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History

Hum/H 1. American History. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

Hum/H 2. Baseball and American Culture, 1840 to the Present. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities.

Hum/H 5. The History of the Chinese Empire. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities.

Hum/H 8 a. Civilization, Science, and Archaeology: Before Greece: The Origins of Civilization in Mesopotamia. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

Hum/H 8 b. Civilization, Science, and Archaeology: The Development of Science from Babylon through the Renaissance. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

Hum/H 8 c. Civilization, Science, and Archaeology: The Nature of Religious Beliefs in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Israel and the Nature of Religious Belief. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

Hum/H 9 a. European Civilization: The Classical and Medieval Worlds. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

Hum/H 9 b. European Civilization: Early Modern Europe. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

Hum/H 9 c. European Civilization: Modern Europe. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

Hum/H 10. Medieval Europe: The Problem of Violence. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities.

Hum/H 15. Early Modern Environmental History. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities.

Hum/H 16. Introduction to North American Environmental History. 9 units (3-0-6); offered by announcement. For course description, see Humanities.

Hum/H/HPS 18. Introduction to the History of Science. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Humanities. 

H 60. Reading in History. Units to be determined for the individual by the division; any term. Reading in history and related subjects, done either in connection with the regular courses or independently, but under the direction of members of the department. A brief written report will usually be required. Graded pass/fail. Not available for credit toward humanities-social science requirement.

E/H/Art 89. New Media Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Engineering.

H 98. Reading in History. 9 units (1-0-8). Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. An individual program of directed reading in history, in areas not covered by regular courses. Instructor: Staff. 

H 99 abc. Research Tutorial. 9 units (1-0-8). Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. Students will work with the instructor in the preparation of a research paper, which will form the basis of an oral examination. Instructor: Staff. 

H 108 a.  The Early Middle Ages. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course is designed to introduce students to the formative period of Western medieval history, roughly from the fourth through the tenth centuries. It will emphasize the development of a new civilization from the fusion of Roman, Germanic, and Christian traditions, with a focus on the Frankish world. The course focuses on the reading, analysis, and discussion of primary sources. Instructor: Brown. 

H 108 b. The High Middle Ages. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. This course is designed to introduce students to European history between 1000 and 1400. It will provide a topical as well as chronological examination of the economic, social, political, and religious evolution of western Europe during this period, with a focus on France, Italy, England, and Germany. The course emphasizes the reading, analysis, and discussion of primary sources. Instructor: Brown.

H 109. Medieval Knighthood. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course tells the story of the knight from his beginnings in the early Middle Ages, through his zenith in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, to his decline and transformation in the late medieval and early modern periods. The course treats the knight not simply as a military phenomenon but also as a social, political, religious, and cultural figure who personified many of the elements that set the Middle Ages apart. Not offered 2017–18.

H 111. The Medieval Church. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course takes students through the history of the medieval Christian Church in Europe, from its roots in Roman Palestine, through the zenith of its power in the high Middle Ages, to its decline on the eve of the Reformation. The course focuses on the church less as a religion (although it will by necessity deal with some basic theology) than as an institution that came to have an enormous political, social, cultural, and economic impact on medieval life, and for a brief time made Rome once more the mistress of Europe. Not offered 2017–18.

H 112. The Vikings. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. This course will take on the Scandinavian seafaring warriors of the 8th–11th centuries as a historical problem. What were the Vikings, where did they come from, and how they did they differ from the Scandinavian and north German pirates and raiders who preceded them? Were they really the horned-helmeted, bloodthirsty barbarians depicted by modern popular media and by many medieval chronicles? What effect did they have in their roughly two centuries of raiding and colonization on the civilizations of medieval and ultimately modern Europe? Not offered 2017–18.

H 115 abc. British History. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second, third terms. The political and cultural development of Great Britain from the early modern period to the twentieth century. H 115 a covers the Reformation and the making of a Protestant state (1500–1700). H 115 b examines the Enlightenment and British responses to revolutions in France and America (1700–1830). H 115 c is devoted to the Victorian and Edwardian eras (1830–1918). H 115 a is not a prerequisite for H 115 b; neither it nor H 115 b is a prerequisite for H 115 c. Not offered 2017–18. 

H 119. Early American Rebellions and Revolutions, 1607-1800. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course explores incidents of rebellion, revolt, resistance, and revolution on the North American continent between the first Anglo-Powhatan War in colonial Virginia to the election of Thomas Jefferson to the presidency in 1800. We will cover slave conspiracies, witch trials, religious struggles, impressment riots, Native uprisings, imperial wars, American independence, agrarian protest, and various manifestations of political opposition, organization, and violence. We will also critically interrogate the “naming” of these various forms of resistance and modes of conflict. Not offered 2017–18.

H 120. American History: The Long Nineteenth Century. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. This course examines the history of the “long” nineteenth century in the United States. We will begin with the formation of the republic in the aftermath of the American Revolution and end in the Progressive Era. Particular emphasis will be placed on political and social history. Topics include: the formation and destruction of political party systems, reform movements, religious revivalism and identity, Indian removal, continental expansion, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow, labor movements, immigration, and transformations in transportation, communication, and consumption. Not offered 2017–18.

H 121. American Radicalism. 9 units (3-0-6); offered by announcement. The course will cover a number of radical social, political, and artistic movements in 20th-century America. A focus on the first two decades of the century will center around the poet, journalist, and revolutionary John Reed and his circle in Greenwich Village. Topics will include their involvement with artistic experimentation, the Industrial Workers of the World, the Mexican Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the movements for birth control and against American involvement in World War I. Other areas of concentration will be the Great Depression of the ‘30s, with its leftist political and labor actions, and the freewheeling radicalism of the ‘60s, including the anti-Vietnam protests, Students for a Democratic Society, and the ethnic struggles for social and political equality. Some reference will be made to the anti-globalization movements of today. Not offered 2017–18.

H 122. Household and Family Forms over Time. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course examines the wide variety of family forms and household structures in past societies, as well as the social, cultural, institutional, and economic variables that influenced them. The course focuses mainly on Europe from about 1600 to the present, as this is the area for which most research has been done, but there will be some discussion of other parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Special attention is given to comparisons among different societies. Not offered 2017–18.

H/SS 124. Problems in Historical Demography. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Birth, marriage, and death—the most basic events in people’s lives—are inextricably linked to larger economic and social phenomena. An understanding of these basic events can thus shed light on the economic and social world inhabited by people in the past. In this course students will be introduced to the sources and methods used by historical demographers to construct demographic measures for past populations. In addition, the course will cover a broad range of problems in historical demography, including mortality crises, fertility control, infant mortality, and the role of economic and social institutions in demographic change. While the emphasis is on societies in the past, there will be some discussion of modern demographic trends in various parts of the world. Not offered 2017–18.

H 125. Soviet Russia. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Why was the Russian Revolution of 1917 successful? And how did the Soviet system survive nearly 75 years? These questions will be addressed in the wider context of Russian history, with a focus on political, economic, and social institutions in the pre- and post-revolutionary period. Subjects covered include the ideological underpinnings of Bolshevism, Lenin and the Bolshevik coup, the rise of Stalin, collectivization, socialist realism, the command economy, World War II, the Krushchev ‘thaw’, dissident culture and the arts, popular culture, and Gorbachev’s perestroika. A variety of sources will be used, including secondary historical literature, fiction, film, and art. Instructor: Dennison.

H 127. History and the Anthropocene. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. In 2000, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen and his colleague Eugene Stoermer argued that we should adopt a new term-the Anthropocene-to recognize the central place of humanity in shaping the earth’s geological, chemical, and biological systems. Since then, the term has become increasingly prominent among academic and popular writers. The concept of the Anthropocene, although ostensibly a question of geologic periodization, has implications for many other disciplines, particularly history. This course will explore the development of the concept, the history of ideas about the relationship between people and the natural world, and implications for how we understand and talk about the past. Instructor: Pluymers.

H 128. Sustainability and Conservation in the Early Modern World. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Sustainability-from corporate boardrooms to communes, the term has been the subject of protests, marketing campaigns, and government policies. Scientists, activists, and politicians have proposed new methods for achieving it; however, the history of the term remains murky. In this course, we will explore how early modern people understood and regulated resources to try to uncover examples of sustainable farming, forestry, and industry from the past. Unlike many courses that focus on specific regions, we will reach beyond borders to examine the intersections of the modes of regulation of resources in Asia, Europe, and North America during the early modern period. Not offered 2017–18.

H 129. Rivers and Human History. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. For thousands of years, rivers have been central to human history. They have served as crucial sources of food and water, the sites for religious and political ceremonies, and corridors for transportation. Rivers have also flooded, become polluted, and even caught fire. In this course we will explore how human beings around the world have attempted to manage rivers and the people who live alongside them examining topics such as damming, diversion, and flood control. We will conclude by examining the history and future of the Los Angeles River and its tributaries, which, as concretized flood control channels, offer a unique example of the transformative power of engineering. For this section, students will take a field trip to explore the Los Angeles River. Instructor: Pluymers.

H 130. Innovative History. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. In recent years some historians have experimented with new and innovative ways of telling the past-on the printed page, using film and video, and on the Internet. The course will focus on these new approaches to historical presentation and knowledge. Students will read, watch, and interact with various examples of these innovative historical works. They will also be exposed to the critiques of traditional historical writing from philosophers, literary critics, and postmodern theorists, which provide intellectual underpinning for experimenting with new forms of history. Not offered 2017–18.

H 131. History of Extinction. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Humans are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction - the first to be caused by human activity. Extinction has been viewed in changing ways over the past 200 years, and this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning about the extinction process from a historical as well as a modern perspective. Our focus will be on the extinction of biological entities, but we will also touch on other systems that have disappeared: languages, technologies, habitats, and ways of living. Central to our endeavors will be asking what it means to live in this time of loss: Should we mourn? And if so, how do we mourn for what many or most of us do not see, but only read about? Finally, we will scrutinize what the practical effects of extinction have been, are, and will be. We will also make at least one visit to a natural history museum to view some extinct species behind the scenes. Instructor: Lewis.

H 132. Humanistic Ecology. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Humans’ conceptions of nature have changed dramatically over time. Ecological systems influence human culture, politics, law, and many other spheres, and in turn, humans influence those systems. This class introduces students to the field of humanistic ecology - a discipline that looks to a number of cultural, political, historical and economic elements to better understand the role of ecology in a larger sphere outside of its scientific structure and uses. Humanistic ecology is designed to provide context for the study of ecology, and in a fundamental way, focuses on the appropriate role of humanity in its relationship to nature: what is ethical, or not, what is useful, or not, and a variety of other matters that should be considered when taking a fully three-dimensional view of ecological science. Instructor: Lewis.

H 135. War, Conquest, and Empires. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course will use historical examples of war and conquest and ask why some periods of history were times of warfare and why certain countries developed a comparative advantage in violence. The examples will come from the history of Europe and Asia, from ancient times up until World War I, and the emphasis throughout will be on the interplay between politics, military technology, and social conditions. Instructor: Hoffman.

H 136. Caltech in the Archives. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This class will introduce students to the methods of archival work in the humanities and social sciences. Over the course of the quarter students will receive an introduction to factors surrounding the collection, organization, and use of various types of archives as a background to several small-scale projects working in an archival collection of their own choosing. The seminar will center around weekly projects and synthetic analytical essays about the archival process and archival discoveries. Students hoping to combine their course work with an archive-based research paper may sign up for a separate independent study and conduct research concurrently, with instructor approval. Instructor: Dykstra.

H 137. Criminals, Outlaws, and Justice in a Thousand Years of Chinese History. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course explores the shifting boundary between discourses of crime and disobedience over the last millennium or so of Chinese history. It offers fictional, philosophical, political, propagandistic, official, and personal writings on crime and those who commit it as a basis for a wide-ranging series of discussions about when breaking the law is good, when breaking the law is bad, and who gets to decide where the line between a criminal and an outlaw should be drawn. Not offered 2017–18.

H 138. From Sage Kings to the CCP: A Primer on Ruler, State and Empire in the History of Chinese Government. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course surveys a large sample of writings on the craft of governance from across the span of Chinese history. It offers students a chance to explore new and old perspectives on leadership, organization, discipline, bureaucracy, justice, and other classic themes of statecraft writings. These materials will be placed in the context of several shifts in and disagreements about the methods of governance in Chinese history so that students may reflect on the dynamic tension between theory, belief, intention, and action in dictating the way that individuals describe the state. Not offered 2017–18.

H 139. Translation Theory and Practice (Chinese Historical Sources Seminar). 9 units (3-0-6); first term. For description, see L 139. Instructor: Dykstra.

H/L 142. Perspectives on History through Russian Literature. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. The Russian intelligentsia registered the arrival of modern urban society with a highly articulate sensitivity, perhaps because these changes—industrialization, the breakdown of traditional hierarchies and social bonds, the questioning of traditional beliefs—came to Russia so suddenly. This gives their writings a paradigmatic quality; the modern dilemmas that still haunt us are made so eloquently explicit in them that they have served as models for succeeding generations of writers and social critics. This course explores these writings (in English translation) against the background of Russian society, focusing especially on particular works of Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Goncharov, Tolstoy, and Turgenev. Instructor: Dennison.

H 144. The History of Women and Art. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. According to Pliny, the history of art began with a woman tracing the profile of her sleeping lover on the wall by candlelight to preserve his memory. Yet women’s artistry has rarely been seen as true art in the eyes of posterity, though female creativity has constantly outstripped narrow definitions of art practice and found expression in myriad forms. This course sweeps from the Renaissance city states to New Mexico, from the Baroque courts of the Popes and Catholic Spain to the Dutch Golden Age, from Bohemian Paris to the dust bowl of the Great Depression. Instructor: Vickery.

H 145. Women in Modern America and Britain. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course covers women’s lives from the Civil War to the Second Wave of Feminism. The long twentieth century has been dramatically transformed by the participation of women in war, work, protest, and education. We will determine the constraints on women in war and peace, education and paid work, marriage and family, while also exploring women’s dreams and disappointments in romance, sex, home-making, consumerism and fashion. The elaboration of femininity in the glossy media of advertising, women’s magazines, fiction and film is a continuous theme of the course. Together we will look at expectations and outcomes, promise and its containment. Instructor: Vickery.

Law/PS/H 148 ab. The Supreme Court in U.S. History. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Law.

HPS/H/Pl 157. The Mathematization of Natural Philosophy in 17th- and 18th-Century Europe. 9 units (3-0-6).  For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science.

HPS/H 160. Einstein and His Generation: The History of Modern Physical Sciences. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

H 161. Selected Topics in History. 9 units (3-0-6); offered by announcement. Instructors: Staff, visiting lecturers. 

HPS/H 162. Social Studies of Science. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

HPS/H 166. Historical Perspectives on the Relations between Science and Religion. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science.

HPS/H 167. Experimenting with History/Historic Experiment. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science.

HPS/H 168. History of Electromagnetism and Heat Science. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

HPS/H 169. Selected Topics in the History of Science and Technology. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

HPS/H 170. History of Light from Antiquity to the 20th Century. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

HPS/H 171. History of Mechanics from Galileo through Euler. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

HPS/H 172. History of Mathematics: A Global View with Close-ups. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

HPS/H 175. Matter, Motion, and Force: Physical Astronomy from Ptolemy to Newton. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see History and Philosophy of Science. 

H 184. Travel, Mobility, Migration. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. People, objects, and knowledge in the European Age of Revolutions, 1770-1848. The aim of this course is to examine the movement of peoples, cultural artifacts, and the dissemination of different sorts of knowledge, during and after the Revolutionary upheavals and nationalist struggles of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Topics will include nationalism and multi-national communities; political and intellectual exile; imperial ambition, science and knowledge; the effects of warfare on patterns of migration; looting, theft and cultural property. The class will include a number of in-depth case studies, including Italy and South Asia. Not offered 2017–18.

H/HPS 185. Angels and Monsters: Cosmology, Anthropology, and the Ends of the World. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course explores late medieval European understandings of the origins, structure, and workings of the cosmos in the realms of theology, physics, astronomy, astrology, magic, and medicine. Attention is given to the position of humans as cultural creatures at the intersection of nature and spirit; as well as to the place of Christian Europeans in relation to non-Christians and other categories of outsiders within and beyond Europe. We will examine the knowledge system that anticipated racializing theories in the West. Instructor: Wey-Gomez.

H 187. The Constitution in the Early Republic. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course will trace many of the major constitutional debates that occurred during the first half-century of U.S. History. We will look to the courts, to the legislatures, to Presidents, and to constitutional theorists of the Early Republic to gain insight into how the first generations of Americans understood their Constitution and the governments and rights it recognized. During this formative period, Americans contemplate the location of sovereignty in a federated republic, the rights and privileges of citizenship, and the role of judicial review in a democratic society. Though we will remain firmly entrenched in the period before the Civil War, we will find that many of the issues that created constitutional strife two centuries ago are still relevant to the constitutional questions of today. Not offered 2017–18.

H 188. Origins of the US Civil War. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. The purpose of this course is to investigate the various causes of the US Civil War. Students will be exposed to prevailing interpretations, which rely mostly on national frames of reference when identifying the economic, political, and constitutional causes of the Sectional Crisis and War. Half of the term will be devoted to these themes. Subsequently, we will be spending the second half of the term examining recent scholarship that examines the international factors on the brewing Sectional Crisis, from the ramifications of British Emancipation to the fluctuating global cotton market. During the last week, we will discuss these interpretative differences and identify possible avenues of synthesis. Students will leave the course with a thorough understanding of the causes of the Civil War and an introduction to transnational influences on American historical development. Not offered 2017–18.

H 189. The Ethics of War. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. We tend to think of violence as a breakdown in social order, but warfare, as an organized form of violence, complicates this perspective. Can waging war and upholding justice go hand in hand? In this seminar, we will explore theories of just war from Classical antiquity through the Middle Ages, paying particular attention to methods of categorizing warfare, women at war, and pacifist critiques. The course will conclude by assessing depictions of medieval warfare in contemporary culture, such as Vikings or Game of Thrones. Readings may include Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, medieval handbooks of chivalry, Ælfric of Eynsham, documents from the trial of Joan of Arc, and Thomas More. Not offered 2017–18.

H/L 191. Perspectives on History through German Literature. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Industrialization, economic growth, and democracy came to Germany much later than to England and France, and the forms they took in Germany were filtered through the specific institutional character of Central Europe. German-speaking writers and intellectuals saw these trends from the perspective of indigenous intellectual traditions, and the resulting collisions of values and priorities largely shaped European and American social, political, and literary debates for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course explores these writings (in English translation) against the historical background of Central European society, focusing on particular works of Goethe, Hoffmann, Heine, Nietzsche, Kafka, Rilke, and Mann. Not offered 2017–18.

H 192. The Crusades. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. This course will introduce students to the series of religiously motivated European invasions of the Middle and Near East that began at the end of the eleventh century and that led to the creation of Latin Christian principalities in Palestine. Though the crusading movement came to embroil much of Europe itself, the course will focus strictly on the military expeditions to what the Crusaders called the Holy Land, and the history of the Crusader states up to the point of their destruction at the end of the thirteenth century. The course will be guided by the following questions: how did medieval Christianity justify wars of aggression against foreign peoples and religions? What motivated western Europeans to leave their homes and march into a hostile environment, where they often faced impoverishment if not death and where maintaining a Christian presence was a constant struggle? How did they manage to erect stable political entities in alien territory that lasted as long as they did, and how did they have to adapt their own culture to do so? Finally, how did the native peoples of the regions the Crusaders invaded and conquered—Muslim but also Christian and Jewish — perceive the Crusaders? How did the Crusaders’ presence affect life in a region whose populations had their own ancient histories and patterns of life? Not offered 2017–18.

En/H 193. Cervantes, Truth or Dare: Don Quixote in an Age of Empire. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see English.

H 195. Vesuvius and Pompeii: Geology, Archaeology and Antiquity from the Enlightenment to the Present. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. This course examines Vesuvius and Pompeii and the relations between them from the earliest Pompeian discoveries to the present debate about the fate of the buried city, and the plans to cope with an impending Vesuvian eruption. It analyses the changing debates about the volcano - and its place in earth sciences - the development of archaeological techniques and their discoveries, the relationship between a tourist economy and the region, and the public debates about how to deal with disasters and conservation in a rapidly changing political environment. Not offered 2017–18.

En/H 197. American Literature and the Technologies of Reading. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. For course description, see English.

H 201. Reading and Research for Graduate Students. Units to be determined for the individual by the division.