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Summer 2019 Online Classes


Course Guide

This summer, the UMass History Department is offering nearly a dozen online courses. Topics range from the history of soccer to the history of medicine and more. Some classes, like the history of Boston, take a local approach. Others explore key moments in U.S. history, such social change and the 1960s and the American war in Vietnam. Still others take a global approach, including the history of Latin America, the history of China, and world history.

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 (DU), and Global Diversity (DG). 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 For all other questions, including registration and records, contact Continuing and Professional Education. To register, see SPIRE

Summer Session I: May 20 - June 28

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 Matthew Barlow: (4 credits, DG HS 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: (4 credits, DG HS GenEd)

History 150: U.S. History to 1876 with Professor Alice Nash

This is a broad introductory survey of American history from before European contact to the end of Reconstruction in 1876. The geographic scope spans the continent, including Atlantic, Caribbean, Pacific, and continental territories that become the United States. Two themes run throughout the course: 1) the tension between local or personal interests versus group, regional or national concerns, including religion, ideology, politics, economics, Indigenous issues, gender, liberty, slavery, land, environment, industrialization, education, and consumer culture; and 2) how the history of this early period is relevant today. There are two fixed deadlines each week. Multiple choice chapter quizzes are due on Fridays. There are three discussion questions and three exams, due on alternate weeks, that must be posted by Sunday of the relevant week. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Nash: (4 credits, HS GenEd)

History 264: History of Health Care and Medicine in the U.S. with Professor Emily Hamilton

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 Emily Hamilton: (4 credits, DU HS GenEd)

History 269: American War in Vietnam with Professor Daniel Chard

This course explores the American war in Vietnam, including reasons for the U.S. intervention in Vietnam, key political and military policies, experiences of combatants and civilians on all sides, divisive political and moral controversies, and myths and legacies. Course requirements consist of weekly readings, documentary films, quizzes, and discussion posts; a midterm paper (3 pages); and a final paper (5 pages). For more information, contact Professor Daniel Chard: (4 credits, HS GenEd)

History 281: Global History of Soccer with Professor Brian Bunk

Soccer is without question the world's most popular sport. Its impact reaches beyond entertainment to influence and reflect cultural values and identities, economic interests and power relationships between people and nation states. The course takes a historical approach by surveying important developments within the game and how they impacted people at the local, national and international level. Select case studies examine in detail the particular ways the sport has promoted and/or challenged significant global phenomena such as the expansion and resistance to imperialism and authoritarianism, the development of racial and national identities and gender relationships. For more information, contact Professor Brian Bunk: (4 credits, HS DG GenEd)

Summer Session 2: July 8 - August 16

HIST 111: World History since 1500 with Professor Andrew Dausch

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: (4 credits, DG HS GenEd)

History 115: China, 1600 to present with Professor Matthew Barlow

This course explores the history and culture behind China's emergence as a modern power. Topics include the heritage of the Ming and Qing dynasties, western maritime trade and naval power, Christian missionaries and western educators, peasant rebellion and overthrow of imperial rule, Chinese nationalism, the Marxist-Maoist order, and China as a contender for superpower status. For more information or to request a syllabus, contact Professor Matthew Barlow: (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: (4 credits, DU HS 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: (4 credits, HS GenEd)

History 385: Modern Boston with Professor Matthew Barlow

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 Matthew Barlow: (4 credits, DU HS GenEd)