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History courses at Carthage seek to challenge students’ prior assumptions of how the world works, ideas evolve, and peoples and nations move through time and space. Scroll down to read descriptions of the history courses offered at Carthage, or click on the following links for additional resources.

  • HIS 1000

    Issues in American History (HUM)

    A topical survey of American history from the colonial beginnings to the present with special emphasis on major themes, turning points, and historical interpretations. Introduction to historical method through the study of primary sources also is emphasized.

  • HIS 1040

    Ancient Greece II: Alexander the Great to Cleopatra (HUM)

    An introduction to the history and culture of ancient Greece from the rise of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE to the conflicts with Rome and the death of Cleopatra, the last Ptolemaic queen. Students will be introduced to the various developments in Greek civilization, including art, mythology and religion, archaeology, and literature.
    Prerequisite: None

  • HIS 1110

    Issues in European History I (HUM)

    A topical survey of Western civilization from earliest times to the Renaissance, with special emphasis on major themes, turning points, and historical interpretations. Introduction to historical method through the study of primary sources also is emphasized.

  • HIS 1120

    Issues in European History II (HUM)

    A topical survey of Western civilization from the Reformation to the present with special emphasis on major themes, turning points, and historical interpretations. Introduction to historical method through the study of primary sources also is emphasized.

  • HIS 1200

    Issues in Asian History (HUM)

    A survey of the cultural, social, political, and economic history of Asia from the 15th century to the present.

  • HIS 1410

    Issues in South America: Dictatorship and Democracy (HUM)

    A survey of the political and social history of South America from colonization through the 1980s.

  • HIS 2050

    Shamanism (HUM)

    This course will examine the variety of religious experiences, rituals, and belief systems commonly referred to as shamanism. The course will look at these phenomena across history and geographic boundaries. Close attention will be paid to the particular historical and political contexts within which these various experiences have developed.
    Prerequisite: None

  • HIS 2100

    World War II (HUM)

    Students in this course will examine World War II as a global conflict. Students will assess the origins of the world's bloodiest and most costly war in Europe and Asia, as well as how the war spread to Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Students will learn about the military, economic, and social consequences of total global conflict. In addition, students will evaluate the effects of the war upon civilian populations, the strategies pursued by the participants, and the major events in both the Pacific and European theaters from the 1930s until 1945. Above all, students will examine the extent to which theories of race and culture contributed to and exacerbated the war. Finally, students will consider the significance of the war for the history of Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the United States.

  • HIS 2140

    Modern Caribbean: From Pirates to the Cuban Missile Crisis (HUM)

    Beginning in 1492, the Caribbean region has vacillated between the periphery and center stage of global history. Its strategic location within the Atlantic basin has, at various points, propelled nations in the Caribbean into importance disproportionate to the nations' size, wealth, or political influence. Examples of this phenomenon include the Encounter (arguably the most important event in world history); the Haitian Revolution, with its profound consequences for the United States, Europe, and Africa; and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which served as a historical fulcrum in the trajectory of the Cold War. This course follows the dramatic trajectory of Caribbean history from 1492 to the present, introducing themes that include the European conquest; transformation into sugar colonies; slavery; the Haitian revolution; abolition; the introduction of U.S. economic, military, and political hegemony; the Cuban revolution and subsequent crises; and some contemporary issues.

  • HIS 2150

    Modern Britain (HUM)

    A study of British history from the beginning of the Tudor dynasty in 1485 to the present with emphasis on constitutional, social, and cultural developments.

  • HIS 2200

    Historical Methods (HUM)

    An introduction to historical research, writing, and criticism through concentrated study of a selected topic or period. Recent topics include the Irish Potato Famine and the Cold War.

  • HIS 2250

    20th Century Europe (HUM)

    The study of recent European history with emphasis on political, social, economic, and cultural developments.

  • HIS 2310

    The Greeks (HUM)

    A survey of Greek culture that introduces students to the achievements (political, social, intellectual, artistic, etc.) and ideas of the ancient Greeks. This course covers the sweep of Greek culture from the Mycenaean period (1600-1200 BCE) to the world of Alexander the Great and his successors. This course is cross-listed in Classics.

  • HIS 2350

    The Romans (HUM)

    A survey of Roman culture that introduces students to the achievements (political, social, intellectual, artistic, etc.) and ideas of ancient Rome. This course covers Rome from its foundation in 753 BCE to its transformation in late antiquity. Within the chronological sweep of Roman history, the class focuses on special aspects of Roman society: class and status, daily life, slavery, etc. This course is cross-listed in Classics.

  • HIS 2450

    A Social History of 20th Century Japan Through Film (HUM)

    This course will examine the changing representations of women, family, work, and duty, as well as issues such as identity and alienation, as presented in the popular media of Japanese cinema. Through critical viewing of films by directors such as Akira Kurasawa, Mizoguchi, and Teshigahara, students will investigate the relationship of history and its filmic/cinematic representation. Lectures and selected readings will provide the students with the necessary background and tools for critical analysis. It is the goal of this class to come to an understanding, through the lens of a director's camera, of how social networks and their corresponding obligations are created and perpetuated in modern Japanese society. No prior knowledge of either Japanese history or Japanese language is required.

  • HIS 2500

    Early Medieval History (HUM)

    From the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century to the creation of the Carolingian Empire by Charlemagne in the ninth century, early medieval Europe was hardly the dark age it has traditionally been presumed to be. This course will survey major political, social, economic, and cultural developments of Western Europe in the first half of the medieval period.

  • HIS 2550

    Later Medieval Europe (HUM)

    Knights in shining armor. Robin Hood and Friar Tuck. Majestic cathedrals. Heretics burned at the stake. The medieval world that lives in our imaginations derives from the flowering of Western Europe between the 11th and 14th centuries. But how much of what we think of as medieval is actually medieval? This course will answer this question by surveying major political, social, economic, and cultural developments of Western Europe in the second half of the medieval period.

  • HIS 2620

    America in the 1960s (HUM)

    A survey of the major themes, events, and individuals in America in the 1960s.

  • HIS 2850

    Comparative History: Chicago and Milwaukee (HUM)

    A comprehensive history of two major Midwestern cities from the earliest European settlements to the present. Students will prepare three papers for class, presentations, and discussions: one on the history of Chicago, one on the history of Milwaukee, and one comparing the two cities. Field trips to Chicago and Milwaukee are a required part of the course.

  • HIS 2890

    19th Century American History (HUM)

    This course surveys the ?long 19th century,? from the ratification of the U.S. Constitution to the entry of the United States into the Spanish-American War. General themes include politics, expansion, technology, slavery, gender, immigration, and social change in the American republic. More specific attention will be paid to the development of nationalism and sectionalism, agriculture and industry, reform impulses, the origins of the Civil War and Reconstruction, westward expansion, the rise of big business, populism and progressivism, and the increasing engagement of the United States with the rest of the world.

  • HIS 2900

    20th Century U.S. History (HUM)

    A study of the major political, economic, diplomatic, and social changes in the United States from 1890 to the present.

  • HIS 3000

    The American Founding (HUM)

    This course examines the events and ideas that contributed to the American founding. Topics covered include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Convention, the struggle over ratification of the Constitution, the creation of the Bill of Rights, and the formation of a national government.

  • HIS 3040

    Modern Central America: Inevitable Revolutions (HUM)

    By focusing on the theme of revolution, students will gain a general understanding of the political and social history of Central America from colonization through the contemporary period. Students will learn to take information and form critical analyses of historical trends and events, using both primary and secondary source material.

  • HIS 3050

    History of Mexico (HUM)

    We share almost 2,000 miles of border with Mexico, and nearly eight million Mexicans live in the United States, yet many of us learn next to nothing about this fascinating country's history. This course attempts to address this gap in our education system by providing an in-depth look at Mexican history, with an emphasis on the period from independence to the present. The course will also look at the borderlands between our two countries and the Mexican diaspora living in the United States today.

  • HIS 3100

    The Age of Augustus (HUM)

    An intensive and interdisciplinary approach to one of the most important and seminal periods of Western history, the age of the emperor Augustus. Students study the process of transformation from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire during the Augustan principate. They also encounter the Augustan authors and creators of the Golden Age of Latin literature (Virgil, Horace, Livy, etc.), as well as the major works of art and the imperial monuments of Augustus.
    Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent of instructor

  • HIS 3150

    International Relations (HUM)

    This course examines the engagement of the United States in international affairs during the 20th century. Topics include the emergence of the United States as a global power after the Spanish-American War, the involvement of the United States in World War I and World War II, the emergence of U.S. power during the Cold War, the role of gender and race in the making of U.S. foreign policy, and globalization.

  • HIS 3260

    Seminar in Roman Studies (HUM)

    An in-depth exploration of a particular topic in Roman history or culture. Possible topics include the Fall of the Roman Republic, the Poetry of Virgil, Roman Historians, the Early Roman Emperors, and the Age of Constantine.

  • HIS 3270

    Seminar in Medieval Studies (HUM)

    An in-depth exploration of a particular topic in medieval history or culture. Possible topics include the Fall of Rome, Medieval Monasticism, Crusades, Age of Justinian, and Augustine and His World. The seminar will build on topics covered in a more general way in the World of Late Antiquity, Early Medieval Europe, Later Medieval Europe, and Byzantine History.

  • HIS 3400

    Modern China (HUM)

    An in-depth study of Chinese history from the early 19th century to the present with special emphasis on the role of Mao Tse-tung in shaping the People's Republic of China.

  • HIS 3410

    Modern India (HUM)

    This course tracks India's development from the Mughal Empire, to the establishment of the British Empire in the 1700s, through independence in 1947, to its present status as a regional superpower and global economic force. Students will assess the many ironies of Indian history, particularly how India has been simultaneously ?globalized? by invaders and outsiders, but has also acted as a ?globalizer,? initiating significant changes in the international political and economic order.

  • HIS 3450

    Modern Japan (HUM)

    A study of Japanese history from the early 19th century to the present with emphasis on native Japanese culture, Western influences, modernization, imperialism, militaristic and democratic forces, World War II, and the recent emergence of the nation as a world economic leader.

  • HIS 3990

    Historiography (HUM)

    An introduction to the method and history of historical writing, acquainting the student with aspects of research and writing and with the work of representative historians and philosophers of history of various periods and approaches, from antiquity to the present.
    Prerequisite: Three courses in history or consent of the instructor

  • HIS 4000

    Senior Seminar

    The capstone of the history major. Each seminar member produces a research paper on a topic of his or her own choosing, in consultation with the seminar leader and based in part on primary material.
    Prerequisites: Four courses in history and consent of the instructor

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $22,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …