Understand change

A History degree gives you a deeper and more profound understanding of the forces that shaped and continue to shape the world we live in. By focusing on change in the past, the History program enables students to better comprehend and contextualize current and future events.

Majors

Studying history at Franklin puts a strong emphasis on the development and acquisition of critical thinking and analytical skills in addition to reading, writing and oral presentation skills. Hence the History degree program provides students with an excellent practical preparation and training for graduate study and careers in law, business, diplomacy, government, international organizations and NGOs, journalism and education.

View Requirements

History

History is about understanding change. Studying history gives you a deeper and more profound understanding of the forces that shaped and continue to shape the world we live in. By focusing on change in the past, the study of history enables students to better comprehend and contextualize current and future events.

Studying history at Franklin puts a strong emphasis on the development and acquisition of critical thinking and analytical skills in addition to reading, writing and oral presentation skills. Hence History provides students with an excellent practical preparation and training for graduate study and careers in law, business, diplomacy, government, international organizations and NGOs, journalism and education.

Major Requirements (48 Credits)

Introductory History Courses (6 credits)
HIS 100 Western Civilization I: Ancient and Medieval

This survey course is an introduction to the political, economic, social, and intellectual history of the west from the Neolithic to the voyages of discovery in the sixteenth century. Our knowledge and understanding of the past is contingent and contested. The course explores areas of contestation to give students a better understanding of the forces and events which shaped the ancient and medieval worlds and continue to shape the modern world. (It is recommended that HIS 100 be taken prior to HIS 101.)

HIS 101 Western Civilization II: Modern

This survey course is an introduction to the political, economic, social, and intellectual history of the west from the scientific revolution to the present. Our knowledge and understanding of the past is contingent and contested. The course explores areas of contestation to give students a better understanding of the forces and events which have shaped the modern world.

HIS 104 Global History I: Traditions, Encounters, and Adaptation from the Stone Age to the 16th Century

This course is an introduction to themes and trends in the political, economic, cultural, and social, history of pre-modern societies in global perspective. It covers the development of civilizations in Eurasia, Africa and the Americas from the Neolithic Revolution to the ''Columbian Exchange'' with emphasis on the emergence and diffusion of religious and political institutions, the role of the environmental context, as well as the impact of encounters between human societies. Students are introduced to the historiography of empire and global history/globalization, and attention is devoted to the reading and analysis of different categories of primary sources.

HIS 105 Global History II: Globalization, the Emergence of the Modern State, and Coping with Change

This course is an introduction to themes and trends in the political, economic, cultural, and social history of modern societies in global perspective. It covers the development of societies in Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas from the ''Columbian Exchange'' to the twenty-first century with emphasis on the development of institutions within their changing cultural, political, and environmental context, as well as the impact of encounters between human societies. Students are introduced to the historiography of globalization and of the modern state. Further attention is devoted to the analysis of different categories of primary sources. (It is recommended that HIS 104 be taken prior to HIS 105).

The Writing of History: Theory and Method (3 credits)

One of the following:

HIS 211 The Human in History: Biography and Life Writing

The study of history is about the role of human beings in changing times. Over the last two hundred years the idea of the role of humans in history has developed from the ‘hero’s’ perspective of agency to an understanding of the interplay between the individual and the wider environment and society. This course explores how these changing examples have been represented in biographical and autobiographical writings, and what these different perspectives mean for our interpretation of the role of human beings in history. Starting with the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and excerpts from various biographies of this Founding Father of the United States, this course also serves as an introduction to the history of historiography and life writing in a western context, and enables students to further contextualize their own experience and research.

HIS 212 Weapons of Mass Destruction

Through the violent and chaotic twentieth century, new technologies of destruction which threatened unprecedented levels of violence and lethality were developed. These technologies; chemical and biological weapons, strategic bombing, and, most significantly, nuclear weapons, had deep and enduring impacts on the conduct of international affairs as well as on societies and cultures. This course examines these impacts and how they revolutionized warfare and diplomacy and engendered grass-roots peace, anti-nuclear, and environmental movements. In addition, students are also introduced to the fundamentals of historiography and historical methods which enable students to develop their research, critical analysis, and writing skills. (

Historical Studies (21 credits)

Seven of the following (including at least two at the 300-level):

HIS 202T History of Switzerland

Switzerland can be seen as a striking exception to the idea of a modern Western nation state: one of the oldest republics, with four official languages, neutral by tradition with at the same time a strong military tradition, a direct democracy and nevertheless one of the most stable states in the world. Hence, it has convincingly been called a ''country of minorities'' or just ''an exception''. This course analyzes the political, economic, social, and cultural development of Switzerland as a coherent and significant part of the history of medieval and modern Europe, with visits to places such as Bern, Basel, Schwyz, St. Gallen, and Zurich. Key themes covered include the founding of the Swiss Confederation in the thirteenth century, the initiation of the Swiss Reformation by Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century, the introduction of the federal government in the nineteenth century, and the present day polemics of immigration and direct democracy. Local day trips to the medieval Ticinese towns of Riva San Vitale and Mendrisio round out the course.

HIS 204 History of Italy from the Renaissance to the Present

Italy in many of its aspects can be considered to be a laboratory of Western modernity. The peninsula had a leading role in Western affairs during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, but this role was lost by the end of the fifteenth century. During the modern age, however, Italy continued to provide a central point of reference in the European mind. This course focuses attention on the cultural, social and political developments in Italian history in their European context since the Renaissance. Themes include the struggles over national identity in the absence of a unified nation state, the differing regions and competing centers, the interplay of culture and politics, and the relation between religion and politics.

HIS 215T Central Europe: An Urban History

This Academic Travel course seeks to explore urban development and urban planning of Central European cities from Antiquity to the Present. The course investigates the specific development of cities in Central Europe, both north and south of the Alps, with an emphasis on the legacies of Roman antiquity, the Christian (and Jewish) legacy of the Middle Ages, the role of princely residences, and of bourgeois middle classes. An important part plays also the various political movements of the 20th century, including the architectural fantasies of National Socialism, and the attempts post-World War II to deal with this legacy in a democratic society. The course asks in which way the interplay of tradition and modernity over time has structured not only the physical shapes of cities, but even the mindsets of the population. The travel component of this course features day trips to the Roman foundation of Como (Italy) and the oldest still standing structure in Switzerland in Riva San Vitale (Ticino), and a major excursion to the three most important cities in Bavaria: Nuremberg, Regensburg, and Munich (Germany).

HIS 235 War, Peace, Diplomacy: A Political History of Modern Europe

This course provides an overview over the history of relations of European states in the Modern age. After a short introduction to the development of state, sovereignty, and diplomacy since the early modern period, the course focuses on how the various European powers negotiated, fought or pacified tensions and crises from the Crimean War (1853-6) onwards, through the period of the two World Wars, up to the building of a new European order post-1945.

HIS 240 History of Modern Germany

This course focuses on the central issues raised in the study of modern German history. The main historical themes and trends of political, economic, social and cultural development are analyzed. Special attention is paid to the role of Bismarck, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich as the historic legacy of contemporary Germany.

HIS 243 Worlds of Islam

This course is an introduction to the multifaceted civilization of Islam as both a religion and a historical phenomenon. After a survey of the background and context of the emergence of Muhammad as a spiritual leader in the Arabian peninsula, the course analyzes the rapid spread of Islam to Spain in the west and India to the east in less than a hundred years. It follows the divergent paths of the emerging different Islamic cultures in the Arabian and Mediterranean regions, in Persia, India, Turkey and Africa, and it follows also the Muslim diaspora in the Christian West. The guiding question is the relation between ''normalcy'' and variety as manifest in the tensions between the importance of the holy text of the Qur'an and the impact of interpretation and tradition. The course concludes with a consideration of contemporary Islam, focusing attention on both fundamentalist approaches and open-minded ones that seek a role for Muslims in peaceful relations with the West today.

HIS 245 Worlds of Judaism

This course is an introduction to the multifaceted civilization of Judaism as both a religion and as a historical phenomenon. After a survey of the background and preconditions of the emergence of the Hebrew bible and of monotheistic culture within the context of the Middle East in antiquity, the course focuses on the cultural mechanisms such as religious law and memory that kept the various Jewish worlds somewhat linked, despite the Diaspora from the time of the Babylonian Captivity, and even more so following the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. Attention is given to religious, cultural, and social developments that made Judaism survive from antiquity through the middle ages to the present, and also to the different reactions to its respective environments, in areas as diverse as Babylonia in the age of the Talmud, the ''Golden Age'' of Islamic Spain, or Germany in the Modern era. The course concludes with the rise of a Jewish center in Palestine in the twentieth century, and the ensuing tensions between this center and the persisting diasporas.

HIS 257 Early Modern Europe and the European World c.1500-1800

In a relatively short period from 1500 to 1800, Europe was completely transformed and in turn transformed the world during the first major period of globalization. This course considers the changing economic and social conditions for the majority of Europe's population. It also explores how the religious and intellectual unity of the West was shattered under the weight of new ideas of church reformation and spiritual renewal and later by a revolution which asserted the Rights of Man. It analyzes how modern methods of rationalized administration changed governance, and finally how the new European states built global empires of conquest, confession and commerce.

HIS 260 The Holocaust and Genocide

Why do people commit genocide? Seeking to answer this question this course analyzes the contexts, causes, and developments that drive human beings to seek to exterminate whole groups of people based solely on the perception that they belong to a specific group. The class examines the role played by racism and paranoia in the radicalization of individuals and whole societies, and explores the contexts of imperialism, violence, and de-individualization in the modern world. The focus is on the Holocaust as the event which defined the concept of genocide, analyzing its history and using insights from sociology, political science, religious and cultural studies, and psychology. The class further investigates indigenous genocides, sexual violence and the politics of famine, the question of just war, and the attempts to cope with genocide-related trauma.

HIS 271 History of Modern France

From absolute monarchy to the Fifth Republic, from the Enlightenment to existentialism, France has been central to European affairs in revolution, war and peace. Covering the late eighteenth century to the present, this course analyzes the political, social, and cultural history of modern France with special attention to the often violent struggles between order and tradition on the one hand and liberty and modernization on the other; the role of anti-Semitism from the Dreyfuss Affair to Vichy; and, the conquest and dissolution of France’s overseas empire.

HIS 273 History of the United States

This course is an introduction to recent approaches to the political, economic, and cultural history of the United States from the eighteenth to the twenty first century. Its topics include the role of environment and space, as well as the interplay of religion, gender, ethnic relations, and immigration. It also discusses the changing role of the United States in the World from colonial times to the present.

HIS 275T History of Modern Ireland: Union and Dis-union, 1798-1998

Ireland has undergone profound social, economic and political changes over the last two centuries. Its history has been largely defined, for better or worse, by its relationship with its larger neighbor, Britain. This course critically examines the contours and effects of this often troubled relationship which can largely be defined as the struggle between union and dis-union, that is, either strengthening or severing the link with Britain. Going beyond these constitutional issues it also examines wider social and cultural changes; the famine and its legacy, the land revolution of the late nineteenth century, emigration, the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy and Ireland’s delayed sexual revolution.

HIS 310 The Cold War

The Cold War was many things. It was primarily a global power struggle between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, two Superpowers which divided the world into competing alliances and engaged in proxy wars. It was a tense and often unstable nuclear standoff. It was also an ideological clash between freedom and totalitarianism; between economic equality and exploitation; and between imperialism and anti-colonial nationalism. This course examines these intersecting facets as well as the ways in which the Cold War is interpreted and its profound and continuing impact not only on the principal protagonists but on all of the peoples of the world.

HIS 325 Human Rights in History

The idea of universal, inalienable rights has become one of the most influential concepts in modern history. Human Rights have become an inspiration to oppressed groups and individuals around the globe, a rallying cry for a global civil society, and also a controversial source of legitimation for political and military interventions. The course asks about the reasons for the stellar rise of the concept of Human Rights from ''nonsense on stilts'' (Jeremy Bentham) to such a powerful driving force in contemporary politics. Also, it asks whether Human Rights are the result of a specifically European or Western or Christian legacy. Students in this course will discuss some key thinkers from the Enlightenment to the present within their historical contexts, and analyze not only the philosophical and theoretical framework for Human Rights as a factor in history, but also have a closer look into the consequences of Human Rights influenced politics in general.

HIS 330 East Asia, 1900 to the Present

In 1905 Japan became the first non-western country to defeat a western power, in this case Russia, in the modern era. This was the culmination of a forty-year effort by Japan to embrace modernity and resist western domination. It also served as a powerful inspiration to the peoples of Asia and to the rise of anti-colonial nationalism in the region. For much of the twentieth century the most populous continent was the scene of much convulsion; war (including cold war), revolution and widespread human suffering. Asia has since transcended these difficulties to become a global economic powerhouse, a process that was heavily influenced by the clash of imperialism and nationalism and by the Cold War, a global polarization that led not just to ‘cold’ tensions but also to ‘hot’ conflicts. Issues addressed include the rise, fall and rise of Japan, anti-colonial nationalism, wars in Asia including in Korea and Vietnam, and the emergence of China as a world power. As well as conflict and high politics, students examine how various ideologies affected societies. In pursuit of development and prosperity for their people, governments across Asia transformed daily life out of all recognition, for better or for worse.

HIS 345 Propaganda: A Modern History

Propaganda, a persuasive form of communication, acts to bind modern societies together. Its history is closely connected to changes in media and media consumption. This course analyzes in depth a wide range of primary sources in different formats. Following an introduction to important approaches in the theory, practice, and ethics of propaganda, as well as its early history, special attention is devoted to the century of propaganda, from the First World War and its impact, through the 'age of extremes' (Eric Hobsbawm), and the new possibilities of a digital age.

HIS 351 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Europe

This course undertakes an in-depth discussion of the origins and development of nationalism as an ideology, as a political movement, and as a source of internal and international conflict in Europe. Following an introduction to important approaches in the theory of nationalism, special attention is devoted to the periods of the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War and its impact, and the period after the end of the Cold War in 1989.

HIS 355 The World and the West in the Long 19th Century

The world today has been shaped to a large extent by Europe and America in the long nineteenth century between the Enlightenment and the First World War. During this period dramatic changes in social, economic, political and cultural ideas and institutions were related to changes in how people in the West conceptualized the world around them. Although Europeans and Americans exerted global influence through industrialization and imperialism, in turn they were influenced by people beyond the West from Africa to the Far East. Thus globalization is not a recent phenomenon. With emphasis on Christopher Bayly's recent book The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons, among other works, this course will focus on major themes in the study of modernity such as political ideologies and the roles of science and religion as related to the development of the idea of ''Europe'' or ''the West'' with special reference to the British colonies, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan. It is intended to provide not only a broad view of a crucial period in modern history but also a functional knowledge of themes and concepts necessary for understanding the contemporary world. Students read primary as well as secondary sources, and attention is devoted to methodological considerations and recent trends in scholarship.

HIS 357 Weimar Germany: Crisis or Crucible of Modernity?

The period in Germany history between 1918 and 1933, commonly referred to as ''Weimar Germany'', can be seen in many contradictory ways: as an era sandwiched between two authoritarian regimes as well as as the country’s first strong republic; this democracy kept struggling constantly with severe and sometimes violent attacks from the political extremes (and sometimes even its neighbors), and yet displayed remarkable endurance. As such, the Weimar Republic is a powerful example for the possibilities and limits of modern democracy, and for the interplay between politics and culture in the modern world. Starting with a discussion of different concepts of modernities, this interdisciplinary seminar will provide a detailed examination of the political, cultural, social and economical developments of the 1920s and early 1930s, and analyze their representation in the arts, in the contemporary media, and in architecture.

HIS 358 Global Britishness

The concept of ‘Global Britishness’ began as loyalty to the colonial motherland on the part of Britain’s white settler colonies (Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand). This was transformed after the Second World War into a set of uneasy nationalisms by the 1970s. In recent years these ex-colonies have witnessed a re-identification with earlier concepts of Britishness (royal visits, war commemoration) at a time when the very concept of Britishness is perceived to be under threat from Scottish devolution (and possible independence) and Britain’s exit from the European Union. ‘Global Britishness’ presents a fascinating array of competing and intersecting identities across global, imperial and national lines. Students gain a greater understanding and awareness of; the processes and agencies of Britain’s imperial decline; the reactions to this among the various white settler colonies; the differences and similarities between these reactions; the practices of cultural and transnational history; and, contemporary legacies of the British Empire in the settler colonial world.

HIS 360 The Revolutionary Idea in Theory and Practice: Russia 1917 in Context

The 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 2017 occurred in a time characterized by a deep-seated dissatisfaction with established orders all around the globe, even in stable, prosperous, and democratic societies. The rhetoric and idea of a need to revolutionize politics can now be found, not only at the fringes, but at the center of societies. This course explores the history of the concept of political revolution from its onset in late 18th century France and its reception in the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and Karl Marx. It will then focus on attempts to turn theory and historical experiences into practice in 20th century Russia: The failed revolution in 1905, the two revolutions in February and October 1917, the question of when the revolution ended, and eventually the ''anti-revolution'' (Richard Sakwa) of 1989-91. Against this backdrop and by analyzing a wide array of primary sources and theoretical statements, this course discusses the changing paradigms in the study of revolution in the fields of History, Cultural Studies, and Political Science.

HIS 370 Special Topics in History

Special topics in History vary each semester. Course description and pre-requisites are specified in the session course description.

HIS 374 The Birth of Modern Propoganda: A Media History of the First World War

The First World War (1914-18) is considered to be the ''seminal catastrophe of the 20th century.'' Due to the rising stakes amidst massive carnage, this global conflict triggered not only military, social, and political revolutions, but also triggered far-reaching changes regarding cultural politics and media. Throughout the war years, high-brow and popular culture got involved into the war effort as well as journalism and the emerging film industries. At the same time, the role of support for the war effort at the ''home front'' is a hotly contested issue within scholarship. This interdisciplinary Honors Seminar seeks to bring these different perspectives together, exploring the various means of censorship, propaganda and mass mobilization by the belligerent powers as well as the contemporary strategies of autonomy and even resistance.

Interdisciplinary Studies (12 credits)

Choose four additional courses from any cognate discipline at or above the 200-level of which at least one course must be at or above the 300-level. No more than two courses can be chosen from the same discipline.

Student must select courses with themes of specific interest and related to the student’s course of study in History. Specific course selections must first be approved by the student’s academic advisor and by the Department chair. Documentation of approved course selections must be submitted to the office of the Registrar.

The Writing of History II: Capstone Requirement (6 credits)

One of the following:

HIS 410 The Cold War

Students in their Senior year who wish to graduate with a Major in History (stand alone or combined) need to take this capstone version of HIS 310 (see course description). Students in HIS 410 attend all meetings of HIS 310 and are responsible for additional and more in-depth work including an oral presentation and seminars with the instructor. This additional work is geared towards preparing the student for the successful completion of their Senior Thesis. (Students who have already earned credit for HIS 310 or HIS 210 may not enroll and earn credit for HIS 410.)

HIS 430 East Asia, 1900 to the Present

Students in their Senior year who wish to graduate with a Major in History (stand alone or combined) take this capstone version of HIS 330 (see course description). Students in HIS 430 attend all meetings of HIS 330 and are responsible for additional and more in-depth work including an oral presentation and seminars with the instructor. This additional work is geared towards preparing the student for the successful completion of the Senior Thesis. (Students who have already earned credit for HIS 330 may not enroll and earn credit for HIS 430.)

HIS 451 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Europe and the Middle East

Students in their Senior year who wish to graduate with a major in History (stand alone or combined) need to take this capstone version of HIS 351 (see course description). Students in HIS 451 attend all meetings of HIS 351 and are responsible for additional and more in-depth work, to include an oral presentation and tutorials with the instructor. The additional work and the tutorials are geared towards preparing the student for the successful completion of their Senior Thesis. Students who have earned credit for HIS 351 in a previous year may not enroll and earn credit for HIS 451.

HIS 455 The World and the West in the Long 19th Century (Capstone)

Students in their Senior year who wish to graduate with a Major in History (stand alone or combined) need to take this capstone version of HIS 355 (see course description). Students in HIS 455 attend all meetings of HIS 355 and are responsible for additional and more in-depth work, to include an oral presentation and tutorials with the instructor. The additional work and the tutorials are geared towards preparing the student for the successful completion of their Senior Thesis. Students who have earned credit for HIS 355 in a previous year may not enroll and earn credit for HIS 455.

HIS 460 The Revolutionary Idea in Theory and Practice: Russia 1917 in Context

Students in their Senior year who wish to graduate with a Major in History (stand alone or combined) need to take this capstone version of HIS 360 (see course description). Students in HIS 460 attend all meetings of HIS 360 and are responsible for additional and more in-depth work including an oral presentation and seminars with the instructor. This additional work is geared towards preparing the student for the successful completion of their Senior Thesis. Students who have already earned credit for SEM 372 Revolution and Russia may not enroll and earn credit for HIS 460.

And
HIS 499 History Senior Thesis

Senior Thesis proposals are to be coordinated with the Department Chair.

Faculty

Associate Professor, History

Ph.D. Ludwigs Maximilians Universität München, GermanyM.A. Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Germany

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, North Campus, Office 12
Phone: +41 91 986 36 37
mpyka@fus.edu

Marcus Pyka

Associate Professor, History

Ph.D. University College Dublin, IrelandM.A. University College Dublin, IrelandB.A. University College Dublin, Ireland

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, North Campus, Office 8
Phone: +41 91 986 36 39
fhoey@fus.edu

Fintan Hoey

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