New Courses

Old Main, Room 311
FAX: 651-696-6498

Office Hours
September 1-May 31
Weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
June 1-August 31
Tuesdays 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


HIST 194-05

History on the Dark Side: Mystery, Mischief and Magic in Early America
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm CARN 06A Andrea Cremer 
American culture is steeped in arcane belief and the occult. From the Salem witch trials to 19th century spiritualism the history of the US carries an undercurrent of the strange and inexplicable. This course mines the history of myth, magic and monsters in early American society, making links to the social, political, economic, and psychological climates that spurred interest and obsession with the "Wonders of the Invisible World." Particular attention will be given to the ways in which multiculturalism in the American past created a diverse foundation of mythologies and folklore with lasting legacies in the historical imagination.

HIST 294-01

Amazon: A Cultural History
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm MAIN 010 Ernesto Capello
This course seeks to trace cross-cultural encounters in and surrounding the Amazon rainforest. It will emphasize the interlacing of cultural representation within distinct socioeconomic models: slavery, commodity extraction, internal colonization, and environmental activism and tourism. In focusing upon the intertwined nature of the forest's natural, economic, racial, and representational history, the course hopes to evoke the similarities and distinctions between historic discourses and contemporary politics. It will be organized according to a roughly chronological engagement with three key allegories of lasting import in the history of the forest: 1. The Amazon as crosscultural arena; 2. The Amazon as untapped economic resource; 3. The Amazon as a-historical paradise (or hell). Topics to be discussed include the myth of El Dorado, the chimerical 1599 Jivaro rebellion, the great 18th-century European and Ibero- American natural histories, the 19th-century rubber boom, 20th-century internal colonialism and development, missionaries, indigenous politicians, and environmental activism.

HIST 294-02

War and Society in Modern Europe
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm HUM 216 Peter Weisensel
This course will study European warfare and European armed forces in their historical context from the Thirty Years War in the seventeenth century to the "small wars" of the late twentieth century. We will talk and read about medals, battles, tanks and bayonet charges. However, we will place the conduct of war in the total context of the ideas, politics and economies of the countries that made war. The course will demonstrate the proposition that war is the product of the society that makes war. The course will focus on the Thirty Years War, the French Revolution and Napoleon, the Franco-Prussian War, the World Wars of the twentieth century, and the "small wars" of post-1945. War on film will also be a theme that runs through the course, in connection with which there will be a film series. You will be expected to watch these films, ideally on the Tuesday evenings they are shown. The films will also be on reserve in Media Services. Students will be evaluated on the basis of ten-minute quizzes, contributions to class discussions, individual class reports, two 5-7 pp. essays and a term paper. Open to all students, and to first years with the approval of the instructor.

HIST 294-05

MWF 02:20 pm-03:20 pm HUM 216 Peter Weisensel
This class will study the idea of socialism from its earliest forms in ancient times to its present through a series of original socialist texts. Two professors, one in history and the other in philosophy will teach it. We will engage thinkers like Plato, Thomas More, the early French communists, the Utopians, Marx and Engels (the heart of the course) and their Revisionists, the Fabians (an Anglo-Saxon alternative), Lenin and Stalin, the Frankfurt School, the socialist feminists, and contemporary socialist thinkers. We will study socialism critically: we will recognize its strengths but also identify its flaws when we see them. We will contextualize these socialist texts, that is, study how changes in real-world circumstances change the way socialism is written or used. Lastly, we will try to understand the gap between socialist theory as written by intellectuals and the way socialism is understood by ordinary working people. The class is discussion-based. Exams will be in class. Often students will be expected to lead class discussions. Students who have already taken History 255/Philosophy 255 may not take this course. Otherwise, the course is open to all students, first year students with the permission of the instructor.

HIST 294-07

Pirates/Missionaries/Translators: Between Atlantic Empires 1450-1800
MWF 03:30 pm-04:30 pm MAIN 002 Karin Velez
Why are cultural intermediaries often remembered as villains or traitors? This course calls the popular stereotype into question by focusing on four dramatic case studies of notorious but pivotal mediators who moved between the Spanish, Aztec, English, French, Kongolese and Portuguese empires of the early modern period. Among others, we will consider conflicting primary source accounts and current scholarship about Doña Marina, the Mexica translator for the army of Cortes; Nathaniel Courthope, an English profiteer who made a fortune peddling nutmeg between India and New York; two competing French pirates who sacked the South American port city of Cartagena de Indias twice in a single month; and Dona Beatriz, a Kongolese convert to Christianity who was burned at the stake for professing that she was possessed by the spirit of Saint Anthony. This diverse group of pirates, missionaries and translators walked a similar tightrope between worlds, both liberated and constrained by their border crossings. We will evaluate how gender, race, religion, and imperial loyalties affected the survival of this small group of interlopers, and how, in spite of this, they came to disproportionately influence events in the Atlantic world.


HIST 194-01

Kaiser to Kanzlerin: Creating German Unity from 1848 to the Present           
MWF 12:00 pm-01:00 pm MAIN 002 Eric Roubinek
From the 19th century to the current Federal Republic, Germany has had to create and recreate itself over and over again. This process of creating Germany and Germanness, goes beyond the political unifications of the late 19th and 20th centuries and includes contestations betweens social classes, religions, and regions. This process, too, has not been limited to the context of central Europe, but has been deeply implicated by Germany's relationship to the globe. In this course we will investigate the tensions between attempts at national unity and the real political, social, and cultural divisions from the failed revolution of 1848 to German (re)unification in 1990. At stake in our investigation of competing visions and narratives of German history is an understanding of how Germans could be responsible for some of the most impressive advancements in art, literature, and science in the world, but also play a major role in the outbreak of two world wars and be responsible for the Holocaust. How Germany has come to terms with its own tumultuous past in the postwar years serves as a model for broader, global processes as Germany now stands at the center of European unification.

HIST 194-02

Great Lakes Native American History                                   
MWF 10:50 am-11:50 am OLRI 101 Scott Shoemaker 
This course examines the competing ways in which Native histories of the Great Lakes region have been constructed. Primary sources are drawn from Native origin and migration stories, and oral histories. Secondary sources include studies of Ojibwe spearfishing, Indigenous religious, cultural and language revitalization movements, and the Dakota War of 1862 as both an event and remembrance. We investigate other themes such as European contact, labor, gender roles, material culture, removal, federal relationships, land tenure, treaty rights, and federal recognition.

HIST 294-01

Commodities and Exchange in Urban Africa                                  
MWF 01:10 pm-02:10 pm MAIN 001 Lacy Ferrell 
Whether talking about slaves, toothpaste, or “modernity,” people, things, and ideas are commodified and traded, particularly in urban environments where different cultures and peoples meet. In this course we will explore different types of commodities and exchanges in African cities from the slave trade through the twentieth century. Assuming that a commodity is “anything that one ‘trades’ or ‘deals’,” and expanding that to include ideas, we will study everything from human bodies and consumer goods to leisure activities and status symbols in the context of cultural exchange in urban environments.

HIST 294-02

Schooling and Childhood in Anglophone Africa                             
MWF 02:20 pm-03:20 pm THEATR 204 Lacy Ferrell 
In this course we will engage with schooling in Anglophone Africa as it influenced and was influenced by various ideas of education, childhood, and gender in Britain and local African societies. Though we will consider broader patterns in education and schooling in the British Empire in Africa, we will focus on the Gold Coast (Ghana) as a case study for the various aspects of educational experience. Topics we study will include: writing, literary and vocational education, missionary education, gendered schooling and education, and the transformative effects of schooling on social, political, and economic structures.

HIST 294-03

Conversion and Inquisition: Religious Change in the Early                     
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm MAIN 002 Karin Velez 
What causes people to change their religious beliefs? How have societies handled those who do alter their spiritual attitudes? This course focuses on several dramatic case studies of men and women who self-consciously changed their religion during the turbulent period of imperial encounters between the mid-1500 and the 1700s. Among others, we will examine and interrogate reports of converts to Christianity including Jewish and Muslim prisoners of the Inquisition, captives of Mediterranean pirates, and the nearly canonized Mohawk convert, Catherine Tekakwitha. We will consider how violence, national loyalities, gender, charisma, local power dynamics, environmental upheaval, and serendipity affected the choices and fates of these converts.

HIST 294-04

American Indians in American Thought                                         
MWF 03:30 pm-04:30 pm MAIN 002 Scott Shoemaker 
American Indians factor heavily within American thought. Representations of American Indians have served to legitimate the foundations of the United States and American identity, however American Indians have also engaged in American thought as an anti-colonial endeavor. Beginning with constructions of American Indians in the colonial period to recent issues of representation in the realm of mascots, this course traces the genealogy of how America has constructed and appropriated an “Indian” identity through cultural productions and historiography. Against this genealogical investigation, this course juxtaposes the critiques of American Indian intellectuals and artists spanning from the works of early nineteenth century Pequot activist and writer William Apess, to contemporary Ojibwe poet, novelist, and critic Gerald Vizenor and Luiseño performance artist James Luna . Primary sources include the writings of American Indian intellectuals, visual representations, novels, captivity narratives, and cinema.

HIST 394-01

Minnesota History                                                         
M 01:10 pm-04:00 pm CARN 05 Peter Rachleff 
This course will provide students with the opportunity for a deeper research project than they have found in 100 or 200 level courses, but not the full commitment of a capstone paper as in the senior seminar. We will take our inspiration from the Minnesota Historical Society's new, major exhibit on the year 1968, developed in collaboration with historical organizations in Oakland, Atlanta, and Chicago, but we will cast our net across the "long 1960s," from 1954-1975. This was a turbulent, dynamic period in U.S. and Minnesota history, and students will be able to conduct directed research into a wide range of topics -- the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the women's movement, the labor movement, conflicts over the Vietnam War itself, political campaigns including Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy, art, music, and theater, and more. These projects will be situated within a national context, and they will be in conversation with each other and the 1968 exhibit. Students will produce a significant paper which engages secondary literature and rests on primary sources.