Historical Analysis

East Europe Civilization

This course is devoted to the exploration of the historical experience of the lands between Germany and Russia from the time the region was first settled by Nomadic tribes to the present.  During these one thousand years Eastern Europe was transformed from feudalism to communism and our emphasis will be to understand the ways in which the interaction of social, economic, intellectual, cultural, demographic and political processes contributed to this metamorphosis.

Viking Age Scandinavia

The Viking age, the period from 800 to 1050 AD Marks Scandinavia's transition from prehistoric to historic times. This course will reassess Viking activities as constructive as well as destructive. Raids, commerce and colonization are best illuminated by a blending of written and physical evidence. Through the sagas, secondary readings and an assessment of archaeological sources such topics as state formation, trade, technology, rise of cities, religion and the voyages to Greenland and America will be examined.

Ancient Empires

Empires dominate and control resources over broad geographical areas, establishing systems (administrative, religious, and intellectual) to perpetuate and justify that control.  The course will survey the archaeological remains of the principal empires of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, emphasizing both the modes of control and the themes or messages used to justify it.

Climate, Weather, and Literature

This course will examine the intersections between literature and the environment by considering the textual representations of weather and climate.  We will read drama, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction work from the Renaissance to the present, with a focus on literature from the romantics to the twentieth century; readings will include a Shakespeare play, lyric poetry, a canonical novel, and speculative fiction.  We will examine these texts in conjunction with works in the meteorological humanities, which brings together such disciplines as literary criticism, art history, environmental stu

Varieties of Early Christianity

This course will examine the many different and often competing forms of Christianity that existed during the first five centuries of our common era.  We will include an historical survey of Mediterranean culture and society in the historical Roman Empire to help us understand the ways in which Christianity developed in relation to the philosophical, sociological, theological, and political environment of this period.  We will also focus on the contribution of the early varieties of Christianity to modern Western views of the relationship between the individual body and society.  The litera

Origins of Christianity

This course presents a historical-critical investigation of Christian origins. Special attention is paid to varieties of 1st century Hellenistic and Palestinian Judaism within the Greco-Roman world. Primary readings include selected Biblical passages and apocrypha, 1st century historians and philosophers (Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Philo), the New Testament corpus (including Paul and the Pastorals), and selected readings from the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition there will be assignments from various modern New Testament critics, historians, and theologians.

Witches To Walden Pond: Religion In Early America

Why did the prosecution of witches become a priority for the Puritan rulers of New England? What religious ideals convinced Henry David Thoreau to lead a life 'off the grid' in Walden Pond? How did non-Protestant immigrants make their way in the new nation? And how did religious rhetoric undergird the debates over slavery that led to the civil war? These are some of the questions that we will explore in this course, which traces the religious history of the United States from the era of colonization to through the Civil War.

Combined Section: HIST 0675

Mesoamerica Before Cortez

When Cortez and his Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico, they found Indians living in large cities with impressive temples raised on tall pyramids, lavish palaces for rulers, elaborate markets, and skilled craftsmen working in gold, copper, feathers, stone, pottery, and other materials.  They were astonished at a civilization so like their own and yet so different (so "barbaric" to European eyes).  This course explores the development of this civilization back to its roots several thousand years ago, by reconstructing earlier cultures known only from archeological evidence.