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Courses

(This list of courses may not be up to date. Please see the latest General Catalog for a complete list of current courses.)


Foundation Courses


HIST 010. Western Civilization I (4)
An introductory survey of the history of Western Civilization, beginning with the emergence of classical Greek culture and ending with the Reformation in the sixteenth century. The political, social and religious ideas of ancient Rome and Greece have shaped European culture and formed an enduring legacy for our societies until today. The course will examine the life and interactions of men and women throughout the centuries and trace the development of political and social institutions in a geographic area that we know as Europe. Studying this fascinating history of war and peace, destruction and great achievements will help as understand what our present life has to do with the past.

HIST 011. Western Civilization II (4) This course is an introductory survey of the history of Western Civilization from the sixteenth century to the present. We will explore some of the great political, social and economic transformations that led to the Western world as we know it today. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment permanently changed humans’ view of the world. Modern states and new forms of governments emerged as the French and Industrial Revolutions undermined the political and economic order. The rise of nationalism and totalitarianism led to catastrophes in the twentieth century. After the Cold War, we face new problems that push us to take stock of where we are at the beginning of the new millennium.

HIST 020. United States History I (4) This is an introductory level course in U.S. history. It begins with Native American societies at the time of European contact and examines major social, political, and cultural issues in U.S. history through colonial settlement, the American Revolution, the early national period, the antebellum era, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. The course considers dominant cultural traditions and perspectives as well as minority cultures and dissent.

HIST 021. United States History II (4) This is an introductory level course in U.S. history that considers the major social, economic, and cultural forces in American society from the Civil War to the present. It examines dominant cultural traditions and perspectives as well as minority cultures and dissent. Topics include the closing of the frontier, progressive reform, industrialization and urban life, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, Civil Rights and social justice movements, the Vietnam War, and the Regan years. Central themes are the U.S.’s increasing role in international affairs, political realignments, reform movements, race and racism, diversity, mass culture, and the historical legacies of the American past.

HIST 030. East Asian Civilization I (4) A broad overview of the rich histories and cultures of East Asia. We will study the timeless writings of Confucius, take a dusty journey down the Silk Road and follow Prince Genji’s adventures in medieval Japan. Course focuses primarily on China and Japan, but also nomadic peoples such as Tibetans, Mongols and others in Southeast Asia. Students will discover that East Asian civilizations were at the center of world history in terms of technology, wealth, cultural sophistication, political organization and quality of life.

HIST 031. East Asian Civilization II (4) Survey of East Asian Civilizations from the 19th c. to the present. Covers China and Japan as well as Korea, Singapore and Vietnam. Focuses on East Asian transformation from traditional societies to modern ones as a result of confrontation with the West. It examines their political, economic and cultural histories and traditions, providing a model of modernization different from that of the West.

HIST 040. Colonialism in Latin America (4) Tracing the gruesome experiences of members of a Maya village at the hands of their colonizers, the film Apocalipto aptly ends at the first sighting of Spanish arrival, but not without leaving the viewer with the sense that things will never be the same again. Indeed, colonial rule would forever change the lives of Indians, Africans and Spaniards in the Americas. This course covers the history of Mesoamerica and colonial Latin America from pre-Columbian times to Independence in the 1820s. We will consider the political, economic, religious, and cultural history of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (present-day Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean) and the Viceroyalty of Peru (the Andes), with a limited discussion of Portuguese colonies. We will focus on the social relationships between the three dominant racial groups, Indigenous, African and European.

HIST 041. The Problem With Latin America (4) Since independence from Spain in the early nineteenth century Latin America has been plagued with struggles to achieve political stability, social justice, and economic development. Through an analysis of social movements, this course will focus on salient issues in the history of the independent nations of Latin America from the 1820s to the present and will emphasize the development of diverse societies and cultures. We will examine issues of state building, labor movements, inter-regional conflicts, and interethnic relations. We will use a variety of sources—films, lectures, readings, and discussions—in our attempt to understand how social movements shaped and were shaped by economic and political forces. Finally, we will study how colonial legacies, neocolonial ties and globalization have affected Latin America and its people.

HIST 050. World History I (4) A broad survey of ancient civilizations (i.e. Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Roman), social and economic structures and patterns of trade, cultural and religious traditions and intellectual contributions. Second half covers the development of medieval and early modern civilizations to the 1500s. Particular emphasis will be placed on the decline of the Roman Empire, the role and impact of Christianity and Islam, the European Expansion and global markets, and the European Scientific Revolution.

HIST 051. World History II (4) A survey of World civilization from 1500 to the present. Focuses on patterns of colonization, globalization and the impact of such forces as science and technology, consumerism, and intellectual movements on world history. Other topics include war, the impact of religious movements and the environmental impact of modernity.

Global and Transnational Courses

HIST 060. A History of Medicine (4) This course will begin by objectively examining ancient medical systems across the globe: Chinese, Ayurvedic, Native American, and will come to focus on the Greek tradition in the West. We will also discuss the transmission of medical knowledge through Arab, Jewish and medieval Christian authorities, and the impact of the discovery of the New World. The second half of the course will trace the influence of the scientific revolution and the development of modern medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries. Particular emphasis will be placed on the subfields of physiology, nutrition and herbal lore; in the second half of the course on anatomy, pathology and surgery. Biology, Premed, and Pharmacy students are encouraged to enroll, as well as nonscience majors. No prerequisites or specialized knowledge required.

HIST 061. Global History of Food (4) The scope of the course will be global, covering civilizations of Asia, America, Africa, and Europe and how cultures of these domesticated unique staples, which literally enabled these civilizations to expand and flourish. The course will cover history of the interaction of humans with food resources from earliest hunting and gathering societies to the present. The major theme of the course will be the process of globalization, imperialism and the growth of capitalist enterprise and the cost of indigenous cultures and traditional farming practices and how these processes were shaped by trade in food.

HIST 062. History of Warfare (4) Taking a global approach, this course will examine the history of warfare from ancient times through the present. It will look at how warfare was shaped, and shaped by, social, political and technological changes. After briefly looking at warfare in ancient, traditional and medieval societies, the class will turn to the era of modern war beginning in the seventeenth century. From then on, technological and social changes transformed the conduct of war in many parts of the world. The course will end with a consideration of nuclear capability and terrorism. In class assignments, students will have an opportunity to pursue their own interests on a variety of military related themes, events, or issues.

HIST 065. Women and War (4) This course takes an international approach to studying the history of women and war. Our objective will be to better understand how women’s experience during war has changed over time and differed for women in a variety of countries. We will begin by studying the mythology of women and war, connecting ancient Greek war goddess Athena with present-day Hollywood depictions of women warriors. Lectures will then focus on the theories positioning women in war history, and will proceed with a survey of women’s participation in several modern wars, comparing women’s experience in the U.S. with women in other parts of the world. Finally, the course will end with an in-depth discussion of several key themes in the histories of women and war: domestic ideology, prostitution, nursing, soldiering, war work, and protest/peace politics.

HIST 139. Borderlands (4) The relationship between Mexico and the United States has been one of conflict and codependency, constantly changing with the shifts in domestic politics and economics on each side of the border. The Mexican and U.S. communities located on or near the border frequently feel the strongest and most immediate impact of this (dis)union. The borderlands are the areas of intersection between cultures, nations, histories. The borderlands, straddling the periphery of two nations, are fundamentally different from either country. Moreover, the border and its culture have many implications that reach far beyond that region, affecting the lives of migrants, laborers, and, on a larger scale, governments and the environment. This course will take a unique approach, combining historical inquiry with analysis of contemporary issues.

Environment and Science Courses

HIST 052. John Muir’s World: Origins of the Conservation Movement (4) John Muir (1838-1914) is considered by most the “father” of the modern Conservation Movement. This course traces his life, his conservation crusades, and his global legacy. Home of the John Muir Papers, University of the Pacific’s Library will be used by all students in the course for research on an aspect of John Muir’s contributions to conservation. Field trips to the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez and to Yosemite National Park are often a part of this course.

HIST 063. History of Science and Technology (4) Almost every aspect of society, from the automobile to the Internet, from racial and class inequality to gender relations, from AIDS to global warming, includes an important scientific component and has deep historical roots. This course examines the global history of science and technology from antiquity through the present. It seeks to understand how science and technology shape human lives and how society and culture, in turn, shape the development of science and technology.

HIST 136. American Environmental History (4) Topical survey of historical roots of environmental crises in contemporary North America beginning with western concepts of natural history. Main focus: three centuries of changing American attitudes, policies and activities that lead to the rise of the Conservation Movement by the late nineteenth century. Tensions between users and preservers, and the development of an ecological school of environmentalism since the 1940s.

HIST 167. Gender in the History of Science/Medicine/Technology (4) This course introduces students to the literature on gender in the history of science, technology, and medicine. Students will learn how to use gender to analyze scientific practice and examine how it intersects with other historical categories such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and nationality. The course explores five interrelated topics: (1) The historical participation of women and men in scientific work, (2) the scientific and historical construction of sex and sexuality, (3) the influence of ideologies of gender on the methodology of science, medicine, and engineering, (4) the gendering of technologies and artifacts, (5) the relation between ideas of gender, science, and politics. Based on their increased historical understanding, students reflect upon their own gendered experiences and expectations in encountering science as students, laboratory workers, patients, and consumers. This course is open to both science and non-science majors.

Pre-Modern Europe or Classics Courses

HIST 100. Renaissance and Reformation (4) An in depth examination of the cultural, intellectual and artistic forces which shaped Europe from 1300-1600. The first half of the course focuses on Renaissance Italy, the second on the various Reformations: German, Swiss, English, Radical and Catholic.

HIST 101. Tudor and Stuart England (4) A multi-disciplinary approach to the history of England from 1485-1688 which examines the social, economic, political and religious forces which shaped this brilliant and barbaric era. Focuses on the personalities, noble and base, which have shaped English history. Traces the development of institutions (Crown Parliament, Church) and longtime trends in society and economy, intellectual and cultural history.

HIST 102. The Spanish Empire (4) Covers the late Middle Ages to the 18th century. An attempt to objectively assess the emergence of the first world empire, its triumphs and tragedies, and its motivations for conquest: glory, greed and God. Social and economic forces will be examined as well as disease, warfare, slavery and statecraft in Spanish possession throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

HIST 105. History of Ancient Greece (4) (Religious and Classical Studies Dept.)

HIST 106. History of Ancient Rome (4) (Religious and Classical Studies Dept.)

20th Century Europe Courses

HIST 111. Europe in Turmoil 1900-1945 (4) The first fifty years of the twentieth century were years of turmoil for Europe. Two world wars left the countries in ashes and devastated the political, social and political order of Europe. A communist revolution took place in Russia that shook other places in the world. The rise of Nazism in Germany led to the Holocaust. In between these enormous crises, there were years where people hoped for a new era of peace, growth and democracy. This course will examine the origins of the conflicts, the course of the events and their legacy for our societies today.

HIST 112. History of the Holocaust (4) The Holocaust remains a unique and ultimately incomprehensible event in human history. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of this dilemma, it teaches us many profound ideas that we should never forget. This course will examine the role of the perpetrators, the attitudes of the bystanders, and the reaction of the victims. We will look at the emergence of Nazism, the life and career of Adolf Hitler and his helpers, and the implementation and execution of mass murder. How did other countries respond to the Holocaust? How did survivors live with the memory of the horrific events? How do we remember the Holocaust today? The course will also analyze the portrayal of the Holocaust in popular film and media today.

HIST 113. Europe Since 1945 (4) Since the end of World War II, Europe experienced a period of peace and stability unprecedented in its history. This course will examine the emergence of Europe out of the rubble, the new postwar order, the division of Europe during the Cold War, and the political, economic and social changes in modern Europe. We will look at the building and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, life behind the Iron Curtain, the break-up of European empires and the end of colonialism. European life and societies changed dramatically with the establishment of the European Union, the students’ revolt in the 1960s and the women’s movement. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, new hopes and problems have replaced Cold War fears. We will examine these changes and look at Europe at the beginning of a new millennium.

HIST 114. Modern Germany (4) In the last one hundred years, Germany has decisively shaped the world we live in. The country’s history is framed by two unifications; Bismarck’s unification in 1871 and the reunification of Germany in 1989 after the forty yearlong Cold War split. The time between these dates was like a terrible roller coaster. Twice Germany tried to become a world leader and dominate large areas of land and people. Both times it failed but not without first bringing war and destruction to tens of millions of people. Good times included the rapid industrialization in the last decades of the nineteenth century, the “roaring twenties” in the metropolis Berlin, the miraculous economic recovery after 1945, and the euphoric atmosphere after the fall of the Berlin Wall. How can we explain these events and developments? Who are the Germans? This course addresses not only politics, but also the social and cultural movements that shaped German history.

HIST 119. History Goes To Hollywood (4) This course examines how films shape our understanding of certain historical events. It will provide students with the tools to watch films critically and to place them in the context of a broader historical time period. The films selected will cover different time periods from the ancient to the modern world and will portray a variety of national and cultural contexts.

Early North America Courses

HIST 120. Native American History (4) Taking an international interdisciplinary approach, this course will examine the history of native peoples of different regions of North America from contact to the present. This course will examine how environmental change, disease, and biological vulnerability interacted with racial ideologies, economic, and social factors to facilitate European conquest. While this course is primarily concerned with the United States, considering the whole of North America will enable students to see the similarities and differences between Indian experiences in a variety of regions.

HIST 125. Early America: From Settlement to New Nation (4) This class focuses on the period from the arrival of Europeans and Africans in British North America at the beginning of the seventeenth century through the establishment of the new United States. In a combination of lecture and seminar format, we explore the social, political, cultural, and environmental changes that occurred as the new arrivals and native peoples learned about each other. They created a new world and ultimately, formed a new nation born in blood and fire. But exactly what kind of nation that would be was something that still needed to be resolved. (ETHC)

HIST 123. Civil War Era (4) This course will begin with an analysis of events and factors leading up to the Civil War. It will then examine in depth the war years covering the development of technology, leadership, military medicine, and the social experience of war for men and women, free and slave. We shall conclude with a study of the immediate post-war years of Reconstruction across the nation.

HIST 124. History of the American West (4) A study of the causes and consequences of America’s westward expansion and settlement Spanish and French beginnings to modern times, with emphasis on the people, the myths, and the technologies that have shaped western development and culture.

United States Courses

HIST 130. History of California (4) A survey of the Golden State from its first description as a mythical island in the sixteenth century to the state’s economic and political prominence in our own times. Native American beginnings, Spanish Mission Period, Mexican California, the Gold Rush and its consequences, and Modern California from World War II to the present are emphasized. Class participants select famous “California History Makers” and present their own research with presentations on notable figures in the State’s unique history from Spanish friars and explorers to politicians, inventors, scientists, Hollywood’s most influential, and others in California’s Hall of Fame. Especially recommended for future educators, but open to all.

HIST 132. American Immigration (4) Immigration and ethnicity are pressing social concerns in contemporary America. Congress debates “reform” bills while ordinary Americans protest current policy. While immigration policy issues impress us with their urgency, they are by no means new. To fully understand where we are today, we must understand the peopling of the United States. This course focuses on immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, exploring the experiences of the diverse immigrant communities in the United States. The course explores causes of immigration; experiences within the US; effects of class, race, and gender; and issues of identity. America’s changing understandings of race and ethnicity over time are also central themes in this course.

HIST 133. Women in United States History (4) The course examines the history of women in the United States from the colonial era to the present. In addition to examining political reform, it offers insights into the day-to-day lives of diverse American women at various points in the female life cycle. The course is organized chronologically and thematically to promote the study of women in relation to major historical events and to explore women’s roles in families, communities, the nation, and the world. It examines cultural models of American womanhood, including maternal, domestic, sexual, and social models, their development and recent changes. The course uses various primary and secondary sources to evaluate both current and historical arguments regarding the status, roles, and experiences of American women.

HIST 134. African-American History (4) The course will examine the social, economic, cultural, and political history of African-Americans and the development of concepts of race and racism. We shall begin with the origins of slavery in colonial times, then on to the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Great Migration to the North and West, World War II and the civil rights era to the present day.

HIST 135. Women in Time and Place (4) In the early twenty-first century news reports have covered the first mainstream woman presidential candidate, the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Congressional “partial-birth” abortion ban, mothers protesting the war in Iraq and young women fighting there, and how women in the US still make only 77 cents for every dollar men make. This course uses historical analysis to understand several current “women’s issues,” such as reproductive rights, women’s roles in wartime, political participation, sports and body image, and work. The course considers the perspectives and experiences of women from various social and cultural groups and sets US women’s experience in an international context.

HIST 137. “His-panic” USA (4) When writer Oscar Hijuelos first set eyes on the word “Hispanic” he read it as “His-Panic,” believing that this group of people caused alarm to Anglo society. Why do Hispanics cause so much panic? Hispanics have replaced African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States. Major news sources have written about the US government’s preoccupation and concern with what “Hispanics”/Latinos do, eat, say, wear, and watch. Yet, and perhaps what is at the root of the “panic,” the “largest minority” continues to be seen as “foreign.” As a group, Hispanics represent all racial groups, while at the same time, they continue to identify with their country of origin rather than with a particular racial group, making it difficult to fit them into the United States’ system of racial categorization.

HIST 138. United States Since 1945 (4) This course focuses on the U.S. since World War II and explores how the diplomatic, economic, social, and political changes shaped American culture and society. Specifically, the course examines the origins and characteristics (both domestic and international) of the Cold War, America's expanding role as a super power, the struggles and legacies of the Civil Rights Movement, the emergence of the "culture wars," and the significance of America's increasing racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, gender, and class diversity. Moreover, the course reflects how America's past choices inform current debates such as those regarding the war on terror, immigration, and social reform. 

Asia Courses

HIST 140. Southeast Asia and the West (4) In this course, we survey the history of the “lands below the winds”—maritime and mainland southeast Asia—from their epochs of pre-modern greatness to the present. We will examine the lands of Southeast Asia as both a regional and global crossroads. Southeast Asians were connected with other civilizations through trade and religion early and consistently. Topics include the glories of Angkor and Khmer civilization, the spice trade and the world economy, and the spread of Islam. We then focus on the European and U.S. colonization of the region’s states and their subsequent independence struggles, with in-depth consideration of the Philippines, the Indo-Chinese wars and the events leading to the world’s most destructive genocide under the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.

HIST 141. Pre-Modern China to 1840 (4) For much of its history, China was the most powerful empire in the world. It had the grandest cities, the most formidable armies, the best technology and the biggest economy. At the dawn of the twenty first century, China is poised to retake its position as the world’s superpower. Will China’s rise be peaceful or violent? What lessons does history teach us about China as world hegemon? This course surveys Chinese dynastic history since its founding in 221 BC by the Qin Shihuang and ends with the last dynasty, the Qing. Topics include the dynastic cycle, the family system, noted statesmen and rebels, the treatment of women and borderlands history, including Tibet, Mongolia and the oases of Turkestan.

HIST 142. Modern Chinese History (4) China’s modern history is dramatic. Civil wars, foreign invasions, revolutions, high hopes, heroism, betrayal and bitterness marked what some called China’s century of humiliation (ca. 1842-1950). The Chinese monarchy that collapsed in 1911 was replaced with a constitutional republic that never managed to achieve the heroic modernity imagined by its fervent patriots. The People’s Republic of China sought to re-invent Chinese society from top to bottom and create a rich and powerful nation. The grimly spectacular failures to achieve this goal left many disappointed. Today, China is still run by a communist party but the newly assertive nation is now heralded by many as the next superpower. In this course, you will gain specialized knowledge of events, individuals and ideas that shaped this tumultuous period. We will focus especially on the tension between westernization and modernization.

HIST 143. Japan in War and Peace (4) In this course, you gain a broad overview of the processes, events and individuals in Japan's history since 1800, a period of terrible war and uncertain peace. The historical vulnerabilities of its Pacific Rim location - including both natural disasters and international political rivalries - have been a constant throughout its history. Although life got better for most as the country raced from its feudal past to become an industrial and military giant, the nation could not escape the geopolitical rivalries that brought total war and foreign occupation to its lands for the first time in history. Its 1946 "Peace Constitution" helped lay the foundation for Japan's global economic clout but did not extend Japan's political interests in the same way. In 2011, its natural vulnerabilities were brought into focus again by the tsunami and nuclear accident that shook the nation's confidence. The course concludes with a survey of contemporary East Asian international relations in which South Korea and China have become partners and rivals to Japan. As a seminar for History majors, the course is designed to focus especially on conceptual and theoretical consideration of the facts of Japanese history. This course satisfies the Asia requirement for History majors. This course also counts towards the Asian Studies major.

HIST 144. Contemporary China (4)  Since about 1990, China has been racing into the future: hundreds of millions of farmers have been lifted out of poverty as the country has grown to be a colossus of the world economy. Its government has a growing "hard power" reach as well as a sophisticated array of "soft power" initiatives. It is sweatshop to the world but also a leader in high-tech fields such as solar panels and mobile devices. Farmers in remote areas struggle to survive, while globe-trotting nouveau riches party the night away in chic nightclubs. This course surveys contemporary issues in China since about 1990, and focuses on the environment and poplulation issues; foreign policy and grand strategy; and society and culture at the street and village level. 

Latin America Courses

HIST 150. Women in Latin America (4) The history of Latin America is still, in many ways, the history of male leaders and heroes. This course analyzes gender as both a field of resistance and of the creation and internalization of social norms. We will explore the gendered roles of women and men in Latin America but will focus primarily on the lives of women. It will also examine the institutions and ideas that have expanded and limited their place in history and society. Through the use of art, literature, film, and religious forms, we will study the cultural attitudes that have affected Latin American women since pre-Columbian times to the present. Topics include: Indian women and the conquest of Latin America, the Virgin Mary, women and Revolution, and icons such as Eva Peron and Frida Kahlo.

HIST 151. People’s History of Mexico (4) This course surveys the history of Mexico from its origins in pre-Columbian civilizations to the present day. In the process, we examine major historical themes and developments—the society and culture of the Aztecs and Mayas, the distinctive features of the colonial empire, the eras of Independence and of Revolution, modernization and post-modernity—as experienced by or as expressions of the actions and aspirations of Mexico’s people. That is to say, this course focuses on the historical experience and struggles of Mexico’s diverse ethnic and social groups and foregrounds their roles in the development of a uniquely Mexican nation.

Recommended Course

HIST 001. Chair’s Seminar (1) This course provides freshmen with some essential skills for success in either the History or Social Science major at Pacific. Along the way, freshmen are introduced to department faculty, staff, librarians (who they will come to know and love) and their fellow students.

Required Courses

HIST 070. Historical Imagination (4) This course explores some of the ways people have thought about, represented, and used the past across time and space. It introduces students to modern historical practices and debates through examination and discussion of texts and archives that range from scholarly monographs and documents to monuments, oral traditions, and other media. This course is required for history majors and minors and recommended at the sophomore level. It is open to others interested in the historian’s craft.

HIST 160. The Capstone (Pacific History Seminar) (4) The Pacific History Seminar is the capstone experience of the history program. Students take this course the fall of their senior year or, with permission, as juniors. In this course, students write a research paper based on primary documents from our own and local libraries. The course culminates with the department’s capstone conference at which the students present their research orally and submit their final research paper. Interested and qualified students can later submit these research projects at campus and regional undergraduate research conferences and use them as writing samples for professional or graduate school applications.

Special Study Courses

These courses can satisfy the major requirement for any upper level course depending on the topic. The section number of each special study course (II – VIII) designates in which category the course can be used as a substitute. Independent study courses and internships should be arranged with professors on an individual basis.

HIST 080. Introduction to Public History and Museum Studies (4) This course is an introductory seminar in public history focusing on local and national history. Through readings, discussions, guest lectures, and museum visits, students learn about various types of public history and deepen their knowledge of historical methods. The course's experiential learning component gives students the opportunity to talk with people who do public history and try their hand at public history work. 

HIST 187. Internship (2-4) Experiential Learning Opportunity. This may not be substituted for an upper level course.

HIST 191. Independent Study (2-4) Reading Tutorial or Research Tutorial. Experiential Learning Opportunity.

HIST 093/193. Special Topics (1-4)/(4) Experiential Learning Opportunity.