"History is not was, it is." -William Faulkner

Here at Oglethorpe, history students don’t just absorb knowledge of historical figures and events, or memorize names and dates. They go further, much further: analyzing historical moments for their greater significance; exploring their connections to past, present, and future; challenging dominant narratives; uncovering hidden causes and implications.

In other words, Oglethorpe students encounter history not as an ossified record of the past, but as an ever-evolving inquiry into a story that is still shaping us today.

Small, discussion-driven classes – and a focus on written and oral presentation – teach students how to effectively articulate and support their ideas. Overall, the curriculum emphasizes skilled research, strong critical thinking skills, and intelligent debate, producing graduates with fierce intellectual firepower and strong career prospects.

A few courses that are currently offered include:

  • The Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons
  • The Age of Chivalry, 800-1450
  • The Renaissance and Reformation
  • The Age of Revolution- Europe and the Atlantic World 1776-1849
  • The Age of Empire and Nationalism – Europe 1848-1914
  • The Age of World Ware- Europe 1914-1945
  • The Age of Affluence: The United States Since 1945

Offered as:

B.A. in History
B.A.L.S. in History
Minor in History (TU)
Minor in History (ADP)

At Oglethorpe, history comes to life – first with stimulating classroom conversations, and then with hands-on opportunities for experiential learning.

  • Oglethorpe history students have completed internships at the Atlanta History Center, the Buckhead Heritage Society, the Carter Center, the Foxfire Museum, the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site, the Mighty Eight Air Force Museum, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy.
  • One service-learning course takes students on a 10-day trip to Moscow, where their volunteer efforts at a local orphanage cap a semester studying Russia’s history and contemporary culture.

History majors frequently pursue careers as archival specialists, librarians and research assistants, museum staff, or historical preservations. Other likely fields include education, diplomacy, journalism, law, public relations, and public service.

  • A history degree from Oglethorpe is an excellent foundation for graduate study in a diverse selection of fields: archaeology, anthropology, political science, international studies, social work, and of course, a master’s or Ph.D.
  • Recent alumni are attending graduate school at American University, Columbia University, Emory University, Georgia State University, West Virginia University, and others.

Programs offered:
B.A. in History B.A.L.S. in History
Minor in History (TU)
Minor in History (ADP)

History bridges the disciplinary perspectives of the humanities and social sciences. The causes, experience and impact of important moments in the past are examined in order to explain, analyze and assign contemporary significance to the movements and events that have shaped human experience. History courses at Oglethorpe begin where traditional survey courses and textbooks leave off. Rather than simply viewing the parade of events, students consider the origins and implications of events, their impact on our values, assumptions, social relations and world views. In this spirit students are invited to enter into dialogue with historians past and present.

Courses are taught in a seminar format designed to promote lively interchange and informed debate. Reading assignments draw on a wide range of historical methods and traditions, including perspectives from religion, philosophy, art, music, literature and popular culture as well as politics, economics and geography. These methods and perspectives inform independent student research. In their individual projects, students develop their own research agendas and learn to master the techniques of historical research. Particular emphasis is placed on presentation—both written and oral—of evidence, arguments and conclusions.

Oglethorpe’s location provides many opportunities for creative research as well as internships. The experience and training of History majors prepares them for post-graduate study in a wide variety of academic disciplines, including history, archaeology, anthropology, politics, international studies and social work, as well as careers in such fields as education, law, journalism, public relations, art, theology, diplomacy and public service.

Lower level courses are especially recommended for freshmen and sophomores; upper level courses generally require a research paper, may have prerequisites and are primarily aimed toward juniors and seniors.

B.A. in History (see Sec. 7.5.1. for a complete list of B.A. graduation requirements)
1. Completion of all of the following courses:

  • HIS 101 Foundations of the West
  • HIS 102 Europe and the World, 1715 to the Present
  • HIS 450 Senior Seminar in Historiography

2. Completion seven additional History courses.

3. Completion of one of the following cognate courses from the humanities:

  • Art History: all 200-level and higher courses
  • English/English and Comparative Literature: all literature courses
  • Foreign Language: all upper level literature courses
  • Philosophy: PHI 204, PHI 205, PHI 206
  • Politics: POL 341, POL 342, POL 441
  • Theatre: THE 210, THE 220, THE 305
  • Women’s and Gender Studies: all 200-level and higher courses

4. Completion of one of the following cognate courses from the social sciences:

  • Economics: ECO 290, ECO 320, ECO 323, ECO 324, ECO 400, ECO 424, ECO 425, ECO 490
  • Mathematics: MAT 111
  • Politics: all 200-level and higher courses, not including POL 341, POL 342, POL 441
  • Sociology: all 200-level and higher courses, not including SOC 303, SOC 304, SOC 402, SOC 405

5. Completion of one semester of a foreign language at the 200-level or higher, or demonstration of equivalent proficiency.

6. Additional requirements and things to note:

  • A grade of “C-” or better is required in all courses contributing to the major.
  • The 10 required History courses must cover the following geographic areas and time periods (a course can simultaneously satisfy both one area and time-period requirement): European (E), United States (A) and Latin American history (L); ancient or medieval (1), early modern (2), and modern (3). Fields covered by individual courses are indicated in the course descriptions found in Sec. 12.; the letter (E, A or L) indicates geographic field and while the number (1, 2 or 3) indicates chronological field. Some courses may cover more than one chronological field.
  • At least half of the History courses must be at the upper level and include at least one 400-level History course beyond the HIS 450 requirement.
  • Students are responsible for ensuring they have completed any required prerequisites for cognate courses.

B.A.L.S. in History (see Sec. 7.5.2. for a complete list of B.A.L.S. graduation requirements) T
he requirements are identical to those for the B.A. in History (see above).

Minor in History (TU)
1. Completion of one of the following courses:

  • HIS 101 Foundations of the West
  • HIS 102 Europe and the World, 1715 to the Present

2. Completion of four additional History courses.

Minor in History (ADP)
The requirements are identical to those for the Minor in History (TU) (see above).

HIS 101 Foundations of the West (4 hours)
This course explores the foundations and development of Western civilizations from late antiquity to the end of the seventeenth century. The focus of the course will be on the methods and sources used by historians to uncover the history of this period, with special emphasis on such issues as the development of language, culture, political institutions, and social structures. Offered every fall.

HIS 102 Europe and the World, 1715 to the Present (4 hours )
This course introduces students to the modern history of Europe and its interactions with the world. Major developments in society, economy, technology, politics, war, and diplomacy will be analyzed. A central theme will be the relationship of state and society. Students are introduced to history as a subject of study. Offered every spring.

HIS 130 United States History to 1865 (4 hours)
A survey from Colonial times to 1865, concerned mainly with the major domestic developments of a growing nation. Offered alternate years.

HIS 131 United States History Since 1865 (4 hours)
A survey from 1865 to the present, concerned with the chief events which explain the growth of the United States to a position of world power. Offered alternate years.

HIS 200 Independent Study in History (1-4 hours)
This course will be conducted as supervised research on a selected topic. Prerequisites: Submission of an application which contains a proposed, detailed outline of study approved by the instructor, the division chair, the student’s advisor and the provost or associate provost. The completed application must be submitted to the registrar’s office no later than the final day of the drop/add period of the semester of study. For additional criteria, see Independent Study Policy (Sec. 5.15.).

HIS 201 Ancient Greece (4 hours)
This course will examine the Greeks from their Minoan and Mycenaean antecedents through the rise of Macedonia in the mid-fourth century B.C.E. Students will investigate the political, social, economic and cultural aspects of Greek civilization as well as an appreciation of the Hellenic world’s legacy. Specific topics include: the collapse of Mycenaean civilization and the problem of a “Dark Age;” the rise, development and failure of the polis system; Greek contact with eastern cultures; the political significance of hoplite warfare; the roles of women in various Greek poleis; competing models of Greek political organization. Offered spring semester in alternate years.

HIS 202 Roman History (4 hours)
This course will trace the history of Rome from its Italian precursors through the ascension of Constantine. Topics will include political, religious, social, cultural and economic aspects of Rome’s development, focusing on the origins, maturation, decline and transformation of its civilization. Offered spring semester in alternate years.

HIS 211 The Renaissance and Reformation (4 hours)
Students will study the significant changes in European art, thought and institutions during the period from 1300 to 1550. The course will focus on critical readings of primary sources from this era. Offered fall semester in alternate years.

HIS 212 Early Modern Europe (4 hours)
This course will examine the development of European society and politics from the end of the Reformation to the eve of the French Revolution. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of the modern state, the contest between absolutism and constitutionalism and the Enlightenment. Offered spring semester in alternate years.

HIS 213 The Age of Revolution—Europe and the Atlantic World 1776-1849 (4 hours )
The “old regime” (serfdom, rule by monarchs and nobles and a politically powerful church) and an agrarian way of life had prevailed in much of Europe and the New World since the Middle Ages. From 1776 on, however, a series of upheavals, such as the American and French revolutions, the Napoleonic Wars, the Latin American Wars of Independence and the European revolutions of 1820-21, 1830-31 and 1848-49 had challenged the old order. This course studies the events of this dramatic period, including the Industrial Revolution and the rise of romanticism, socialism, nationalism and liberalism.

HIS 214 The Age of Empire and Nationalism—Europe 1848-1914 (4 hours)
The six decades following the revolutions of 1848 were a period of remarkable power, prosperity and creativity in Europe. New nation-states (Germany and Italy) were formed; old multiethnic empires (Russia and Austria-Hungary) seemed rejuvenated; and Europeans acquired immense colonial empires. Meanwhile, industrialization and modern science and art revolutionized European life and thought. However, this fusion of cultural and economic modernity with social and political conservatism concealed grave weaknesses that would lead, beginning in 1914, to the upheavals of world war, communism and fascism. Offered every three years.

HIS 215 Europe: From World Wars to Cold War (4 hours)
This course examines the disasters that befell Europe in the three decades after 1914: World War I; the Russian Revolution; the ill-fated Treaty of Versailles; the rise of Mussolini; the Great Depression; the dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin; the spread of fascism in the 1930s; World War II. The course discusses the reasons for the failure of the international order to prevent two horrific military conflicts and for the failure of moderate forces in many European countries – including Russia, Germany, Italy and Spain – to block the rise to power of violent and millenarian political forces. Offered every three years.

HIS 219 German History Since 1800 (4 hours)
This course is a survey of German history in the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on the unification of Germany in the 19th century, the Bismarckian state, the two world wars, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich and the division and subsequent reunification of Germany after World War II. Offered every three years.

HIS 220 Russia under the Tsars (4 hours)
This course studies the thousand years from the formation of the Kievan state until the abolition of serfdom. It covers the Mongol invasion, the rise of Muscovy, the reign of Ivan the Terrible and the Time of Troubles, Imperial Russia’s Westernization under Peter the Great and its apogee under Catherine the Great and her grandsons. Offered fall semester every three years.

HIS 221 Russian History Since 1861 (4 hours)
This course studies Russian history from the abolition of serfdom, which began Imperial Russia’s last attempt to reform itself and stave off revolution, until the present. It also covers the 1905 and 1917 revolutions, the rise of communism, the era of Lenin and Stalin and the fall of the communist system. Offered fall semester every three years.

HIS 222 History of the Holocaust (4 hours)
This class focuses on understanding how and why the Holocaust happened. The course covers the perspectives of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. We will analyze the motives and actions of each group seeking to find answers in very difficult questions.

HIS 240 Latin America to Independence (4 hours)
Latin American history from the origins of pre-Columbian civilizations to independence will be examined by exploring the origins and development of indigenous societies in Mesoamerica and the Andes; the conquest and colonization of (what became) Spanish and Portuguese America; the nature of colonial control; the response of indigenous populations to colonial society, administration and religion; the developing tensions between Spaniards and Creole elites. The movement for independence, which arose from a variety of issues, created by contrasting views and concerns of distant European authority and local cultural identity, will be studied. Finally, the major challenges that faced the newly emergent Latin American nations will be considered. Offered in alternate years.

HIS 255 The Land of Milk and Honey: The History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (4 hours)
This course examines the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. We explore how Israel became a state and how Palestinians came together without a state. We will look at this history from a variety of sources and seek to understand the various and complicated motives between each side and within both groups.

HIS 290 Special Topics in History (4 hours)
Courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. Prerequisite: See individual course listing in the current semester course schedule.

HIS 301 History of Christianity (4 hours)
This course will examine the origins and development of Christianity through the modern era. Special areas of interest include the structure and organization of the church, the development of liturgy and doctrine and the counterpoint between orthodoxy and heresy. A central question will be the relationship between the “three pillars” of doctrine—revelation, reason and tradition—and social pressures in the history of the church and doctrine. Offered spring semester in alternate years.

HIS 306 The Rise of the Roman Empire 270-130 B.C. (4 hours)
Polybius once remarked that the most remarkable events in history were that in only 53 years the Roman Republic obtained undisputed mastery over the Mediterranean world. This course will examine the rise of the Roman Empire during the late third and second centuries B.C., focusing on patterns of diplomacy, in particular Rome’s dealings with the states of Greece, Egypt and the Near East. Offered every three years.

HIS 307 The End of the Roman Republic 130 B.C.-14 A.D. (4 hours)
One of the more important historical questions has been the one that asks “How did the Roman republic become the Roman Empire?” This course will examine that problem with respect to the end of the Republic as a historiographical issue and a source problem. A central component of the course will be the close examination of two important works on the subject, Eric Gruen’s Last Generation of the Roman Republic and Ronald Syme’s seminal Roman Revolution, arguably one of the most influential and controversial books on Roman history. Offered every three years.

HIS 309 The Fall of Rome and the Dark Ages (4 hours)
This course will examine the “fall” of the Roman Empire in late antiquity and the subsequent rise of barbarian kingdoms in Europe. The primary issue will be to determine whether the Roman Empire did in fact “fall” during this time or whether the period actually marks a transition, the birth of Europe. The role of Christianity in the transformation of Europe will be a major focus of discussion, as well as other social, political and economic issues. Offered every three years.

HIS 310 The Age of Chivalry, 800-1450 (4 hours)
This course will cover the High and Later Middle Ages, from the later Carolingian period through the War of the Roses. The main focus will be on the evolution of state and society in northern and Western Europe during these periods. Special attention will be given to such events as the rise of feudal monarchies, the Investiture Contest, the Norman Conquests, and the Hundred Years’ War. Offered spring semester in alternate years.

HIS 311 The Crusades (4 hours)
During the late 11th, 12th and 13th centuries Western Europe, which had long been the prey of foreign invaders, became the feared hunter in the eastern Byzantine and Muslim worlds. The Crusades represented a tremendous clash between civilizations, with both destructive and beneficial consequences whose effects lasted for centuries. Students will study the Crusades from both the European and Arab viewpoints.

HIS 313 The Origins of European Imperialism, 950-1750 (4 hours)
From the tenth century onwards one can see a progressive expansion of Western Europe, first to the fringes of the European continent, and then to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This course charts the course of early European expansion, examining the causes of the European diaspora, the nature of colonial societies and the interactions between Europe and the wider world during the first Global age.

HIS 314 Modern European Imperialism (4 hours)
European imperial states reached the peak of their power in the nineteenth century. These little states crowded onto a peninsula jutting off the west side of Asia somehow came to control up to three-quarters of the rest of the world. How they did so, why they did so, what the colonized thought of these interlopers, how the colonized and the colonizers affected each other, how the local populations of the colonies threw off their imperial yokes, and what were the long-range consequences for both sides will be topics of our study during this semester.

HIS 315 History of Atlanta (4 hours)
The object of this course is to use Atlanta as a laboratory to study change in the metro area through time. The course will delineate the forces that have shaped our city and our suburbs helped create today’s metropolitan configuration, the behavior of people who live in the city and suburbs, the changing roles of downtown, the growth of neighborhoods, the shifting alliances of political power, the evolution of race relations, transportation, the outward sprawl of suburban communities, and the prospects for the future development of Atlanta. The course surveys how social, political, economic, historical and geographic forces transformed a little railroad gulch in the 1840s to the new international city of today.

HIS 319 Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (4 hours)
The course examines the roots of National Socialism in Germany before World War I; the reasons for the failure of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s, which ended in Hitler’s coming to power; and the nature of Hitler’s dictatorship, with its policies of totalitarian rule, world war and genocide. Offered every three years.

HIS 330 Between World Wars: The United States, 1920-1945 (4 hours)
During this period of war, prosperity and depression, the United States underwent dramatic economic, political, social and cultural changes. The interwar years witnessed the emergence of the United States as a world power, an increasingly sophisticated women’s movement, the rise of mass production and mass consumption and a variety of new challenges to social and economic policies. The Great Depression and the New Deal brought further challenges to traditional liberal political and economic assumptions as the federal government intervened in nearly every aspect of American life. World War II again transformed the nation as it ushered in the “age of affluence” and cold wars in the international and domestic realms. Offered alternate years.

HIS 331 The Age of Affluence: The United States Since 1945 (4 hours)
An interdisciplinary study of American life since World War II, this course will emphasize political, economic and social developments. Foreign policy is considered principally with respect to its impact on domestic affairs. Offered alternate years.

HIS 340 Dictatorship and Democracy in Latin America (4 hours)
This course will examine the roots, character and impact of authoritarian rule – and resulting resistance movements – in Latin America. Included will be a look at the caudillos that competed for power after independence, the Liberal dictatorships of the late 19th century, the Depression Dictators of the 1930s, Populist dictators of the 1940s and 1950s and the rise of military-bureaucratic dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s. An understanding will be sought for why almost all political orientations (Republicanism, Liberalism, nationalism, Populism and Communism) offered up a dictator as their champion at some point in Latin American history and how Latin American nations have been able to make a transition to democracy. Finally, consideration will be given to how dictatorships affect the everyday lives and perceptions of the people living under them and in their aftermath. Offered alternate years.

HIS 400 Advanced Independent Study in History (1-4 hours)
Supervised research on a selected topic. Prerequisite: Submission of a proposed outline of study that includes a schedule of meetings and assignments approved by the instructor, the division chair and the provost or associate provost no later than the final day of the drop/add period of the semester of study. For additional criteria, see Independent Study Policy (Sec. 5.15.).

HIS 410 The Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons (4 hours)
This course examines the meteoric rise of the Scandinavians from obscurity to become the terror of Europe in the eighth through the 11th centuries. For purposes of comparison, a look also will be taken at the Vikings’ more “civilized” cousins, the Anglo-Saxons. While both medieval and modern historians have tended to draw a thick line between these two cultures, this course will suggest that both represent aspects of a general political, economic and cultural zone in the Northern Seas. Offered every three years in the spring. Prerequisite: Either junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 412 Radical Religion and Revolution (4 hours)
This course will examine the role of radical theologies in shaping a series of rebellions and revolutions in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern era. Some of the conflicts studied will include the Hussite Revolution, the German Reformation and the English Civil War. In addition, some modern examples illustrating the connections between religion and revolutionary thought, in particular, liberation theology in Latin America and the current crisis in the Middle East will be considered. Offered every three years in the spring. Prerequisite: Either junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 413 The Witch Craze (4 hours)
The era of the Renaissance, the supposed “rebirth” of classical civilization, also witnessed one of the more horrific episodes of modern times: the witch-craze of the 16th and 17th centuries. Large-scale persecution of witches peaked in the years between 1590 and 1630. Although there has been a good deal of scholarly work done on the problem, much of it has been marred by misconceptions and methodological errors. Our task in this course will be to attempt to come to a more sophisticated understanding of the persecution of witches, its causes, and the relationship of the “witch-craze” to the development of modern consciousness. Offered every three years in the spring. Prerequisite: Either junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.

HIS 430 American Civil War and Reconstruction (4 hours)
A course emphasizing the causes of conflict, the wartime period and major changes that occurred. Offered irregularly.

HIS 431 History of United States Foreign Relations (4 hours)
This course is a study of major developments in American diplomacy from the end of the Revolution until 1945. Offered alternate years.

HIS 450 Senior Seminar in Historiography (2 hours)
This course constitutes the capstone for the history major. The seminar will give students the opportunity to reflect on their previous course work and develop their skills through careful reexamination of major texts and the revision of a major paper. The course will involve regular presentations and discussion. Prerequisite: Enrollment limited to declared senior History majors and senior students with IPMs demonstrating a concentration in History.

HIS 451 Internship in History (1-4 hours)
An internship is designed to provide a formalized experiential learning opportunity to qualified students. The internship generally requires the student to obtain a faculty supervisor in the relevant field of study, submit a learning agreement, work 30 hours for every hour of academic credit, keep a written journal of the work experience, have regularly scheduled meetings with the faculty supervisor and write a research paper dealing with some aspect of the internship. Written work should total five pages of academic writing for every hour of credit. An extensive list of internships is maintained by career services, including opportunities at the Atlanta History Center, the Atlanta Preservation Center, the Holocaust Center and the Coosawattee Foundation archeological dig. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites: Permission of the faculty supervisor and qualification for the internship program, permission of an internship site supervisor and acceptance of learning agreement proposal by the Experiential Education Committee.

HIS 490 Advanced Special Topics in History (4 hours)
Advanced courses of selected topics will be offered generally for juniors or seniors as determined by the needs of the curriculum. Prerequisite: See individual course listing in the current semester course schedule.

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