The Department of History
For Students -
Electives


 

Info for Majors Info for Minors Prospective Majors Electives

List of History Electives
by Chronological Track

 

Note: Not every elective is offered every academic year.

Track A (Prehistory to 500 CE)
ART 222 Body Politics: Depictions of the Human Body from the Ancient World to the Present
HIS 252 Warfare in the Ancient Near East and Egypt
HIS 254 History of Ancient Greece and Rome
HIS 264 China to 1650
HIS 323 History of Lynching and Collective Violence: From the Ancient World to the Present
HIS 354 Law and Society in Ancient Athens and Rome
HIS 361 Ancient Egypt
HIS 362 History of Science and Medicine: Prehistory to 1650
HIS 364 History of Gender and Sexuality: Prehistory to 1650 (Same course at GEN 364)
HIS 366 Religions of the Ancient World

Track B (500 CE to 1650 CE)
ART 222 Body Politics: Depictions of the Human Body from the Ancient World to the Present
HIS 201 American Civilization – From Colonial Times through the Civil War
HIS 256 The History of Muslim Societies and Communities
HIS 264 China to 1650
HIS 265 Class, Race and Family in Latin American History (Same course as LLS 265)
HIS 263 African Heritage in the Caribbean (Same course as LLS 263)
HIS 298 History of Muslim Societies
HIS 2xx History of Genocide: 500 to the Present
HIS 323 History of Lynching and Collective Violence: From the Ancient World to the Present
HIS 356 Sexuality, Gender, and Culture in Muslim Societies
HIS 362 History of Science and Medicine: Prehistory to 1650
HIS 364 History of Gender and Sexuality: Prehistory to 1650 (Same course at GEN 364)
HIS 381 Social History of Catholicism in the Modern World
HIS 383 History of Terrorism
HIS 3xx Concepts of Justice in Islamic Societies
MUS 310 Comparative History of African American Musics

Track C (1650 CE to Present)
ART 222 Body Politics: Depictions of the Human Body from the Ancient World to the Present
HIS 201 American Civilization – From Colonial Times through the Civil War
HIS 202 American Civilization – From 1865 to the Present
HIS 206 Orchestral Music and the World Wars (Same course as MUS 206)
HIS 214 Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States
HIS 217 Three Hundred Years of New York City: A History of the Big Apple
HIS 219 Violence and Social Change in America
HIS 224 A History of Crime in New York City
HIS 225 American Problems of Peace, War, and Imperialism, 1840 to the Present
HIS 242 U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America (Same course as GOV 242 and LLS 242)
HIS 256 The History of Muslim Societies and Communities
HIS 260 History of Contemporary Cuba (Same course as LLS 260)
HIS 261 Revolution and Social Change in Contemporary Latin America (Same course as LLS 261)
HIS 263 African Heritage in the Caribbean (Same course as LLS 263)
HIS 265 Class, Race and Family in Latin American History (Same course as LLS 265)
HIS 267 History of Caribbean Migrations to the United States (Same course as AAH 267 and LLS 267)
HIS 274 China: 1650 – Present
HIS 277 American Legal History
HIS 298 History of Muslim Societies
HIS 2xx History of the Caribbean
HIS 2xx History of Genocide: 500 to the Present
HIS 320 The History of Crime and Punishment in the United States
HIS 323 History of Lynching and Collective Violence: From the Ancient World to the Present
HIS 325 Criminal Justice in European Society, 1750 to the Present
HIS 356 Sexuality, Gender, and Culture in Muslim Societies
HIS 381 Social History of Catholicism in the Modern World
HIS 383 History of Terrorism
HIS 3xx Concepts of Justice in Islamic Societies
HIS 3xx History of World Cinema
HIS 3xx African Diaspora History I: To 1808
HIS 3xx African Diaspora History II: Since 1808
MUS 310 Comparative History of African American Musics

 

Course Descriptions

HIS 201 American Civilization – From Colonial Times through the Civil War
A history of the United States. Several problems or issues are chosen each term, and the insights of various disciplines — political science, sociology, literary criticism, economics, etc. — are brought to bear on them. Either course, HIS 201 or HIS 202, may be taken independently.
Prerequisites: ENG 101 and sophomore standing or above

HIS 202 American Civilization – From 1865 to the Present
A history of the United States. Several problems or issues are chosen each term, and the insights of various disciplines — political science, sociology, literary criticism, economics, etc. — are brought to bear on them. Either course, HIS 201 or HIS 202, may be taken independently.
Prerequisites: ENG 101 and sophomore standing or above

HIS 206 Orchestral Music and the World Wars (Same course as MUS 206)
This course will explore how World Wars I and II changed the role of music and musicians in Western European society, as well as the sound of music itself. Within the time frame of 1900 – 1945, this course will examine the effects of the World Wars on the evolution of Western European Classical Music. By analyzing the influence of Russian and European politics on musical expression, this course raises questions: How did Stalin and Hitler influence musical style? What is the relationship between oppression and creativity? Further effects on music of the politics of the 1930’s and 1940’s will be considered in the stories of specific imprisonments and emigrations that resulted from the wars. The course will use music CD’s, readings and film to study specific situations that reflect the larger picture. All readings will be coupled with either quizzes or writing assignments.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 201, HIS 205 or any 100-level music course or permission of the instructor

HIS 214 Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States
A social history of immigration and ethnicity that focuses on topics such as immigrant institutions, including family, church, community life, unions, gangs, fire companies, saloons, theatres, social mobility, and the role of ethnicity and class responses to the immigrant problem, including assimilation, nativism, racism and restriction; immigrant ghettos and boss rule; changing immigrant stereotypes; work experience; labor violence and the methods of social control.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above

HIS 217 Three Hundred Years of New York City: A History of the Big Apple
A study of selected institutions and classes of people, traced over time. Topics include the docks, Wall Street, the poor, water supply, bars, subways, the rich, riots, architecture, bosses and corruption, novels of New York, police, parks, famous fires. The course will include occasional walking tours about the city to the docks, museums, famous buildings, etc.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above

HIS 219 Violence and Social Change in America
Examination of the role played by violence in American life. Exploration of selected problems relating to the politics of war, poverty and racism.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above

HIS 224 A History of Crime in New York City
How criminal entrepreneurs seized the opportunities of their particular eras, from colonial days to the present. Topics include: pirates (Captain Kidd) and smugglers; slave revolts; river and railroad gangs; gambling and prostitution; prohibition-era bootlegging and the rise of organized crime (from the Mafia to Murder Incorporated); stock market fraud; crime on the waterfront; shoplifting; labor and business racketeering; drug dealing; arson for profit; computer fraud; the savings and loan scandal; environmental crime; and street gangs, with special attention to those (Gophers, Westies) in the John Jay neighborhood.
Prerequisite: ENG 101

HIS 225 American Problems of Peace, War, and Imperialism, 1840 to the Present
This course will examine the conflict in America’s foreign policy between manifest destiny and the anti-militarist tradition. It will focus on the ideas and processes which led to war and the expansion of America’s empire, and on those ideas and movements which were anti-imperialist and anti-militarist.
Prerequisite: ENG 101

HIS 242 U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America (Same course as GOV 242 and LLS 242)
U.S. economic and political relations with Latin American countries during the 19th and 20th centuries. U.S. reactions to reform and revolutionary movements. The ideological framework of U.S. foreign policy.
Prerequisites: ENG 101 and sophomore standing or above, or permission of the section instructor

HIS 252 Warfare in the Ancient Near East and Egypt
This class will provide a survey of ancient warfare from 3000 B.C.E through the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E. focusing on Egypt, the ancient Near East, India, and China. In addition to the technologies involved in ancient warfare and the major battles, students will be expected to consider the importance of warfare within society. Specifically, the course will examine the role that warfare played as a governmental tool and how it affected society. When and why did the ancients engage in war? What were their weapons and their military strategies? Was warfare an inevitable, unavoidable part of ancient society, and what did the ancients see as the ethical ramifications of it? In studying ancient history and society through the pervasive motif of war, students will gain an understanding of the forces that shaped culture and how society responded to these forces.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or 201, HIS 203

HIS 256 The History of Muslim Societies and Communities

The course provides an introduction to the development of Muslim societies globally, from the early Arabian Peninsula to the Muslim kingdoms of West Africa, from the Mughal empires in the Indian sub-continent to the Iranian Islamic revolution.  The emphasis is on the historical movements of people, goods, ideas, art, technological inventions and scientific knowledge, and the ways these exchanges have and continue to shape society.  The course will frame Islam within a diversity of cultures, civilizations, and social practices rather than a theology.

HIS 260 History of Contemporary Cuba (Same course as LLS 260)
This course will trace Cuban history from the War of Independence of 1868 through the establishment of the Republic up to and including the Revolution of 1959. The revolutionary period will be the main focus of the course.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above or permission of the section instructor

HIS 261 Revolution and Social Change in Contemporary Latin America (Same course as LLS 261)
Analysis of political and socioeconomic development, emphasizing major approaches to social change in the 20th century. Topics covered are class structures, demographic patterns, economic dependence, democratic liberal reform, neoimperialism, the Mexican Revolution, the Cuban Revolution and new trends of the last decade. A comparative, inter-American perspective, drawing on other relevant disciplines, is used.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above or permission of the section instructor
HIS 263 African Heritage in the Caribbean (Same course as LLS 263)
3 hours, 3 credits
This course examines the social and political forces in contemporary Caribbean. The course will focus on the following: the legacy of slavery, plantation society and underdevelopment, democracy, capitalism and socialism, race, class and ethnic conflict.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above or permission of the section instructor

HIS 264 China to 1650
This course traces the political, social, and cultural history of China from earliest times to 1650. The course will focus on the period during which China was arguably one of the world’s most advanced societies and will seek to determine why China had fallen behind Europe by 1650. Various primary sources such as translated philosophical, religious, and literary texts as well as resources from archeology, art history, and film will assist in exploring the Chinese civilization.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and HIS 203, 204, or 205

HIS 265 Class, Race and Family in Latin American History (Same course as LLS 265)
Class structure, slavery, and race relations and the organization of the family will be examined in the colonial and neocolonial eras of Latin American history. A comparative approach, emphasizing urban and rural situations and economic change, will be stressed.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above or permission of the section instructor

HIS 267 History of Caribbean Migrations to the United States (Same course as AAH 267 and LLS 267)
A comparative study of the most significant aspects of Caribbean migrations to the United States during the 20th century. Emphasis on the political, economic and social framework of the migration process. Special attention will be given to the contemporary situations of the Haitian, Latina/o, and West Indian communities in the United States.
Prerequisites: ENG 101, and sophomore standing or above or permission of the section instructor

HIS 274 China: 1650 – Present
This course provides an introduction to Chinese history from 1650 to the present. We will sketch the major events of political history covering the rise and fall of the last imperial dynasty (Qing, 1644-1912), the first Republic (1912-1949) and the impact of foreign imperialism and communism, and the major developments in the People's Republic of China, tracing the historical roots of key issues in contemporary China. In addition, we will also take a social and cultural approach. In examining how Chinese society changed over time, we will focus on the ways in which the Chinese interacted with other societies, whether neighboring nomads or distant Europe, exploring Chinese history within a broad and comparative framework. We will also examine how traditional Chinese values were influenced by foreign ideas and technologies.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or 201, HIS 205

HIS 277 American Legal History
An analysis of the forces and circumstances that have influenced the course of American civil, criminal, and Constitutional law from the 17th century to the present. The course concentrates on the change from English-based common law through the rise of industrial capitalism in the late 19th century and the development of the modern welfare state in the 20th century and emphasizes such developments as the growth of the contract and corporate law, the use of litigation as an economic weapon, the rise of an independent judiciary and the ensuing conflict with the legislatures of both nation and state, the role of the legal profession in shaping the legal system, and the social role of law in American life.
Prerequisites: ENG 101 and sophomore standing or above

HIS 298 History of Muslim Societies
Description pending
Prerequisites: ENG 101 and HIS 204 or HIS 205

HIS 290 Selected Topics in History
Specific study of a topic chosen by the instructor.
Prerequisites: ENG 101 and sophomore standing or above

HIS 320 The History of Crime and Punishment in the United States
Ways in which Americans have defined crime, explained its causes, and punished and rehabilitated criminals. The relationships among crime, social values, and social structure. Areas of emphasis include colonial Massachusetts and Virginia; the creation of police forces and prisons during the first half of the 19th century; criminality during the Gilded Age and Progressive Period; Prohibition; creation of the FBI; crime and the Great Depression; and some aspects of crime and punishment between 1950 and 1970.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 201, and junior standing or above

HIS 323 History of Lynching and Collective Violence
DESCRIPTION
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 201, HIS 204, HIS 205

HIS 325 Criminal Justice in European Society, 1750 to the Present
The origins of the Western system of criminal justice in early modern Europe and a comparative analysis of recent developments in Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Examination of the evolving definition of crime and changes in criminal law, methods of enforcement, and types of punishment in relation to the growth of urban and industrial society and the extension of state power. Topics include witchcraft, the Inquisition, the classical and positivist schools of criminology, prostitution and homosexuality, birth and development of the prison, establishment of professional police forces, the Mafia and European terrorism.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 201, HIS 231, HIS 232, and junior standing or above, or permission of the section instructor

HIS 356 Sexuality, Gender, and Culture in Muslim Societies
This course reviews relevant concepts and analyzes various constructions of gender norms, gender roles and sexual morality in selected past and present Muslim societies.  Sexual categories (heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) are examined in a variety of contexts and through a range of sources – from Ottoman homoerotic poetry to Mughal India. Topics may include the connections between feminism and nationalism in 19th century Egypt, to transexuality in Iran and Pakistan.  We will also consider transnational relations – how did Western colonization shape intimate relations; and how were colonial processes, in turn, impacted by gender and sexuality? Finally, how are the tensions between advocates and opponents of gender equality currently playing out?

HIS 361 Ancient Egypt
This course will survey Ancient Egypt, tracing the development of Egyptian society and government from its prehistoric agrarian origins (approx. 4000 B.C.E.) through the death of Cleopatra and the Roman conquest (30 C.E.). In addition to the major political developments, students will be expected to master the major shifts in Egyptian religion and thought, the changing notion and democratization of Egyptian afterlife, and how Egypt remained insular while becoming increasingly cosmopolitan and imperialistic. The course will also examine the role that geography played in the development of Egyptian society and will trace Egypt’s interactions with her neighbors in Africa and the greater Mediterranean world to examine how these relationships affected the Egyptian religion, culture, and economy. Primary and secondary sources will be used to encourage class discussion and as the basis of written exercises and exams.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 201, HIS 203 or HIS 231, and HIS 204 or HIS 205 or HIS 232

HIS 362 History of Science and Medicine: Prehistory to 1650
This course will provide students with a background in the intellectual and cultural developments in the history of science and medicine from prehistory through 1650. Students will be introduced to the kinds of questions asked about the natural world by different cultures at different times, varying understandings of nature, the natural world, the body, and disease, and interactions among these understandings and interpretations. Primary and secondary readings will provide the basis for class discussions, written assignments, and a final research project.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 201, HIS 203 or HIS 231, and HIS 204 or HIS 205 or HIS 232

HIS 364 History of Gender and Sexuality: Prehistory to 1650 (Same course at GEN 364)
This class will build on the introductory surveys in gender and sexuality and global history to provide students with two new lenses through which to view history. Given that gender and sexuality are cultural constructs that represent the social mores of the cultures and times in which they exist, and thus have changed throughout history, we will move from the ancient world through 1650 to provide a chronological and global perspective on the changing meanings of sex, sexuality, and gender, and the ways in which their changes represent broader shifts in cultural values and emphases. The course will address the history of gender and sexuality in China, sub-saharan Africa, Europe, and India. Primary and secondary sources provide the basis for class discussion and written assignments.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or 201, GEN 101, HIS 203 or HIS 231, and HIS 204 or HIS 205 or HIS 232

HIS 366 Religions of the Ancient World
In antiquity, religion was a driving force that both transformed society and was transformed by society. This course will provide a survey of early religious movements of the ancient world, showing how the myths, ritual, and sacred laws of ancient societies expressed their world views. Religion has always been an influential factor in society, and students will learn how organized religion developed into a powerful social and political tool. The course will focus primarily on the major religious movements of the ancient Near East: Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the early Israelite tradition; however, other ancient religions (including the Greek and Roman traditions, Hinduism, Buddhism, New World and African traditions) will also be touched on. The course will balance an understanding of the personal practices of ancient religions with an understanding of the larger political and social role of religion.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or 201, HIS 203

HIS 381 Social History of Catholicism in the Modern World
This course offers students an introduction to how Catholicism has shaped social identities and cultural practices across global cultures from the early 1500s to the present day. Starting with the Catholic response to the Reformation in 16th Century Europe, the course then traces the complex social and cultural formations generated by an expansive Catholicism in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, and the tension between Catholicism and American culture in the history of the United States. Key topics will include the history of Catholicism and culture, syncretism, ethnicity, race, gender, and social class.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 201, HIS 204 or HIS 232, and HIS 203 or HIS 205 or HIS 232

HIS 383 History of Terrorism
This course explores the major ideas, facts, and problems associated with the historical study of terror and the uses of political violence on a global scale. Course themes include the changing definitions of terrorism over time; the historical antecedents of modern terrorism; the impact of nationalism and religion on terrorism in different places and beginning in the early modern period; the historical motivations, organizations, and support networks of terrorists; the nature of crisis management; the responses of the world community to different historical acts of terrorism; the effects of terrorism on free societies in the 20th century; and the linkages between acts of terrorism and terrorist states.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or 201, and HIS 205, and either HIS 203 or 204

 

 

 

 

 

 
Allison Kavey, Chairperson
445 West 59th Street, Room 4307N North Hall,
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.237.8819, Email: akavey@jjay.cuny.edu