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History Courses

Find the Saint Louis University Department of History’s course offerings for FALL 2019 below. See SLU’s Banner course catalog for the most current information.

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Fall 2019 

HIST 1930: History of the Jesuits 
Conedera, S.J. 
TR, 11:00-12:15

A survey of the origins, development, and influence of the Society of Jesus from the sixteenth century to the present.  Topics include St. Ignatius and his companions, Jesuit education and intellectual life, missions to Africa, Asia, and America, the order’s suppression and restoration, wars and revolutions, the Second Vatican Council, and conspiracy theories.  Students will acquire a historical narrative of the order, read primary sources in translation, become acquainted with basic issues in Jesuit historiography, and discuss and debate issues within the contemporary Society. Fulfills European History requirement.

  • Assessment:  Weekly reading quizzes (20%)
  • Midterm paper (25%)
  • Group project (25%)
  • Final exam (30%)

HIST 1930: Introduction to the French Revolution
TR 11-12:15

The era of the French Revolution and Napoleon was decisive in shaping the modern West, but the debate over its meaning continues.  Was the French Revolution, as Marx thought, a bourgeois revolution by a revolutionary middle-class? Did women have more rights before the French Revolution offered equality to all men?  Why did it take France so long to abolish slavery? Was the Terror a natural outgrowth of revolutionary and liberal politics? Was Napoleon a revolutionary who completed the work of the Revolution or a despot who betrayed it?  We’ll explore all these questions and more in an introduction to the French Revolutionary era. This course includes use of the Reacting to the Past pedagogy, an active learning pedagogy in which students take on roles from the era.  Fulfills European History requirement.

  •  Assessment: Five highest scores on biweekly factual quizzes (20%)
  • Class presentation (10%)
  • Writing for “Reacting to the Past” (10%)
  • Participation (including “Reacting”) (30%)
  • Final assignment (choice of essay, podcast, project) (25%)

HIST 2600 : History of the United States to 1865
MWF 12-12:50

This course explores the political, economic, social, and cultural developments in America from the colonial era to the end of the Civil War. It offers a broad overview that includes prominent figures as well as ordinary people, ethnic and cultural diversity as well as shared ideas and institutions, the country's unique characteristics as well as its global involvement. We will examine the major events and forces that have shaped its identity over time, and their changing interpretations. The goal is to for you to gain a good understanding of the significance of the past for the world we live in today, as well as to acquire skills in interpreting, discussing, tracing change and continuity, and identifying causality.

  • Assessment:  Mid-term exam (30%)
  • Final exam (30%)
  • Class participation (20%)
  • Class presentation explaining the meaning and context of a source document. Format is left to the student's creativity; it can be a slide show, a political speech, a sermon, a poem, a newspaper editorial, a documentary video, etc. (20%)

HIST 2610: History of the United States since 1865
MWF 1-1:50

This course covers the political, economic, social, and cultural development of the United States since the Civil War.  It will use a variety of resources (a textbook, articles, primary sources, novels, songs, and documentaries) to give depth to this rich history.  Students will enhance their understanding of the nation’s past, draw connections to the future, develop their critical thinking abilities, and improve their writing skills. Requirements include a midterm, final, one short paper (3-5 pages), a book review and three short article responses. Students’ assigned reading includes Timothy Egan’s  The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, articles on U.S. foreign policy, segregation, the Civil Rights movement, and censorship during WWII.

HIST 2610: History of the United States since 1865
Thompson Moore
M 4:15-7

This course examines the major historical developments in American history as the United States emerged as a major world power. The course will examine such issues as the shift from a rural agrarian to an urban industrial nation, the shifting view of the role of government in society and the economy, and the evolution of foreign policy from nineteenth century isolation to world super power in the years after World War II. The format of the course will be lecture and discussion. Fulfills U.S. History post-1865 requirement.

HIST 2710: China and Japan Since 1600: Samurai, Revolutionaries, and Entrepreneurs
MWF 9-9:50

This course follows the political, cultural, and social histories of China and Japan from the seventeenth century (roughly the age of the Ming-Qing transition and of the inception of the Togukawa shogunate) to the present. It concentrates on the interaction of China and Japan as well as on their respective roles in international exchanges and conflicts. It devotes special attention to the themes of the impact of Confucianism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and Christianity on institutions and society, of organized violence (e.g. warfare, violent uprisings, and samurai ideology) and of gender relations. Through a close analysis of historical documents as well as fiction, films, and graphic novels (manga), students will learn how to approach both elite and popular traditions, while developing a critical perspective on the ways cross-cultural encounters, exchanges, and representations shape individual and collective identities.

Fulfills world history requirement.


  • In-class map and ID quizzes (25%)
  • Midterm and final (based on the study and analysis of fundamental historical events, processes, personalities, and documents) (38%)
  • Reading and writing assignments (based on the close analysis of primary and secondary documents, including films and graphic novels) (20%)
  • Class participation and presentations (17%)


  • Takeda Izumo, Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers
  • Katsu Kokichi, Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai
  • Ethan Young, Nanjing: The Burning City
  • Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints
  • Gene Luen Yang,  American Born Chinese
  • Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle
  • Mizuki Shigeru, Showa: A History of Japan, 1926 - 1939
  • Nakazawa Keiji, Barefoot Gen, Vol 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima
  • Yu Hua, China in Ten Words

HIST 2800: The Historian’s Craft (Historicity: Multidimensional, and Polyphonic Pasts)
TR 12:45-2

This course will prepare students to be successful as history majors and equip them with valuable research, writing, and rhetorical skills which will serve them in advanced study and no matter what their later jobs may be. Bridging humanities and social science approaches, this course introduces students to the reflective dimension of the historical craft. Students will learn tools for understanding how people in past and present times experience and represent their relationship with time. Through a semester-long conversation about the concept of Historicity, the class will explore 1) current and traditional historical problems, 2) diverse uses of historical knowledge in the public sphere, and 3) new actors and voices in historical narratives. They will do so through the analysis of original sources and recent historiographical and methodological arguments. Requirement for majors/minors.


  • Oral presentations during midterms week (20 mins. Students will choose from: 1) presenting on the work and life of a modern-day historian 2) assessing the relationship between the formulation of historical problems and the emergence of new historical actors 3) the uses of history writing in the past) (30%) 
  • Weekly book and article reviews (10%)
  • Composition of an analytical bibliography (illustrating the content of their oral presentation) (10%)
  • Participation in an end of the semester in-class workshop, during which students will share their oral presentations with their colleagues after including the feedback they received during their midterm. (30%) 
  • Participation and attendance. (20%) 


  • Ankersmit, Historical Representation
  • Walter Benjamin, On The Concept of History
  • Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft
  • Mary Douglas, Natural Symbols
  • Anthony Grafton, What was History?
  • Francis Haskell, History and Its Images
  • Francois Hartog, Regimes of Historicity. Presentism and Experiences of Time
  • Vanessa Ogle, The Global Transformation of Time
  • Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting
  • Joan Scott, Gender and the Politics of History
  • Nathan Watchel, The Vision of the Vanquished
  • Daniel Woolf, A Global History of History

HIST 3930: History of Native Americans
TR 2:15-3:30

From Alaska to Chile, across the Caribbean, and throughout the Atlantic World, this course will examine the history of native peoples across the Americas. Starting with the ancient peopling of the hemisphere and concluding in the present day, we will approach the native past utilizing different types of history, multiple disciplines, and various tools. The ultimate goal of the course is to place native people at the center of American history.

HIST 3930: Islamic Empires
MWF 12-12:50

This course covers the history of early modern Muslim empires from Morocco to India. The end of the medieval period saw the rise of new dynasties in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. From the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, Islamic empires developed into bureaucratic states with global commercial and diplomatic connections, and promoted rich artistic, architectural, scientific and literary movements. Through lectures, specialized textbooks and scholarly excerpts, and a range of primary sources, students will learn about the rich and varied histories of the Saadi and Alawite (Morocco), Ottoman (Turkey, the Balkans, the Levant and North Africa), Safavid (Iran), and Mughal (India) empires. Guided by the professor, students will complete a research paper, two book reviews, and two artifact projects using SLU and St. Louis resources. Fulfills World History Requirement

Students will use the Islamic collections at the Art Museum and/or SLU special collections for their artifact projects. Some of the books students will read are the following (the * is the main textbook they will purchase):

  • *Stephen Dale, The Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals
  • Richard Smith, Ahmad al-Mansur: Islamic Visionary
  • Mercedes García-Arenal and Gerard Wiegers, A Man of Three Worlds: Samuel
  • Pallache, A Moroccan Jew in Catholic and Protestant Europe
  • Giancarlo Casale, The Ottoman Age of Exploration
  • Rudi Mathee, The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600-1730
  • Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Mughals and Franks: Explorations in Connected History
  • Robert Dankoff, An Ottoman Traveler: Selections from the Book of Travels by Evliya Celebi

HIST 3930: African Diaspora
TR 9:30-10:45

What is the African Diaspora? Where is the African Diaspora? Who is from the African Diaspora? How did the African Diaspora move, develop and change? How has the African Diaspora been made and remade? This course addresses the foregoing questions by examining the breadth and scope of the African World by comparatively engaging and spanning African diaspora communities and lived experiences among local, national, and global sites; Africa, Europe, The United States, the Caribbean, Latin America/Brazil and the Indian Ocean world. It delves into the wide distribution of the Diaspora both in terms of the demographic dispersal of peoples of African descent and, more importantly, their struggles as well as the even wider penetration of African-inspired cultural forms.


  • Two short papers, five to seven pages (each paper is 15% of the course grade for a total of 30% in respect of the two papers).
  • Attendance and participation in class discussion (10% of the course grade)
  • Midterm (30% of the course grade)
  • A final (30% of the course grade)

HIST 4900: Seminar: History as Autobiography, History Through Those Who Lived It 
MWF 10-10:50

How and why do people write their own stories? How did they make history? How did history make them? How valid are autobiographies as historical sources?

We will discuss the nature of autobiography. Then each student will write his or her own short autobiography (200-300 words),  and the class will discuss what was included, what was omitted, and why. Then we will read and discuss the autobiographies of such figures as St. Ignatius of Loyola, Madame de la Tour du Pin, Sayyib Qutb, Elie Wiesel, Czesław Miłosz, and Nien Cheng.  Then each student will prepare a research paper, putting one of these autobiographies or another one in the broader historical context.

Fulfills European history and senior seminar requirement.

HIST 4901: Seminar: Humanities in the Digital World
TR 11-12:15