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Summer 2017 Online Course Guide

This summer, the UMass History Department is offering a dozen online classes exploring topics ranging from the history of Boston to the history of the modern world. Our courses are taught by PhD holding faculty, and each class fulfills one or more UMass general education requirements, including Historical Studies (HS), United States Diversity (U), Global Diversity (G), and the Junior Year Writing requirement (JYW). All classes are open to UMass students and the general public. Please join us!

For questions about course content, contact the faculty member teaching the course. For general questions about the UMass History Department's online classes, contact outreach@history.umass.edu. For all other questions, including registration and records, contact Continuing and Professional Education. To register, see SPIRE


Summer Session One: May 22 - June 30

History 100: "Western Thought to 1600" with Professor Andrew Dausch

History 100 surveys roughly 2500 years of European history. Beginning with the “Dark Age” of Ancient Greece and running through the crisis of seventeenth-century Europe, we will examine key texts in the Western tradition and connect those texts to the historical contexts in which they were written. Despite the temporal distance of the events and developments covered in this course, a number of key concepts and modes of thinking that came into being during this period help explain contemporary problems and structures. In this class, students are encouraged to raise questions and think critically about the value and meaning of the texts we read. This course is intended to help students develop critical thinking skills, a historical sensibility, and their ability to write. They will be asked to reflect on the relationship between texts and their contexts in addition to exercising critical judgment on the reliability of historical sources. (4 credits, HS GenEd)

History 110: World History to 1500 with Professor Matthew Barlow 

This course is an exploration of some of the most ancient cultures of the world, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, and Meso-America, through ancient primary sources and artifacts. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Barlow: jbarlow@umass.edu. (4 credits, HSG GenEd)

History 121: Modern Latin America with Professor Joel Wolfe

Discussions of Latin America usually fall back upon facile generalizations that emphasize recent changes to explain "current events."  This course will examine in detail the creation of modern Latin America.  We will concentrate on the struggles over land and labor, the creation of nation-states, and the conflicts within those states over issues of citizenship and social justice.  The course will also address the contentious role the United States has played in the region. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Wolfe: jwolfe@history.umass.edu. (4 credits, HSG GenEd)

History 150: U.S. History to 1876 with Professor Rob Weir 

This course will survey American history from the time of the first European contact through the Civil War and Reconstruction period. Attention will be paid to the development of an American identity, including who was marginalized or excluded. It will be structured around various "revolutions:" the Anglo-European transformation of North America; rebellion against England; the articulation and limits of a Constitutional state; the social chaos of economic development; the various meanings of democracy; and a rebirth of freedom during the Civil War era. Methodology will rely heavily on student-generated discussion as well as: short podcast lectures, primary source interpretation, the use of YouTube, and "discovery tasks" aimed at developing a usable past that shapes contemporary perspectives. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Weir: rweir@history.umass.edu. (4 credits, HS GenEd)

History 154: Social Change in the 1960s with Professor Julia Sandy

This course focuses on the “Long Sixties,” a period stretching from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. We will look in new ways at topics you are probably already familiar with: the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, counterculture, sexual experimentation, and never trusting anyone over 30. We will also explore aspects of the Sixties you may not know about or associate with a different era, such as the Great Society, a thriving conservative movement, environmentalism, and gay rights. Students will view online lectures, participate in online discussions, and complete assignments which include reviewing music, movies, and books from the sixties. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Sandy: jsandybailey@admin.umass.edu. (4 credits, HSU GenEd)

History 264: History of Health Care and Medicine in the U.S. with Professor Elizabeth Sharpe

4 Credits • Gen Ed Designation: HSU • Professor Elizabeth Sharpe
This course explores the history and social meaning of medicine, health care, and disease in the United States from 1600 to the present. Using films, podcasts, historical documents, and academic readings, students will investigate topics such as: the evolution of beliefs about the body; medical and social responses to infectious and chronic disease; the rise of medical science and medical organizations; the development of medical technologies; mental health diagnosis and treatment; the training and image of medical practitioners; and the role of public and government institutions in promoting health practices and disease treatments. Through multiple perspectives, including those of marginalized groups, we will focus on the relationship of political, social, and economic power to health. Additional readings will illuminate the human experience of medicine, including the experience of being ill, the delivery of compassionate care, and the relationship between practitioners and patients. Course themes include race, gender, cultural diversity, women and gender, social movements, science, technology, politics, industry, and ethics. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Sharpe: emsharpe@history.umass.edu. (4 credits, HSU GenEd)


Summer Session Two: July 10 - August 18

HIST 111: World History since 1500 with Professor Andrew Dausch

111 In History 111, we will explore world history by critically examining the role of European imperialism in forging connections between Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The course is broken into five units, each of which represents a distinct aspect of global development. The first unit focuses on how the discovery of the Americas resulted from shifting patterns of world trade and led to new patterns of exchange. In the second unit, we look at the impact of the British Empire in the Americas, Asia, and especially India as well as the role of gender in world history. Using the example of the Belgian Congo, the third unit explores the European colonization of Africa at the end of the 19th century and relates this experience to contemporary issues of underdevelopment, racism and genocide. The course concludes by looking at major developments of the 20th century—World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and decolonization—in global perspective. For more information, or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Dausch: ard@history.umass.edu. (4 credits, HSG GenEd)

History 154: Social Change in the 1960s with Professor Julia Sandy

This course focuses on the “Long Sixties,” a period stretching from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. We will look in new ways at topics you are probably already familiar with: the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, counterculture, sexual experimentation, and never trusting anyone over 30. We will also explore aspects of the Sixties you may not know about or associate with a different era, such as the Great Society, a thriving conservative movement, environmentalism, and gay rights. Students will view online lectures, participate in online discussions, and complete assignments which include reviewing music, movies, and books from the sixties. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Sandy: jsandybailey@admin.umass.edu. (4 credits, HSU GenEd)

History 170: Indigenous Peoples of North America with Professor Alice Nash

This course offers students a quick tour through 500+ years of history, so be prepared to study hard.  The class emphasizes broad themes across time and space, using a few examples to illustrate continent-wide patterns and principals. The focus is on indigenous peoples – their cultural paradigms, historical experiences and present-day situations. The goal is to present a perspective on U.S./North American history that is not well-represented (if at all) in standard history texts. Students are not required to share this perspective, but they must be able to give a fair summary of the materials covered in this class and explain indigenous perspectives as appropriate. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Nash: anash@history.umass.edu. (4 credits, HSU GenEd)

History 280: History of Baseball with Professor Joel Wolfe

This class examines the history of baseball from its earliest days as a game for young men in New York City in the mid-19th century to the present and its professional leagues in the United States and elsewhere in the world. The class studies the rise of sport as a leisure activity and then industry, the creation of the major leagues, the racial integration of baseball, the rise of free agency, the steroid era and beyond. Students are expected to complete the assigned reading for discussions.  Evaluation in the class will be based on two quizzes (7.5% each), an analytical book essay (30%), a final exam (35%), and class participation (20%). For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Wolfe: jwolfe@history.umass.edu. (4 credits, HS GenEd)

History 385: Modern Boston with Professor Julie de Chantal

This course is a survey and analysis of the origins of modern Boston and its development as a metropolis in the context of Massachusetts and U.S. history, from 19th-century industrial beginnings to present. Subjects explored include: creation of factory towns, women and child labor, Irish immigration, industrial history, urbanization, class conflict, immigration/assimilation, machine politics and reform, urban renewal, the rise of service and high-technology industries, racism, school desegregation, and violence in Boston and the metropolitan area. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor de Chantal: julied@history.umass.edu. (4 credits, HSU GenEd)

History 450: Writing History with Professor Matthew Barlow

In this course, we will explore the writing of history from a variety of angles and across various sub-disciplines in the field of history.  There is no set topic for this section, students will be free to bring their own interests and curiosities to the course and will work in conjunction with the instructor to develop their writing skills for a wide variety of history-based audiences, including public and digital history audiences, and more traditional historical academic writing. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Barlow: jbarlow@umass.edu. (4 credits, JYW credit for students majoring in History, Judiac and Middle Eastern Studies, and other departments upon approval)