Karen Haire, Associate Professor

Gregory W. Sandford, Professor

Peter C. P. van Lidth de Jeude, Assistant Professor

Winston Churchill once said, "The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." The study of history provides a depth of perspective that allows us to address the problems of today’s world with an understanding of how they have been shaped by human experience over time and what forces are likely to shape them in the future. It develops an ability to analyze processes of change, of cause and effect; to distinguish what is lasting and significant from what is relatively temporary and trivial; and to see beyond the boundaries of our own time and place.

Principia’s history program emphasizes chronology, sequence, and the broader context of human events. It addresses the moral issues raised by these events and the ethics of how we analyze and record them. Because many issues historians focus on today are global and engage the expertise of multiple disciplines, attention is also given to developing a global perspective and an awareness of how multiple disciplines contribute to the historical narrative.

Students in Principia's History Department explore historical thinking, master historical knowledge, engage in historical research and analysis, and learn to communicate effectively within the discipline of history.  The History Department offers programs of study in American, European, and non-Western history in conjunction with courses offered in literature, languages and culture, economics, political science, religion, philosophy, and sociology that enrich and complement the course offerings in history.

Students complete an area of focus to develop depth of knowledge in a field of history of particular individual interest. Examples of possible focus areas include: society and the arts, globalization, democratization, or the Americas in a regional and world context. Other areas of focus may be proposed to the department and will be considered where faculty expertise and campus resources can support the focus area. At least four of the six courses in the focus area must be history courses. Two may be in other disciplines with the approval of the student's history advisor.

Courses taken in the introductory core may be applied to the area of focus if the student received a grade of B or higher in those courses; however, a total of 14 courses is required to complete the major. Students are required to take three upper division courses in addition to the capstone courses, HIST 497 Designing Capstone Research and HIST 498 Capstone Research & Writing.

It is strongly recommended that history majors study a Western or non-Western language, to the 205-level for a Western language and to an appropriate level for a non-Western language. If a student chooses to study a language not offered at the College, he or she should consult with the Department of Languages and Cultures and the Registrar about transfer of credit.

History minors must complete HIST 297 Historical Thinking & Research with a grade of C or higher. It is recommended that at least one course for the minor be in American history, one in European history, and one in non-Western history. The remaining courses should be selected to create depth in one of the above areas.

Departmental Learning Outcomes

1. Understand Historical Thinking

Students will demonstrate a comprehension of how chronology, contextual influences, and culture shape how historians think as they read, research, and write history.

2. Master Historical Knowledge 

Students will demonstrate mastery of core knowledge and advanced knowledge in one or more specific areas.

3. Engage in Historical Research

Students will demonstrate an ability to frame historical questions, access and evaluate sources, and conduct historical research.

4. Communicating Effectively Within The Discipline of History

Students will demonstrate the ability to speak, write, read, and listen effectively in historical contexts.

College-Wide Student Learning Outcomes of Principia College: Defining a Liberal Education

The curricular and co-curricular programs at Principia College are designed for students to be lifelong learners, thinkers, and problem-solvers, to draw out spiritual and moral qualities indispensable to growth in Christian Science, and to cultivate an understanding of service to the Cause of Christian Science in meeting the global needs of the 21st century. To accomplish this, the College has established the following outcomes for its graduates. Students graduating from Principia College will:

  1. Demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge.
  2. Demonstrate critical and generative thinking.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively.
  4. Be intentional learners.
  5. Be effective members of communities.
  6. Act on the basis of Principle.

HIST 111Historical Perspectives3.0 SH[GEH]

Develops a particular historical theme or subject for the exploration of the nature and purpose of history and what the historian does. Analyzes the connection between historical study and the modern world. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken twice provided the topics differ.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

HIST 150The Holocaust3.0 SH[GEH]

A study of the historical background and causes that led to the attempt by Nazi Germany to exterminate European Jewry and other minorities, and the implications of this experience for Europe in particular and humankind in general.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

HIST 160U.S. in the 20th Century3.0 SH[GEH]

The transition from a rural to an urban and industrial society and the emergence of the United States as a world power. Topical treatment of problem areas in modern U.S. history.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

HIST 180World History3.0 SH[GEH]

This course explores the concept of global civilization and studies the patterns and trends found in the emergence, development, and fall of civilizations in an increasingly interconnected world.

HIST 189Religious Conflict & History3.0 SH[GEH]

The course emphasizes the importance of global religions on the world political scene with greater relevance to the historical roots of religious and political disputes in such hotly-contested areas as Israel, India-Pakistan, Northern Ireland, Sudan, and South Sudan.

HIST 195People of Courage3.0 SH[GEH]

Course explores people of courage who took dramatic initiatives, often facing tradition, hostility, prejudice, and skepticism, and made a lasting contribution to humanity. Students study the people and their times, the conditions and environment within which they worked.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

HIST 202American Revolution3.0 SH[GEH]

Discusses the late colonial period, the Revolutionary War, and the emerging republic. Focuses on the issues surrounding the emergence of the new democracy in North America, with emphasis on the period from 1754-1800. Students who take HIST 202 or 203 may not take HIST 205, and students who take HIST 205 may not take HIST 202 or 203.

HIST 203U.S. Civil War Era3.0 SH[GEH]

The great cultural tragedy of 19th-century American experience. Focus is on the causes and effects of divergent growth patterns of South and North including a careful examination of American slavery; personalities of the sections; political, social, and military activities of the war; specific focus on Abraham Lincoln's impact on the crisis. Students who take HIST 202 or 203 may not take HIST 205, and students who take HIST 205 may not take HIST 202 or 203.

HIST 205American Revolution:Then&Now3.0 SH[GEH]

This course looks at the American Revolution as a work in progress from colonial anticipations and concerns through the Civil War which brought contemporary closure to two outstanding issues, slavery and states' rights, and then to more contemporary issues under the Constitution and Bill of Rights: free speech, religious freedom, individual liberty, equal opportunity, the right to bear arms, and privacy. Students who take HIST 202 or 203 may not take HIST 205, and students who take HIST 205 may not take HIST 202 or 203.

HIST 216Ancient Greece and Rome3.0 SH[GEH]

A study of classical Greek and Roman civilization from the age of Homer to the fall of Rome. Emphasis is placed on Athenian democratic institutions and cultural achievements and on Roman political, economic, and judicial developments.

HIST 220Civilization3.0-5.0 SH[GEH]

The application of historical method to the observation, description, and survey of a national culture. Each time the course is taught, it focuses on a particular nation and the The title will be extended to describe the current civilization studied. May be taken more than once provided the cultures studied are different. Taught only on Principia abroad programs.

HIST 221Immigration and Acculturation3.0 SH[GEH]

Using a historical lens, students are introduced to major periods of immigration in America and the issues of immigration at each point in time. Students examine and use data sets to see how social scientists gather, interpret, and report data on immigration and acculturation at the local, state, and national level.

HIST 222Latin America3.0 SH[GEH]

Background and historical development of Latin American countries of South and Central America. Emphasis is placed on understanding their historic and present importance to the U.S., difficulties they face, and issues of current importance.

HIST 224Mexico3.0 SH[GEH]

The history of Mexican political, economic, and social developments from the Spanish conquest to the present. Emphasis is placed on the 1910-1920 Revolution and issues that affect Mexico-United States relations today.

HIST 227Women in American History3.0 SH[GEH]

This course examines women's lives in the United States from the colonial period to the present. Themes include the private and family experiences of women, the nature of women's work and education, and the political and civic role of women. The class also looks at how differences of class, ethnicity, and race have affected women's experiences.

HIST 228History of France3.0 SH[GEH]

A survey of France's central role in the shaping of European civilization from pre-Roman times to the present day. The course traces France's development through the consolidation and centralization of the nation-state, the French revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, and France's modern struggle to accommodate to a powerful Germany within an increasingly integrated Europe.

HIST 234Radicalism in Modern America3.0 SH[GEH]

The course examines radical organizations on both sides of the political spectrum. Focuses on the individuals and groups that decided only radical actions could solve America's problems. The class covers the 19th century to the present, with a focus on the Ku Klux Klan, the Populists, the Communist Party, and the Weather Underground Organization.
Class Level Restriction: Sophomore and Junior and Senior only.

HIST 235African American History3.0 SH[GEH]

This course surveys African American history from the Atlantic slave trade through the present day. Students examine the social, economic, intellectual, and political forces that shaped the lives of African Americans, as well as the ways African Americans shaped the course of United States history. A particular focus is African Americans' long fight for civil rights.

HIST 240The History of Islam3.0 SH[GEH]

This course explores the roots of the Muslim religion in the Middle East and its rich cultural legacy. It also examines the complex and sometimes bitter relationship of Islam to the West. While the course highlights the achievements of the Ottoman and Mughal empires in Turkey and India respectively, it also serves to address the current ideological contest between Western secularism and Islamic fundamentalism as reflected in the current controversies over Jihad.

HIST 252Britain3.0 SH[GEH]

A survey of British history from the time of Roman occupation to the 21st century. There is a particular focus on the role of the monarchy, the emergence of Britain's political and social structure in an analysis of the revolutionary nature of British history, and the collapse of the empire at the end of World War II.

HIST 255The Middle Ages3.0 SH[GEH]

The events, ideas, and people that shaped the foundations of Western civilization. This course covers the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the Renaissance of the 15th century. Topics include the evolution and legacy of feudalism, the rise of towns, the growth of national monarchies, the medieval church and its influence, the Crusades, and the intellectual contest between faith and reason.

HIST 260From Renaissance to Revolution3.0 SH[GEH]

This survey examines the events and changes in thought that shaped the modern European world and its global impact between the end of the Middle Ages about 1400 C.E. and the American and French Revolutions at the end of the 18th century. Major topics include the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, the scientific revolution, the growth of nation-states, Europe's global expansion, the Enlightenment, and the movement toward democracy and industrial society by the close of this period.

HIST 264Revolutionary Europe 1800-19143.0 SH[GEH]

This course focuses on the dramatic political, economic, and social transformations of 19th century Europe with special emphasis on France, Germany, and Britain. It examines new thought patterns that took form in the many "isms" of these times and their implications for the contemporary world. Covers the period from the French Revolution to World War I.

HIST 26520th Century Europe3.0 SH[GEH]

An examination of the major developments in Europe since World War I with special emphasis on Germany and the Soviet Union. The course investigates the continuing development of new thought patterns, especially those that result from reactions to World Wars I and II.

HIST 270History Focus Seminar1.0 SH[  ]

This seminar develops an awareness of major problems/issues in the world today, including a geographical understanding of those problems/issues and an historical understanding of the way in which they are interconnected. May be taken four times up to a total of four semester hours.
Field of Study Restrictions: History Majors and/or Minors only.

HIST 275South African History3.0 SH[GEH]

The course explores the complicated pattern of race relations in South Africa, intensifying under the apartheid system and the country's emergence as a fully democratic state in the modern era.

HIST 281China3.0 SH[GEH]

Past political, social, and cultural characteristics which help to explain the nature of present-day challenges in China.

HIST 282German Democracy Before Hitler3.0 SH[GEH]

An examination of the reasons for the failure of Germany's first experiment with democracy in 1918-33. Students consider the effects of the Versailles Treaty, German political traditions and attitudes, contemporary cultural and intellectual trends, economic factors, and the international context. They also try to identify criteria that help determine success or failure for a fledgling democracy.

HIST 283Japan3.0 SH[GEH]

Survey of the political, economic, social, intellectual, and foreign policy aspects of Japanese history from 600 AD to the present. Particular focus is placed on Japan's attempts to establish a central government prior to 1600, as well as Japan's quest for national identity and security in the 20th century.

HIST 288The Age of FDR3.0 SH[GEH]

This class focuses on how all Americans endured and eventually prevailed over the dual travails visited on their country between 1929 and 1945: the Great Depression and World War II.

HIST 289American Biography3.0 SH[GEH]

Biographical studies form the core for the study of American history. Lesser known Americans also played pivotal roles in that history, and this class examines four of them. The class also examines how the role of character played out in their lives and if they can serve as role models today.

HIST 297Historical Thinking & Research3.0 SH[  ]

Students are introduced to the discipline as a way of thinking and an evolving body of research. The development of history as a field of study is explored through the following topics: what is history; an introduction to historiography, the theory of history, the practice of history, locating sources, using quantitative data in historical research, bridging the disciplines, utilizing a multicultural lens with cultural sensitivity, recognizing moral issues, the ethics of the profession. Open only to history and religion majors and minors.
Class Level Restriction: Sophomore and Junior only.

HIST 301Social Issues and the Courts3.0 SH[GEH]

This course looks at current social issues such as free speech, abortion, privacy, affirmative action, crime, hate speech, "taking," and states' rights from the perspective of evolving discussions of the meaning of the United States Constitution/Bill of Rights in society and in the courts. The focus is on legal reasoning in U.S. Supreme Court cases and the attempt to balance historical and evolving interpretations of the Constitution with the contemporary circumstances that generated the legal cases.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 302Seminar: American Revolution3.0 SH[  ]

Investigation and analysis of the historiography of the American Revolution relating to specific historical issues. Focus is on researching, writing, and discussing major political, economic, and social problems of 18th century America.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 303Seminar: Civil War & Reconstr3.0 SH[  ]

Investigation and analysis of the historiography of the Civil War and Reconstruction period. Focus is on researching, writing, and discussing major political, economic, and social problems of the United States during the period from 1820 to 1895.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 305Seminar: 20th Century America3.0 SH[  ]

Investigation and analysis of the historiography of 20th century America relating to specific historical issues. Focus is on researching, writing, and discussing major political, economic, and social problems of 20th century America.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 310The Cold War3.0 SH[  ]

An examination of the causes, development, and eventual resolution of the U.S. - Soviet confrontation from the breakdown of the World War II alliance to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Topics include the division of Germany and Europe, the Korean conflict, the nuclear arms race, superpower competition for the Third World, detente, and the reasons for the Soviet Union's ultimate collapse.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 311Topics in History3.0 SH[GEH]

A seminar on a topic in history at the advanced level. The content varies, and the title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be repeated up to a total of three times provided the topics differ.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 313Africa3.0 SH[GEH]

A survey of ancient civilizations, to the European conquest and colonization of the continent, to contemporary liberation and modernization. Source readings include anthropological studies.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 333Russia3.0 SH[GEH]

A survey analyzing the origins of Russian nationality, the rise of the Muscovite Tsarist state, Imperial development from Peter the Great to the Revolution of 1917, the Soviet System and its fall.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 335Middle East3.0 SH[GEH]

Past political, social, and cultural circumstances which explain the nature of present problems.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 35420th C U.S. Foreign Relations3.0 SH[  ]

This course concentrates on the emergence of the U.S. as a great power and its growing global role in the 20th century, especially regarding major junctures such as World War I, World War II, and post-war arrangements arising from these conflicts. Considers the U.S.'s economic influence as well as more traditional political and security issues.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 363Conflict in Amer: The 1960s3.0 SH[GEH]

Analysis of the history of the United States during the 1960s, with emphasis on events reflecting social, cultural, and political conflict and protest. Analyzes pre-1960s trends and post-1960s effects. Covers social movements, political protest and radicalism, Vietnam, civil rights, music, and the counterculture.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 382Modern China3.0 SH[  ]

A study of the major historical events in China from WWI to the present. Culture, politics, economics, and social factors are some of the key focal areas of concern.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 386India3.0 SH[GEH]

Past political, social, religious, and cultural characteristics which help to explain the nature of present-day problems.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 402Reading in History3.0 SH[  ]

Individual reading in student-selected and faculty-approved topics in history. Designed for majors seeking to deepen their knowledge of a specific field of history.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only
Field of Study Restrictions: History Majors only.

HIST 431Historiography3.0 SH[  ]

Critical readings of a selection of historical works focused on a common theme. Seminar conducted by the entire history faculty.
Prerequisite: 3.0 GPA.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

HIST 497Designing Capstone Research3.0 SH[  ]

Advanced research methods in history for senior history majors as they initiate their capstone research. Includes topic selection, research techniques including use of Internet resources, bibliographic development, and library skills.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only
Field of Study Restrictions: History Majors only.

HIST 498Capstone Research & Writing3.0 SH[  ]

Advanced research methods for senior history majors as they conduct their research and complete their history capstone requirement.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.