HIST 100 Topics in Western Civilization
Topics and themes related to the development and impact of Western civilization upon the human community. This subject is analyzed through an intensive examination of a specific historical theme, issue or period.
Each semester members of the Department of History offer a section of History 100, a “core requirement” that all Sewanee students must complete (unless they are participating in the four-semester Humanities Program) in order to graduate. Most students take this course during the first year.
Each section of History 100 (they are lettered A, B, C, etc.) is different. The sections taught on two days (Tuesday and Thursday, or Monday and Wednesday) meet each time for 75 minutes. The sections taught on three days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) meet each time for 50 minutes.
The instructor designs the course around an historical theme or period. Regardless of topic, though, all History 100 classes are meant to deepen students’ understanding of the past and to introduce them to college-level historical methods of analysis and inquiry.
To summarize, while each section of History 100 is different, each is designed to enable students, by the end of the term,
- to understand historically significant events or processes;
- to analyze and use primary and secondary sources of historical knowledge (primary sources are documents and other materials dating from the period and place under consideration; secondary sources are the research and ideas about the past of scholars today);
- to develop a historical argument making use of those varieties of sources.
The following descriptions of the History 100 sections taught this semester are meant to give you some idea of the content and approach of the various classes. In each case, you may use the link provided to look at the section syllabus. In some instances, however, the syllabus is from a recent semester. Although that syllabus will not differ substantially from the course offered this semester, it is for information purposes only. For the purchase of required books and assignments, please rely on the syllabus distributed by the instructor. If you have any questions about a particular section, please send an email to the appropriate instructor.
Religion and Power in Pre-Modern West
History 100 A
History 100 F
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." - First Amendment to the US Constitution
Let this be done so [Christianity tolerated in the Roman Empire] so that … Divine favor … may, for all time, preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. - Edict of the Roman Emperor Constantine, 313 CE
For this course you do not need any background; what you do need is to be open to encountering and understanding a world very different from our own.
This course, like all History 100 courses, centers on a particular historical theme or problem - in this case the relationship of religion and power. Two basic assumptions and ideals of modern American culture are, of course, "separation of church and state" and freedom of religious choice. For most of the period with which we are concerned, few people would have dreamed that religion and the state could or should be separate or that religion was or should be a matter of individual choice. What, then, was the relationship of religion and the power of the state, how did it function, and where did it "fit" within the broader culture of the time - and how did all of this change over time? This is the primary set of questions we will be addressing; but further questions follow from them. First, how was power structured within religion itself - for instance in the medieval Catholic church? Second, what was the relationship of religion to structures of power embedded in society - such as relations of gender? Third, how did religions - especially medieval Christianity - deal with the "other," people of other religions or those who claimed to be Christians but strayed from orthodox doctrine?
Instructor: S. Ridyard
History 100 A: MW 2:00-3:15
History 100 F: TTh 9:30-10:45
Into the Heart of Darkness
History 100 B
How did colonialism affect indigenous populations? How did the pursuit and maintenance of empire affect the agents of empire? What was the political and cultural impact of colonialism back home? Why did European empires fall apart? This class investigates the often controversial history of European imperialism since 1800. We will explore the motivations behind the creation of European empires, learn about the technologies and tactics that made the acquisition of colonies possible, and discuss the effects of imperialism on both the colonized and the colonizer. In addition to discussing the rise of empires we will also examine their demise, all in an attempt to understand how imperialism has shaped our modern world.
Revolution and Evolution
History 100 C
This course analyzes the origins and development of the political and industrial revolutions which began to affect Europe in the late eighteenth century and addresses the issue of how Europeans responded to their impact. Hence the course title: Revolution and Evolution. In terms of chronological coverage, the course will examine the processes connected with these changes and adjustments from the eighteenth century through the post-World War II era. In terms of approach, the emphasis will be on the interplay between social, cultural, and political history.
Instructor: C. Perry
History 100 C: MWF 11:00-11:50
Consumer Culture and Discontents
History 100 D
This class will examine the development of a consumer culture from the seventeenth to the late twentieth centuries in Europe and the U.S. "Consumerism" will be used to encompass a whole constellation of changes that occurred during this period, including the shift from a mercantilistic to free market system of capitalistic exchange to the advent of mass production and innovations in methods of retailing and marketing. We will consider how political, social and cultural life in Europe and the U.S. were increasingly organized around seemingly infinite flows and accumulations of commodities, and we will analyze the impact this field had on individual behavior and value systems. We will also pay particular attention to the ways in which commodities themselves were transformed from somewhat static status symbols during the Old Regime into the principal means of constituting gendered, class, and personal identities in the modern era.
Instructor: A. Mansker
History 100 D: TTh 8:00-9:15
History 100 E
This section of History 100 is designed to engage first-year students in the enterprise of thinking, reading, talking, and writing critically about the past. There are no pre-requisites, and students do not need an intensive or extensive background in the history of the United States, Europe, or North America in order to do well in the course. The course explores a number of contentious issues, debates, and problems in the history of North America, organized around the idea of "discovery," a problematic theme that has been so prevalent in hundreds of years of conflict over the meaning of the American nation, landscape, and of the character of the curious people who have inhabited it. The focus on reading and class discussion enables students to work closely with the instructor, to develop ideas about how to make sense of American history, and to exchange those ideas with fellow students. Throughout the course we will analyze and evaluate the theme of “discovery” across a broad sweep of time and from diverse and conflicting perspectives that enable us to think about broader topics — nationhood, race, science, nature, and the character of historical change. We will also examine different historical sources: art, fiction, film, maps, music, popular entertainment, travel writing, environmental studies, as well as the works of leading historians.
Instructor: W. Register
History 100 E: TTh 9:30-10:45
Women in Social and Political Movements
History 100 G
In this course we will be examining women's participation in a number of social and political movements throughout the world since the late eighteenth century. The course has two major goals. First, to render visible women's historical participation and contributions to a variety of political and social movements. And second, to understand how gender (the set of beliefs each culture has regarding male and female difference) has affected women's participation in these movements. To this end, we will be asking several questions including the following: Is women's participation in social and political movements different from men's, and, if so, how and why? What types of arguments have women used to justify their involvement in various causes and to what degree do these arguments rest on the experience of women as women (that is, as wives, mothers, caregivers)? Are these arguments ultimately effective or limiting to women? Does women's experience as women affect the types of political or social issues they embrace or their methods of achieving change?
Instructor: J. Berebitsky
History 100 G: TTh 1:30-2:45
Diasporas in Global Context
History 100 H
This course investigates groups whose lives have been shaped by their diasporic histories. Major diasporic groups -- Jews, Africans, and the Roma/Sinti -- as well as others who have been forcibly displaced from their original settlement areas will be examined to understand the social, cultural, and economic contexts of their relocations. As in other History 100 sections, students will be introduced to key primary source texts and mentored in the fundamentals of historical research and writing.
Instructor: D. Meola
History 100 H: MWF 1:00-1:50
Topics in Western Civilization
Topics and themes related to the development and impact of Western civilization upon the human community. This subject is analyzed through an intensive examination of a specific historical theme, issue, or period.
(Credit, full course.) Staff