UA Department of History
Fall 2021 Course Descriptions
Note: There are no prerequisites for any courses in History. 300-level courses cap at 40 students and are lecture based. 400-level courses cap at 30 students, are discussion based, and usually have the “W” designation (double check below). 300 and 400-level courses have roughly the same workload.
HY 101 Western Civilization to 1648. A history of Western civilization from its origins in Greece and Rome through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and the age of discovery and expansion during the emergence of modern Europe.
HY 102 Western Civilization Since 1648. Covers the development if the Western world from the Thirty Years’ War to the post-World War II era; the age of absolutism, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, industrialization and the wars of the 20th century.
HY 103 American Civilization to 1865. A survey of American history from its beginning to the end of the Civil War, giving special emphasis to the events, people, and ideas that have made America a distinctive civilization.
HY 104 American Civilization Since 1865. A survey of American history from the Civil War to the present, giving special emphasis to the events, people, and ideas that have made America a distinctive civilization.
HY 105 Honors Western Civilization to 1648. A history of Western civilization from its origins in Greece and Rome through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and the age of discovery and expansion during the emergence of modern Europe.
HY 106 Honors Western Civilization Since 1648. Covers the development of the Western world from the Thirty Years’ War to the post–World War II era: the age of absolutism, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, industrialization, and the wars of the 20th century.
HY 107 Honors American Civilization to 1865. An honors-level approach to the American experience. Prerequisite(s): Invitation of the department or membership in the University Honors Program.
HY 108 Honors American Civilization since 1865. An honors-level approach to the American experience. Prerequisite(s): Invitation of the department or membership in the University Honors Program.
HY 111 Colonial Latin America. Professor Teresa Cribelli. TR 9:30-10:45. Formation of the largely Spanish speaking New World, from the shock of conquest to the trials of freedom that spawned the modern nations of Latin America.
HY 113 Asian Civilization to 1400. Professor Di Luo. MWF 10-10:50. History 113 is an introduction to the societies and cultures of pre-modern Asia with a focus on China, Korea, and Japan. One goal of this course is to consider what is distinctive about “Asian civilization,” as manifested in these countries. A second goal is the study of the relationship between the evolution of China, Korea, and Japan as distinct cultures themselves.
HY 115 Science/Medicine to 1800. Professor Erik Peterson. Lecture MW 11-11:50. Also requires a recitation: R 8, R 9, F 10, F 11. Science and technology are ever-present in today’s world, defining not only how we live our daily lives but also shaping our conceptions and evaluations of modernity, civilization, and progress. How did science and technology become so important and pervasive to the modem world? This course is intended as an introduction to the history of modem science and technology from the enlightenment to the present. Our focus will be on the development of science and technology in the Western World (Europe and North America). However, we will also make comparisons across cultures to explore how science and technology shaped notions of what counts as “Western” and “modem.” In addition to learning about key developments in the history of science and technology, from Ford’s Model-T to Einstein’s theory of relativity, we will address larger themes, including the relationship between science and religion and the role of technology in war and empire.
HY 117 World History to 1500. Professor Patrick Hurley. TR 11-11:50. Also requires a recitation M 9, M 10, F 10, F 11. This survey course explores the history of several major parts of the world and their perspective histories from the earliest times to AD 1500. Such exploration will include studies of the Mediterranean and Near East, China, India, Mesoamerica, and Sub-Saharan Africa. When examining these topics, attention will be given to social, economic, and religious history as well as political history.
HY 225 History of Alabama to 1865. Professor David Durham. TR 2-3:15. This course offers a survey of Alabama history from the earliest settlements through the Civil War. The emphasis of the lectures and readings will be on major themes and trends throughout the period such as the contributions of indigenous peoples, colonial development, economic opportunity, republican democracy, religion, slavery, political parties, sectionalism, and war.
HY 305-001 History Fascism. Professor Janek Wasserman. MWF 11:00-11:50. This course explores the ideological origins and historical development of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial movements. It investigates fascism’s popularity, complexity and lasting significance. More than an Italian and/or German phenomenon, fascism affected states and peoples across Europe and the globe, from the interwar era until the present.
HY 306-001 History of the US Navy. Professor John Beeler. TR 11:00-12:15. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the broad strategic concepts of sea power, their role in evolution of the United States and its Navy from their origins to the present, and ancillary topics such as naval technology, the evolution and transformation of tactics, and, not least of all, the nature of sea warfare in the ages of sail and steam, and the perceptions and experiences of those who have served in the U.S. Navy, in both peace and war. Along the way we shall spend considerable time focusing on wars, campaigns and battles, but several classes will be devoted to examining the changing nature of technology and naval warfare in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from the revolution effected by steam, armor, modern ordnance, torpedoes and other technological novelties, right up to the nuclear age and the Exocet missile. Individual lectures will also be dedicated to the social evolution of the Navy: the development of a professional officer corps, life before the mast, and related topics.
HY 306-002 Queer History of the Modern South. Professor John Giggie. TR 12:30-1:45. This class will explore the modern queer civil rights movement. Sponsored by the Summersell Center for the Study of the South and working the Invisible Histories project based in Birmingham, the class will read key works and meet with archivists and scholars active in preserving and telling the story of queer history. Students will end the course by conducting interviews with local queer leaders and building a website to host their research. Freshmen are welcome to enroll.
HY 306-003 Women and War. Professor Margaret Montgomery. MWF 11:00-11:50. American women have long participated in war efforts whether as civilians or soldiers. This course features stories of women who served in the military, aided war efforts at home, and led anti-war protests. Its central theme involves exploring the relationship of gender with American wars and considers how that relationship changes when considering sexuality and race. Women and War will trace how, since the Revolutionary War, despite the close association of war with men, women have been essential. Topics will not only cover women as participants, but issues that particularly plague women in a military primarily built for and by men. The class will give you a basic introduction to historical literature and expose you to primary sources from American women.
HY 306-004 American Swagger. Professor Sharony Green. R 3:00-5:30. Since the eighties, the word “swagger” has been used in reference to the arrogance and confidence of human beings, especially with spectator sports in mind. Such behavior poses tensions with the “American character” a French judge saw during his 1831 visit to the United States. This course looks at “American character,” or swagger as a historical development. It come into being with the rise of the global market economy in the years approaching the Civil War. Using a variety of sources and readings, we will find meaning in how it emerges via pursuit of the so-called American dream.
HY 306-005 Early Material Cultures. Professor Heather Kopelson. MWF 12:00-12:50. This course studies human-made objects to learn about the history of the Americas (North, Central, South, and the Caribbean) from 1300 to 1800. Topics studied include gender, race, religion, colonization, work, leisure, and family. Key themes include cultural interactions and the place of objects in the creation of memory.
HY 306-006 Race & Injustice in the South. Professor John Giggie. TR 9:30-10:45. A study of crime, punishment, and race in the American South from slavery through the rise of mass incarceration in the 21st century. Topics include slave patrols, convict lease system, lynching, the Lost Cause, white supremacy, the death penalty, the modern prison system, and Black responses to these systematic oppressions. Special attention will be paid to understanding these national themes locally, within Alabama and Tuscaloosa, and working with community partners. Freshmen and Pre-Law Students are welcome to enroll.
HY 307-001 Age of Samurai. Professor Patrick Hurley. TR 2:00-3:15. This course covers the history of Japan from earliest times to the period of the Meiji Restoration in 1868. For most of the period under discussion, Japan was a divided realm only nominally ruled by the emperor, while real power lay in the hands of the feudal lords who were occasionally controlled by a shogun (governor general) during the Kamakura and Ashikaga Periods from the late 12th to early 15th century. By the 16th century, power had fallen back into the hands of the feudal lords, backed up by their armed retainers, the samurai. The Period of the Sendoku Jidai was a time of civil war, in which these lords vied for power, and was only ended with the victory of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who formed the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1605. This regime lasted until its decline in the 1850s, and was replaced by the Meiji regime, which abolished feudalism in Japan altogether. This course covers the political, economic, social, and religious, and mythological history of this period, with some attention given to Japan’s relations with foreign powers as well.
HY 308 Colonial America. Professor Harold Selesky. TR 12:30-1:45. This course examines the ways in which Europeans created new societies on the North American mainland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The focus is on two parts of the Atlantic world in which the dominant culture was English. In the Chesapeake the theme is the rise of African-descended chattel slavery, and in New England it is the evolution of Puritan religion. Attention will also be paid to the diverse societies that arose in New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and New France. The course has two goals. The first is to increase your understanding of the societies that immigrants from the Old World created in the New World. The second is to examine, through a critical reading of both primary and secondary sources, how we know what we think we know about these societies; readers must pay careful attention to how the historian is seeking to persuade you of the probity and accuracy of his or her vision of the past. Both aspects of the course depend on you reading, thinking about, and absorbing the assigned material before we deal with it in class.
HY 311 Antebellum America. Professor Sharony Green. R 3-5:30. Students will explore the antebellum period as an era of great change in the United State. Between 1820 and 1860, we witness the rise of the “city” and expanding frontiers. Antebellum America, 1846-1861 examines the divisive political, social, and economic forces which intensified in the 1840s and culminated in the Civil War. Through a study of the primary and secondary literature of American history this course surveys the individuals and groups who influenced the American experience, as well as the cultural, political, and socio-economic movements that shaped the nation.
HY 332 Native American History. Professor Heather Kopelson. MWF 10:00- 10:50. Examines the histories of hundreds of indigenous American peoples from early human habitation to the present day, with a focus on those residing in what is now the United States and Canada. We will study their experiences; their encounters with one another, Europeans, and Africans; and the different histories that people have told about those experiences and encounters. Class materials include art, film, and fiction and students will volunteer at the Moundville Festival in October.
HY 337 Foodways in American History. Professor Charles Clark. MWF 9:00-9:50. American Foodways will use food and the cultural meanings surrounding it to examine American history from the colonial era to the present day. Everyone eats, but the ways in which they did so and the meanings of various groups ascribed to their food will provide a set of viewpoints on our shared past. There will be an experimental component to the class, mainly in the form of food and tastings.
HY 349 History of France 1760-present. Professor Holly Grout. TR 11:00-12:15. This course examines major trends in the social, cultural, economic and political history of modern France. Major themes include: republicanism and citizenship, nationalism, daily life, war, class conflict, consumerism, imperialism, the arts, and gender.
HY 357 World War I. Professor Charles P. Clark. MW 1-1:50. This class will also have recitations; R 12, R 1, F 11, F 12. World War I deals with the social, cultural, and economic aspects of the war, the role that technology played in the outcome, and the impact of the war on the world today. Students write two six-to-eight-page comparative papers, identify important images from the war, and write in-class essays to assess understanding.
HY 368 Caribbean History since 1492. Professor Jenny Shaw. MWF 9-9:50. Conquistadors! Planters! Pirates! Indians! Enslaved Africans! Religious Reformers! Independence Leaders! Radical Revolutionaries! Together these people built a new world – a world forged at the intersection of imperial ambitions and international contact, where the peoples and cultures of the Americas, Africa, and Europe collided. This class examines how colonialism, plantation slavery, the age of abolition, the emergence of national independence movements, and the impact of climate and environment made the modern Caribbean.
HY 371 History of Brazil. Professor Teresa Cribelli. TR 12:30-1:45. Why study Brazil? This South American nation is the fifth largest in the world in both geography and population. It is now home to the sixth largest economy in the world (surpassing the United Kingdom in 2013). Brazil is also a nation rich in racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity. In many ways, Brazil’s history of slavery, plantation agriculture, immigration, and industrialization offer a compelling distant mirror for understanding the trajectory of U.S. history and the rest of the Americas. In this class we will explore themes of gender, immigration, racial identity, industrialization, modernization, state formation, and dictatorship and democracy.
HY 378 Drugs, Booze & Mexican Society. Professor Steven Bunker. TR 11-12:15. This course is a hybrid survey of Mexican history since conquest, the history of the US-Mexican border, and a view of that history through the lens of drug production, consumption, and influence on Mexican society and US-Mexican relations. In short, the goal of this course is to impart an understanding of drugs as embedded in Mexican social, political, economic, and cultural contexts, providing students with a view from the Mexican side of the border. Alcohol and marijuana will be the focus of the course, but other substances will enter into certain readings throughout the semester. An important theme in this course is to answer the question “What are the origins of today’s War on Drugs?” In addition, the course will endeavor to provide a broader, international context for the development and use of intoxicants and the drug trade, both legal and illegal.
HY 384 Ancient Egypt Near East. Professor Patrick Hurley. TR 12:30-1:45. This course focuses on the history of Egypt and the Nile Valley from the earliest times through to the fall of the New Kingdom at the beginning of the first millennium BC, continuing through to the conquest of that land by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. While this course will focus mainly on the history of the Egyptian part of the Nile Valley, the history of Egypt’s relations with foreign nations will also be examined. It will also look at the socio-economic as well as religious history of the region, with emphasis given on how Egyptian society and culture persisted through despite times of upheaval and change.
HY 404 Modern China Since 1600. Professor Di Luo. MW 3:00-4:15. This course provides a general but analytic survey of the history of China from the 17th to the 20th century. After a brief introduction to China’s geography, languages, and cultural background, we will discuss key historical phenomena that have distinguished China’s evolution in the modern period. The course is organized around the paired themes of non-Chinese attempts to challenge or undermine China’s sovereignty and Chinese responses to those efforts, partly and especially since 1895 to achieve wealth and power for their nation. For this reason, emphasis is placed on political, military, and social developments, although some attention is also given to economic and intellectual ones.
HY 405-001 (W) The History of History. Professor Margaret Peacock. W 2:00-4:30. In this course, students will read some of the world’s greatest historians. We will learn all the ways that historians have tried to tell history in the modern era, getting a handle on the big, methodological and theoretical debates that have shaped the field over the last three hundred years. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 407 – 001, The Spanish Conquest of the Americas. Professor Juan José Ponce-Vázquez. TR 11:00-12:15. In the span of roughly 70 years (1492- 1560s), the Spanish Monarchy built an empire in the Americas that extended thousands of miles, from the modern-day US Southeast and Southwest to the Southern Andes. The story of this success has often been told with either myths and tales of heroic deeds by Spanish conquistadors or with accounts of the natives’ inability to adapt to European weaponry. In this course, we will put away some of these myths to understand this clash of cultures in its proper historical context. We will focus primarily on the early encounters in the Caribbean, the conflict against the Mexica Confederacy, and the conquest of the Inka Empire. The course will be organized around the reading and discussion of primary sources, with the addition of foundational journal articles in the field.
HY 430-001 (W) Exploration and Empire. Professor Matthew Lockwood. M 2:00-4:30. From the Age of Exploration in the 15th century to the Age of Empire and beyond, human history has been fundamentally shaped by moments and periods of cross-cultural interaction. In this research seminar, students will examine and interpret such historical moments of cross-cultural contact and exchange using a wide array of primary sources. Students will pick any historical period or instance of cross-cultural contact that appeals to their interests and then engage in extensive primary source research to create an original research essay. This class asks students to consider the importance of cross-cultural interactions historically and to use their own original research and writing to assess the influence of such moments on the development of the modern world. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-002 (W) “Slavery, Emancipation, and Memory in American History.” Professor Joshua Rothman. T 2:00-4:30. “Students in this capstone course will design and produce a paper of at least fifteen pages in length that reflects their own original primary source research, on a topic of their choosing developed in consultation with the instructor, about the history and/or memory of slavery and emancipation in the United States.” Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-003 (W) US-Latin America Relations. Professor Juan José Ponce-Vázquez. R 2:00-4:30. This is an advanced undergraduate research class in which students will learn the skills necessary to conduct their own original research and write a 15-20 page paper in a topic of their choosing related to the history of US-Latin American relations. Students will also develop a presentation to show their peers the work they have conducted. The course will cover step to step instruction about how to do research with primary and secondary sources, one on one advising about the project, and an encouraging environment. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-004 (W) American Military Leadership. Professor Harold Selesky. W 2:00-4:30. We will examine decisions made by senior military leaders in three of America’s most important conflicts, the War for American Independence, the Civil War, and World War II. We will focus on George Washington and Nathanael Greene in the War for American Independence, on Ulysses Grant and William Sherman in the Civil War, and on George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in World War II. For all these leaders, there are letterpress editions of their papers (Sherman in brief), thereby affording you the opportunity to fulfill the departmental requirement that your essay be based on primary sources. We will spend some time examining the decisions made by these six men, move on to shaping the questions you can ask and hope to answer in the primary documents, and afford you ample time later in the term to finish and polish your essay. It will be possible to examine other leaders for whom primary materials are less abundant (for example George McClellan and Robert Lee in the Civil War), but the evidentiary footing (and the secondary literature) must be abundant enough so that you meet the departmental requirement. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-005. (W) The History of London. Professor Lucy Kaufman. T 2:00-4:30. In this research seminar, students will explore the rich and varied history of London from its inception to the present day. Rather than concentrate on a wide geography and a short period of time, we will look at the evolution of one space over the course of millennia. Students can pick any period of this history that interests them; they will then engage in extensive original research using the many accessible primary source collections available for the metropolis. At its core, this class asks you to think of yourself not as a student, but rather as an historian. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 442 The Middle Ages. Professor James Mixson. MW 3:00-4:15. This course offers a series of explorations of the cultural history of medieval Europe between the ninth and the fifteenth centuries. It is structured as a series of distinct modules, each focused on a specific set of issues. Possible topics include the Viking world and the conversion of Scandinavia; the origins, impact and legacies of the crusades; the life and legacy of St. Francis; and recent debates over the nature and impact of the Black Death and the end of the Middle Ages. These discrete units introduce students, at a reasonably high level of sophistication, both to these themes and to the main outlines of medieval history. They also introduce students to the difficult task of making sense of the primary sources of the era, and of the variety of methods and models current historians use in their research.
HY 491 (W) England under Stuarts. Professor Lucy Kaufman. TR 9:30-10:45. Divided by a civil war that pitted monarch against Parliament, seventeenth-century England saw the foundation of institutions and ideas that shape our world to this day. From the ideas of Hobbes and Locke to the scientific writings of Margaret Cavendish, from the execution of Charles I to the creation of the first Bill of Rights, from Shakespeare to Milton to Aphra Behn, from the settlement of North America to the long-lasting obsession with sugar, this course will explore a fascinating and transformative century. Topics covered will include the British Civil War; the development of constitutional law; legal and political theory; the foundation of the American and Caribbean colonies; the development of London into a metropolis; the rise and fall of Puritanism and religious radicalism; the growth of welfare and poor relief; the changing role of women; the creation of political parties; popular politics and public opinion; the Scientific Revolution; and English theatre and drama. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.