wealth of technical, architectural, and engineering knowledge. But Rome is more than a one-dimensional historical narrative. Throughout this course we will explore not only Rome's historical and political development, but the idea of Rome and Roman values both in the past and present—the real vs. the ideal, and how that comes to bear on our society and ideas today.

Back to Top


Course Description

This course will examine the history of modern France from the fall of the Old Regime to the end of World War I, known by historians as the "long nineteenth century." We will examine the rise and fall of Napoleon, the development of parliamentary democracy and industrial society, and the impact of French military expansion both in Europe and the rest of the world. Midshipmen will consider how French citizens negotiated the legacy of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Regime into the twentieth century and how a century of revolutions and wars transformed France and the modern world.

Back to Top


Course Description

This course is a limited chronicle of the English North American colonies, during the period of the War for Independence, 1763-1789. It begins with a discussion of the English imperial problems of the 1760s; traces the chain of events that led to the revolt on the fields of Lexington and Concord; and examines the revolutionary experiments with "republican government" in the states, the Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation, culminating with the Constitution of 1787 and its ratification.

Back to Top


Course Description

HH347 discusses the rise of sectionalism in the U.S., the collapse of the 2nd Party system ansd the rise of the Republican Party. It follows the path of the Southern states to secession. The social, political military aspects of the Civil War are examined. The course concludes with Reconstruction.

Back to Top


Course Description

HH354 explores the history of U.S. foreign relations, focusing on America's transformation from a small colony to the world’s pre-eminent power. It examines the causes and consequences of this dramatic shift, devoting particular emphasis to the years since 1900, the period of greatest US influence in world affairs. The course aims to increase students' knowledge and understanding of America’s involvement in the world; to improve their appreciation for the dilemmas of decision-making by putting them as much as possible in policymakers' shoes; and to deepen their insights into contemporary international issues. Finally, it encourages students to think and write critically and clearly about important historical issues and their contemporary relevance, not simply to memorize and recite names and dates.

Back to Top


Course Description

HH361 surveys 250 years of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean history dating roughly from 1750 until the early 2000s. This course examines consequential national developments and transnational interactions that shaped modern East Asia, such as Euro-American imperialism, Japanese imperialism, Marxist and Communist thought, Cold War geopolitics, and controversies concerning historical memory. You will explore historical processes in East Asia by analyzing primary-source materials (in English) that reveal the formative experiences of modern China, Japan, and Korea. In addition to focusing on significant individuals, events, and dynamics involved in the emergence of modern East Asia, this course situates the region's post-1750 history within a broader global context.


Back to Top


Course Description

A long-range historical approach to the Middle East's role in world affairs and the development of its cultural, political and military institutions. Emphasis is placed on strategic and diplomatic considerations.


Back to Top


Course Description

This class explores the ways in which medicine, sickness, and healing have been embodied, understood, and interwoven with political, economic, and military power in the modern Middle East. Students will be introduced to the history of medical knowledge and practice in the region, including Islamic, Galenic, and magical or "folk" traditions. The course treats biomedicine--often referred to as Western medicine--as one of many socially produced medical systems and discourses. It also problematizes concepts like "Western," "modern," and "traditional." We will look at how medical discourses and practices, including struggles over what constituted "modern" medicine, were intimately intertwined with the history of state-building, colonialism, race, gender, and nationalism in the modern Middle East.

Back to Top


Course Description

The United States has had a long and meaningful relationship with the region of sub-Saharan Africa, yet many Americans would probably fail an elementary quiz of the continent’s geography. This course explores a history that has shown American society at its best, and its worst. We will study the formulation of American policies, and their consequences. We will see the impact of individual Americans, as both public and private citizens. We will examine America's role in the slave trade, as well as the founding of Liberia as a pseudo American colony.

Our primary emphasis, however, will be on the post-World War II era. As Europeans withdrew from their African colonies the region became a crucial arena in the Cold War confrontation between East and West. With the end of the Cold War the United States gained a position of unprecedented influence. For several decades, Americans have vacillated over whether to intervene in African conflicts, as well as how to ameliorate some of the continent's most pressing issues of health and poverty.

Back to Top


Course Description

This course will explore processes of change as well as broad continuities in Iranian history and culture that have shaped this nation from ancient times to the present day. The course will examine this development through six distinct eras: the culture and history of ancient Iran, the coming of Islam to Iran, the Safavid era, the impact of Europe on Iran, nationalism in early modern Iran, and the Iranian Revolution that led to the current Islamic Republic.

Back to Top


Course Description

"The Golden Age of Piracy" is a course that explores the figure of the pirate in history from the sixteenth century through today. Who were the pirates of the early-modern seas? What did they do and why did they do it? And what did the rest of world think of their activities? Were they anything like the image they maintain in modern popular culture? This course, through reading relevant primary and secondary sources, will endeavor to answer these questions.

We will sort out the differences between the "mythical pirate" familiar to today’s public and the "historical" pirate of the early-modern era, and analyze how and why this "real" pirate has become distorted over time. We also will learn about contemporary piracy, and analyze why piracy has erupted today. Finally, we will augment our knowledge of historiography and social scientific theory, immerse ourselves in early-modern primary source materials, discuss the benefits and limitations of particular types of primary sources, learn about early-modern maritime history generally, study asymmetric and irregular warfare, probe the intellectual and cultural history of the modern West, and refine our analytical skills.

Back to Top


Course Description

When did human consciousness begin? how and why? From where do we derive our conception of sentience, and how does that conception affect our own psychology, our social relations, and the way we conceive of our relationship to non-human entities? Answers to these questions come from a myriad of disciplines and perspectives. Thinkers like Carl Jung and his colleagues at Eranos look to mythology and religion. Others like Ludwig Wittgenstein and Claude Lévi-Srauss turn to the study of language.

Neuroscientists and psychiatrists examine the physical structure and function of the brain. Data and computer scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers focus on the potentials of artificial intelligence and machine self-awareness. Others investigate the paranormal and unexplained phenomena including spectral occurrences and extra-terrestrial life. This course will explore the history of the idea of consciousness from a variety of multi-disciplinary perspectives with the aim of expanding and enriching our notion and experience of this fundamental "human" trait.

Back to Top


Course Description

HH383 focuses on the evolution of Western war from the legacy of the ideologically driven, nation in arms (Revolutionary France) through the pervasive warfare of industrial societies during the Second World War. The primary focus will be on land and air warfare with some relevant treatment of naval warfare. You will be exposed to the evolution of strategic thought, the relationships among industrialization, technology, imperialism, and military policies during the nineteenth century, the shift from qualitative to quantitative warfare during World War I, the ideological basis of Soviet and Nazi military practices, the nature of combat within the industrially based conflict of the 1937-45 War, as well as military operations.

Back to Top


Course Description

Insurgency and counterinsurgency are hardly new phenomena. The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the history, theory and doctrine of irregular warfare, with a focus on modern counterinsurgency warfare. The course will also explore factors that have influenced U. S. irregular warfare success/ failure as well as introducing the concept of a globalized insurgency to prepare students for the challenges of dealing with emergent non-state entities.

Back to Top


Course Description

The War of 1812 helped ensure the survival of the United States as a sovereign nation. This course will put midshipmen aboard a replica War of 1812 privateer to recreate one of the most important conflicts in the country's history. Because of the unique scheduling of the sailing weekend on a tall ship, this course is not available to varsity athletes whose schedules would conflict with that key weekend.

Back to Top


Course Description

This course examines the military exploitation of the third dimension, and its consequent effects on warfare development in the twentieth century. While readings focus predominantly on U.S. air power history, the course also exposes students to the efforts of other western and nonwestern nation states to acquire the ability to fight in the skies.

Back to Top


go to Top