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 www.wheaton.edu/History.
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 Professor R. Tracy McKenzie
Associate Professors Melissa Franklin-Harkrider, Matthew Lundin, Karen Johnson
Assistant Professors Kurt Farney, Hanmee Kim, Sarah Miglio, Jonathan Riddle, Noel Stringham
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 Medieval Faith: Jews, Christian and Muslims in the Middle Ages; The French and Haitian Revolutions; Middle Ground: Africans, Europeans, and Natives in the Atlantic World; Exploring the Korean War, etc. History 102 seminars emphasize the development of historical thinking and Christian perspectives in the study of the past. Meets legacy general education requirement. In certain sections of HIST 102, a nominal course fee may be applied.
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. Meets legacy general education requirement. In certain sections of HIST 103, a nominal course fee may be applied.
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. Meets legacy general education requirement. Legacy diversity designation.
HIST 111. World History, Ancient to Modern. (4 Credits)
Single semester survey of world history from the ancient period to the present. Examines the political, religious, and social developments that forged the modern world. Meets legacy general education requirements. Specifically addresses licensure requirements for secondary education. Required for History/Social Science majors. Recommended for elementary education majors. Legacy diversity designation.
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. Meets legacy general education requirement.
HIST 131. Topics In World History. (2 Credits)
Through a biographical approach, investigates selected themes in world history in light of liberal arts and Christian thought and values. Not open to students who have completed HIST 105, 111, or 115. Legacy diversity designation.
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.
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.
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 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. Legacy diversity designation.
HIST 295. Introduction to Historical Inquiry. (2 Credits)
Introduction to principles and techniques of historical scholarship. Attention given to historical thinking, literacy, research, and communication skills. Useful for non-majors. Required of majors and minors.
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.
HIST 311. History of Philosophy: Ancient & Medieval. (4 Credits)
See PHIL 311.
HIST 312. History of Philosophy: Modern & Contemporary. (4 Credits)
See PHIL 312.
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, 136, 136L, 225, 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. Legacy diversity designation.
HIST 334. Society and Politics in East Asian History. (4 Credits)
Cultural development and distinctives of China, Korea, and Japan, from their traditional roots through their classical periods to the modern period. Contemporary East Asian society and affairs are covered and various themes will be emphasized each semester. Legacy diversity designation.
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 341. Ancient History: The Rise and Fall of Empires. (4 Credits)
Examines the political, economic, social, and cultural development of the Near East and Mediterranean from the first civilizations in the third millennium B.C. to the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D. The course covers the First Age of Empires in the Ancient Near East as well as the Greek and Roman worlds.
HIST 342. Statecraft and International Relations in the Ancient Near East. (4 Credits)
See ARCH 365.
Tags: HP, SI
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 347. Men, Women, and Society in Early Modern Europe. (4 Credits)
Examines the cultural, political, social, and religious developments that shaped men’s and women’s lives from 1300 to 1650. Topics include: family life, courtship and marriage, the emergence of the Renaissance state and its intervention in family life, and the impact of religious change on men and women. Particular attention is given to how this period shaped modern theological and cultural assumptions about men, women, and family structure.
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?
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. Legacy diversity designation.
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. Legacy diversity designation.
HIST 362. Topics in Traditional Asian History. (2 or 4 Credits)
Course material centers on the cultural development of traditional society in the locations visited each year during the May-in-Asia program. Course will vary each year based on sites visited. Legacy diversity designation. Su
HIST 363. Topics in Continuity and Change in Modern Asia. (2 or 4 Credits)
An analysis of continuity and change in Asian society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries specifically related to the locations visited each year during the May-in-Asia program. Course will vary each year based on sites visited. Legacy diversity designation. Su
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. Legacy diversity designation.
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.
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."
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. Alternate years.
HIST 382. U.S. Foreign Policy. (4 Credits)
See IR 378.
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.
HIST 455. American Urban History. (4 Credits)
Examines how urbanization has shaped and directed much of America's social, cultural, political, and economic development from colonial times to the present. Lecture, discussion, readings from primary sources.
HIST 461. Origins and Consequences of the Pacific War. (4 Credits)
Investigates the origins of the Pacific War using both translated primary documents and secondary scholarly literature. Special attention is paid to the changing international environment and especially the role of the United States, alongside Japanese domestic social, economic, political, military, and intellectual developments. Recommended to upper-level students interested in understanding Japan, twentieth-century East Asian relations, international relations, war, ideology and conflict. Satisfies the world history requirement for the major. Legacy diversity designation.
HIST 463. Enlightenment Modernity and Its Discontents. (4 Credits)
Reviews the social, political, economic, and intellectual aspects of the European Enlightenment, explores the process of diffusion of these influences, and then considers the various responses to this phenomena beginning in Europe but extending to various parts of the world. Responses covered may include Muslim, Jewish, Christian, conservative, Marxist, Confucian, postcolonial, and postmodern. Legacy diversity designation.
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 history of Christianity requirement for the major.
HIST 489. Colloquium in the History of American Christianity. (2 or 4 Credits)
See BITH 682.
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. Senior Capstone. (2 or 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.
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.
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. Concurrent with EDUC 311, 311L, 312, 315, 317, 305L, SCI 322. Prerequisites: EDUC 135, 136, 136L, 225, 225L, 305, MATH 125 and admission to WheTEP.