Department of History

History Department Faculty (Fall 2015)

Welcome History Majors!

As usual, the UNCW history department will be an active place during the 2022-2023 academic year. We'll be offering many new classes, leading great public discussions, publishing new materials, and offering lots of opportunities for you to learn more about history.

Class Updates for Fall and Summer 2022 Semesters


Fall and Summer 2022 advising memo

  • HST 290 satisfies Information Literacy, Writing Intensive, and Explorations Beyond the Classroom University Studies Requirments:  
    • HST 290 – Practice of History: Sport and Social Justice (Harris)
      • In an attempt to better understand the origins, development, structure, and progression of racial social movements and the practice of Sport, this seminar course, Sport and Social Justice, analyzes the cultural politics and ideology of particular debates to comprehend the role these debates played in shaping arguments over the connection between sport and social justice in American society. 

        The debates in this class offer a lens on how different voices and viewpoints have shaped public opinion in modern American history. The course is not intended to be a complete or linear history of all the complexities that encompass the black athlete. Rather, it serves as a cultivated historical disclosure of some of the consequential facets-scientific, political, social, intellectual, cultural—that surround that figure. It is not a complete history of sport in any way, nor does it claim to encompass every moment when the black athlete has figured prominently in racial and national identity formations. Rather, it explores some of the most critical and compelling moments in the creation of popular representations of the black athlete, primarily spotlighting the amazing confluence of concerns that surrounded the black power protest of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968.

      • HST 290 – The Importance of the Past (Shefsiek)

        • When we study history, we often assume that the primary goal is to research what happened in the past and analyze why the past unfolded as it did. While that is certainly one of the goals, we also explore the past because it is our past, both individual and shared, that forms the core of our identity, our politics, and our lived experience in our communities. In this class, students will have the opportunity to reflect upon how the past plays a part in their lives, as individuals, families, and identity groups. We will explore how, when, and where Americans remember their pasts, sometimes to promote consensus and continuity and sometimes in the hopes of charting a radically different future. 
  • Classes of interest

    • HST 111 – History of Science I: Antiquity to the Science Revolution (Crowe)
      • History of science from antiquity (ancient Babylon and Greece) to the 17th century. Topics include the rise of natural philosophy in Greece, medieval universities, Copernicus and the 16th century revolution in astronomy, Renaissance medicine and anatomy, and Isaac Newton’s mathematical study of gravitation.
    • HST 113 – Jewish History to 1492 (Tanny)
      • Survey of Jewish from antiquity to 1494, with particular attention to the Jewish encounter with the Roman, Islamic, and European civilizations. 
    • HST 119 – History of Medicine (Johnson)
      • Survey of the history of medicine that covers the major intellectual, social, and cultural contexts foundational for our modern understanding of health and health care.
    • HST 120 - Medical Humanities (Crowe)
      • Introduction to the various disciplines, methods, and perspectives of medical and health humanities.
    • HST 260 - African-American History (Jones)
      • Survey of the major themes and events in the history of African-Americans from the colonial period to the present. 
    • HST 270 – Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust (Tanny)
      • Anti-has often been called “the longest hatred.” Seemingly irrational hostility toward the Jewish people can be traced from Antiquity to the twenty-first century, with the Holocaust, the Nazi sponsored systematic genocide of the Jews, standing out as the most cataclysmic series of event in this traumatic history. Although our main focus will be on the period from 1933 to 1945, covering Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, through the Nazi conquest of Europe, and the subsequent segregation, dehumanization, and murder of the Jews, we will situate Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in the larger historical context of anti-Semitism. We will examine the Judeophobia of the Middle Ages which culminated in the massacres of the Crusades and the Inquisition, the racialization of “the Jew” in modern European politics, and the astonishing revival of Jew-hatred in present day America.
    • HST 270 – Warfare in World History (McFarland)
      • Warfare in World History seeks to help students understand the force of war by surveying war from the ancient world until today. Warfare will be used as a lens to study the interpretive methodologies used in history, encourage thinking, enhance global awareness, and develop a foundational knowledge of warfare in history, This course will examine how societies have waged war, how they have responded to war, and how war has influenced those societies. Its central theme will be the social, societal impact of warfare, both for the victors and the defeated. 
    • HST 271 – Incarceration Nation: Imprisonment in America 1776-1900 (Zombek)
      • This course traces the history of punishment from labor on the public works to the development of long-term incarceration as punishment in American history from the Revolutionary War to 1900, shortly after Plessy v. Fergusson (1896) legalized segregation in the South. It examines the influence of European theories of punishment on the development of American imprisonment, analyzes how military discipline shaped civilian punishment and the penitentiary program in the nineteenth century, and explores how emancipation inspired convict leasing during and after Reconstruction.
    • HST 315 - History of Modern Ireland (Townend)
      • A survey of the history of Ireland from the end of the Elizabethan wars and the establishment of the Ulster plantation through the divergent twentieth-century experience of the Republic and Northern Ireland. 
    • HST 323 - History of Germany 1890-Present (Spaulding)
      • Germany from the end of Bismarck’s chancellorship to the present. Topics include World War I, German Expressionism, the failure of Weimar democracy, the rise of the Nazis, defeat and division, rebuilding in East and West, the collapse of communism, and reunification. 
    • HST 332 - American Environmental History (Hart)
      • The significance of the environment in American history from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis on the relationship between the natural environment of North America and the development of American culture and society, as well as changing attitudes toward the natural environment. 
    • HST 353 - The American Revolution and the Formation of the United States (Houpt)
      • Organization of the British Empire, events preceding the Revolution, the war for independence, Confederation era, dating and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, politics of the new nation. 
    • HST 377 - Heirs of Rome: Byzantium, Medieval Europe, and the Islamic Caliphate (Ellithorpe)
      • Beginning with an in-depth exploration of the causes and immediate consequences of the 'fall' of the Roman West in AD 476, we will assess not only the conclusion of the Roman Empire but also the struggled rise of various barbarian states in Rome's wake coupled with the transformative developments of the surviving eastern portion of Rome (then called the Byzantine Empire) which would survive nearly another thousand years. We will trace through the complicated relationship and ever-deepening divide between these two halves as the Medieval age progresses, which sees sophisticated and powerful kingdoms emerge and intertwine with a politicized papacy in the west while internal divisions and strife threaten the socio-political fabric of Byzantium in the east as the new rising power of the Islamic Caliphate explodes out of Arabia threatening the whole of the Mediterranean and Europe. The interplay of these three major theaters and the dynamic individuals steering diplomacy, statecraft, and warfare will be considered alongside their contributions to literature, science, and the arts as well as the varied theological and cultural interpretations of and internal sectarianism within the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), whose prejudices were only deeply exacerbated during the Medieval period. Thus, critical exploration of the numerous Crusades will encompass a significant portion of the closing weeks. Throughout, students will be expected to read widely, think analytically, and communicate their own interpretations of primary source material in a clear and cogent manner both in their writing as well in class discussion. We will seek to address a considerable range of questions, issues, and academic debates prevalent in scholarship of the Medieval world broadly concerned. No prior knowledge of the Greco-Roman world, Medieval Europe, Byzantium, or the Islamic world is required.
    • HST 382 - History of Modern Middle East (Pollard)
      • An examination of the major developments in the history of the Modern Middle East. 
    • HST 395 - Classical Athens (Pilkington)
      • An intensive study of recent developments in Athenian history during the 5th century BCE. 

HST 400s satisfy Capstone Course and Writing Intensive requirements:

  • HST 418 – The Resurrection of Slavery in Europe (Seidman)
    • This research seminar will examine work, forced labor, and slavery during the Armenian genocide, Italian Fascism, Soviet Communism, German Nazism, Spanish Civil War, Vichy France, World War II, and the Holocaust.
  • HST 440 – Social and Economic Change in the Lower Cape Fear Since WWII (Saunders)
    • The Lower Cape Fear Region presents an interesting case study of a different kind of so-called New South – one focused on tourism, international shipping, federal spending on nuclear energy and the military, and regional higher education. At the same time, the region continues to reckon with ecological instability and its long history of racial violence. This class will explore all of these aspects of the Lower Cape Fear by facilitating practice in historical methods through deep interaction with primary sources housed at the Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History.
  • HST 495 – The Global Spanish Empire (Mehl)
    • In early modern times, people lived an existence that was much more global than we are used to think. In the empire “on which the sun never sets,” Spanish authorities ruled over approximately 12 million square miles of which 50,000 were coastal territory. Oceanic imperial lines of communication stretched for 3,000 miles from Spain to the western shores of the Atlantic Ocean and about 10,000 miles in Pacific waters from Mexico to the remote colonial outpost of Manila in the Philippines. Within the confines of this empire, soldiers, royal officials, missionaries, merchants, convicts, and private individuals travelled back and forth along intercontinental and transoceanic communication and trade routes. In the middle of the 15th century, the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula were in disarray, ripped by civil and foreign wars. Less than a century later, Spain was a worldwide power whose possessions connected the Iberian Peninsula to the Spanish colonies in the Americas, the Philippines, and even China. This seminar will focus on the global nature of imperial Spain as a network for the circulation of ideas, products, wealth, peoples, religion, and cultural and scientific knowledge. Readings will put forward, among others, topics such as relationships among Christians, Muslims and Jews; exploration, conquest, colonization, and cultural encounters in the Americas and Asia; development of a transoceanic economy and global trade; the establishment of repressive religious practices and institutions; and the intersection of science, nature, commerce and empire in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds.
  •  HST 495 – Propaganda from Imperial Rome to Nazi Germany (Ellithorpe)
    • Propaganda might be loosely defined as information purposefully designed and intended to persuade or convince its audience. As a form of communication which aims to influence the attitude of a target community towards a particular cause or position it might seek to slowly reinforce existing audience attitude through diffuse and subtle techniques or seek to change audience attitudes severely and rapidly through blatant, aggressive, and often subversive means. This course considers propaganda not only from a sociological and psychological approach to understand how and why it succeeds but will also explore the various means by which states or authorities managed, controlled, and manipulated information, self-representation, and collective ideology(-ies) in attempts to persuade a target audience. This five-part course will explore the use of propaganda for (1) Imperial Rome; (2) Early Medieval Europe; (3) The Church and the Crusades; (4) European Imperialism and Colonialism; (5) Nazi Germany. 
  • HST 497 - Transformation of China Since WWII (Chen)
    • Examination of three important questions concerning the most populous country since WWII: what went fundamentally wrong with Mao’s China, why China succeeded tremendously in its post-Mao reform, and how the rising China has profoundly changed its own society and the world. Students are expected to actively engage in classroom discussions and to write three medium-sized essays accordingly.

Faculty and Staff Updates