Wesley A. Dick, chair and professor.
A.B., 1961, Whitman College; M.A., 1965, Ph.D., 1973, University of Washington. Appointed 1968.

Geoffrey C. Cocks, Julian S. Rammelkamp Professor of History.
A.B., 1970, Occidental College; M.A., 1971, Ph.D., 1975, University of California, Los Angeles. Appointed 1975.

Christopher A. Hagerman, assistant professor.
B.A., 1994, Wilfred Laurier University; M.A., 1997, University of British Columbia; Ph.D., 2005, University of Toronto. Appointed 2005.

Deborah E. Kanter, associate professor.
A.B., 1984, University of Michigan; M.A., 1987, Ph.D., 1993, University of Virginia. Appointed 1992.

Marcy S. Sacks, associate professor.
B.S., 1991, Cornell University; M.A., 1993, Ph.D., 1999, University of California, Berkeley. Appointed 1999.

Yi-Li Wu, associate professor.
B.A., 1986, University of California, Berkeley; M.A., 1992, Ph.D., 1998, Yale University. Appointed 1998.


The study of history prepares the student for effective citizenship in today's interdependent world. History courses look at how societies have organized themselves, and how they have interacted with each other around the world, from earliest times to the present. Faculty members have been selected for their ability to help students work with political and international issues; cultural and intellectual issues; gender, class and racial/ethnic issues; and economic, ecological and technological issues. Courses are offered in European, United States, Asian and Latin American history, and on special themes which transcend geographical and chronological boundaries. Students may obtain advanced placement in either American or European history.

History Department Web site

Career Opportunities

As they study the past, history majors obtain analytical and writing skills and develop an appreciation of long-range trends. Graduates therefore enter fields from futures forecasting and management training to the law, public service and journalism. The knowledge gained as a history major can also lead to careers in teaching--secondary and college--as well as archival and museum work. Finally, students have the opportunity to experience personal development through the study of the past--useful in all careers, as in life itself.

Students planning graduate work in history should include advanced course work in at least one foreign language. Completion of a thesis is also highly recommended.

Special Features

  • Students are encouraged to participate in Albion's off-campus programs. Experience elsewhere in the U.S. or in a foreign country--whether for a summer, a semester or a year--provides a rich background for history majors.
  • The faculty of the Department of History urge qualified and interested history majors to consider writing an honors thesis in history. Successful completion of the thesis will result in graduation with departmental honors in history. Candidates for honors must have a 3.0 grade point average or above in the major and must form a committee composed of two faculty members to supervise the thesis work. At least one of the committee members must be from the Department of History, although the department encourages the participation of faculty members from other disciplines and the pursuit of interdisciplinary work in general. The thesis may be based on earlier course work, but such papers must be significantly revised and expanded for submission as a departmental honors thesis.

Each thesis candidate must schedule at least one full unit of directed study (i.e., two 411s or one 412) in a semester (or semesters) immediately prior to the semester the thesis is due. It is recommended that a draft of the entire thesis be completed by the end of the last semester of directed study prior to the semester the thesis is due.

The name of each thesis candidate and the working title of the thesis must be submitted to the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Institute director by September 15 for May graduates and by April 15 for December graduates. For spring semester, the deadline for completion of the thesis is April 1; for fall semester the deadline is December 1. Each thesis committee will determine the procedures and schedule for meeting the completion deadline. Honors theses in history must conform to The Chicago Manual of Style. Copies of the guidelines for the preparation and submission of theses are available from the Brown Honors Institute director.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

  • A minimum of eight units in history, including three units from European and United States history (with at least one course in each field) and three units from African, Asian, and Latin American history (with courses taken in at least two fields).
  • A minimum of one unit selected from courses numbered 370 to 402 (excluding 388, 389, 391, 392).
  • All history courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.
  • No more than three 100-level units may be counted toward the major.
  • No more than one unit of 391, 392 may be counted toward a major. Departmental approval is required.

Note: 300-level courses are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Requirements for Minor

  • Five units in history, in at least three geographical fields.
  • All courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.
  • No more than three 100-level units may be counted toward the minor.

Requirements for Social Studies Major with Elementary or Secondary Education Certification

Students interested in pursuing elementary or secondary education certification in social studies may choose to major in social studies. he detailed requirements for the major with elementary certification and secondary certification are provided in this catalog or are available from the Education Department.

Requirements for Major with Elementary or Secondary Education Certification

  • Eight units in history, including the following: two units from European history, two units from United States history, two units from Asian, Latin American and/or African history.
  • The units in United States history must include at least one course on America before 1877, at least one course on America after 1877 and one unit at the 200-level or higher. (Note: The following courses satisfy the pre-1877 requirement: 121, 131, 242, 331, and 333, while 132, 237, 243, 340, 377, 378 and 398 satisfy the post-1877 requirement)
  • A minimum of one unit numbered 370 or higher (excluding 388, 389, 391, 392).
  • No more than three 100-level units may be counted toward the major.
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

Requirements for Minor with Secondary Education Certification

  • Five units in history, including two units from United States history and three units from European, Asian, Latin American and/or African history, at least one but no more than two of which must be from European history. No more than three 100-level units may be counted toward the minor.
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

History Courses

Asian and Latin American History

111 East Asia: Cultures and Civilizations (1)
A survey of the cultural, political and economic interactions among the societies of East Asia from the sixth century to the present, with an emphasis on the history of China, Japan and Korea. Major themes include the historical construction of "East Asian" regional identity; traditional culture; imperialism and colonialism; nationalist movements; and the debate over "Asian values" and modern economic development. Wu.

142 Modern Latin America History (1)
An introduction to Latin America from independence in the 1820s to the present. Native Americans, slaves and European immigrants struggled with elites to form societies of "order and progress." Films and oral histories show how the world economy affected working men and women and their responses: revolutions, religion, nationalism and popular politics. Kanter.

263 Modern China (1)
Analyzes the major events, ideologies and individuals that have shaped Chinese state and society from 1644 to the present. Major themes include Confucianism and traditional culture; foreign imperialism and nationalism; the Maoist years; and political dissent and social change in the 1980s and 1990s. Same as Anthropology and Sociology 263. Wu.

264 An International History of Modern Japan (1)
Same as International Studies 264. Yoshii.

270 Going North: Latin American Immigration and the U.S. (1)
Exploration of the factors that push Latin Americans to leave their countries, their experiences of entering and living in the U.S., and how their emigration has affected both their homelands and U.S. society. Emphasis on Mexicans, Cubans and Puerto Ricans in the twentieth century and the development of new “Latino” identities. Kanter.

295 Chinese Medicine Past and Present (1)
Introduces the basic principles of traditional Chinese medicine and examines the historical developments that allowed it to become a prominent part of "alternative medicine" throughout the world today. Explores how people in China sought answers to the universal questions that have shaped all healing systems: How do the body and mind function, and how are they related? How should we classify different illnesses and their causes? How do we know if a treatment actually works? What kind of people are qualified to practice medicine? Considers how medical ideas change over time and place. Wu.

300 Slave Societies of the Americas (1)
Comparative study of the development of race-based slavery in Spanish America, Brazil, the Caribbean and the U.S. South. Discusses the Middle Passage, plantation life, slave religion, resistance, emancipation and its aftermath. Invites students to consider the history of ethnic relations within multiracial societies. Kanter.

301 Gender and Sexuality in the 'Hispanic' World (1)
Intensive look at gender relations, family and morality in Hispanic societies. Includes medieval Spain, colonial and modern Latin America, and Latina/os in the U.S. Asks how ideological and social constructs such as patriarchy and the code of honor have changed in response to conquest, multiracial societies and immigration. Kanter.

365 Women, Society and Gender in East Asia (1)
An in-depth study of the construction of gender in East Asia, focusing primarily on women in China, Japan and Korea from 1600 to the present. Major topics include sexuality and reproduction; family structure and social class; religion; language; and the changing roles of men. Wu.

382 East Asian Environmental History (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
Investigates how people in China and Japan have thought about and interacted with their environment in different historical settings. Explores the way in which East Asian religions and philosophies explain the cosmos and the place of humans and non-humans within it, and the impact of imperialism, industrialization, and revolution on environmental thinking and policies during the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Topics include Confucian views of stewardship, Daoist cosmology, Shinto ritual, feng shui, environment and disease, Communist state building and environmental exploitation, and industrial pollution. Wu.

399 Contact and Conquest in the Americas (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
1492 marked the first of many meetings between Europeans and native American peoples. This seminar takes an intensive look at the remarkable encounters that occurred during the first century of European contact. Readings center on primary sources: written and pictorial records from that era that tell of meetings in the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, Florida and Canada. These texts require critical reading by class participants. Not offered every year. Kanter.

European History

102 Ancient and Medieval Worlds (1)
A survey from 3000 B.C.E. to the Renaissance, including Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, Carolingian and European societies. Religion, politics, war, thought, society and family issues will be discussed. Hagerman.

103 1500 Europe 2000 (1)
Europe from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth century. Major topics include: Wars of Religion, French and Industrial Revolutions, and war and peace in the twentieth century. Cocks.

217 1789 Europe 1918 (1)
Europe from the French and Industrial Revolutions to the end of the First World War as reflected in history, literature and film. Cocks.

218 1918 Europe 1989 (1)
Europe from the end of the First World War to the end of its Cold War partition reflected in history, literature and film. Cocks.

229 Film Images of World War II (1)
The history of the Second World War and world films made about the war from the 1930s to the present. (Film fee) Offered in alternate years. Same as Political Science 229. Cocks, Grossman.

251 Ancient Greece (1)
Follows the development of ancient Greek civilization from the middle of the second millennium BCE through the final Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BCE, with special attention to the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. Surveys political and military history as well as social and cultural history, including such topics as art, architecture, athletics, drama, literature, leisure, philosophy, town-planning, religion, sexuality and work. Hagerman.

252 Ancient Rome (1)
An examination of ancient Roman history from the legendary foundation of the city in 753 BCE through the Republican Period, the Principate, and the Dominate, to the "fall" of the Western Roman Empire in 476 A.D. Covers the evolution of the Roman constitution and the spread of Roman imperial domination throughout the Mediterranean, as well as important social, cultural, and economic phenomena. Hagerman.

308 Victorian Britain (1)
The cultural, social and political history of Great Britain during the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on deconstructing the prevailing mythology of prudery and progress. Also examines issues of gender, class and ethnicity. Hagerman.

309 Pax Britannica: The British Empire (1)
An exploration of the varied, complex and fascinating phenomenon that was the British Empire from its late eighteenth-century crisis, through its unparalleled global predominance in the nineteenth century, to its dissolution/transformation in the middle years of the twentieth century. Hagerman.

313 1815 Russia 1945 (1)
Russia from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the end of the Second World War: the collapse of the tsarist autocracy, the Bolshevik revolution, and Russia's struggles within itself and against the outside world. Offered in alternate years. Cocks.

375 The Great War (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
An exploration of the origins, conduct and consequences of the First World War, with special attention to cultural factors as well as political, economic, social and military issues. Hagerman.

385 British India (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
The history of the rise and fall of British rule over the Indian subcontinent between 1757 and 1947, with special attention to the intellectual and cultural components of the colonial encounter between Britons and the peoples of South Asia. Hagerman.

390 Modern Germany (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
A history of Germany, 1789 to the present, with special emphasis on Nazi Germany. Cocks.

395 The Irrational in History (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
An introduction to historical aspects of the irrational in human society and the application of psychodynamic models of the mind to the study of history. Topics include: the history of mental illness and its management; the science and profession of psychiatry; sexuality and gender; psychoanalytic drive psychology; ego psychology; object relations theory; self psychology; Lacanian theory; psychobiography; and psychohistory. Cocks.

United States History

101 American Dreams and Realities (1)
One-semester thematic approach to understanding the American experience from its beginning to the present. The course will attempt to aid students in answering such questions as: "What are my values and how are they connected to the historical past?" Witch hunts, the frontier, violence, the city, technology, war (Hiroshima & Vietnam), success, morals, women, immigration, racism, reform and the environment will be among the themes explored in a search towards defining the American character. Designed for majors, non-majors, and as the introductory course for American Studies students. (Film fee.) Dick.

121 Early America: Three Worlds Meet (1)
Early colonial America, with an emphasis on the Caribbean, Mexico, the Southwest, British North America and New France from 1492 to the 1770s. Readings and films focus on the Americas as a meeting place for indigenous peoples, Europeans and Africans. Students will analyze the varied realities of conquest, native population decline and conversion, the brutalities of slavery, and the evolution of ideas about race in the New World. Kanter.

131 The United States from Colonization to 1877 (1)
Introductory survey of United States history from pre-settlement of Europeans through the fall of Reconstruction. Examines the multicultural origins of the United States; the economic, social and political course to independence; the early national period; the Jacksonian era; and the causes and results of the Civil War. Also focuses on historical methodology. Sacks.

132 The United States since 1877 (1)
Introductory survey of American civilization from Reconstruction to the present, encompassing the ways that Americans have responded to the rise of the city, industrialization, immigration, imperialism, world wars, the atomic bomb, racial turmoil, changing roles of men and women, rise of the welfare state and environmental controversies. Recommended for pre-law students. (Film fee.) Dick.

237 America in Crisis: Great Depression, World War II and Cold War (1)
America from 1929 to 1960: Stock market crash, Great Depression, Dust Bowl, New Deal, FDR and Hitler, "The Good War," Hiroshima and Nagasaki, McCarthyism and the Red Scare, Baby Boom and "We like Ike." Stress on historical controversies, the roles of workers, women and minorities and the significance of the environment. (Film fee.) Dick.

242 African American History from Africa to 1865 (1)
A history of people of African descent in the United States from their African roots through the end of the Civil War. Stress on the development of slavery and racism in the colonial period; the tensions between slavery and freedom; slave culture, family and religion; race relations in the North; and the black experience in the Civil War. Readings will be drawn from slave narratives as well as historical monographs. Sacks.

243 African American History, 1865 to the Present (1)
A history of black people in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Stress on the rise and fall of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, black migration to the cities, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement and contemporary issues in race relations. Sacks.

256 Native North America (1)
Same as A&S 256. Mullin.

331 Race and Nationality in American Life (1)
The story of uprooted ethnic, religious and racial groups from the first arrival in North America of Europeans through the age of American imperialism in the early twentieth century. The America of asylum and freedom is compared to the traditions of nativism and racism by examining Afro-, Asian-, Euro-, Mexican-, and Native American experiences. Sacks.

333 Colonial America (1)
In-depth study of the British North American colonies from first settlement. Concentration on social history: the interaction of different cultures and races; how people lived; why Europeans came to America, and what happened to them once they arrived. Specific topics include puritanism; witchcraft; the impact of disease and the fur trade on the native population; and the development of slavery. Sacks.

337 Environmental History (1)
Focus on the historical roots of contemporary environmental problems. Analysis of both the destructive and the conservation sides of the American experience. Native American perspectives, women and nature, technology, Thoreau, John Muir, energy crisis, ecology as the subversive science, a land ethic, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, and environmental impacts (DDT, Love Canal, atomic testing, PBB, dioxin, acid rain) are stressed. Concentration on America, but within a global frame of reference. Interdisciplinary emphasis that invites students from a variety of majors, particularly those in the sciences and those treating public policy issues. Special opportunities for those who enjoy the out-of-doors. (Film fee.) Dick.

340 History of Women in the U.S., 1877-Present (1)
Prerequisite: Previous course work in women's studies or history.
Does some shared history link American Indian girls sent to BIA boarding schools at the turn of the century with the immigrant girls who labored for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory? How is "women's" history different? What difference does women's history make to U.S. history? This course considers such questions by examining the situations of women in the U.S. from 1877 forward. It introduces students to the theories and methods of women's history that scholars have developed over the last quarter century. Central to this course is the recognition that women's experiences are not simple parallels to men's, and involve differences among women such as those based on sexuality, class, race and regional factors. Franzen.

347 History of Sports in America (1)
Examination of selected themes and experiences in the history of sport in the United States, using sports as a lens through which to understand American life. Focus on questions of identity and power: How does sport shape (and reflect) our broader understanding of race, masculinity, femininity and nationhood? What role has sport served in American cultural and political life for groups marginalized by race, gender and/or class? Sacks.

380 Harlem Renaissance (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
In-depth study of the "New Negro" movement of the 1920s with its emphasis on the emergence of a black artistic community. Examination of the major literary figures of black America in that era, as well as artists, intellectuals and political activists. Considerable focus on the racial climate of the post-World War I period that served as a backdrop to the Harlem Renaissance. Sacks.

398 The 1960s (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
In-depth examination of a tumultuous decade: civil rights and black power, student protest and New Left, counterculture and Woodstock generation, Vietnam and the anti-war movement, the "other America'' and the War on Poverty, Silent Spring and Earth Day, liberation movements, JFK, LBJ, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Black Panthers, Detroit Riot, Freedom Summer, Jackson State, Kent State, Watergate, FBI, Feminine Mystique, Cesar Chavez, David Brower, and Rachel Carson. (Film fee.) Dick.


260 An International History of the Cold War (1)
Same as International Studies 260. Yoshii.

Special Studies

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. May be taken more than once for credit. Staff.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)