2020-2021 Catalog 
    
    Sep 30, 2022  
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History Major


Major Requirements


The major in history requires a minimum of 9 courses. Students interested in the history major select either a multi-regional track or a thematic track in consultation with either a history faculty advisor or the history department chair.

A. Multi-Regional Track


The multi-regional history track requires a minimum of 9 courses, distributed as follows:

1. The United States (1 course)


One course focusing on the United States .

2. Europe (1 course)


One course focusing on Europe .

3. Asia, Latin America, Africa, or the Middle East (1 course)


One course focusing on Asia, Latin America, Africa, or the Middle East .

4. Research Seminar (1 course)


One CMC course numbered at or above 170 .

We encourage students to complete the research seminar in the sophomore or junior year in order to develop skills for the senior thesis in history. The research seminar paper is not a chapter of the senior thesis, which can address a different topic, place, or time period.

5. Electives (5 courses)


6. Pre-1800


One of the above courses must cover pre-1800 material .

B. Thematic Track


Each thematic history track requires a minimum of 9 courses, distributed as follows:

1. Concentration Field (5 courses)


Five courses in the student’s thematic track, including at least one course focusing on each of these regions:

Students may select one of these thematic concentrations in consultation with the history department chair. See below for thematic track descriptions and courses.

  1. Environment, Culture, and Economies
  2. Society, Diversity, and Inequality
  3. Law, Politics, and Society
  4. Art, Culture, and Community
  5. War, Revolution, and Human Rights

2. Research Seminar (1 course)


One CMC course numbered at or above 170 .

We encourage students to complete the research seminar in the sophomore or junior year in order to develop skills for the senior thesis in history. The research seminar paper is not a chapter of the senior thesis, which can address a different topic, place, or time period.

3. Electives (3 courses)


4. Pre-1800


One of the above courses must cover pre-1800 material .

Thematic Track Descriptions and Courses


Environment, Culture, and Economies

How has the material world shaped our identities over time, and how have we shaped the environments in which we have lived? How do environmental historians draw on natural sciences, humanities and social sciences to study interactions between the social and material worlds? Courses in this track examine how humans have extracted and used natural resources, and how they have shaped, created and sometimes destroyed the spaces they inhabit. Themes include food and agriculture, urban planning, environmental social movements, public health, and social constructions of nature.

For more information on this track, including which courses may fulfill it, contact Professor Albert Park.

Society, Diversity, and Inequality

What are the origins of inequality in human societies past, present, and future? Has freedom for certain groups always entailed the subordination, even the enslavement, of others? How can we account for religious, racial and ethnic conflicts, gender discrimination and class antagonism in different regions of the globe? Courses in this track examine how ideas about social differences have changed over time, and how certain groups at different moments have determined who is privileged and who marginalized; who is free and who enslaved; who may rule and who will be ruled. These courses also treat the history of discriminatory practices, and of resistance to them, and questions of voluntary and forced migration. They further analyze different kinds of social diversity - whether based on race and ethnicity, caste, religion, slavery, gender and sexuality, and social class - and their historical interactions.

For more information on this track, including which courses may fulfill it, contact Professor Tamara Venit-Shelton.

Law, Politics, and Society

What does it mean to be a “citizen”? Can we use the term “citizen” the same way for people living in the Roman Empire and in contemporary Istanbul? This track explores these questions by asking: how do courts, governmental agencies, and political alliances both emerge from and shape different social systems across time and around the globe?; how do we understand the relationship between people’s everyday lives and the institutional structures created to govern them?; and how do ideologies and social movements play a role in upholding or challenging these structures? Courses in this track explore what binds groups together or leads to conflict, the evolution of laws and political parties, the institutionalization of social differences, the criminalization of behavior or identities, and the movements that disrupt and reform traditions of power and interpretation.

For more information on this track, including which courses may fulfill it, contact Professor Shane Bjornlie.

Art, Culture, and Community

How do communities understand and represent themselves? What set of values animates people, generates distinctive cultures, and provides communities with intellectual energy? This track explores creativity and tradition in historical context, as represented in visual and literary art, media and popular culture, and in religious and secular belief systems. Courses range from art and art history and the histories of literature, religion, science, philosophy to courses on ideologies, the intellectual roots of social movements and conflicts, and histories of utopias and anti-utopias. This track further explores the method and writing of history in particular societies.

For more information on this track, including which courses may fulfill it, contact Professor Lisa Cody.

War, Revolution, and Human Rights

Is conflict amongst nations, empires and regional polities ever justified, and, if so, under what circumstances? What are the causes and consequences of war, revolution, and genocide within a given state? Do human rights take precedence over national and class interests, and, if so, how should international agencies enforce those rights? Courses in this track analyze the role of warfare, and revolutions in history, how episodes of violent conflict driven by radical ideologies and state sponsored systems have affected societies and individual victims, and the origins and impact of human rights in mitigating conflicts among nations and in the international arena.

For more information on this track, including which courses may fulfill it, contact Professor Wendy Lower.

Notes:


  • Courses taken across the consortium can count towards the requirements for the major, as long as at least 5 of the 9 courses for the major are taken at CMC.
  • Students may double-count a course towards up to two requirements for the major, as appropriate, as long as they still complete the minimum number of courses for the major.

Senior Thesis in History


The senior thesis is a general education requirement and the capstone experience of a student’s undergraduate education. Students must complete a senior thesis in at least one of their majors under supervision of a faculty reader who teaches within that major, unless granted a special exception. We encourage students to seek out a thesis reader before the end of the junior year. All theses should reflect the learning goals of the history major. They can take the form of a traditional academic paper or a creative project.

Students interested in receiving honors in history are required to complete a 2-semester, 2-unit project. Candidates for honors must register for a thesis research course in history in the 1st semester and for the senior thesis in the 2nd semester. The senior thesis may not count as a course in the major. For further information on honors, see Honors in History  below.

Special Options for Majors


Dual Major


Dual majors may waive two electives, for a minimum of 7 courses in the major, as long as they fulfill the distribution and research seminar requirements for the major. At least 4 of the 7 courses must be taken at CMC.

Honors in History


To be eligible for departmental honors in history, a student majoring in history must:

  • Achieve a 10.5 average in all history courses,
  • Receive at least an A- (11.00) in a 2-semester, 2-unit honors thesis in history under the supervision of a CMC history faculty member.

Study Abroad


The History department is a strong supporter of study abroad. We encourage history majors to study abroad and to take history courses relevant to the country of their study. With prior approval, the department may grant up to 2 course credits towards the major for history courses taken abroad.

General Education Requirements for Social Science Majors


For the general education requirement in the social sciences and the humanities, CMC students majoring in a field in the social sciences must take designated courses in all 4 fields of the social sciences (economics, government, history, and psychology), and in 2 of the 4 fields of the humanities (literature, philosophy, religious studies, and literature in a foreign language). Majors with a dual or double major in the humanities will be required to take courses in 3 of the 4 fields of the humanities.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes of the History Program


Learning Goals


The basic goal of the curriculum of the History department is to increase the intellectual breadth and transferable abilities of our students, and impart an understanding of the past in ways that enhance their understanding of the human condition, facilitate a better understanding of contemporary issues, and explore who we are. We achieve these goals by the distribution requirements within the major and by offering a diverse set of geographic, temporal, methodological, and thematic courses. Our courses emphasize: the critical reading of texts, writing clearly on assigned topics, speaking persuasively, and understanding basic research methodology; we endeavor to have students master specific disciplinary tools and acquire historical thinking skills through challenging class assignments.

Student Learning Outcomes


The student learning outcomes for the history major are:

  1. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of our nation and the world, the ideologies, values, and political, economic, and environmental forces that have shaped the past and the present.
  2. Students will demonstrate intellectual breadth through knowledge of the histories of a variety of societies in different time periods.
  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of historical time and sequence, cause and effect, and will be able to place events in an historical context.
  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to read sources and identify basic themes, and understand the past as it was experienced by those who lived then.
  5. Students can differentiate between primary and secondary sources. They can understand biases in primary sources, where and how the ideas originated, and how they evolve.
  6. Students will demonstrate research capabilities in history that allow them to frame a proper research topic, locate and utilize primary and secondary sources, and construct a coherent argument or thesis.