Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Courses Offered

A list of regularly offered courses follows. The indication of when a course will be offered is based on the best projection of the department and can be subject to change.

Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement; (W) Writing requirement; (WH) departmental World History requirement.


Courses in this group are open to all students. 

113. The History of Ancient Greece. (S) (E) (PM)

Ancient Greece from the Bronze Age to the death of Alexander the Great in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern context. Students are also introduced to the problems and methods of historical inquiry. Same as CLS 113. Castor, Thorn

114. The History of Ancient Rome. (S) (E) (PM)

The transformation from the Republic to Principate and the collapse of the empire are explored. Students are also introduced to the problems and methods of historical inquiry. Same as CLS 114. Castor

215. The Middle Ages. (S) (E) (PM)

The history of western Europe from the decline of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the 16th century. Emphasizes traditional themes such as monasticism, the development of feudal relations, and the conflict between church and state as well as other topics, including popular religion, the impact of disease, and the life of the peasantry. McRee

217. Early Modern Europe. (S) (E) (PM)

First traces the development of Renaissance ideas and political institutions, followed by a consideration of the religious and social changes in western Europe down to 1648. Topics explored include Renaissance humanism, the growth of monarchical power, and the Protestant Reformation. McRee

221. Revolution and Reform: Europe in the 19th Century. (S) (E) 

Covers the development of centralized states, the Enlightenment, the French and industrial revolutions, nationalism, Liberalism, socialism, the emergence of gendered spheres, modern racism, and the dynamics of imperial conquest. Bischof

222. Revolution, Dictatorship, and Death: Europe in the 20h Century. (S) (E) 

Covers gender roles across the century, communism, fascism, the two world wars, the Holocaust, decolonization, the Cold War, 1968, European unity, and the revolutions of 1989. Bischof

225. Imperial Russian History. (S) (E) (PM)

Examines Russian history from Muscovite period through early 20th century, emphasizing interaction of state and society and how social, political, economic, and cultural events influenced tsarist policies, imperial expansion, and efforts to reform and revolutionize Russian life. Schrader

226. Russia in Revolution from Lenin to Putin. (S) (E) 

Covers major historical developments in Russia and the Soviet Union from revolutionary era of 1905 to the present. Traces evolution of new political, social, and cultural identities and re-formulation and dismantling of old ones during the Soviet era and beyond. Schrader

227. History of the Islamic World to the 18th Century. (NW) (S) (WH) (PM) 

Examines the history of the Islamic world from the rise of Islam through the early modern period (circa 1800 CE), with a focus on the emergence and evolution of Muslim institutions, the material culture of Muslim societies, and the major political and social changes that have shaped the Islamic world. Yousef

228. The Making of the Modern Middle East. (NW) (S) (WH) 

Introduction to the history of the Middle East (including Iran and Turkey) from the late 18th century to the present. Focuses on colonialism, the rise of nationalism, and the major ideologies that have mobilized communities across the region. Yousef

231. History of Colonial Latin America: from Contact to Revolution (NW) (S) (WH) (PM) 

Survey of Latin America from pre-Conquest times to the present. Begins with historical backgrounds of indigenous societies as well as Spain, Portugal, and Africa before 1492, followed by an examination of the conquest and colonial period through independence. The course focuses on the contributions of these major cultural groups in the formation of colonial Latin American society and culture. Shelton

232. Latin America and Its People: Revolution and Modernity (NW) (S) (WH)

Focuses on comparative history and political economy, U.S.-Latin American relations, and cultural forces. The course introduces students to the major trends, problems and forces that have shaped current-day Latin American societies since the late colonial period. A focus on case studies is complemented by an examination of broad patterns of change in Latin America as a whole. Shelton

236. U.S. Empire. (S) (U) 

Historical introduction to major themes and topics in United States international engagement from mid-19th century through the mid-20th century. Topics may include: North American empire, imperial ambitions in the Caribbean and Philippines, Wilsonianism, east Asian confrontations, international institutions, and ideological confrontations. Same as AMS 236. Stevenson

237. American History, 1491–1865. (S) (U)

Traces development of North America from the European encounter with the continent in 1490s to end of American Civil War. Examines colonization and its impact on the region’s indigenous peoples; the evolution of free and unfree labor systems; the causes, events and consequences of the American Revolution; and the continental expansion of the New Republic. Concludes by examining political and cultural tensions between north and south, the rise of the Abolition movement, the Civil War, the revolution of Emancipation, and the first years of Reconstruction. Pearson

238. The United States and the Modern World. (S) (U) 

Traces the evolution of the United States since the Civil War, as an urban, industrial society marked by deep racial and ethnic cleavages. Besides studying movements and legal struggles for equality, it examines America’s role in the world, from intervention in Latin America through two world wars, the Cold War, and Vietnam. Students can expect to use primary documents and engage in debates. Marchiel

241. History of North and West Africa. (NW) (S) (WH)

Introduction to major themes in the history of North and West Africa from ancient Egypt through the present crisis in Sudan. Emphasis falls on West African political and social formations, domestic and trans-Atlantic slave systems, notions of identity, the role of Islam, and the rise and fall of colonialism. Students use primary sources to explore historical problems. Same as AFS 241. Anthony

242. History of East and Southern Africa. (NW) (S) (WH) 

Introduction to major themes in the history of East, Central, and Southern Africa from the Bantu migration through the Rwandan genocide. Emphasis falls on social, political, and religious change in pre-colonial Africa and resistance to slavery and colonialism. Students use primary sources to explore historical problems. Final unit explores the legacy of colonialism in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Same as AFS 242. Anthony

249. Africa and the Black World: Concepts and Context. (NW) (S)

Explores the emergency of continental (“African”) and racial (“Black”) identities with particular emphasis on the roles of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the rise of racial thought in Europe and the Americas, and the impact of European imperialism. Same as AFS 249. Anthony

251. Premodern East Asian History. (NW) (S) (WH) (PM)

Historical introduction to various cultures of East Asia, from ancient archeological records to early 17th century with geographical focus on the region encompassing present-day China, Korea, and Japan. Provides students with basic literacy in key developments in East Asian history and encourages students to critically assess this history through the themes of culture and progress. No prior background on East Asia is required. Reitan

252. Modern East Asian History. (NW) (S) (WH) 

Provides an introduction to the cultures of East Asia (China, Japan, and to a lesser extent, Korea) from the 17th century to the present through themes of identity, change, and conflict. Throughout, we will focus our attention not only on diplomatic events and on the thought and actions of elite or dominant groups, but also on those marginalized on the basis of race, class, religion, gender, and so forth. Reitan

253. Premodern Jewish History: Jews of East and West through the Middle Ages. (NW) (S) (PM) (WH)

Introduction to Jewish history, beginning with first centuries of the Common Era and continuing to end of 17th century. Examines central themes and patterns in Jewish history with focus on the development of major Jewish communities in Christian Europe and the Arab/Muslim world. Course looks at relationships between Jewish and non-Jewish cultures and communities during this time. Same as JST/RST 253. Hoffman

254. Jews in the Modern World. (S) (E)

Introduction to the modern era from late 18th century Emancipation and Enlightenment through the mid-20th century, tracing the transformations of Jewish life. Broad historical sketches are combined with close readings of particular texts, movements, and thinkers to flesh out the contours and dynamics of the Jewish experience in the Modern world. Major events of Jewish history of 20th century (the Holocaust, foundation of the State of Israel, and mass migration of European Jews to the Americas) are examined through secondary and primary sources. Same as JST/RST 254. Hoffman


Courses in this group are open to all students, but intended more for those who have taken a previous History course. 

310. American Masculinities. (S) (U)

Explores the importance of masculinity and its various constructions in American history and the contemporary period. We begin by examining the theoretical and historical foundations of American masculinities. We will focus on key ways in which men (and women) sustain and recreate masculinities. Topics include manhood and the workplace, politics, sports, courtship, fatherhood, military, immigration and ethnicity, crime and prisons, and religion. Same as AMS/WGS 310. Deslippe

311. History of Medicine. (S) (U) (NSP) 

The history of medicine with particular attention to American medicine. The relationship between medicine and society is studied in its historical context. We look in detail at some trends in modern medicine and the current debate over national health care policy in light of the history of medicine. Same as STS 311. Strick

315. The End of the Middle Ages. (S) (E) (PM) 

During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries western Europeans experienced a series of calamities: overpopulation and food shortages, protracted military struggles, and, most notably, the Black Death. Europeans also witnessed new challenges to papal authority, religious orthodoxy, and established patterns of intellectual discourse. In this course we will examine those developments, the ways in which people of the time responded to them, and the impact they had on European society, economy, politics, and culture. McRee

316. Tudor-Stuart England. (S) (E) (PM) 

English history from the coming of the Tudors in 1485 to the “Glorious Revolution” 1688–89. Particular attention will be devoted to the religious reformations of the 16th century, the civil war and political upheavals of the 17th century, and the effects that both developments had on the lives of English men and women. McRee

320. Women in American Society and Politics since 1890. (S) (U)

An interdisciplinary study of the various ways women have participated in American society and politics. Topics include the suffrage movement, modern modes of political participation, and the New Deal and World War II. Critical analysis of the meaning of feminism and special attention to the post-1945 period. Same as AMS/WGS 320. Stevenson

325. Jewish Culture in Eastern Europe. (S) (E)

Focuses on the Jews of Eastern Europe from the end of the Middle Ages through the Holocaust; looks at variety of cultural forms and expressions they have created. From tradition to modernity, Shtetl to Socialism, religious scholarship to secular literature, examines the rich cultural life of East European Jews in all its myriad manifestations. Specific emphasis on transformations in the culture of Yiddish-speaking Jews in Poland and Russia. Same as JST 325. Hoffman

326. Jewish Views of Jesus. (S) (E)

Explores the ways in which Jews have related to and represented the figure of Jesus, using Jewish texts from the birth of Christianity to the present day. Beginning with the Talmud, examines numerous Jewish sources (including literature and art) and looks at a number of historical periods and the different religious, social, and intellectual developments that influenced Jewish perceptions and portrayals of Jesus. Same as JST/RST 326. Hoffman

327. Cinema and the American Jewish Experience. (S) (U)

Explores representations of American Jewish life, culture, and religion in cinema. Using a historical perspective, it analyzes the different ways in which Jewish identity and culture have been represented in American film. Looks at history of Jews in the United States, Jewish involvement in the film industry, and anti-Semitism. Films are viewed weekly, including feature films and several documentaries, in class and in an extra viewing session. Same as AMS/JST/RST 327. Hoffman

330. Ethnic America. (S)

Explores the meaning and significance of ethnicity in America by examining the historical and contemporary experiences of immigrants and their children. The heart of the course is class discussion of readings, films, and primary documents. We will augment these with group work, lectures, and short documentary and feature film clips. In addition to completing weekly short reading response papers and submitting a take-home final examination, students will submit a “film fest” essay on three feature films that address ethnicity and a “lecture proposal” project in which they will propose a new topic to be included in a future offering of “Ethnic America.” Same as AMS 330. Deslippe

333. African American History. (S) (U) 

An advanced course tracing the progress of African Americans from slavery to freedom, beginning in the larger Atlantic world of the 17th and 18th centuries, and continuing through the American Revolution, the battle against slavery culminating in the Civil War, and the struggle for black citizenship between the Reconstruction of 1865–1877 and the “long civil rights movement” of the 20th century. Same as AFS 333. Gosse

334. The American South: Slavery, Secession and War, 18001865. (S) (U) 

Traces the antebellum south and the emergence of a distinct southern identity and consciousness by examining the following topics: slavery (from the perspective of both masters and slaves), the dispossession of the Native Americans, westward expansion and territorial ambitions in Central America and the Caribbean, politics at the national and state level, and the growth of the region’s intellectual life. Pearson

339. Civil War and Reconstruction. (S) (U)

Interdisciplinary course asks students to investigate the causes, events, and results of the American Civil War and its enduring impact on American life. The class usually takes one all-day trip to battlefields. No prerequisite, although some background in 19th-century history is helpful. Same as AMS 339. Stevenson

345. America since 1945. (S) (U) 

Consideration of questions: How did the long Cold War shape American culture? How do we define “the Sixties”? What are the effects of the continuing revolution in consumption? Why have race and ethnicity continued to dominate political discourse? Was there a “sexual revolution”? Have the past 30 years constituted a “post-Vietnam” America? Has there been a conservative realignment? What happened to the middle class and who is working class now? Course presumes familiarity with the basic history of America during the Cold War, 1945–89. Marchiel

349. Modern South Africa. (NW) (S) (WH)

With an emphasis on the 20th century, this course explores the emergence of South Africa’s multi-racial society. Major themes include African state systems, European immigration and conquest, Africans’ individual and collective responses to white supremacy, and changing gender roles. Students use historical documents, film, and fiction in addition to secondary readings. Participation is an important component of course grade. Same as AFS 349. Anthony

352. From the Margins of Japanese History. (S) (WH)

The purpose of this course is to re-think Japanese history by engaging with the writings, images, and actions of those on the intellectual fringes of society: eccentrics, rebels, prostitutes, heretics, fools, outcasts, fanatics, women, and others. We will ask: Where are the “margins” of a society? How do members of “mainstream” society represent those on the margins? How do those on the margins resist, re-direct, or internalize these representations? Finally, what significance do these questions have for us in the present? Reitan

353. China in the Western Imagination. (S) (WH) (NW)

This course deals with how “Western” travelers, philosophers, and others from the 13th century to the present have imagined China. Why study an “imagined” China? Why not study the “real thing”? Is it possible to present an objective account of the “real” China or are all narratives of China colored by the author’s own cultural context? We will address these questions through the works of Marco Polo, Voltaire, Hegel, Calvino, Kafka and others. Familiarity with Chinese history is recommended but not required. Reitan

354. Imperialism and Revolution in Modern China. (S) (NW) (WH)

Provides an introduction to the modern history of China from the final years of Qianlong’s reign at the close of the 18th century to the People’s Republic today. Through themes of control and dissent, we address China’s struggle against imperialist aggression during the 19th century; revolution and domestic change within China; the emergence of nationalist control under the Guomindang; the victory of communist forces in 1949; and the many domestic and international pressures facing the People’s Republic today. Reitan

355. Modern Germany. (S) (E)

Focuses on continuities and ruptures in German society during the Second Empire, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism, the competing Republics, and the (unified) Federal Republic of Germany. Major questions include German industrial and state formation; gender, class and religious identities; the impact of total war; economic and political crisis; the roots of dictatorship and democracy; the organization of genocide; and European unity. Mitchell

360. History Workshop: Methods and Practice. 

Trains students in the methodology and practice of history, in preparation for seminar research and reading and the scholarly practice of history. The two principal objectives of the History Workshop are “historiographical literacy” (a reasonably comprehensive grasp of historical approaches, methodologies, and schools of analysis) and learning the “mechanics of doing history” (how to research and write history, including ethical and practical issues of archival work, library and web use, the mechanics of citation, and more). Classes center on critical analysis of readings, textual interpretation of primary documents, and library activities. Open to all students, but priority is granted to majors and minors. Should be taken no earlier than spring of the sophomore year and no later than fall of the senior year. Pearson, Reitan, Schrader

385. The Darwinian Revolution. (S) (E) (NSP)

This seminar course draws on historical and scientific work to analyze the roots of Darwinian thinking in economics, social policy toward the poor, religious thought, politics, and the sciences in which Darwin was trained. In individual research projects, students assess the ways in which “Darwinism” was applied for social, political, economic, and theological purposes, as well as scientific ones. This course provides the historical background necessary for understanding Darwinian biology and the present-day Creation/evolution conflict. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor required for first-year students to enroll. Same as STS 385. Strick

391. Directed Readings.

Tutorial. Topics adapted to the knowledge and interests of the individual student. Admission by consent of the instructor. 


HIS 360 is a prerequisite or corequisite for seminar enrollment. Some seminars have other prerequisites (see relevant department listings). History seminars are open to all students, although majors, minors, seniors, and juniors have priority when enrolling.

400. Selected Studies in Medieval History. (S) (E) (PM)

Readings and research on selected topics in medieval social and political history. Recent seminars include “Plague, Famine, War and the End of the Middle Ages,” “Medieval Urban Life,” and “Heretics, Saints and Sinners.” McRee

403. Selected Studies in Modern European History. (S) (E)

Readings and research in selected aspects of the political, social, and cultural history of Modern Europe. Recent seminars include “Race in Modern Europe,” “Social Discipline and Social Deviance: The Construction of Modern European Subjectivity,” “The French Revolution,” “The Politics of Memory,” “Human Rights and Civil Rights,” and “Urban History.” Schrader, Mitchell

405. Selected Studies in Jewish History. (S) (E) 

Readings and research on various topics, periods, and problems of Jewish history. Seminar topics include “Approaches to Jewish History.” Same as JST 405. Hoffman

407. Selected Studies in Latin American History. (NW) (S) (WH)

Readings and research in problems in the political, economic, social, and cultural history of Latin America. Shelton

408, 420. Selected Topics in the Cultural and Intellectual History of the United States. (S) (U) 

Recent topics include: “Lincoln” and “During Wartime.” Same as AMS 420. Stevenson

409, 410, 411. Selected Studies in the Social and Political History of North America. (S) (U)

Readings and research in the social and political history of North America. Recent seminars include “The American South,” “Colonial America,” “The American Revolution,” “The Atlantic World,” “Colonies, Conquests and Empires in the New World,” “The Radical Tradition in Pennsylvania,” “Black Politics and Black Power,” and “Local History.” Gosse, Pearson

421. Selected Studies in Greek History. (S) (E)

A close examination of a particular period, place, or individual in ancient Greek history. Seminar topics include “Alexander the Great” and “Archaic Greece.” Prerequisite: CLS/HIS 113. Same as CLS 421. Castor

422. Selected Studies in Roman History. (S)

A close examination of a particular period, place, or individual in ancient Roman history. Seminar topics include “Imperial Women: Power Behind the Throne,” “The Rise of Rome,” and “The Roman Empire.” Prerequisite: CLS/HIS 114. Same as CLS 422. Castor

430. Selected Studies in African History. (NW) (S) (WH)

Readings and research in selected topics of the political, social, and cultural history of Africa. See relevant departmental offerings for prerequisites. Recent topics include “Slavery in Africa.” Same as AFS 430. Anthony 

450. Selected Studies in East Asian History. (NW) (S) (WH)

Readings and research in selected topics of the social, political, and cultural history of East Asia. Recent seminars include “Women and Gender in Chinese History” and “Memories of Empire.” Reitan

460. Selected Studies in the History of the Islamic World. (NW) (S) (WH)

Readings and research in selected topics of the political, social and cultural history of the Islamic world. Seminar topics include “Knowledge and Power in Muslim Societies” and “Sexuality and the Middle East.” Yousef

490. Independent Study.

Independent study directed by members of the History staff. Permission of chairperson required. 


World War I and the U.S.

U.S. – Mexico Borderlands.

European Empires.

American Consumer 1880s-present.

Modern Britain.

Wall Street and Its Critics.