The History Department introduces students to the joys and challenges of studying the past in such a way that they may better understand themselves, their own cultures, and the broader world. In line with the purposes of Wheaton College and informed by the truths and values of the Christian faith, the department is committed to the study of history as a foundational liberal arts discipline, worthwhile for its own sake and as a means of preparing students for a wide range of vocational pursuits. Teaching, research, and other scholarly activities in the department focus on the understanding and interpretation of historical eras and persons, not mere facts and details. The department is convinced that proper appreciation of the past in its political, social, and religious contexts significantly contributes to an individual’s understanding of contemporary events and his or her own faith.

The History major is useful for a wide variety of careers, including law, business, journalism, Christian ministries, government service, and teaching. It also prepares students for graduate study in history, as well as in museum, library, and archival studies. In addition to regular course offerings, study abroad programs and internships are available.

Department Honors are granted upon the successful completion of a senior thesis through enrollment in HIST 498 Honors Tutorial and HIST 499 Honors Thesis. Guidelines for History Department Honors are available in the History Department office or in the Handbook on the department web site

Transfer or AP credit in U.S. history, European history and/or World history can be used as elective credit toward the history major. For non-majors, AP credit can be used as elective credit toward total credit hours needed for graduation. A score of 4 or 5 in AP World History satisfies the general education requirement in historical perspectives.

For information on the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), please consult the Education Department portion of this catalog.

Refer to the Graduate Programs section of this catalog for courses in the History of Christianity which apply to a Master of Arts degree in Biblical and Theological Studies.

Chair, Associate Professor, Karen Johnson
Professor, R. Tracy McKenzie
Associate Professors, Melissa Harkrider, Hanmee Kim, Matthew Lundin
Assistant Professors, Kirk Farney, Noel Stringham

History Courses

HIST 102. Exploring the Global Past. (4 Credits)

History 102 seminars encourage students to examine cross cultural interactions through a focus on a particular historical question, period, or event. Students choose from a diverse range of courses such as (1) The French and Haitian Revolutions (2) The Holocaust (3) New Worlds for All: Africans, Europeans, and Natives in the Atlantic World (4) Exploring the Korean War (5) History and Historical Fiction in Modern Africa (6) Memoir and History in the Modern Middle East and (7) World History Since 1500. History 102 seminars emphasize the development of historical thinking and Christian perspectives in the study of the past.

Tags: GP, HP

HIST 103. Exploring the American Past. (4 Credits)

An introduction to the discipline of history that equips students for life-long learning by helping them to understand why Christians value study of the past and by giving them the tools to investigate it. The course provides an in-depth exploration of a critical period, concept, source, or event in U.S. History, analyzed within an explicitly comparative or cross-cultural framework. Students will engage in robust study of cultural and geographic diversity from historical and theological frameworks and will be encouraged to reflect on their own cultural and historical contexts as well. Students will learn to appreciate historical knowledge, engage in historical reasoning, develop historical consciousness, and practice historical reflection. Additional course fee required: Some HIST 103 sections require a nominal fee.

Tags: DUS, HP

HIST 105. World History. (4 Credits)

A survey of world history in Christian perspective from c. 1500 to the present. This course provides the chronological, geographical, and cultural breadth that serves as a contextualizing vehicle for the liberal arts. Attention given to moral issues of history. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 115. World Civilization To 1600. (4 Credits)

A study of the ancient Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and European roots of modern Western civilization through the Renaissance/Reformation era. Some attention given to contemporaneous developments in Asia. Emphasis is directed towards the identification of the intellectual foundations of the Western traditions in a comparative perspective. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 201. Why History?. (4 Credits)

This course provides history majors with a robust study of historical thinking and its relationship to our different vocational callings as Christians. Students will examine a range of primary and secondary sources and develop analytical, research, and communication skills integral to the major and a Christian liberal arts education. Prerequisite: History major or approval of the department chair.

Tags: HP

HIST 205. From Palaces to Sky Parks: A Historical Tour of Modern Korea. (4 Credits)

This course will explore the historical development of modern Korea from 1876 to 2000. These developments included a forcible break from dynastic traditions, Japanese colonization, the Korean War and postwar reconstruction in the Cold War era. In particular, the course will use historical and commemorative sites in Seoul as focal points by which to access major developments and themes in this history such as modernity, colonialism, war, division of the peninsula, industrialization, urbanization, democratization, and globalization. Through examinations of these sites, the course will also raise questions on how the past is remembered, which narratives are emphasized and left out, and thereby discuss issues of historiography as well as collective memory in South Korea. Ahead of each site visit, the course will build historical contexts for these sites through lectures and close analyses of primary and secondary sources.

Tags: GP, HP

HIST 231. History in Africa Before 1850. (4 Credits)

This course introduces the history of Africa from the innovation of early human communities across continent (from the Great Pyramids in Northeast Africa to the Khoi-San foragers of South Africa's Western Cape) until the beginnings of European colonization in the mid-nineteenth century. We will emphasize the diverse social, economic and political strategies that Africans innovated and developed to engage in ever-widening contexts that often stretched beyond the continent.

HIST 232. History in Africa Since 1850. (4 Credits)

This course privileges the voices of African writers, artists, historians, musicians, and other local witnesses who described how they have overcome the challenges of living in modern Africa from human trafficking across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (and the Sahara) through colonial conquest, genocide, and civil war. In particular the course will explore the political and economic institutions established during and after colonialism, new religious and cultural movements (including African interpretations of Christianity and Islam), the legacy of racism, and the politics of gender on the continent.

Tags: GP

HIST 251. American History to 1865. (4 Credits)

A general survey of the history of the United States from the colonial period through the American Civil War, with special emphasis on engagement of primary documents. Rejecting the view of history as an endless succession of discrete events, the course pays special attention to the predominant belief systems of Americans during two-and-a-half centuries, focusing in particular on the concepts of republicanism and democracy, as well as Americans' contested understandings of human nature, human rights, and human freedom.

HIST 252. American History from 1865. (4 Credits)

A general survey of the history of the United States from the Civil War to the present, with special emphasis on using primary documents. Students will debate the merits of the different interpretations for historical events, evaluate the ways historians construct their stories, and discuss the significance of those stories. Major course themes include the United States' engagement with other countries, labor activism and class relations, politics, race, gender and religion.

HIST 291. Introduction to Modern East Asia. (4 Credits)

This course examines the main historical events, developments, issues, and patterns of change in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean histories from the late 19th centuries to the 1990's. The course is organized both chronologically and thematically, and incorporates both primary and secondary sources to present a more comprehensive view of the various developments in East Asian history. The course is divided into seven larger topics, and in each section, we will discuss how the given topic played out in China, Japan, and Korea, respectively.

Tags: GP

HIST 292. Latin American History. (4 Credits)

Latin American History. A survey of the history and cultural development of Central, South, and Caribbean America with emphasis on the era since 1500. Includes analysis of the impact of the European/indigenous encounter, of U.S./Latin American relations, and of the challenges of modernization. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 293. Introduction to Asian Studies. (4 Credits)

This course provides an overview of the main historical events, developments, issues, and patterns of change in East Asia from the late-nineteenth century to the 1990’s. In going through the histories of China, Japan, and Korea, the course also explores historiographical issues. Through these discussions, the course introduces prominent questions and frameworks that have shaped the larger field of Asian Studies, various contexts shaping the field, and emerging areas of study within the field. The course is organized both chronologically and thematically.

Tags: GP

HIST 305. Introduction to the History of Christianity. (2 Credits)

A summary introduction to the history of Christianity designed to provide a rapid, but comprehensive overview to assist students who seek a basic understanding of the history of Christianity as background for other fields of study. Counts toward the history of Christianity requirement for the major. Not open to students who have completed BITH 577 in previous years. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 311. History of Philosophy - Ancient and Medieval. (4 Credits)

This course traces the philosophical conversation that began in Greece and elsewhere over 2,500 years ago and intersected with all three major monotheistic faiths, from its origins up through the beginning of the "modern" era. Students will study primary philosophical texts and think through a range of perennial philosophical questions arising from then, concerning fundamental reality, the problem of universals, human nature, societal justice, faith and reason, freedom of the will, God's nature, and many more. They will develop the abilities to analyze texts critically and to articulate and defend their own views on the issues just mentioned.

Tags: HP, PI

HIST 312. History of Philosophy: Modern & Contemporary. (4 Credits)

This course, like PHIL 311, is dedicated to an overview of Western philosophy. In this semester, we look at modern and contemporary philosophy, beginning with the Renaissance rejection of scholasticism, moving through 17th and 18th century rationalists and empiricist, the Kantian synthesis, 19th century responses to Kant, and several major 20th century schools, including phenomenology, logical positivism, analytic philosophy, and pragmatism. Prerequisite: PI course or permission of instructor.

HIST 324. High School History/Social Science Methods. (2 Credits)

An introduction to methods of teaching high school history/social science students, including units on classroom management, lesson planning, assessment, individual differences, learning resources, educational technology, and teaching strategies appropriate to history/social science classrooms. Prerequisites: EDUC 135, 136, 136L, 225, 225L and admission to the Wheaton Teacher Education Program (WheTEP).

HIST 325. Middle Grade History/Social Science Methods. (2 Credits)

Provides an overview of the social sciences content and effective teaching methods for middle grade educators within a framework of informed inquiry. Based on the 2015 Illinois Social Studies Standards NCSS C3 Framework for Social Studies, and the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. Prerequisite: EDUC 135, EDUC 136, EDUC 136L, EDUC 225, EDUC 225L and admission to the Wheaton Teacher Education Program (WheTEP).

HIST 331. African History. (4 Credits)

Cultures and National Identity in African History. Focuses on the development of select African societies from their early institutional and cultural traditions to the present with emphasis on the themes of the impact of Islam, European colonial influences, national independence movements, and contemporary African society. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 335. The Construction of Modern Japan, 1800-1960. (4 Credits)

The 1868 Meiji Restoration occupies a central place in Japanese history with many marking it as the turning point for the rise of modern Japan. Citing shifts such as one from a feudal system with shoguns and samurai to an imperial Japan, scholars narrate Meiji Japan as being filled with radical breaks from the past. The questions arise, what were some of these significant changes that seemed to be breaks from the past and that constituted the "modern" in Japan? To what degree was the Restoration a break from the Tokugawa period and to what degree was it a continuation of economic and social trends of late-Tokugawa Japan? Did the changes and continuities embodied in Meiji Japan play into the development of Japan's imperial era and road to World War II? This course explores these questions through a study of Japan from 1800 to 1960.

HIST 336. Modern Korea. (4 Credits)

This course will examine the historical development of modern Korea, and thus explore the major historical events, themes, and issues in the Korean peninsula from the late-19th century to their ramifications in contemporary times. In doing so, the course will pay attention to local dynamics that shaped Korea's modernity, nationalism, colonization, division, industrialization, democratization, and shifting positions in East Asia and the world. Using both primary and secondary sources, the course will attempt to take a more comprehensive view of this story that includes approaching the development of modern Korea politically, economically, socially, as well as culturally. The course will also focus on issues of historiography in Korean history. HIST 291 is recommended but not required.

HIST 342. Statecraft and International Relations in the Ancient Near East. (4 Credits)

See ARCH 365. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 345. Medieval Europe to 1300. (4 Credits)

Analyzes the political, social, economic, and religious foundations of Europe from the Early to the High Middle Ages. Topics include: the collapse of the Roman Empire, Barbarian invasions, rise of Islam, Byzantine Empire, kingship and authority, and the development of Christianity.

HIST 346. Renaissance Europe (1300-1600). (4 Credits)

Examines the political, social, and religious developments that created modern Europe. Topics include the emergence of international power politics, the rise of humanism, Renaissance art, and cross-cultural encounters between Europeans and peoples of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

HIST 348. Revolutionary Europe (1789-1870). (4 Credits)

Focuses on enlightened absolutism, the revolutions of 1789 and 1848, the social consequences of industrialization, and mid-nineteenth century foreign relations. Emphasis on France and Germany.

HIST 349. Origins of Contemporary Europe (1870-1950). (4 Credits)

Analysis of socioeconomic, political, and cultural foundations of twentieth-century Europe, and the causes and impact of both world wars.

HIST 353. American Cities & Suburbs. (4 Credits)

This course explores the history of American cities and suburbs, paying attention to questions like: What is the story of racial, religious, ethnic and class dynamics in cities and suburbs? What is the story of unity, disunity, exclusion and inclusion? What has "community" looked like over time in suburban and urban history? How has "community" changed?

Tags: DUS

HIST 354. Race, Justice, and Reconciliation in US History. (4 Credits)

This class will look at the history of religion and race in the United States with a specific focus on how Christianity has been used both to create and to maintain racial hierarchies, and to tear them down. Students will explore the broad sweep of religion and race, and dig into specific moments in which historical actors have worked together for reconciliation and justice, while tracing how the meanings of those goals have changed over time. Most chronological focus will be in the twentieth century.

Tags: DUS

HIST 355. History of Women in the U.S.. (4 Credits)

Analysis of the social, cultural, and political aspects of women's history from the colonial period to the present, with particular emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and on women's religious experiences and contributions. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 356. The American Revolution. (4 Credits)

An exploration of the founding of the United States as a nation that analyzes the causes, course, and consequences of the revolt against British colonial rule between 1763 and 1788. The course asks how both elite and common Americans participated in the Revolution, what the Revolution meant to them, and how the Revolution affected their lives. It accords particular attention to the role of Christians in the conflict, and concludes by contemplating the legacy of the Revolution to the contemporary United States.

HIST 357. The American Civil War. (4 Credits)

This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, a bloody "ordeal by fire" in which Americans fought Americans to determine the nature of the Union, the definition of democracy, and the meaning of freedom. Course readings and assignments focus on the experiences and values of common Americans - Northern and Southern, male and female, free and enslaved - with particular emphasis on the war's larger meaning to posterity.

HIST 361. The Global Cold War. (4 Credits)

An analysis of the dramatic political and social changes emerging in the Cold War period which have shaped the whole world since 1945. The focus is on such issues as the rise of the nuclear age, postwar human rights, the arms race and détente, space race, Middle East crises, technological impacts, decolonization and the emergence of the developing world, and the fall of European communism. Also included is the role of prominent Christians and the Church during the post-World War II era. Satisfies the world history requirement for the history major. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 364. East Africa and the Indian Ocean Region. (4 Credits)

This course analyzes the development and interaction of the many cultures which compose the Indian Ocean region. The fascinating site for our study is the multi-cultural East African island of Zanzibar which has been instrumental over many centuries in the history of the region and where there is a combination of African, Arab, Persian, Indian, Chinese, and European cultures. This course will study such themes as the origins of Swahili civilization, the Indian Ocean trading system, impact of Arab and Islamic civilization, European colonialism, the slave and ivory trade, African independence movements, Christian influences, and political and economic conditions in contemporary Africa by a mixture of course lectures, outside lectures, cultural and historical tours as well as readings from both primary and secondary sources. Offered summers. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 365. Modern Middle East. (4 Credits)

An introduction to the history of the Modern Middle East with emphasis on the region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course provides a survey of the cultural and political development of the Middle East with special attention to the fate of the Ottoman Empire and the resulting imperial European presence and twentieth-century Middle Eastern struggle for independence and a transition to authentic modernity. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 371. The Enlightenment. (4 Credits)

Explores the European Enlightenment as an intellectual, cultural, and artistic movement. The course analyzes the social, political, economic and religious contexts of the Enlightenment and charts the development of new ideas and approaches to knowledge during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through a close reading of key Enlightenment texts, the course considers not only the complexities of Europe's first self-consciously modern age, but also the broader question of what it means to be "modern." Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 374. Nazi Germany. (4 Credits)

Analyzes the origins and nature of the Nazi ideology and party, as well as the cultural, social and political patterns of the Third Reich of the 1930s. Particular emphasis is given to the Nazi murders during World War II, interpretive issues, and the visual culture of the whole Nazi era.

HIST 377. British History to 1688. (4 Credits)

Analyzes the history of England from the Anglo-Saxon Settlement to the Glorious Revolution. Topics include the development of a unified monarchy, the Norman Conquest, the emergence of representative government, the Reformation, and the English Civil War. Alternate years.

HIST 378. History of Britain Since 1832. (4 Credits)

An analysis of the rise of industrial, urban class society, an examination of higher and popular culture, emphasis on the Victorian era and the early twentieth century. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 391. Topics in History. (2 or 4 Credits)

Selected areas of historical study as announced.

HIST 451. Topics in American History. (2 or 4 Credits)

Advanced courses in the history of the United States as announced, including ethnic, intellectual, and constitutional history. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 483. History of Christianity in North America. (4 Credits)

An overview of events, ideas, people, and groups that have helped to shape Christianity in North America from the colonial era to the present (with primary emphasis on Christianity in the U.S.). Meets the American and History of Christianity requirements for the major.

HIST 489. Colloquium in the History of American Christianity. (2 or 4 Credits)

Special courses in specific aspects or themes of the history of the church in North America. Taught in conjunction with visiting scholars sponsored by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals. Course is offered occasionally.

HIST 491. Research Seminar. (2 to 4 Credits)

Advanced research in history on varied topics. The course may be taken for credit a second time with a different instructor or topic. Especially designed for students considering graduate school.

HIST 494. Christianity and Historical Study. (4 Credits)

A capstone experience for History majors that debates the implications of Christianity for the meaning and practice of history, and explores the value of faith-informed historical practice to life-long Christian faithfulness. Prerequisites: History major and senior standing or departmental approval.

General Education: SHAR

HIST 495. Independent Study. (1 to 4 Credits)

Individualized program of reading, research, writing, and oral examination, which allows for extensive study in a specific area of interest. Not to be used as a substitute for courses or seminars already covered in the curriculum. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and approval of department faculty and chair. Intended for majors only. See the online Handbook at the department web page for further information.

HIST 496. Internship. (4 Credits)

Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, minimum of 16 credits in History major completed, and approval of department chair. Graded pass/fail. See the online Handbook at the department web page for further information.

HIST 498. Honors Tutorial. (4 Credits)

Reading and research in selected areas. Prerequisites: Admission to Department Honors program, senior standing. See the online Handbook at the department web page for further information.

HIST 499. Honors Thesis. (4 Credits)

Preparation of senior honors thesis. Not applicable to major requirements.

Geography Courses

GEOG 211. General Geography. (2 Credits)

This course will examine the interrelationships between people and their geographic environments; physical, social, economic, political, demographic, and cultural. Students will be expected to learn basic place names and to understand geographic relationships, concepts, and terms. Required of all students seeking teacher licensure in the social sciences. Does not count as a history course for students pursuing the regular history major.

Social Science Courses

SSCI 321. Elementary and Middle School Curricular Themes in the Social Sciences. (2 Credits)

Focuses on Social Science content (history, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, and geography) and effective methods for teaching the social sciences in elementary and middle schools. Corequisites EDUC 311, EDUC 311L, EDUC 312, EDUC 315, EDUC 317, EDUC 305L, SCI 322. Prerequisites: EDUC 135, EDUC 136, EDUC 136L, EDUC 225, EDUC 225L, EDUC 305, MATH 125 and admission to WheTEP.